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Recent Tasting Notes
First tasting of the day, Russian caravan by the tea spot. This one has been a bit of an adventure. First of all the tea is incredibly strong tasting even with very quick steeps, and is very smokey.
I started this by giving it an incredibly quick rinse, since it has pu and oolong and I want to open the leaves up a little. I usually dont wash blacks. The first infusion was about a 5 second flash steep, then using the pour time of the yixing to steep the leaves. I got a dark brown liquor that smelled of smoke, caramel, burnt sugar and wood. A very earthy strong tea.
This is where it gets interesting, the first infusion is heavily influenced by the lapsang souchong, because the pu and oolong havent fully opened up yet, but the black tea is in full party mode already.
The second infusion was probably the best as I got a good mix of all the flavors here, sweetness, earthiness, smoke, wood and a bit of cacao. Slightly darker brown as the oolong and puerh are starting to open up.
On the third infusion the blacks are starting to lose a little ground here and the oolong and puerh are just coming into their own here. The tea gets very dark at this point, as the ripe puerh basically explodes with color, anyone who has ever brewed a ripe knows what I mean. Earth, wood, cacao are really predominant at this point.
The fourth and later infusions started to slightly tone down, the black teas kinda half calling it quits, but the puerh and oolong still chugging along as is the way with both of those tea’s.
Im not 100% sure of this tea, its a powerful morning caffeine kick thats for sure, and the strong flavor will wake you up in a hurry. And the flavor changes more than most over steepings as the different tea’s infuse differently. But sometimes it feels like its slightly working against itself.
I do recommend it, but realize you are in for an unusual ride.
Flavors: Cacao, Caramel, Earth, Oak wood, Smoke
First tasting for the day is Sencha green organic by the tea spot. I steeped this one for about 30 seconds with 5 grams of leaf in a 110 ml gaiwan. I dont have proper tools for true japanese tea brewing, so in the gaiwan it goes.
The first notes that hit me are butter, grass, asparagus, and a bit of astringency, but almost no bitterness at all. Which is really nice for a green tea. Its incredibly smooth and easy to drink.
The liquid is mostly clear with just a slight bit of cloudiness that you often see in Japanese style teas. I think this is from the way the tea is rolled in the process. This gives it a wonderful mouth feel and a nice bit of umami.
It seems to get the best brew at the second or third steeping, as the leaves need to open up a bit to really release the flavor. Though It seems to hold up even at 4 or 5.
Highly recomended, also check out jade green as it has a similiar taste profile.
Flavors: Asparagus, Astringent, Butter, Grass, Umami, Vegetal
Ive had a rough time with this tea. This is a tricky one to brew, as you have to keep the steep times short to not let it get bitter. The first time I tried this tea, I got a very bitter brew, where the bitter and astringent flavors overpowered everything else. Then on advice from the seller I reduced both the brew time and leaf.
Much better results on the second brewing, instead of the primary flavor being bitter and astringent, I got smoke.. which is I believe the proper primary flavor for gunpowder green. There is of course a strong vegetal and grassy notes which is pretty common in green teas. There was a strong astringent quality to it as well, but more like what Ive seen in many other greens, and alot more pleasant.
The color was a deep golden and I was very impressed who rich and thick it looked for such a short brew with less leaf than the first one.
Being rather new to tea, im rather surprised how 15 seconds and a gram and half of tea can change the results so dramatically. Well I have enough left in the sample for 1 more tasting. I will update with the results in a few days, I want to give my pallet a bit of time to clear before another tasting.
One more thing, this thing has got a caffeine kick that will make coffee run home in shame.
Flavors: Astringent, Grass, Smoke, Vegetal
Now this is a tasting from an inexperienced tea drinker which why the flavors are so… vague. I’m starting to get the general sensations but not the very specific.
So I got this last week and brewed it and was very impressed, its mild, soft and sweet, with only a very slight astringent taste and no bitterness. There is also a strong floral scent to it, as well as a vegetal taste, but I cant point to a specific flower or vegetable yet to be more specific.
Now I watched a few videoes from Mei leaf and Tea DB and both of them recommended a quick brew in a gaiwan, under a minute for Sencha, which this is actually rather similiar to. . This is what I did, about 4g of leaf for a small gaiwan. This gave one of the best tasting Japanese teas I’ve had yet.
Ill be tasting this again a few more times and trying to update the flavors and scents to be more specific, but I highly recommend trying it.
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Sweet, Vegetal
Reminds me more of a Lady Grey tea than a traditional Earl Grey – definite citrus notes in the tea and the bergamot is not overly strong. One of my favorite “everyday teas,” and I’ve bought refills from their website a few times now. (And it comes with free samples and speedy shipping!)
This is all finished now, and I must say that it was not memorable.
I do not particularly like either white tea or chestnuts, but this came free with some other teas I got, so I decided to give it a go.
And it was just entirely weak. I never even got a hint of chestnut in it, which is too bad, and the white tea base was very weak and bland.
Ah well, a sipdown now!
What is it about the weekends that make it impossible for me to write reviews? Well, it just really, really is impossible. I try, but I get too busy.
This weekend was no exception! I went so many places, and did so much stuff, including my beloved Dickens Faire (as a woman who owns her own bonnet, its impertitive I get to go watch people in hoop skirts dance around, and listen to readings from a Christmas Carol by Dickens “himself”.), and a trip to the circus (I love the circus.)
Monday feels both like a rude awakening, and a return to schedule. I like the schedule bit. And speaking on schedule, I’m due for another “try it or sip it down” tea.
I’m fighting some sort of sinus-y thing, which can’t quite commit to being a cold, so I’m going for a strong tea with ginger. Ginger is medicinal, right?
This is very strong, but neither as smokey or as gingery as I was expecting. I did give it a very light steep time, so I’ll try it again with different parameters, to see if I can coax out more of that smokey flavors I love in lapsangs.
Brewed hot. Full disclosure I’m not a fan of rooibos (the licorice herbaceous type flavor reminds me unpleasantly of detox tea), but coconut and rooibos are a perfect match. I only wish the coconut flavor could completely overwhelm the rooibos actually, although that’s probably not what most chai drinkers or rooibos drinkers want.
So I’ve been mindlessly sipping on this at work for a while now, and today marks my last sachet (I am determined to sip down, as I’ll probably have some Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping to do).
Its rooibos, I’m afraid. There a hint of cookiness to it, but its not particularly gingerbread. Just fine, nothing special.
Oh well, another sipdown!
Part of my Tea Spot set of sachets.
Theres rooibos here, but also a decent amount of ginger in this. I don’t quite know that I get “cookie” out of this, but it is gingery.
ETA, I was only going to have one cup of this today, but then my boss turned on the air conditioner. In November! (We live in a warm climate, but still….)
So a cup of warmth was needed STAT.
Early side effect for the medication for the Badness is that I feel a bit queasy this morning. Bleh. Its supposed to pass soon, and the good news is that this medication does not require many doses, so its nearly all behind me now. Yippie!
Makes me wish I had more mint and ginger with me today. Peppermint chocolate tea will have to do.
There was an extra touch of creaminess in my cup today, I’m glad to say. All very enjoyable.
I’ve had a few sachets of this since my original review, and I’ve reordered my thoughts somewhat.
In terms of chocolate mint teas, I like Harney and Sons version better. Its richer, creamier, and generally feels more like a mint chocolate.
This is thinner, and the chocolate note is fading to the mint note. But its not bad. I’m certainly not going to have any trouble drinking this, and I’ll even enjoy these cups.
Ahhh, but a cup of tea is nice this morning. It was a long weekend, very busy, and not as much sleep as I’d like. I forsee much tea today.
I recently got a little kit of Tea Spot sachets, a holiday kit. This, a gingerbread rooibos, and a white tea with chestnut are now all in my possession.
Its a little early for the holiday flavors for me, but I’ll make an exception.
This is more minty than chocolate-y, and that’s alright with me. I like a peppermint black a lot.
This is a little weak, so I might try two sachets next time, and see what I come up with.
Ooof, what a morning.
My plan was to put a pumpkin soup in the slow cooker, so that it will be all ready for me when I get home. Hooray! I love the slow cooker! And its an easy recipe! And soup!
But I could not find my can opener for the pumpkin, and so the morning involved a lot more rushing about than I anticipated. Memo to self, prep more the night before on slow cooker days.
But the thing is now plugged in, set to low, and the soup is (hopefully) on the way!
Happy Halloween! While I was chopping and prepping I was drinking this.
I still need to tinker with the steep times. I think this might require a lighter hand then I am used to giving.
But on Halloween, none but a pumpkin tea will do!
I made an error today, I let this steep too long, and it got bitter. Drat. I can see that this one needs a careful eye.
Its Pumpkin Day! My family has only two major holiday traditions, the first is the whole Christmas Tree ritual in December, and the other is this, Pumpkin Day.
We take pumpkins very seriously here, and the carving of jack-o-lanterns is a serious business.
So today we’ll pack up to the local pumpkin patch, find our chosen gourds, and take them home.
I confess, I’m always as excited as a child to do this. Its one of my favorite days.
I have long lamented that most things that are “pumpkin spice” have no pumpkin, just pumpkin spice. Now, the spices are very nice, but I loooove actual pumpkin, and so I’ve picked up all sorts of things, only to be saddened that theres no hint of pumpkin in them, just cinnamon and cloves.
So I was delighted when my sister told me about this tea, which was not just pumpkin spice, but actually had pumpkin in it! I hit order very quickly when the floodgates of autumnal teas opened.
And ahh, this smells wonderful! A fabulous balance of pumpkin and spices. I could stand in my kitchen and breath this in for a long time, which would weird anyone out looking at me, but hey.
I’ve brewed it up, and it is very nice. I do get the spices, but there is a touch of that creamy pumpkin as well.
I steeped this for five mintues, but I’m going to try it next time for four, and see if I can coax out even more pumpkin flavor!