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Recent Tasting Notes
Sad sipdown. I made the very last of my Moroccan Mint today, and this is just the season when I NEED it! I tried a lot of Moroccan Mint teas last year and did side by side comparisons, and I came to the conclusion that I love spearmint much more than peppermint. I will definitely be buying more of this. It is great hot and iced, sweetened or unsweetened. The mint is so cooling, and where I live it is consistently in the 90 to 100F range and sticky icky humid. I do have some plain gunpowder green, and I just started growing mint last year. Until I can get an order placed for more of this, I shall have to make my own, even though I don’t have a whole lot of mint yet.
As for Egyptian mint, I don’t know what that is. Off to google!
I was SO EXCITED! I got a phone call yesterday from someone wanting piano lessons for their child. I heard a beautiful accent, and was told she was referred to me by another student of mine, and right away I knew it was the Moroccan friend that I had been hearing about! As in, really, truly, Moroccan!
Naturally, I set out my Harney and Sons glasses and had a pot of tea ready! I told her that I didn’t know if this would be authentic to what she was used to, but I needn’t have worried. Ryan, you need to read this! :)
First she was ecstatic that we were going to have tea, second, she loved the glasses and said they made her feel like she was home again, and third, she said the tea was absolutely authentic to what she makes herself. She likes to add a tiny bit of honey to hers, and I gave her the White Gold honey that was recommended by my dear young friend who works at Teavana. She said it was the best honey she had ever had. Soon I will try some of the new honey from the newly added honey room at Tin Roof Teas! Yes, that’s right, they will have a HONEY ROOM!
This is what tea drinking is all about. Over and over, she beamed and told me how happy she was, how she loved the tea, how good it felt to drink tea and talk with someone (she is a homeschooling mom who is with children most of the time and loves to have some adult conversation now and then, just like me!), and how much she felt at home because of the tea, because of the glasses. She told me how she wanted to bring glasses from Morocco but didn’t for fear they would break, but that she brought all the serving pieces. She talked about how the tea tray would be set before the oldest person at a gathering and they would make the tea. There would be three containers for gunpowder green, spearmint, and sugar, and each person would come to the elder to be served. We talked about tea rituals here, and in China, and in Morocco. She wants to come again, and drink more kinds of tea. I will be seeing her once a week now for her daughter’s lessons, but I have a feeling there are also some plain ole’ tea parties in our future! This was a truly great tea day and I am so happy I could burst!
So after all the brewhaha (LOL!) last night with the transcript, I got up at six a.m. to get started again. Two hours later, testing the automatic GPA figuring, I put in a fake course and then erased it. But it refused to erase completely and left a “grade not available at this time” and refused to compute her final GPA. I tried to refresh the page to take it out and….took…out…everything…I had done. All of it. And I was finished.
YOUNGEST! I NEED TEA! Seeing my state, she asked if I needed Catherine, but I told her I thought I wanted Moroccan Mint instead. I can drink it hot or cold, plain or super sweet, and it’s good every whichaway.
Several cups later, the transcript is complete and printed, the FAFSA is done (twice because I didn’t see that I had clicked on the top item which was an ad for a company that makes you fill everything out yourself then charges you to file it for you so yes, we had to go to the right site and do it all over again sob sob sob) and now we can have LUNCH! If I was going to take up drinking, this would be the day.
Now to get the registration for school done and haggle with the insurance company over my son’s wisdom tooth extraction. Sigh.
There is no paperwork in heaven, save for the Lamb’s Book of Life. I bet I know what happens in hell…
Backlogging from yesterday: This is the tea that was the raison d’être for yesterday’s tea party.
My student mentioned during a lesson that she and her mother used to drink tea with a Moroccan lady who had moved back home, and said her mother really missed the fun they had. I invited them to come try some of my tea!
She said that the tea smelled identical to what her friend made, but her friend used fresh spearmint in hers so it may have been a little different. She seemed to really like it. I love it. I didn’t add anything at all to mine, but she and her daughter added White Gold honey and liked it.
I enjoy spearmint more than peppermint in my area and wanted to grow some, but by the time I got around to going to the nursery they we sold out. Maybe next year!
After reading Dylan’s paeans to Moroccan Mint, I broke down and bought some at Tin Roof Teas. He was right about how indispensible it is for summertime! After trying it, I began a quest to find the one I would love best.
Today I had a face off between four teas from four different companies. Tin Roof Teas won for me because the gunpowder green base is smooth, not smokey, and supports the fresh, tingling spearmint flavor so beautifully. Perhaps there is something about the addition of Egyptian Mint that makes it sing for me, too. I do not really enjoy peppermint in tea. Much as spearmint, so that is a big factor in my choosing this one. If you love peppermint more, you would want to go with the Market Spice version. Serendipitea was next, and very close, while Teavana lagged seriously far behind.
Continuing my love affair with Moroccan Mint, I decided to share it with my bestie today after we had some Asian Pear from this same company. This is their own house blend of Moroccan Mint. Their gunpowder green base is smooth and not at all smokey. The spearmint is strong but not offensively so, indeed I love it!
Our experiment involved adding honey. I have had this plain and with sugar. When I was at Moo Mart (where we feel like cattle when we shop) I saw some raw mountain honey from the western part of our state. I wanted to try it in my MM.
We began with plain tea so my friend could get a clear taste of the tea. Then we added her Manuka honey from Bird Pick Tea and Herb. It was nice, but the honey flavor was definitely noticeable and different from adding sugar.
Next came the Moo Mart honey. When I opened it, I was really taken aback. It smelled like HORSE! Seriously, like horse!!! I thought mixing it with spearmint tea would dampen the horse completely down, but alas, when I lifted my cup it smelled like horse and the sip tasted a wee bit horsey. I love puerh, but come on. Horsey honey?
Next cup got raw sugar from Whole Foods, and that was the best of the sweetened cups. I think this is great plain, though, so I will probably only drink this when I want a cooling, sweet iced tea.
I had about five ounces of this left yesterday after drinking it hot and sweetened, iced, sharing it with hubby, and then making (and eating) three Zoku Popsicles with it. I am in love with Moroccan Mint and now I want those little glasses from Harney and Sons and maybe a bunch of other Moroccan glasses, too, because THEY ARE SO PRETTY!!!!
Sigh. On a happy note, I did discover that if I buy 250 grams at a time I will save a dollar.
This was a fun tea tasting! Jim Marks suggested that I find out how traditional Moroccan Mint tea is made and served. I read a number of recipes and read how they pour from up high, filling a glass and pouring it back in to mix the sugar in well, and finally pouring from high up again to make a froth on the tea. I had the girls look on a map to see where Morocco is, look at the overall climate, and find movies that were shot in or set in Morocco. (Youngest is a huge Inception fan and was pretty excited about that one!) I described the tall, narrow tea glasses they use that are decorated in beautiful colors with gold filigree.
We poured our frothy tea and drank it. WOW! It has been a long time since I have had any tea with this much sugar in it, but it is DELICIOUS! I am amazed they drink this hot all year in Morocco, but it really is good and the mint is so cooling. They probably didn’t have refrigeration as a common option until recently! I think I like it even more hot than iced, too. (I had it iced at lunch with my banana sandwich.)
The article we read said that this is served to guests as a symbol of your hospitality and is served at least twice a day in most homes. A visitor in a gathering will be asked to judge who is the best tea maker among them. Now if that doesn’t sound like a bunch of Southern ladies gathered around serving their sweet tea to guests, I don’t know what does!
Thanks for the recommendation, Jim! This was fun, and I will definitely try serving it to guests this way in the future. I guess I have to go out and buy some of those gorgeous little glasses now! :)
I really love the spearmint and Egyptian mint in this, and I was disappointed to see that most companies use peppermint. I don’t know if I would like that as well, but I will certainly give it a try.
Wow! I am so excited about this one! I have been reading about Moroccan Mint on Steepster for so long and I finally got some today! I never remember to look for it, but as I was buying my Fig Formosa today I saw the big tin and bought 100 grams. I already have plans for getting more….soon.
I made the first steep and hubby and I drank a bit of it hot and plain. We both liked it. The gunpowder green is smooth and the mint is so well blended, it doesn’t overpower the green tea but it isn’t shy, either! This really is about the mint, but it is playing so nicely and sharing the spotlight!
I wanted to ice some of it, and since the young lady who sold it to me told me it is drunk heavily sweetened and hot all year in Morocco, I decided to taste it hot and sweetened, so I made a second steep, planning to then put it in the refrigerator to try as a sweet, iced tea tomorrow. We drank some of the hot, sweetened second steep. It was fantastic! I combined the remaining parts of steeps one and two in a pitcher and put it in the fridge.
I can see this being a summertime staple. I can see not letting myself run out of it this. I want more NOW! Good thing my son lives near Tin Roof Teas and can more for me very easily! I am really excited about how beautifully it resteeped. That really makes it affordable, and I plan to drink a lot of it. This is going to be so refreshing here in our hot, muggy summer.
Tonight was writers’ group night at my house and that means tea. One member was turning 22 and we had cake that was VERY sweet. This tea went amazingly well with it. I think I made 3 steeps of 22 ounces each, and only four of us were drinking tea.
This is a fluffy tea with lots of flowers, so they recommend using extra leaf. It has a great resteep so that stretches it a bit, and that doesn’t always happen with flavored teas. I believe this is sourced from TeaGeschwendner. It is always well received so I need to make sure I keep it on hand.
Writers’ Group night at my house should mean lots of sip downs. It should be a warning sign to me that with as much tea as we drink at group every two weeks and at tea party every Wednesday I still have too much tea!
Tonight we drank three large tetsubins of this. Everyone loved it. One guest remarked that he liked it because it didn’t dry his throat. I was making 18 ounces, resteeping, and pouring it all into the pot so each pot was a mix of two steeps. I still smell grape candy instead of fig, but it didn’t seem to matter. They loved it, and that was my goal.
Personally, I think it tastes really nice, but I really don’t taste tea. If you are a tea purist looking for a nice oolong with its characteristic flavor, this isn’t for you. If you like a flavored tea, this one is pretty darned good, and it is one of the most beautiful to look at, dry leaves and liquor. It looks almost purple in the cup as the cornflowers and poppies donate all their color!
The aroma of the dry leaf is….candy. Grape candy. Almost grape Dimetapp. This is one of the most beautiful teas I have ever seen. This is SO fluffy that my 100 grams went into a bag that would usually be used for seven or eight ounces of tea, and that bag is STUFFED! This is so full of flower petals that you can hardly find the actual tea! Thus the recommendation to use two teaspoons, heaping, so that you get one actual teaspoon tea.
The liquor is purple. Yes, I mean really purple. And it still smells like grape Dimetapp. It is a good thing grape Dimetapp is a medicine or I would drink it by the gallon and be really huge.
I wasn’t sure I wanted my tea to taste like grape candy, though, and I am glad to say it doesn’t. The aroma is still quite strong but the flavor of the tea is much milder than you would expect from the color and the smell. This is a really smooth Formosa oolong base and I am not picking up any roast-y notes. The grape and fig flavor comes on the end of the sip, riding that aroma up into your sinuses. Then the flavor lingers on your tongue.We made two steeps so far and the second was as richly colored and flavorful as the first. Those bright blue flower petals are now fully relieved of their color when I look at them in the pot, so I guess I know where this gets its purple hue.
This will be fun to serve next Tuesday for tea party day. I think I want to try this iced as well. I think it would be delicious!
I am sorry I don’t have a description for this one. I had a cup of this Friday at the store and just hadn’t logged it yet. I can’t find a description on their website. The owner mentioned that he might discontinue it when his present stock sells out, which is a shame because it was really good! Grab some now if you want it!
The liquor was a medium red/brown. The body was light but the flavor was not, and I love it when a tea does that. I think this would resteep well based on how it tasted. It had a little sweet caramel taste and some…sweet potato? I know I was reminded of Yun Nan Dian Hong a bit. It was not smokey as some gunpowder black teas can be, unless my lunch at Noodles had sedated my taste buds and I didn’t pick up on it. Good tea!
I was delighted to find Tin Roof Teas yesterday. I was even more delighted when the owner offered me a sample along with my purchase. I must say the dry leaf smells wonderful, floral, and medium bodied.
The liquor is indeed a pale straw color, just as the packaging promised. (Good thing to know – their packaging says right on it a description of the tea and directions for making it.) I was bracing myself for an astringent and puckers experience, but what I got was YUM! This has a fresh green taste, and I reminded of the very best buttered brussels sprouts, sweet and soft, not the bitter, pithy ones. After the sip, there is a tingling sweetness, not dry and puckery, but downright kissable! This does cleanse the palate, but instead of feeling like it got stripped clean, this simply comes in and freshens freshens freshens. I made three steeps, tasting each individually and then combining the rest into one pot for our nightly tea.
This is excellent, and now I can’t get the Fig Formosa off my mind. Maybe my son will pick it up for me before he comes home next week. :)
Hmmmm. So yesterday I said this was a sip down, and in a way it was because I threw away the packaging for this tea. There is no way I am tossing these leaves, though, until every last bit of goodie is wrung out of them.
It started raining last night and has rained all morning so far, and will probably continue. I am having some quiet time alone today as hubby and kids go to church and I stay home with the puppy.
What else can you do on a quiet, rainy morning but make tea? :)
This is the second steep of these leaves and this is one of those teas where subsequent steeps are best. I suppose I could do a quick rinse of the leaves, but the first steep is enjoyable as well and I don’t want to waste. This second steep, though, is really excellent. When the timer went off for me to pull out the basket, I walked into the kitchen and was hit by this marvelous aroma.
Today’s steep has none of the astringency of the first steep and is lighter and more delicate. It is slightly floral but also has a mild walnut flavor. I am glad I used the huge tetsubin because I will definitely want lots of this, and I anticipate making yet another pot since hubby and my bestie will be joining me for tea later.
This is a sip down, albeit a very long one. Hubby and I did yoga this morning and I think we both needed a little relaxation and stress relief. I lit the warmer for my tetsubin and made a huge pot of this and we have been sipping on it all morning. Well, I have been sipping on it all morning! Hubby said it was good but not his favorite, and only drank two cups. I will be extremely well hydrated by the time I finish all this, plus I am taking Tropical Green to my neighbor and we will drink that together, AND he ordered some Numi Emperor’s Puerh for me so I expect we will be drinking that as well. Note to self: don’t get too far from a bathroom. I know, I know, overshare! LOL!
I loved this tea when I bought it, and I still like it a lot, but it did come out a little sour and drying today. I was making such a big pot that perhaps I botched it. It isn’t bad, it isn’t ruined, it just isn’t as good as I remembered. Maybe I have been spoiled by Silky Green.
This is something I would prefer to have with or just after a meal or snack. It cleanses the palate very nicely. This pot has walnut notes and medium body. One bag off the shelf!
My friend who is trying to learn to like green and oolong teas is on spring break right now, so we are getting together to do yoga and drink tea every day!
Yesterday’s tea was this oolong from Tin Roof Tea. They used to source everything from TeaGeschwender but now use several different German companies for their tea.
We steeped this western style and made two pots. We have another winner for our tea convert. Hooray! She really liked it. And what’s not to like? This has such rich, full flavor. It is very smooth, not astringent, and resteeps well.
I sent some of Teavivre’s Jasmine Dragon Pearls home with her and based on the text received last night, I will probably be ordering some of that for her as well! Since I have lots of ironing to do for hubby, I better go make a pot for ME right now. :)
Hubby and I left the house early this morning to go to an estate sale waaaay out of town, not far from the beach. So of course, we kept going! It was nearly eighty degrees, we had a picnic in a garden on the Little River, saw a bald eagle fishing right in front of us, a woodstork, and a cormorant, and then went walking on the beach. When I was walking to the strand the fresh sea breeze brought some wonderful scents that reminded me of this tea. I seem to smell tea aromas more and more where I never did before! Even when I was chopping and cooking carrots and other veggies last week, I was reminded of one tea or another.
Anyway, after a long and tiring – but exquisite! day – I made a whole pot of this, and drank it all myself! Once again there is a lingering sweetness that stays in the back of my throat, making me want even more of this tea. I want to try more Tung Ting/ Dong Ding teas and see how similar they are.
This is a resteep of the leaves from this afternoon’s pot of tea. These leaves are still going strong, even being steeped western style and for the second time. Now I am picking up that same phenomenon that I got from Chun Mee by Teavivire. This steep is more woodsy, and at the end of the sip there is this amazing sweetness that lingers in the back of my throat. Perhaps there is a taste of dried hay as well. I didn’t pick up on the sweetness earlier today. Either it wasn’t there or it was hidden by the foods we were eating or the lively conversation. Now as an evening cuppa, oh my goodness this is marvelous. I am so glad, because I had really had a hankering for Chun Mee and I am out. This will hold me until my next Teavivre order!
This was the first tea of tea time today and I just have to say, “WOW!”
My guest loved it, I loved it, and I want more. I also want to know why autocorrect changes the word “more” to the word “romper” even when I don’t mistype anything. That could be a very awkward substitute. Moving on…
This tea has such full flavor. It is both buttery and woodsy, and is going to be a tea shelf staple for a long, long time to come I do believe. Wonderful cup!
My daughters were very insistent that we must have tea time today, and before my middle daughter had to leave to take her grandmother to an appointment. I went to a neighbor’s house for a few minutes and came home to discover cute little vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles – mine had a candle in it because today is my birthday – and this lovely oolong.
I made it gong fu style before. This time it was steeped western style. It didn’t lose a THING! Oh my! Floral and wonderful! My daughter was amazed at how large the leaves got when she made it – she drinks black tea only. The liquor is a soft yellow and looks positively elegant in my Old Country Roses teacup, and the floral headiness of the tea was beautiful against the sweet vanilla cupcake. The flavor fills your mouth and dances on your tongue. Oh my cow, this is a lovely pot of tea. Or it was. I just polished off the whole thing by myself!
I can’t wait to try more teas from Tin Roof Tea!
I am absolutely, positively pooped. I didn’t sleep well last night, probably because I knew it was critical that I wake up on time this morning to get oldest daughter to the airport over an hour away for her flight to N. Ireland.
I am also elated and delighted. I found a new tea shop! It has actually been there for three years but I had never seen it before, and it is a shopping center I have only been to twice that I can recall.
They have a web site, too: www.tinroofteas.com. They had great teaware as well as a big selection of high quality teas. They will also make you a cup of tea, and they have tea flights two weekends a month, with the final tea being paired with chocolate. Oh, joy!
The proprieter was fun to talk with and very sweetly let me sniff dozens of canisters. There were some delectable smelling teas that I hope to try in the future, especially the Fig Formosa. For today’s purchase I chose this Tung Ting as I have never had one before and wanted to try it.
The dry leaf appearance was as expected – tightly rolled and deep dark green in color. The fragrance is excellent! There is a floral headiness that just intoxicated me.
Because I was fall-over tired, I didn’t do my best job steeping this. I didn’t cool my water enough, I didn’t get the timer set on the first pot, and yet the tea forgave me. I am now on the fifth steep and the tea is more floral than ever. The first steeps had a hint of astringency, possibly my error or possibly for palate cleansing. Either way, it was pleasant then and is still gong strong. I am going to go for a couple more steeps. I am enjoying the natural floral taste too much to quit now.
This is one of those oolongs that are the reason I drink oolongs. I am so so glad I got 100 grams.
Edited to add: I just walked past the living room where I made this tea and had the tea set still sitting out. The aroma wafting from that room was so lovely I had to come in and make another steep. This must be six or seven, but the floral loveliness is still going. Wow, I am glad I bought this!
Another sample from Courtney, and another first, because I’ve never knowingly had a rhubarb tea before. Maybe in a blend, but not on its own. The dry leaf smells exactly as I’d expect. There’s a sweet creaminess, and the slightly tangy, fruity scent of rhubarb.
I gave it three minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. This tastes much like it smells. There’s an overriding creaminess, almost like coffee creamer or something of that ilk. Then comes the tangy, slightly sweet-sour rhubarb, and then the cream returns in the aftertaste. It’s quite an intriguing tea, and definitely lives up to its name. If I’d had some actual cream to spare, I would have added a dash, but life isn’t perfectly synchronised. Ultimately, a very enjoyable cup, and another I’d be pleased to sample again in future. Thank you, Courtney!