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Recent Tasting Notes
I know I said I was going to write about Bai Hao and Darjeeling, but I’ve got to slip this one in there just for kicks…
This was a piece of Da Hong Pao brick that James brought back from China. I had been holding on to it (as I do with all my aged oolongs), hoarding it for a special occasion…Then I got over it and decided that the tea itself WAS the special occasion…
Nicotine. Dry sandy soil. Bitter, with only a suggestion of roundness. Both aroma and taste reminded me so strongly of tobacco—not smoked, but the dry leaves…although one could say there’s a hint of ash thrown in there. Feels earthy in quality and not so much head-y as heart-y…although I felt it in my 3rd chakra, too! An ancient hearth, charred bits of old sacred manuscripts…the royal secret safe.
My first genmaicha!
I just ordered a green tea at my favorite sushi place, having no idea what kind of green tea it was.
I noticed immediately the toasty rice flavour and had my suspicions it was genmaicha, so I asked the server. She didn’t know the name of it, but did know it was toasted rice green tea.
It was very good! Not too grassy, but definitely green. It was a beautiful colour green. The rice flavour was the predominant one, which was really nice.
At the bottom of the cup there was about half a teaspoon of very fine green powder. It looked like matcha powder it was so fine. No rice, though.
Regardless, I will definitely be getting some genmaicha!
When I tried this tea last night at bookgroup, it was brewed with some flowering tea so I wasn’t exactly sure of its flavors. Today I am brewing it all alone. The brewed smell is kind of like a buttery sauteed spinach. Maybe there is a slight bite to it from Ginseng. Maybe if I try hard enough to find it. The flavor is light and not grassy. There is a slight vegetal flavor, perhaps artichoke? I think I added enough tea leaves. It’s very hard to describe but I am really digging it.
Washed the leaves with boiling water for 10 seconds. Brewed 3g to my little 8 oz celadon brewing mug for 2 min. This is the first steeping. The leaves didn’t entirely open on the first brewing.
One of my bookgroup cohorts went to China recently and the only thing she brought back was tea. She brought a bag of Oolong to share with the group. And, she sent me home with a bunch of it in a ziploc bag (woot!). Sadly, I don’t know much else about this tea. It was in a white vacuum sealed bag with Chinese writing. My friend said it was a medium grade Oolong. The leaves were all balled up tight and were shaped like chocolate chips. I don’t think it was a Ginsing Oolong, but it definitely looks like one. Here is a pic:
Does anyone know if the tea could be a regular oolong and look like that?
Anyway, it has a slightly vegetal taste (but not overwhelming) and has a light peachy flavor in the background. We did 2 steepings and both were great.
It looks like dragonwell, it tastes like a dragonwell, but until I can have a work friend translate the tin (hopefully it’s Chinese on it!), I won’t know for sure. We’re going to roll with dragonwell for the moment though. A friend brought it and some other lovely teas back for me from Singapore. It’s been a long time since I picked up dragonwell, I don’t know why, because I do really enjoy it. Mmmm. Dragonwell!
I have no idea what tea this is, it’s in an unlabelled canister. I am sure it has been sitting in my parents’ pantry for at least 2 years. And yet, it is quite pleasant to drink. It’s not subtle or nuanced… it’s strong and kind of biscuity. I am not game to try it without milk though. Sugar would probably go well but I haven’t really felt the need to add any. Just goes to show that a decent cup of tea can turn up in the most unexpected places.
This is the basic tea that is served at Japanese schools, so I drink it whenever I have lunch with my students or teachers’ meetings. I appreciate this tea, as it was really my first foray into no-frills, unsweetened tea for the sake of tea… but I’ve been spoiled by Samovar’s Yuzu Sencha and was surprised to find myself a little bit disappointed in the regular old sencha this time around. I hope it forgives me.
This is a really, really pleasant icebox tea. Had a quart ready for chugging after this morning’s kid duty, and after loading and unloading our Shabby House futons at the church mission house—our turn to bless somebody else.
I’m still thinking this is is more like uncarbonated Dr. Pepper than Coke. As to brand, not sure, but since it’s from my fave health food place, either Frontier Natural Products or San Francisco Herb Co. Also well in the Cheapster Steepster range—less than a buck an ounce.
A bulk buy at favorite local health food store. I marked it as a rooibos simply because of the visual resemblance; I don’t know that for a fact. It does have a thick, rich red tea base, but smells more like Dr. Pepper with cinnamon, and does have a flat Coke taste. Still a nice change for the transition between heavy tea season and lighter spring flavors.
Happy Chinese New Year guys! Still holiday season!
In our new year party, I made my favorite party beverage, chrysanthemum tea. Most of my friends are not frequent tea drinkers. Chrysanthemum tea is exotic, but not too strange to most of them. In Chinese “health theories”, rarely a tea should accompany a meal. Instead, it should be taken before or after. However, chrysanthemum tea is always good for meals. After all, it’s herbal “tea”.
This time, I think I really made it well. I throw some goji berries in, not in the brewing pot, but in the water pitcher. So the goji was brewed not directly by boiling water, but by hot liquor of chrysanthemum. In this way, the goji berries contributed to the final taste as well as maintained its own texture. The chrysanthemum tea last night had clean, fragrant herbal flavor, with a sweet aftertaste. Goji berries randomly ran into the cup. Their flavor was entirely blended with the chrysanthemum, and the berries chewed like raisins. I put in some rock sugar, for which I actually regretted, after finding out some friends can’t have sugar.
Next time, I will omit sugar. Chrysanthemum bears a natural sweet aftertaste, which, although different from sugar’s sweetness, does bring some satisfaction to sweet tooth. Chrysanthemum is considered a super healthy herb in China. Without sugar, the tea will be absolutely healthy :D But it doesn’t hurt to have a little bit of sugar, or honey, or maple sugar :D
(I used around 10-15 dry flowers, brewed in a 17oz teapot, and put all 4.5 infusions in a used wine glass bottle, and left it outdoor in snow pile for a few hours.)
(It’s “unknown” source but chrysanthemum can be obtained from many sources, including tea vendors and Asian grocery stores.)
One minute I’m discussing US presidents on-line, one thing leads to another, John Qunicy Adams leads to Quince Roobos. Now it’s in my cup.
Sweet, fruity, relaxing. I love this stuff. This brew is filling my office with cheery fruity cheer. A quick check of my tea cupboard shows that I have about 50grams of this left and a full kilo of the Wild Cherry version. I wish it was the other way around.
“inherited” these jasmine pearls when I moved out of my old apartment in November. I have no clue where they come from. I originally thought they might be the pearls we were selling at Dobra (from Tao of Tea), but these pearls are not as delicious as the Tao of Tea ones, so they can’t be!!!
Still, as the first tea of the day, accompanying my english muffin with homemade guava-prickly pear jelly, these precious pearls are a refreshing and romantic pick-me-up. A tea that coaxes the senses to wake and engage with the world. People poo-poo jasmine too much. But a classic is a classic for a reason.
I am finishing this up tonight. In the past I have had issues with this tea not really having a vanilla taste, so I decided to assume that would be the case this time and added a spoon of chocolate malt powder and a splash of milk. It actually turned out decent. I will most likely finish out this tea with a second infusion made the same way. I think I am still on the lookout for a great vanilla tea though.