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Recent Tasting Notes
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It’s spring on the calendar, but not outside in Chicago. A chilly, rainy Memorial Day here — so I reached for the canister I’d purchased recently from Dream About Tea (http://www.dreamabouttea.com/) full of fragrant, toasty spring-flush Dragonwell. If I can’t feel spring, I might as well taste it.
I keep seeing Gunpowder being described as being smoky. I don’t get it. I can’t for the life of me find any smoke in it at all. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Nichts.
In the aroma of the dry leaves I kind pick something up that I think must be what some are interpreting as smoke, but to me it isn’t smoke. To me it’s more plant-y hay-y. No sign of smoke in the steeped tea aroma either.
I have brewed this really really carefully, and still all I can find is slightly butter-y vegetableness with a fair amount of astringency. Mind you, my gunpowder is old and of a fairly low quality, but I cannot find smoke anywhere in the flavour. I wouldn’t be able to find smokyness in this if my life depended on it.
I just don’t get it. How do you get it to be smoky???
ACK! Argh! Ack! Erk! Argh!
Gunpowder + spearmint gum = spitty!
I made use of the random tea picker today and it suggested this generic gunpowder. Okay, that’s a fair suggestion, I thought, given my foray into japanese greens. Let’s see if I can spot a significant difference.
First of all the colour is way more yellow and non-radioactive. A deep, warm colour and not in the least bit toxic looking.
Smell has a prickly note. I’ve seen people who find this type of green a bit on the smoky side and I’ve never been able the get that. Maybe it’s that prickly note they experience as smoky. I find it more sort of… I want to say citrus-y but that’s not quite it. It’s not fruity as such. Maybe there’s a vague hint of smoke, but it’s not smoky.
Tastewise, it’s definitely different even if my tongue is still semi-paralysed by the unfortunate gum incident. It’s not at all the green vegetables in this one. This is more abstract in flavour. It doesn’t really taste that much of anything other than green tea. It’s sweeter than the japanese and it’s not as much an explosion of flavour. It’s rounded and just calmly fills the mouth.
This probably makes no sense to anybody other than me…
Maybe if it hadn’t been for the chewing gum, I could have been more specific. This, however, was not to be.
I’m in a green mood, so I grabbed this tin and made me a pot. Now that I’ve taken the first couple of sips, I suddenly remember that I also own a rather nice Chun Mee, and I’d actually rather have had a pot of that.
It’s probably just as well, because I have discovered that I didn’t rinse the pot out properly before brewing. My gunpowder has gained a weak note of liquorice root from yesterday’s Black Satin.
Interesting, actually. It adds an element of surprise to it. ‘Ahhh green tea… wait, what’s that?’ If I had any liquorice root, it might be fun to experiment with.
Hey Steepster Peeps and those who decided to follow Lexitus in particular? Did you know that apparently we are the Steepster Mafia? ;p It made me LOL. Does that make me Godfa- er… Godmother?
4th steep actually, with a crutch (as in a pinch of fresh leaves). I didn’t actually need any tea tonight after the pot of sodding Earl Grey earlier, but then Denisend made a forum thread about honey in tea and… I got inspired.
And for some weird reason this Gunpowder was my first thought. Sweetening a green tea, and a naturally sweet one at that. I’m nuts, obviously. This will either be spectacularly spectacular or spectacularly dreadful.
Yup. It’s actually spectacularly indifferent.
Gunpowder tends to have a sweet note naturally and the honey just added a little bit to it. Granted I didn’t add very much, but it still didn’t really swing it either way.
Editing: Done! Just dropping in my notes on the tea made during the day before going to bed. Didn’t make nearly as many infusions as I had thought I would.
2nd infusion much like 1st, in spit of being forgotten, oversteeped and lukewarm. Completely drinkable, shockingly enough. Would probably have been a different story had it been the first steep
3rd same as the others. More or less. One note has come out of it here and it reminds me of popcorn. I think my gunpowder thinks it’s genmaicha… At least now I know what to do in a pinch when I run out of genmaicha.
This would be the tea for the day, chosen because I want something that I can just recycle. I have Writing Ambitions today, so I’m going to be lazy about tea and try not to spend too much time on Steepster either reading or writing. (snort as IF! And while I’m dreaming I would also like a billion kroner.)
I haven’t steeped it more than two-three minutes here in the first go. It has a rather soapy smell today. Well, not really soap as such, I don’t really know how to describe it but soap is as close as I can get. This isn’t really surprising since I don’t know what the quality of this stuff is, but it came in an ordinary clear plastic bag without even a brand name on it and ‘Gunpowder green tea’ or something like that stamped directly on the plastic bag, so I’m inclined to think it’s probably not top quality.
The taste is strong and spicy and I can see why some would call it bitter. I don’t think it’s bitter, but it has potential to become so if oversteeped. It tastes like it would be good with a bit of mint in it, but I’ve tried that before, and I didn’t really think it worked as well as I had hoped. It might have been better with further experimentation, but the result wasn’t interesting enough that I’ve ever bothered trying again.
So, this is the tea for the day. We’ll see how much I can get out of these leaves.
And now you’ll have to excuse me. I’ve got stuff to edit.
Last night’s insomnia is finally catching up with me. I had maybe a total of four hours sleep and have still been, to use a danish and directly translated expression, fresh as a fish all day. In spite, I might add, of having acquired the sniffles.
It’s now 9pm and I’m beginning to suspect that tonight I’ll sleep well. Although I’m not really ready for bed yet. I’m not finished being awake for today. And I wanted a good cup of tea first too.
So why this kinda mediocre generic one? I don’t know. I’ve seen a lot of people review green lately (and pu-ehr but sadly I don’t have any of that) and what can I say? You lot are inspiring.
It’s really dark. Okay, so I was busy writing the intro on this post and nearly forgot, so it’s probably just a teensy bit oversteeped but it’s still good. I kinda wish I could remember what I said about it when I reviewed it earlier because I hate ending up contradicting myself. It makes me look like a dork who can’t make up her mind. (And I don’t want anybody to find out the horrible truth)
Today though, I’m finding that I still agree with my previous rating. It’s a nice tea, but not super-duper awesome. The first Gunpowder I ever had was from Chaplon and it was also iirc the first green I ever had (that didn’t come in a cheap bag). I just remember that one as better than this.
OMG! I just realised I also have dinner leftovers heating in the oven! Man, imsonmia really IS catching up with me.
These oven potatoes are a bit bland, possibly they should have been heated just little lon-WAIT! I’m supposed to be talking about the tea!
Anyway, the tea. It’s pleasant. I think it would be a good one for my travel mug in the mornings (gosh, I love that thing! How did I go for so long without?). I’m picking up a kind of… Well, there’s definitely a note there, I just can’t really describe it. It’s not nutty or salty (Salty? Really? I’ve never found a salty note in a tea! Where do you lot get that from?) or grassy or leafy or anything. It’s just sort of… green. Yeah, it has a green flavour.
I’m getting nowhere with this. I’m finishing my tea and my meal and going to bed. Clearly, since I also wrote ‘imsonmia’ up there, it’s the only sensible thing to do.
I don’t really care much for mint flavours on their own. My colleagues drink this mint/liquorice root concoction that they claim is delicious. I disagree. You don’t even get the two flavours at the same time. First it’s minty mint and then the liquorice root doesn’t come through until you swallow, which to me seems like trying to have two different sorts of tisanes at the same time. Like they couldn’t decide if they wanted one or the other. But that’s not what I’m having now so I’ll shut up about it.
As mentioned I don’t really care much for mint. I have it so I can mix it into other stuff.
But then, on days like these where I’ve apparently eaten something or other that I shouldn’t have, it’s the only sort of tea or approximation of tea* that I can stomach. The very idea of anything else, even my normal favourites just make me go bleeeeargh!
So I’m having plain peppermint infusion now. I’m not enjoying it really, but it’s the only thing I want.
*Herbal infusions are of course NOT tea. Herbal infusions never HAVE been tea. Herbal infusions never WILL be tea. Herbal infusions have never even as much as seen a tea bush and are therefore no more tea than cocoa is coffee.
This is normally one of those things that I only drink if I’m ill and real tea tastes weird, or to experimentally blend wtih other teas. Here is a different sort of tip for you. You know that cocoa powder for making hot cocoa? Just a spoonful in a cup, add boiling water, stir and you’ve got hot cocoa. Make a pot of peppermint herbal and use that to make your hot cocoa instead of regular boiling water. It’s very delicious, like drinking melted After Eight, except without the icky cream