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Recent Tasting Notes
This was delivered to me in a baggie from a work friend, so I’m not sure about brand. I’ll check and correct if I discover the source. (Do y’all get teased by coworkers about trafficking in contraband?)
Leaves are big as the elm leaves starting to sprinkle around on the lawn. Let it go about 3:30; the finished product is deep golden blonde. The scent of cloves and cardamom is medium; the taste of them is mild. Light and pleasant without sweetener, but a little honey or brown sugar would turn it into sugar cookies.
I am far too impressionable. I lit a French Baguette candle, started working on Thanksgiving cards, which prominently feature pie; son walked in and said “Pushing Daisies!” So here I am marathoning several episodes instead of tidying my messy craft table.
Speaking of impressionable, if you saw a lovely bulk jar of pu-erh at your favorite local indie herb and tea shop for fifty cents an ounce, wouldn’t you bring home two ounces simply on the merit of cheap-itude alone? (And if you wouldn’t, don’t judge.)
Return on investment: excellent. Big, thick leaves; leans to the sweet-earthy spectrum instead of the minerally-cave water wavelength, although there’s a little mineral in the background. I’m seeing a few tossed-in cocoa nibs next cuppa.
mmmm Mystery Oolong. All I know this was a milk oolong – it came vacuumed sealed in 5g packets for free with my yixing turtle.
The tea looked great – big curled up leaves that opened into giant leaves stemmed with 2 or 3 leaves together. However, the flavor was really grassy, a little bitter and very little milk. Wasn’t really sweet or floral either.
I’ve been spoiled by Mandala Tea’s Milk Oolong! The entire time I was wishing I was drinking that!
Note: This is not the exact variety of tea I have, which is named simply ‘Pu Li’. Wikipedia seems to think it’s a variety of Pu-ehr.
This tea is extremely smoky, and somehow still light, as Asian teas are wont to be. It’s got the subtle grassy undertones of a green tea, and the freshness of white, but the overarching flavour, which somehow seems to connect the two, is a smoky, dark tint.
Overall, this tea is nice, and in a certain mood I could greatly enjoy it. As it is, I find it a little heavy right now; then again, I have never been a great fan of smoky teas, and greens are not my favourite.
Meeka picked up this tea while traveling and sent me a sample in a swap. Her note to me indicated that the company might be Homewood teas, but she wasn’t certain. I’m finishing off the last of the sample now (didn’t log it before). It’s a good every day white tea, not too heavy on the hay and barley notes (but these are the only notes that I detect).
I think this might become a favorite for when I need a tea that is nice, sweet and single noted. I am not in anyway a Oolong expert, and have not come across many that I really like…(So far have been preferring white fruity teas.) So I would not be able to say how much Oolong taste comes thru. I’ve made this hot, and it’s good. Fruity, just a touch flowery. Next time I have it, it will be icy cold, I think I might add just a tiny bit of lemon juice.
I actually had this tea last week, and got it the week before that from my favorite tea store in Plymouth, Mi.
This is kind of a fun, early afternoon tea that tastes best in a small to medium cup. I had put the appropriate amount of tea into my travel 16 ounce cup, and it didn’t taste as good. Was kind of bland.
I tasted in addition to a pineapple-y taste, also a caramel taste. I don’t remember any ginger pieces. Not sure if I would get this again, but we’ll see.
Put this in my travel mug to drink on the way to church this morning. This is not a travel mug tea. My mug kept the tea too hot, and I couldn’t really taste anything. And I burnt my tongue. So basically I went to church in a very grumpy mood. Oh well, now I know to save this tea for my pretty mugs and to use my travel mug for a nice builder’s tea.
See my previous note for my thoughts on this tea and why I’m so sad I couldn’t taste it with a burnt tongue. :p
Another tea I received from a swap. This one came from Artp. A friend of his went to India and came home with tea. How great is that?
I don’t have any information on this tea except that it is a first flush darjeeling. What I can tell you is it’s a beautiful tea. It brews into a coppery colored liquid and has mild floral smell. The taste is initially floral before becoming fruity and sweet. The fruity note reminded me of apples or pears – very crisp with a clear sweetness. There is also a caramel flavor as the tea cools. It’s most noticeable at the end of the sip. There is a bit of astringency, but it’s a darjeeling so it’s to be expected. I like the dryness in combination with the fruity flavors in the tea. It’s funny, but even though this is a first flush it reminds me a lot of autumn.
This one is a winner all the way. Thanks again, Artp!
I just found out that one of the new grad students in my current department is a tea drinker, and even a loose tea drinker. Cool! We were talking about tea, I showed her my astounding amount of tea in my office, and then she came back with a tea that she said I might not have tried. She said it was a green tea from Vietnam and it smelled amazingly like vanilla, which she claims is all natural, not flavoring. So I grabbed a cup’s worth to try. But she just had it in an unmarked ziploc baggie, so I have no idea about what it is! The leaf dark green and somewhat broken up and it had a ton of stems in it. She warned me that it is most vanilla-y early on and gets bitter later, so I steeped conservatively at 1 minute (because it looked like it was done).
And man, do I need to find out what this is. Flavored or not, this is delicious. If it’s actually unflavored, it’s astounding. Almost like a milk oolong, but definitely not a milk oolong. It’s vanilla-y, but also a little creamy. Oh I think maybe toasted coconut? (It’s really interesting to try a tea “blind” when you don’t know what it’s supposed to taste like). Definitely toasted coconut. This has got to be flavored somehow, but it’s really well done nonetheless. It’s actually gotten more creamy and coconutty as its cooled and I haven’t had a problem with bitterness.
What a great tea! I will definitely have to figure out where she got it.
Second experience with this particular mystery leaf—coworker’s spouse brought back from China; that’s all I know. And it seems to be a completely different brew from the first. With water a little hotter, and possibly a shorter steep (you know how scientific and precise my tasting notes are—not)it is cleaner, brighter, almost a little lemongrassy. Pleasant for a rainy afternoon with a contented cat lounging on your lap. Tazo says hey.
I drink this ya bao probably once a week in the office. It’s light, refreshing, and simply delicious! In the office, we’re limited on our hot water resource, so I put a little cold water in with the leaves first, then fill my teapot the rest of the way with hot so that it steeps at approximately the right temperature.
Added benefit: It’s just the right temperature to drink immediately!
Every sip of this tea makes me smile and gives me happy little caffeine jitters.
I made my unknown matcha blend as a latte this morning. I added some hot water to the matcha powder and whisked it rather poorly. Then I added cold almond milk, a little sugar syrup, and ice. Yum. I really like matcha this way, especially the ones of unknown quality I pick up randomly at Asian supermarkets. :)
Oh, and weirdly my “Likes” are disappearing. :( I can’t keep track of the ones I’ve read and haven’t read. So sorry to the people who might be getting multiple notifications that I’ve liked their tealogs!
I may be able to source this one later; a work friend brought it to me and said she’d snap a phone picture of the box. She was disappointed because, and I quote, “I paid $15 for it and it smells like fish and paint thinner.”
(No, it doesn’t.)
Steeped, it has that characteristic, upper-end, fruity oolong fragrance. Nice yellow-orange color. Silky texture. Flavor is on the toasty end of the spectrum. Lick-lippy astringency.
It’s been a while since I last drank this tea, and I re-discovered it while digging through my stash to find something different. Anyways, I decided to brew it with my gaiwan, just as an experiment, so I threw some leaves in it, and used some approximately 140 degree water to steep the leaves for about 15 seconds. I know, that really short of a Japanese green, but bear with me, it was an experiment. The tea is a very pale green, but the flavor profile is much bolder. The tea is initially very sweet, and it’s hard to taste much else, but as time goes on a pleasant grass flavor emerges. While fairly standard for a Japanese green, it is still very pleasant and adds a lot to the experience. Finally, the tea has a smooth mineral aftertaste. It’s not like a Wuyi Oolong, but that’s the best way to describe it. As the tea cools, the sweetness becomes more pronounced and the grass flavor diminishes a bit, but it’s hard to actually let the tea sit that long. All in all, it’s very pleasant, and I’d say that the tea actually benefited a bit from this brewing method.
Can’t figure out where I logged this before – so this will do nicely. This mystery oolong came my way ages ago from gmathis. Today I am finishing off the generous sample. I put the bag away but I think she wrote she pays $0.31/oz for this loose. I am jealous that she can buy loose leaf locally, and that she can buy it cheap, and that its pretty good. It kind of reminds me of formosa in that it is close to a black but still retains oolong qualities. Just a hint of background roasted notes. A nice tea.
Finishing off some mystery gyokuro from a tea meet from Meeka, ty!
Always something weird going on at my house. My husband and I were driving home from the grocery store (OMG 8lbs of watermelon for $1!) and there was a poor turtle crossing the street. We drove around and my husband decided to take him home. Aaacck. Well, okay. Now researching what to do, or take it somewhere.
Thankfully, I had this tea going, cold steep style, in the fridge. Tastes a little grapefruity of an aftertaste, and a little light for gyokuro. Now to wait to see what my husband comes up with.
Vividly green, sunny and lovely summer to you all over there!
To celebrate the fact that the peak of the finnish summer has been reached with the festivities of the Midsummer and now all that’s left is to prepare for the winter, yours truly will dedicate this post to a tea which has become more than just a good comrade during the hectic springtime.
Thus, I’ll hype about matcha a bit.
It’s illegally cute when given the first look.
Honestly. Green powder. Endless possibilities for how to use it in art. It’s the same as drinking pure pigment. Only healthier. To some extent. A friend did use it in his prints of his etchings, which were very, very impressive examples on how sophisticated the otherwise almost eerily intense green could modify itself into when given the right push.
It’s always intriguing to make, and one does respect the years of doing physical work after whisking the specimen into shape for the first time (With a fork. Yes. A fork. I don’t have the faintest idea why. We weren’t thinking that day). Not using a bamboo whisk for it, though. Learned to improvise with a regular whisk and a mean wrist move. I have my biceps for a reason.
This little pleasure powder is delightful to drink. I love the grassy, somehow summery and full (maybe even buttery?) scent, I love the faint, subtle sweetness that’s just about to say something but is actually just content to smile coyly. I love how it just is. Pliant and full on the tongue.
When chilled, it makes my days.
Keeps from keeling over occasionally. Sometimes gravity just has its way.
Matcha latte, you have my respects. Astoundingly good despite the suspicions I first had.
Matcha cheesecake. Divine.
Steamed matcha muffins. I’ll leave the most suitable definition for your imaginations to create. Otherwise I might get sued.
It’s sinfully delicious when mixed with vanilla ice cream, since it takes away the sweetness of the treat but turns the whole palate into something that just feels bad to swallow, really, since one wants it to stay and build a cozy nest on the tongue and invite some friends over a cup of tea. Staring at the empty bowl is downright depressing.
Staring at the empty cup is even more so.