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Recent Tasting Notes
Everyone is going to be so jelly! My kids and my husband all went off, it is the first chilly day we have had, and I have the house to myself for at least an hour with TEA! And not just any tea, but very exclusive boooo-long tea!
This tea was a surprise gift from GMathis, and it came in the CUTEST CARD YOU HAVE EVER SEEN!!!
The dangly spider even MOVES! I squee’ed when I got it! :)
And on top of that, I get a yummy oolong tea. (It was labeled boooo-long. Now how cute is that?)
This is a dark roasted oolong, not a green, and has that baked flavor and heft with a mineral quality that I enjoy, the very thing that makes me crave dark oolongs.
Thank you, GMathis! It is a perfect cup for this rainy, chilly day!
There are teas so impressive you want to show them off to your friends. But in every tea pantry there’s a baggie of tea that you wouldn’t recommend to other people, but to keep for yourself for those times that all you want is a no-fuss brew and a hot cup at 11 o’ clock, to get yourself ready for lunch. This kind of tea is the latter.
This Tie Guan Yin was a gift from a friend who had worked in Shanghai. It came in a nice flattened cylinder / oval tin, with an image of a goddess/deity (3 guesses who that might be) over a blue green background.
Brewed Western style, thin layer of pellets just enough to cover the bottom of the gaiwan in a single thing layer. Quick rinse, 5s. (In hindsight maybe I shouldn’t have? But rinsing tea is becoming a habit for me now, what with paranoia over pesticides.) Let it sit in the warm gaiwan for half a minute. Then steeped a couple of minutes.
No remarkable smell (there was the Chinese green smell, but I was too lazy to liken it to something poetic. I thought I caught a faint whiff of brownies, or cocoa, but nothing as strong as what I’d get from my Taiwan oolongs). Tea liquid was a pale chartreuse. After the leaves unfurled, there were many whole leaves, but also a few broken pieces. I hate seeing tea bits (torn off leaf portions as large as baby nails). They make me think that it’s not a very good tea.
Taste is as bland as I expected.
Ah a mystery tea from The Traveling Tea Box! This one came from Sare, from a swap with Rachel Sincere. No company nor ingredients were indicated, just the name “December”. This is made up of short fine black leaves with shreds of spices and possibly fruit. Brewed up this smells like mulled wine and the taste is not that far off, though I would say it is more like mulled cider. But it tastes more familiar than that, like another tea I’ve tried. It took me some time, wracking my brain trying to thing of similar blends I’ve tried, then it came to me it wasn’t a blend, this is Ceylon! Winey, cidery, Ceylon. The other ingredients are really just supporting the tea in this blend. There are some things a like about Ceylon but unfortunately it easily can turn astringent, which is what this one is doing, boo.
I just had two lovely cups (more like Japanese style mugs, glazed pottery with comfy indents on all 4 sides for easy holding) at a local sushi place. So warming and yummy with salmon sushi. Even my husband tried it and liked the roasty flavor as opposed to “plain” green tea.
Just need something sweet, warm, and familiar to clutch. This particular bundle comes from the bulk bin at local Fox Farm.
Counting on it to help unclench a little after a pretty harrowing thunderstorm. Nothing like watching your spouse and son turn gray when the storm sirens activate. Big limbs down in the backyard, half a tree through a neighbor’s roof, but we are safe. Thanking God for safety through this first wave. More fun to come.
This one comes courtesy of Gmathis. She says this is her favorite Cheapster Steepster oolong at an incredible $0.31/oz! Did I read that right?!? That’s $5/lb. This looks like mulch. ha. There are all kinds of different sizes, shapes, and colors in this bag. I steeped about 4 minutes.
This is a prime candidate for a Finum basket. Some of this is very fine and is clinging to the mesh on my press. The way I brewed this it makes a light bodied cup. The taste is similar to Foojoy but lighter. The roasted notes of Foojoy are more toasted here. Actually, it is somewhere in the middle between Foojoy and a genmaicha. It doesn’t have that strong rice flavor but the toastiness is very similar.
After having the strawberry tea just before this one. I am thinking this would make a great base to add some fruit or mint and see what happens. A good bargain everyday tea.
Yum- this is a great afternoon tea. Longjing from this year’s spring sent by a friend.
Nutty and buttery (in a sweet way, not savory) with a texture that reminds me of pudding, plus the background layer of sweet, cool greens. Also a tiny bit of green apple skins.
Yeesh, I have to be careful to leave some buds in the cup to keep steeping and not eat them- they are quite tender and delicious. Looking forward to snacking – er- sipping on this all afternoon. I don’t often find myself in the mood for real Dragonwell (love ya, Laoshan!), so now that I am and I have it in front of me, here’s to soft and sunny!
Had another mystery tieguanyin this morning. Didn’t taste like a spring picking, but then again, the bag had been open, and I think this was something I received in 2011. First sips reminded me of breakfast.. a little thick and very slightly roasty, with berries and darker flavors couched within the usual sweet green TGY.
Leaves were large and beautiful, but as it sat in the cup, it turned and barreled towards metallic and lemony. Ah well, you were yummy while you were…. I bet you’ll still be nice for big ol’ morning pots.
Again- tea of yesterday evening (iced.. cold press) and first tea of the morning. Much more buckwheat coming out from a long steeping.
Had several cups of this iced (cold brew) last night. I love how well Yunnan Blacks do this way- always refreshing with a really ..uh.. thick mouthfeel (like jelly? but not weird!)
Used more leaves to make a pot of this hot this morning: extreemly strong cereal taste in this one (reminds me of a breakfast of granola, vanilla cream/yogurt, and berries).
Steeped this one again for the first tea of the morning. Re-steeped pretty well, all things considered. Sweet, mildly vegetal with some powdered-sugar-spring taste. Aftertaste a bit metallic and lemony, but still a very pleasant thing to wake up to.
Made this the old stick-in-a-glass-and-keep-drinking-off-of-it method as a personal dare. It was… uh… yep.
EDIT a real tasting note, thanks to Bonnie!
Normally, I wouldn’t have written anything about this, since I tend do go for the “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” approach (if not nice, at least helpful to someone else). But since I’m currently challenging myself to log every tea I drink in a day, no matter what, I couldn’t leave this one out!
Here’s the story:
I still have a few good friends in Qingdao who sometimes send over tea and fun stuff (and we send over chocolates and other fun US stuff). One of my friends is quite a funny gal who isn’t actually a fan a pu’er, but she knows that I am! So in part of a care package that included great TGY and green tea, there was this tea tucked away in a triple sealed bag. How could I resist! It was like a giant “:-P” face..daring me to try it. So we did- it was very funny in how little sense it made. A super duper dark base (not the greatest shu, not revolting but definitely murky..sour…ashy..drying) plus, for no particular reason, jasmine? Honestly, it was much better in a giant mug than it was when I first tried it in a gaiwan. Strangely juicy, with not a trace of jasmine or florals.. why were they stuck into it in the first place? In the mug, they are swallowed up by mud. In a gaiwan, they stick out like a sore thumb from the base.. but so unrelated, it’s more like a disembodied floating sore thumb.
Poor little tuocha- I know the plant that grew its leaves worked hard all season gathering the nutrients to turn into sugars and cell walls and everything needed to make it’s little tea leaves. So full of promise and good things! And someone picked those leaves and pile-fermented them and then said to themselves.. you know what? I’m going to take these jasmine flowers over here, and for no reason at all, I’m going to stick ’em onto this pile ’o leaves and make inexplicable tuochas! My friend also thought is was funny in how inappropriate it was.. but it can only be share through experience.
So here the tuocha’s are.. sitting in a baggie on my desk in all ways like a bad joke. I don’t want to laugh at you but.. there’s something in your complete lack-of-sense that also makes you endearing.. like some sort of terrible internet preposterous joke. I imagine unwrapping you and sticking googly eyes on you: that’s who you are.
It’s been quite a while since I tried this tea last, and when I came upon it in the giant TO-DRINK-AT-WORK bag, I giggled and said to myself.. Ok- I dare you! Do it! And I did. And survived with some fun! :-P
This was my first tea of the day: a pleasant, mellow spring Tieguanyin.
Prominent notes of sweet grass and melon. Made in a big pot: lots of leaves for about 2min.
Starting an experiment.. actually log the teas I drink in a day, caring not a whit about rating or even notes. Just logging.
An Anji Bai Cha (which is often classified as green?). I have little experience with this tea. The leaves are gorgeous floating in my cup. I’m having trouble figuring out what Anji Bai Cha offers that’s unique.. that’s craveable.. that sets it apart from all other green or green-white teas.
So far, it’s sweet. interesting mouth coating that puckers the back of my tongue- verging on unpleasant but not quite. A little.. chalky? In a way that reminds me of some matcha-dusted green teas (again, not sure if I enjoy it, but I certainly don’t not enjoy). Reminds me of a sweet dragonwell-style green that is over a year old and that I’ve been steeping all day. But gorgeous leaves, I must say.
Steeping this way is not astrigent at all (just floating in a glass), but there is a building dryness that I remember from gong-fu-ing this one. Since I’m brewing something up to combat morning dryness, I think I will move onto something else when I near the end of this cup.
Those of you with Anji Bai Cha experience.. what do you look for? What are you craving? What should I listen for?
Stating this tea tasted earthy would be a huge understatement! I don’t mind though. I’m alone on this one. The rest of the family tasted only a couple times, and is now passing on further tries.
There is a great depth to this tea. I find myself even thinking there is a small amount of grit in the liquid (there isn’t, though). Fermented mulch, definitely mossy, but not a strong fishy taste, was my thoughts while making multiple steepings. There is some kind of foggy swamp aroma that keeps rising from the cup. I don’t mind any of the above mentioned notes. Guess I’m weird like that.
The leaves are midnight colored, the liquid is a light reddish amber. There is a small amount of astringency, if I go past 5-7 seconds on the infusion. The liquid does turn dark very quickly if I let it got to 20 seconds. Looks like I’m going to stop at 8 steepings, and feel that it could have doubled, if not tripled that.
If you are not afraid of tasting through the “dirtiness” of like Shu Pu’erh this can be a nice tea to taste. IF is the key there. :)
A friend sent me a small sample of this, with the description “Indian White.”
It looks like a white peony / bai mu dan – all brittle, flat leaves.
I’m very sad that this is the end of the sample, since I’m on the third steep and still going strong. Really sweet and soft, creamy. It’s almost like sugar snap peas. It sparkles.
Does anyone have any Indian White teas to recommend me? I haven’t tried any outside of this, but I don’t want to let this one go!
Honeymoon is nearly over and we are leaving Norwich after breakfast. I’ve ticked a few more of those Very English things off my list such as fish’n’chips and brown sauce with breakfast sausages. Also banoffee pie and a large number of J2O flavours.
Most importantly though, THIS was as close as I got to a real proper cream tea. I could have had it. I was supposed to have it. But I’d had a large lunch and I don’t know if you are aware of this.steepsterites but cream tea involves an awful lot of food. There are little sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and cakes, and I just couldnt eat all that without bursting, so we went for just tea and cake instead.
So clotted cream and cucumber sandwiches are still unticked but i saw someone else having it so I was definitely close.
I hope you all have been behaving yourselves in my absence. It was the plan to try and keep up womewhat with the phone but the B&B wi-fi is dreadfully slow.
Still haven’t officially sourced this one since it came out of a bin, but sure was enjoyable this evening. Nice, clean vegetal smell dry; smooth and pleasant steeped. Just tastes like “ordinary” green tea should taste.
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.
Hit my favorite Cheapster Steepster tea place this afternoon and they had a new bin of unlabeled green tea at a whopping 62 cents an ounce. Couldn’t resist.
Leaves are flat and short, but not tiny and shredded. At a moderate temp and time, 3 minutes, give or take, this steeped up pleasantly smooth, velvety, and fruity green instead of vegetal green. Essence of lime rind, maybe.
Thinking it’ll be a great, inexpensive blending medium for other stuff.
(My little pod of kiddos bumped from 5 to 8 today, including one sweet and prickly stray kitten of a little girl who needs a lot of extra love and affirmation. I taught her mama a—(ahem!)—few years ago. I’m now a Vacation Bible School grandma.)