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20 Tasting Notes
When the word “refreshing” is used, I more often than not consider the lexicon to be misguided. I think of lime, citrus, vibrant and breezy flavors of tropical fruits. There. That sounded refreshing, didn’t it? The reason I bring this up is because I have recently heard others around me describe green teas as refreshing. True, there are particular greens out there that I can see how their vegetal, herbal, grassiness can lead one to consider the word applicable. But green tea, for me, signifies a more relaxed, calm, mellowness rather than what I described above. I don’t think green tea should not be thought of as crisp and clear, airy or fleeting. It should be warm, easy-going, kind of like that moment a certain someone across the room (who you’ve noticed here before) sits and drinks their coffee, writing small notes on pieces of paper next to their laptop, their mouth moving slowly as they silently read to themselves until they notice you back and smile out of the corner of their mouth as they look back to their notes. That’s what a green tea should feel like. A smile from across the room.
This tea has a smooth, “baked” flavor, as said on the side of the box. I don’t know if that’s because of the processing or because its organic but I like it for a bagged tea. A lot. Not creamy but soft, like the aftertaste of a artisan cracker or bread. It tastes like a summer afternoon: I hear birds chirping through the trees, the smells of fresh mulch and thick grass drifting through the air. The sun laying on your skin like a well-loved blanket. Kids laughing and yelling in the distance. All that from the cup. From a bagged tea, no less.
Bravo, Tazo. Peaceful, open, and calm, this tea is. The most mellow green I’ve had in a long time is the perfect way to get prepared for summer or to get someone into tea.
Refreshing, no? ;)
When I was going to grad school, I picked up a job working at a beer store the size of a supermarket. I was a craft beer jerk, a snob, one of those guys who sniffs their beer at a bar and writes little notes to themselves and then secretly judges the person next to them based on what they are drinking (or the six-pack they are carrying out of the store). That was my life and my hobby and the only thing I talked about. I thought that working in the “industry” would help me appreciate it more, give me more of an understanding of it and provide me with a feeling that I was somehow contributing to the thing I was so involved and passionate about.
Did I extract information that helped me with beer; the making of it, the tasting of it, the culture of it? No. I stocked shelves. I hated it.
Why am I telling you this? Because apparently, I haven’t learned any lesson from that experience. I recently took a job working in tea. I thought if I immerse myself in tea by talking about it, educating people about it, answering questions about it for people who want to “get into tea” (like I once did), then I would feel like I am contributing to the culture that has given me so much.
It’s not as bad as stocking shelves but its not what I thought it would be. What is, really?
I give people misinformation when they ask me questions, even though I know the real answer. I have to try to get them to buy stuff when they don’t really need it. I tell them its some of the best out there when, really, its some of the same everywhere.
But I appreciate that I get to say I work in the thing I love. I get to try different tea everyday, get to talk to people about tea, and sometimes try to correct (however subtly) misinformation people are provided with (even from the place that pays me to say what they want me to say).
So. Long story short: sorry I’ve been away. Let’s steep.
I am constantly surprised with the selection at Wegmans Tea Bar (or tea areas). Yes, it might all be Ito-En but at least they have lose leaf tea. The Pittsford location has something like thirty teas(!) to choose from, they’re refrigerated, and they look and smell fresh. I got this bad boy from said Tea Bar.
The color is a beautiful lime-ish green, bright but soft. Not neon or highlighter green but close. It also doesn’t look watery. You ever have a green tea like that? One that looks almost creamy when you look at the liquid, not thin or light? Even after the particles drop and collect in a simple sludge at the bottom, the green hue has a slight thickness. Sign of quality or crap, I don’t know.
This is just my opinion but ff someone wonders what you mean by a balanced “vegetal” aroma or taste, I would recommend this type of tea. If you give someone a gyokuro, it might be too much in the vegetal department from 20ish days of letting it sit in the shade. I think this sencha is nice because it not only has that planty, grassy, lightness that a good green has but it also has just a hint of a matching bitterness that is almost imperceptible (probably from the temp. of my water, 170). The mouthfeel matches the vegetal notes and has a hint of weight to it, rather than just a watery thinness. Second steeping was at 140ish and was smoother and had a more mellow mouthfeel.
This is a great green for multiple reasons. It can be a into/intermediate tea to do research on (ex: what is sencha? what is umami? what is the difference between sencha and gyokuro?) when traversing the tea world. I think this is a great sipping tea for morning or afternoon and one that could go well with a meal or alone. I don’t drink a lot of sencha (I stick to Dragonwell as my fallback), but I want to start exploring more of this style of tea because I like the clean, vegetal, lightness of it. It seems very basic but I know there’s a lot going on to make it so simple. All good teas do.
Lastly, if you’ve made it this far (thank you for that…): anytime I drink a pretty high quality green (especially any oolong), my stomach makes CRAZY noises. Not hunger pangs but there’s definitely something going on inside. Does anyone else get reactions from their stomach after drinking tea? It doesn’t hurt or anything.
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I’ve become accustomed to drinking particular teas “grandpa style” (or “Laoshan style”?). I don’t think gs is an “official” term in the tea drinking world but I read it on a very well-written blog (whose author is also on Steepster, btw):
and decided to try it. I’ve found that I actually prefer drinking particular teas straight from my glass rather than steeping my tea in a separate infuser or my dinky little $12 ceramic yixing. Drinking good tea this way feels more natural, like I’m more connected to the process. Yes, the process of brewing the tea and focusing on the steps and being more “centered” and “in the now” but…also the connection to the farmers, the tea bushes/trees themselves. Drinking this way makes me feel like I’m the last link in the chain that started, literally, in the roots of a plant in the ground of another country on the other side of the planet. Does anyone else feel that way or think about that? Am I losing my mind? Contemplating metaphysical dualism after a few cups of good tea wreaks havoc on your existentialistic philosophy.
Anyway. I’m pretty sure this is a Wen Shan Bao Zhong (or Pouchong) Oolong. The leaves are not rolled up tightly into small, dark green and sometimes glossy nuggets like traditional Dong Ding. The tea is literal loose leaf, shards and thin twirls of dark, almost black pieces. Its an amalgamation of textures and colors that took me by surprise. Looks good, though, different than what I am used to. I’m always willing to try new things.
Little bit of peach fruitiness, the light sting of muted acidity. Then there’s that lingering sweetness on the lips, light and pleasant. Sometimes with Dong Dings, I get a thicker sweetness and less acidity. I like this better. There is more of a nuanced lightness. This is a delicate and simple tea and one I find myself passing over in my tea library because I always want to save it for later. I might have a new favorite.
Apparently, Empress Dowager’s story is pretty sad. Long story short: her decision and obligation to keep imperialism and ancient tradition active, rather than accepting the change knocking on the doors of the Forbidden City from the outside world, resulted in “not only the downfall of her dynasty, but of the entire tradition of imperial government” .
Now she has a tea that breaks typical oolong tradition named after her.
A “cv” stans for “curriculum vitae”. Its basically a resume but for all the scholastic accolades you’ve apparently acquired. Initially, I felt pretty good about writing one; seeing my name with M.S., M.A. to the right of it, like a stamp of approval for all the hard work and hard times I went through.
As I completed it, though, I didn’t feel so good. My cv doesn’t look that impressive at all. I’m not technically published: I’ve written a thesis, a 98 page atrocity of short stories, titled “Toska”, that was dedicated and tries to pay homage to my favorite writer of all-time, Richard Yates. That’s it. No journals, no articles, no academic presentations. There’s no way one of those two community colleges looking for instructors are going to hire me. Granted, I’m fresh out of the gates but looking at my professors cv’s and their pages-upon-unfair-pages of publications and books written, it makes me feel like I’m not trying hard enough. Like I’m not good enough. Like I’ve got these little stamps of approval next to my name that don’t really mean anything.
So, I need a way out of my existential meltdown. Let’s steep.
My packets of Yu Lu Yan Cha Black, Hand Picked Autumn Tieguanyin, and Autumn Harvest Laoshan are just about depleted. This tea, though, is tucked away in the corner, behind my tins and some other packets. Even though I know where it is, I like to think its hidden. I should keep it in a bomb-proof safe.
I know I’m technically not supposed to rinse this tea but I’ve done it a few times just to smell the leaves as the water is absorbed into them. It’s so beautiful and calming. Chestnut, a roasty and nutty mellowness. Like peanut butter. Little bit of smoke scratches my nose.
My mom used to make me a “Skippy” when I would come home from grade school. It was a piece of bread with peanut butter on it. The name “Skippy” doesn’t make any sense now because she used Peter Pan peanut butter because I thought Skippy tasted too sweet. Regardless of that, the only thing that made a “Skippy” a “Skippy” and not just peanut butter on bread, was that she would use the knife after spreading the peanut butter to carve out a perfectly shaped heart into the tan spread. They tasted better that way, I used to tell her.
She stopped doing that when she started getting sad. Haven’t had one since. Thought I forgot about those days. This tea brought me there.
There’s something about watching leaves change from their dry leaf appearance during the infusion that fascinates me. With this tea, the color of the dry leaf is dark and light green and they trickle over the flat little shards like shadows. For some reason I think of ripped-up old book pages. There’s a barely noticeable gloss to each leaf if the light hits it right. Once they soak in the water, all that disappears and there are big, juicy, plump, tongue-like leaves with little ridges on the edges, the colors rich and deep, fleshy green and shades of dark.
I’ve had other Dragonwell teas before. The flavor of this one is a different breed. There’s that sweetness others have written about (that sticks to my lips), there’s that mineral quality, too (in the back of my throat). I get the contrast of a creamy, nutty spread on top of toast against the hint of a sharp, rock-like bite. I don’t mean that tastes like I’m licking a rock but there’s something “rocky” and “stony” about the aftertaste in the back of my throat that makes me think of rocks underneath a faint trickle of cold water. Maybe its because of the “family’s plot of land at the heights of Shi Feng” that it has this “mountainy” taste to it. I couldn’t tell you. I can tell you that its gorgeous and calming and I feel so, so much better now.
Is this the best Dragonwell I’ve ever had? It could be. I have a lot more tea to try and buy before I can sound like I know what I’m talking about.
And even if I don’t know everything there is to know about tea, even if I don’t have 200,000 posts and am not well-known in the tea world, even if I just drink tea and write about it on a website and don’t get published in some scholarly journal for snobby intellectuals…at least I’m using my time in this life trying my best at the thing I love.
That’s all we can do, right?
The large and golden-yellow 150g cylinder says “Lotus Tea” and under it it says “Tra Huong Sen”. There’s a Asian boy playing a flute while riding an ox on the back. Found it at Lee’s Oriental Market in Rochester, NY. It was between this tea and a box of Genmaicha tea bags, where I can get anywhere. I always try new things so why not try lotus tea from Vietnam?
Looks like a green tea. Leaves are definitely chopped. Lots of stems. Doesn’t look appealing.
Pungent, thick and dirty wet leaf aroma. Almost skunky. This is not a delicate smelling leaf.
Holy bitter! And steeped for only over a minute. This is rustic. Mineral and slightly sharp, like licking sheet metal. Tates like I’m sucking water out of a dirty root I just pulled from the ground. It has a “primal” taste to it: no sweetness or artificial bull. It tastes very natural, simplistic. Took half a glass to let my tastebuds become accustomed to it and I’m still not sure how to write about this. There’s a slight flowery taste to it but the “rootiness” of it overpowers.
As I drink, I look for possible benefits of slugging this bad boy down. Aside from it possibly aiding in the: treatment of diarrhea and abdominal cramps, treatment of certain heart ailments, fighting of gastric ulcers, heavy menstruation, combat hemorrhoids, post-partum bleeding…it also, apparently, helps in treating premature ejaculation.
Hey, if it’s on the internet, it’s gotta be true.
We couldn’t decide where to eat one night so she called me and had me look up reviews of two different restaurants.
“Well,” I said, “there are mixed reviews. Some say it could be better. Others say its pretentious. They have good mashed potatoes, apparently. But the food might come out cold if its busy.”
“What’s another good review?” she asks.
I read some more and something catches my eye. I have to read it twice because I don’t understand it.
“I don’t know if this is good or bad,” I say, “Let me wrap my head around it for a second.”
I read it again. “I still don’t get it,” I say. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
“What does it say?” she asks.
“It says that this restaurant is like the movie ‘Labyrinth’…just without David Bowie.”
There is a pause on her end of the line. Then she says, “That might be the greatest review of a restaurant I’ve ever heard in my life. Now we have to go.”
So we went. ‘Labyrinth’ it was not. We had a nice meal but nothing amazing. You can’t always trust reviewers/bloggers/writers, no matter how well they think they can write or how creative they think they are.
I hope Teavana didn’t discontinue this tea because it is nowhere to be found. Shame, really. This is one of my favorite teas to fall back on. I’ve got about two teaspoons left and I’m a little disheartened at the prospect of having to find another green tea that I can feel confident enough to share and call my “go to” tea. I’m going to miss this when it’s gone…or until I find the exact same tea for half the price on another website ;)
After rinsing, the wet leaves smell faintly roasted brussel sprouts with olive oil. There’s a mellow, chocolate sweetness to the odor. I love the light, vegetal sugariness, the “umami” that stays lightly on the tongue. A hint, and I mean hint of mineral acidity. Clean, sweet and calm. My intro to green teas was great beginner’s luck. I’m happy to have found/drank/tasted it, regardless of where I bought it from.
Maybe its just Mao Feng but I have a special place for this tea in my tea-soaked heart.
Other than Steepster, I found only one other “review” of this tea that I wanted to compare my notes on. Trying to find information on the Internet is sometimes like walking through a labyrinth of misinformation and not-so-clever-attempts at advertising in the form of blog posts with links in the paragraphs. You eventually learn to identify who is getting paid to subtly sell you something and who is just writing it because they really enjoy/don’t like what they are trying.
That being said, if someone read the review I found on Jade Dragon to me when I was looking for a green tea to try, I would buy as much as I could based on this review alone:
“Perhaps the best choice. Is it essential to have info. We propose that the Teavana Jade Dragon Mao Feng Loose-Leaf Green Tea. It is a thing to be utilized as nicely. I am utilizing it now. It functions very nicely . Teavana Jade Dragon Mao Feng Loose-Leaf Green Tea to use as much, you can not skip it. Because the best thing. It is very likely. You ought to be utilized. The easy to use. I also use Teavana Jade Dragon Mao Feng Loose-Leaf Green Tea. It is amazing. The course is right for you. Perhaps I could use it. It functions nicely. I would recommend that you use. Then you will like it.”
…just without David Bowie.
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“Natural flavors” does not constitute “pear”. Whatever, I’m picky about what’s on the back of the box. I don’t even taste pear, anyway.
I’ll only drink this one iced. It’s refreshing when its cold and reminds me of a Dark ‘n Stormy (Gosling’s dark rum, Gosling’s or Saranac ginger beer, ginger and lime simple syrup, wedge of lime). If you haven’t tried one, please do. I might just try and make one with this tea.
If you drink this warm, there’s something about it that’s off-putting. The ginger is too faint and there’s too much emphasis lemongrass. Its got a bergamot intensity when it should be crisp and clean. Ginger is light and has a zing to it, its not oily and deep, like this tea makes it. Hence, why I ice it; it calms down and is sweet and clean.
I stand in front of the kitchen sink, looking out the window. There aren’t any leaves on the trees anymore. The branches look frail and longing, like thin, sad fingers reaching for something it will never touch. It starts to get pretty gloomy in Upstate New York around this time of year. The sky turns the color of ash and everything loses its color, becomes muted against the cold snow that is about to fall. The weather gets to me a little more than most people. I start to get those “winter blues” around this time of year. It doesn’t last long but it affects me. I think this year is going to be different, though. I’m drawing my comic again (after a five year hiatus), I’m in better health and shape, and I have two new things in my life that I admire, appreciate, and am a better person for knowing them. Tea and…well. Someone who I like to share my time with…and my tea.
Its a lazy Saturday. Nothing going on. Wind pants and a hoodie. Ray LaMontagne playing in the background. Tea me.
Just a little splash of warm water and swirl for 10 seconds then discard. I let it sit with the cover closed for a bit so all those aromas dance and breathe. Open the lid and-
Oh. Wow. What is THIS. Thick and heavy wheatgrass, woods. Chocolate. Its like I’m driving past a big, open field at sunset with the windows down, red and orange and warm in the sky. I smell fresh cream, cold milk. This, right here, this is why I buy Verdant. This is why I drink tea.
I smell the leaves again after steeping for the first infusion to see the difference. The slightest hint of smoke mixed with creamy, faint dark chocolate. Its grassier, sweeter this time. Artichoke and wet spinach.
The color is a sweet, light yellow, like dry, brittle hay.
Sip. I always drink my tea too hot because I get too excited. I’ve burned my tongue and the roof of my mouth and ruined my palate for an hour or so. If my mug is steaming at all, I let it rest. Flavors start to reveal themselves when the steam subsides (to me, anyway. Others might not agree). There’s, I don’t know, there’s not a “watery” but a calming mouthfeel, like a cooling numb on my tongue. Its soft. I can’t even really put it into words…which is pathetic because I have a Masters in creative writing (money well spent, Ryan). Its almost like menthol but not at all, its sweet like sugar and smooth like the sound of cornstalk leaves whispering against each other at night. What is going on in my mouth. Its a little grassy but its so light and clean. I feel like I can taste the air where this grew.
Second infusion. That sweetness is more pronounced, in the forefront. I don’t get it. Is this umami? Am i tasting something I shouldn’t or other people don’t? If so, I don’t care. Its so nice and different. I’ve never experienced this “coating” before. There’s that campfire smoke wayyyy back there and the cocoa is fading away but my god man, that mouthfeel. Am I crazy or do other people get this? This lingering, calming sweetness that stays in your mouth like a good kiss.
Wonderful. Really, really wonderful. “Iron Goddess of Mercy” has me groveling at her feet. I’m really lucky to be experiencing this.
Ya know…there are other people who have infinite more posts/reviews on this site who readers trust and follow. I know I’m not a tea expert or master blender. I’m just some guy in Rochester, NY, staring out his kitchen window, happy that I have a new appreciation for life after it went to shit a while back. Tea is a big part of my new attitude. This website, too. And whoever reads my silly words. I’m not trying to be sappy but sometimes you just have to tell the people who affect you that they do.
So thanks Steepster, Verdant, and anyone reading. This whole experience of drinking tea, thinking about it, writing it down…appreciating it. I don’t know. It feels good to feel this good again.
We usually hang out on this night. I mean, I see her other nights, later on in the week but tonight is, well, in my mind tonight is our night. Its usually a movie, one that I think she should watch or vice versa. She always sits to my right on the couch. Sometimes she’s lying down, curled up in a ball of comfy sweatpants and a big hoodie. Sometimes she puts her feet under my leg because her feet get cold. Sometimes I think about telling her all those things I want to say but can’t. Won’t. Shouldn’t.
Yet, here I am, lying on my back, computer propped up against my thigh which is crossed over the other, a mug of tea resting on my chest just under my nose. Here I am, inhaling Jasmine Silver Needle as my fingers flutter around the keyboard. Here I am, alone with my tea.
Not that big of a deal, really. She’s sick; a legitimate excuse. I just wanted to see her tonight, that’s all. Its fine. Gave me an excuse to write about tea.
Its was too late to drink a green or an oolong so I pulled my neglected little Jasmine SN pouch out. I’ve been avoiding it for a reason: I know I won’t dig it as much as most people do. It just doesn’t make any sense to me to mess with my SN taste I like so much.
Actually, its kind of cool, the exactness of the process. The leaves have to be plucked in April and then stored until August, which is the time the jasmine is harvested. The jasmine has to be picked at twilight because that’s when the flower buds begin to open up. After three hours of resting, they’ve opened the entire way and their temperature has cooled enough to be mixed with the tea. There’s more behind it, how many layers, how many times fresh jasmine flowers can be added, etc. but I won’t bore you (if I haven’t already).
The color. Its got that SN color I adore. I steeped for shorter than recommended because, well, that’s what I do: the color is lighter and the taste cleaner. Faint, golden yellow with the slightest, I mean slightest, tinge of peach. Its not pink or orange. There’s just a dark-peach hue that is barely recognizable.
There’s that hushed, almost muted woodiness that I look for in SN. But the jasmine adds another layer of airiness to an already feathery, soft mouthfeel…and I don’t know if I like it. The jasmine doesn’t linger and it doesn’t overpower. It doesn’t do anything wrong. In fact, its great. Its really great. Its damn near beautiful. This is a smooth, light, clean, refreshing up of tea. Its calming and just tastes nice. I just don’t care for it. I get it. I do. I can see why people love this stuff. Its a great tea. Just not for me.
Its actually one of the few teas that I can say is the perfect cup for enjoying alone.
Just wish I wasn’t doing it.
From now on, when someone is going to ask me when I discovered tea, I’m not going to tell them about the first time I had a cup of Silver Needle or a smooth Oolong or even when I walked into Teavana and started asking questions and walked out feeling like I had reinvented myself and started walking down a new path in life. No, it won’t be any of those.
I’ll tell them that I discovered what tea truly is on the day I opened my pouch of my 2012 Autumn Laoshan Green and inhaled the aroma. That was the moment I realized what tea can be, what I had been missing out on, when everything I thought I knew about what tea was shifted. That was the day everything changed.
If that sounds intense, that’s because it is. I’ve never had an experience like I did when I saw the handwritten note from David, thanking me for my order, making a personal connection that I didn’t expect. Not when I smelled the dry leaves, when I caught a whiff of the leaves steeping, when I saw the most delicate, beautiful liquor the color of the first stages of oxidized apple flesh, like a fading memory you don’t want to forget. I’ve never seen a color like that.
The leaves smell like dark chocolate and earth. There’s a bright sugary smell mixed with pumpkin and cedar. Its sweet but heavy but delicate. It smells like a contradiction that makes sense.
The wet leaves emit farm fields. Not dry dirt and twigs, like I smelled in my first Pu-erh, but real soil, actual dark earth, musty and deep and gorgeous. Its like I could smell the farm where this was growing. I’ve never been transported somewhere I’ve never been through my sense of smell. My memories have been triggered by shampoo or perfume that makes my heart hurt for the ones I’ve loved and lost but (and this is going to sound crazy but I don’t care) I had this image of somewhere that probably doesn’t exist of a tea farm, of hands picking the leaves off the plant. There was a connection, a transcendant experience that I thought was just a figure of speech (“the smell whisked me away to…”) that I’ve never had. It was like I was on drugs for a moment.
The sip. Its buttery smooth, butterscotch, cool melon, honey, pear, faint vanilla, warm cedar, calm spinach and fresh leaf. Its milky and smooth and light and my god I don’t deserve this. I can’t believe I have this. This is what tea is.
I needed this. I’ve been tearing myself up over her and why she won’t catch on and see that I’m worth it. I keep telling myself that “all I need are books and tea…and someone to share them with me” and I want to believe that its her.
Anyway, this tea couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I found new bands (“Green or Blue” and “City and Colour”) that are helping me through this, the leaves are melting their colors down the trees, and I finally got my diploma in the mail, making my second Masters officially irrelevant ;)
This is the tea that allowed me to redefine what tea is to myself. Thank you David and everyone at Verdant. You’ve got a customer for life.
She sits at her kitchen table, about to take her fist sip of Della Terra’s S’mores that I made for her. I’m sitting across the table. It’s cold outside in the darkness and wants to snow. Billie Holiday plays in the background. We’re just sitting and talking, tea the only thing between us. Maybe there’s more. I don’t know. I don’t care. I’m just happy in this moment.
She tries the S’mores and loves it. She’s smiling over the steam rising from the cup. Tells me its awesome. I smile back. She takes another sip.
“I brought this,” picking up a plastic bag with various tea pouches I got in the mail from Jas-eTEa, “because I’m really excited to open them and smell them and maybe try one. With you.”
We open them all, the 2010 and 2011 Liu An Gua Pian and the 2011 Bi Luo Chun (Green Snail Spring). I ask her if she smells certain notes and tones in each. I shake some small, fragile leaves from the Green Snail pouch in my hand and we look at it and I talk about the pan-frying and how each leaf is rolled in the tea makers palm to give it it’s twisted “snail-like” appearance. Then I tell her how it was originally called Xia Sha Ren Xiang, which meant “fragrance to cause fear and trembling” and then how it was changed to “Green Snail Spring” because the Emperor didn’t think it sounded fit for royalty. She’s listening but not saying anything.
“I’m geeking out again. You can tell me to stop talking about tea whenever-”
“Stop,” she says and smiles, “I like it. Keep going.”
I put just over 2 oz of the dry leaves in my ingenuiTEA tea maker. I let it sit for a few seconds and ask her to smell them. There’s a lightness their odor, a dry flower or plant smell. Its quiet. Herbaceous but not heavy.
“This is my favorite part. Remember that smell,” I say. I turn around and pour some warm water in. I wait about 10 seconds. Discard it. I give it back to her. “Check this out.”
She smells it. Her eyes light up and she looks at me, says “Whaaaaaat…” and smells again, “that’s cool! That smells amazing.”
It does. It really does. Its my favorite part about the tea sharing experience. I don’t care if I’m not supposed to do it or if it’s not proper technique for this style; it works on everyone that I try it on. I call it “waking them up”. This particular tea has smooth, milky and dark chocolate notes when it first wakes up from its little pouch-bed. There’s wet and clean cedar, maybe oak, there’s heavy cream. Some smooth smoke but not much. She’s right, it is cool.
“It says I’m supposed to steep for three minutes,” I say, “but I’m not going to. I like my green teas on the lighter side. It makes a more delicate cup, a little harder to pick up on the nuances of everything going on. Makes me work harder.” I explain that I pour just a little shot into my cup halfway through the recommended steep time to get the initial flavors. Then, if I need or want to, I take the chance and let it steep more or drink the rest right there. Renegade tea drinker, I know.
I steep. I sip. This is what I love about green tea. The color isn’t lime or neon-green like people think it should be. My initial, brief steep has the slightest tint to the water that looks calm and inviting. There’s a very quiet fruit aroma mixed with a nutty-ness and a floral undertone. It’s very vegetal when its warm and (obviously) calms down as it cools. There’s the cooked greens initial taste (asparagus, spinach), then just the smallest bite from a mineral background but its welcome. Balanced it the keyword here. Nothing is overpowering and nothing is too little. The taste lingers like a light, calm sweetness. Not downy or cottony like I’ve had in other greens, it just sits nicely. Maybe not the best tea to give to someone who is trying green tea for the first time but definitely one to give when they’ve got some in their cupboard.
I’ve read that the beauty of tea is the experience of it. The sounds around you, the smells, the mindset you have before, during, and after. It’s what you associate in your mind with it and what you choose to ignore with it.
Tea is appreciating the moment and the beauty of what is in front of you.
She sits across from me, her hands wrapped around her mug. She looks at me and looks away. She smiles and sips.
Couldn’t agree more.
No notes yet.
The edges of all the trees are brushed with red and orange. I can see the wind trickling through the leaves, each branch nods slowly and calmly. There’s no better sound than a Fall breeze whispering through the leaves of an open window.
Well, maybe one other sound. But she’s not going to call and I won’t hear her voice, so a calm breeze, an open window and tea is going to get me through this.
The large leaves of this look similar to potpourri for some reason. There’s an airiness to the smell, faint and clean. Its sweet and soft.
My third steep warranted this write up. Initially, I was surprised at how little there was to the liquor itself. It was delicate to the point of me questioning if I had screwed something up. I read some other reviews and decided to have a few more cups. Glad I did. The floral sweetness comes out as the leaves expand and release their delicacy. There’s a woodsy note to ponder on but its not overpowering. It’s not too much of anything. In fact, I’m starting to appreciate white teas for what they don’t do.
This tea is shy. Its whispering. Maybe a little too soft for me but I like what its saying.
I know you purists out there will probably tell me its faux pas to put this up but its tea.
I’m not an energy drink guy. Tea is my energy drink. The big, bright cans packed with B12 and crazy ingredients that I can’t pronounce don’t do it for me in anyway. I know people who swear by them and drink 3 in a day. Good luck with your blood pressure, if so.
Anyway, if you’re like me, this might be the answer for a tasty boost or jump to your step. The taste is strange for an “energy drink” because it isn’t extreme. Most drinks you slug from a can have a potent mouthfeel of intense, unnatural flavor. Not this bad boy. It tastes like pear juice with a bit of lemon and ginger. But it’s white and black tea, so it’s really delicate and subtle. Really impressed with how nice and simple it tasted.
My legs were definitely the first to feel the effect of the “energy” harnessed in the can. Not that I had the jitters or any sort of uneasiness but I could feel them getting antsy as I started my project (putting up a huge 80ft tent with friends…not just sitting at a desk), hence why I drank it. The only negative thing I can think of is that it left my mouth a little dry after a while. Maybe you’ll see what I mean. Maybe not.
Will I drink it again? Eh. I won’t seek it out for a regular drink but I know if I have something to do that will require me to stay awake, exert a lot of energy for an extended amount of time or need to perk up before a long haul, I will look for this instead of Monster or Amp or whatever those things are. Check it out if you see it at the store. I’m glad I did.
Picked this up at Wegmans in Penfield, NY. Stored properly in a large, airtight metal bin. Labeled as a Wegmans brand yet Ito En’s products match word-for-word every tea on the shelf in the store. Strange.
Listening to Bon Iver, thinking about a girl who probably isn’t thinking about me. It’s ok. It happens. Tea to the rescue.
Mildly grassy but not “liquified grass clippings”. Minimal vegetal tone at first but it disappears. The mouthfeel is light and the lingering but subtle creaminess that rests on the pallet is quiet and calming. It’s like the volume for the taste is set at 4 and the aftertaste slowly turns the dial back down to 1. A relaxed, midday tea, possibly a good choice for those trying green tea for the first time who want a little smoother endnote. Me? I’m just happy to sit here and let this nice and subdued tea do it’s quiet little thing that it does so well.
Subtle and delicate, a tea to be examined thoughtfully. Lots of little things going on: a hay-like, dry grass note, even a mild cedar tone. Think mild summer nights and clean, open air in a cup.
The type of tea that you drink in silence or with a good book.