274 Tasting Notes
Dear reader, I feared this was a gimmick. I can not resist gimmicks even when I identify them correctly and had been craving this for, like ever, and never been on stock or available from any place with reasonable shipping. Till now, when thanks to a friend who spotted the very last one (obrigada!) I got one of my very own! Would it live up to expectations?
By the way this is theoretically Yumchaa´s Magic tea Filter http://www.yumchaa.com/produkty/tea-making-equipment/38/ though the box says this is Magic II by Cha Cult and patented to them though it seems there are tons of different versions of this. It´s a sort of good-plastic mug with a good silicone filter at bottom. You put the tea in, pour the water and after steeping, place over a mug which is smaller in diameter than the bottom of this infuser, the pression at bottom makes the water pour from the bottom. Gimmick or not?
At first, without figuring out how to remove the filter or lid for easier cleaning I very much feared it was a gimmick. Fun but so not easy to clean up. What would be the point of something much more difficult to clean than a regular teapot if it does not brew better than a regular teapot? But then I figured out how to remove the filter and lid for easier rinsing and cleaning, and OK that changes everything. Particularly for rooibos teas or for multiple steeps of the same tea – it really is more convenient while not being any more difficult to clean. I love seeing how the leaves expanded and opened during the infusion. I am pretty happy with it so far!
As drawbacks, well, you got to let the tea leaves cool a bit before removing them to clean the filter – I surprisingly more difficult to remember this than you would think. And for some reason this little .5 liter pot and the transparency of the pot I keep misjudging how much leaf to use – I suspect it will come with practice. But in all, more than a gimmick, a very nice well thought tool I am glad I got. BUT and there is a but, while really very convenient for a few brews (multiple steeps, rooibos), I am not sure this makes better tea than any old regular teapot with loose tea and a strainer.
A surprise from a swap with Mel (thank you!) which I saved till it was just the right occasion. And oh this is nice and also feels very british. A very nice Christmas tea indeed – I got orange, lemon and cinnamon, and also crazily something apricot like? A very strong base though still smooth. For somebody like me who seems to have a prejudice against Christmas teas this was a winner!
I am a Yumchaa fan since I accidentally found one of their market stalls a few years ago. In the meanwhile I have made my way through a lot of their teas – I might be on my 4th or 5th 100 gr pack of Berry Berry Nice for example! Some have been samples from friends or tried in their tea shops, and a few of the new ones I never had a chance yet but I have been trying as many of their teas as I could. This is one of their old tea blends which I left for last. A friend (obrigada!) brought this for me with my nth package of Berry Berry Nice all the way from London and oh it was a great seasonal choice. And a tip : those two packages together smell wonderfully. Unbelievably good. one of these days I will even try brewing them together. Might be a mess, but the scent is just too alluring to not try.
so Christmas and this chai, I picked this by accident because I am so into chai right now and I had never tried this one, but this is IMO a sort of perfect Christmas tea – the spices making it festive, the spearmint candy making it uncloying, and the Yumchaa nice sencha base underneath it all. A really really nice take on green tea with mint or green chai or christmas tea, however you would like to class it, it´s a good one!
Another café cup of tea, and I think brewed unfairly hot. A generously sized teabag in a mug with water from the cofee machine and it was OK. And actually pretty nice, even brewed that hot it was not bitter.
Not really a tasting note, but just a small note to remind myself this was actually nice and a decent choice.
The wolf, the big bad wolf is as sweet as any golden retriever and a perfect gentleman, oh I do love it.
It´s chocolate and hazelnut tea, on itself a wonderful idea, but not a sickly sweet combination, more like dark chocolate type. And magically the underlying tea can stand up to the flavor, without being bitter, tanninic (or since I experimented having it at night, not too much caffeine I think). And it is one of those magic flavored teas where I can be so careless when brewing it, it is not fussy about temperature or steeping times. I love this wolf tea, and everybody who I have served it to seems to love it as well, this is not going to last very long here. A re-buy for sure.
Another so kind sample from ysaurella, many thanks!
Oh this is nice, nicer than the other violet tea I have, smoother base and more delicate flavour. Base has some ceylon on it, no? And this smells so strongly and sweetly, I had to segregrate the ziploc containing this from the other samples, even on the ziploc it perfumed the cupboard where I put it.
It is a violet tea, not sure how to describe it other than that. Base is strong enough, I think maybe with some Ceylon on it (as well as chinese teas, maybe?). The scent is violet, not quite as strong as in my other tea, but more delicate and I do prefer this one. And that is it, tea with violet. Violet is almost certainly a specific taste for food – I like it, love violet candies and love violet perfume notes as well. But it´s always a strong scent, maybe the essence of floral (along with roses and jasmine, maybe) so beware of violet teas if you are not already know you love violets.
Dragon well (Longjing, Lung Ching, whatever) is one of my favorite teas. When infussion so kindly offered 3 samples to steepster users (the other 2 samples I have to figure out how to use, not being tea-tea!) this was a no-brainer choice. Longjing, I am always interested in!
And this does not disappoint. I am trying just the first infusion with plenty of water and a 3-something minute steep and it´s dragon well magic, intense, sweet, buttery and nutty.