913 Tasting Notes
I finished this off last night after coming home from watching Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior in the theatre. The theatre near us is doing this “digital film festival” thing and bringing a bunch of old classics to the screen. So yesterday my hubby and I watched both The Road Warrior and Ghostbusters in the theatre. In a few hours we’ll be watching Labyrinth, so I can bask in the wonder of David Bowie’s Magic
I don’t know, but The Road Warrior really bummed me out last night. It was a fun movie, and it definitely had a spark of something interesting in it, an authenticity and uniqueness. But it also acted as a trigger for a source of anxiety I don’t talk about very much: climate change. Thinking about stories set in a post-scarcity world always freaks me out because I can’t help thinking we’re close to the cliff’s edge, about to catapult into such a world, and I think that if only I had turned my lights off more or used less plastic, we’d be a bit farther away from that cliff.
Anyways. What I mean is that I really wasn’t in the best frame of mind when finishing this tea off last night. Thinking about the fate of the world and the possibility of living in a scarred, ravaged landscape doesn’t really go well with herbal tea.
Sample sipdown – this was a swap from Sil at the Tea Festival yesterday (holy alliteration, batman!)
This smelled like grapefruit dry, and it still smells pretty citrusy brewed. I’m surprised by how true to taste and tart the tea is, and how well the hibiscus is blending in. This tastes kind of like really sour orange juice, and the flavour of the orange peel is bang on. I also get a hint of chamomile here, even though it’s not included in the ingredient list.
Sipdown backlog from a few days ago.
I generally dislike teas that are heavy on peppermint (I prefer spearmint), and I really dislike white chocolate, so I wasn’t really looking forward to trying this. But I summoned the courage when I got it in a gift box set.
It’s not bad, but not that great. Minty, chocolatey, meh.
The dry leaf is long and twisted, dark forest green, and somewhat feathery. It looks lovely. But more than that, it smells amazing — rich, buttery, and floral. The floral creaminess and grainy undertones intensify when the leaf gets warmed up in the gaiwan, and the whole thing reminds me of uncooked jasmine rice, or butter on toast.
The first steep was 40 seconds long, and the resulting brew was clear and light golden, with an intensely floral and buttery smell reminiscent of magnolias or gardenias. Wow! The aftertaste was sweet and grassy, and played along the sides of my tongue. The second steep was a bit darker.
It’s also stronger in flavour and more distinctly floral than the first steep; it reminded me of perfume. The third steep was similar to the second, but it had a more mineral, sweet aftertaste.
Overall, the tea stayed pretty consistent from steep to steep — I did about 8 steeps, and while the last few were more mineral, the colour didn’t change much.
I also have to note that the tea leaf was very high quality, because there were very few instances of broken leaf or tea dust clogging my strainer as I poured the liquid out into my cup. The wet leaf for the spent tea was a deep spinach green.
The dry leaf is dark, curly, and multicoloured, with yellow and white flashes throughout; it smelled of plums and honey. However, after I steeped it, the sweet smell deepened into something closer to tobacco.
The first steep was for 60 seconds, and resulted in a cup of light amber liquid with sweet, papery, and woody overtones. On my tongue, it was sweet and woody, and there was also a flavour slipping along the bottom that made me think of birch bark — dry, cool, wispy, papery. The mouthfeel was thick and it coated my tongue, providing a metallic aftertaste and a syrupy sweetness similar to Thompson raisins.
The second steep was much darker than the first, with a deeper amber colour like beer. The flavour also intensified, with notes of raisins, honey and birch bark coming to the fore. I noticed that the quality of the leaf was very high; I found very few broken leaves, leaf fragments, or dust in my strainer or cup.
The third steep was even darker and stronger-tasting than that, although the honey flavour receded. Instead of sweetness, I tasted metal. The fourth steep was fairly similar to the third steep. However, as I continued to steep (I did 7-8 in total), I noticed that the mouthfeel became thinner, dryer, and woodier.
Backlog and sipdown
I finally finished this off the other day – I looked at what was in the tin and decided to overleaf my teapot to get rid of the remainder. It’s long past its prime. I’m sad, but I’m sure that there are equivalent blends out there. Besides, this was one of the oldest teas in my cupboard.