1909 Tasting Notes
I don’t know why we always go birding on Sundays, it makes Mondays so much harder. It’s always so fun but sooo exhausting. This weekend it was because Saturday wasn’t a very pleasent day here.
I haven’t had this tea in quite a while so I thought I would try it out again. I’m not a big darjeeling person, but this tea is an exception. The bright lemony citrus really complements the base, and the caramel just sneaks up at the end of the sip, adding a sweetness and just making the whole thing pretty delicious. I think this darjeeling may appeal to me because the added caramel flavoring tends to recall a darker black base. Still really enjoying this one and it’s reminding me that I need to stop by the Harney store more often… this was a tea of the day there that I never would have chosen to sample on my own, but I didn’t say no to a free sample and was surprised by how much I liked it.
And then there were two (sachets, that is). I enjoyed a cup of tea this morning to get me going for the day, so now I have only two sachets left. Crazy!
In other news, the Williams Sonoma in our mall recently closed (sad face), and I found out when I was there today that a Teavana is opening in its place. My reaction was literally “aauuughhh Teavanaaaa!” At least I will be able to refill on Amandine Rose easily now. I am interested to see how this store plays out as far as the upselling goes.
I got another sample of this tea not too long ago from brandy3392, so I’m happy to be able to try it again. I think this was possibly the second-ever milk oolong I had had, the first being ATR’s, and so my experience was so limited that I’m not sure if I could really judge this one properly. After trying a bunch of milk oolongs I’ve never had one that has come close to ATR’s, probably because that one is actually an insane Tieguanyin, not a Jin Xuan or similar. I’m not sure if “Quangzhou” refers to the varietal or just the location of origin, because all I can find out about it is that it comes from the Wuyi Mountains. It’s a name of milk oolong that shows up at a lot, though.
Anyway, I steeped this one according to package directions this time, which was about 1-2 minutes longer than I normally would steep an oolong. The steeped tea smells floral, but also distinctly like buttery vegetables. And there’s definitely a milky creaminess there. I’m not sure I’m digging the four-minute steep and I would probably drop it back down… I tend to prefer my oolongs a little lighter steeped which doesn’t bring out the vegetal flavors as much. This tea is also fairly drying/astringent… I’m having a serious case of dry mouth right now! As the tea cools more and more of the buttery creamy flavors come out. I can see why people like this one but it’s not really for me, at least not in giant-cup-of-tea form… I will save the rest for my gaiwan and see how it fares in there.
I wanted to revisit this one and see if a second cup was consistantly as tasty as the first. I love the scent of the dry leaf on this one… the bergamot smells so sweet, not just bright and sharp.
Mmm, this is a great tea for bergamot fiends. Oh so bergamotty but not bitter or astringent. The bergamot is a nice blend of citrusy and floral, though today perhaps edging to the floral side of things… not a problem for me! The black tea base is rich and lovely and right up my alley. Looking back at my other tasting note, I think I added a bit more leaf than I did last time because I was on auto pilot… this tea only calls for 3/4 tsp per 6oz, so this cup was even stronger than usual! It is really strongly bergamotty, but still no bitterness to speak of. I should try to remember to keep the leaf amount lower for this one because I think then the base is more prominent and I like that balance a little more. Still, this may just be one of my favorite Earls.
Wow, this one is unpopular on Steepster. I didn’t expect that since it’s one of the Tea Spot’s signature blends and top sellers, but you can never tell. I received this as a free sample with my last Tea Spot order. This tea intrigued me because I love rhubarb, but I am not really a fan of strawberries in any form (including flavoring) other than fresh, so I wasn’t jumping to try it. But I get to anyway, I guess!
The dry leaf smells pretty candy-ish, but at least in a way that smells like the flavors it claims (sweet strawberry and tart rhubarb) instead of some generic fruit candy flavor. At first I thought of strawberries, but as I smelled it more I was more convinced of a rhubarb aroma. Steeped it smells like a pretty good blend of the two, with some underlying creamy notes. Some people are getting vanilla, but me, not so much… it actually reminds me more of these odd rhubarb and custard hard candies I bought in England one time.
The flavors remain pretty candy-ish and give the sensation of being sweet even if the tea itself is not sweet. I do get some of the fresh, slightly grassy, somewhat buttery dragonwell in the main part of the sip. The whole thing really does remind me of a strawberry-rhubarb pie when you cook down the fruit in sugar and it gets almost painfully sweet. All in all I enjoy it much more than most people here, though I won’t be needing to buy any more once I’m done with my sample.
I think I probably really bug Ricky here on Steepster because I’m always emailing him about merging duplicate entries, heh. This one happens to have two entries, and even though my pouch uses the other variant on the name (“Organic Cream of Earl Grey”) I chose this one because it has more entries. Well, they should be merged soon anyway.
This is the last of the three samples I bought at the shop last weekend. It smells really creamy, and it delivers. It’s possibly one of the creamiest EGC’s I’ve had, though it suffers a bit from the same faint, slightly pithy, bitter-citrus flavor that their plain Earl has. Not shocking, because that’s probably the base of this. The cream goes a long way to smoothing that out, but it’s not quite enough for me. Still, that is some super vanilla-y cream in there, with almost caramelly notes. Pretty tasty.
After I gave up on that last cup my mind started wandering, thinking about tea and tea shops, and it wandered right to Dammann Freres. Man, that place was amazing. My next thought was that I wanted one of their amazing teas right away. This tea contains some jasmine green tea, but it’s certianly not too jasminey… I am a little jasmined out after that last bomb.
I steeped this one a little hotter than I have in the past just to test it out at a temp in between black and green since it’s a black/green blend. I think it worked out well! No hints of bitterness or scalding of the green tea. I think there’s a bit more of the black tea base showing up this time, giving it a warmer low note to balance the fresh, fruity, floral notes from the rest of the tea. Ahh, DF, you always hit it just right.
When I was ordering tea from this company with my groupon, I wasn’t feeling super confident about their blends so I decided to spend part of it on this jasmine green because I thought, hey, at least that should be safe, right?
Apparently not. I knew going in from the photo that pearls these are not. I don’t know why you would have a plain jasmine green and call it “jasmine pearl”, but there you go. If I had looked more closely I would have noticed that the ingredients say green tea and “jasmine flavoring”, which may have been a tip-off. Most jasmine greens are referred to as just jasmine greens since the jasmine is added by drying the tea with jasmine petals, not adding flavoring to the tea once it’s dried. I mean, it could be a nomenclature thing but somehow I doubt it. In the pouch the jasmine smelled artificial and plasticy, and the steeped tea is not much better. Perfumy to the max. The two minute steep was apparently too much because there’s a slightly bitter taste to the whole thing. Perhaps a one minute steep would be better but somehow I doubt it because it’s pretty artificial overall. It’s not undrinkable, but I can’t imagine anyone who likes jasmine teas enjoying it (and those who don’t like them certainly wouldn’t!). Oh well, you live and learn.
When given the chance to sample a company’s Earl, I’ll always take it, so I grabbed a sample pouch of this tea as well when I was at the store. This one tends to have low ratings on Steepster because it is supposed to be super bergamotty… well we’ll see about that! I like a bergamotty tea as long as it’s deployed well. Sometimes excessive bergamot can mean astringent, bitter, pithy taste, but sometimes it’s just tasty.
I would say this one falls on the pretty tasty side of things. The bergamot is pretty strong, but it’s only a hint bitter (which comes out more as it cools) and it seems to play well with the base. As the cup is cooling down it’s really obvious that the bitter hint really is that bitterness that bergamot can impart sometimes because really, bergamot is a bitter citrus. Other than that, though, I think it’s a nice Earl for those who aren’t afraid of bergamot. I still think that Todd & Holland’s Double Bergamot is my favorite mega-bergamotty Earl, but I would drink this one again.
After the NYC Coffee and Tea Festival this weekend, the boyfriend and I went down to the Bleecker Street area to go to some record stores. And since we were so nearby… heh. My poor, long-suffering, non-tea-drinking boyfriend got dragged into the shop with me. My first time in the new NYC DavidsTeas! The sales people were almost absurdly chipper and friendly, greeting us the moment we walked in the door with samples. I looked around some but I’m still really on a tea-buying moratorium. Since I didn’t buy many teas at the festival I allowed myself to buy some of the prepackaged sample pouches since they were 3 for $5. This is one I picked up.
Upon opening the pouch there’s no doubt that this is mango tea, though the aroma is decidedly mango candy rather than fresh mango. I was surprised to see the steeping directions of 200°F for 5-7min because of the white tea base. I rarely steep any tea for 5 minutes unless it’s an herbal or I’m adding milk and sugar, but I took a deep breath and set the timer for 5 minutes. Steeped, it smells mango-y but also pretty orange-y, as well as some other nondescript fruits in there.
This is a super fruity tea. I wouldn’t say straight up mango as much as a tropical fruit salad. It’s sweet, it’s tart, it’s hard to tell there’s tea in it. It’s just getting tarter and tarter as it cools, and it’s a little tart for me for a non-sweetened, non-iced tea. It’s not bad really, it’s just not something I’m enjoying drinking much. Oh well, at least it was a small sample!