2074 Tasting Notes
I am currently on a slightly earlier schedule for my wakeup and such than I was before I left for the field, partly due to the jetlag and partly due to just having an earlier sleep schedule while I was in the field. It’s kind of nice having a big chunk of time before lunch to do stuff, and it also means I have time for two mugs of tea instead of one. Score! Originally I was going to do what amounts to a little less than 1Tbsp for my 12oz cup, which is becoming kind of a standard for fluffy black teas for me, but then I reread my old tasting note for this that said I had used 1Tbsp per 8oz in my first cup and it seems to have worked out, so I added another perfect teaspoon to the mug (total 1.5Tbsp) and went ahead from there.
Oh my goodness this smells delicious. Like lovely bakey chocolate, like chocolate cookies or chocolate chips after they’ve been baked in chocolate chip cookies. Tastes delicious as well, and the liquor is so thick and rich on the tongue. Chocolatey, grainy, nutty. It’s less caramelly and honeyed than some of my other favorite blacks, but it also has some almost fruity note the others lack. I can’t even really place it, but it’s a great combo, and now that I started tasting it, it’s coming out more and more. Almost like black currant? Yum.
I am sad that the Bergamot Rose Laoshan Black is currently out of stock, but I am heartened that it will be back within 2 weeks, because I have got to try that blend. It will be one of the only teas I allow myself to order this fall, and I can’t wait!
This is one that I should probably drink up pretty fast because it isn’t currently in an airtight container (nor do I really have one to put it in). But that is kind of sad because it is such a delicious, amazing tea, and then it will be gone. Mmm, so caramelly and delicious.
Om nom nom… while looking around Steepster in an attempt to catch up on things I saw mention of some black dragon pearls, and suddenly I had a craving for these before I even finished my (extremely delicious) cup of Bailin Gongfu. I honestly feel a bit tea crazed right now… it’s like, when I got back and still hadn’t had any tea I was just cruising along, not really super craving tea at that point. And then I had the first cup and now I definitely cannot get enough tea. YUM. Why won’t this cup cool down faster to a drinkable temp so I can drink it up??
See what I mean about a bit crazed? LOL. I think these pearls have suffered a bit from sitting in a non-airtight pouch (clipped shut, but not sealed) for 2 months, but they are still pretty tasty. I think I will up the number of pearls and steep time for my next batch to see if I can counter the effects of age, because this was the same as my first trial of these but I remember that batch being much more robust. I think it does go to show you that air tightness really does make a difference because my Bailin Gongfu black was older but still fresher when I steeped it today, and it is in an airtight pouch. Must drink teas faster!
Now watch as I survey some of my favorite teas. Going back to all of these after two whole months away is interesting. On one hand it is a revelation, I can’t believe tea can taste that good (Malagasy tea is really that bad). I also pretty much forgot how all of my teas really taste. But on the other hand they are all so familiar, like an old comfy sweater, and when I sip them its as if I had just been drinking them the other day.
This one is easily one of my favorite blacks, and I am always astounded that it is so affordable and delicious. Lovely cocoa-caramel-grainy notes that I could just drink all the time. I think I have a couple more cups of this before I need to order more, although again I am torn by the want for my staples that are gone, and the need to drink the tea I have before I order any more. My stash is kind of astoundingly big, and I think my new goal is to drink it most of the way down before I move in 4 months (this time moving out of my office, too, which is where all my tea stash is).
tap tap Is this thing on?
Yes, it’s true, Steepsterites, I have returned! After two months in remote Madagascar, I am back in the states and back in tea heaven. Malagasy tea just plain sucks (tastes like nothing no matter how long you steep it), so I have basically been tea-less for over 2 months now. My return was even delayed two days by some mega-craziness at the end of our field season.
Now I have about a million things to take care of plus I am currently homeless and not having a lot of success finding an apartment. Do you know how many problems you run up against in daily life if you don’t have a permanent address? A lot.
But yes, lovely delicious tea is now mine. It is very difficult to chose a first tea after all that time, but I didn’t spend that much time thinking about it really. And fortunately this tea is still flavorful and wonderful despite it’s advancing age. Love that floral marzipan combo, and the tasty black tea peaking out from underneath the flavors. Man it’s good to be back and having a nice cup of tea.
I am kind of confused by the myriad of Earl Greys that Twining’s seems to offer. I am now in Heathrow Airport (London) on my way to Madagascar and I had a bagged EG that wasn’t the typical yellow-pouch one but instead a black with “The Earl Grey” on it. But when I go to Twinings’ site it seems that perhaps it’s just a packaging redesign? I dunno, but I’m sticking it under here anyway.
So yeah, I haven’t had tea in it seem s like forever. I have been running around like crazy trying to get my apartment packed up and get ready to go into the field. Also, the weather decided to give me a big F-you and be exceedingly hot and humid for the last couple of days, so not hot-tea weather even if I did get a little break. But now finally I have time to relax in my layover in London and I finally got a pot of tea. Twining’s isn’t my favorite, but I actually enjoyed my pot of tea way more than I did last time. Maybe they did a slight reblend, or maybe I just appreciate the base tea more this time around, but it was nice and well rounded, and not bitter or astringent at all. Very pleasant and welcome after the plane ride.
I was looking through my stash and realized I haven’t yet tried this one though I requested a sample of it with my last order. I’ve wanted to try this one for a while because I love the idea of Verdant doing a chocolate Alchemy blend, although to be honest I wasn’t totally sure about all the other odds and ends. I mean, I’m not a huge mint tea person, and I never seek out chamomile, but I was intrigued all the same. I figured this morning the black tea could help me wake up and the chamomile and mint can help calm my nerves and stress of moving.
A quick sniff of the dried leaf yields a minty and herby aroma. I started out intending to steep this with different parameters but once I saw the steeping instructions in the description here I was able to pull up and adjust before actual steeping. The steeped tea has a really interesting smell. First I get mint with perhaps a light, hayish, appley chamomile accompaniment. But then some serious chocolatey aromas come out to play. It’s definitely a little chocolate-minty in the aroma.
The combo of flavors in this tea reminds me a bit of an Andean herbal blend I got in Argentina, if it had a chocolately black tea base instead of being an herbal. That’s a good thing because that tea is also one I liked way more than I thought I would. This tea is slightly sweet, chocolately, minty, and a bit fruity (I always think chamomile tastes appley). It all works really well together. And it is having the added benefit of making me feel alert as well as calming my nerves. A good choice for this morning!
I am running around like crazy lately, so I don’t have time to say much more about this one than: every time I have this I am reminded at how freaking delicious it is, and how much it is like a fruity Coquelicot Gourmand (Dammann Freres). The almond is just amazing in this blend, sweet and creamy and almondy and fantastic. Love love love it.
I was thinking about stashbusting again this morning but I don’t think I have any black teas with just the right amount of tea in them for one cup. So I thought about teas I have had for a long time, and this one came to mind. I bought my Dammann teas a little over a year ago in Paris so I feel like I should probably drink them up (gives me an excuse to order more!). This tea is the closest to being finished of all of them.
Mm, it’s more delicious than I remembered (I guess that speaks well to the aging properties of these teas). Hazenutty, chocolatey, with a hint of citrus. A hint sweet, and a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Really delightful. Dammann uses such great bases to their flavored teas, and it really makes a difference. Love it!
Another sample stash busting! I am on a roll today. I’m not sure how I managed to drink this only once before but my sample was mostly empty today. Maybe I drank it without knowing it?
I probably ended up using a bit much leaf in my cup this time around, but it still is a very tasty cup of tea, and a very nice dian hong. Mmm, sweet potatoes and oranges. With this much leaf I’m missing out on some of the honeyed notes unfortunately, but perhaps on the resteep.