2042 Tasting Notes
The good news is that my jet lag seems to be subsiding. The bad news is that I seem to have picked up a cold bug on the plane. I have felt swollen tonsils and a cough since my second flight Monday, but it wasn’t very bad and I was hoping it would just go away. But this morning wasn’t very pleasant and I actually almost fainted at one point! So I am staying home today. Luckily I have a spare tin of this for home, so I have an nice pot of tea for the morning. One of my faves, and it’s comforting when I feel crappy.
Holy heck Steepster’s been erratic for me lately. Sometimes a page will load super quick, and sometimes it will take ages. Mostly just ages, though.
How about some sample stash busting, eh? It feels good to check this one off the list and out of the stash after quite a while. I brewed this one short and cool because I’ve had lingering bitterness problems with it before. The scent of it really does remind me more of snickerdoodles than almond anything.
Nope, still got that bitter taste to it. Bleh, not too sad to see this one go.
I am actually far more awake this morning than I probably will be this afternoon, so I am leading my day with a green tea even though I don’t usually.
This is one of the blends I was most intrigued by in the Le Palais des Thes set. Rose, dates, and red fruits… yum. In the tube the dry leaf smells sugary-fruity, but I don’t really get any distinct rose. Steeped, the aroma and flavor reminds me of some other tea I’ve had before, but I can’t quite place it. Must be the red fruits blend… yup, definitely the red fruits. I’m just not used to having those flavors with a green tea base! There is definitely some floral notes to this that must be the rose, but again I don’t pick it up as much as a distinct flavor. It’s sweet, and berry-fruity, and a bit floral, all over a light green tea base that doesn’t lend a ton to the overall flavor. All in all definitely a very tasty tea, but honestly the richness of the red fruits is kind of an odd pairing with a green tea… I just think it goes so well with a black. They do actually have a black-based version of this blend, so if I ever get the chance to try that I will jump on it. I am definitely interested to try this one iced, as well.
I had this earlier today when I felt like I was going to die from exhaustion, but Steepster just would not load the tasting note page.
Man, the period between 3-6pm was rough. I started getting that overly exhausted feeling and then slightly ill… not totally, because I wasn’t actually really sleep deprived, but a bit. I was not feeling a black tea because I felt a little over black tea-ed. But I desperately needed something that would give me some energy, so I grabbed this, which is a blend of maté and jasmine dragon pearls. In the past I’ve only steeped it 2 minutes but because the page wouldn’t load I didn’t realize that and I steeped it 3 instead. Fortunately there was no ill effects on this, it was nicely jasminey with that slight mintiness I get from green maté. Even the maté wasn’t bitter at all. I really do like this blend a lot, and it does give me a little energy boost. I’m thinking I should try more green maté blends in the future.
Uggghhh… will to stay awake flagging… Although it’s totally that situation where I am exhausted and totally wiped because my body thinks it’s 2:30am, but I did sleep a lot last night and yesterday so I don’t know if I could even really fall asleep. And my contacts are doing that “it’s late and you should go to sleep so we’re going to dry out an make it impossible for you to see” thing that they like to do. Oh, 12hr jetlag is the worst.
I decided to delve into my Le Palais des Thes gift set, which arrived while I was away in China. I’ve wanted to try Le Palais des Thes for a while now because I love Dammann Freres and a lot of French blends, which tend to be relatively complex with lots of flavors going on. I’ve also enjoyed the Kusmi teas I’ve tried, though I’m not a big fan of Mariage Freres because I don’t like the black base blend they use, so where does this company fall? We shall see! I wanted a black tea, which narrows it down because there seem to be not as many blacks as greens in there, but most of the others didn’t really speak to me today. I decided to try this “powerful yet refined Earl Grey” as they put it on the insert. The dry leaf certainly smells bergamotty, so hopefully it will be powerful enough to keep me awake.
I steeped this at 205°F since that’s what they recommend, and if a company recommends a slightly lower temp for their blacks I know I should follow it since blacks can go too strong and bitter for me easily. The black tea base comes out to play a bit more in the aroma. It’s nice, though I can’t quite place it. Familiar but not familiar enough for me to be able to identify it. Definitely Chinese and not a Ceylon or Assam, though. The bergamot is there but it’s playing back up, bright and citrusy. The flavors are good, a nice balance of the base and the bergamot. This is pretty high on the bergameter, but the base doesn’t get lost in the process. First notes are definitely bright bergamot, and then the warm, slightly bready, slightly malty black tea base comes out. The bergamot in this one is a bit on the harsher side, almost getting that pithy bitterness as it cools, so if you’re not a bergamot fan I could see how this could come off poorly. A strong bergamot is very difficult to pull off perfectly, and this tea does a pretty good job of it, but it’s not going to replace my Todd & Holland any time soon. The really promising part of this tea is that the base is very well done, so I’m looking forward to trying their other blends.
Oh dear, my mind is already flagging. I just got up not that long ago and I already want to go back to sleep. It’s rare that I have a two-tea morning, but there it is. I chose this one because it’s been sooo long since I’ve had it (even before I went to Asia).
You know, after so much time and changing tastes, I still like this one a lot but I don’t know that I loooove it like I used to. Partly it’s the chocolate. My absolute favorite chocolate tea (The Tea Spot’s Organic Chocolate “O”) has totally spoiled me, and now no other chocolate tea seems as good. This tea is pretty chocolatey, but I feel like I want MOAR chocolate. And I just feel like the base tea, while tasty, is not so super amazing, it doesn’t contribute a ton to the experience. Don’t get me wrong, I still love this tea, but I honestly don’t know that it’s a cupboard staple anymore. Gosh, I am getting so picky! :P
I have returned to the US, to home, and to my tea stash. Yay! So what is the first tea I go for upon my arrival? Maybe the Goût Russe put the Dammann bug in my mind, but this one was the unrivaled winner in that contest. This is one of my absolute favorite teas, all floral and almondy and cookie-ish and delicious.
I feel like now is the time that I want to rediscover my stash and go through all my favorites… being away for a month has that effect, I guess. I am definitely still dealing with the fact that my body is 12hrs off schedule (yeah, it’s 11PM, not AM, to my body right now, even if I did sleep pretty much all night last night), so I have a distinct feeling that this afternoon I will need something to really give me a wake up. For the first time in a while, though, I am swimming in choices. It feels so nice!
Man, this tea is tasty. I’m realizing that I should have just bought this box initially when I bought tea… not that the Impra Tea was bad, but it wasn’t great either. I didn’t have room in my luggage for the leftover sachets so I donated them to my hostel. I did, of course, have room in my luggage for this!
Unfortunately I kind of have to rush this cup because my taxi for the airport is coming! Yes I am departing Ulaanbaatar this morning. I have an afternoon/evening layover in Beijing, and then it’s home! I’m very excited!
Oh, look at what just fell into my shopping basket while I was at the grocery. I know, I’m bad, but I couldn’t resist. I justified it by saying that I needed some more sachets for traveling, which I will be doing a lot of in the coming months (as if I haven’t been doing enough already). And these are individually wrapped, which is so convienent for travel. And the slight premium of buying the box here in Mongolia is still much less than shipping from France, no? I have a lot of rationalizations for this purchase, lol.
This is supposed to be a special blend of citrus (they don’t say which ones), and the sachet certainly smells citrusy. I can definitely pick out bergamot, and maybe lemon or grapefruit, perhaps a bit of orange but not very much. The steeped tea smells much more like the black tea base, but in a good way (a lot of times, if a flavored black suddenly smells only like the black tea base with a hint of flavoring it’s not a good sign for me. Not so with this one, I like the smell of this base, which is often not the case).
The flavoring on this one is subdued and melds well with the base. It is brightly citrusy, but no one citrus fruit sticks out. It is truly a blend of the flavoring and the base, and both are stars in this show, not just one or the other. It’s also oh-so-smooth. I only went with a 3 minute steep despite the recommendation on the box of 4-5 minutes because that’s what I start all my blacks at, but I feel like this could go 4-5 no problem without developing any bitterness or astringency. The base is a very lovely Chinese black tea blend. I don’t know what the blend is, and apparently it’s very proprietary so I doubt I ever will, but to me it seems like there might be some Fujian blacks in there, or maybe some Dian Hong (or both!), and no doubt some Keemun (or Qimen, as I learned is the proper pinyin way of writing it!). Kind of chocolatey, kind of nutty, kind of caramelly. Definitely delicious. This tea also reminds me of how much my black tea tastes have progressed, because I never would have found all those notes before. A few special Chinese blacks have opened the world of black teas to me.
I feel like perhaps at one time I wouldn’t have been as impressed by this tea because the flavoring is so subtle. But now I really appreciate that Chinese black tea blend base, and I am totally in love with this tea. I’ll have no problem getting through this box, and I’m happy to say that I am very pleased with my purchase. But I do have to say, damn you, Dammann Freres for making such delicious teas… this is just making me want to try more of them! And there are so many!