2042 Tasting Notes
I’m not feeling the greatest today, so I was looking in my stash for something soothing. I actually don’t have any primarily ginger tea right now, which is odd and needs to be remedied. This is described as a rose oolong, but it also contains ginger and lemongrass (and the lemongrass seems to be the primary flavor), so I went with this one.
This tea is crazy because every time it tastes different. First time I had it, it was strongly lemongrass and ginger. Second time, it was only faintly lemony and mostly the green oolong. Today, it’s actually very rosey! With a nice, light hint of lemon underneath, adding a bright note that pairs well with the rich, sweet rose. This iteration is definitely an oolong I’d buy again, but I’m unsure I’d ever be able to replicate this cup.
This past weekend we went back to Coney Island to find our super rare Gray-hooded Gull again. If anyone is interested in seeing the gull, my pictures are here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjvGy7Wq
There’s a NY Times article about the gull today, but the reporter was pretty lazy and didn’t even try to contact any officials or try to find the person that reported it originally (me!). http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/01/nyregion/gray-hooded-gull-rare-bird-in-us-is-apparently-on-coney-island.html?_r=1
ETA: Here’s an article from the American Birding Association, which actually does give us credit: http://birding.typepad.com/peeps/2011/07/gray-hooded-gull-coney-island-new-york.html
Cold steeping this one really brought out the earthy leafy flavors of this oolong. The other flavors are more subdued, but definitely present: hints of lovely rose, a bit of berry, some tropical fruit. It’s more rosey than when brewed hot; I’m starting to find that cold steeping seems to draw out some flavors more than others (florals and vanilla flavors seem to come to the forefront with cold steeping). Overall I’m really enjoying this one cold steeped, and it just adds to my appreciation of this tea. Every time I drink this tea it endears itself to me more.
I’m pretty excited this morning since I got notice that I bird I saw last weekend on Coney Island may be a Grey-headed Gull, which is only known from one or two records in North America (it’s a South American/African species). Still waiting to hear back from Cornell Bird Lab, but this would be my first confirmed rare bird sighting!
I almost forgot to brew some tea, but once I settled down a bit I chose this one. I neglected to look at my previous tasting note until I already had set my water boiling, so I didn’t realized that I wanted to try this tea at a lower temp this time. Oops! To compensate I decided to try it at a shorter steep time instead.
It seems to have worked pretty well! I’m not getting any bitterness from this cup. It’s vanilla caramely and very tasty. It doesn’t seem to be too weak or have suffered from loss of flavor from only a 2 minute steep. I’ll also try it at lower temp for 3 minutes, but it’s defintely good with these parameters.
I decided to try this one back to back with the Polish Monk’s blend since they seem to be very similar in ingredients. They really are very similar, but this one seems a little sweeter somehow, and the jasmine is stronger. It’s an herby jasmine, which I know seems weird, but I guess it’s a bit like herbaceous rose. I think the bergamot is somehow tempering the floralness of the jasmine, when I feel like usually the jasmine is enhancing the floral character of the bergamot. The vanilla smooths things well, but it still has that hint of bitterness that surprises me. This may be a blend that I want to work better than it does, but I won’t give up on it until it I mess around with a lot of other steep times and temps.
I brewed this tea at a cooler temp this time since now I know it’s a black green blend. The brewed tea smells vanilla-y, but with a fair dose of bergamot and some robust black tea. I don’t remember getting much of that the last time I tried this, but there it is. I’m not getting much jasmine in the taste this time, and it’s actually a tad bitter, which is surprising. I guess this is another finicky tea that’s going to require some messing around with time and temp to get the steep just right.
I probably should have had another sachet for cold steeping this tea, but even with only one for 16 oz of water it was very very tasty. So peachy and delicious! I could see buying some of this for only iced tea. I mean, it’s good hot, but I really think it makes a fantastic iced tea. It’s a great blend of a nice black tea with fruit. And I could drink this one in the evenings too!
The last time I drank this tea I found it a little weak in flavor. I steeped it for longer this time to see if I could draw it out, but I’m not sure if it really worked. The vanilla and jasmine are still really light in the aroma, and what seems to have been brought out is the black tea. I don’t find this tea to be very good while still relatively hot, but the vanilla certainly comes out as it cools. The jasmine never really makes itself known in the way I’d like; it kind of sits back and provides a very slightly floral flavor to the blend.
Did I seriously not realize that this was a black/green blend until just now? Apparently not, because I usually steep those at a cooler temp. Thankfully my sample from JacquelineM is big enough for me to try it at different steeping parameters once again. I assume the jasmine is part of the green tea, so that may help bring it out
I went back and read my first tasting note of this tea, and wow I was impressed with this tea the first time around. Which is funny because although I remember really enjoying it, I didn’t remember being totally blown away, which is why I hadn’t gone back to it yet. But I was tasting a lot of new teas during that time period, including a lot of other incredible ones, so I guess it makes sense that I might lose track of how much I liked things. Anyway, the aroma of the dried leaves and of the steeping tea smells incredibly delicious, like tropical fruit and flowers.
It doesn’t take long to remind me why I found this one so entrancing in the first place. It is so my kind of tea (especially right now): intensely floral, a touch of fruitiness, a grounding tea base that isn’t completely overwhelmed. I love how mixed florals all taste a bit different based on what flowers are in the tea and what’s the dominant flavor, and it also means that I never feel like multiple floral teas duplicate what I already have. Which is one way of saying that this is going to have to be a cupboard staple.
After my cup of Rosy Earl Grey yesterday, I took the spent leaves and dropped them into my cold steeping cup along with enough new leaf to make up the balance of the 2 tbsp I put in usually. The last time I had Rosy I “cool steeped” the already steeped leaves and got a pretty tasty tea in only an hour. With an overnight steep, the flavors really came out. The jasmine green tea in this really comes to the forefront, but the bergamot will not be left behind; what you end up with is really more of a Jasmine Earl Grey than a rose one, but that’s just fine with me. I was surprised that after a night steeping the liquor wasn’t oranger, like it usually is with black teas. This one looked more like a cold steeped green than anything else. There wasn’t a distinct black tea flavor, but the Earl Grey flavor was definitely there. I really enjoyed this cold steep, and using the spent leaves saved me an extra cup of tea!