2067 Tasting Notes
I’d have to say this wasn’t a great cold steep. There wasn’t much apple or pear flavor that came through; in fact, I’d say there was pretty much no truly identifiable fruit flavor coming through. It tasted like green tea, which isn’t bad, but not what I was looking for. But also not exactly like green tea, more like green tea with something else. What that something else is… unknown. I couldn’t put my finger on the flavor. Definitely disappointing, as I imagine that a pear iced green tea would be awesome.
I was most of the way through this tasting note when I reached out for my tea cup and bumped it with my hand instead of grabbing it. I almost knocked it off my (very tall) desk (actually a counter in a lab) onto the tile floor, where it would have assuredly shattered, but I somehow managed to grab it. Not without spilling a third of it on my desk and partially on my keyboard, however. Fortunately, my keyboard is pretty old and thus is pretty much impervious to liquids; unfortunately, I neglected to unplug it before wiping it off, and succeeded in somehow canceling my previous tasting note and thus deleting what I had written. There’s little more frustrating than taking time to write something up on a website and then having it magically erased. When you rewrite it, it’s never as thorough as before.
I threw the little that was left of my Chocolate and Cream black from TeaFrog (~1/2 tsp) into this cup to go ahead and use it up. I forgot to start my time when I poured the water, but I remembered about 30 seconds later, so the tea got a little extra time (because I once again forgot to stop it early). The aroma of the brewed tea was primarily that of a strong black, with a decent dose of almond, but not overwhelming.
The flavor of the main part of the sip is really the black tea with a hint of chocolate and bit of almond, followed by a strong, full marzipan aftertaste that fills your mouth and almost convinces you that you’ve been eating the confection (if it was sweet, I’m sure it would taste exactly like it).
Aaaand now that I said my keyboard was fine, the space bar and apostrophe stopped working, so I had to find another keyboard. Bleh. Anyway, tasty tea. Not so great for keyboards.
The first time I brewed this, it had a musty aroma that put me off and I never went back to it. I decided to cold brew it since sometimes cold brewing makes weird teas better. So it was with this tea: my cold brew is all coconut and vanilla, slightly sweet, and nice and refreshing. I would consider having this one around just as a cold steep, actually, since it’s so tasty. I’m not getting any florals from the rose buds, but that’s ok. I’m rating this one strictly on it’s cold brew, but I suppose I might try the hot again to see if I can get a better cup. Definitely has the potential to be very tasty!
I’ve been thinking about rose blacks lately, and this morning I decided I had to have one. And I thought: go big or go home. So I am having the last of my sample of the supremely rosey Rose Scented. This may go on my list to purchase more of because I feel like I’d like to keep some of this around just for occasions when I want something out of this world rosey. I actually still very much like my ESP Emporium China Rose for a more subdued but still sweet rose flavor.
I suppose I could have had this one this morning as well, since its a ginger lemon blend. I’m feeling better now, but I decided to have it anyway since I’ve actually only ever tried this one cold steeped. The last time I had it I described the scent of the dry leaves as like a lemon drop candy, but this time I’m getting more sharp, spicy ginger aroma as well.
The brewed tea smells lemongrassy lemony… you know, in that way that is both lemony and a grassiness that doesn’t come from the green tea. It also smells a touch sweet and a touch spicy from the ginger. When still very hot, I didn’t get a ton of flavor from this tea. There was basically an inverse relationship of flavor to hotness. By the time it cooled to just warm, there was more flavor, but it was still pretty light. Light and lemony, with a warm gingery flavor that has the sweetness of a ginger chew candy. Once it cools down to this temp, I’m really enjoying it and I think this will do nicely for times when I need a ginger tea. Also when I just want something lemony!
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.