2183 Tasting Notes
Hmm, I am not sure what to make of this tea. I brewed it at a hotter temp this time to try to bring out more flavor (not boiling, though not quite sure what temp; more below), and it backfired on me. It’s not bitter or astringent or anything, but it’s like a mild mannered person who is really sweet and then you make them angry and they surprise you. This cup has a burnt-toast/burnt-rice/burnt-nuts scent and flavor that actually reminds me of coffee. Um, what? Where was that mild-mannered caramel vanilla tea again? How can these be the same teas?
I’m rating this based on a combo of my two experiences. Steep it like a green tea, and it is sweet and caramelly, but lacking depth and body from the base teas. Steep it closer to a black tea, and it turns into some kind of weird caramel-flavored weak coffee. So although I wouldn’t turn down another cup or the chance to go for it again, this isn’t really doing it for me.
Finally, the reason I don’t know what temp this is really at is that my Adagio UtiliTEA kettle may have finally kicked the bucket. It worked this morning but when I tried to make some water at ~195°F, I noticed that it was just boiling forever without shutting off. It boiled so hard that I lost probably two ounces of water out of the pot through boil-off. I stopped it, let it cool for a bit, and then ended up putting in a bit of room temp water to top off my cup since the water had boiled off. Will have to try going to a lower temp and seeing if it works that way; otherwise I may be in the market for a new office kettle.
I’m really glad Sil sent me a sample of this tea even though I didn’t request one. I have always been curious because this one is always compared to my beloved Organic Chocolate “O” from The Tea Spot, and it seems like most people prefer this one. I remain skeptical, however, because most of those people are puerh drinkers, and I am not.
That said, for anyone who is scared of puerh or is looking for flavored puerhs that don’t really taste like puerh, do yourself a favor and get some of this tea. The puerh here is unobtrusive and basically just adds a very slight earthiness to the cup.
Mostly this cup tastes like chocolate. I would say that if Organic Chocolate “O” is milk chocolate, this tea is dark chocolate. Not super dark chocolate (I’ve had teas that were darker, more bittersweet). Maybe 60% cacao dark? It’s quite tasty, and if I didn’t know about the Organic Chocolate “O”, it might be my favorite chocolate tea because it is a quite authentic flavor. However, I am a milk chocolate person, so the “O” ranks above this one in my heart. Glad I finally got a chance to try it, though, and satiate my curiousity. Thanks Sil!
Thanks to Sil for sending me more samples of TTC black teas! I still have never gotten around to ordering tea from them, so it’s nice to try some more. I’ve tried #147 before (also from Sil), so I decided to try this one and see how it compares.
I am out of practice brewing these long, spindly Taiwanese black teas. At one point I had a decent eye for dishing out leaves but apparently I’ve lost it. I decided to use the entire sample in my mug, but I probably should have split it up a bit. Actually a shorter steep by only a minute might have solved it. The tea was ever so slightly bitter and just overall very strong (I realize this may be how some people like their teas, haha), but I thinned it with a bit more hot water and it smoothed out most of the rough edges incurred by steeping that much leaf.
I found this tea to be overall quite tasty and a pleasant cup to drink. A bit fruity, a bit malty. I didn’t have the same reaction to this one as I did to #147, but to be fair my steeping may have something to do with it. This one has more of that character of most Taiwanese black teas that I don’t particularly care for; that je nais c’est qua, but not in a good way. It’s not enough to make me dislike the tea and I would happily drink another cup, but it’s not something I love. Glad to have tried this, though!
I asked Sil for a sample of this tea and she was nice enough to oblige! Quite a while ago Nina’s offered some samples and I got some, and did not find them to be to my taste. But then Nina’s blew up on Steepster and people started loving on them hard, so I thought maybe I should give them a second chance. This is one that a lot of people love, so I thought it might be a good place to start.
This is a good reminder to check a tea on Steepster before brewing. I assumed this was a green tea, not a black/green blend, so I brewed it probably too cool. Well, I have enough for another go so I’ll have to try it a little hotter. As it is, the flavor is nice but rather light. I do get some nice buttery caramel and I can certainly see why this one is popular. Will wait to rate until I try it again at a higher temp.
Thanks to Sil for this surprise sample! I haven’t had too many Kenyan teas (although I have had tea in Kenya, haha) so I’m always interested to try some out. This was a tea bag version of this tea, and I used both tea bags in my 12oz mug. I steeped it on the cooler side knowing that these types of teas tend to get a little overly robust for me.
This turned out rather pleasant. There was little bitterness in the cup as brewed, although there was a bit of a “kick” in the back part of the sip. I did put a splash of milk in after a few sips to smooth it out a bit. It had a nice malty flavor with some hints of grains. I also got a bit of powderiness, probably because of the tea bags and tea dust likely present in them.
This would be perfect for those mornings where you really need a kick in the pants. I remember the last time I was in Nairobi, I was having tea after a night of nearly no sleep (red-eye flight), and these types of teas have a certain comforting and jolting effect that can really set you straight in a situation like that. Not something I would reach for often, but it certianly has its place. Thanks, Sil!
I have become very glad that I bought a tin of this despite my general dislike of assams, because it makes the most awesome rosey milk tea. I love having it in the morning when I’m taking an easy morning, like this morning was. It would probably make a great base for a rose milk bubble tea too (one of my faves).
Also, if you have a Ravelry account, and you wouldn’t mind helping me win a contest, can you mosey over to this link and click the “agree” button (at the bottom of the post) on my owls (midway down the page): http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/malabrigo-junkies/2858677/51-75
Voting ends at the end of the day today!
This tea was super smooth and lovely today. Fruity, floral and refreshing. I love this rose so for me it is not overwhelmingly floral, but I could see how it might be too floral for some. To me it was fruity and delicious.
It’s nearly identical to Fauchon’s Rose et Litchi, but unlike Fauchon I can order this one any time. But I have a 50g tin of it that hasn’t been hit very hard (not to mention 100g of Rose et Litchi), so I will be set on rose and lychee blends for a while!
This is another one of those, if I loved puerh I would be in love with this tea. Still, I definitely enjoy it all the same; it just takes me a bit to reorient my flavor and scent expectations for a puerh.
I love the caramel-cookie notes in this, and how rich and sweet it is. I would actually restock this one as I do like to keep one puerh around. I have no problem drinkinga big cup of this one, which is not something I can say about most puerhs.
Here’s an odd thing: I brewed a cup of this tea without looking at my previous note, so I didn’t see that I had found it bitter at 195°F for 3 minutes before and that I wanted to brew it at a cooler temp. But as it turns out, this cup wasn’t bitter at those parameters. Very odd.
Today this cup was relatively smooth and had nice, authentic passion fruit flavor. Again, I did not find this to be a particularly floral cup despite the promise of rose in the blend. I guess if I think about it I can kind of taste the rose in the aftertaste. Maybe I just don’t notice the rose because rose and passion fruit sometimes have a seamless relationship in my mind. Certainly this is a nice passion fruit white tea, but not really one I would have to keep in my cupboard; that may be more to do with the fact that it is a white tea (not something I crave often) than with anything else.
This is actually a sipdown as well as a chronology note. I flew through this one because I cold brewed it like crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy this tea well enough hot (which is how I had my last pot of it). The four red fruits flavors are nice, but I really wish there was more vanilla involved. I just knew it wasn’t a tea that I would reach for often because it turned out to be not that special, so I cold brewed it and enjoyed the lovely red fruitiness with my lunches. My last pot of this tea was nice, and even had a touch more vanilla present. Still, I wasn’t too sad to say goodbye to this one.