1614 Tasting Notes
There is only one middle eastern restaurant in town, and the food is decent, but they use waaaay to much raw garlic in their tzatziki. Coming back from lunch today I knew I needed a tea that would have a strong enough flavor to cut through the garlic, but also not clash too badly with it. Ginger might have worked, but I don’t have any gingery teas here. Then I thought of puerh, but again all of my puerhs are at home… until I remembered I had a few of these little tuochas stuck in a drawer.
Shu puerh, especially ones like this, are not my favorite. I mean, I don’t dislike the earthy, woody flavor, but it’s not really my favorite either. I talked about changing tastebuds yesterday, but my tastebuds have not changed favorably toward this tea. It’s still very earthy, sawdusty, woody, barn-y, and I still can’t taste any rose in it. Is it killing the garlic taste in my mouth? Kinda. But I still don’t know when I am going to get around to drinking the last two tuochas that I have. They’re just not really my kind of tea.
I have a sample of this that I would like to drink down, but it’s one of those things where you have just enough that it will probably take a while. I might try cold brewing it for the summer, but I’m not sure how that would go with the white chocolate curls.
This is a pretty tasty tea overall. It’s rosy, it has that cookie-ish flavor I sometimes get from rose teas (brought out here by the chocolate). I dislike the oily scrim I get on the top of my tea from the chocolate, which is why I generally prefer not to have actual pieces of chocolate in my teas. But this isn’t too bad, thankfully, and I can certainly enjoy it.
Sipdown, 154. Cold brew.
Well I tried to cold brew this one (in combination with some Organic Rose Grey from Tea Palace) but something went horribly wrong. I tasted it this morning and it was sooooo bitter. I’ve never had a black tea get bitter on me while cold brewing so I think it has to be the lemon peel; I had the same horrible bitterness the other day with a different tea I tried to ice that had lemon peel in it (although that one I brewed hot). I guess the lesson is lemon peel: dangerous for long infusions. Oh well.
This is the final one of my MBSC hibiscus fruit blends. Tonight I decided I would steep this one according to the directions in this recipe for agua de jamaica (without all the optional spices): http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/agua_de_jamaica_hibiscus_tea/
Except if it turned bad I didn’t want to waste a bunch of sugar on it, so I quartered the recipe. I also tasted the steeping blend at 5, 10, and 15 minutes, straining it out after 15 (instead of the 20 called for in the recipe) because I sensed that something (citrus peel?) was getting kind of bitter. I took my 1 cup of concentrated and cut it with another cup of cold water as called for, but that was even too sweet and syrupy for me. Cutting it in half again with cold water resulted in a sweet, tart and pretty tasty brew. It tastes mostly of hibiscus but also kind of berryish with a hint of citrus. I enjoyed this but I think I will just get some plain hibiscus to make agua de jamaica in the future.
I bought this tea quite a while ago, had a cup, decided that I disliked the tea base (which is prominent) and gave most of the tiny tin I have away. I always remembered that first experience and shied away from having it again, even though I have more recently had Tea Palace’s Organic Rose Grey and realized that I enjoy the tea base way more now.
Well today I finally decided to have another cup of this. Wow, what a difference two years makes. I really, really didn’t like the base on this one before. I rated it a 60, which is to say that I barely didn’t throw the cup down the drain (or maybe I did, I don’t remember). Now? Now it is smooth, malty deliciousness. I think this is a predominantly keemun base, and keemun seems to be growing on me. There are still times when I dislike it, but more and more keemun-base teas are tasty to me. The bergamot is light in this, which is one of the reasons I disliked it before, but now it doesn’t bother me so much. I mean, it makes it not optimal for an Earl Grey for me, but it’s still a tasty cup of tea. Tasty enough that I’m now somewhat reconsidering my plan to cold brew the last of it (although I’ll still probably do it). I would happily have another cup of this tea.
It just goes to show you how subjective ratings and tasting notes are. I mean, I disagree with myself from two years ago!
I may have mistakenly reviewed this tea under it’s organic version before, oh well. Thanks again to Angel and Teavivre for these samples.
Having drank the silver needle white tea yesterday, I decided to go ahead and try the bai mu dan today in comparison. I don’t know that I’ve ever really compared the flavor of two different white tea varietals, so this should be interesting. Right away the dry leaf still smells like hay, but I think greener hay. Perhaps even somewhat like dried grass clippings.
The real difference came the moment the water hit the leaf; the silver needle still smelled like hay, whereas this tea became greener smelling and more vegetal. After one minute this tea was already dark enough so I pulled the brew basket. It smells hay-ish, but also a bit like buttered vegetables and a bit of honey. The flavor is definitely more vegetal, with some cucumber notes along with the hay. A hint of florals, though I wouldn’t be able to pin down what type. Perhaps something odd like clover flowers. Slightly like salted butter, as well.
I would say that I much preferred the silver needles to the bai mu dan. This one was grassier and more vegetal, and reminded me more of some green teas. It’s also very lightly astringent at 1 minute, but that could be slight overleafing. Still, this is quite enjoyable and I do want to try this one also gongfu style eventually.
Sipdown, 155. Cold brew.
I actually have a little bit of this left, but I have no desire to drink the rest of it and it’s not really enough to swap. Cold brewed, this tea was overly perfumy and just really not my thing. Very very floral, and I like floral teas, but this was too much. Also I am spoiled by Den’s Sakura Sencha, which is better balanced and not quite as overly flavored as this one.
Drank this tea this morning while writing, and very much enjoyed it. It’s a very pleasant jasmine green with lovely jasmine flavor that is sweet and honeyed. I honestly didn’t pay too much attention to it, but every once in a while I would notice how sweet it was, and it was a very nice cup to drink. Always gotta have a jasmine green around, and this is quite a nice one.
I have to get to dissertation writing today, so this tasting note will have to be short. But I’ve already said plenty about how much I love this tea.
Malty, rich, honey-caramel; this is the black tea that made me love black teas. Before this tea, unflavored blacks were supremely uninteresting and untasty to me, but this changed that. For which I am very grateful!
Hmm, have I never reviewed this? It seems unlikely, but there are no reviews to be found by me so I guess not. In that case I apologize to Teavivre for taking so long to get around to reviewing this sample. As always, you are so generous!
I’ve never been really drawn to white tea. Partly I think because it reminds me strongly of hay, and while that is a pleasant olfactory memory, it is not necessarily one I want to drink (I feel this way about many puerhs as well). I usually enjoy a white tea fairly well but I never crave one.
This tea is so pretty, all downy and soft. Dry, it smells like fresh cut hay. Steeped it retains those hay notes, but also gains a sweet creamy smell. A bit of honey on whole-grain bread, perhaps. That seems to be the predominant flavor for me, and this tea is unexpectedly “chewy;” the texture is thick and the whole thing really reminds me of really good bread. Which is totally not what most others are getting, but there you go! I don’t really taste florals or melon, but I could be convince of roasted summer squash. It’s darker tasting than I expect a white tea to be, and richer. I’d be interested in brewing my other package in a gaiwan (if I had one, not sure if my little gongfu pot would be appropriate) just to see how the flavors differ. Even so, this is quite a lovely, toothsome white tea and I very much enjoyed this cup.