1631 Tasting Notes
Sipdown, 158. I brewed a cup of this hot, iced it, took one sip, and threw the rest away. I also tossed another sample of a MBSC hibiscus/fruit blend that I was sure I wouldn’t like, and I will probably toss the third (but I will try it once to be sure). I ordered these samples ages ago before I knew any better, and naively thought that these blends would be fruity and not overdone. Not only are they almost all hibiscus, but they are old and stale, too. I mean, I like sweet, iced hibiscus, but all of these have had a certain funkiness that is just wrong.
This one’s major downfall was actually not the hibiscus but the lemon peel. It was so mouth-wrenchingly bitter and horrible I couldn’t deal. Like you actually just bit a lemon with the peel on. No thanks.
I’ve been MIA this weekend because I’ve been super busy on a recent trip to Chicago. I did bring a pile of Inti Zen tea bags with me on the off chance I would have time to drink some, and I drank the one tea bag that I had of this one yesterday. I brought an Inti Zen mix pack back with me from Argentina because the flavors sounded good, but they’ve been a tad lackluster so I haven’t gone through them.
This one was ok, but it didn’t have a ton of flavor. I am wondering if these bags would be better two to a cup. It smelled nicely of caramel and red fruits, but the flavor was weak. Well, at least it wasn’t bitter or astringent. Glad to be getting back to my tea tonight!
For some reason I really wanted this one this afternoon. Blame it on looking at the sweets on the Fauchon website too long and dreaming of Paris. This time I brewed this one cooler and shorter time to attempt to combat the bitterness of the CTC part of the base.
It seems to have worked pretty well, but there is still a lingering oh so light bitterness. It kind of grows as the cup cools and I drink more of it. I think it is just a character of CTC teas and is unavoidable.
I know companies sometimes use CTC teas in a blend for a specific flavor it imparts, but to me it is never tasty, and I never want it. This would be awesome if it was on a different base. I like the flavoring on this so much that I will certainly enjoy it with milk and sugar at home, but I wish I didn’t have to mask the base like that. The only other calisson tea here on the database is one of Mariage Frères’ Heritage Gourmand collection, but it looks like it is on a rooibos base, which is a no-go for me.
Ah well, now I’ve spent a bunch of time looking at confectionaries and pastries online in Paris shops. How will I have the time to visit them all! :)
Sipdown, 161. Yum.
The power of suggestion worked today. I saw someone else’s note about a coconut oolong and decided to have the rest of my sample of this one. I would be fascinated to learn about the source of all of these coconut baozhongs, which seem to be pretty much the same everywhere (with perceived differences possibly based on freshness I would guess). And they are so prevalent! But at least they are all delicious. Yummy creamy, toasted coconut and even a bit of cookie to it. Eventually I’ll have a permanent tin of coconut baozhong in my stash, but more of that stash has to go, first. :)
Sipdown, 162. I used the rest of my sample of this one as a cold brew.
Unsurprisingly, this one was quite good as a cold brew. At the specs I used (about 3tsp, 12oz water, 8 hour steep), it was very light and refreshing, with enough flavor to make for a tasty drink. I found the cold steep with way less vanilla and more florals, but all the notes were there, just subtly interacting. I realized once I was most of the way through my bottle of it that it reminded me strongly of some of the gewurtztraminer white wines I’ve had… rose and jasmine notes, with light citrus and goji berry, which is almost standing in for the grape here. In particular I had a dry gewurtztraminer once and this is very similar, but without any alcohol, obviously. Quite lovely, and definitely an iced tea I’d like to have again. Maybe I’ll eventually pick more of this one up!
Last night I had a beer that was called “golden monkey,” which made me want a golden monkey tea this morning. Unfortunately, I have not a lick of golden monkey in my stash, so a somewhat generic “Fujian congou” will have to do.
This is a solid Fujian black tea, and could possibly be a good everyday tea (if you’re into having the same tea every day; I am not). It’s very malty and grainy, slightly honeyed, with a touch of raisin to it and a hint of cocoa. Very pleasant and a nice morning tea.
I bought a sample of this with my last Verdant order because the mix of flavors intrigued me. The dry leaf is certainly gorgeous, with the mix of colors and shapes of everything in this blend. I smell the jasmine and the vanilla most strongly from the dry leaf. Somehow I managed to not realize that this contains jasmine and vanilla together, which historically have not worked in combination for me (for some unknown reason), so let’s hope there’s enough other stuff in here to balance them.
The steeped tea smells jasmine-y and vanilla-y, but also a tiny bit fruity and perhaps a hint of rose. The flavors are thankfully blending quite well together. The main impression I get is one of creaminess, followed by a lovely floral amalgamation (jasmine, rose and some orchid notes together). There’s a sort of light herbiness to the florals, which I’m guessing is mostly yabao making itself known, though I don’t get any specific cedar notes. All in all it makes for a very pleasant and relaxing cup… though perhaps I need something to wake me up now! But anyway, I found this quite tasty, even though it contains a flavor combo that doesn’t often work for me. Yay Verdant, once again.
Sipdown, 163. Cold brew.
I apparently thought this was a different tea when I put it in to cold steep last night… for some reason I thought it was the des Songes blend, with oolong, but nope, it’s des Sables. I probably would have steeped it with less leaf if I had realized that. Unfortunately this didn’t come out very tasty and I stopped drinking it about halfway through. Too strong, too grassy, to over-flavored. Just too much, really. Meh.
Another older tea, and one that I was curious about given my recent distaste for flavored greens. But! This isn’t a flavored green, really… it’s a flavored white with jasmine pearls in it. So no yucky (to me) sencha, maybe it will suit me better?
Indeed it does. I’m not totally in love with white tea, but it’s lightly honeyed, hayish notes go well with the bergamot and jasmine in this blend. This is a nice light green/white blend that I enjoy hot, which is pleasant to have in my stash now.
I am feeling a little less pressured by my stash lately, and I don’t feel the need to totally concentrate on sipdowns like I have been. This morning I was kinda sorta in the mood for an unflavored black tea, or at least a non-fruity black. Most of my teas are in boxes for an eventual move into a real office, so I poked through the boxes a bit and came out with this one. Yeah, it’s not unflavored, but it’s got a high enough quality base that it doesn’t matter.
Many, I forgot just how delicious this tea is. So much rich, creamy chocolate… it’s the only chocolate tea I’ve ever been really satisfied with. A lot of teas hint at chocolate, or are somewhat chocolatey, but this is just chocolate. Mmm. I’ve probably said this a million times about this tea, but the base really makes it. There’s just no excuse for a poor tea base!