1635 Tasting Notes
Sipdown, 167. The Traveling Tea Box (A group) is out for delivery today to me, so I need to make some room in my cupboard! Not to mention my swap from Shmiracles, Verdant Reserve Club May edition, and eventual order from Verdant that will get here sometime in May.
Sometimes you just want a tea that tastes like candy, and this is totally one of those teas. I mean, floral, yes, fruity, yes, but it reminds me so much of mango Hi Chews candy! Which is totally yum to me. Is it the most subtly-flavored, nuanced blend? Are the base teas very fine or even really present in the flavor? No, but I find it very tasty nonetheless. Don’t know if I’ll ever buy anymore, but I definitely enjoyed this.
Sipdown, 168. Sad to sip this one down, but sipdowns must be had and I can’t be hoarding. Actually there are two teas with one cup left in them that I am, in fact, hoarding, but I can’t bring myself to sip them down yet.
I think the best brewing parameters for this tea (for me) are: 5 pearls, 12oz water, 212°F, 2 minutes. This one was brewed with 4 pearls for three minutes but it could have possibly used even more time. It’s a little thin, but still chocolatey and grainy and delicious. It’s like chocolate museli. I know I’ve used that for a tea before, but I’m not sure if it was this tea or another one! But this one defintiely gives off a chocolate museli vibe. This is a must have tea and eventually it will make it back into my stash.
My stomach is feeling better but not 100%, so I definitely wanted to avoid flavored greens as lately they’ve been turning my stomach a bit. I opened up my sample drawer and these were sitting at the top, and they sounded like a great idea.
This is good, if a bit strong today. With fresh pearls, I used 5 for 12oz and 2 minute steep, but have knocked it to 3 minutes in the past once the pearls have gotten a little old. I though these might fall into that category, but apparently they are still fairly fresh because at 3 minutes this cup is edging on a slight bitterness. Like bittersweet baking chocolate more than dark chocolate. Well, I only have 4 pearls left, so I’ll get to futz around with steep times next time as well.
Last night there were too many margaritas, too much mexican food, and too much ice cream, and now they are all having a war in my stomach. I have heard numerous times that puerh is supposed to be good for upset stomachs, so I decided to give this a go, finally. I’ve had this sample for quite a while now, and must apologize to Teavivre for only now getting around to sampling it. The truth is, I’m still a little afraid of shu puerh. But onward!
I remembered why as soon as the water hit the leaves and I got a kind of slightly seaweedy smell. Just now I am realizing I should have rinsed them once, but I didn’t. Ah well. Fortunately any fishiness has gone away after a full steep, and the liquor is opaque and dark as night. It smells like sawdust, pretty much spot on.
The flavor is amazingly smooth. Not a hint of bitterness or astringency, and a thick, luscious texture. It is, also, lightly sweet. The main part of the flavor is earthy, saw-dusty (though without the feeling of ‘dust’), woody. As far as I can tell, its a very nice example of this type of puerh. Not fishy or off-tasting, just smooth and relatively pleasant. I just am not super into drinking earthy sawdust, heh. It may be settling my stomach (hard to tell), but hopefully so!
Sooo excited about my new variable temp kettle for home! I used it this morning to make my first bowl of matcha in quite a while. One of the reasons I fell out of making matcha at home was the hassle of cooling the water to the right temp… I am one of those people who wants to make sure it is really at just the right temp, so heating it up in my stovetop kettle and letting it cool with a thermometer was dragging me down. But not anymore!
I made this with a touch of sugar but not as a latte. I do think I prefer matcha in latte form… this was pretty good, but I found the rose to be more perfumy than I used to when having it with milk. I also don’t quite find the white matcha to be worth the price bump, and if I was going to get the rose flavor again I would probably go for the green base. Nonetheless this was a tasty morning bowl of matcha.
I have fallen into that mode where I get so focused on drinking samples and having sipdowns that I don’t drink up the teas I have more of, which are usually my favorites. Well this afternoon I decided F that, it’s my birthday, and I’m going to drink some tea I love. A lot of people have been drinking Laoshan Black today so it was already stuck in my head, but I have the option to take it to eleven.
I actually hadn’t yet broken into the 2oz of this that I ordered… I can’t believe I have two whole ounces of this, but of course it is the only two ounces I will ever have. So glad to treat myself to this one today. Soooo smooth and honeyed. Grains, malt, chocolate, and a bit of spice, like a mexican hot chocolate almost. Deeeelish.
I’m going through some of these LPDT samples that I’ve had for a while but never tried so I can decide which ones I will drink the rest of and which ones I will swap and/or put in the TTB (if it ever comes).
They recommend steeping this one for 5–7 minutes. I can’t imagine! I did not follow that, though I did use their recommended temp. The resulting tea tastes kind of… odd. I can’t really parse it, and I think it’s the fruity floral flavors combined with the dark, roasted oolong. These are not things that go together in my mind, and I wanted this to be a green oolong. I also can’t for the life of me figure out which fruit and flowers are supposed to be in here. It is very confusing. The base is actually not too roasty and pretty nutty, so I feel like it would have been a great candidate for a chocolate/nut based tea. But no, fruity florals. Once I got partway through it started growing on me a bit, so it ended up being a drinkable tea, but definitely not one I would seek out again. Such has been my experience with LPDT… nothing quite amazing, but a lot of decent teas.
Yay, it’s my birthday. Boo, I have to spend all day writing my dissertation chapter. I have been very motivated this week, but today is looking bad.
Well, I better say something about this tea so I can get back to work. It’s a pretty drinkable tea, and I am enjoying it a bit more today than I have in the past. Very strong bergamot, but it avoids getting bitter, at least when hot. This is one of those odd teas that actually tastes worse once it cools a bit. The base is nice, with even a hint of sweetness to it, again, at least while it’s hot. Even while pretty darn warm this one is starting to become more astringent.
Sipdown, 169. Again, sending the rest of this one off in a swap!
So a while ago I had a weird time with some flavored green teas where they gave me an odd savory note. I discovered that it was my kettle that needed cleaning, but I think that was not the whole story. I think there is something about flavored senchas lately that are not sitting quite right with my taste buds. It’s been a while since my incident (and I had a cup of bilochun earlier that was fine), so I know the savory note I’m getting from this one is inherant. Of course, it is a super super mild note compared to my last experience, but it’s still there. I think I am starting to become not a fan of the base of most flavored senchas. Hmm. Anyway, the vanilla on this was light and creamy and pretty nice, it’s just the tea base I don’t find so awesome. I was never that excited by a green vanilla tea, though, so I am happy to send the rest of this one off to another home.
Sipdown, 170. This feels like a milestone! It is as low as I’ve gotten since I started keeping track. I’ve been yoyo-ing around mainly between 180 and 200 for a couple of months now so its nice to see the number actually dropping again (although looking back I started at 264, which was my highest number, so I’m almost down 100 teas). Now that I’m here, no going above 190!
Most of the sipdowns I’ve had recently I haven’t been too sad to see go, but this one is different. Is it my favorite tan yang? No, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious. I was reminded about this one by Angrboda’s tasting note on the tan yang from Teavivre today, and I definitely agree with her that this is kind of a wild child tan yang. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but today it is giving me really lovely chocolate-cinnamon bread notes, which is totally unexpected (where is cinnamon coming from in a tan yang?!) but awesome nonetheless. Glad I had this one around for a while.