1911 Tasting Notes
Sipdown, 139. I really need to make some (figurative) room in my cupboard because I am about to have a bomb of oolongs from Teavivre dropped on me soon. I figured I should try to get through this last batch of teas that they sent me, so that’s the goal for the next few days.
I’ve tried this one with my western black tea methods (2tsp, 12oz water, 3 minutes) at the recommended steep temp, and a pseudo-gongfu method, which is the whole sample pouch for a shorter period of time. I find this one yields similar results for me in each method. Even though it’s a Fujian tea, it has some earthy-potatoey Yunnan-like notes to it. There’s a hint of grains like I might expect from a Fujian, but also a very slight cocoa-powder note. All in all I definitely enjoy this tea, and it seems to be a great example of a golden monkey. Now if I loved golden monkeys, I’m sure this tea would be at the top of my list.
This tasting note is more a pouting note. I bumped into my Lupicia handy cooler today while it was drying and it smashed on the ground and shattered. :( :( :( I literally use it every day to make iced tea for lunch. I had to go and buy a replacement right away. Still so sad.
This was the last thing I cold steeped in it, but unfortunately it wasn’t successful. Sometimes flavored whites come out bitter and overdone even just overnight. I guess I’ll try it for a shorter time… Eventually.
You know, I have gotten to the point with my dissertation that I can actually take the time to write tasting notes again. Turns out that once it’s written and sent off for comments, there’s a lot of waiting around to do.
While I’ve been writing and not posting notes, I have been slowly working on pushing through some older teas and going back to old favorites that I haven’t had in a long time mostly because I get focused on samples and sipdowns. This fits the old favorites category, although it’s not really that old of a tea. A nice morning Earl to start the day.
Sipdown, 140. Saying bye to my supermarket tea from China, still better than a lot of jasmine greens that you find in the States!
This one has been in the same paper bag that I bought it in over a year ago, but it aged fine. Jasminey, satisfying. Piles of loose tea in the Carrefour supermarket is probably the ting I miss most about China. :)
Sipdown, 141. So I had this actually first a while ago when I wasn’t really posting notes (dissertation still isn’t done, but the worst has past). Violet is one of those florals I haven’t been able to get behind, but I got this as a free sample with my Instant Thé order, so I figured I would try it.
The first sip I thought I didn’t want any more, but then it kind of grew on me and I mildly enjoyed the rest of the cup. TONS of violet, not much raspberry. I decided to cold steep the rest of it with a sachet of Paradise Green from Lupicia that came in my newsletter, since I wasn’t too into it. Mistake. That blend is totally bleh, mostly bitterness and overwhelming violet. A violet lover would certainly appreciate this more, I think.
Thanks again to Justea for this sample. I was excited to find out that one of the samples that they were including was an Earl Grey, since as many of you know I love Earl Greys and have tried many of them. I am a lover of a well-bergamotted Earl; no light scenting here, please.
Based on some comments from K S I tried this one with a bit less leaf, 1.5 tsp for 12oz. Of course I don’t know whether due to that or if the bergamot is serving to cover up some of the astringency that I found in the base tea, but this tea was DELICIOUS. What a fantastic Earl Grey.
It reminds me a bit of my fave Earl, Lupicia’s. The bergamot is strong but never gets that citrus pith-y bitterness. Instead, it hits all the good-beramot notes: citrusy, slightly floral, bright and crisp. Here, the base is smooth and slightly sweet, which I love in an Earl. A rich, malty base pairs perfectly with bright citrusy bergamot. I didn’t find this astringent or bitter at all, just extremely tasty. This is a tea that I definitely want more of. Guess I better get in on their latest crowdsourcing campaign so I can get more of this tea: http://www.justea.com
I recently ordered a sample of this blend from Red Leaf because I had been hearing so much about it. I didn’t realize that I could get a next-to-free sample of it, so I jumped on it when I had the chance. I was pleased that the sample actually came with two single-serving pouches.
I was surprised at how much was used for a single cup, but I dumped the whole pouch into my blender with milk and some ice cubes. I will say that this is dangerous because it is dead easy and super delicious! Mmmm, caramelly, sweet but not too sweet, with a thick richness that was amazing from just milk and a few small ice cubes (that didn’t add much, honestly). The flavor of the matcha definitely shines through, but it’s just well balanced overall. I want to go out and buy a huge amount immediately, but I really should get through all the matcha that is still in my freezer before I do. There is no doubt that the convenience factor and deliciousness factor for this is huge.
Thanks to Justea for providing this sample for review. I am pretty picky these days about teas and I no longer jump on every offer for free tea on the forums. But this company stuck out: working to bring a sustainable, whole-leaf tea processing company to Kenya, whose tea farmers grow most of the worlds’ tea (!) but see basically none of the profits as their product is chopped up into tea for bags. I have a soft spot for the fact that it’s Kenya, too, because I have spent some time in East Africa and the people there are so wonderful and really deserve a better option.
I tried this tea when I first got it because I couldn’t wait until the crowdfunding effort went live, now accessible at http://www.justea.com . At the time, I remember that it was malty and a bit sweet, but also with a decent hit of astringency. I think this astringency characterizes African teas in general, and more broadly it applies (for me) to most assams, which makes sense because the tea bushes in Africa are of var. assamica.
I steeped this one for a slightly shorter time than recommended (but at the recommended temp) and it has definitely toned down the astringency a bit. There’s pretty much no completely removing it, but it’s actually desirable for many people (usually described as “briskness”). The cup is a bit malty, with some cocoa notes in the nose but not really on the palate. There is definitely a slight fruitiness to this tea as well, perhaps a bit of stone fruit. Overall a very nice tea, and one I would highly recommend for lovers of a brisk morning cup. I can’t wait to try the Earl Grey that I also have from this company.