1916 Tasting Notes
Working on using up scraps and exercising a little tea budget discipline till fall (couple of unexpected doctor runs with pricey prescriptions is—ha—making that a lot easier). Half-and-halved some Metropolitan Tea Monk’s blend with some Irish breakfast pekoe this morning. Good way to add some perk to plain black tea; good way to tone down a strong fruity flavor if you’re not that perky.
Mental health day. (Yeah, it’s been that bad at work. I took two.) And in doing so, have had some lovely discretionary time to organize the next round of writing assignments, lunch with the hubby, and sort son’s bin of Star Wars books for weekend citywide garage sale. One of the three activities made me weepy and sentimental. Guess which one.
(Say what you will about Episode I. It will always have a soft spot in my heart. Young Anakin was perfect for my movie-going five-year-old.)
And as I wipe away the sniffles and dust mites, I’m giving a trial run to another of the unnamed, unflavored Red Leaf samples sent this way for a road test. I like the flavor of this one the best—it’s wonderfully mild and sweet—but the color is more like split pea soup left out overnight. I guess you can put “drink with eyes closed” on the steeping instructions?
Nina’s does fruit flavors well and properly! This one is so finely tuned it is difficult to tell where the apple stops and the apricot starts—-it’s just a soft, sweet compendium of flavors, with soft vanilla that makes its presence known, but doesn’t interfere. Just pretty close to perfect.
OK, I’m a sucker for well-written marketing copy. This one had me at “jammy,” the first descriptive word on the box. Snapped it up before paying full attention to the ingredient list, and then I saw the h-word first on the ingredient list. Uh-oh. Cautiously followed steep recommendations (175, 3 min) and…
Surprise! This isn’t a bit tart. Smells and tastes like strawberries that you’ve picked exactly one day after they were too green to pick and are just now ripe. This might be promising sweetened and chilled.
OK, this is the last of the homegrowns I had not yet tried—pineapple mint. It’s interesting: leaves are thick and a little fuzzy, long olive-green ovals with cream-colored edges.
Again, using a bag of Red Rose decaf as the backdrop—I think it’s a winner because there are no strong tea flavors to compete with the mint so I can get a fair impression of the flavor profile. I’m not entirely sure I’m getting pineapple out of it, but there is a fruity-something happening along with the mint.
Wish y’all were here to share with. The applemint has gone bananas; almost growing faster than I can prune. I have several large clumps drying upside down in the garage. It’s beginning to look like a tobacco barn.
Whoops, forgot this category existed, and with all our recent homegrown experiments, I could be filling it up. We bought two chocolate mint plants from local nursery; one for a bed in front, the other in a back porch pot. Now that they are flourishing, it is clear there are two varieties. One has long, pointed leaves; the other has leaves that are more spade shaped.
We’re drinking long and pointy tonight, with a bag of Red Rose decaf tossed in to give the cup a little density. If you’ve never tried chocolate mint, it is well worth the $3.49 experiment—steeped straight up, you can detect the essence of chocolate. With some tea to give it a little heft, you can almost taste an Andes mint.
In this case, cola tea (cola/rooibos) of indeterminate age and origin, sun tea’d in a Mason jar and thrown into the fridge. Leans more toward Dr. Pepper or RC than Coke, but won’t turn chicken bones into rubber :)
Perfect apres-mow beverage while I nurse my shoulder—first workout since a cortisone shot probably shouldn’t have been mowing the ditch with weeds the texture of wet rope.
Don’t you love surprise tea boxes waiting for you at the end of a rough, rough, rough workday? (Kinks in neck, permanent crease in forehead, blood pressure at low boil?)
In this case, it was a selection of matcha samples for taste testing from Red Leaf Tea. Matcha and I haven’t spent much time together and much of it has been comedies of error, so this will be a wonderful educational opportunity. I carefully followed Red Leaf’s general preparation instructions, minus a proper bowl and whisk, and am now curiously peering into a cup of what looks like squished frog and creek water, but tastes rich and mild and a little grassy.
Experts, does a little matcha still settle to the bottom of your cup if you’ve properly whisked it, or is it because I made do with a fork?
Score another modest win for this Cheapster Steepster…a good long steep in a cup with two plentifully leafy sprigs from the chocolate mint plant. It was rich and tasty—not York Peppermint Patties, mind you, but you didn’t have to think to hard to get the chocolate. The Red Rose made a good, unassertive base. I’m going to be a rebel and press the “Yes, I would recommend” button.