1720 Tasting Notes
Because of the cherry/berries, I’ve been wanting to try this chilled. Because of the green tea, I’ve been hesitant to cold steep or prepare this as sun tea. Hit sort of a happy medium; gave it a 20 minute start in the sunshine, then removed the bags and chilled it. Little rock sugar (just a teaspoon to a quart) to chase off the bitterness and it’s mighty nice after a bona fide hot day of mowing and puttering.
The mowing, inadvertently and unfortunately, displaced a couple of adorable baby bunnies the size of Twinkies who have spent a good bit of the day quivering in the flower bed. Can’t seem to convince them that the abode of El Puma, the serial rodent killer, is not a prudent place for them to take shelter. Anybody want to volunteer for the Rabbit Relocation and Protection Program? I could ship them to you in a shoebox…
Of all the plants in our back porch mint-speriment, the chocolate mint has flourished the most. It’s put out more tentacles than a kraken, so we’re trying a (Little Shop of )Horror-ticultural mutation: Set a pot next to it, anchored a couple of tentacles under an inch or so of soil, and are waiting for it to take root before cutting it loose and separating the pots. We’ll see…
Also, of the varieties of mint we’ve cultivated, this one makes the best stand-alone tisane—the chocolate flavor is truly and noticeably present, and though it’s mild, it does taste like mint tea instead of minty water. Come on over and I’ll cut you some sprigs.
This one remains a mystery and I have been too lazy to take and post a picture. It is in a lovely white tin with blue roses and a medallion that looks like a Blue Willow china plate.
The only English on the tin and the inner pouch is a very awkwardly spelled description (lovely “flayour” and “tenderraw” leaves) that provides no further description of its provenance. The lid of the tin was sealed with a very prominent green “2014” sticker and it came to me via a friend’s hubby who was in China very early this year.
Anyway, it steeps to the color of champagne/honeysuckle and is heavy, satiny, and tastes like sweet hay. Made a whole pot so I could enjoy a regular cuppa and try chilling a jar as well. At the rate I’m going, there may not be any left to chill.
Edit after I Googled “2014 green tea blue and white tin” (sometimes you find stuff!) It appears to be a Bi Luo Chun: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/150g-Top-Grade-biluochun-Spring-2013-green-Tea-Chinese-health-Care-Weight-loss-Bi-Luo-Chun/1412979198.html
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.