79 Tasting Notes
I spent my day in the best way possible…watching hockey on my laptop—Gamecenter is a beautiful thing-I can watch my team play hockey and not break my soul, watching F1 on my TV—my favorite driver wins and he does it quite often, reading a book and sipping tea. I think that’s my own personal version of heaven.
There are just some teas that make you feel joy and happiness. This one is one of mine. It is the most perfect black tea I have ever tried. This is going to sound loopy but it tastes almost like a really good pie crust. It’s sorta buttery but with a nice vanilla and cream flavor. Actually, strike that, it tastes like a custard. A really good custard. Eh, either way it works because it’s perfect. It’s also the smoothest black tea I’ve ever tried.
Thanks to Stacy for sending a sample of this one.
I have missed Steepster so so much. I’ve been drinking tea but writing reviews has been a trial. I’m encountering a great deal of writer’s block—in reviewing books and tea, researching, even writing the odd email. But I think I am back. I think.
Awabancha was a weird experience. And in not a bad way at all. Weird as in it took me a couple of sips to understand. At first the faint taste of pickle-slight vinegarish saltiness— was kicking me right in the face. Definitely strange when you’re drinking tea. But I kept sipping and it kept growing on me. Sure, there is a slight pickle-ish bite but there is also a slight nuttiness on the finish. It’s definitely different and unique—it’s a step up in weird from pu’er. Perhaps not something I’ll reach for a lot but I will have the odd craving for this one. I can tell.
Thank you to Stacy for sending me this (and other) lovely teas.
P.S. Why isn’t this showing up on my Dashboard?
I have been a mess lately. Whenever the weather changes, I get sick. I try to avoid it but it always happens no matter what I do. Also, my hockey team is terrible and I can’t leave my house because they decided to tear up my street. All of this makes it worse. I decided to make myself something sort of decadent to make it better.
The first time I tried this one, it was all “Meh”. It was weak and not chocolaty. It tasted like watered down cocoa. Not good. But I overleafed this time in a big way. And I added some cocoa powder…Valrhona…and some cream. It was absolutely delicious. The chocolate and cinnamon were perfect. And the heavy cream gave it the cocoa feeling. Of course, I had it at night so I didn’t sleep well but still…perfection.
This is my first tea picked by my homemade randomizer. It was one of the ones I was hoping to squirrel but the randomizer picked it and I am a slave to the system. I also didn’t take detailed notes about each steep because I am lazy.
I absolutely loved this tea based completely on the superficial. It’s adorable. It’s so tiny and pretty and the box is purple. The look of it made me happy. Brewed, it’s just magnificent. So sweet and creamy. There are times when I sip this tea and it’s just notes of caramelized dates with that smooth creaminess and it was just perfect. Pure perfection. This is one of the smoothest ripe pu’ers I have ever tried.
I don’t think this will be an everyday tea. Not because I don’t love it to bits and pieces but I want it to last. I am tempted in a big way to buy another one of these and a Red Rhyme.
I needed to drink something I knew I loved today. My tea experience last night (with Mango Diablo) was far from pleasant. So Gentleman’s shu it is. It was a beautiful experience of toffee, caramel and cream. I didn’t take notes because I am lazy…That’s been a trend lately. But I do think I have found my perfect brew method with this one. 15 seconds for the first 3 steeps, then increase by 10 seconds until you reach a minute, then after a minute increase by 30 seconds. It was perfect. I am upping my rating because I really love this tea more and more every time I drink it.
I don’t know what happened to this tea but oh dear tea gods did I not like it this time around. The green tea was bitter, the mango tasted like a fruit roll-up and the chili was AWOL. The last time I had it, it was utter perfection so I am not going to change my rating but not good, folks, not good.
My team is playing HOCKEY!!! That is enough to make this girl pretty darn joyful. My team’s new goalie is also fabulous (Thanks Vancouver!). I needed something more robust than a green to reflect the sport I am watching. So I picked up my trusty Phatty Cake—and I overleafed a bit…My cake is shrinking. Not so much a cake anymore but a frisbee. I decided to follow Bonnie’s advice and make it a latte. Oh my dear lord. It’s delicious. Phatty Cake already has some molasses notes but adding almond milk—didn’t have any coconut as Garret suggested—and a touch of raw sugar just brings it right out. Sweet, slightly smoky dark molasses. I’m drinking it hot right now but I think I may have it iced later.
P.S. My team won. Unusual.
I have been cleaning my house lately which is why I have been away from Steepster. My family has the propensity towards collecting randomness. Holiday items, curtains, tools and apparently tea sets. Squirreled away in a box of randomness was a tea set from Japan and a saki set. I am completely estimating but I think they are from the 40s or 50s because my Uncle was stationed in Japan around that time. It’s all gold and prettified. The tea set has a Foreign mark with a globe-like symbol—the saki set is a mystery because I can’t read Japanese…or anything but English. I have become completely obsessed with it. I had the brief thought of asking my aunts if they wanted it but I guess that’s impossible considering I am hoarding it like Gollum hoarded the One Ring.
Garret is officially my Tea Superhero. Like Batman only better. I have been on a serious green kick lately. Green oolongs, sheng pu’ers, green tea…all of it. But I had so little because that is usually not my schtick. Garret sent this one along with many other greenish teas in my last order. Happy dance!
This one started out very floral in a jasmine kind of way. Jasmine with a light honey sweetness. Surprisingly, I really loved it. The first steeps were dominated by floral notes but as the steep times got longer it veered more toward fruity notes…mainly peach. The honey stayed consistent with varying intensity.
I really liked this one quite a bit. It’s not my favorite green oolong. I think that is a tie between Alishan Oolong and Milk Oolong. But it’s pretty darn close. I’ll probably order some more of this and cold steep the last bit of this because I think it would be lovely iced.
I have had relatives visiting for the past couple of weeks which means I have not had the chance to drink much tea. They are strictly coffee people and since I am the only one who can make a decent (seriously excellent) pot of coffee, tea has kind of been in the background. I missed it and I really hope that my moment of off the wagon didn’t start up my addiction to coffee again.
I have been sipping though. I found time to bring out some Verdant teas that I haven’t had the chance to try yet or that I haven’t had in a while. The last time I had Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha was I think around April and I loved it. Like a lot. It was so perfect. So roasty and chocolaty. This time, however, it was a bit too roasty and not chocolaty enough. Perhaps it’s because it’s a bit older. I still like it a lot but definitely not the love I had before. It’s still a reorder though because that first time was so resplendently awesome.
I’ve been a bit absent from Steepster lately. I have a good excuse. I sprained my wrist and typing is a big ol’ pain. To make it even worse, I steam burned the same hand so now I have second degree burns and a sprained wrist. I’m not whining, I swear. The only thing that has kept me from being a big baby is tea. So, I guess, there’s that. My form of pain management is drinking copious amounts of tea.
Steep 1- 15 seconds
Kind of mellow. Sweet. A little bit smoky yet creamy. Very interesting in a completely non-aggressive kind of way.
Steep 2-30 seconds
It’s asserting itself a bit more. Still smoky and sweet but where the original Phatty Cake asserted itself in a smoky way, the Sequel is all about the creamyness.
Steep 3-45 seconds
It’s getting a bit nutty…literally. It’s reminiscent of Amaretto. Call me a bit insane but I may even prefer this to the original Phatty Cake.
Steep 4-1 minute
It’s a tiny bit woodsy but it’s kind of reminiscent of vanilla extract without the alcohol kick. It’s vanilla in that sort of woodsy way and not totally pastry-like or sweet.
Steep 5-1.30 seconds
Vanilla bean with a touch of figgy fruitiness. Winner! It’s light but it’s very flavorful.
I’ve been craving some iced tea lately so I decided to stop brewing this hot and try an overnight iced tea steep. Oh my dear tea gods. It was amazing. This is going to sound crazy but it’s like I took a Napoleon, mashed it up in a blender and drank it. It’s vanilla and custard and even a bit pastry-like. I wish I had made more than a glass worth of it.
I am not going to go so far as to say that I love this more than the original Phatty Cake but I love it for different reasons. Since hockey season is getting close, I am going to use a hockey comparison. The original Phatty Cake is the flashy forward. The guy who scores all the goals, gets all the credit and is all “Look at me!!! I’m so talented” but the Phatty Cake Sequel is the hard working third liner. The guy who does everything well but stays out of the way. He’s also the guy that scores the goals when the flashy forward is in one of his cold streaks—-or decides to retire to Russia…I’m bitter. I think on most occasions I’d prefer the more mellow Phatty Cake Sequel to be honest but I think the Sequel with gain some strength with age. Hopefully not too much because I like the gentler aspect of it.