1415 Tasting Notes
So Friday was my last tea sommelier class. I’m done!! Sighs.
This is gonna be a long note so apologies in advance. I really want to remember the day and I think writing about it is the best way. That and I want to see if I can replicate some of the experiments at home one day :)
It was a great class to end on. We had so many teas that day, I swear I was a little drunk by the end of it!
The course was just presentations… I guess sommeliers are expected to have public speaking skills. It was a little stressful, but fun.
Well, we did start off the class with beer infused with Oolong. That was really tasty. Kindof floral and it blended well together. And it kicked off the “party” atmosphere.
Next we had some aged puerh with pretty intense menthol notes. Tasted great but the leaves smelled like moth balls! Errr…
After that we had more puerh (each class is dedicated to a type of tea. Can you guess what this one was??)
The lady who presented brought in tea eggs for us to try and they were the best I’ve ever had. Then again, I’ve only ever tried them at the old tea house I used to frequent before they closed down, and a sushi house that is also now closed. Hmmm.
Apparently the eggs are boiled in a brew of soy sauce, cinnamon, clove, sugar, salt, and guess what… tea! So flavourful and pretty. I love the marbled effect! I wonder what type of tea they used.
After that, we had another oolong, infused with presoaked (in tea!) pumpkin seeds. Our Prof is really nice, and doesn’t really care if we follow the schedule, and we weren’t being marked that day anyhow.
First steep was super pumpkin like, a little harsh, but rather tasty. I quite enjoyed it. Second one was much smoother, rounder, a little milder, and overall amazing. The package was written up in Japanese, so I’m not even sure what they are called… but I really wish I could find me some!
Anyhow, our last experiment was a bit more serious. One of my classmates bought a pesticide detection kit at Essence of Tea, that teaches you how to notice the difference between organic vs pesticide free food and beverages. They tested both teas in a lab and showed the results on a handout. I have it if anyone wants a copy. (though I would have to scan it)
It was not a perfect experiment because it came with two teas that weren’t identical besides the pesticide factor, but I did learn quite a bit anyhow. Mind you they were both uncooked puerhs made in a similar fashion, so it was easier to compare atleast.
It turns out that the way you can tell is not by taste at all! Not the main factor anyhow. Nope, it is more of a sensation thing. The organic version had a slight bitterness that came back with a honey sweet aftertaste. There was definitely more flavour there, while the pesticide version was less defined in that way. I would even say that it was kindof bland, more like something you could use for a flavoured tea, or in a blend.
The sensory part comes in with the pesticide version, and was really only noticeable when I sat down with a glass of both types. With the pesticide one, there was a very slight tingling/numbing of the tongue and roof of my mouth, and a tiny little pinching in my sinuses. You know when you have a headache, it comes in tiny stabs? somewhat like that, only very brief and not something I would normally pay attention to, although perhaps I should! Of course, organic is only one thing that contributes to quality tea. The richness of the soil, how it’s processed, how much sun it gets, those all need to be in balance as well. Bah. I had fun. Hopefully I’m not ruined for non-organic teas now heh. Ah well. The Prof pointed out that first or second flush teas are more likely to be organic anyhow, because pesticides are expensive and they don’t spray until the bugs come out… which is of course later in the season.
That was the end of it, sadly. It was a melancholy moment for me. But I really had to get going, as by the time I left class it was almost 10:30pm. We tea folk know how to partay.
Next up for me… a friend just gave me Turkish tea that she brought back from her trip! 500 grams I think. Oh dear. Should be interesting.
Wow this is a dynamic blend!
Hot, it tasted of super sweet and fragrant tangerine. I think the pineapple really brought that out because it didn’t taste so much like pineapple, but it had that same sweetness.
Then as it cooled, it kindof reminded me of cherry!! Odd because I don’t think it’s an ingredient. Anyhow, now that my cup has entirely cooled, I get more of a citrus melange.
Overall, a very light, refreshing tea that I didn’t need to add anything to, though I think it’d go superbly with a touch of lemon! I would consider adding this one to my cupboard, no question.
Also, I agree with Sil, this is pretty much a lighter, more vibrant version of Hepburn.
Thank you Nina’s Paris for the sample!!
Not bad for a bagged tea.
The good: It’s fluffy and fruity! Probably strawberry, maybe raspberry.
I let it cool quite a bit, and I kinda like it that way.
The bad: I taste a bit of plastic waxiness, with just a hair of bitterness at the end.
Overall, I wouldn’t ever buy it, but would certainly have a cup if it was free or offered at a social gathering where the gen pop isn’t tea snobby like us! :)
Hot, this was like a lemon candy… but not a good one. Maybe one meant for soothing coughs and sore throats. You know, with that thick syrupy medicinal kick to it.
Cold, it was closer to lemon cleaner. Hey maybe I should have used it to polish my furniture instead of tossing down the drain
How is this not the matcha that everyone talks about?? It is so tasty!
I made it straight up, no sugar or anything, and it was sweet, grape like one of those lifesaver gummies, and a tad floral. Usually I don’t go for floral in my matchas, but here, I don’t mind it. After adding a tiny bit of sugar, it was super flavourful and juicy. I had to look in the mirror and make sure I wasn’t purple, there was so much yowza in there! Mind you, I did go with robust.
One thing I need to watch out for is bitterness, as I could taste just a hint of it and there is no way I burned the water or didn’t use enough. and I mixed the heck outta my cup. I can’t wait to try this via shaken bottle method!!
Thanks to TeaBrat for another delish sample!
I really like this, but I read the description after taking my first few sips… and it didn’t say what I expected, though it is kinda accurate.
Everyone else talks about vanilla, and I guess I can see that, but I’m noticing more of a strawberry/rose note.
At first it reminded me of Marco Polo… but then as my cup drew near empty, I noticed that the base is more astringent, and the tea is less creamy yet more floral. So not that similar heh. But still really tasty, and yes, still reminiscent of a strawberry campino candy!
Of course, I’m not so sure it’d go well with milk.
Nice. For a bagged tea that is.
Hot, it tastes just like a cherry candy with a black tea twist.
Cold, it gets quite plastic-ish, but adding a bit of sugar helped. This is one I would love to enjoy iced but I don’t think it will go over so well. Sad.
Also, I can kinda taste the tea bag. Atleast I think that is what the faint cardboard note is anyhow! I hope it is that… If it wasn’t for those two factors, I would most definitely rate this in the high eighties as the cherry flavour is the perfect amount of tart and spot on cherry, when hot that is.
Bah. I’ll be happy to grab a cuppa this when I just don’t wanna think and plunk the bag into my mug, or when I’m in a rush dashing out the door.
Oh my this is super tasty!!!
Sample is courtesy of Jalam Teas and Jeff Fuchs – thank you!
I gave this one a five second rinse and I think it was a good idea. Washed away some dust. Not that there was much.
The TEA! There are fresh mineral notes, stone fruit, molasses and honey, with something bakey hiding in the aftertaste. And something that reminds me of wood. Did you ever get a mouth full of wood chips while horsing around as a kid? That is precisely what it reminds me of, but without the dust, and in a most positive way. Only the first steep so far, and I’m quite looking forward to the next one!
I love the consistency. Rich, like a typical fermented Puerh, but still refreshing.
EDIT: Oh my goodness. Rating bump!! Second steep, I accidentally left it brewing for maybe five min. I forgot to set the timer!
Anyhow, I figured it’d be ok, being that puerh is difficult to oversteep… and I was right! This is amazing. Creamy, sort of like a jin jun mei, and oh so smooth, with a slight burn afterwards, almost as if its been spiked with whiskey. The flavour reminds me of super smooth coffee when its hot, and then the cedar chip, and other standard puerh notes emerge.