58 Tasting Notes
Haven’t had any of this in awhile, and I only had two bags left, and I’ve been working on a three-day panettone project that I FINALLY stuck in the oven this morning. So a nice, delicate, orange-spiced-black tea really seemed like a good idea first thing in the morning! :D
I love how Lupicia has somehow managed to harness their scent of orange flower so that it isn’t cloying or overpowering in the least. Instead, it’s almost mildly intoxicating. You can see the pink peppercorns, but you can’t really smell them when you first open the package. That doesn’t come until later.
This is another one where Lupicia recommends boiling water for 3-5 minutes. No problem; 5 minutes it is. :)
The first taste is suggestive of more, and also suggestive that just a hint of sugar (maybe 1/2 teaspoon?) would stand it in excellent stead. And it does. (I love honey in tea, but I usually only break it out if I significantly want to alter the flavour of whatever I’m drinking, because it’s got such a distinct flavour of its own.)
Here’s where you smell the pink peppercorn, and slightly taste it as well. It’s not biting or sharp, but it adds a certain zing to that orange/black tea combo. This tea tastes like memories, and is a deep amber in colour that it reaches after about 4 minutes of brewing.
Meanwhile, the panettone is baking up beautifully and is almost done. The house smells heavenly right now. I can’t wait to try it. Happy Festivus, everyone! :D
Holy monkey, smell that vanilla!
The vanilla scent is immediately intoxicating upon opening the package. There’s something pretty and blue amongst the leaves, too, and I’m not quite sure what it is…along with the chunklets of dried pineapple and coconut shavings in the tea.
The vanilla scent vanishes directly after pouring the water over the tea, but comes back in a slightly mellower way after a minute or so of steeping. Pineapple and coconut scents aren’t really evident, but you do get some mellow, sweet pineapple flavour, as well as a hint of coconut toward the end of each sip. The coconut is the only flavour that lingers in the aftertaste as well. It’s not strong, but it’s definitely there—-more like an intangible idea than an actuality.
As for the tea itself, it’s slightly weaker than I usually like. Perhaps I should have flouted Lupicia’s rules and gone for 6 minutes. If the tea were stronger, I’d probably have liked this more. I was worried the vanilla might be overpowering since it smelled so strongly when first opened, but it was actually quite nice.
It’s quite nice to look at, a rather nice dark gold with coppery undertones. :)
(Side note: Lupicia recommends 3-5 minutes for steep time, using boiling water. Generally, when I brew most teas, I tend to veer toward the longest time suggested because I prefer a stronger brew. )
Resteeped! As expected, it’s much more subtle. Still a lovely amber hue, but a bit fainter. The taste is like that as well. It’s lost a bit of its smokiness…more like banked embers still glowing and winking, not hissing and spitting and erupting in flame.
The delicate floral notes that were detectable pretty much only through the aroma are now completely gone. It’s definitely nice, though. I don’t mind.
In summary, if the first steep reminds you of tropical volcanos, the resteep is more like a photograph. On first steep, you’re completely there and savoring the moment, living the experience out and letting the lava flow. On resteep, you’re looking at photos of your last vacation and reminiscing about how great it was. :)
A friend of mine who lives in Hawaii (lucky girl) sent me a special Hawaii-only Lupicia package of tea, full of flavours they apparently only sell in their Honolulu store. So if you’re wondering why you don’t see these offered elsewhere (or on their website, with a couple of exceptions), now you know. :)
At any rate, upon opening the package, the first whiff is kind of ashy. Not in a bad, “oops, I burnt my house down, my bad!” kind of way. It’s sweeter, like when you toast marshmallows over an open campfire on the end of a slightly green branch. Anticipatory burning, yes.
Upon pouring the recommended boiling water over it, the water instantly turns a nice, rich gold. Within a minute of starting to brew, that gold deepens into a rich, luxurious amber colour. The amber deepens as it steeps, but it never becomes a flat brown. Instead, it’s got slightly warm, reddish undertones, like a really nice single-malt scotch. Or John Simm’s eyes, if you like (and I do). Hee. ;)
The aroma as it steeps smells less like burning and more like something sweet and yet slightly sour…not-quite-ripe mango, maybe? There’s an undertone of the aforementioned pleasant burning smell, but it’s overlaid by sweetness. Not overly-sweet, though. (I’m worried I’m making this more confusing in my attempt to clarify. It’s a bit like dancing about literature. XD)
First sip is smoky oolong all the way, but it’s held in check by something sweeter and slightly floral and perfumy that lingers after the oolong is long gone. As the perfumy smell lingers, the burning aroma comes back, and yes, it’s definitely reminiscent of a volcano. In a good way, I promise. It’s smooth, slightly dark in taste, and quite nice overall. :)
I’ll probably go for a resteep later, so stay tuned. :)
Another comforting tea, this time from my childhood. One of the teas my mom always had around, and one of my first exposures to tea. This is a guilty pleasure, purely because of sense-memory. I know there are plenty of other, better blackteawithorangespice combinations out there, but…it’s kind of like Alpha-Bits. Older and presumably wiser, I know that I don’t want to know what’s in those marshmallow chunks…but they still taste good as they chalkily deliquesce in my mouth, you know? ;)
I know it’s hardly the best tea in the world, but this and Constant Comment evoke warm, fuzzy memories. That can’t be bad, surely? :)
When properly brewed, and taken with a little milk and sugar, this tea is actually really fantastic. It’s like dessert with caffeine, and it got me through many a looooong day spent in Technical Services when I used to work in an academic library. It brought some much-needed sweetness to cold, dusty afternoons. Although there have been plenty of teas before and since that have been better, this is still immensely comfortable. Like an old plush bathrobe. It may not be pretty to anyone else, but you’ll still wear it around your house and feel utterly at home while wearing it.
Resteep! This is really the biggest difference between Yorkshire Gold and regular Yorkshire Tea for me. Both are big everyday workhorse favourites of mine, but YT doesn’t work well on the resteep, whereas YG does.
It’s lighter in colour, yes…if by “lighter in colour” you mean “can’t be mistaken for coffee on first glance.” Lighter in flavour as well…not as robust, but still very smooth and eminently drinkable. The caffeine doesn’t hit you as hard, either—-but that could also be because by the point I’m ready for a resteep, I’ve already had an awful lot of caffeine. (Today, it’s particularly bad…I had Thai coffee at lunch. Ahem. XD)
On resteeping, I let it go slightly longer timewise, but keep the same temp. I may or may not add a teensy bit of sugar, depending on my mood. Good times.
So, as you may have noticed, I got a little excited about joining Steepster. I’m someone who keeps notes on things I try, and I may possibly have gotten a little carried away in going “oh! those notes will come in handy now! :D” yesterday…for which I apologize. Hee.
At any rate, in the process of rooting through my tea shelves, I found some teas I hadn’t thought about in awhile. Things I didn’t usually drink. You know how it is, you have a few go-to teas, and you have a cup of those, and then you go on about your business.
Steepster’s good for inciting extreme care and thoughtfulness as regards every sort of tea—-and in particular, ones I haven’t become overly familiar with. With that in mind, I brewed up a cup of this. I generally tend to have larger mugs of tea, particularly in the morning, so I let it go about a minute longer than Tea Source suggests.
The candied ginger is definitely there, which I love—-I’m a huge fan of it, but it’s not too overpowering here. Instead, it blends nicely with the yunnan. It’s a rich golden brown color, and the smell reminds me more of honey than anything. That part’s all in the smell, however; a taste of this by itself is slightly flat and unobtrusive, but that could also be because it’s a year old. (A friend sent it to me for Festivus last year; trouble with always buying new teas is that even with how much I drink, it’s hard to drink them all quickly enough.)
A tiny bit of sugar (and we’re talking tiny, not even a whole teaspoon) changes all that. Those golden notes hinted at by the honeyed ginger aromas wafting so invitingly from the cup come alive. Your whole mouth is wrapped in velvety smoothness—-or, at least, mine was. It’s well-rounded, and not overly strong. The most unique thing about it is that it just sort of fades away after each sip goes down. Not much of a lingering aftertaste at all.
I can see enjoying this primarily in the afternoon. It’s not got enough of a boost to it that I’ll probably drink it a lot first thing in the morning, despite having done so today.