417 Tasting Notes
Like I said in my other tasting note, I went to afternoon tea where they served Harney & Sons! The tea I ordered became bitter very quickly, so I stole a few cups from my friend’s pot of this lovely tea. I’m pretty picky about my jasmine teas because I can be on the fence about jasmine in general, but this one really hit the spot. It had a very clean jasmine taste that wasn’t too perfume-y or astringent like ones I’ve had in the past. It did become bitter, but only because the leaves were left to steep in the teapot between cups. When I finally put in an order with H&S, I will be sure to include this one! Oh, and the restaurant used the same teapot (but in white) that I have at home to serve the teas in! It was so nice seeing my teapot in a fancy place :)
I finally went to one of those afternoon teas at a cafe at the Boston Public Library (beaautiful). Anyway, they had Harney & Sons teas, which I was really excited about. I think my mistake was ordering this tea since they left the leaves in the pot and it way oversteeped, getting bitter. It was good at the beginning, though, so I will refrain from rating until I try it properly later.
Tea & Cards TTB #13
Though the TTB is en route to the next lucky participant, I stole a few teas out of the box to try after I sent it. This is one of those teas. Based on the description, I was expecting a lot more complexity out of this tea than I was getting. It seemed just like a plain darker oolong or even black tea to me. It also seemed a bit astringent. I may resteep these leaves later to see if it changes. If not, I took two teaspoons from the box and only used one today, so I’ll try to read some of the others’ notes and change it up to see what happens! I will optimistically leave the rating for later.
Backlog. After an uncharacteristically unpleasant experience with a sencha earlier in the day, I needed a palate cleanser of sorts. I love this tea with all my heart, so I decided to steep this one after dinner. It also is supposedly lower in caffeine, so I felt okay about drinking it later at night. I’m bumping this tea up to a full 100 since I always seem to reach for it when I need something reliably delicious and roasty.
Backlog. Yesterday was inadvertently a very Japanese day- all Japanese green teas and Japanese food for dinner. Not that I’m complaining! Anyway, I had this after classes to relax before I headed back out into the cold for dinner. I have to say, I was really excited to try this one but was disappointed. It tasted just like a regular sencha (grassy, a bit murky) to me with nothing really coming from the “flower” part of the blend. And I did make sure that I had flower buds in the tea. I also tried resteeping a few times to see if the floral flavor would show up, but it never did. As a sencha, it was also very finicky. It turned from very mildly flavorful to bitter much too quickly for my lazy self to babysit. Sadly, I’m not going to be reordering this one. I do have one teaspoon left, so perhaps it will miraculously taste better or I will be more patient, but I don’t really see that happening.
Backlog. Yesterday, I had an early start to classes, so I brought this with me in my tumbler. I have decided that I’m only going to bring less finicky teas to school, and I remember this one as being very generous. I’m increasing the rating because even though I’m pretty sure my water was too hot, it didn’t get bitter. I like the combo of the flavorful toastiness from the genmaicha and the energy boost from the matcha. I only have one teaspoon left, though, nooo!
After tasting a bunch of new teas from the TTB, I wanted to wander back into familiar territory for a bit. I tend to love Japanese greens, so I came back to my sample of this tea. It was nicely savory and grassy at the same time, and I think I’m gonna bump up my rating of this a bit. I will say, though, to be careful because it can get very bitter quickly. I think I steeped for one or two minutes and it was fine, but I left the leaves in my teapot, and the rest of it got bitter. I added some more hot water to try to rectify the situation, but ended up making it too diluted. Anyway, keeping an eye on steeping the first time around seems to be the key here. Looks like I only have enough for one more go, so I’ll be sad to see it go.
Thanks to Tea at Sea for the free sample! A month ago, this probably would have been a contender for one of my favorites, but I have had many many oolongs since, so I’ve become a bit pickier. This one was floral and smooth, which was very nice. However, the flavor was a bit mild for me. Perhaps I should have used more leaf. Also, there was nothing particularly special about it that made me instantly want to order more. I definitely enjoyed it, though, and I would recommend it as a nice oolong, just not the best I’ve had.
I ordered one of each of Shan Valley’s teas when they first came out with the 1 oz samples, which are very reasonably priced. I love my roasty oolongs and houjichas, so I was expecting a little more from this than what I got. For the first few sips, I was snacking on some heavily flavorful foods, so I didn’t even notice any taste at all from this tea. After I stopped eating, though, I did notice a very mild, subtle roasted flavor and not much in the way of a typical green tea. I usually take my teas very mild, but even for me this was too subtle. Perhaps I need to play with the steeping parameters a bit, but I have a feeling that this tea is just fine, but nothing extraordinary. I’m curious to see how the other teas fare.
Tea & Cards TTB #12
Ugh, today brought a string of little failures. I tried to mail off the TTB, but there was some problem with the tape or something. I was then late for class and couldn’t get hot water for my tumbler. Then as I was trying to keep awake in class, I somehow managed to get a papercut right between my fingers, eek. Anyway, I finally managed to get some hot water between classes (hooray!) for this tea. The tea was nice and bold as a breakfast tea should be, yet it was also a bit sweet. As it cooled down, I could swear I almost tasted an apple-like flavor, but that may be contamination from my tumbler or other teas stored next to it. Thankfully, it’s now the weekend, so I can recharge for a better start to next week!