552 Tasting Notes
Today, what I thought were my allergies suddenly kicked up a notch with the stuffy nose and scratchy throat. It wasn’t until later in the day when it started getting to my head that I realized that I’m probably actually getting sick rather than worse allergies as I had thought (and hoped). Hopefully this goes away quickly because in the next few days I need to move to a new apartment and then take off for a three week adventure in Europe. Fingers crossed!
Anyway, I wasn’t too big of a fan of this tea last time, so I thought that with my tastes dulled by all the sniffling and such that I’d use the opportunity to drink some of this down. It tasted like a pretty ordinary general light oolong, but just the warmth and comfort of tea hit the spot.
I’ve been in the process of moving, so I haven’t been logging my teas as diligently here on Steepster. I originally had this one box designated for all my tea things (teapots, infusers, & teas), but as I was filling it, I realized I had about double the size of the box worth of tea things, oops! So in a futile attempt to sip down some teas, I made a large teapot of this for my mother and myself this morning. I think this tea is a little finicky to me. Sometimes it’s delicious and wonderful, but other times like today, it’s kind of bitter and astringent but at the same time watery? Confusing, but I’m keeping my rating as is, because when I take the time to do it right, it can be quite delicious. Looks like I only have one serving left, so it will be a sad sipdown soon.
My mother is visiting, and she has really loved hojichas since I introduced her to them (just like me!). She isn’t a regular tea drinker, though, so she can’t tell too much of a difference between the different ones I have, so I am taking this as an opportunity to get closer to sipping down on my least favorite hojicha. Is that terrible of me? I say least favorite, but even my least favorite hojicha is still a great, roasty tea to me. Looks like I have enough for one more teapot, so this will be sipped down soon!
I just read my previous tasting note about this tea, and I think that it really nailed my thoughts today about the thick mouthfeel and sweet, vegetal flavors. So I’ll just say that it’s a really nice tea to warm me up on this surprisingly chilly morning (when will I ever stop being surprised by the weather around these parts?).
As I said a few days ago, I was curious to see how this one would taste as a cold brew. I steeped about a tablespoon in my water bottle in the fridge for eight hours. The cold brew turned out to be much different than I expected! It was roasty, of course, but more like a roasted grain flavor. Actually, I recently took a tour of the Sam Adams brewery where we were able to taste a bunch of their malts. This cold brew reminded me a lot of the caramel malts that we sampled at the brewery. It also has some bitterness that actually kind of works with the flavors rather than being distracting or off-putting.
Overall, I would say that I’m glad that I tried cold brewing because it was quite a surprising experiment. However, I prefer this tea hot over cold in terms of a smoother flavor. Also, with how overpriced this tea is, it seems like cold brews would just use up too much leaf too quickly. I only dared try it because I’m still using the free ounce I have from my Starbucks reward.
Backlog. I’ve been reaching for this one lately, so I’ve had it a couple times in the last few days. Both times, there’s been a very strong baked bread or even potato-like flavor and texture. And of course, there is the malt taste to round it all out and give it a heavier body (though, not too heavy). All in all, a pretty tasty, complex black tea. I would definitely consider reordering!
Backlog from yesterday. Fire alarms are usually so annoying, but it was nice weather outside, so I decided to actually be a good person and evacuate rather than hole up in my room and wait for it to pass. And it’s a good thing I did because I ran into a friend who had just gotten back to the US after being gone for a few months! So of course we had to chat after getting back into the building, so I made a pot of this tea to sip on while hearing her charmingly adorable engagement story.
The tea was pretty roasty as it was the last time I had it. The surprising part was that as it cooled (we talked for a long time), I almost felt like there were some chocolate notes in there as well. It also seemed to be overall a smoother drink than it was last time. Anyway, this is kind of inspiring me to perhaps try cold brewing this one to bring out sweeter flavors. I’m sure I will report back on that front soon!
My allergies have decided to make my face look like I’ve been crying for 24 hours straight, hooray! Plus, I don’t dare put eye makeup on as usual because of all the itching and puffiness, so I just look extra tired/sad to people, haha. Ah well, hopefully it will be over soon.
Aaaanyway, the good news of the morning is this lovely tea. It’s definitely not as bold as my breakfast blend teas, but that’s actually very fitting for this morning. It has that signature malty taste that great straight black teas have, but there’s also something a bit tart(?) about it today. Oh, and now that it’s cooling down a bit, there’s some smokiness there as well. Quite an interesting combination. Sounds weird, but it’s working for me! I’m surprised that I’m not getting as much potato/honey notes as I would have expected, but it is definitely possible that my sense of taste is being thrown off by my allergies that have decided to take over my life.
Okay, so I went back to find my old tasting note about this one. I mentioned the same tartness and smokiness, but I guess it didn’t seem to hit it quite right for me last time. So I’m bumping up my rating of this one cause it’s pretty tasty today.
Hmm, not sure what I did wrong today, but I’m just getting a mess of bitter and astringency. It’s kind of reminding me of when I use water that is too hot to steep Chinese green teas. Perhaps that is what the problem was- water that was too hot? In any case, I will not hold my silly mistakes against this perfectly nice tea. On to the next cup of tea!
I actually had a pleasant in-store experience at Teavana today. I felt a little bad that I was using my Starbucks reward just to get the free ounce, but I really can’t buy more tea right now because I’m trying to sip down as many as I can before I move! I have this one box designated for tea when I move, and it’s currently overflowing.
Anyway, the Teavana guy was raving about how roasty and delicious this tea is. It’s almost like he could read off my face that I liked roasty teas. And I have to say that the tea does not disappoint! It has a dark, roasted flavor with even some smokiness (but not overwhelming) in there as well. It also has that sweet flavor that I’m used to finding in slightly greener oolongs, which was a nice surprise. The texture of the tea has a creamy quality to it, which was also another nice surprise.
The flavors are all holding up nicely in the resteep. Though, the unfurled leaves are not as full and impressive as I had hoped they would be, especially compared to some other darker oolongs that I’ve had.
Overall, a very delicious tea, but not the best dark oolong I’ve ever had. Which, I guess is good news because in typical Teavana fashion, I think that it is overpriced compared to all the other online vendors. I will probably not purchase this with actual money, but I will definitely resteep the heck out of every last leaf that I have. And perhaps I will use a future Starbucks reward to restock.