722 Tasting Notes
I am so so SO glad it’s March. Despite February being so short it was absolutely brutal weather-wise. Today the sun is shining and its supposed to get up into the 70s and there is real, actual SUNLIGHT outside my window.
Also I grew up in Savannah, and the city turns green for the entire month, seemingly, in preparation for St. Patrick’s day. For all of these reasons I was thinking of Ireland and decided this would be the perfect cup for a perfect Sunday morning.
This is a springy tea to me, not least because of the little green flecks present in the leaf when steeping. So bright and happy.
Served with a splash of creamer as it started to get a tad astringent when cooling. But by itself there is a really nice creamy note (before bitterness starts to creep in- next time I’ll try and be a little lighter handed on the steeping). In general this is a cup that gets sweeter as it settles – creamier and tangier as it cools.
This is a fabulous mix of breakfast and dessert tea… really, just a fabulous tea, period. One of my favorite Butiki blends.
Sheesh, my IRL tea cupboard was a hot mess! I think I’ve got a handle on it now but I found teas I didn’t know I had.
This was one of the teas I’ve had for a really long time at the bottom of my sample drawer. It is pretty old, but as I looked over my old tasting note it reminded me so much of that yummy Obukucha that I was willing to try it and see how it measured up.
It smells kind of fruity, which has me worried because even though it was sealed that is definitely scent contamination. I know that sometimes dry leaf smell contamination doesn’t necessarily affect flavor so I’ll press on.
Once the hot water hits the leaves a starchy sweet vegetal scent emerges. The leaves, initially a dull green, turn the light bright green of Lima beans. This reminds me strongly of dragonwell more than the brothy spinachy sencha. Tasting bears this out. This is dragonwell’s cousin for sure. Savory but not overtly salty, hints of earth rather than ocean. I had in the past tasted fruity undertones but they are not present now.
Still, for its age this was really good and flavorful. A great example of what I like in a Chinese green.
Flavors: Green Beans, Lima Beans
This does smell sweet and sugared- when raw. More of a cotton candy lightness than, say, a sweet bread pudding. However, once steeped (gaiwan style, but following the package directions for time and temperature) a roasted grain note that screams hojicha takes over the smell. This is sad – I would have preferred the candied sugar scent to remain.
Sigh. The first steep is ALL toasted bread. Incidentally, I am eating freshly baked bread with it and the two mirror each other well. It is also REALLY strong, because I’ve never quite figured out how many cups each envelope in the Select box is meant to serve. I’m going with each envelope being for 2 servings, since whenever I use just one on one cup its come out too strong. So that could be why I’m being walloped over here with the toasted grain notes. At the same time, though, its not like there’s any bitterness or astringence, so…I don’t know! I like a lot about the steepster box but that’s a huge frustration for me.
The second steep – done for 2 minutes in boiling water, is surprisingly much lighter than the initial one. That punch of roasted wheat has gone away so now I smell and taste a much milder, more honeyed tea. I much prefer this, actually, so I’ll give it another go to see where the tea evolves from here.
Third steep, 3 minutes – the spent leaves smell like toast again, but the liquor smells very spun sugar sweet. Unfortunately the taste doesn’t measure up – there is definite astringence now and not much else flavorwise.
So I wasn’t really impressed with this one. It could have been user error, but I know I’ve had Da Hong Pao before and the fact that I’ve not had it since could be that it just isn’t the tea varietal for me. Eh. Put me in the camp of people that consider this ‘just ok’.
Tea of yesterday morning. My memory was really not as on point with it, though, because as soon as I loaded up the previous tasting note I realized I’d done all the things I’d told myself NOT to do this time.
Add the extra leaf? Yep, did that. Not add milk? Well, I put in creamer from the beginning.
Despite this the cup turned out fine. A good black breakfast tea. I just have so many others that this one doesn’t manage to set itself apart. Good but not great.
After the success of the Obukucha (SO bummed that that is only sold around the new year) I decided to order Japanese for lunch and make the other green tea in the Steepster box as a companion to it.
Dragonwells are easily my favorite Chinese green, if only because I find them very similar to senchas, albeit a touch more…nutty? Earthy? Something like that. There’s less of a salty ocean tang here – just vegetal green. Not necessarily grass, more of a spinach undertone. The liquor is a pretty light green, almost colorless, despite my longish steep time. Still, it does hint at broth – just not the seaweed senchas tend to evoke.
This one was good but there’s just less going on than there was in the Obukucha. A solid green tea that I could see as being well suited for an every day cup, though.
I love a Japanese green.
Chinese greens always have kind of a soil/dirt undertone (not unpleasant, just part of their terroir, I guess) which makes them have a brown-green liquor. But Japanese greens – they have a translucent peridot liquor and they taste like the ocean. It makes sense – Chinese greens are not really grown by the sea, but Japan is an island so I imagine the salt in the air has no choice but to become a part of the tea plants themselves.
The smell of this dry! It was like… like spring. Like chlorophyll and freshly cut grass, but also seaweed and salt. Its leaves turned emerald after steeping and it was such a wonderful sight – I haven’t seen green in nature for what seems like forever so it gets high marks alone for making me forget about February for a bit.
The taste is savory – think salty spinach broth. It is gorgeous. And now I really really REALLY want udon. Even though its 10 in the morning.
I didn’t really get the tree notes – pine or eucalyptus – in the flavor but I certainly didn’t feel as though I was missing out. Yum. I am going to have to look into more of this for sure.
Flavors: Grass, Ocean Breeze, Seaweed
Had for breakfast this morning – this was a sample from a long time ago swap with Sil!
My stomach is finally starting to remember how this whole digestion process works. It’s been touch and go for a few days and not much of anything (even tea) sounded appetizing.
This morning since things seemed better I went for a tea I hadn’t tried before (just in case it still doesn’t sit well I didn’t want to have a negative association with my favorite teas – as it is I can now no longer look at a box of Girl Scout cookies without feeling sick. ALL THE SADS.)
Steeped at the recommended parameters by the Sloane company. They have such gorgeous tins, really. If I didn’t have a surplus of them I would totally buy some – so pretty and elegant.
Taste wise I just added creamer from the beginning. Once it steeped up it looked too dark to drink on its own – and the smell was mostly dark chocolate. Dry leaf smell is contaminated from being in a drawer with a lot of other samples, unfortunately, but once steeped I got only unsweetened dark chocolate where I was hoping for some nuttiness too.
This took more creamer than I normally use to be palatable, so I’m guess it would have been really bitter and astringent without that buffer. Almond does that in tea (nuts in general add astringence in my experience) but I’m really not picking up on any almond at the beginning. Just….chocolate. And being a vanilla girl, this is not doing much for me.
Eh. At the end of the cup when things have cooled down marzipan takes over. Sweet and almondy – where were you from the beginning??? I like that eventually it lived up to its name but I ultimately think it took too long in getting to that point. Good to try, but I’m glad I just had a sample of it.
Backlog from 2 days ago. Oh Lemongrass. You + spearmint are all I want when I’m sick.
4tsp. this, 2 tsp. Upton spearmint to 16 oz. water in the Breville.
Another stomach thing. I feel like I’ve been sick so much in the past 5 months. Not sure if it was food poisoning or what but man, puking in the bathroom at work is no fun.
This is usually the only thing I am able to drink when I feel that terrible, so I drank a cup or two and was finally able to settle down. Miracle worker, even if it does make me cringe at the sight of it when I’m well.
I’m so done with nasty winter weather and sickness. Why can’t it be summer yet???
Backlog from a few days ago.
This is such a great morning tea – not too overwhelmingly flavored, but still, not a plain black. The equivalent of a French Vanilla coffee, if you will.
I love it with a splash of creamer – that brings out the vanilla caramel notes so well and pairs perfectly with the base. It doesn’t have quite as much as the brisk boldness a plain CTC or Assam does but the softness of the vanilla rounds it out in a different way. This is more of a tea to take your time drinking and wake up slowly to.
Which works for me as those are my favorite kinds of wake ups. Lovely and a consistently good cup as always.
I’m a bit one dimensional with all these matcha tasting notes but seriously – COLD matcha lattes are my new favorite thing. I will be upping both my matcha and my milk consumption because of these beautiful things.
This time I increased the amount of matcha to 2 tsp. for 14 oz. liquid, just to get more of a matcha flavor. I got a really nice sweet caramel and also the vegetal green tea flavor. Ugh. I need to order more matcha. There are so many yummy flavors I want to try!