850 Tasting Notes
Super long digression ahead – sorry in advance!
What a WEEK, you guys.
Since the boyfriend and I want to move out Oregon way we took a week and flew from ATL to Portland, and explored everything. I mean, EVERYTHING. We did the Columbia River Gorge, drove to Salem/Eugene/Corvallis and out to Newport to see the coast. It is so beautiful, and I do feel good about the move we’ll make soon.
While we were out there (we went in January on purpose, btw, since we needed to gauge what the peak of winter was like) on the cold rainy days we had a lot of bagged Bigelow teas, which I really enjoyed just because it was serious tea drinking weather. But now I’m back with MY teas, and even though its not too cold or rainy here, I wanted something warm and cosy to drink.
And I’m trying really hard not to think about how awesome it would be to have one of these snazzy mugs (http://www.madeinoregon.com/Mystic-Water-Right-Handed-Hand-Warmer-Mug.html) to drink said tea out of. I have enough mugs, self. REALLY. I do.
Okay, tea review time
Last time I had this the scent was kind of a fake vanilla. And it did the same thing this time – it was so very vanilla that it turned into chocolate scent wise. While I love vanilla very much and in teas think it is generally awesome, I do not feel the same way about chocolate. So, this could be why last time it didn’t seem to leave much of an impression.
The first sip of this is quite good: malty black tea with a buttery vanilla finish. No chocolate notes, yay! Maybe the vanilla addition needed to settle for a week or two?
Yes, overall this cup is much better than the first one. I’ll bump up the rating on it and then its off to read some Milan Kundera before hitting the sack. It’s so nice to be in my own space again…
Bought this sample with my last Upton order because the boyfriend was intrigued. And he also has short term memory loss because he cannot recall said interest. Good thing it was a.) cheap, and b.) I like Earl Grey, although I do prefer the Earl Grey Cream iterations.
Steeped per package directions, which happens to be my preferred method of steeping a black tea anyway. It smelled super bergamot-ty, which made me nervous initially because know I’ve had an Earl Grey from Teavana that seemed to give me headaches.
This tea, despite it’s very strong bergamot taste and scent, didn’t affect me that way though! Yay! Maybe it was just something in the Teavana blend, or maybe I’ve just upped my tolerance of it since the many years between that Earl Grey and this one. It is definitely too sharp of a flavor to have without additives, however. And there is not really much in the way of a ‘tea’ flavor to be had.
So: with milk and sugar, this turns into quite a good Earl Grey. I don’t miss out on the lack of vanilla as much, either. According to Upton’s site it is one of their more popular blends and I see why. I will definitely drink up the rest of the sample (and make the boyfriend drink some of it too, haha) but I think Earl Grey Creams are still my preferred varietal.
I’m on a sipdown roll today, it would seem…
Ohhh this smells gorgeous. Pie-like, or a warm fruit compote maybe. I am having this last cup plain and just marveling over how it seemed to get better with time. I will miss this but savor every single sip of it.
Flavors: Cake, Plums, Spices
Sip down this morning – had enough for one big mug of this.
I was too lazy to get up and add milk and sugar, so while this is brisk it actually has a great cinnamony flavor and chewy, bready texture.
This wasn’t one of my favorite teas from 52teas, but once I got the parameters right it was definitely one of the more accurate. And it’s a nice cozy cup to have on this VERY cold day.
Had this while looking up job postings this AM. Definitely a nice, bright start to my morning. :)
I looked at my previous tasting note for this and still agree with it – you get the citrus and then the tea & cream notes but it definitely all works. It’s a great, if similar tea to Noel a Venise and when I run out of both I’m going to have a hard time choosing which to restock!
(Yeah right. I’ll totally restock both of them…I know myself way too well.)
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Lemon, Milk, Vanilla
Today’s my 4 year Steepster-versary!
I had this tea because I have a bunch of tea samples that really need to go…but I really think this one will have to be restocked. Unlike my other favorite East Frisian tea, this one stands alone without milk and sugar. This tea has higher quality leaves, as opposed to the East Frisian BOP, so that’s probably why the overt bitterness isn’t present.
It is a nice strong assam-ish black with very subtle vanilla – neither taste overpowers the other in my opinion. I like both Frisian blends but on days where I just want a breakfast tea without the hassle of additives, this is a solid option.
Flavors: Malt, Vanilla
Okay, so I tried the Obukucha and it was good and then it reminded me about how I have this Uji shincha that’s not getting any younger, just languishing away in my cupboard. And then I remembered the pine-y ocean breeze smell and thought, I bet that would go really well with some leftover chicken pad thai.
And here we are.
Steep 1: Yummm… this is an excellent steep, just like last time- piney salt air, very light green, almost colorless liquor. THIS I like. The hints of brine and umami aren’t as strong as the obukucha but these are still the basic characteristics I love in a green. I drank this quickly and it did pair well with the pad thai. And the leaves in my gaiwan smell just like buttered spinach. Seriously I could put soy sauce on that and eat it.
Steep two: I was extra mindful of not wanting to steep this too long since this is where it all went wrong last time. So, I went 45 seconds again (rather than 1 minute like the second steep last time) – and the SAME THING happened :(. I guess I could go a SHORTER steep for the second go around – maybe 20 seconds to start off with? Because this is undrinkable and bitter as is.
Back to the drawing board, but the first steep is so promising that I can’t count it out just yet…
Flavors: Ocean Breeze, Pine
Second steep: Still a very strong, heady cup, veering toward astringent now even though I steeped for barely 30 seconds. I’ll go lighter on the leaf and the steep time next go around for sure! I like the buttered spinach a lot but I’m pretty sure a caffeine withdrawal headache is in my future once it all gets out of my system. :/
Last year’s January Steepster select gave me a chance to try Obukucha, and that’s when I learned about the tradition behind it. I LOOOOVED that tea. It tasted more like a savory umami broth than any green I’d ever had, and I’ve been chasing that flavor ever since. I’ve been told it’s a characteristic of Uji sencha, so I’ve tried that, but it’s still not quite the same. I figured that maybe I was looking for the pickled plum flavor than anything; or maybe the seaweed gave it that savory note?When I saw the ingredient label on this: matcha, kelp, soybean, genmaicha – I was hopeful maybe I’d get to recreate that flavor again. Plus, this tea has gold flakes in it! And it’s supposed to be a lucky tea. I’m cool with getting some luck on my side. :)
First steep is detailed in the below parameters. The resulting tea is dark jade green and there is a lot of sediment in the cup, but that’s because there’s both matcha and irregularly shaped bits of sencha/genmaicha. The liquor has that opaqueness of a matcha, too. The taste is STRONG, you guys. Toasted rice but strong spinachy buttered grassy notes too. 90 seconds was definitely too long of an initial steep but its not astringent at all. It’s surprising smooth and the only reason I know I left it too long is because I swear I can FEEL the caffeine rush to my head.
There’s pretty gold bits in the tea making me feel very fancy (as I sit here in my pajamas at 2 PM) and I do like this. As Japanese greens go, my favorite flavors are represented quite nicely. But, it still isn’t that pretty obukucha from last year, sadly. I would love to find that tea again and maybe if I keep drinking this one that is where I can channel all the lucky vibes?
A girl can dream, right?
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Spinach, Toasted Rice
Okay, what tea is this? I ask because I need ALL OF IT.
The dry leaf smell on this is pleasant enough, that earthy malt typical of a good black tea. But once it is steeped, it just turns AMAZING. Honey and baked bread, turning into an agave/raisin as it cools. There is so much going on. I gave the boyfriend this tea to take a sip and watched as he took a drink, paused, and pulled the cup back toward himself. “Wait…” he said.
Chameleon teas are the best. I really do need to know what specific varietal this is (maybe the Tan Yang that Angrboda loves so dearly?) because I’ve decided it’s my favorite black tea.
Yeah, unapologetic 100 here. This absolutely deserves it.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Honey, Malt, Raisins