725 Tasting Notes
I usually like to look at my past notes to take preparation hints from them (especially if I know that I liked it at a particular steep time/temperature) but this morning I decided to wing it…
And then I made it the exact same way anyway.
I think that it’s because I’m relatively comfortable with assams, darjeelings, and ceylons now – they all like boiling water and they all like about 4 minute steeps. I love that I’m learning something! YAY!!!
This is PERFECT this morning; not astringent at all, malty and almost a cocoa note to me. Yep, definitely a cocoa note. The scent of the dry leaf was very malty and earthy, and now that it is steeped it has become a typical black tea smell (one of my favorite fragrances). It is fantastic without additives – and disappearing quickly.
I’m going to up the rating on this a bit since it’s hitting the spot today.
This steeping was actually a blend – boyfriend wanted the earl grey creme from teavana and I wanted more of a plain vanilla and with a thicker texture, So, 1 heaping tsp of this to 2 level tsp. of earl grey in 500 ml. water, at below parameters and voila!
I got what I wanted for sure – a thicker tea, with a heavier vanilla. The bergamot is shifted to the background a bit more, where I like it. I think I have a sensitivity to it if there’s too much there, so even though I like the flavor, it’s better when it’s a bit muted.
I like this with no sweetener or milk; it stands just fine on it’s own, with a cookie or two (those snickerdoodles I made are CRACK).
I would say this was a success, and may try to replicate it again in the future. :)
I had to lower the rating dramatically because it turns out (like I suspected) when hot brewed it is really very smoky in the nose. I abhor the smell of smoke in any form (fireplaces, campfires, cigarettes, all of it) and so I just. can’t. do. it.
The sad part is the smokiness isn’t really in the taste at all – I get a nice black tea with honey undertones that isn’t bad…but then I breathe it in and it’s all ruined. :(
Not the tea for me.
3 tsp. tea leaves, 500 ml. water, at below parameters.
This tea is probably one of the most challenging I’ve ever drank. I’ve been having a hard time nailing the parameters, it seems to aggravate my throat if I drink it too quickly (this time, at least), and my tongue plays tricks on me – it’s like it gets used to the flavor so that I stop being able to pick up on anything but black tea after the first few sips. I have to take ‘breaks’ from this to resensitize my palate, if that makes sense. Low maintenance it is not, but dangit, I keep getting these tantalizing hints of what this tastes like in it’s fully glory, so I AM NOT GIVING UP.
So, for this round: I tried steeping it slightly longer and letting it cool before trying it without additives, in order to accurately assess the flavor. Strangely having a slightly longer steep time didn’t really make it bitter, like I thought it would. I got more of a pancakes and maple scent in the steeped tea this time, and hints of butter in the tea itself. First cup of tea with no additives really irritated my throat though (strange, and I wanted to make note of it for future reference), so on the second I added some half and half.
I really like the thickness of this tea even when it’s plain, but the second cup has pretty much changed my life for the better. The half and half really brought things together – fleshed out the butter taste and soothed that itch in my throat from the first cup. I think it will need sugar to go the rest of the way towards awesome, but that is OK – I have figured out this tea and it’s Friday and therefore all is right with the world.
[notes for next time: creamer, sugar, below parameters, allow to cool. Done and done!]
Late night studying is much more enjoyable with a highly caffeinated beverage. Actually, it’s really only possible because of this highly caffeinated beverage.
Parameters: 2 tsp. leaf to 500 ml. water steeped at below temp/time. I added some half and half and sugar this time around because a.) I needed to use up the half and half, and b.) I need all the extra energy I can get. It’s a nice hearty chocolatey drink that is starting to work it’s magic quite well.
P.S. Also because of late-night studying I happened to get the email about the 52teas Christmas sampler and used my 10 minute self-imposed study break to update steepster and snag one. SO. EXCITED. TO PARTAKE. THIS YEAR.
sigh study break done…
Paired this with homemade snickerdoodles (I’m on a baking kick these days).
The flavor really does come out more once it has cooled – slightly malty, typical black tea smell and taste, light astringency on the swallow. The tea has a nice texture to it, too – I guess medium bodied would be a good descriptor, as it’s not thin but not too thick or chewy either.
It’s a very plain tea to me – I can’t pick out any of the fruity notes that the description states are there. I don’t mind, though; I love unflavored blacks. I figure the more I drink them the more nuances I’ll eventually be able to pick out. At least, I hope. :)
Made one gallon of this iced and [lightly] sweetened the traditional way (that is, boiling and then refrigerating). That was gone in a few days (just me drinking it) so I made up another gallon last night. This is fabulous iced. A little too expensive to use for that all the time, but a nice treat to experiment with. I may try Upton’s darjeeling-ceylon blend this way too, since I go through iced tea like a fiend no matter the season. :)
Enjoying this tonight with some half and half and sugar.
The taste is very creamy and orangey but not very strong on the black tea. Texture is kind of thin, too, even though I used a tablespoon of leaf to 500 ml. water. I have a fair amount of this to go through but I think that I’ll definitely try a different earl grey creme for comparison’s sake when it’s gone.
This was a free sample provided by Upton with my last tea order. Steeped 2 heaping tsp. in 500 ml. water in the Breville.
First off, I am soooo glad that I decided to follow Upton’s steep parameters on this (which is about 1 minute shorter than what I normally would do). Although when it was piping hot the flavor was thin and watery, as it cooled a stronger, more astringent taste came out that would have been too tannic with an extra minute of steepage.
This is bolder and heavier than the other Darjeeling I tried from Upton – it’s reminiscent of an Assam, definitely. The texture is perfect for a black tea, and there is a pronounced astringency that is characteristic of Assams that I didn’t get with either Ceylons or that one Darjeeling (I really need to try more of them!).
I like it, and I liked being able to try a second flush. It’s fun learning about all of these flavor nuances!
Mmm.. cherry vanilla. This is a light tea – very smooth and nice this cool afternoon. I drink it without sweetener, because it doesn’t need anything to help with the flavors. It’s one of the only whites I’ve ever had, but I’m thinking if I were to try more I wouldn’t be disappointed. :)