450 Tasting Notes
Ok, round two with this tea wasn’t as good. The scent of it while it was steeping was sinfully deceptive; making me think I would taste all the spices I was smelling.
Again, I may have done my usual over-creaming, so that might have had something to do with the fact that I felt as though I was mostly just drinking lightly flavoured black tea—I dare say that the lat I had to go the other day was actually more impressive. But then again, I usually steep things wrong before I get them right, so there’s that.
David’s tea website suggests that I add in a spoonful of brown sugar. Do you guys think they are referring to ordinary brown sugar that you’d use for baking? Because that’s all the sugar I’ve got on me, although it does seem as though it’d be a wonderful addition to the tea.
Definitely not giving up on this tea!
In other news, we’re all moved into the new place. I don’t know about “settled” though, as the process of unpacking is kind of tedious, but in my opinion, it beats packing anyday. That, and you have pretty much forever to do it. I’ve unpacked my tea and tea accessories, as well as my work clothes and shoes, and so far, that’s good for now. Arden (my guide dog) probably hasn’t figured out that this is home yet, but I imagine that won’t be long in coming. It helps that i’m also familiar with the area myself, so I’m hoping he’ll pick up on my confidence when we’re out walking.
I’m sure pretty much everyone can relate to the stress of moving: there’s the inevitable packing, but even aside from that are all the decisions that go along with it. You hang on to clothing that you haven’t worn in years “just in case” (but somehow feel as though you “never have anything to wear”, don’t throw out other things because they have sentimental value but wonder if it’s time to let go anyway. Then there’s the logistical stuff of making sure you’ve got people to help you. And if you’re like me, the idea of squishing your life into boxes and suitcases is just so overwhelming, because I’m not naturally an organized and systematic person, even though I’d really like to be (and can force myself to be on occasion). The whole point of this story is that tonight my so and I were just really overwhelmed and irritable, and so I headed off to the sanctuary of David’s tea to sample their fall collection, because to escape into a tea universe is my idea of solving problems.
So to TT I went, and I had this tea is a lat with 2% milk and some agave. I’m always hesitant to come to conclusions based on actually having the tea to go, because I’m really picky and particular about how the flavour is brought out in my tea. I always find, for instance, that there’s too much water for the amount of tea, and that it’s often understeeped, but that’s also because I like my tea to have “in your face” flavour and for it to be quite bold. having said that…!
When I smelled this tea in the canister it was unbelievably delicious, and i’m not even a huge fan of everything pumpkin. i was astonished at the remarkable resemblance it had to a spongy, thick, and full-flavoured cake, complete with that toasty smell that just makes you imagine snuggling on a cold winter’s day.
And even relatively understeeped and over-watered (or milked as it was), this blew me away. It’s warming, spicy, sweet, and just seems to taste…complete. Does that make sense? I’m going to write additional notes on this when I make it myself (because I’ll be making it with sugar and cream) and I’ll let you know what I think. My fiance also loved the way it smelled, so I know I’ll be sharing this one. I got 25 g of this,, and expect I’ll go through it and likely go back for more.
So far, so good!
Oh, and randomly, a bit of an embarrassing note. So after getting my lat, i sat down to enjoy it while listening to a book on my IPhone (The Light between Oceans, in case you’re curious). Anyway, I got up to leave as the store was closing, and headed back to the counter to pay for my lat and the samples I was getting. I dug around in my purse, and for the life of me could not find my debit card. Such is the story of many women with multiple bags—your various payments methods end up all over the place, and so in spite all of the reassurances I was getting from the staff, I was on the phone to my fiance and pretty much begged/demanded that he jump into a cab immediately at once this instant so I could please for god’s sake pay for this tea, and they were like shutting down as we spoke! He made it there in record time and the day was saved, and we even got two free iced teas out of it (pistachio cream) because they just had a lot left over!
So, a pretty decent end to the day, I’d say.
Ok, so my faith in this tea has been at least temporarily restored. Somehow I did something right tonight and the tea really hit the spot: warm, vanillic comfort when I’m having anxiety about starting work. There’s nothing like sitting down with someone you love over a cup of tea, I think.
Oh, but I do have to say that my most recent experience with my cream of earl grey was rather tarnished by the fact that I had used bad cream! I only noticed it when I licked my finger after pouring the cream to tonight’s birthday cake tea, and quickly made another cup (thank god i hadn’t started brewing, or else I would have lost leaves). But yup, definitely a tea I think I’ll be happy to continue drinking and serving until it’s gone, and then the quest for a perfect strong vanilla tea continues.
Well, what can I say? This time, I steeped for four minutes, and added a dash of cream and a bit of sugar. I’m afraid I “under-creamed” though, because there was a wateriness to it that I just didn’t like. And I’m getting an astringency that I hadn’t previously gotten—you know, when I nearly emptied my container of cream into the mug.
So the conclusion, I think, is that I’ll likely finish up my sample of this, but won’t be repurchasing. I’m still in the market for a good cream of earl grey for sure, but my biggest issue with this one is its lack of forgiveness—steep it a second too long, a second too short, add just too much or too little cream and the cup is a goner (well, in my picky mouth at any rate).
I’m embracing my love of blacks, though, and so I am pleased to say that my Butiki order is winging its way towards me! I ordered:
Premium Taiwanese Assam-I only hear it buzzing around, dangerously close to my head, and I’m pretty sure that in a few moments, I’ll feel justified in calling 911…aaaahhhhh!!
-Wild Taiwanese Mountain Black
-Caramel vanilla Assam
-maple pecan oolong
I’m hoping that although the cantaloupe cream is white, it won’t be too weak for my liking. The rave reviews on steepster suggest that I’ll fall head over feet for it though, so I’m really excited. I also got samples of their premium chai, the rose violet calendula oolong, and another assam that Stacy recommended (I actually got to place my order with her on the phone, as parts of paypal aren’t accessible for us blind folk-I felt as though i was talking to a celebrity and got all tongue-tied and said all sorts of awkward things haha).
Anyway, so there’s my update for today. I’m looking forward to this weekend; we have a friend coming from out of town to visit for another friend’s birthday party, and then I start my new job on Monday! (I’m terrified about that by the way, but at least I won’t be able to work myself up into a frenzy over it all weekend).
Totally unrelated, but there’s some…thing buzzing around my room, and I’ve yet to find a blind person to this date who doesn’t like, legitimately consider moving houses when they hear buzzing or flapping insects inside! I know they scare a lot of people, but I can’t even see where it is
Let’s just hope it’s a fly. A fly. A fly! I’m hoping Arden (my guide dog) will make himself useful and catch it!
Ok, that’s enough from me today.
Today was one of those days that seemed to have “drink cream of earl grey” embossed on its cover. I woke up feeling crampy, fat, and generally ugly, so after gracefully bowing out of this evening’s work party (go introverts!), I brewed myself up a cup of this. Careful with the cream this time. It actually tasted pretty decent. Perhaps not restock-worthy quite yet, but I’m beginning to see that I may indeed find myself enjoying an EGC one day, even though it may not be this one.
I’ve also realized that there’s something wrong with my taste buds, because even my beloved vanilla orchid tasted kind of bland to me this morning. I tend to get canker sores in my mouth on the regular (gross? tmi? sorry LOL), and so perhaps some are lurking around under my tongue—but it does feel kind of sensitive in my mouth if that makes any sense. anyway, enough about my anatomy.
tldr: The CCG tasted better when I wasn’t like whoa with the cream, and my tongue is up to some funny business I’m not a fan of.
Wow, I definitely suck at picking out teas for myself based on the notes and the way they smell in the store. Just to set the record straight though, this tea doesn’t smell at all of actual orange blossoms, but I imagine that isn’t exactly news.
Definitely getting the bubble gum thing others have mentioned, and there really isn’t any vanilla to speak of. I’m still on the hunt for my perfect creamcicle tea though!
I’ve tried this tea with milk and sugar, plain, and also with a touch of vanilla agave. It’s a lose lose situation for me. So disheartening to see the entire remainder of yet another package that I’m going to have to force myself to finish. Or maybe I can donate it LOL.
At least I know that tomorrow morning’s tea (vanilla orchid or maybe jasmine pearls) won’t let me down!
I think I’ve given this tea a fair shake, and yet I’m willing to try it one last time before I make up my mind for sure.
I’ve tried it plain, and despite it’s very strong blueberry aroma, it tasted like subtly flavoured hot water. For a black tea, that’s already a bit of a disappointment.
Then, I tried it with a bit of milk and sugar, and steeped it for more than eight minutes. It was barely stronger, and, i don’t know. It sort of tasted as though I was trying to taste it while suffering from a cold. Like I tried really hard to find more flavour than was there. I’m still willing to play around with it a bit though—perhaps I’ll double up on the recommended amount of tea or something.
I’m kind of sad because in an attempt to get through my samples, I’ve discovered a few teas I’m not that fond of lately, but I’ve also found a few gems (most notably my vanilla orchid), so I should focus on that the most. ah well, such is the journey of experimenting, right?
So i screwed up this tea again, this time it was because I was in a frantic hurry this morning, was running on like three hours’ sleep, and was generally a bit disgruntled (and of course I arrived at my doctor’s office without my health card, because I’m just irresponsible like that). Anyway, as I tilted the carton of cream over the mug (it was David’s perfect tea mug, actually!), a whole stream of it kind of came gushing out. I just swore and tossed in some sugar and let the tea steep as I paced about the kitchen, cursing at the fact that I would have to chug my tea in a hurry (I’ve always thought that tea evokes calmness and a sense of serenity an peace, whereas coffee is a bit more harried and frantic in its reputation), so it bothered me that I had to chug my tea at all—that’s not how tea is supposed to be enjoyed!
So yes, because my cream of earl grey was like three quarters cream this morning, it was far too creamy (even for me), but it did temper the sharpness of the bergamot down a fair bit, which was nice. A bit more tinkering and I may even want more at some point. It still seems like a cold or rainy weather tee, though.
Oh, and while i’m here writing, can I just say that it makes me a bit sad to read the discussions where people “diss” various tea companies because “they can find better tea elsewhere/this tea is just for newbies/true tea can only be acquired by personally going to the mountains and foraging around with your nose, etc”. Of course people have preferences; that’s a good thing. But we also like what we like, beginner, connoisseur or otherwise, and, I don’t know—I often think that if something exists, there’s probably a place for it somewhere in this world. It kind of reminds me of some hardcore perfumistas who downright refuse to even sniff the latest offerings at major department stores, because “only niche fragrance will do” and it’s just unfortunate, I think, to limit yourself arbitrarily like that, or to judge people who embark on a different journey of discovery from your own. Wow, that was deep. I’ll stop talking now haha.