2246 Tasting Notes
Accompanying notes for my comparison of Earl of Lemon with 52teas’ Ginger Ale Bai Mu Dan.
This tea is definitely stronger than Ginger Ale Bai Mu Dan, and I don’t think that’s because I used more tea. The bergamot is sharper, and I can taste the twinge of lemon. Both have a lovely sweet creaminess though. It might be a touch more apparent in this one due to the inclusion of yogurt. There is a lovely aftertaste of white tea with both too, though.
As stated in my Ginger Ale Bai Mu Dan review, these are too similar (even though distinctly different) for me to really make a choice. I’d be happy with either in my cupboard, but since Earl of Lemon’s currently easier to obtain, it will be the winner by, say, 1/4 point.
ETA: I think this one accidently got a 15-minute re-steep because someone set a count-up not a count-down timer (me). So I was getting a little too much sharpness from the bergamot, or bitterness from something, although there was a nice lingering creaminess.
Time to compare this one to DavidsTea’s Earl of Lemon, and see if they’re really interchangeable, or whether I need to act fast and get a pack of this from 52teas immediately!
Tastes sweet and lightly of bergamot. Still not really getting the ginger. This is definitely mellower than Earl of Lemon, which is nice. But although the two are different, I really don’t know which one I like better! They both taste to me like white earl greys, and dare I say it, are equally good?? This one’s almost a bit too light for me, but I would attribute that to using too little leaf in order to conserve it (I have enough for one more cup, hurrah!)
I guess the question of which is better remains unsolved. Maybe I’ll try this experiment once more, another time when I haven’t had a ton of ginger and garlic, but I suspect I’ll be similarly undecided then too, which may mean I go with Earl of Lemon as I think it’s still available on the tea wall at DavidsTea.
ETA: Did well on the re-steep. Still less creaminess and a more mellow flavour than Earl of Lemon; still undecided as to the better tea.
This review is for the 2012 Spring Harvest version of this tea, for which I don’t think there is a page. David Duckler generously sent me this tea and a couple others due to some issues I had with a previous order, and I’m thrilled to have the chance to try this tea far sooner than I would have otherwise, since I’m trying to avoid too many more orders until I’ve drank my way through a bit more tea. Although I haven’t yet compared this to the Autumn 2011 harvest, I get the impression that the flavour will be a fair bit stronger, just based on the stronger aroma from the bag. Whether that’s related to freshness or not, I’m not sure. I used probably about 3g of leaves in my tiny glass teapot, which is more than I have used in the past, so I can get a bit more flavour out.
First infusion (175F/1:30):
Smells strongly of cooked green beans/boiled veggies. Strongly enough that I’m concerned I may have overleafed/oversteeped. However, there’s not even a touch of astringency. This is seriously delicious. Sweet and vegetal. I think I probably tried this at a stupid time as I have killed my tastebuds temporarily by eating a lime teriyaki sauce with copious raw ginger/garlic, so I’m not catching flavour nuances at all. This same sauce ruined my second day of cheese panel tasting, because I couldn’t tell the bitter samples apart the next day due to the tastebud-killing action of the raw garlic – so I think the same is perhaps occurring now. Anyhow, I can tell this is delicious, and has exactly the sort of primary flavours I want in an excellent green tea.
Second infusion (2min/175F):
Similar aroma, but lighter. Moving into a more mineral taste here, with veggies as more of a supporting flavour. Again, I’m having some trouble – it’s like my sense of taste is foggy. I can tell it’s good though, and I think there’s more lingering green tea aftertaste here. There’s maybe a hint of astringency, but perhaps keeping the infusion at 1:30 would have helped with that.
Must say that the first infusion of green teas is most often by far my favourite, so the more reliably I can get a delicious first infusion, the more highly I think of a tea. Verdant’s greens have yet to disappoint in that respect! Mmmm…
ETA: A third infusion, at I think 175F for 2 minutes, was actually quite good! Still no bitterness, and lost the intense vegetal flavour, but nutty and quite tasty. Likely a consequence of using more leaf. I’m impressed :D
Thanks for yet another sample Indigobloom!
The dry tea doesn’t have a great deal of aroma, and the aroma once steeped is fairly light and spicy. I would have barely recognized it for a chai, to be honest.
Even after three minutes of steeping, there’s a good bit of astringency (perhaps because it’s ctc?), and the spices aren’t as prominent as I would like. Oddly it does seem a bit creamy to me. I think it needs some milk and sugar to be tasty (although I think they will completely overwhelm the spicing).
Ok, completely forgot about this and it’s cold. I will re-heat and milk/sugar it and perhaps review properly later.
ETA: So I did re-heat and add milk and sugar, and it actually took them fairly well. Quite drinkable that way. So it will definitely get finished. I have to say that’s it’s really nothing special though.
Wow! Tastes like orange pop with a bit of a woody flavour mixed in… but the bad thing? I’m getting a strong association to orange-flavoured alcohol that I have a less-than-positive memory of. Which makes me a little nauseated.
So, although this is probably quite good, it seems like I’ll have to wait a few years to actually enjoy it (i.e. until the association has fully worn off). Rating this reasonably high though, because it’s only the memories that are ruining it for me :)
Thanks for the sample, Indigobloom!
And thanks again, Indigobloom! I’m trying to get through a bunch of samples before my new orders arrive :D
I’m a touch worried that this one will taste similar to the Mango Mango Rooibos, or have the strange flavour of green yerba mate that I’m not sure I’ve acquired a taste for yet.
Oh, not bad. Tastes a little smoky, sweet. Mango is hard to pick up but is present. Actually, I’m wondering if this sat too close to the lapsang souchong, since I can’t think that this one would have smoky notes in it normally…
Either way, not bad, but wouldn’t rank in my favourites either.
Another sample from the very generous Indigobloom!
Ok, this one’s a bit strange. Definitely tasting the medicinal qualities of the rooibos, which I’m not particularly fond of. There’s some fruitiness to it, an overtone of mango, but that’s really all I’m getting. Nice concept but poor execution, imo. I don’t think I’ll bother with a second infusion because I suspect it will just taste of rooibos.
Comparing this one to Oh Canada tonight.
Definitely much creamier/richer in aroma.
Perhaps a result of brewing it stronger (although I thought I used a similar amount of leaf, 2tsp, and an identically sized and filled cup), but this one is definitely richer and creamier in flavour as well. It’s sweet and with a lovely sweet aftertaste that, when compared to Oh Canada, makes me think buttercream more than maple.
The biggest downside to this tea is the one I noticed last time – that the sprinkles make the cup scummy and waxy up the sides as it cools (because of course I like my teas warm, not hot). It’s a little gross. But the flavour is definitely better with this one. So, I guess I should be glad that it’s sticking around on the wall, because if I had to choose, I’d go for this one over Oh Canada. Which is convenient as I still have a couple cups worth of this one left, and none of Oh Canada :)
ETA: Second infusion in half the water was good.
4:21am, perfect time for a comparison of Oh Canada and Birthday Cake… right?
Side by side, it’s apparent that Birthday Cake is much creamier and less mapley, at least by aroma.
I think I brewed this one a touch too weak tonight – used about 2tsp of leaf (the rest of my sample), but probably too much water. However, still tastes sweet and mapley, and the rooibos only shows through slightly. The aftertaste is rich and mapley.
Compared to Birthday Cake, however, it tastes quite thin and definitely doesn’t have the same richness. Certainly not bad, but for a dessert-treat tea I need the richest, creamiest cup I can get.
ETA: Second infusion in half the water also tasty :)
The concept of an oolong chai intrigues me, but I’m a bit apprehensive of whether or not I’ll enjoy it. I love straight tieguanyins, and I love chai (craving 52teas Mayan Chocolate Chai right now), but together? I’m not so sure. And the first sip does nothing to figure that out. It’s sweet, sweeter than I anticipated, and I think there’s a bit of oolong aftertaste. The smell is quite strongly of cinnamon/ginger, and it carries over into the flavour. But, something doesn’t seem quite right. The chai spicing isn’t quite right for me, I don’t think, and the oolong isn’t giving the tea enough body. Maybe I should have steeped it longer? The sweetness is also throwing me a bit – it’s a little too close to the sweet aftertaste of licorice, which I dislike. Maybe if I added some milk it would turn into something tastier?’
Bleh, worth the experiment for curiousity’s sake, but not a tea I really want to drink again. There are many, many other chais out there (a bunch of which are in my cupboard) that I greatly prefer, and although an oolong instead of black base sounded kind of neat, it ended up being so weak in the background that it’s almost like spiced water, if you understand what I’m saying, which is… weird.
Another tea that’s gonna be up for swapsies as soon as I get my act together and compile a list. I’m sure someone’s curious to try it :D And hey – they may even like it!