2246 Tasting Notes
This is another one now gone from the cupboard. A little sad, a little not. I do still have nearly 50g of Cherry Blossom left (probably about 43g), so that will have to curb my cherry cravings. Again, it was ok hot, but nothing special, and the white tea price is/was a big negative.
The liquor is a lovely amber colour. Hoping it’s not too weak like the last one; it was the same water:leaf ratio (250mL, ~1.5tsp). It smells a bit like sour acerola cherry, which is tasty.
Ok, this one’s definitely tastier iced. Loving the cherry tartness – I would so much rather have sour cherries in blends instead of hibiscus! Again, it could stand to be stronger, but that’s my fault. Like with the Mango Madness, there’s a touch of bitterness that I’m not fond of. I’m sure a bit of sugar would cut it nicely, but I really don’t want to be doing that. I’m going to attribute it to the white tea, and therefore continue the search for a herbal cherry tea to ice (well, if Mahamosa Cherry Kiwi Coconut Fruit becomes available, that will be the one, I think! Darn, should have iced the remnants of my sample last night alongside.)
If this one’s on the tea wall still (can’t recall) and I don’t locate another sufficiently cherry-flavoured tea to ice, I might pick up some more, but only because that flavour is really fabulous for iced tea IMO. Upping the rating based on the iced version :)
So I’m quite pleased with myself for cold-steeping five different teas last night. Not only do I now have a bunch of delicious iced tea, but I finished off three different packages! Hooray!
This is the first. I don’t think I was particularly fond of it hot. If nothing else, the fact that it was sold as a white tea was irritating given the utter lack thereof.
This cold-steeps up to a bright yellow-ish liquor with a nice mangoey aroma.
Other than being a bit weak (consequence of just using whatever tea I had left), it’s not bad at all. Kind of sweet, kind of mangoey. Almost a touch of bitterness for whatever reason. I do wish it was stronger and am kicking myself a bit for that (I thought I had used little enough water but apparently not; in retrospect 250mL water to the ~1.5tsp I had left really wasn’t enough). There’s a nice lingering mangoey-white tea flavour.
I think had this been a straight herbal, I might have bought it again for icing, but the high price for it being a white means this is likely the last I’ll ever see of it. Oh well! Knocking it up just a couple points, but that’s all.
This is for the first harvest of 2012 Spring Tieguanyin. I’m attempting a bit of gong-fu style steeping here with my new pot. Infusions are about 10 seconds long, from the time the water touches the leaves to the time most of the water has been poured out (apparently oolongs are drippy… who knew?!) Water is approximately boiling, but I did the first four infusions in succession, followed by another four, so the water probably cooled over each set somewhat. 5g of leaf in my more-than-4-5-oz pot.
First infusion: I didn’t do a rinse; this probably should have been it. Light in flavour, a bit creamy and floral. Regardless, I like it, because I love these tieguanyins.
2: Liquor’s a bit darker, expecting a richer flavour…. yup. This time there’s… something different there. The same basic floral/creaminess, but there’s something almost rich and woody in there. Also, it’s a little bit vegetal. Green bean was the flavour that my mind is conjuring up, but given that I read reviews of the Laoshan greens today, it’s hard to know whether that was just already in my head or whether I actually tasted it.
3: I definitely feel like there’s a greener taste to this one. The floralness is disappearing already… I miss it. Still great though. The aftertaste lingers more on these second two infusions, no surprise.
4: Rather similar to the third. I feel like there’s something different at the end of the sip. Maybe a bit of fruitiness? I feel like I’m losing flavour though; going with 15 second infusions from now on. (Also I’m feeling rather full suddenly from sipping from four cups back and forth in succession… boo.)
5: Ok, 15 seconds ended up being 20 for each of these. It happens. Although it’s still creamy, I definitely feel like we’re moving into the woody, more vegetal phase here. Oolong aftertaste is intense here, just how I like it.
6: Similar to 5, even less floral.
8: Oh, starting to get something different here. Reminds me more of the Wuyi Mountain oolong I had last night. It’s good too, but I think I prefer earlier infusions.
At this point my tiny little teapot is completely full of opened leaves. I might see what I can do with it tomorrow but seriously, my tummy is DONE for the night! I really need to figure out what size the little pot is; I think the tea tasted a bit dilute because 5g of tea was meant for a 4-5oz. pot, and I think it’s at least 8oz.? It was good, I just could have done with more flavour. Still need to compare this to the autumn version sometime soon! But perhaps not until I have the mental ability to describe things as more than just “wow, it’s different now!” Haha.
TIme to cross another tea off the neverending list to try! (Although I’m thrilled – I just put 5 teas in the fridge to cold steep, which used up the last of three of them, none of which I’m likely to restock! Progress!)
Dry, the tea smells peachy and a bit floral. Steeped, much the same but to a lesser degree.
Ack! This tastes oversteeped and somewhat bitter. I can taste the peachy flavour (tastes like fuzzy peaches), something floral (jasmine? rose petals?), an oolong creaminess, but it’s just not doing it for me. Too floral, too in-your-face. To be honest, I’m making a face as I drink this too. Bleh. I guess we’ll try a shorter infusion next time, but I suspect this won’t be a favourite. The aftertaste is nice though, lingering floral and oolong notes, I think.
Dry, it’s sweet, caramelly, and nutty-smelling. A bit of strawberry, but it’s not too prominent. Steeped, the aroma is sweet and caramelly, with a distinct strawberry note. Well, more like a strawberry song. Delicious.
I was a bit wary of a 5-minute infusion, but have realized that DavidsTea’s blacks tend not to steep up quite as harshly as others, so my standard three minutes isn’t long enough. Turns out 5 minutes was not bad (although perhaps 4 would have eliminated the astringency I’m getting). The base is malty and somewhat astringent, with a lovely caramelly flavour. The strawberry isn’t as prominent as I would have expected. It’s funny though – this combination does actually make me think Strawberry Shortcake! Not my favourite dessert though, but it reminds me of Thinking Day celebrations in Girl Guides.
I’ll have to try again with a bit of a reduced infusion time, as astringency is not my friend, but this one’s pretty decent. Not likely something I’d pick up again, but a perfectly good tea.
Whoops, had a little confusion issue about which tea I was reviewing. Probably caught it quickly enough for nobody to notice though :D
Anyways, this is round 2 of ice wine tea tasting, courtesy of Indigobloom!
Dry, this one smelled a little off, like fermenting grapes. I think 52teas Sweet Merlot had a similar aroma. However, that’s kind of what wine/a winery smell like!
Steeped, this one’s very dark, in spite of the 2 minute infusion I gave it! The aroma is a bit of black tea, with some sweetness and a bit of that fermenty grape flavour. I think I’m making a mental association to purple Kool-aid flavoured homemade playdough…
Ooh! Different. Thanks for the warning Indigobloom, this one definitely brews up strong! There’s astringency but it stops just short of bitterness thankfully. I think I would have been happier with only a minute-long infusion though. The flavour is hard to get at for me, because of the astringency. It’s a bit sweet, and perhaps a bit grapey/winey. Definitely a lot heavier than the Culinary Teas version. I think I prefer the Culinary Teas one over this though, as I think there’s more flavour.
Neither of these teas really did it for me though, to be honest. Interesting to try them though! Thanks again for the sample, Indigobloom!
Decided I’d compare the two ice wine teas I have tonight. Should have thrown 52teas Sweet Merlot in the mix too, but I didn’t think about it and probably have enough teas on the go right now anyhow. This one is courtesy of Azzrian!
Dry, this one smells sweet and a bit tangy. Steeped, it smells sweet and perfumey and OMG I’m such an idiot, I was swirling it around and dumped a bunch on my computer. Ok, all better, luckily I missed the actual keys part of the keyboard, just got some next to the trackpad. Funnily enough this is not even the first time I’ve spilled on my keyboard today… I’m usually better, I swear!
So back to the tea. Definitely surprisingly perfumey given the relative lack of aroma from the dry tea!
First infusion (boiling-ish/4min):
The taste is perfumey. Definitely reminiscent of an ice wine. Rather mild, which is ok. I can’t pick out the black tea base specifically, but can feel that it’s there. There’s also a touch of astringency, but not bad, just a bit mouth-drying.
Second infusion (boiling-ish/5-6min):
Less perfumey in aroma, but almost more perfumey in taste, perhaps because there’s less black tea base there to disguise it? Actually – it’s reminding me an awful lot of some sort of similarly-scented soap. That’s not to say it tastes soapy, but I swear I’ve had a soap in the past that smell/tasted VERY similar. Or bubble bath or something… some bath product. Perhaps even shampoo/conditioner. To my knowledge though, I don’t think I’ve ever had an ice wine or even grape-scented bath product (unless it’s one of those little plasticky bubble bath thingers that I’m thinking of, in which case it could be grape). I didn’t get this association really until the second cup (and even went back and it’s just not quite the same in the first infusion).
Overall, an interesting tea, but I don’t think I’d choose it for myself. I’ll have to see what the next version is like! And perhaps at some point give the Design-a-Tea version a try, since that was Azzrian’s favourite.
I’ve logged this one before, and it’s delicious. Trying to drink it up before it goes stale, since the sample packet doesn’t re-seal!
First infusion (160F/45s):
Agh, so green and delicious! I think I used too much water/not enough leaf though – I want more concentrated delicious vegetalness. My bad though. Need to remember that for next time. Seriously though, I adore this flavour. I wish I could put a name to it, but I guess lightly steamed veggie will have to do. Perhaps asparagus-y. There’s almost a spiciness to it today. Don’t know where that’s coming from. It’s also a bit cloudy/murky today and as I reached the end of the cup, I got a throatful of fine particles which made me cough. Odd, I used likely my finest infuser. I can deal though.
Second infusion (185F/30s):
Upped this infusion 10 seconds from the last time I tried, but unfortunately I think I made the mistake of too much water for this infusion too. Sigh. Still good, just too weak. More tea aftertaste though, which is appreciated, but less on the vegetal side. Green teas really don’t last for more than a couple infusions, do they.
First attempt with this one. I’m using my new glass “gung-fu” teapot from DavidsTea! The only downside I’ve noticed is that it took about 8 seconds to pour the tea out, so my attempt at a 15-second infusion turned into more like 25 seconds. Hopefully that won’t be a problem. I used 3g of leaf for the pot (however many ounces it is – I will find this out later.)
First infusion (~208F/~25s):
Omg omg. I took a sip of the still super-hot tea and I think it tastes sweet and fabulous! Thrilling! Have to wait until it cools to really talk about it though. I kind of burnt my tongue…
Argh, obligatory Mother’s Day phone conversation means my tea is extra-cool now. Well, I can say that it’s sweet and tasty with a toasty aroma and flavour. A bit like a genmaicha, strangely??
Second infusion (~205F/~25s):
This one’s even sweeter :) But also completely cold. Sigh. I do have a few infusions to get to yet. Thankfully however, I didn’t screw this one up like I did the other oolong from Verdant. There’s a lingering aftertaste of… juiciness? I’m not sure. It’s good.
Third infusion (~208F/45s):
Just a bit of a toasty aroma. Again, sweet and delicious. I’m not catching any flavour nuances to be honest, but I’m definitely enjoying this cup/this tea. Although I’ve gotta admit that after cheese panel, one can get rather tired of analyzing things. (I must say, there’s a lovely aftertaste here though!)
Fourth infusion (~205F/53s):
This is too weak. I thought that as I poured it out and it was considerably lighter in colour. I’m pretty sure a longer infusion for a fifth steep would revive it though. Might try.
Overall, this is good, but I’m just not catching subtleties in the infusions. Also, I’m pretty sure that for the duration of this cheese panel (mid-late June), my palate just isn’t going to be up to figuring out differences due to palate (and mental) fatigue! So I don’t think I’ll properly be reviewing any straight teas for a while, although that doesn’t mean I’ll be drinking them.
Trying out my sample of this one from LiberTEAS tonight!
This time I located a couple dried cherries in the dry tea – this may go a long way to bringing out the right flavours! Lacking big chunks of fruit is a hazard with small sample sizes.
The dry tea smells sweet and a bit like cherries. Mmmmm. Steeped it doesn’t have a great deal of flavour, although what I can smell is pleasant.
The taste is like genmaicha. I’m getting some more cheesecakey flavours in this one than I did previously. Really no cherry though (probably a consequence of the short infusion time? Maybe the second infusion will be better.) There’s a metallic taste though, which makes me think of oversteeped sencha. I’m really not keen on that flavour. Luckily it is pretty mild here, so in spite of the lack of cherry flavour, I’m glad I kept the infusion time down.
Ok, cooled down a bit more, I’m smelling a bit of a creamy cherryish aroma. Tastes similar. The metallic flavour has either disappeared or is muted enough to no longer bother me. This one is good… darn it why didn’t I buy some while it was still available!?
Second infusion (170F for 3.5 minutes). Tastes like a sweetened, creamy-ish genmaicha. Getting some yummy green tea aftertaste here too. I like it. I think I would have bought this one had it still been available. Sigh. At least I have a few cups left to drink!