2088 Tasting Notes
Prior to really getting into tea, I used to assume that all tea was equal and therefore brewed at about boiling, and you could leave the leaves/teabags in forever, etc. etc. So this led to many instances of me drinking said teas and tasting some goodness, along with (often) significant amounts of tannins and other undesirable flavours. But I just assumed that was how it was.
A year and a half ago, I learned about different temperature requirements for different teas, and a friend gave me a bit of a primer to this effect, so I used his suggestions as to steeping temperatures for the teas I had, which improved them a bit.
Fast-forward to now, when I have a MUCH better idea of things to do and not to do with teas, and I’ve re-discovered my ziploc bag of all these tea samplers. I can’t say I stored them marvellously (some are opened and clipped shut), and some I’d had for a few years, but I decided to look them up on the company website and give brewing them properly a shot!
So I’ve clearly drank this one before, as the bag was opened, and there really wasn’t very much leaf left. Maybe about a teaspoon. So I only filled my little tea-strainer thing halfway with water to account for that, so about 4oz water, maybe?? I have no idea what I thought when I first drank this tea, so this is essentially an entirely new experience :D
First steeping: 95C/~20s
The liquor is a clear reddish-brown, with only a slight scent to it. There isn’t a lot of flavour to this first steep, although I’m getting a definite sweetness and finish of that lovely oolong flavour I mentioned yesterday in regards to DT’s Quanzhou Milk Oolong. Ok, actually there’s enough flavour for me to enjoy this one, it’s just not initially evident.
Second steeping: ~93C/~20s
Wow, there’s definitely more sweetness coming out here. I’m not used to this, but I really am enjoying it! I need to expand my vocabulary more so I can really describe what I’m tasting. Maybe… it’s like sweet grass? No grassy taste, but kind of an almost vegetal-y sweetness. Mild and pleasant. The aftertaste is again the oolong-y taste
Third steeping: ~95C/~25s
Hmm, I feel like we’re losing flavour now. It tastes much like the previous cup with less flavour. Maybe a touch more of a roasty taste, but that’s it. Still good though.
Fourth steeping: ~93C/~25s
This one mostly tastes to me like toasted rice, with a hint of oolong aftertaste.
So the most intriguing sip is definitely the second cup, where the maximum sweetness is noticeable. I’ll definitely have to try this one again, once I get some more of it! Fun experience!
Forgot to log this yesterday, but picked up another one of these. Yum. I think it was a bit sweeter this time (perhaps too sweet), and I really shouldn’t have gotten a large, but it definitely still hit the spot. Yum. I have got to pick up some matcha so I can make lattes for myself instead of dropping $5 or so on one at Second Cup!
Had two steepings of this (I think) on Thursday and left the tea ball in my office… went in there today to grab a few things (including my packet of Fantasy Island) and figured I’d take home the tea ball for the weekend along with my cups to wash them (they get a bit stained at work). This evening, not really thinking, I decided I’d steep this one a third time, since it still smelled yummy and banana-y!
I maaaayyybe should have thought about the fact that I left it sitting for two days, probably more like 2.5 when you consider I first drank it around 9am Thursday at work, and it’s into the wee hours of Sunday here now. Anyways, the purpose of writing about this is because it now tastes like caramelized banana oolong! Which I’m slightly concerned about (as in, has it fermented and that’s what I’m tasting?) but also finding interesting and tasty. So what the heck, I’ll finish it anyways… not toooooo likely to do me much harm… right? XD
So I guess I should have listened to everyone warning about hibiscus imparting a bitter flavour if steeped too long… I cold-steeped this one for a couple days in the fridge (yes, forgot about it), and tried it today. YUCK. It is disgusting. There’s a hint of grapefruit and a ton of nasty, disgusting bitterness. I noted a bit of tartness as well, which was nice, but the bitter/gross flavour ruined it for me. So much so that I Actually Threw It Out.
I guess I’ll try again later, perhaps hot-brewing it then chilling :D
Cold-steeped this again in the fridge for a couple days because I was craving it. And it satisfies :) Not a fan of this one hot, but iced and a little stronger than recommended it is infinitely better. Upping the rating because, you know, I might actually pick some more of this up for the summer!
Onto another tea, fun fun! Tried this one at work before and found it gross (or flavourless, or something objectionable), so brought it home to try here, even though it should be pretty difficult to screw up a black tea, right? Maybe I steeped it too long initially.
So this time, I noticed chocolate chips in the bag. Not sure if I saw these last time, or got any in my teaball, but I made sure to get a couple in there and you can definitely smell it in the steeped tea. Actually…. it smells quite marvelous. Chocolatey with a hint of fruitiness.
OK! This time I’m actually tasting something! Perhaps I should try Fantasy Island tonight too(?) Definitely tasting that lovely chocolatey flavour that IIRC Read My Lips has, but unfortunately, my sense of the fruity flavour is that it tastes rather fake. The strawberry in Strawberry White tasted much more real; perhaps this is a case of either mixed flavours or artificial flavouring that I don’t care for. Ah! I figured out what it reminds me of. It makes me think of cherry candy kisses. Or other fruity filled chocolates, which I’m not the biggest fan of (I prefer nuts, caramel, etc.). Which explains why most people like it, but I don’t (same thing with these filled chocolates!)
So I’m really not sure what happened with my first couple cups of this. Thinking oversteeping (I only did 3.5 minutes with it this time) and a lack of tasty ingredients in the teaball, since I remember only tasting black tea last time.
Glad I got to taste the true flavours of this one, but it won’t be a re-buy. There are other flavoured blacks, chocolate teas, and strawberry teas that I would rather drink.
ETA: Second steep the next day is surprisingly good. Just under boiling water, for four minutes, and I’m getting lovely chocolatey fruity flavours. It’s a bit mellower than yesterday, so tastes less like a filled chocolate, which is nice. Still not enough to make me want to buy it, but it’s certainly pleasant enough to drink, and you even get two steeps!
Trying to drink myself into a tea stupor tonight, apparently. Going on about 8 cups now…
First cup (94C/2min) is VERY milky, but finishes quite nicely with a vegetal and then floral flavour. It’s very smooth and quite tasty. I find the milky flavour dissipates a bit the more I drink, so it must just be my mouth getting accustomed to it.
Second cup (95C/3min) is still quite smooth, less milky though, and the floral finish is a bit stronger. I’m getting just a touch of astringency/dry mouth/tannin feel mid-sip, but it doesn’t carry down the throat so I do find it enjoyable.
I have to admit, I did let these cool down a bit too far, but I do typically prefer my tea in the range of warm to lukewarm. They’re just… a bit closer to “cool” now. But still delicious, unlike some teas that taste odd at room temperature.
ETA: Two more steeps of this tonight. Third cup (96C/4min) smells just lightly floral and milky, but it’s not all that discernible anymore. Most of the milkiness is gone, and there’s just a hint of floral remaining, but I’m left with that absolutely delicious lingering taste in my mouth that just screams oolong to me. The same taste I’ll get in the second/third steeping of Banana Oolong. Honestly, the finish is better than the sip itself; I wish my mouth tasted this good all day! Yum. Nothing objectionable at all in this cup except that the sip initially tastes weak.
Fourth cup (kind of a shot in the dark, near-boiling water for 5min) is interesting and deviates quite a bit from the first three cups. There’s hardly any smell, but the flavour is now kind of toasty-buttery? It’s hard to describe. It’s different, but weak, although not objectionable. The oolong aftertaste is mostly gone as well. I probably wouldn’t bother going this far again, but it was interesting. No unpleasant bitterness coming out at all, so I’m going to blame user error on my boyfriend for the third-steep bitterness last time :D
I am drinking the most comforting tea from my stash that I could think of. And it’s delicious.
Second steep is kind of washed out tonight. Either it’s again the consumption of dessert affecting my tastebuds, or I should have brewed the tea in a smaller cup of water the second time around. Probably both. But it still smells heavenly…
Lately I have become rather enamoured with oolongs, and trying them out in blends while actually making an effort to taste the tea part of the blend. I had good success with that the other day with Happy Kombucha, and now am really wanting to try Long Life Oolong and a few other of DTs oolong blends. I also was at Bulk Barn tonight, and it took everything I had not to pick up their bulk oolongs (but I’m sure that’s not too far in the future :D)
Anyhow! This tea smells EXACTLY what I was hoping the Three Lemon Green would smell like! Pure citrusy and lemony, no cleaner scent at all (well, except for those cleaners whose companies have nailed the tasty lemon scent. But in that case, I want to eat the cleaner anyways….) And for a blend, I saw a fair bit of tea, which made me happy.
Steeped, it still smells deliciously citrusy, and… what’s that? Do I actually smell OOLONG?! This is a first!
Oh yum… this is a gooder. I can’t quite taste the oolong, but it’s there, adding to the complexity of the sip. And so citrusy, just like it smells.
Yum. I think this might be better if I supplemented it a bit with another oolong, but I’m pretty impressed. For whatever reason, this hadn’t made the cut when I made up the ginormous list of teas I wanted to buy from DavidsTea, but I received it as a sample in my last online order, and am happy for it :)
ETA: Two more steepings of this today (94/4? minutes, and 95/? minutes). I don’t think I like them as much as I did the first steep yesterday, but they are still ok. The third is starting to have a bit of a funky taste in addition to the lemon, so that’s all I’m going for. This one might have a sometimes home in my cupboard, and I still plan to blend it with a straight oolong in the future.
Finishing this one up tonight (it feels like I’m making progress! But when I finish up teas I like, I just plan to buy more, so that’s hardly progress, is it….)
Still smells as sweet and delicious as ever. Hoping there’s no metallic flavour like last time…
Ok, no metallic flavour, but I think I should really lower the steeping temperature to reflect the green tea in this blend. There is a bit of an odd flavour, and I don’t recall noticing it the first time around, at which time I’m pretty sure I steeped it around 82C instead of 94C. Still a treat though, and I’ll at least buy another sample size package before deciding whether this is a keeper or not.
ETA: Second steep of this tonight (Wednesday). Regretting the decision to have sweets prior to drinking tea, because things aren’t tasting quite right anymore! I don’t think the second steep of this one was fabulous anyhow… rechecks notes It’s just tasting a bit bland to me. But then again, that could be because my tongue just had a sugar overload. Ah well!