1122 Tasting Notes
When you go to bed at 11:00 and wake at 12:00, thinking it is morning, you know you are in trouble. Help me Earl Grey, you’re my only hope. The force is strong with this one. Bergamot haters beware. This is not for you. Lalith at Empire Tea Services likes his EG in your face. The addition of orange peel gives a twist that makes it unlike any other companies EG I have tried.
First off, to the north thousands are without power with 12-16" of snow. We only ended up with maybe 2" of snow and some icing underneath. The -9 F temp is way better than it could have been as the winds are fairly light. We dodged this one. Yeah!
This tea – so you know how you have some high quality expensive teas you keep that make you swoon, and you have some cheapster Steepster bags or low cost loose you always keep around because they are so comfortable? Well this is the middle ground. I smell the puerh more than I taste it. The chocolate is more the base flavor. Peppermint blends with the chocolate for comfort. The spearmint is just barely the predominate taste – or maybe I think so because I don’t crave it in tea. It works well in the combination.
I wish the puerh had a little more presence. As is typical of tea with real chocolate in it, this is murky. That being said, it is warm and comforting on this very cold day.
So all week the TV weather people have been preparing us for a major winter storm. Last night they cancelled church so no one would get hurt. I got up this morning and its in the low 30’s and raining. Raining? Apparently north of us will still get pounded but the bulk of the white stuff skirted around us. However, that is only part of the story.
Tonight the temperature is supposed to plummet and the wind pick up resulting in some of the coldest weather in 30 years: -50 F windchills. I remember last time. Our power went out and with the ice we had to stay put. We (me, wife, 2 kids, dog, couple cats, and a bird) all huddled in our bedroom and stayed safe. I am quietly hoping the weather folk miss the mark on the plus side on this as well… and the power stays on.
In acceptance, defiance, or whatever, I am having a toasted English muffin with blackberry jam, and mug of Earl Grey hot while I watch the rain. Kudos to Twinings for a string long enough to wrap around the cup handle. I hate it when the tag gets sucked under. For those who are in the storms path – stay safe.
Yesterday I had a mind blowing Yunnan black. So today I am having this equally amazing Fujian black. I scrolled through my older reviews of this and they seem to bounce all over the place. So continuing the trend… I could swear I smelled grape as I took my first sip. Then I was hit with a brief moment of pepper on the sides of the tongue. The cup then settled into grain, honey, and malt. So very good. Must re-steep.
Remember RiverTea’s contest “What would you do for the last 100 g of your favorite tea on earth?” Well, this is the last of my prize winning samples to try and Yunnan blacks are one of my three most favorite teas. The other two being Fujian black, and Earl Grey.
With Golden Tips and Golden Monkey being two of my highest rated teas, I wasn’t sure how this would stack up against the competition. When I inhaled the aroma of the first cup I literally went, “Whoa!” Then I sipped it and was just as impressed. This has more than a casual amount of sweet smoke. Not LS level smoke. More of a Keemun level but unmistakably smoky none-the-less. It is accompanied by honey and light malt. Beneath it lies woodsy/nutty tinged cocoa.
This is seriously good. I haven’t given a rating to a new tea in a while but I will this one. Bravo!
My first experience with Shou Mei. The leaf looks like the picture and is interesting to look at and festive in aroma. I am not a particular fan of chai – which strangely is exactly why I chose this one. This is not any of the things I dislike in chai. It is not overwhelmingly spiced. The pepper is held down to a very mild level. Though the list of ingredients is long, they all make sense. (Are you listening Yogi and Stash?) In the taste it is clove and cardamom. Originally I thought ginger and cinnamon, which are also present. I don’t taste lemongrass or vanilla but assume they are filling in the flavors of the cup.
This reminds me of Mystic Chai, which is a powdered chai mix I used to buy at Sam’s Club. I liked it but it was pre-sweetened, which meant three times too sweet for human consumption. This is not sweetened so I get to control how sweet I want it. What a novel idea!
For chai, I like this one.
I’m not English and it is not breakfast. I’m a mad man! Even so, I was pleasantly surprised by this. I always (and apparently wrongly) associate EB with extremely strong, brisk, bitter, and often harsh. Generally I consider EB near the bottom of my tea preferences. This is the bagged version so it is a little less flavorful than it might otherwise be but I enjoyed it. Smooth, malty, and fruity. The only negative, if it offends you, is it is a tad drying. I used sweetener. I seldom use milk – that might cover the dryness. Anyway, way better than I remember.