1689 Tasting Notes
It was 53 this morning when I started outside with my cold matcha latte. Opted to stay in until it warmed up a little. Later I brewed a hot cup of lapsang souchong and began to play Kerbal Space Program. Today’s agenda was to launch a satellite to orbit Mun and look for locations on the moon with resources to build a refinery. Except, my early satellites tumbled out of control during ascent. My redesign made Mun orbit then proceeded to blow up for no good reason. Decided I was done destroying things up for the day. Grabbed the cup of LS and tried for the porch again. It was 68. Close enough. The LS was cool by this time. Didn’t care. It smells like BBQ but doesn’t taste that way. It is nicely sweet but not bacon or meat tasting. The smoke is at a stout but pleasant level. No ashes or ashtray here. Just pleasant sweet pine smoke.
3 Leaf Tea offered samples for review. I asked for this one in particular as I have never tried a tangerine pu’erh. The brewing instructions are for a western style brewed cup. 1 tsp of leaf and a cup of boiling water with a 3 minute steep.
The dry leaf is very pleasant to sniff. It is hay and fruit. The steeped leaf is barnyard but I know this seldom translates into the cup. The brew is almost ‘tea’ colored but a little more ruby tinted than your average orange pekoe.
The taste is dusty dry spiciness with a hint of tangerine zest. It is not astringent or bitter. There is a gentle but deep earthiness that confirms this is pu’erh. The second cup was pretty much like the first except maybe a touch more towards sweet. Goes down easily.
Not a deeply complex tea but a nice everyday sipper. Seems like a good base to play with your herbs and spices to see what you can invent.
This is a good solid everyday workhorse tea. It isn’t going to blow you away but it does the job. It appears to be very forgiving as to leafing and steep time. Perfect for early morning when you can’t be trusted with measuring or telling time. For those who like to be jolted awake, this might not be your tea. I prefer a more subtle wake up. There is no bitterness. I didn’t notice any dryness. What I got was cup that tastes dark, sweet, and leafy. I noticed some mild notes of smoke underneath (very mild). It should take milk or sugar well – though I tried neither. It should also work nicely iced. Your friends who don’t get your tea obsession would recognize this as tea.
Recommend as an everyday black
Maybe my memory is on the fritz but this just seems different than any Bao Zhong or Pouchong I have tried before. First the leaf has more green than I recall. There is also tan tips and the darker leaf kind of looks battle ship grey with white spots. The liquor is bright yellow which I did expect but the aroma is floral like Alishan. The taste is sweet and at first reminds me of corn with maybe a touch of malt. Then it moves towards the floral notes. The aftertaste is lingers green and viney.
I know most western folks seem to like their oolong dark and highly roasted. I do not. This is more my style. Light, crisp, and refreshing. A good afternoon sip, to chill or meditate.
I dare you to open the bag and inhale this then walk away. Ain’t no way. Dry this smells like a bouquet of peonies. So sweet and pretty. The leaf is equally beautiful with red and brown steaks along with silvery white tips. Once brewed the steep leaf scent is peaches, no grapes, no its orange. Love. The brew is liquid sunshine so bright and golden. The taste is muscat grape and hints of malt. Then it turns into mountain streams that fade into light orange blossoms. I was not in the mood for tea today until I opened this one. Gentle and amazingly complex. A definite winner.
Last of the tin. I’d be sad but I have another unopened one already waiting. So good. I added a little sweetener today, because I can, it was a good choice. Sweet, creamy, a little peppery, a little floral and anise, along with a wonderfully different green tea.
I just went to The Persimmon Tree website – there is almost nothing there! Are they closing down or retooling? It would be a shame to loose them. So maybe I am sad.
Tuesday we were in Columbus Indiana, so we stopped at Empire Tea Services warehouse. Here in small town Indiana, they blend and carry 250 different teas. Mainly they are wholesalers, supplying tea for restaurants and hotels. They also do relabeling. The retail side of the business is called Tea Temptations. They don’t really push the retail side. I have tried to get them to sell samples and smaller sizes – 4 oz is just too much for most of us around here. They told me it cost more than they make from it. Others do it, so I’m not so sure, but they seem happy with things the way they are. They also have items in stock (like yixing pots) that aren’t on their website. The tiny pot I looked at was $29.
So, the tea… back in my tea bag only days, I loved Peach Apricot tea. I am not a big flavored tea drinker, except mainly Earl Grey. I am not sure why PA has always appealed to me. This stuff blows the doors of anything bag related. I was told that this has been their number one selling tea for several years. Today I am having it iced. The gunpowder tea is mainly large broken pieces with some full leaves. It stays mostly in the background. The peach and apricot share equal billing. They taste really natural to me. I can almost feel the fuzz on the fruit.
Oh, one other thing, the tea comes in decorative plastic lined waxed paper bags. It should probably be moved to something else if you don’t drink it up quickly. Admittedly, I never move it and it seems to do well. Just wanted you to be aware.
I don’t have Sleepytime vanilla yet, but hearing about it made me break out the winter CS bags. Last night it was Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride. Love it. Tonight was another awesome choice. Late in the evening when I am looking more for comfort than depth, this really hits the spot.
In other news, I dropped in to the Empire Tea Services warehouse today. We were in the neighborhood and my wife was almost out of her Tea and Herbs. Thought we would save on the shipping. Since we were there I kind of bought 4 oz of Peach and Apricot gunpowder green tea. I’ve had it before. It has been their number 1 seller for years and for good reason. I swear I can smell the fuzz on the peach. I needed another 4 oz of tea like a hole in the head but made the mistake of smelling it. I am weak :)
August? What happened to July? For that matter where did spring and summer go? The first cold snap is probably only 7 weeks away. Oh well, maybe that will help get me moving drinking tea again.
Actually, I tell you what it takes to motivate me – Jin Jun Mei. I love Fujian tea. This is a really excellent one. I honestly can’t think of a single negative thing to say about this one. From the moment I opened the bag I was hooked. It has all the wonderful scent you expect from it. The leaf is beautiful. The brew color is dark, dark, ruby red. The aroma is intoxicating. Teasenz says it has notes of orange. Others mention this as well. To me it is like fruit wine, except better, cause its tea ;)
The taste is honey and sweet potato, malt and hay, along with the fruity wine vibe. Accompanying this mixed in with a pleasant bite is molasses and cocoa.
I made two mugs and the second was as excellent as the first. I know most of my reviews are positive – because I don’t drink stuff I don’t like. That said, this is really good. If I still rated teas, I would slide the bar way to the right.