1382 Tasting Notes
I’m tempted just to copy my blog review over here but I will resist. What-Cha is a new UK company. They have free international shipping on orders over $35, and a flat $6 for lesser orders. That seems to include my friends in Canada!
This tea leaf smells awesome. It is sweet and sour like other Chinese greens with the addition of kind of a bread like aroma and a wonderful breath of smoke (not heavy LS or even Keemun).
The taste is so different I had to contact What-Cha and ask if this is indeed a green or if it is a sheng. Alistair wrote back as quickly as time zones would allow and confirmed it is prepared as a green tea. The interesting thing is the large purple leaves of this particular varietal have been cultivated (my word – maybe not the correct one) for producing pu’erh. So I am sort of on the right track.
What I am tasting is sheng like without any of that bright metallic taste. It is mild and vegetal, earthy, along with a stone fruit note (I am thinking apricot). The smoke briefly appears at the back of the sip and just fits. In later cups I notice it developing spicy and floral notes.
More sheng comparisons to this green tea – My lungs feel cool and fresh like I can breath to my toes. I noticed a peaceful sense of well being while sipping. I also found it produced a quiet stomach rumble leading me to believe this tea is soothing to my system. Your mileage may vary.
I found this tea to be captivatingly different. I am 30 ounces into steeping the same leaf and it appears it is going to go more.
Had to make a run to town this morning for some tests – my wife this time. Stopped at Starbucks afterwards. After making my own green tea powder concoction, theirs is way too sweet, but refreshing anyway. I need to find some xanthan gum so mine will thicken like theirs.
Anyway, checking the mail when we got home, there was a new box of samples from Teavivre. Yesterday I got a really big box from another company, and the day before another smaller one. My wife said those words… Don’t you think you have enough tea yet? Not sure if i should have told her about the Anniversary box that is on its way from Teavivre. That one is different. It is mostly more green tea powder that I’m using everyday… and… some stuff to reach free shipping.
With the medicine in me today, I am feeling pretty good. I think I’ll go to band practice tonight and see how it goes.
Prepared this one again today to see how my taste buds and smeller are reacting to the medicine. I did not add sweetener, which as many of you know is almost unheard of from me. I have learned to use less leaf with this so as not to get overpowering floral. I used 2..5 g with 5 oz water and 195 F water for 1 minute. The jasmine is well behaved. There is just a hint of bite and a slight cheek tingle. It also seems slightly salty. That may be the medicine, but otherwise I think I can taste again.
On the sad side I noticed a crack in my favorite teapot. Apparently I must have bumped the spout of my crystal teapot on the sink. The crack runs down the top edge of the spout. I’ll keep an eye on it but will continue to use it unless it gets worse. I never cared for teapots until I got this one. This one is borosilicate (sp?) glass. It was less than $20. I wonder if the more expensive ones are just as fragile?
I started today with my usual green tea powder frap and then a breathing treatment. I sound like Darth Vader when they broke him at the end of Episode IV. I guess that is better than the gasping martians of yesterday but not great. Called the clinic to find out what happened to one of my prescriptions – turns out someone forgot to hit send. Drove to town. Wife went in to pick it up for me. Now I am steeping this up thinking it is probably a good idea to mix puerh with antibiotics. We’ll see.
20 second steep. This one is another very nice tea. The wet leaf scent is kind of strong but there is nothing off in the cup. Kind of dusty with a light bite and plenty of old leather and loam or a woodsy taste. There is also a fruity or floral note way in the back. It becomes very smooth if you add just a bit of sweetener.
I am not good at describing the subtle differences between various similar puerhs. I do know what I like when I taste it, and this, I like.
I stayed home this morning. I play guitar with the praise team and I never miss. I’ve even played with a broken arm. I’m tough and playing is something I have to do. Until I nearly suffer the fate of H.G. Wells martians as the tiniest of microbes plot their attack. But O’ happy day, I’m not a martian and I have an immune system and a walk in clinic. And now I have steroids, anibiotics, and albuterol. My head will probably not explode and I will get over this. My taste buds and sense of smell are dulled but they mostly work. My biggest issue is this allergy/bug/whatever has made my O2 levels uncomfortably low. I’ve dealt with hypoxia my whole life (told you I’m tough) but I find as I get older I have to stay on top of it more. Golden years my butt.
I grabbed this one because it is warm and comforting. The grassy malt of the dry leaf has me feeling better already. Mug method with about 3.5 g of leaf. It is sweet and smooth with wonderful malt and light cocoa/ caramel notes. There is just a slight bite to it that I appreciate. Excellent choice for an early cup.
Not sure why this tea intrigues me so, but it does. I think it is because I won’t let a tea with potential beat me or maybe just because the leaf is pretty to look at. For flavored teas I tend to like The Persimmon Tree as they generally don’t go in overdrive with the flavors. This one, however, prepared per their general white tea guidelines is strongly alcoholic in flavor – too much for me. The next time I heated the water up and shortened the steep time and it was much better. Today I used about 3 g of leaf and a cooler mug of 175 F water for a 1 minute steep. The color is much lighter than the deep honey from before. Now it is white grape. The aroma is pleasantly butterscotch. The taste is more like a butterscotch chai with some spicy notes from the cinnamon and peppercorns. This is a really nice cup. I knew this was worth the effort.
EDIT – My wife, who generally doesn’t like my teas, took one sip and went Mmmmmmm. So yeah, cooler water and shorter steep time on this one.
I think I normally review this as TAZO. O well. We were out and about, wife needed coffee and I needed Earl Grey. I asked for this iced. I forgot what they were about to do to my tea so I had to add 1 Splenda. You people that hate bergamot – never order EG at Starbucks. Based on my experience (every time because I always forget) I would hate bergamot too. First off they steep it for 5 minutes. That is just too long. I always forget to tell them 3 minutes – tops. Just like their coffee it smells strong enough to melt your face. Plus all the ice is melted. If they can fix a frappuccino why can’t they fix iced tea? I should have asked for a glass of ice. I didn’t so this is my own fault. It is very bitter – face puckeringly so – and the bergamot that should be wonderfully refreshing is overwhelming my senses. I’m typing my complaining out so maybe, just maybe, I’ll remember next time and explain too them how to prepare it correctly.