1413 Tasting Notes
There is a downside to drinking fabulous new teas. Your old comfort teas tend to get neglected. I’ve been too busy today for new tea. OK, I got my brain sucked out by my space flight simulator game. Then I researched, and learned a new song, made and printed lead sheets before practice tonight. Now I am sitting with one of my favorite inexpensive loose leaf comfort teas. It tastes like heaven. I used more leaf than normal and lowered the temperature to 195 F. It is creamy smooth with none of its usual heavy bite. The bergamot does get a bit reduced but it is strong enough to survive and linger in the aftertaste. Who knew a tiny little change could make this much difference. OK, I should have, I’ve just never tried before.
I give this a more thorough review on my blog but to keep it shorter and lighter here – this stuff is AWESOME! I had to check the website to see if it was the correct tea. This is not even close to what I expected from an oolong. This is malt, malt, malt, malt, (tribute to Spam) and honey, and malt, and caramel, and did I mention malt? Seriously, this reminds me of a combination of Tan Yang and the Dian Hong Golden Tips I had this morning. There is no bitterness, and only a slight dryness. If feels thick and syrupy. The aftertaste is sweet and fruity/spicy. They call it plum and that does match the other teas I have tried that mention plum in the description. What-Cha is quickly turning me into a fan.
I haven’t given a number rating in a while – this one earns it.
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Plums
Today I made smoothies. 1 tsp green tea powder, 8 oz 2% milk, vanilla, frozen banana, frozen fruit medley. I had to add some sweetener – the blueberries in the medley are just too tart. Poured into one of those freezer steins that keeps everything icy. Very good. I would do this often. Wife said she would like it if I left the green tea out of hers :(
This morning I jumped on Steepster and was so moved by Cwyn’s review of 2012 White2tea Giant Steps that I did the unthinkable. I reached way in the back of my tea cabinet and pulled out my beloved Golden Tips that I was saving. It has a 3 year shelf life and I have a number of boxes of samples yet to be reviewed. Getting through all of them will take a long time. I don’t care. I am going to drink that which was too valuable to open.
As I opened the bag it was heaven – cocoa, sweet potato, malt. I used a healthy pinch of leaf, then reached in and got more. No scrimping. No saving. Not today. I am going to enjoy my tea. I used my clear glass teapot. I’ve never used it before with a black tea. I was rewarded with one of the most spectacular ballets I have had the pleasure of watching in ages.
When I went to pour, things took a nasty turn. I wasn’t paying attention. The lid slipped off the pot (normally I have a finger on it) and smacked the spout knocking it cleanly off. As upset as I am that my favorite teapot is broke, I am more concerned about the cup I was about to enjoy and the leaf that is in the bottom of the pot that would resteep the rest of the day. But you know what, I have more and I’m not afraid to use it!
I am now looking for a replacement clear glass teapot. I had this one http://www.enjoyingtea.com/caseafiglte.html Previously I accidentally bumped it while cleaning and it had a hairline crack along the top of the spout. Today’s mishap broke cleanly across the spout in the other direction, so the two are unrelated. Much as I loved this one I am thinking I might try one with more of a kettle spout.
Now go grab something you are saving and drink it! Just keep your finger on the lid.
After reading Angrboda’s review of Lotus Puerh, and knowing I had some in transit, all I could think of was I want my Lotus. I want it now. So I put the Yixing aside and grabbed the press for a solid blast of this floral green. Unlike any other tea I’ve had. Whereas Tazo’s decaf lotus is a polite, lovely, and proper cup of lightly flowery tea, this is its punk twin. It is a lot louder and far more vocal. The green base is Vietnamese. I have never had a straight Vietnamese green before but I am certain it is largely responsible for the uniqueness of this scented tea. The lotus combines to produce an almost anise like flavor that really appeals to me. The base does no get lost and comes back in at the end. Just what I was craving this cloudy afternoon.
A few more steeps of this one with yesterday’s leaf. I wanted to get my Chi on. It continues to impress with its well mannered youth. And yep, it still has a nice camphor affect. There are blessings in each day if you take the time to notice. It was so much fun playing guitar today with air! Played one of my favorite rock out songs called The Wonderful Cross. It’s based on the Issac Watts classic. For those familiar I play it similar to the Tomlin/Redman version but faster.
I am just getting a good start with this one and will probably keep steeping the same leaf tomorrow as well. I just wanted to jump in and say this is most unexpected. Well, maybe I should have suspected it from Teavivre. This raw pu-erh is only a couple months old but it is very tasty. I used the whole sample (how out of my comfort zone ). I did compromise just a little by using a gigantic 5 oz of water :) and I lowered the temperature of the first steep to 205 F for a 15 second steep. I was anticipating a young sharp bitter astringent blast. Instead I got some cheek tingle and some bite but very manageable. To me this is kind of fruity (maybe apricot) along with a nutty or woodsy taste. It is also kind of mineral in a good way.
The main reason I am posting before getting too far into the session is to report the antihistamine or camphor qualities are cooling my lungs and I feel like I can breathe to my toes. I love that. The is also an easy peaceful feeling present (que the Eagles). Excellent Cha Chi.
This tea isn’t yet on What-Cha’s website at the time I am writing this. I get the honor of sampling it before the rest of the world. Go Me!
Wha-Cha sources their Kenya teas directly from the farmers. This translates into hopefully a better wage for their hard work and a better fresher leaf for us.
The long leaf on this is very dark and lightly twisted. It looks more like a black tea but on closer examination it really does have a purplish cast. There are a few twigs. The aroma dry is grain and dry grass. The steeped leaf is olive green and brown. It maintains a purple tint and as I was examining it I noticed a blueberry tint to the small amount of liquid under the leaf. It has a heavy but awesome cooked spinach aroma.
The taste is completely different than the Yunnan purple varietal I tried the other day. It tasted like a mellow sheng. This Kenyan purple has a more traditional green tea flavor. As such I think it might appeal to a wider audience. It is a little grassy with a nice bite. It has a fruit note that is not overly sweet or tart and kind of grape like. I don’t really know plum taste – that is what Wha-Cha states in the description – but if my description fits the profile, then I agree with them :)
I wrote on my blog review that this reminds me of Mao Feng. If I had them side by side maybe it isn’t that close but going from memory that is the connection I make.
So my intention was to give a food grade Japanese matcha a whirl when I ran out of green tea powder for my breakfast milk concoction. But then Teavivre had an anniversary sale and marked this down 40%. 40%! Well that was a no brainer. I have already grown accustomed to its unique taste. Yeah, its bitter on its own but works for what I am doing with it.
The problem is my present supply is starting to show tin at the bottom. Why did I wait so long to order? The 8 oz of restock has shown no sign of moving in days when checking tracking. I know it always takes two – three weeks to get here, but if I just knew it was still moving it would be easier to wait. Why do I keep checking? Aaarrrrrgggghhhh!
I may be forced to return to the world of Hershey’s syrup for a few days while I sit hitting refresh on USPS. :)
Just having some fun. Trust me, I’ll survive.