1689 Tasting Notes
Porch sitting at 6:00 AM with a latte made with classic matcha. It is 60 F and there is a gentle rain. My latte was made with cold milk. Why am I not freezing? Oh, right, because my body doesn’t wake up until after 8. My brain loves this weather. Anyway, so the neat thing about participating in a blogging matcha tasting event is you get to try like a zillion different matchas. The bad part is they start tasting so much alike, when you aren’t real skilled in them yet. Such is the case with this one. I found it to be umami with popcorn notes, when testing. Today, with milk it is very smooth. There is little to no bitterness and the taste with milk leans towards nutty and green leafy. Makes a good sweetened latte.
The liquor is brilliant, nearly fluorescent, yellow with the light behind it. Sipping, it is not bitter and has no sharp edges. It does have just enough bite to excite the palate. The feel is a bit creamy. The taste is clean, crisp, and is a mix of nutty with underlying floral. The aftertaste is grassy with floral and melon notes. It is not a strong aftertaste but lingers a long time. I also catch a definite dryness and some cheek tingle that isn’t out of place with this type tea. A very satisfying Chinese green.
My wife brought this Teavana infuser home from Starbucks. She said it was so I would quit stealing her Finum baskets, that I bought ;)
What I like, is this is all stainless steel – no plastic. The rim is big enough to fit my 12 ounce mug with room to spare, while holding the bottom of the infuser above the bottom of the mug. The screen mesh is very fine. I haven’t tried it with rooibos yet but feel confident it can handle it with ease. The water seems to flow through it well. Of course loose in the pot is better but not always practical. This is a good compromise.
What I don’t like is more of a what is missing thing. It does not have a lid to hold in the heat, or a base to sit the infuser on between cups.
About $10 at Starbucks
I am enjoying this sample from Crimson Lotus Tea immensely. The dry aroma is hay and barnyard. That used to make me nervous. Now I rather expect it. I did two rinses. The first cup was at 10 seconds. It is root beer colored with a pink tint. The first thing I notice when tasting was the thick creamy feel running along side the initial bite. Kind of opposing sensations but they work together. After the bite settles, I get mild horse tack that drifts into a sweet smooth finish. Cup two was much darker, pouring ruby red. Similar in taste to the first. The difference is this introduced a cedar note at the beginning and moved the bite to later in the sip. I also caught a light smokiness when exhaling. I only noticed the smoke after ‘testing’ a hot out of the oven chocolate chip cookie made with sugar free chips. Did the cookie bring the smoke out or add it? Who knows. Both the cookie and the tea were very enjoyable. Highly recommend both.
I have had way too many things going on lately. The one most related to tea is our plumbing issues. We have hard water. If there is a death metal version of hard water, ours is possibly worse. Every few years we have a new water heater brought in. That’s common in hard water around here. Worse our cold water lines are even slowing down because of lime build up. We have replaced the toilet flush thingy 3 times this year because it gets limed up. So, against our desires we had a water softener added to the whole house when the water heater was replaced on Friday. I have been holding off on tea until I get adjusted to the new normal. I was afraid the water would taste salty, or metallic. It doesn’t. I could tell an immediate difference in the feel. So today was a trial run with a tea I like to see how it affects the taste. I ran the water through a charcoal filter first. It feels lighter and slightly brighter but nothing seems out of place. Hopefully the softener takes care of the problems. Glad to see it didn’t ruin tea, and hoping less chunky water brings out new taste notes.
This is one of my favorites because it is so different from everything else.
Dry, this smells like malt and baked cocoa. The dry leaf is as dark as charcoal, with cinnamon buds. The cup color is bright sunshiny orange. The taste is much like the dry scent. There is zero bitterness. It has a slight bite up front, yet I find the astringent dryness to be pretty minimal. There is a touch of malt, baked cocoa, and honey present. A woodsy essence is present throughout, and a nice floral touch in the aftertaste. Reminds me of Fujian black but from memory this seems smoother. You don’t have to look to find the flavor here, but it is not an assertive tea like a breakfast tea. Good afternoon choice.
This mornings cup was prepared with too much leaf and water heated in a coffee pot. The result was a bit brutal even for my barbarian tastes. The base kind of grabbed me by the throat. The bergamot jumped on and punched me more than a few times. I stood my ground and finally whipped this tea into submission. Way to go Nina’s! I’ve always seen you as the quiet polite one in my EG collection. Today you released the savage beastie within. Next time I will pay a little more attention when measuring out the leaf. Unless of course I don’t :)
The final of my samples from Wymm Tea. Thanks!
Kind of glad this one took so long to make it to the top of the list. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I am used to sheng being very bright, metallic, and biting. This was very different.
First, the dry leaf looks so fresh and alive. The brew is honey colored. The first thing I noticed when tasting was a light note of smoke. No else seems to have mentioned it – so maybe its just me, but I liked it. This was followed by the flavor blooming into fresh floral notes. Not overpowering. The feel is thick. It leans toward sweet. In later steeps I got peppery notes and more than hints of apricot. There was some astringency but nothing unmanageable or even closely approaching what I normally find in sheng.
All in all, an easy to like old tree sheng.