1520 Tasting Notes
The last few days have been lousy weatherwise. This afternoon it was partly sunny and low 50’s. I made a hot cup of this jewel, after Sil’s review had me craving it, and headed for the porch. Light touch of smoke, malt, caramel, honey, and more than a hint of leather. I really like this one.
Spike and Buffy went out with me. Spike is sill hobbling around from surgery and is kind of pathetic at the moment, but at least he is up and eating. Buffy on the other hand is the Tasmanian Devil on Redbull. Down the ramp, out in the yard through every pile of leaves she could find. From one gate to the other, then up the steps with a leap over her collection of sticks and around again as hard and fast as she can run. I don’t know about her, but I’m worn out.
Kind of laughed at myself this morning. Chinese green tea powder is what many companies call their food grade matcha (check the label). It is kind of the white package, blue letters version (you know, Walmart Great Value) of matcha. I’m OK with that because I like it. The syrups I am using in it right now are name brand (Torani) and I don’t care for them – I miss my more generic version. So any way, this morning with this I had GV brand wheat bread toast with GV brand peanut butter. I couldn’t tell the difference between them and the name stuff that costs twice as much. I guess I am not much of a champagne and Cadillac kind of guy, at least not this morning.
The last of my What-Cha samples for a first time review. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being introduced to new teas I never knew existed. You know, like green tea from Nepal. This one has a scent of dry autumn leaves until steeped. It then has a steamed vegetal scent with notes of nectarine. This is light and crisp. I get vegetal with a light bite up front that drifts in to spring water before changing to a long lasting grassy floral aftertaste. Uniquely different from the black or white teas I’ve tried from Nepal. This compares well to a Chinese green. Delicate and refreshing.
Got home this afternoon from picking up Spike at the vet (he had surgery today). My son was sitting on the porch. As I got out of the car he yelled, pop fix a pot of tea so we can set on the porch. It was only 50 degrees but the sun was shining so, why not. He often drinks Bigelow K-Cup earl Grey so I thought I would pull this one on him. His opinion – this is really good earl grey, and I agree.
This. Is. Awesome. Just thought I should get that out of the way. The leaf looks silver and fuzzy with a mix of green leaf. It resembles white tea but it is an oolong. The aroma is citrus. When water hits the leaf the nose becomes very definite citrus. At first I am thinking lemon. Then breathing in again, I’m thinking orange. So nice.
The liquor is sunshine yellow and very clear. The aroma of the leaf is so wonderful, I was a little afraid the taste would not compare. Wrong. It is better. At the front I get sweet buttery corn. Then mid sip it changes to spring water. While the brain is still trying to adjust, this moves into a beautiful citrus finish. No bitterness or astringency that I recall. Nothing even vaguely approaching off in the taste. Just lots or refreshing yum.
I have had the pleasure of trying several teas from What-Cha. Picking a favorite would be difficult. This one is definitely a contender for that spot.
Got up made my green tea milk drink and some toast. Started out the door to take Spike to the vet. My son popped in as we opened the door. The 3 of us plus the dog piled into my cruiser and headed out. After dropping the dog off and a quick stop at Wallyworld, they wanted breakfast. Sigh. I really am trying to watch what I eat. So Steak and Shake here we come. I ordered hot tea. The server brought my cup full of steaming water, the silver metal pitcher of water with the bag in it, and a Styrofoam cup. At first my thought was, you are going to get in trouble when they find out you are the one staining the pitchers. She said she likes to heat her tea cup and that I could pour the water into the extra cup. Neat. It really did make the tea fruitier. For a tea bag it is pretty good anyway. She said she was a total tea girl. A moment of conversation and I realized she meant she drank a lot of tea bag tea. Still, she was correct on this one. I may have to sack up a few loose leaf samples and help her expand her horizons.
There are at least three listings for Tuocha Tea, so I just chose one and went with it. I actually started this yesterday and I am still drinking it but thought I would post. This is less than half the price on Tuocha Tea as it is elsewhere.
I kind of messed up the first mug. I used boiling and a 45 second steep with no wash. The leaf smelled like wet carpet and the cup was very bitter and drying. My fault. Beyond the eeewww, this is a little sweet, and a little woodsy.
The second 10 oz mug at 10 seconds is pretty good. The wet leaf is a pleasant woodsy mushroom with a hint of smoke. This is sweet. It feels a bit syrupy. The taste is of stone and mushroom. This is a very enjoyable cup with nothing off-tasting.
The third mug at 20 seconds is stone and mushroom, and I detect a light smoke late in the sip. This is the best cup yet.
This is a raw puerh, and it still has some of that sheng brightness, but it is aging nicely and seems pretty decent.
Prepared this again this morning after my morning green tea powder and milk. I used hotter water (185 F) and a 15 minute steep per Amanda’s method. Using this method, I learned this is an exceptionally forgiving tea. I might try really hot water with the last of this just to test. I also learned Amanda has amazing sensory powers. Today’s cup was pretty much identical to yesterday’s cup for me. Don’t get me wrong that is a good thing. I was just hoping to detect all the awesome notes as she described. The corn is easy. I get a light floral and a bit of fruit – neither of which I can identify.
I was really hoping to catch the peony as a childhood memory trigger. Mom loved peonies when I was growing up. For whatever reason she never replanted them when they moved several years ago. Ha, look at that – triggered just thinking about trying to smell them. Love it. They were right outside my bedroom window. There was no air conditioning back in the neolithic period that was my childhood. I slept with the window open. On really hot nights I would lay my head on the window sill. The scent of peonies filled the night air. During the day the bees and ants loved the flowers as much as I did…
I seem to be obsessed with white tea lately. This one looks just like Chinese Silver Needle. Dry, it smells of sweet fresh cut hay. The taste is corn. It is lightly sweet. Late sip is floral and fruit. The aftertaste really lingers. The longer I wait the more I notice a melon note. Very likable and very different than its Chinese twin.
I can’t wait to try this again with the gaiwan and long steeps to match how Amanda prepared it.