1521 Tasting Notes
I wish I had read Stephanie’s review just before preparing this one. I used boiling water per the label instructions. The first cup I went one minute. The color was light caramel and the taste was like sipping water poured over stones, with a light jasmine note up front. The second cup, also boiling, at two minutes was bright orange. Wow, the young raw leaf had a strong bite. I wish I had used cooler water. The liquor is almost syrupy, including sticky lips. The taste is nutty, and vegetal, with a nice floral jasmine that I think is more aroma than taste. This had an interesting throat warming sensation that was not the hot liquid or a spiciness. Can’t explain it better. Except for the bitterness, that I ended up taming with sweetener, this is a really interesting cup. Cup three was very similar. Next time this gets cooler water to hold down the bite. Otherwise really good.
Stephanie, I haven’t forgotten you – just can’t stay home long enough to get a package wrapped and out. I will try hard to get it done this week.
I really like this one. Unfortunately for me, I just did a breathing treatment and it is covering up a lot of the wonderful subtle notes. Still really nice.
Had to laugh this morning. Got on Steepster and there were 67 spam entries. I noticed they were still being posted as I was viewing. So, I flagged the accounts and it wiped them. Immediately, one of the spammers signed right back up again with the same name and started over. Flagged them again. Hopefully they have given up for the day.
More pointless stories – Yesterday, we walked out the door as the late evening sun shone through under the clouds. The tree line lit up with yellows, golds, and orange. It was one of those WOW! moments. I thought awesome, I’ll take a picture. So I grabbed by phone. That’s when I realized that if a UFO landed in front of me and bigfoot ran out of the woods, I would have no proof because I don’t have a clue how to use this thing. I then couldn’t figure out how to get it back to phone mode. I am so last century.
Up way before dawn. While zapping spam and catching up on tasting notes, I decided to have this again this morning. Today I made a 4 oz concentrate then added milk and a little sweetener for a latte. Very comforting, though it would have been better as an evening cup. I don’t like being jarred awake but this is a little too cozy for 6:00 AM. Don’t know until you try. Warm. Silky. Vanilla.
Twice in one day I find myself not aligning with some of the other reviews. I am not a vanilla fan normally – well except in my morning frap. I don’t dislike it. Vanilla just doesn’t enter my radar as a choice often. That said, I liked this one. The white tea stars are pretty to look at but I don’t think they add or take away from the taste. The vanilla is a bit overwhelming in the dry scent. The wet leaf has a caramelized vanilla aroma that I liked. The taste is strongly vanilla but not in an off or offensive way. My favorite thing about this blend is the aftertaste is pleasantly vanilla and fades quickly. It does not leave that sweet icky taste I dislike in many vanilla blends.
The thing I noticed in a some of the reviews is that the Assam base was bitter. I just don’t get that. Back in my tea bag only days, Ceylon was the ragged bitter cup and Assam destroyed my stomach. This caused me no grief at all. So maybe the difference is past experience (some of you have just had a lot better Assam in the past than me) or I have simply become immune to moderate or less bitter. I found it nicely smooth.
Someone (don’t remember who) mentioned latte in their review. I am thinking a little sweetener and some milk, this would be delicious.
Another example of how different people respond differently to a tea. I so love this one. Some said it was bland. Some said it was just an ok everyday kind of tea. I find that interesting.
I’ve had this maybe 10 months. Every time I prepare it I get sucked in all over again. The dry scent reminds me of a freshly cleaned stall with the sweet straw and hay aromas. Once water hits it, a nice light smokiness drifts into the air. Sipping, I get tack leather, caramel, cocoa, honey, and that touch of smoke. If this is an every day tea – I’ll take it!
I have been making my morning frap for months with Cafe Al Fresco brand sugar free vanilla and caramel syrups. I ran out. Our Walmart seems to have stopped carrying flavored syrup. So I bought Torani brand at Kroger. It is more expensive and personally I don’t care for the taste. The vanilla is way too light on taste. On the other hand, the caramel tastes more like butterscotch – which I’m OK with – but it is so highly flavored I can’t adjust it down enough. I hate change. They say it’s good, but it never is (My Sheldon melt down moment). The bottles last a long time, so I have a while to find something else. If it wasn’t for wanting sugar free, I would try making my own. Splenda will not thicken like a syrup and I can’t get xantham gum to work without making a clumpy mess. O well, the sun is out and it may be the last 70 degree day of the year. Through whining now. On to the next!
Had this one again. Last time I used 195 F water and a 2 1/2 minute steep. It was slightly drying but otherwise a smooth tea with a light peppery citrus bergamot. This time I went full boil (212 F) and the recommended 3 minute steep. With my comfort tea version (Ahmad) a 3 minute steep will produce a rough edge from the Ceylon base. This new version from Nina’s also has a Sri Lanka (Ceylon) base. I was curious if it would develop the edge – not to be confused with the guitar player for U2 ;) Turns out a longer steep made a better cup of Earl Grey than before. It did not develop a sharp bite, rather it stayed nicely smooth. I did not notice drying this time. What I did notice was the bergamot became richer and stronger. A very good, solid, cup of Earl Grey. Not as refined as the old Keemun base but to me the heartier Sri Lanka base adds character.
Started my day at 4:00 AM. At 6:00, I found myself chugging Mtn Dew and zapping spammers. It kind of makes me happy.
I decided chamomile rose silver needle would be a good one to get me through the rest of the day. I often have silver needle in the morning as it seems to pack almost the caffeine buzz of the Mtn Dew, however it works much more evenly, with no face punch. Keep your assam, I’ll have silver needle. I figured between the theanine in the leaf and the chamomile, it would keep me relaxed and focused. The rose just smells pretty and looks beautiful in the mix.
Here is what I learned – the first cup I went light on the leaf. It was predominantly rose. It is quite lovely, and natural. I had to pay attention to pick up on the chamomile later in the sip. It is slightly sour and slightly sweet. I really wasn’t able to pick up on the white tea. There was an interesting spice flavor mixed in that reminded me of allspice. It was kind of cinnamon, kind of clove. This was not exactly background but not the driving flavor either. I had my wife taste it. She thought it tasted minty. Interesting how differently we perceived it yet both noticed something else was going on in the cup.
For cup two, I doubled the leaf. Now the predominant flavor is apple. It is almost apple sauce. I don’t make out the spice flavor from before but it must be contributing to bring out this sensation. I also taste honey. Interesting how the chamomile has taken the lead. This drifts into the rose later, but rather than dropping off, the chamomile travels along side the rose. It is a very interesting combination.
I can pick up the silver needle but only lightly. There is subtle notes of hay and cucumber. Had I not tried straight silver needle before, I might have missed these notes.
A very interesting and changing cup depending on the amount of leaf used.