Backlogging from Wednesday. Tuesday night my son and I took our telescopes to the state park to help a friend do a public outreach program during the Venus transit. If you missed it, sorry it won’t happen again in your lifetime. It was well attended and a lot of fun. Wednesday I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a truck. Apparently I am a wimp. Flash forward to bedtime. I want tea. This has decaf in it. A pleasant ending to the day.
715 Tasting Notes
Before I get to this tea – I went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch. They used to serve Golden Peak iced tea. It wasn’t bad. Whatever they switched to was awesome for restaurant tea. Great depth. Great bite. Made my tongue tingle. The tamale was good too.
On to this one – still can’t figure out why the name on this one. I can lightly pick out the lavender today. I can also taste something sort of like pumpkin spice – is that what safflower tastes like? Can’t really pick out the black tea. It’s pleasant enough but is kind of one of those teas for people who don’t really like tea. The dry leaf looks like my cockatiel would love it.
I get to work this morning all blurry headed and pull open my tea drawer. There are over 50 different choices. Only about four of which are not sample sized. Too many options. I can’t decide. I don’t want to open something new. I don’t want to think that hard to prepare it or taste it. I am not awake enough anyway. I don’t have time for that one. Not in the mood for that one. Arrgh! If I don’t get caffeine soon I will shrivel up and d… ooh, Earl Grey. Nice. A blast of bergamot. The bite of a Ceylon. The first cup is nice and harsh just like I need it. The second, sweet and mellow, like everyone around me needs it. I may make it through this day yet without pulling someone’s arm off.
I tried to not open my latest round of samples from Teavivre until I had finished a few of my open teas. I tried. I really did. I plan on a longer review for my blog later. Let me say here that the dry leaf looks as gorgeous as the picture. It smells like horse barn. Others had a nicer way of saying this. I like the smell. Call me crazy.
The sip is smooth horse tack along with the sensation of mint with out the taste of mint. I didn’t catch a mint scent as Bonnie reported, though I did this 12oz at a time in my French press. It has a natural sweetness of its own. I added sweetener halfway through the cup anyway. It really didn’t improve the flavor. That’s interesting. Usually I find it amplifies notes I was missing. Not this time.
I did 4 mugs on one scoop of leaf (guessing 2.5g). It started turning lighter and a bit mushroom toward the end – still tasted good. Teavivre’s touchas are simple, easy to use, and have a similar flavor but this is so much smoother with no sharp edges. Just a good leathery shu.
A sip down. I had more than I really needed for one last cup but not quite enough to stretch it into two. The dance of the leaf was an awesome event. Pulled the top off the press and holy cow the peach scent was strong – reach out and grab you strong. I added my usual yellow packet. The sip is nicely peach – not over the top. You can taste the green base and it is good, except I got the water a little too hot or I steeped too long as it is a bit bitter. That was not my experience with any previous cups. I am catching interesting pepper notes in this as well. I am thinking I should have used more leaf all along and just gone for a shorter steep time. Nice. Thank you again to Fusion Teas for the sample.
Fruity goodness :)
Yep, I was correct. This blows the doors off the Twinings loose darjeeling and this one is bagged. I upped its rating and lowered the Twinings. I have never tried a quality leaf loose version – so I am sure this pails in comparison. Still it is pretty tasty.
Saying good bye to the oldest tea in my drawer. I haven’t proven to be the biggest fan of Keemun on its own but I do enjoy it blended with other teas. This is an excellent Ceylon Keemun blend. Today I saw this tea in an all new light. This is the first time I have brewed this immediately after Bailin Gong Fu, and amazingly they are far more similar than different. This one is almost equally malty but lightly more astringent. The leaf in the press has a sweet hay/chocolate notes aroma. This is a civilized cup with nice rounded edges. I bought this with a co-worker. When his half runs out, if he wants to keep it in his arsenal, I will reorder with him. This is just good.
Just noticed this is my 300th tasting note!
The early decades of my tea journey were filled with flavored grocery store bagged black teas. I didn’t know there was anything else and I liked them. Then I met green Earl Grey. This changed my direction and led to loose leaf. Now I can say, generally speaking, black teas are my least favorite type. There are rare exceptions. This is one of them. It is an amazing tea. I don’t find it invigorating. To me it makes a relaxing introspective cup. Assam makes me flinch. This melts the world away with sweet malty goodness.
Eventually it had to happen. I just poured the last of this wonderfully sweet hay scented leaf into my press. Verily, verily, I say unto you; my heart is heavy with sadness. Yet, will I rejoice in the goodness of the cup that awaits. I shall lift up my cup in song and celebration. Yes, in remembrance of the time we have shared old friend, will I sip. Forgetting now the sorrow of our parting I shall carry the joy of our time together in my heart until the day we once again are united.
The dry leaf smells of straw. I used a generous ½ scoop (my scoop is the 7g scoop that comes with the Bodum press), boiling water, and a 3 minute steep. The brew is a neat orange root beer color. This is very finely cut CTC but bigger than dust, so it didn’t make too much of a mess in the press. Any finer and it would require a Finum filter basket for easier clean up.
The taste is much improved over my last attempt. Last time I had the second steep with less leaf and a lower water temperature. It was fairly bland. Today’s parameters yielded a light bodied cup with mild fruity notes. It has a bit of the flavor of the grape leaves our local Chinese restaurant uses in some of their dishes. As the cup cools I am noticing a malt scent as I sip. This is a very drying tea. It is not bitter, just very astringent. If you are sensitive to black teas, it is not a good idea to sip this on an empty stomach.
I have to say I prefer Ahmad over this offering from Twinnings. It’s not horrible. I just think you can do better. The flavor is thinner than I like. Although it does improve considerably as the cup cools. It is too astringent, at least for me, and having it instead of breakfast left me with a burning sensation. Nice fruity aftertaste though.
Sipdown of this sample provided by Fusion Teas. Thanks! This one inspired me to plant my own tulsi plant. The clove-like flavor of the tulsi is the main taste in this one, but the fruit (papaya, apple, orange) is right there with it. It also has rosehip peel but I am not sure what it is or tastes like.
Seriously, who could resist trying a tea with this clever name? My latest round of samples arrived yesterday. (Yeah!) I did not intend to break into them this soon, but they were there. Well you know how it is. Actually this one was not completely sealed. I might not have noticed but there were monkey droppings in the bottom of the big pouch ;) Being sealed in the larger pouch, the tea is still fresh and no harm done. Since it is open let’s have at it.
The nuggets look like normal tiguanyin. I forgot to sniff the dry leaf. Steeped in my press for 3 minutes with boiling water. The brew is a green tinted amber. It is extremely clear yet dense. That probably makes no sense but I stared through the press at it for a few seconds as I found its beauty fascinating. This is my first monkey picked oolong. The rich roasted aroma coming off the brew caught me by surprise. I try not to read other reviews or company flavor profiles before tasting. You can also catch the oolong in the scent. The leaf did not fully open on the first steep.
The sip is like a wave crashing over the tongue. It begins as a hearty roasted blast breaking on the taste buds. Next, splashing up is a moment of intense milkiness. Then as the flavor begins to recede, the tiguanyin is revealed. The aftertaste is somewhere between tgy and watermelon rind.
Second cup I went 1 minute. I got interrupted and the cup sat after I poured for several minutes. This cup is very different from the first. The roasted notes are much more subdued. This tastes like a mild genmaicha has been brewed with the tgy. There is also another note, not exactly earthy, but not really woodsy in mid sip. Looking over the other notes at this time, I guess this is what others are calling nutty.
Third cup back at 3 minutes. Pretty much this is now a straight mild tiguanin. Sweet. It has a nice lingering fruity aftertaste.
Thank you TeaVivre for the sample. This is another winner.
All the black tea I have had today, and the Diet Coke at lunch, has given me stomach burn. Time to switch to green. I can’t recall reading many other reviews on this one. The dry leaves are the tiniest little dark curls. Steeped they are tiny little whole green leaves. Brewed this is savory, if I understand the term. Not sweet on its own. Takes sweetener well. The smell reminds me of stew meat and potatoes. The taste is cooked vegetables with a grassy green twist. Its bite is a little bitter but in an interesting way. The taste and feel are sort of like melted butter. The aftertaste is fresh and grassy. This is a unique tea and yet it has characteristics of many of the teas I have tried. In a weird way that causes it to get lost among all the other teas in my drawer. I always enjoy it but seldom remember to grab it. I just stumble on it every now and then. That’s a shame as I really do like this one.
Finely cut CTC loose leaf version. Not sure why, but I have never had this before, loose or bagged. I am not going to rate this today. I had the second cup from the leaf. A co-worker and I swapped presses after I had the De Lea Crème. I got to sniff the dry leaf before he steeped it. It was the scent of straw (different from hay). I have only tried 3 Darjeelings – this one, Mother Parkers (bagged), and Ahmad loose. Of these entry level teas, the Ahmad was my favorite. This one, at least this cup, is my least favorite. It is rather drying and a bit bland. What flavors that are present remind me of the Charleston Plantation tea base in their Governor Gray. His description of the first cup was nothing like mine. He said it tasted like the dry leaf smelled but with a lasting sweetness. There was an additional fruity flavor element he couldn’t describe. Hopefully it was Muscatel grape – but I won’t know that until I try the first cup. He used boiling water and a two minute steep. I went just below boiling and a three minute steep. I thought that was too high for Darjeeling. There were no instructions on the tin that I could find.
As the cup reached room temperature the flavor did start coming out more, but not enough to change my opinion. I think I might like this as an iced tea. Downside is left me with a bit of stomach burn. I haven’t experienced that in a long time. Next time I will have to make sure I have some cookies to nibble on.
I love Earl Grey. I love a citrusy bergamot that doesn’t attempt to hide but doesn’t get in your face either. I love a Ceylon base. It is strong enough to stand on its own without being obnoxious. I love vanilla. There is a whole lot of love in this cup. Maybe if I looked around a while I would find something I like better… maybe… but I sure don’t feel like I am settling. If you drink this while it is really hot, it tastes like vanilla. The cooler the cup gets the more it tastes of bergamot.
This is my third attempt to log this from last night. I am determined. This is chamomile and I still like it anyway. lol. Most of my wife’s chamomiles are too girly for me. This is tasty and not purfumey. Upping the rating a bit.
I kept the empty sample pouch from this and restuffed it for home from the bag I recently ordered and keep at work. To try and keep this short – the sample bag is almost empty again. I really find this refreshing, and it went with hotdogs and Fritos :)
I accidentally oversweetened the first cup. I am used to my little yellow packets. At home I spoon it out of a bowl. Apparently I can’t judge. Oversweet aside, this is really good. The first time I tried this after the De La Creme, which rocks, and it overpowered my perception of this tea. I also noticed no stems in this douple scoop of leaf. It seems they were all mostly in the top of my bag. I split it in half to bring some home. Now that I know, I will either pick some stems out of the bag at work (not likely) or mix it better (cause I’m lazy). My guess is I got the bottom of the bag. The bergamot definitely drives this tea. If you don’t like bergamot this isn’t for you. You can taste the light tea base under it. Not sure how they pulled that off. The orange is under it all supporting the citrus goodness of this cup. This tea and me will become good friends this summer. Upping the rating substantially.
Had this with breakfast as usual on a Saturday. This time, and as far as I recall the first time ever with any tea, I added half and half. I really liked it this way. I felt very British, like I needed God Save the Queen playing in the background. Pretty sure the other patrons in the restuarant would have objected to the Sex Pistols though. There’s no accounting for taste.
Check out how pretty the blend is in the picture. I wrote ETS to find out what was in this as it isn’t on their website yet. They are in the process of a major web update which they really needed to do. Now that I have an ingredient list this makes more sense. When steeping it smells a bit spearminty. I only slightly detect that element in the sip. It has decaf Ceylon as the base and a dozen other ingredients. Yes it has hibiscus but it is well behaved, adding only the slightest tartness. I am not a tart fan so I would complain if it were. The brew as I mentioned in my first tasting can turn kind of grape kool-aid if you steep a long time. I only went two minutes this go around. The brew on a short steep is honey colored. I can’t single out chamomile but it is in here as is rose and lavender and orange. This is a tasty late night fruity desert sip. Really enjoying this with a bit of sweetener. Steepster won’t let me add a rating tonight but I give it about an 82.
I took the day off to start a long weekend – yeah! So I get to post my morning tasting note in real time. This seems to have become my new comfort tea. Pretty amusing for someone who didn’t think they liked fruity teas. This is just so good, hot or cold.
While I am steeping the first cup, the guy in the office next to mine buzzes on the intercom and asks, “Are you making tea?”
“I can smell it. It smells peachy”
“Do you like peach?”
“Would you like me to make you some?”
Minutes later I carry a cup next door. The power of tea.
My co-worker who had no expectations going in (except peach!) gave it a big thumbs up with a smile. In fact he later asked if I would make him another cup.
An extended review can be found on my blog @ http://theeverdayteablog.blogspot.com/2012/05/fusion-teas-ginger-darjeeling-peach.html
After today, I will have enough of this left for one more mug. That’s a shame. The trouble with this tea is timing. After I bought this, I started drinking the most amazing Chinese greens, and oolongs, blacks, and puerhs, along with some excellent fruit and herbal teas. This one kind of got lost in the drawer. This is a blend of Ceylon, Keemun, and a couple others I can’t recall at the moment. It is way better than anything I can buy locally from the grocery store but it is not the alien sensory journey I have come to love and expect. This tastes like tea. Extremely good black tea, but tea. Does that make sense? As I sit here sipping I am thinking how this is even better than I remember, at the same time I realize it is too familiar. That’s a shame. If you are looking for something to fill the gap between an English Breakfast and Prince of Wales this is your tea.