I went to bed at 11. I have been awake since 2:30. At 5:30 I gave up trying and got up – sort of. While staring at the ceiling I decided I would start with a Vicony tea. Grabbed this one. Didn’t think about what I was doing and steeped it like 5 minutes. Uhmmm last time I used a 10 second steep. So it is a wee bit strong. Besides being sort of coffee like this is still intensely good. It is a LS but only hints of smoke. Mostly it is everything I love about Chinese black teas – chocolate, honey, malt, sweet potato. This is just the whole package. Last time I had this I steeped it 4 times. Given the length of the first steep today, maybe not as many. A truly excellent tea.
767 Tasting Notes
This morning my wife asked if I wanted to drive her to Ben Franklin. That may be a regional store, so it is like an old time small town general store – crafts to plumbing, it’s all there. Anyway, it was a beautiful morning in the low 70’s so I ask her to wait five minutes. I reused yesterday’s leaf and poured the tea into my ceramic travel mug. While she shopped for sewing items I sat in the car and sipped tea in the sunshine. I think I got the better deal. This is delicious.
While those of you who are slaves to your jobs were busy making someone else rich, the idle jobless among you went fishing. What a perfect day for it. Lots of birds and frogs chattering all around us. Great day. There was a Lilly pad in bloom. I kept looking at it thinking Mmmm Lotus. So here I sit with a mug. I am not sure what kind of green tea this is but I love it. Green, vegetal, and buttery. The lotus is hard to describe but excellent. It is kind of anise, kind of. It is just so good. I have been hoarding this one to make it last as long as possible. I can see this one being a staple when I feel safe in ordering again.
And I thought yesterday’s morning cup of creamy earl grey was aromatic. Wonderfully strong vanilla and black tea. The bergamot is barely detectable until the cup is cool then it still remains in the background. Though I prefer my EG with much more bergamot this is still a very nice cup.
The mint really has lasting power in this one. Peppermint on top with spearmint underneath. The chocolate curls disappear in the cup and add a good back flavor – which is about as chocolate as chocolate teas ever get in my limited experience. I am not really picking out the puerh in this first cup. A year ago I wrote I did. I’ll check again in the second cup. This is good enough to require another steep.
Up and moving (sort of) since daylight – its only 6:58 now. Bagel, cream cheese, and creamy earl grey. Excellent start to an excellent day?
This is light on the bergamot and the vanilla. That does not mean it is without flavor. Hint of citrus up front, tiny touch of bite later on, and light vanilla in the background. Easing me into the day. Ow yeah.
Now its time to go rock the casbah, or maybe just the congregation.
I had three cups of this today. As you may remember, I complained yesterday about tea made at home not tasting right lately. This one was made with the north corporation water. We have south at home. It tasted ok but nothing special (in a cheap bagged tea sort of way). I am now leaning towards my allergy medication being the main culprit. Most of what we detect as flavor is actually smell. I think I am either going to have to drink powerful tea or loose the medication. Maybe I’ll try both for a few days.
The dashboard is down and I can’t read any new reviews :( So I will write my own. This tea has its work cut out for it. While brewing it I fixed a ham and turkey sandwich with farmers market spinach, leaf lettuce from our garden, muenster cheese (should have used smoked gouda). I also poured on my new favorite – great value chipotle ranch dressing. It is not overly spicy. Just the right mix of spicy and creamy, but it is more potent than some teas could handle. The tan yang smells so good in the cup. Best of all the sweet potato and honey cut right through the sandwich when sipping. What a tremendous tea. Nudging the rating.
I’ve noticed since being out of work, the last 4 months, that tea hasn’t tasted as deep or amazing to me. Which is odd considering I have tried some really deep and amazing teas lately. So it got me wondering. If it is not the tea, then what? Is it my attitude? I really don’t think so. I am actually adjusting quite well. I am making plans for the future – something I haven’t done in years. It can’t be my brewing equipment since I brought it all home.
That leaves one thing unchecked. The water. I used tap water at work and had great tea. I am using tap water at home but it is a different source. I have always complained of microwaved water at home – maybe it is not just the microwave. So I am using bottled water today.
Unfortunately after that long introduction, I can’t yet determine if it made a big difference. I think I got the water too hot for this white / green blend – or just maybe I am going to have to adjust how I brew things. Wouldn’t that be fabulous. Leaving the rating alone because I can’t redo this cup as it is a sipdown.
I normally don’t read the reviews before I post on a new tea. I did for this one. I did not get the same consistently amazing results others reported. I believe it was my own fault. I insisted on using my standard western big mug approach with half the sample. Do not try this at home! The result was generally an overly weak mug. Go ahead use all the sample and a smaller cup.
Even though I kind of blew this one, the second mug was fabulous. Here are my notes on that one:
For the second mug I steeped about 2 1/2 minutes. This cup fills your mouth with delicious combination of floral and fruit. The first sip was one of those Mmmmm moments, you know when the world goes into momentary freeze frame and you get lost in the cup. Yeah, its that good. It still has that wonderful thick creamy feel and I notice a fair amount of cooling sensation on my breath. The aftertaste hangs around with kind of a melon taste.
Tie Guan Yin normally has a distinctive floral taste, well except this one. I mean it is there, but it is just different. This is so much fresher, lighter, more defined but harder to describe. Normally I think of Tie Guan Yin as tasting like a geranium plant smells. This is closer to something like rose petals with citrus (peach and melon?), and warm spices. It is just Wow!
Not rating until I brew this one correctly. The second cup was easily a 90+.
Technically this was made for coffee but it is my tea brewing vessel of choice. I found this at Starbucks. It currently sells for $16.95. The carafe is borosilicate glass. The frame is 30% post consumer plastic. The plunger and filter screen parts are stainless. The 4 cup version holds up to 17oz (503ml). I generally fix a single cup at a time.
To use, the loose leaf is put in the carafe. Water is heated in a separate kettle and poured into the carafe. The lid/plunger assembly is placed on top the carafe with the plunger in the up position. The leaf is free to move about. When the steeping time is done the plunger can be pushed down or left up and the tea poured into the cup without the leaf escaping.
Clean up is as simple as removing the lid, turning the carafe upside down over a compost bowl and wiping with a paper towel. Since it is glass it does not absorb any of the flavor of the tea so a simple rinse is usually sufficient. Honestly, most of the time wiping with the towel gets it clean enough. It is dishwasher safe. Occasionally I dismantle the stainless filter assembly for a more thorough cleaning.
This is excellent especially for green and white teas where holding the heat in is not as important. It has the added advantage of allowing you to observe the dance of the leaf during steeping. To me if you can’t watch the leaf you are missing an important part of the experience.
I also use it for black, puerh, and oolongs. Puerh generally uses such short steep times that heat dissipation is not an issue. For teas that require long steep times of several minutes, you may prefer another method but I personally have never found heat dissipation to be a problem. Rooibos and very fine leaf is better served with a Finum basket.If you push the plunger down after steeping, it does not actually press the leaf. There is a good half inch of space between the screen and the bottom of the carafe. If you don’t push the plunger down, you will need to put a finger over the lid to keep it from sliding and causing some spilling.
I chose the press over a gravity feed system (like IngenuiTEA) because this was glass, not plastic, and it was cheaper. I also was concerned any device that pours tea out the bottom might eventually leak.
Apparently the outdoor fire we had yesterday has caused issues. I coughed all night. At two a.m. I awoke to severe chills. This morning I woke up in a pool of sweat. I feel ok but still wondering what I burned that I shouldn’t have. It was all trees we cut down in the yard. Or at least I thought so.
Anyway, I woke up craving this bagged tea. It’s a roasted green tea and way over a year old but the sealed aluminum bags keep it fresh. I do wish I had read my previous notes. In the past it seems I liberated it from the bag and added chocolate mint. I don’t remember doing it but now I am craving it with mint.
A day with my wife and kids, games, and hot dogs. Also a day in America when we remember those who served that we might enjoy freedom and opportunity to prosper.
I added more leaf and steeped this again. Much more and bolder flavor this time. This is such an interesting juxtaposing of flavors. The smooth and mild side of a highly oxidized though lightly roasted oolong, meets the throat scratching and lingering floral aftertaste of a TGY. Very good and interesting cup.
I did not know what to expect with this one. The dry leaf looks more like black tea than oolong. The dry scent is kind of grape/malt/cocoa with very mild roasted hints. When I put the leaf in my freshly washed and still wet press, the aroma became like the leaves of a tomato plant. Brewed up the golden liquor scent was mildly roasted tomato leaves.
I was apparently not awake enough to leaf this properly so I added a bit of sweetener to compensate. The front of the sip reminds me of the Formosa oolong I had a couple days ago. The late sip and aftertaste are tiguanyin. While floral it is not overly so. It is fruity and sweet (not just from my additive). This is much more subdued than I expected. By the look of the leaf I thought it would be very strong. I am going to add more leaf now that I am awake and see what happens.
Yesterday I managed to get several good cups in. Today not one until bedtime. I have got to get back in the tea groove. This is pretty good for helping me relax. Just wish it had less or no spearmint. Drop the mint and make it apple flavor – that would be nice.
I am finishing my tea drinking today with this one. It is a really nice cup. This version is my first experience with this type oolong. It is highly oxidized – almost to the point of being a black tea. It is not smoky or heavily roasted tasting. At first it reminded me of Darjeeling but the more I think about it, this is kind of like the Nepal black Nicole gave me. Probably if I had them side by side I wouldn’t think so but I can’t compare it to anything else. No bitterness, astringency, or bite. Smooth and fruity. Yum.
Well look at me having three cups of tea already and its not even noon. Yeah, this is cheap bagged stuff but its pretty tasty.
This is so much more aromatic than the Harney version I started the day with. So nicely fruity. It does not have the face jolt astringency either. Just a beautiful fully developed cup. I imagine A Southern Season is a reseller of this tea. I wonder who actually blends it. Very nice.
No way have I had this sample for 5 months! Retirement is killing my tea drinking. At the office I had a mug in my hand all day long. In the last two days I have had exactly one cup. I’m retired, shouldn’t I get to sit home and sip tea all day? Apparently not.
Woke up at 5:00 a.m. tried to go back to sleep but gave up. Bagel/cream cheese and Irish Breakfast. I am going to get some tea in me right from the start. I wish I had a camera this morning filming my sleepyhead trying to fix this. I made me laugh I was so out of it.
The cup turned out great despite me. This was full of cheek numbing in a good way. Strong enough to get me moving without the horrible nasty taste of coffee. Off to the farmer’s market.
This tin is way over a year old and it shows it. Makes me sad. I used to buy Earl Grey green by the pound. Now I have so many choices I find 4 ounces is a lot of tea. I’ll need to use this up soon.
My favorite cheap EG.
I bought this for rooibos and herbals. It does an excellent job of keeping fine particles out of my cup. This is the medium sized Finum. It fits perfectly in my 12oz mug. Clean up is easy.
When I discovered it also fits well in my 6oz cup, I started using it when doing small quick steeps of 3-4oz in a quasi-gong fu style. I don’t own a gaiwan so this does a good job as a substitute.
This works so well we bought another. One or both are full of leaf all the time. I can think of nothing that needs changed unless it would be to make the plastic parts out of stainless, but then it would probably be a lot more expensive.
I was looking at my teas thinking I want earl grey. No, I want something more gentle – like white or green tea. Enter Silver Jade. I can have it all, well sort of. This is NOT Earl Grey. The bergamot is so light even you bergamot haters (you know who you are) could not complain. It adds only a hint of citrus to the white tea. The green also has a supporting role giving the tea more heft. This is really hitting the spot.
I just got back from the new Star Trek movie. I loved it. Lots of classic cliche lines. Lots of cowboy type action. A good follow up to the reboot of the franchise.
The tea – I am writing a separate note for the second cup. This one was delightful. Sweeter than the first, greener, creamy and mineral at the same time. The bite is mostly gone and the aftertaste really lingers.
This is the 2013 version of this tea. I used the whole sample in my Finum and my 6oz cup. That is twice the leaf and half the water I used with last years batch. I notice two big differences right away. To me the late sip reminds me of corn. I have never used that in description before. That’s cool. The other is rather than buttery, this seems thinner and has a fair amount of bite. I like it fine but pretty sure next time I will try it using my frugal method. I think I prefer it that way. Leaving the rating alone.