2nd cup I iced. It was meh. After a couple drinks I added sweetener, which I never do to iced tea. It didn’t help. In fact, now it just tastes like Splenda. For my tastes, as magical as this is hot, it simply doesn’t have a bold enough flavor to pull off iced. Disappointed but now I know.
722 Tasting Notes
:) nothing further need be said
Yesterday’s leaf still had one satisfying cup in it.
Third day in a row I have started with this hot chocolate substitute. I have enough for tomorrow as well :) Used a about a 1/3 more mix than I have been, which is probably half what the instructions call for. Turned the kettle off at the first sign of steam. This is perfect. Sweet but not too sweet and I can smell the tea. Come on 56mg of caffeine do your thing.
I notice I am doing all flavored teas today. It wasn’t intentional. I will probably sip this the rest of the day. I am down to less than an ounce. Late summer I’ll take a day off work and we’ll go to the outlet mall 65 miles from here. Quite coincidentally this tea shop is only 10 minutes this side of the mall. Well, since I am already going to be in the area, we might as stop by. I need to restock this one, their Ti Kuan Yin and peach apricot, maybe some samples. This trip is getting expensive already and I haven’t even started.
Do you know the instructions on the envelope say steep 1 to 2 minutes? Who knew! Before trying to learn the ways of tea (ok less than a year ago) I would have steeped this flavored black tea at least 3 to 5 minutes, and in all honesty I probably wouldn’t have taken the bag out at all. This may be the very first time I have ever followed the instructions on this one. You know what? It’s pretty darn tasty. I have always loved this tea but brewed properly, I can actually taste the tea and it is nice. The sweet spice (especially the clove) is the main flavor but doesn’t mask the other ingredients. The orange surrounds the spice, and then I taste the tea. It may or may not be Argentina fannings, who knows, and regardless I don’t care. It works and that’s what’s important. Thank you Ruth Bigelow for introducing me to tea. I do miss the pressboard ‘tins’ of the 70’s. I wish I had kept some of them. Upping my rating because this was exactly what I wanted today.
Starting my day off again with this one. It tastes good and sweet but this was a mistake. I need a hefty dose of ambition or my head is going to hit the desk. I would have to check the can to see if this has caffeine, but I can tell you now it does not have enough to get me through this morning.
Update: according to the can it has 56mg per serving. Someone is apparently just a sleepy head.
I don’t recall ever having this bagged offering from Stash. I am a little confused by it. The label says green tea, so I prepared it in my usual green manner with below boiling water and a two minute steep. Then I notice the liquor is turning very dark, like a black tea. So I read the small print and sure enough it contains both green and black tea. Usually when they blend tea types they call it a fusion.
The bag is undersized as is typical with Stash but it seemed to steep up well. The scent is primarily lemongrass. The taste is lemon held up by the cinnamon. I think this would be greatly improved if I could better taste the tea. Well actually, if I could taste the tea at all it would help. The lemon needs toned down some. As the cup cools the cinnamon comes forward more and in combination with the lemon is quite nice. My review reads more negative than I mean it. For a flavored bagged tea, this is a pleasant cup that I would not turn down if offered.
The dry leaf is very interesting. The tea looks like dried grass clippings. There are tan flakes that I am guessing are peels or zest. Then there are tiny red balls that are probably peppers. Finally, I notice some larger dried pieces almost an inch long that again I presume to be peppers. These could be the dragon tooth peppers that are commonly used in Chinese food. What have I gotten myself into?
The tea is rather large pieces so I used a healthy portion. I used my usual parameters for green tea. I brought the water up to a light steam but well below boiling and steeped for 2 minutes in my press. I thought this was brewing rather dark until I picked it up for a better look and realized the leaf was floating near the top and blocking the light. The liquor is light green/amber. The wet leaf smells lightly peppery. Here goes…
The sip – Wow! This is really interesting and different. There is a moderate citrus rush followed by peppery goodness. The pepper doesn’t seem as hot as I expected. Only a tiny bit of heat in the aftertaste. A very mild jalapeno maybe. You catch a hint of the green tea in the aftertaste. These three flavors combine in the most unexpected way and result in a sweet pickle taste. At least that is the best I can do to describe it.
Ok, as it cools it does get a lot more peppery tasting. I can see if you aren’t a spicy fan this could be too much. It grabs the throat a bit and charges up your nose but never in an overwhelming manner to my tastes. There is also another bit of flavor I can’t quite place.
I brewed a cup for a friend who mostly drinks Lipton but I thought he would appreciate this from a grill master perspective (His pulled pork is literally the best I have ever tasted). His words, “This is good, it has a butterscotch element to it.” Yeah, I can see that. It’s the flavor I couldn’t identify. I steeped three cups from the same leaf. The flavor of the third was still going strong. This is Cool! It is like an extremophile, bizarre and magical all at the same time.
Thank you, thank you ashmanra for sharing this!
You can get this mix in a 2 pound can at Sam’s Club. I use less than half the powder they call for as it is 140 calories per cup their way. This is lightly spiced and very milky feeling. It is sweet but not overly so, at least with using half a scoop. The vanilla is pleasant and not overdone. The tea flavor is a bit hidden but comes through lightly in the aftertaste.
I am not really a chai drinker so I can’t tell you if this is a good example of the genre. What I can say is it is better than Nestle’s Quick or instant hot chocolate mix. If you are looking for a fast, hot, sweet dessert drink, this would do nicely.
I only steeped 1 1/2 minutes. It made a nice cup with a minimum of smokiness. This is my preferred way for brewing the first cup of this tea. The later cups I steeped 2-3 minutes. I iced the last cup. It made a great iced tea. Actually think I preferred it iced.
So I am going out the door this morning and I notice my wife has a box of International Delights Almond Joy non-dairy coffee creamer cups sitting on the counter. Well who doesn’t like Almond Joy? So I grabbed one and tried to decide what tea will go with this. I started to use puerh and I still may have to try that one next week. I settled on this wuyi oolong thinking the roastiness would work well. I poured the whole container in the cup and it turned this dark tea almost white. This is obviously coconut but not really milk chocolate and only a little almond. I’m a bit disappointed not to get those flavors. I do think half the creamer would have been better. Still it was a fun way to start my work day.
I seem to keep forgetting I have this one in the drawer. Forgetting suggests its not memorable but that simply isn’t the case. I really like this one. It’s buttery and a tad bitter in a good way. The dry leaf is small and so dark it looks like black tea until you steep it then it turns a lush green and smells beefy to me. The liquor is very clear and lightly green. Seems to turn a little more golden as it cools. Maybe this tea just needs another name so I can remember
Interesting. I had brewed this once late yesterday. So today I got the second steep out of the leaf for my morning cup. The taste was very close to my remembrance of the Charleston Plantation Governor Gray. It was going down so easily I had the cup half gone before I realized. Nice.
Logically if you are going to speculate on what Spock would drink you have to follow it with some next generation goodness. Tea, Earl Grey, hot. I don’t have a replicator (darn)
So I ‘borrowed’ this from my coworker’s stash. It has been a long time since I’ve had the Twinings version. My usual Ahmad uses a Ceylon base so it has some bite. This is much smoother whatever Twinings uses. I miss the bite. Both are slightly drying. I find in the bagged version of this the bergamot is brighter. With the loose, I could stand it being turned up a notch or two. Minor personal taste complaints aside, this tea accomplishes its purpose. It is a basic yet solid Earl Grey that is very affordable. If I did not have an equally affordable alternative that I liked a little better, I would undoubtedly drink this several times in a week.
A little insight into how truly strange I am – this morning on my way to work my inner Sheldon came out and I started wondering, if Spock drank tea what would he drink? Sad I know. Then I thought, wouldn’t that make a great bit on Big Bang Theory? I can hear them point/counterpointing until agreement was reached. I’ve only seen a few episodes, they may have already had the debate.
My thoughts are he would not drink Earl Grey, or any flavored tea, with the possible exception of Jasmine Dragon Pearls. I would rule out black tea all together. I think he would go green or white. His logical side would be fascinated by complexity. My two choices would be Silver Needle white, or Dragon Well green. He is vegetarian, and while the white tea is subtle and meditative, I lean towards Dragon Well for its heartier layers of vegetal goodness. So in honor of Spock I lift up multiple cups today.
I mentioned this to a co-worker who just turned and walked away. Halfway up the hall he stopped, turned, and said, “I think his mother’s human side would come out and he would just drink Lipton black tea.” Say it isn’t so! Oh, wait do I detect sarcasm? I suspect he wasn’t taking this seriously. I do give him credit for trying to assimilate all aspects of the equation into his reasoning but that is specifically why I made room for the possible inclusion of Jasmine Dragon Pearls. Wasn’t that obvious?
To my fellow geeks that are still with me – this is true for northern hemisphere dwellers, not sure it all applies below the equator. This is for April 2012. Go outside tonight just after the sun goes down. The bright ‘star’ high in the western sky is Venus. Below it near the horizon and much dimmer but still bright is Jupiter. Easily seen even in twilight. As it gets darker turn East and high in the sky, the moderately bright red ‘star’ is Mars. Now turn southwest. The three stars in a row are Orion’s belt. The bright red star above it is Betelgeuse (beetle juice) and below the belt is Rigel. It’s actually a double star. Close to the belt and on the Rigel side is a fuzzy patch that you might interpret as a star. This is the Great Orion Nebula. Later this summer you can see the Andromeda galaxy with your naked eyes. It is bigger than the moon and you have never noticed it because it is fairly dim and doesn’t look like the pictures.
See, I am not just another pretty face. I know stuff.
Another Day – another cup. Happiness factor high. My rating on this one is probably higher than it should be but I am comparing it to the Twinings bagged version that I really liked before I found this.
The Ceylon base is strong and a bit astringent, which I like. The bergamot is strong and has some pucker power to it, which I like. Add a packet of Splenda, that I am addicted to and the job I don’t want to be at today is a little more tolerable.
I forgot the ‘e’ in Ceylon when I first typed it. I chuckled to myself and fought back the urge to talk slowly through a running fan – “By your command!”
I am enjoying this even more this time around. I am used to peach teas that are PEACH teas. This is a much quieter cup. The main focus and flavor is peach but it doesn’t feel the need to smack you in the head. I think the other thing different here is normally I drink a peach apricot blend. The apricot lifts up the tail end of the sip. This one has lemon and marigold for support but doesn’t have that big tail end lift, and that has taken some adjustment on my part. Accepting this is a light peach citrus, it is a refreshing cup that tastes even better on the second steep in a glass full of ice. I had some chipotle cheddar pretzel crisps with the iced tea. I am not sure if it was the spicy pretzel or the ice but the green tea taste really shines through on this second glass. Didn’t notice it near as much on the first cup sipped hot.
I got a buzz on the intercom this morning. I was told to get some tea brewed as donuts were on the way. Custard filled, chocolate covered, I know its bad, but its oh so good donuts. This tea came to mind. The smell of dark chocolate/cocoa filled the air before the bakery box arrived. My new to tea co-worker was impressed with this one and with the Chinese for their brilliance in coming up with this stuff.
I tried, fellow Splenda junkies, not to add it to the cup. I really did try. As I noted the first time I had this one, I don’t think it comes alive until the sweetener hits it. Rather than put up with mediocre according to my tastebuds, I decided to go for awesome by getting honest with myself and ripping the top off the yellow packet. Judge me if you must. I don’t care the tea and the donut were great.
Ok, so yesterday I was sipping the organic silver needle and loving it, but I thought to myself, I’m not sure I can tell the difference between it and the white peony. I didn’t want to do a side by side comparison as they both re-steep way too many times for me to try. Instead I am doing a back to back 2 day comparison.
Immediately, I notice some big differences. First off the leaf of the organic silver needle is made of perfect looking buds of uniform size. The white peony is a lot more random shreddings of various sizes and shapes with some buds. The scent of sweet hay, while steeping, filled the room with the OSN. The WP I really didn’t notice while brewing. A grassy hay scent did develop as the wet leaf cooled in the press waiting for the next steep. Both steeped 2 minutes for the first cup. Each produces a very light, slightly yellow, liquor. The WP is a little darker.
I am a self-confessing Splenda junkie. I resisted the urge at the beginning with both first cups. The OSN produced a complex cup even without additives. The WP seemed flat in comparison. Once I added sweetener the WP also produced the cucumber melon notes I caught in the OSN. There is some difference in the complexity, and this has more of a grassy hay taste, but this is still a really good cup. My use of sweetener evens the playing field quite a bit and explains, to me at least, why I wasn’t sure I could tell the difference between them.
My experience with white tea beyond these two is limited to bagged versions such as Twinings and Stash, among others. Both of the Teavivre versions easily blow all of these out of the water. Compared one to the other, the organic silver needle seems the clear winner, all things being equal, especially if you don’t use sweetener. Keep in mind though, there is a substantial price difference between the two. The white peony is a really good and economical tea choice that is a big improvement over bagged.
I think this is the 3rd time I have tried this. I like it more every time.
Wow, the instant the water hit the leaf the room was filled with the scent of wonderful sweet hay. The wet leaf is a bit seaweed. The first sip, as with the white peony, still reminds me of mild cucumber, but today there is another element that… it reminds me of fresh garden picked sweet peppers. You know the kind with no heat or pepperiness to them, they just taste green. The aftertaste is melon. Multiple cups tell me this packs a pretty good amount of caffeine.
My new tea disciple buzzed me today to ask what made oolong different :) in explaining it to him I mentioned white tea… white tea? I have never heard of that!.. Um, would you like to try some? I think he was in my office with his mug before I could hang up. I showed him the dry leaf, then poured him a cup. He thought it just looked like water but sniffed and caught the hay note. He had the 3rd cup. My 4th was still going strong.
You don’t chug this and run. You get quiet with it and meditate on its subtle flavors. When you do it speaks in a nicely complex way. This is really good.
Since I am already rambling – I had a spinach salad at lunch with cucumbers and mushrooms. As I am biting into the cucumber I am thinking this isn’t quite the same as what I called cucumber in the tea. Then I bit into the mushroom and it tasted so earthy like forest dirt smells, and all I could think was puerh! I am becoming such a tea nerd.
This one stays hidden in the back of the drawer. I broke it out today to share with a co-worker. He recently let me try the Governor Gray he got on vacation. It peaked his curiosity about tea and I thought I would give him some of what I consider the best. He was impressed that it was Fujian. Was amazed at the little pearls and how much it unfurled after steeping. He told me he wasn’t going to drink it. He was just going to sit and smell the cup :) I know how he feels.
He came in much later and told me he got tied up on the phone and the whole time the aroma of the tea was filling up his room. The tea got cold before he got back to it. He was afraid it was ruined until he tasted it. He poured it over ice shortly after and asked for the web address. Time will tell if I have my second convert. He tends to be a hobby of the month person. At least for the moment he seemed to get it.
I continued to drink on the same leaf the rest of the work day.