1678 Tasting Notes
I’m certainly no Chai expert. In fact due to low quality bagged stuff, I have avoided it. Now that I mainly sip unflavored high quality loose leaf it just hasn’t been in my radar to drink. Until now.
I recently received a few chai samples for review. This was one of them. It is a combination of CTC and orthodox Assam. The dry scent is spicy but not too spicy. I steeped it western mug style with water. The brew is a very pretty deep orange that looks kind of burgundy under light. The flavor is a combination of clove and cardamom with cinnamon and ginger holding back a little. The ginger and pepper combine to bring a nice spicy heat to the finish. The base is smooth and slightly malty.
I next added some Splenda because I believe Chai is traditionally supposed to be sweet. This really made the flavors pop. They are more present and equal now.
Then I added milk. This doesn’t exactly muddy the flavors but they do sort of meld together. They are all there but difficult for me to separate. To me muddy implies I can’t tell what notes are present. I can here, yet they are tied to each other.
After some debate of pros and cons, I finally decided I like this best with milk and sweetener. The milk cools the spicy heat and the melding makes this so comforting. I could drink a gallon.
Turns out I kind of do like Chai, when its done right.
I love white tea. This is an interesting one because it goes in a different direction than I expected. Normally, I think hay, melon, cucumber. This one seems to bounce between malt and corn. Even I can tell this one is sweet. The sip ends with a pleasant bite that turns mineral. The aftertaste is corn and floral notes. I steeped this twice as long as I normally would (3 minute) per The Persimmon Tree recommendation. Second western mug brew started clean mineral. then turned briefly earthy, before finishing with a sweet mineral. It left me with mild cheek tingle, a warming sensation, and a coolness on my breath. I plan to try again later with different parameters and see what happens.
Wishing I had a box of Goldfish crackers to go with my Fish Hook tea. Ohh, I saw where M&Ms has rereleased Crispy M&Ms. I loved those. Dang it. Now I’m snack hungry. I blame What-Cha! ha.
The leaf on this is tiny and battleship gray and yes, it kind of looks like a fish hook. OK, this tea was steeped one (ONE!) minute. To look at the lovely lightly yellow liquor, you would expect a lovely quiet cup. Then you take a sip and the bite grabs you, shakes you out of your inattentiveness, and shouts, “PAY ATTENTION TO ME!” Well, that’s what I heard anyway. I’m not sure it is astringent as I don’t notice much dryness at all. I just think it is the good clean bitter that I love in a green tea.
The taste, now that I’m paying attention is kind of grassy and kind of corn like. I think it is kind of sweet, but as a sweeteneraholic trying to leave the monkey behind, it is hard for me to say for sure.
The second cup had less bite, more cheek tingle, and still only a little dryness. The grassiness was predominate with corn following behind. The sip ends with a mineral note and fleeting floral notes.
My kind of green. Now to find some munchies.
I love a toucha. They are so convenient. Today I used a 90ml gaiwan. I don’t do rinses. The first cup was excellent. So smooth and gentle with a taste that reminds of digging potatoes in the dry soil. There was a much lighter background note of leather. The sip ends with a well rounded mineral taste.
The second and third cups convinced me I much prefer Western mug brewing. The tea is coffee colored and has a rough edge that distracts me from everything else that might be going on.
Fourth cup I steep for 10 seconds then poured it into my mug. Added enough kettle water to make an 8 oz cup. Yep, I like this. The roughness is gone and I am back to leather accompanied by earth and maybe sweet hay. This again finishes with the round mineral note.
I never know if it is rude if you don’t mention who sent you a tea or more embarrassing if you do. So let me just say Thank You.
Not sure what I did different today. This is the best frap yet out of this brand. It is really inexpensive but today it is as flavorful as some of the brands I’ve tried that were 4 times pricier – which is still pretty reasonable.
It’s a good thing this was tasty. I have been on hold for 50 minutes with insurance. All I want to check is if my pulmonologist and medical equipment place are in network this year – because you never know. Their website doesn’t work well so I couldn’t get answers without calling. Arrrrrggggghhh! I’m kind of homebound for now. My portable oxygen machine seems to be on the fritz. I had already made the Dr. appointment before the machine went wonky, so this was an added bonus. Good times. This too shall pass.
As you may have noticed I am definitely not a tea snob. I enjoy a bagged tea from time to time. Today was experimental day. I have a bag that I brought home with me. A thought occurred to me that part of the reason I enjoy this one is the water. The restaurant is one block away from where I used to work. The tap water made awesome tea. Our county water is pumped out of the ground right next to the city water pumps. Basically it starts out the same and goes to two different filtration plants. Our county water does not make awesome tea. It has to be filtered to remove the chlorine stench.
There is no chance of making a short story out of this now. So I brew my cup at home. Wait for it to cool. Yeah, most of the flavor elements are there but muffled and twisted more earthy than the lightly smoked leather I get in town. I’ve tried bottled water and it does not seem to help. I may have to start filling up a five gallon bucket once a week in town. I’ve done crazier things. The weird thing is Denney’s is next door to Steak N Shake and our Denney’s tea (Lipton) tastes like fish. Gross as it sounds. Yeah, I don’t go there any more.
My back is better but not great. I took my guitar Sunday (just in case). I had no intention of playing until the Pastor told me the keys player wasn’t going to make it. So I played. It hurt. The third song was a fast and rowdy song where the beat is like galloping on a horse. If you haven’t heard Stand Up Stand For Jesus done that way – you should. I made it through but was out of breath. I am on portable oxygen for those who don’t know. The next song is a beautiful slow song (Your Beloved) where I make my electric guitar sound like an acoustic. I thought no problem. Wrong. I could not catch my breath but made it through. Fortunately, the lead singer had plenty to say before the last song. Back when I took guitar lessons, my instructor and I made up an arrangement to Holy Holy Holy. It’s not Led Zeppelin but it is a lot closer to it than my mom’s version of this song. I made it but it took all day to recover. Next time I do something stupid like that (because I will), I’m loading up on painkillers first.
I’ve already had several cups of restaurant tea and an RTD while straightening out the mods on the latest update to Kerbal Space Adventures. Then I got an uncontrollable urge for green tea. Digging through my out of control warehouse of tea (let’s be honest), I found this one. The shiny gold pouch made me think C-3PO. Then I noticed it was a Nilgiri. I don’t recall ever having a green Nilgiri – or for that matter no more than a couple black teas from this region.
Opening the bag I get malt, sweet hay, and grass. Smells good. The leaf is complete full leaves and buds. They have not been twisted, curled, or broken.
The taste is clean and surprisingly gentle. There is a moment of sharpness that seems a mix of mineral and slightly metallic. It is not really that sharp but in comparison to the gentleness it gets magnified. The taste is sweet grass with a touch of malt and corn, while hot, and more nutty when cool.
I thought it was interesting that the taste just suddenly drops off at the end before a light grassy aftertaste with a touch of good bite steps in. It leaves just a touch of astringency tingling around the cheeks.
This is a quiet tea. Almost as subtle as a white tea. If you like white and greens, this should work for you.
Chai – kind of never been a fan in the past. Rooibos – another hit and miss with me.
Last month I had The Persimmon Tree’s Masala Chai and was impressed. So I decided to try this one. This one seemed much stronger spiced to me. The ginger packs some heat. On the bright side the vanilla knocks the harsh edge off the rooibos.
Once milk and Splenda are added this became a warm cup of yum. The spices kind of mingled and washed past the tongue. It felt thick and creamy. Didn’t really notice the rooibos at this point. My only complaint is the ginger was a little intense but it is important to note I am not a ginger enthusiast.
This would be excellent sitting around an evening fire in the cool night air.
I have pretty much avoided Assams. Back in my early teabag days, Assam is the type tea I held most responsible for stomach burn. Besides, it tasted like, well, tea. So it was a real pleasure trying this one. The malty fruity aroma is definitely sniff worthy. The sip is likewise malt with hints of fruitiness. Mostly what impressed me was how smooth this was to drink. I steeped for two minutes and there was no bitterness. There is a bit of dryness but I’m ok with that. Grocery store assam almost ruined this type tea for me. I know better leaf means better tea. This is a prime example. If you have been avoiding Assam, this is a good one to rethink that move.