1559 Tasting Notes
I know we all have different tastes. I followed the website recommendation for brewing in a gaiwan. The whole 5 g sample with 90 ml of water heated to 195 F (90 C). The steep was 25 seconds. That is simply too much leaf for me. This was so bitter it made my mouth pucker. Maybe half the leaf or half the steep time would have been OK.
I decided to lose the gaiwan and grab the press. I used 10 oz of 180 F water and steeped for 25 seconds. This was much improved. Now it tastes like grassy fresh alfalfa hay. There is a light apricot note and the aftertaste lingers.
Honestly though, I thought the lower grade White Peony was more aligned to my tastes. I have never given Teavivre a negative review before, but this one did not grab me.
I have enough to start again on another day. Next time I will only use half the sample and much cooler water. I am not giving up yet.
Afternoon Steepster Dudes and Dudettes! I finally tore myself away from purple teas from What-Cha today as I am seriously in the mood for a subtle white tea. This is a 1st flush from Nepal. Every white tea I have had previously I believe to be of Chinese origin, so I am excited to try this one. The leaf is wonderfully scented of grass and melon. It looks like White Peony with its silver haired buds and big green leaf. I decided to use my 90 ml gaiwan for the first few steeps. 3 g, 175 F, and 15 seconds. The liquor is only the faintest yellow tint. It tastes savory and of cucumber and melon. Second steep was equally excellent. For the third go, I switched to the press so I could steep per What-Cha’s recommended 3 minute steep. As the cup is cooling to drink my wife decides to show me material samples for her latest sewing project. When we are done discussing it, the tea is cold and tastes kind of woodsy and nutty. Fourth cup, has a definite fruity apricot scent. The melon/cucumber notes are lighter but present. This now has a slight mineral note and a cooling sensation. The inside of my cheeks are tingling long after the tea is gone and my breath still feels cool. This stands up to White Peony extremely well.
I don’t normally drink English Breakfast. I find them either too beige or too brutish, but that’s just me. This one impressed me with the dry leaf smell. It was like cherry pipe tobacco and maple syrup. The tea itself is very smooth. I had braced myself for throat grabbing harsh. It was much, much, lighter than I expected, so no brute here. There is an interesting peppery note that wasn’t hot and spicy, just flavorful. It is slightly malty with a lingering aftertaste. Not exactly beige. It may, or may not be what you want from an EB but I liked it. The first mug was 3 g, 195 F, for 2.5 minutes – because EB often hurts my stomach. For giggles, the second mug with new leaf was 3 g, 212 F, for 4 minutes. It made little difference. It was slightly more robust but really still a comfortable, yet forgiving tea. If you need tea to shout at you in the morning, this probably isn’t it. If you prefer a calmer voice saying, you can do it, maybe this will speak to you.
Oh, that sinking feeling when the spoon hits the bottom of the tin and your replacement order is somewhere in a bin in Chicago. It kind of makes you want to be extra appreciative of today’s tall breakfast glass.
I literally start everyday with this stuff. I can’t handle a real breakfast in the early morning but I have to have at least milk with my arthritis medicine. Milk gets boring. Green tea powder and milk make a nice canvas to get creative on. I’m on my way to the world market to look for xanthan gum to up the experience another notch. I just realized I have cacao nibs that I could be using as well. Endless morning fun.
This is the best relax your brain, make you tired, tea I have found. It won’t make you sleep if you don’t want to sleep. It just helps make it possible. None of the flavors jump out. They all play nicely with one another. Not strong enough to overpower prednisone but I slept more than expected and awoke refreshed. So good enough.
There is a downside to drinking fabulous new teas. Your old comfort teas tend to get neglected. I’ve been too busy today for new tea. OK, I got my brain sucked out by my space flight simulator game. Then I researched, and learned a new song, made and printed lead sheets before practice tonight. Now I am sitting with one of my favorite inexpensive loose leaf comfort teas. It tastes like heaven. I used more leaf than normal and lowered the temperature to 195 F. It is creamy smooth with none of its usual heavy bite. The bergamot does get a bit reduced but it is strong enough to survive and linger in the aftertaste. Who knew a tiny little change could make this much difference. OK, I should have, I’ve just never tried before.
I give this a more thorough review on my blog but to keep it shorter and lighter here – this stuff is AWESOME! I had to check the website to see if it was the correct tea. This is not even close to what I expected from an oolong. This is malt, malt, malt, malt, (tribute to Spam) and honey, and malt, and caramel, and did I mention malt? Seriously, this reminds me of a combination of Tan Yang and the Dian Hong Golden Tips I had this morning. There is no bitterness, and only a slight dryness. If feels thick and syrupy. The aftertaste is sweet and fruity/spicy. They call it plum and that does match the other teas I have tried that mention plum in the description. What-Cha is quickly turning me into a fan.
I haven’t given a number rating in a while – this one earns it.
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Plums
Today I made smoothies. 1 tsp green tea powder, 8 oz 2% milk, vanilla, frozen banana, frozen fruit medley. I had to add some sweetener – the blueberries in the medley are just too tart. Poured into one of those freezer steins that keeps everything icy. Very good. I would do this often. Wife said she would like it if I left the green tea out of hers :(
This morning I jumped on Steepster and was so moved by Cwyn’s review of 2012 White2tea Giant Steps that I did the unthinkable. I reached way in the back of my tea cabinet and pulled out my beloved Golden Tips that I was saving. It has a 3 year shelf life and I have a number of boxes of samples yet to be reviewed. Getting through all of them will take a long time. I don’t care. I am going to drink that which was too valuable to open.
As I opened the bag it was heaven – cocoa, sweet potato, malt. I used a healthy pinch of leaf, then reached in and got more. No scrimping. No saving. Not today. I am going to enjoy my tea. I used my clear glass teapot. I’ve never used it before with a black tea. I was rewarded with one of the most spectacular ballets I have had the pleasure of watching in ages.
When I went to pour, things took a nasty turn. I wasn’t paying attention. The lid slipped off the pot (normally I have a finger on it) and smacked the spout knocking it cleanly off. As upset as I am that my favorite teapot is broke, I am more concerned about the cup I was about to enjoy and the leaf that is in the bottom of the pot that would resteep the rest of the day. But you know what, I have more and I’m not afraid to use it!
I am now looking for a replacement clear glass teapot. I had this one http://www.enjoyingtea.com/caseafiglte.html Previously I accidentally bumped it while cleaning and it had a hairline crack along the top of the spout. Today’s mishap broke cleanly across the spout in the other direction, so the two are unrelated. Much as I loved this one I am thinking I might try one with more of a kettle spout.
Now go grab something you are saving and drink it! Just keep your finger on the lid.