1689 Tasting Notes
I have been trying to deal with insurance all day with no headway made. I long for the days of oblivious company provided insurance. I venture to guess most people in the states have no idea what their insurance costs – maybe just the portion they have to pay themselves and they think that is too high. Without getting on a rant, allow me to say, AAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaakkkkkkkkkkk!
So, reached into one of my many boxes and pulled this out. I don’t remember it. Turns out I even wrote a short review. I am having a day and this certainly did not help. This is really bad. It isn’t even worth any more words.
Check it out. I am drinking a tea grown in Russia! I find that really cool. Had I even known in my youth that tea was grown in Russia, it would have been unimaginable that I would one day get to try it. But here I sit with tea grown in one of the most northern plantations in the world. I expected a very brash tannin laced cup but this is a smooth and mellow tea with no bitterness. Amazing considering the 4 minute steep. The scent is sweet (honey) and malt with a bit of grain. The taste at first makes me think Dian Hong without the sweet potato or caramel. It is lightly malt. Then for a moment I entertain a connection to Nepal as this has a slight woodsy/raisin flavor, but the total mellowness of the cup stops the reference in its tracks. With the second mug I lose all reference to other teas. This is still very smooth but the raisin is greatly enhanced. Along with it are notes of mushroom, earth, and mineral. This is a unique tea and a unique experience that few in the west will ever have the pleasure of trying. I realized as I was writing my blog review how tea makes the world somehow smaller and more connected than I had imagined. To paraphrase Kermit, why can’t we be more tea?
It’s raining here today and in the low 40’s. That is kind of achy weather. So pretending it is sunny and mid 70’s, I finally opened up this sample. Right from the start this smells wonderfully peachy – very natural. I enjoyed reading several of the reviews and what they did or did not detect. I am not sure how to account for all the differences. For me, fixed western mug style, I got a wonderful cup of light peach tea. I am not sure I detect the green tea in the first cup. If I did not know it was scented with jasmine, I don’t know if I could have made that connection. It bounced around from kind of vanilla, to maybe caramel, then into a wine like flavor, and back to peach. All of it was mellow and without bitterness. There is a slight amount of astringency in the form of cheek tingle. On the second mug I got distracted by shiny objects and oversteeped. This produced a mug with a lot of green tea flavor along with more astringency but I like that in a green. The jasmine was far in the background. The peach was light but still present. Very different than the first and still a solid mug. As a peach tea this is pretty good though I have to admit to preferring the Premium Jasmine Dragon Pearls.
I really enjoyed this tea. It has a lot going for it. Problem is, again today, my time with it was continuously met with interruptions. I am going to set the rest of this sample back and wait until I have the house to myself. It seems to attract crowds. That would be fine if they would taste the tea with me. It is amusing and annoying at the same time. What do you mean I sound grumpy? sigh. Going to my happy place… oh wait, its fully occupied…. Arrrrrggghhh! ;)
Had trouble getting to sleep last night. Got up at 4 am. Had my morning green tea powder. Not going to make it… must have bergamot. Not just any Earl Grey will do. I need one that fights back enough to wake me up with out scaring the puddin’ out of me. Ahmad comfort tea to the rescue. I could use the more fragrant scent of Nina’s today, however I really need the cheek grabbing power of Ahmad’s Ceylon base. Astringency rescue me. Going to be a long day.
I really tried to do a serious review of this one today. I already was frustrated and had a headache from dealing with govt bureaucracy. Safety tip – don’t ever lose access to the email address you login with because you become trapped in an alternate reality without it. There is no option to change your email without your email – what? Exactly.
So then I prepare this tea, needing its healing superpowers. Unfortunately (and happily), my grown son pops in and starts going through my stash. I offer him some but he takes a sip and says not bad for green tea and then returns to asking, ’What’s this?’ to everything he picks up. During his constant chatter, my wife pops in and starts her own chatter about the mail, or a sewing project, or maybe how I don’t listen. I’m not really sure, as there were too many words in the room. Yeah, the headache is not going away :)
I’ll try again tomorrow. What I can say is I think this is the same basic type Vietnam tea that I love scented with lotus blossoms. Side by side they looked identical. Of course this one is an unscented tea. The flavor is very mellow, lightly vegetal, slightly sweet, with a hint of smoke. Pretty sure I really like it. Tune in tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel.
So after my morning green tea frappe I decided to grab yesterday’s leaf for a second cup of dark tea. I steep about 3 minutes. The color is a little lighter than yesterday (caramel today – orange yesterday). The flavor is still spot on, except I am enjoying it even more so. The musty/dusty top flavor rests on top of a stone kind of taste. Beneath that is a sweet fruitiness. This is definitely wonderfully earthy. Another thing that I notice this morning is how syrupy thick this feels. Maybe my tastebuds are just ready and primed today or more likely I should have waited before posting yesterday’s review. What a good start to my day. I’m two for two!