1299 Tasting Notes
My oldest son came over this morning to help prepare for our thanksgiving dinner tonight. My youngest is at work. The oldest has to work thanksgiving day – stupid black Thursday. Next year it will probably start at Halloween. But I digress. I offered to make tea. My wife wanted Vanilla Bean decaf black tea. My son didn’t care, so I made this one for him and me.
He asked what it was. I read the label as he took a sip. He said, “That will do” as he turned and headed out of the room.
I inwardly sighed. Then it happened.
He stopped in his tracks and went, “Mmmmm, that really has a nice aftertaste. It’s flowery or something.”
Yes! Good tea not wasted!
Second story – a year ago our thanksgiving was stressful. I was losing my job and we were afraid we could lose the house. A year later the house is paid off, we are doing fine, and it looks like I have a part time job! Just enough hours to pay for insurance. That is all I really wanted anyway.
My point, if you are struggling this year and on the verge of giving up – hold on! Tomorrow is another day. A blessed day of thanksgiving to all my Steepster friends.
Remember a few mornings days ago when I needed black tea and couldn’t read the labels? This is the tea I was looking for then in my zombie like state. As much as I needed it, I’m glad I didn’t find it until today so I could enjoy it with my mind and senses in operating order. I think I could almost give up Earl Grey for Fujian black tea and this is a very tasty example.
I must have just hit the sweet spot with this one. Steep was 3 minutes and the temp was around 195 F. The wet leaf takes on what I often call a beef stew aroma, others call it artichoke. I’ve never had artichoke so I’ll take their word for it. BUT on top of that wonderful green aroma this time I noticed an awesome floral note. I think Amanda called it orange flowers – yes exactly! When I sipped the hot cup my first reaction was beer but not really. Wine but not really. Good definitely. As it cools it becomes closer to the bi luo chun I had this morning but with a strong fruit/floral thing going on. Single Origin Teas says it reminds them of lychee. I have some lychee tea in my possession but have not tried it yet. To me it is almost mango or something. I did lightly sweeten this so maybe that is why all these new flavors are popping out. A truly cool tea that kept me interested the entire cup.
Since I had previously scored this I am going to boost the number a bit because this is very good. Even better than I remembered.
The moment my feet hit the floor I knew I needed a strong black tea. I got up, went to the fridge, grabbed the milk and chocolate syrup. Poured the milk and realized the chocolate syrup was actually pancake syrup. Another trip to the fridge and as I stirred the milk I realized it was not strong black tea. That kind of morning. Chugged the milk and started looking for the tea. Except I couldn’t read the labels, or at least my brain couldn’t decipher them. Decided on this as it was the first label that I understood. It is a beautiful tea even if it isn’t strong black tea. All that to say thanks Teavivre, the life you saved this morning may have been my own.
You can see by the picture this is very pretty to look at straight out of the pouch. I am not accustomed to such large petal pieces. It was a bit difficult to know how much leaf to use even though the instructions are clearly printed on the sample.
The dry scent is much stronger on the bergamot than in the cup. There is a nice amount of briskness in the black tea base. While bergamot is the driving force, the base is easily tasted. The rose is a supporting flavor. You don’t have to search for it, at the same time it doesn’t flower up the cup.
I found the interaction between the rose and bergamot unexpectedly delightful. This is not a big bold cup of citrus and flowers. To my tastes it is a gentler cup for a quiet afternoon with a book or a conversation with a friend. As a guy, this is not so girly that I would be embarrassed to serve it.
Oh, and there were several nice touches that personalized my package. The only one I’ll mention at this time is the samples came in resealable pouches. How awesome is that? Sure beats having to resort to the paperclip method I use now for leftover samples.
After sipping two cups of this tea, writing a review on my blog, and then reading Short Soceress’ review on Steepster it is apparent that how you feel about this tea depends. SS describes this as a strong Earl Grey with a hint of vanilla. To me this is a strong cup of vanilla tea with obvious bergamot once you slow down to notice it.
I prepared my first cup with 200F water and a 3 minute steep. It was slightly drying (read moderately+ Dinosara, we all know I like drying tea the same as some people like in burgundy wine) but there was no bitterness or bite. The bergamot is not perfumey or overly citrus. The Nilgiri base is smooth and though I never felt I could single it out I feel it is responsible for making the cup deep and rich.
My second cup was steeped 10 minutes (because I forgot to pour it) with full boiling water. I actually liked the second cup better. Very smooth.
A few comments-
The leaf I feel certain is orthodox produced. The pieces expand far beyond any CTC I have seen.
The packaging I have not encountered before. I thought at first the pouch had a hole in it. It appears there is a vent attached to the back of the pouch to aid removing air after sealing. Pretty cool idea.
I feel the pricing is very fair based on the quality.
Today was kind of a victory celebration. I turned in the final project for my college course. Yeah! There are a few weeks of class left preparing for the certification test but the class is winding down. So my wife and I did a little Christmas shopping and went to Cheddars for lunch beforehand. The Philly cheese steak was so good. Anyway, even if no one else agrees the iced tea they serve I find to be spectacular. It is brisk as I think any good iced tea should be and it has a roasted flavor similar to that found in a dark oolong.
Oh, and while shopping I found Candy Cane Lane so I grabbed two boxes. They also had an empty spot on the shelf labeled Sleigh Ride – so I’ll be back.