1695 Tasting Notes
Got up made my green tea milk drink and some toast. Started out the door to take Spike to the vet. My son popped in as we opened the door. The 3 of us plus the dog piled into my cruiser and headed out. After dropping the dog off and a quick stop at Wallyworld, they wanted breakfast. Sigh. I really am trying to watch what I eat. So Steak and Shake here we come. I ordered hot tea. The server brought my cup full of steaming water, the silver metal pitcher of water with the bag in it, and a Styrofoam cup. At first my thought was, you are going to get in trouble when they find out you are the one staining the pitchers. She said she likes to heat her tea cup and that I could pour the water into the extra cup. Neat. It really did make the tea fruitier. For a tea bag it is pretty good anyway. She said she was a total tea girl. A moment of conversation and I realized she meant she drank a lot of tea bag tea. Still, she was correct on this one. I may have to sack up a few loose leaf samples and help her expand her horizons.
There are at least three listings for Tuocha Tea, so I just chose one and went with it. I actually started this yesterday and I am still drinking it but thought I would post. This is less than half the price on Tuocha Tea as it is elsewhere.
I kind of messed up the first mug. I used boiling and a 45 second steep with no wash. The leaf smelled like wet carpet and the cup was very bitter and drying. My fault. Beyond the eeewww, this is a little sweet, and a little woodsy.
The second 10 oz mug at 10 seconds is pretty good. The wet leaf is a pleasant woodsy mushroom with a hint of smoke. This is sweet. It feels a bit syrupy. The taste is of stone and mushroom. This is a very enjoyable cup with nothing off-tasting.
The third mug at 20 seconds is stone and mushroom, and I detect a light smoke late in the sip. This is the best cup yet.
This is a raw puerh, and it still has some of that sheng brightness, but it is aging nicely and seems pretty decent.
Prepared this again this morning after my morning green tea powder and milk. I used hotter water (185 F) and a 15 minute steep per Amanda’s method. Using this method, I learned this is an exceptionally forgiving tea. I might try really hot water with the last of this just to test. I also learned Amanda has amazing sensory powers. Today’s cup was pretty much identical to yesterday’s cup for me. Don’t get me wrong that is a good thing. I was just hoping to detect all the awesome notes as she described. The corn is easy. I get a light floral and a bit of fruit – neither of which I can identify.
I was really hoping to catch the peony as a childhood memory trigger. Mom loved peonies when I was growing up. For whatever reason she never replanted them when they moved several years ago. Ha, look at that – triggered just thinking about trying to smell them. Love it. They were right outside my bedroom window. There was no air conditioning back in the neolithic period that was my childhood. I slept with the window open. On really hot nights I would lay my head on the window sill. The scent of peonies filled the night air. During the day the bees and ants loved the flowers as much as I did…
I seem to be obsessed with white tea lately. This one looks just like Chinese Silver Needle. Dry, it smells of sweet fresh cut hay. The taste is corn. It is lightly sweet. Late sip is floral and fruit. The aftertaste really lingers. The longer I wait the more I notice a melon note. Very likable and very different than its Chinese twin.
I can’t wait to try this again with the gaiwan and long steeps to match how Amanda prepared it.
Last night, my son came over for supper. He said pop make us some tea. I already had a bottle of Lipton Citrus Green Tea poured (he hates it). I told him I had this Just-Right Roast cold in my den fridge. I tried to explain it to him as different than he was used to drinking.
He poured a tall glass over ice. Took one drink, then said, “It tastes like the time I burned my rice.” I prefer to think of it as genmaicha like. Actually, I guess his reaction was kind of accurate for a first time with hojicha type tea. He added sugar and did finish his glass with the Parmesan chicken, broccoli, and mashed potatoes.
He was not impressed that it won first place three years in a row. I laughed under my breath.
The leaf is intact and looks very dry and brittle. The silvery buds are neatly furry. Once water hits it, this becomes nicely aromatic, fresh, and green. It filled my little press carafe with hanging leaf. The brew is a golden color and very clear.
The taste can’t be compared to Chinese white peony or especially silver needle. Rather than melon and cucumber, this is woodsy and fruity. It has more in common with Darjeeling or obviously Nepali black tea than it does the aforementioned whites.
Being a white tea it is much more subtle than a black, so even that comparison fails. It struck me as crisp, clean, with a light mineral feel. No bitterness, but a little dryness.
Cup two was a warmer cup. Less mineral. Slightly sweeter. To me it edged on mushroom while hot, then turning more fruity as it cooled.
This is listed as an everyday white. It certainly works very well for everyday, with enough complexity to amuse you when you want to contemplate the cup.
I made a mistake with this one. I read the ingredient list before tasting it – vanilla, bergamot, jasmine – kind of a wow in my head. So I had already made up my mind what this would taste like. The cup itself is a ruby orange brew. It has a light vanilla scent. The taste is light vanilla with a pleasant black base. It is probably Ceylon but has no bitterness. It is kind of drying so have it with a snack. I had no desire to add sweetener. The bergamot is a very light touch and only serves to round out the cup. Sounds great, but I found myself disappointed searching for the jasmine. I just cannot pull it out of the blend. Had I not read the ingredients I would have accepted this as a nice vanilla black tea with just a hint of citrus. Maybe if I had this without the jasmine to compare, it would become obvious what it adds. I hat when your brain over-analyzes instead of just enjoys.
Yes, I know it’s fall. I drink iced tea all year round, just as I do with hot tea. This one comes in paper pyramid sachets. Each sachet makes one quart. Mellow Monk says this is a good cold brew candidate. This blend apparently won first place in the North American Tea Competition in its category in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Kind of impressive.
I used two sachets with two quarts of cool filtered water, then placed the pitcher in the fridge and walked away. Five hours later I poured my first glass. The roasting is similar in intensity to the few genmaichas I have tried. The taste is very nutty just as Mellow Monk said. I have never had a hickory nut so I can’t confirm it as the specific type. No bitterness. It is a little drying at this point. Very different.
On my blog I mentioned how green tea was as popular as black tea in the south prior to the world wars. Of course that means sweet tea. So I added sweetener to the glass. It was very good this way.
24 hours later I poured a second glass. This has really matured. The flavors are deeper with no rough edges. Deep nutty goodness. I had no desire to add sweetener. I finished the glass with a lunchmeat sandwich with jalapeno ketchup. The tea stood up to the sandwich with no effort.
If you like the roasted taste of hojicha and are looking for something unique then this is a real treat.
Thursday is shopping day. My grown son lives next door and he often goes with us.Today my wife and son decided they were going to die if they didn’t stop at Starbucks. I despise even the smell of coffee. I find the baristas don’t understand tea well enough to order hot tea and besides I am not a big fan of most of their offerings. Bored with green tea frap. My son suggested pumpkin spice without the coffee. Instead I opted to have them make a pumpkin spice frappuccino with matcha. Everyone including the barista flinched. What do they know, they’re coffee people.
In fact it was absolutely delicious. I think I have a new drink for the next month or so. It was made with 2% milk and half the pumps of syrup. For once they actually listened on the syrup. The matcha mixed seamlessly with the pumpkin and spices. It was almost dead on to biting in to cold pumpkin pie as my family always makes it.
Looking for something new? Give it a try and see what you think.