1642 Tasting Notes
Tuesday we were in Columbus Indiana, so we stopped at Empire Tea Services warehouse. Here in small town Indiana, they blend and carry 250 different teas. Mainly they are wholesalers, supplying tea for restaurants and hotels. They also do relabeling. The retail side of the business is called Tea Temptations. They don’t really push the retail side. I have tried to get them to sell samples and smaller sizes – 4 oz is just too much for most of us around here. They told me it cost more than they make from it. Others do it, so I’m not so sure, but they seem happy with things the way they are. They also have items in stock (like yixing pots) that aren’t on their website. The tiny pot I looked at was $29.
So, the tea… back in my tea bag only days, I loved Peach Apricot tea. I am not a big flavored tea drinker, except mainly Earl Grey. I am not sure why PA has always appealed to me. This stuff blows the doors of anything bag related. I was told that this has been their number one selling tea for several years. Today I am having it iced. The gunpowder tea is mainly large broken pieces with some full leaves. It stays mostly in the background. The peach and apricot share equal billing. They taste really natural to me. I can almost feel the fuzz on the fruit.
Oh, one other thing, the tea comes in decorative plastic lined waxed paper bags. It should probably be moved to something else if you don’t drink it up quickly. Admittedly, I never move it and it seems to do well. Just wanted you to be aware.
I don’t have Sleepytime vanilla yet, but hearing about it made me break out the winter CS bags. Last night it was Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride. Love it. Tonight was another awesome choice. Late in the evening when I am looking more for comfort than depth, this really hits the spot.
In other news, I dropped in to the Empire Tea Services warehouse today. We were in the neighborhood and my wife was almost out of her Tea and Herbs. Thought we would save on the shipping. Since we were there I kind of bought 4 oz of Peach and Apricot gunpowder green tea. I’ve had it before. It has been their number 1 seller for years and for good reason. I swear I can smell the fuzz on the peach. I needed another 4 oz of tea like a hole in the head but made the mistake of smelling it. I am weak :)
August? What happened to July? For that matter where did spring and summer go? The first cold snap is probably only 7 weeks away. Oh well, maybe that will help get me moving drinking tea again.
Actually, I tell you what it takes to motivate me – Jin Jun Mei. I love Fujian tea. This is a really excellent one. I honestly can’t think of a single negative thing to say about this one. From the moment I opened the bag I was hooked. It has all the wonderful scent you expect from it. The leaf is beautiful. The brew color is dark, dark, ruby red. The aroma is intoxicating. Teasenz says it has notes of orange. Others mention this as well. To me it is like fruit wine, except better, cause its tea ;)
The taste is honey and sweet potato, malt and hay, along with the fruity wine vibe. Accompanying this mixed in with a pleasant bite is molasses and cocoa.
I made two mugs and the second was as excellent as the first. I know most of my reviews are positive – because I don’t drink stuff I don’t like. That said, this is really good. If I still rated teas, I would slide the bar way to the right.
I didn’t add any product info when I created this listing as it already exists but I can’t access it. I get a wall of HTML. Jason has been advised.
So, man, I have been craving LS for weeks. It has been so stinking hot out that I haven’t satisfied the crave. Until this morning. It was around 60 F on my porch. Reason enough to rejoice and brew some LS.
This came double wrapped (thanks Little Red Tea Co.). Once brewed it smells intense. I love Little Red Tea Companies description – ‘bridge abutments’! Yes, and proud of it! The taste is more refined. Obviously it is quite smoky, but there is a peppery note along side a smooth sweet mineral. The aftertaste is smoke and pepper.
It is smooth with no bitterness or astringency that I could detect.
This satisfied my craving until the next cool morning.
Apparently it has been 5 days or so since I posted – or drank tea besides bottled or Lipton. Well, I do have my morning latte but that is more flavored sweetened milk. So, my wife brought me this one from the kitchen. It was in her way (no respect for the bergomot). Of course since it was already out… so 3 minutes, a packet of Splenda, and 10 oz of 200 F water, were transformed into bliss. Went magically with a bagel and a couple honey drizzled sausage links. For a moment I forgot how humid it is even indoors.
I was pretty ill over the last 6 months. During this time I had this tea waiting to be reviewed but never got to it. Sorry What-Cha. So, I pull it out today, took pictures for the blog, but all the time I had decided this one was just for the love of tea. I just wanted to enjoy the look and the smell of the leaf. To watch the dance, and breath in the brewed aromas. To taste like it was my first cup. Lately I have forgotten how to just let the tea take me on a journey.
It is a good thing I went in with this attitude as this tea is no longer available and may never come back. Well poo. Not sure if I’ll go ahead with a blog post or not. Either way, I really enjoyed the trip.
The dry leaf is really dark for a green tea. It is lightly twisted and curled. It smells leafy and loamy with some tobacco notes, and an earthiness to it that made my mind briefly envision puerh.
I steeped in my clear glass teapot so I could watch the dance, and dance it did. Some leaf stubbornly clung to the surface while others white knuckled the bottom. It reminded me of school kids at a first dance – boys on one side and girls on the other. The brave leaf that did dance, swirled with abandon and glided about, occasionally tapping one of the clingers and dragging them to the dance floor. Thank you for the dance.
The wet leaf is large broken pieces that become green and revived. What really struck me as unexpected was the wet leaf scent. I can think of no other way of describing this. It is the aroma of a filtered cigarette. Not the nasty ash kind but the sweet and fragrant kind. I have never been a smoker, but there are certain brands that from a distance I enjoy the scent of in the open air – for a brief period. This is like the that.
The liquor is a beautiful mix of honey and orange in color. The taste is… oh yes this is green tea. It is sweet with a solid bite. Underneath is a subtle smoky note that is welcome. It is not like the wet leaf scent, and not like a camp fire. It is a roasted kind of smoky. This is also quite crisp. The aftertaste is sweet with a light fruitiness.
Glad I got to try this one.
This definitely makes the best looking cup of the bunch. This starts rose then turns tart from the hibiscus. I never really caught the jasmine. Adding a little sweetener opens up some space. Cold water bottle method is also good. I found the hibiscus to be far more present and tart than most every one here is saying. Though I wasn’t all that enamored with floral herb, it is my opinion this will probably be the most successful blend with the herbal crowd.
This one left the most amount of silt in the cup of any of the blends. It makes for a less than appealing visual. The taste is a different story. This was my wife’s favorite of the bunch. It needed just a hint of sweetener before I could separate out anything but the peppermint. With sweetener I could catch the chamomile and the lemongrass. It is a mild relaxing cup. The chamomile never crosses into tart apple tasting.
I am not the biggest chai fan. Rooibos is kind of hit or miss with me. This combines both and I liked it. No additives this was very mild with no rough edges. The clove, cinnamon, and rooibos play well together. Next I added a little sweetener. This made the ginger really jump out and heat up the cup. It was a little too intense for my taste. Next I added a splash of milk, because chai, you know. This was my favorite method. Very balanced.