985 Tasting Notes
Angels unaware! Went to pay for breakfast at Steak N Shake this morning. Was told our bill had already been paid. Never saw a soul in there I recognized. Sweet way to start the day! The tea was once again very pleasant. Feel like breaking into a rousing chorus of O Happy Day! O wait, I am doing that one tomorrow at church on guitar.
The tea I dreaded when I first tried it is one of the three I grabbed to take home for the weekend. I was so looking forward to sharing this one. Stupid microwave, I didn’t get the water the right temp so was not full flavored, but good even weak. With the flavor down a little I noticed a real creaminess to it. Still loving this one.
Started my day with this favorite. 3 cups before overdoing the turkey. Time for a nap!
Steeped 1 minute with boiling water. Toucha remains mostly intact. The brew is dark with a light musty aroma. The wet leaf reminds me of wet musty hay. The first sip is much sweeter than expected. I happily notice the leather notes I got from the rose toucha only much lighter. May be imagination but I pick up just the tiniest hint of smoke. I am also getting that slick slightly tacky lip feel that appealed to me in the China Cha Dao puerhs. No astringency, or fishiness and I don’t find it heavily earthy.
Second cup, toucha completely crumbled. Has a bit more leather and as it cools a bit of bitterness moves in with a heavy dose of hay. Third cup I added a couple small leaves of chocolate mint. Not enough to really flavor it but added a cool mouth feel and evened out the bitterness. Next time I brew this I am going to really short steeps.
The other reviews raved on this tea. I may adjust my rating up or down a bit after I try modifying my steep parameters. I loved the rose toucha. This one I like. Definitely better than meh, but not a wow. IMHO – YMMV (in my humble opinion – your mileage may vary)
This is the one sample I have feared the most. I even turned down one jasmine sample because of my fear of it. Thus far, in my tea journey, I have only tolerated straight jasmines. Teavivre really has their work cut out for them if I am to like this one. Putting on my brave face…
I open the bag and breath in. Hey, this is different. The jasmine doesn’t make me flinch. It is a pleasant fresh floral and not overwhelming. In addition there is a fruitiness like Concord grape or maybe grape soda that is very appealing. Maybe this won’t be too bad…
Steeped 2 minutes at 80 C. Note to self, remember to only go 1 minute next time. Very light amber liquor. The fruitiness is still in the brew and the wet leaf. Even better, it is in the sip. The best part of this cup is breathing in before you sip. It fills your senses with flowers and grapes until your brain stops processing anything else but the aroma. There is even a hint of rose in here. You catch the green tea at the back of the tongue after the fragrance subsides.
Wow. This is really good. Is this what jasmine is supposed to taste like? If it is, then I have never really had jasmine before. Seriously, I could drink this everyday. Bring on cup two.
The dry pure buds and leaves look so dark and delicate. The aroma is grassy and slightly sour. Steeped per instructions at 2m. Excellent clarity in the liquor. It has the palest of green tints. The wet leaf appears to me to be mostly large pieces of small leaves, stems, and some buds. It looks soft and fresh and oddly very green considering the darkness of the dry leaf. The leaf aroma is heavily vegetable – like broccoli or spinach.
In the sip I notice a bit of bitterness (not a bad thing), vegetable, then a green bite in the aftertaste. Complex. Fresh. Interesting. It reminds me of one of the previous Teavivre greens I’ve tasted. I don’t have my notes in front of me so I am not sure which one. The biggest difference from memory is the slight bitterness in this one, which I liked. It adds character.
To the green tea purist stop reading now…
At this point I added sweetener. This evened out the flavors making this maybe less complex and interesting but more to my tastes. I would not call this tea naturally sweet on its own and I have a Sucralose monkey on my back. I know, I know, I am drinking quality tea. I don’t need this stuff, but I NEED this stuff. This green takes sweetener well. I justify my actions by saying, after I establish the flavor profile, I want to just relax as I sip the rest of the cup without looking for all the nuances. In reality, I know that is just the monkey talking. Me and the monkey like this tea.
The first cup was a 90 with the most intense flavor. Steep 2 and 3 are roughly 80 as they lost the heavy vegetable and bitter edge. If I get the slider thingy right this is about an 85.
This is the season in America where we reflect on being thankful for the good things of the past year and hopeful for the future of things that are not so good. This morning I realized how long it had been since I drank a tea that was meh. This last summer the world of tea has really opened up to me and I have been, yes, I will say it, blessed to drink some very good tea.
I intentionally grabbed this today to remind me of where I came from, so to speak. My son gave this one to me. I thought I had written a review of it before but couldn’t locate any notes. It is green tea, chamomile, the dreaded hibiscus flowers, orange peel, citric acid, pomegranate flavor, raspberry flavor, and Japanese matcha. So, what the tea is named after is just flavoring? Hmmm. 3m steep. The bag plumps up nicely. That is a plus for a Stash tea – the home of notoriously overpriced and undersized bags.
I don’t do many fruit teas. They scare me. The fruit is almost always way overdone and artificial tasting. Especially raspberry. I can barely taste the tea in this but it isn’t as bad as expected. Reminds me of a hot shaved ice – wrap your mind around that one. The pomegranate tames the raspberry so it isn’t overwhelming. Still, this is oversweet Kool-Aid in a mug. Reminds me of the Republic of Tea pomegranate I had some time back. Something in this is leaving a bitter aftertaste. I didn’t pour the cup out but I don’t want any more of it. Meh. Here is to wonderful future cups!
Ok, after receiving advice on smoky teas, I had to revisit this one.
First a story – I shared this with a co-worker today who is an all Twinings and the time kind of guy. He said the brew smells like roasted almonds. Then he tasted it and said, “Dude that’s just wrong. It’s like slapping puppies. It tastes like burnt coffee.” He poured the rest of his partial cup out and went back to his Lady Grey. By the way, the first time I brewed this he had cup number two and loved it.
Today I steeped enough for both of us to try on cup one. So I tasted it, and knowing what to expect this time, I did not find it nearly as off putting as the first tasting. I am not flinching. Progress. As the cup cooled the smoke diminished and the other notes started to emerge for me today. Yeah.
The two or three cups you can get after the initial steep are fantastic and easily deserving of a 90+ rating. My feeling is the average first timer will not get past the initial shock to realize there is a really good cup of tea here. I hope I am wrong. I bump my rating a bit.
I have been doing a lot of serious tea drinking for several days. Today as I sit here with my raspberry filled doughnut it just feels like a fun day (the boss is gone that helps). So I dug through my few remaining bags and found this one. It is actually pretty good on its own but today I steeped half a cup as a concentrate added some sweetener, and then poured it and some warm milk into the French press. Pumped a few times and a creamy goodness latte emerged. As the creaminess calmed down I added a bit of Diet Coke for the bite. Ok, the Coke was maybe a bad idea but it was still fun (I love chocolate milk and Coke). Of course now I have a bigger mess than usual to clean up. Oh how I suffer for my art.
Instead of saving back some of the samples that I am pretty sure I am going to love, I notice I am grabbing them first. Oh well, here goes another. The dry buds are long and silvery white with a bit of green. Very fresh and sweet smelling. Hate to over use the hay word but that’s what I picture when I inhale. Let’s call it alfalfa because that sounds cooler.
Steeped per the instructions for 1 ½ minutes. Wet leaf smells really good. The brew is very pale almost clear with a greenish tint. What a contrast to the puerh from yesterday! Hard to believe they both come from the same plant. Well, not literally but you know what I mean.
The first sip is light with cucumber notes or melon as some may interpret it. Sweet with a touch of grass. I am not sure my description is doing this justice. This is a really good cup of relaxation. My stress level has been through the roof lately and this is just the vacation moment I needed. I am sitting back and staring out the window while sipping the cup. Ahhhh. I would hate to imagine any one would slam this down and not take the time to appreciate it. Cups two and three were every bit as pleasurable.