116 Tasting Notes
I bought a tin of this at the same time I bought the Numi Chocolate Pu-Erh. I’ve been sampling it ever since, wanting to love it and just not managing. Too floral for me, no peachy flavor at all. I know, I just said almost the same thing about another tea from a different seller. Maybe it’s just me. But it is what it is. I think there are better oolongs out there, probably even some available at a lower cost.
Well, this is odd stuff. I think I like it. Not sure whether I’m going to buy more when it’s gone, though.
Was that confusing enough?
Yesterday was one of those seriously frustrating days filled with interruptions and tangents and distractions and delays and stubborn people and by the time I hit the grocery store after work I was ready to purchase and eat an entire Key Lime Pie all by myself, washed down with a bottle of cheap bubbly. So I wisely headed for the tea aisle instead.
I decided I would get one, maybe two, boxes of Really Serious Tea. I had in mind some Yorkshire Gold but the only box was badly crushed. Then I thought, maybe some killer Earl Grey. But there were none I hadn’t tried already, and they were all in bags. So I wandered over to the brands I don’t look at too frequently.
I noticed that every single Numi in the store was a pu-erh. I am seriously nervous about pu-erh. That seemed a good reason to take the plunge, so I picked this one because it was the single weirdest-sounding one on the shelf. When I got back home I found it was actually on my shopping list, although I’ve since taken it off.
I am finishing up the second cup. I drank the first one without additives. The dry bag had a whiff of something vaguely fishy, but I plunged on. Surprise! Brewed, it really id taste like tea+chocolate, rougher than Florence but really kind of interesting. And no fishy aroma. On the other hand, I was looking forward to the hint of orange, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and I didn’t get the orange at all. I drank most of it pretty quickly but was not fast enough to get to it all before it went stone cold. Drinking it black and stone cold was not a good option for me. Although, weirdly, I think I got more of the cinnamon and nutmeg then.
Second cup, I added a splash of half-and-half and sampled it. Hmm. Weirder still, I think I liked it better without additives as long as it was hot. So I added some rock sugar, and decide yes, counter-intuitively, the stuff is more interesting to me without anything added.
Now the second cup has cooled off, and I’m getting a lot of chocolate following a rush of sweetness. This is the most changeable, wibbly cup of tea I have tried so far. If it piques your curiosity, go for it. I think you will have a very individual response to it, but I truly cannot say where it’s likely to fall on your personal continuum.
Not going to assign a numerical rating.
It looks like I have the original version of this tea, with a gunpowder base rather than bancha. I’ll press on anyway, because I like this and I suspect I will like the bancha version even better!
This is mildly smokey, present in the scent of both the dry leaves and steeped tea and as an aftertaste but not necessarily when held on the tongue. (I tried Daniel’s technique of exhaling, holding the tea in my mouth, and inhaling.) It would be a good introduction for someone who is not sure whether she would like a smoked tea. It would also appeal to someone who would like to try a lighter version of lapsang souchong, perhaps someone who is trying to increase consumption of green tea and cutting back on black.
Smooth and basic, subtle like the other blends from Whispering Pines that I’ve tried. Not sure whether the suggestion for multiple steepings would apply to the gunpowder version so I think I’ll skip a second steep from these leaves. I also think I’ll be ordering the new, bancha version soon!
UPDATE: The website says this is out of stock. Am hoping this is a temporary situation!
It’s been years since I tried yerba mate, and I don’t have any clear memories of my reaction. I must have been underwhelmed.
So when I picked up my packet of Black Bear Breakfast and reminded myself of the ingredients, I thought, “OK, time for breakfast, let’s try this out.”
I think yerba mate is still not my brew of choice. I can’t seem to single out what the mate is contributing to the flavor, but mostly I’m getting mild, slightly sweet, with an aftertaste of mint. Not getting the elderberries.
This is reminiscent of Manistee Moonrise but not as distinctive, a wakeup tea with a refreshing afterbite and probably a good introduction to yerba mate blends for the slightly mate-phobic like me!
Looking forward to trying my final two samples from Whispering Pines.
I’ve been MIA again because of work and a mild (probably stress-related) puniness so I am somewhat behind in tasting and in tasting notes.
Madam Potts has scored again! This is really uncanny. For those who don’t know about www.madpotsoftea.com, [CORRECTED! So sorry!] if you go there and choose Personalitea, you can fill out a questionnaire that Madame will then consult and anaylze to blend a tea specifically for you.
I felt like my questionnaire responses were all over the place, but in the note I got back with my tea Madame said that she had focused on a favorite scent family (chypre) because it was one she hadn’t worked with extensively, and on my fondness for Santa Fe.
When I read the ingredients (see above) I thought, hmmm. They didn’t exactly proclaim “Santa Fe” to me. Then I prepared my first cup, and guess what? Santa Fe.
The chypre must be coming from the lavender and cornflower. I’m getting a little coolness that must be from the valerian and clover. The pecans may be the source of the slight smokiness. And then there’s the orange peel, carob, cinnamon, and ginger, none of which stand out sharply, but all of which seem to blend into something subtle and exotic like a mole sauce — the classic Mexican sauce based on unsweetened chocolate and cinnamon and chiles.
I’ve had two cups so far. Both times I boiled the water, steeped 5 minutes, and let it cool to almost-tepid before drinking most of it. (I wanted to try the second cup hot, but my boss came up to chat with me.) Using an Earl Grey as the base ties the flavors together in a way I would never have guessed it could.
This is mysterious and seriously addictive for me, and I’m planning to order more.
I wish I could show you a picture of it. I have resisted moving into the smart phone era and do not have a digital camera. The bright blue of the cornflower petals and the pale lavender buds really stand out against the black tea leaves. And then you see the little chunks of orange peel and pecans and carob.
You should try the questionnaire. I am amazed by and very happy with my blend.