39 Tasting Notes
Hello again Steepster,
I haven’t been logging many teas of late because as the weather warms up, I’ve been drinking less tea, and because most of what I have been drinking has been stuff I’ve already logged.
But apparently I haven’t logged this tea yet. Which is sort of a shame, because it’s a nice tea. It tastes pretty much exactly like an archetypical jasmine green tea. Are you familiar with jasmine teas? If so, imagine a nice jasmine tea in general without imagining any specific jasmine tea. Then add a little bit of extra jasmine flavor. You will then be imagining this tea.
Normally I like green teas better than black. But this is seriously good enough to override that. It’s smoky and warm and lovely and says “WAKE UP!” when I drink it.
The dry leaves smell like nothing so much as genmaicha. The wet leaves post-steep smell like seaweed. The brewed tea itself is like neither of those things.
I bought a bunch of samples from Upton, and this certainly seemed intriguing. I used about half the 6g sample packet in a mug of 100°C water, steeping for 8 minutes.
Given that this is just an unblended single herb, the aroma is incredibly complex. There are notes of mint, cinnamon, and other spices. Brewing the tea mellows it out somewhat, melding these different notes. It’s an okay evening brew, but it won’t be replacing peppermint tea in my cabinet anytime soon.
I’m going to try the other half of the sample with some sugar to see how that works out.
First time trying yellow tea. It was sufficiently different from other teas that the sample wasn’t big enough for me to form an entire opinion.
I was right: to extract any flavor from this, you have to use a lot of leaves. I’m at 1 Tbsp per 12oz cup. This is sort of sensible: because the leaves are so big and fluffy and loosely packed, maybe this is actually less tea by weight than I use with other teas. I don’t know.
So the most amazing thing about this tea is still the smell of the dried leaves. It’s all vanilla-y and some citrus and wow. The tea, once brewed, tastes pretty much the same, albeit less so.
Maybe I’m still being unfair because the dried leaves smell of such promise: if someone just gave me a prepared cup of this tea, perhaps I would be more impressed, but as it is I’m still not loving this as much as some of the other folks here. Still, it’s not like it’s undrinkable or anything.
So, yeah, I’ve been drinking this, and I think I like it best when it is steeped for just a minute or so. Steep it longer and the tea starts to compete with and overpower the rice, which maybe some people would prefer but for me defeats the whole purpose of drinking tea with toasted grains in it.
It’s good on resteeps as well.
I’d been meaning to drop into Porto Rico and check out their teas for a while, but as I was passing by today I saw a sign in the window that said “Tea Sale.” Apparently the sale has been going on for a couple of weeks but ends tomorrow.
I managed to escape only a few dollars poorer with just a few ounces of the Genmaicha. I’ve been craving genmaicha for a little while, so it was an opportune purchase.
What to say about it? It’s good. It tastes like green tea with toasted rice. There’s also some corn in here, but although it’s pretty, I don’t know how much it affects the flavor.
I think two minutes might have been a bit long for this tea. The woman in the store told me she steeps for up to seven minutes (!) but that seems crazy.
It’d probably be expected here to write something about how this tea is keeping me warm in the great big snowstorm we’re currently having here in New York. But let me be honest: I’m working from home and the heat works just fine. So let’s talk about the tea instead.
The best way I can think of to describe the tea is to say that it tastes like Earl Grey tea, only more so. They obviously put more than the normal amount of bergamot. (Also, has anyone ever seen an actual bergamot fruit? Do they have any uses other than flavoring tea? Why does the Firefox spellchecker insist that bergamot is not even a word?)
The vanilla, while present, is definitely secondary to the bergamot and the tea itself. It serves more to enhance these other flavors than to stand on its own.
Other posters here have suggested that this tea is especially nice with milk. I don’t usually like milk in my tea, but I suppose if I have some milk in the house then it might be worth trying.
Overall a nice, easy-to-drink black tea. I’ll certainly be drinking this a bunch in mornings when I need help waking up.
This smells so good. But it hardly tastes like anything (or, more accurately, it does not taste anywhere nearly as strongly as it smells). I used about 1.5 tsp for about 12oz water, but the tea is kind of loosely packed, so maybe this is not enough. I’m going to try it again with more tea and see what happens..