103 Tasting Notes
My first time for this tea. It’s a rocketship! The mint finish just blows me away and I thought I wasn’t gonna like it. And having it watching the moonrise with tea heads is every bit of the awesome.
Ever wonder what sweet chocolate love tastes like? Yes, I said SWEET. CHOCOLATE. LOVE. With a cherry on top? Wonder no more damas y caballeros – Cocoa Amore is here to show you exactly what it tastes like. Actually it tastes like Cherry Whoppers. If Cherry Whoppers actually existed and were made by Godiva out of truly excellent chocolate and with real cherries! Brought to you by Brenden & the Magic Vanilla Beans. I know you’re asking, “What’s that you say Mz HoneyBelle Priss? That’s a bunch of mixed up funky stuff.” It sounds that way, but in reality it’s a chocolate-vanilla Cherry Bomb (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYf_NM_lCLI) y’all:
Hello Daddy, hello Mom
I’m your ch ch ch ch ch cherry bomb
Hello world I’m your wild girl
I’m your ch ch ch ch ch cherry bomb!
First I have to say, I’ve been SMELLING this for a week. OK so huffing it might be slightly more accurate. But it was here and I was waiting for the LovelyTeaFairy’s (LTF) sample to get to Canada. I kept sending her notes saying, “chocolate covered cherries!”
I started out very, very carefully following Brenden’s parameters of ½ tablespoon in 8 ounces of 200 degree water for 3 minutes and zero seconds. We always try to mind him on the first round.
As soon as that timer went off, I poured up a deep amber cup and inhaled a malty chocolate cherry nose-bomb. It’s medium-bodied, but it’s a body that won’t quit (more on that later….foreshadowing!)
Luscious liquid cocoacherrymaltvanilla bliss. All of those elements are very present, with the vanilla the most in the background on the first steep. But I’m not kidding – this is sublime. It is right up close to Golden Orchid for me and that is saying quite a lot. GO is a sweet dream of a tea and so is this. It’s got lots of bottom with the cocoa and the malt with a sprightly cherry bit and that silky smooth vanilla to make it mellow and it is so sweet with a deep caramel note – a real cuplicker.
On the second steep, I went for 4 minutes. There was less cherry, the coca was still definitely there as it mellows out to a less malty cocoa and it still has plenty of body. It is a deep cocoa powdery kind of cocoa and at this point a slight bit of cinnamon starts to peek in.
The third and fourth steeps (yes, it re-steeps awesomely), the malt diminishes but there is still some cocoa and vanilla with the cinnamon waving from a distance. For the last half of the 4th steep, I decided to go Terri-style and added ½ teaspoon of maple syrup to it and that brought the cocoa back. A delicious way to finish this.
Oh! There were still some leaves in the bottom of the teapot that sat there for quite a while – at least 15 minutes – no way was I just pouring that out. I was quite surprised to find there was no bitterness or astringency – just really strong, still delicious tea.
So I will be waiting impatiently with the rest of y’all until I can have a supply of this. This one is very very very near to Golden Orchid awesomeness for me and that is an extremely high bar. And once more LTF – such a delight to get to share this with you!
Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Malt, Vanilla
In the gaiwan at 170. Quick rinse and a first steep at 1.5 minutes Nice and vegetal but quite mild. Second steep opens up and I’m getting a little of the juiciness with a little stonefruit. Third – the aroma is getting gorgeous and ok – I’m starting to get the white tea thing. There is a hint of grapey-ness that I love and lots of juice. The fourth steep is my favorite so far, more juicy fruit.
This is a revelation! Who knew I liked white tea this much? Clearly I need to spend more time with my gaiwan:
But that’s all I have time for this morning. Delicious!
Tea of the (actual, yet early) morning. So I got the MOST beautiful little tea set yesterday (thank you for the inspiration TeaFairy!). It is pink-flowered and girly and just lovely. I love the convenience of my brew-in-a-mug thingie. It’s efficient and not fussy.But.
There is something just so civilized and deeply soul-satisyfing about brewing beautiful tea in a beautiful pot and pouring the beautiful tea from the beautiful pot into a beautiful teacup.
This is beautiful tea and I am having it from my beautiful tea set. This tea is everything me (and everyone else) says it is: smooth, caramelhoney sweet, malty and delicious. I am just purring with contentment.
And it’s FRIDAY!
As I suspected, this is a great middle(ish) of the night tea. I’ve been enjoying this propped up with in bed with the dogs snuggled up and a book. This time, I’m definitely getting the cherries I didn’t taste before – they are more subtle, but they are there. I keep thinking the same thing I did when I first sampled it – this is just so lovely.
First tea of the morning. The smooth sweet caramel is just what I need this morning to ease me awake gently. There is a bit of breadiness, a little bit of malt but the caramel is especially prominent for me this morning. Like all of the other Joseph Wesley teas I have, this is just a classy tea.
I’ve been looking forward to making cornmeal pancakes with fruit (started out thinking about ripe Texas peaches) and cottage cheese all week. One of my favorite breakfasts. I decided to use a different cornmeal pancake recipe this morning. And who better to go to for a good recipe than Mark Bittman? Apparently, in the case of cornmeal pancakes – almost anyone. I have no pancakes. I have a bowl of fried-ish polenta-ish cripsy globs with some AMAZING cherry compote I made from frozen organic cherries, some lemon zest, freshly ground cardamom and little maple syrup. I knew better than to attempt pancakes with no leavening. I started in my extremely well seasoned cast iron skillet that is basically non-stick because it’s been cooked in for well over 50 years as it belonged to my grandmother. I used a little oil to ensure success. My poor skillet has crunchy chunks of polenta-ish stuff clinging to it like I would be to George Clooney’s leg if he showed up. I decided to try in the non-stick skillet which I almost never use. I have chunks of crunchy polenta-ish stuff which was scooped into a bowl along with the yummy cherry stuff and some cottage cheese.
In need of comfort and reassurance and inspired by TheTeaFairy, I turned to this tea. Chocolaty, chocolaty goodness. It goes really well with my cherries (also inspired by TTF this morning), and I am getting less hostile toward Mark Bittman by the minute. A big chocolate bomb that is smooth and delicious with zero bitterness or astringency even when steeped around 5 minutes is something that makes my semi-broken heart happier.
Spring 2014 version
Dear Mr. He:
Thank you so much for picking this tea. Like the dearly beloved “regular” LB, this smells and tastes like like roasty chocloate malto meal. It is a sweet, malty cocoay cup of comfort and I’m very glad that I get to have some.
Having said that, I believe I love my regular LB just a little bit more. There is a little more depth and body to the later pickings I think. I really and truly appreciate having both and the opportunity to compare the nuances and subtleties. I love that Verdant finds and supports the tea farmers to bring us these sips of lusciousness.
This is a perfect cup of tea to have pretty much any time and I’m really enjoying it (much too early) on this Sunday morning.
Flavors: Chocolate, Grain, Malt