120 Tasting Notes
You know those wee little packets of enough black Chinese tea to make a big cup that only have Chinese writing on them so you have NO idea what they are? I’m having one of those now. I really wish I knew what it was. It’s nice and chocolaty with lots of body. I got a shitload of these little bags one day and I’m glad I did as they will be good for my travel bag and the tea stick.
I still have some sheng leaves left from yesterday that I will likely be getting back to today. Right now, I’m being MzMicrobe. Terri has inspired my microbiologist side. I’m working on: Root Kimchi (recipe by Terri), milk kefir and water kefir using my new kefir grains. After lunch I’ll be making some blackberry cobbler with the blackberries from my garden with a batter using almond flour and a recipe thoughtfully provided by Terri. In between I’m trying to organize my tea.
So. I am in a hotel, traveling for business. I had a really nice tea set up all packed in a zippered bag that has: a wee little stainless electric kettle, a tea stick (http://www.crateandbarrel.com/gamila-tea-infuser-stick/s132094?a=1552&device=c&network=g&matchtype=&gclid=CLGWqtfchb8CFSJo7AodYxEAlA ), and sevral kinds of awesome tea. I was willing to live with the little glasses they have in the room to brew in. I’m guessing the little tea things bag looks really cute sitting on my kitchen table where I left it.
The hotel lobby has a coffee set up and has some boxes of tea beside it. No hot water at 4:30 am, but there is a teeny coffeemaker in my room. So I am drinking two bags of this infused into one cup of whatever temperature of water comes out of the in-room coffeemaker.
And you know what? It’s not that bad. Except for the clove explosion which is a bit much and kind of overwhelms everything else, but I think I stepped it a little too long.
It reminds me of what my parents used to make for us when we went camping as kids. It was called Spiced Tea. It included: Nestea Instant Tea, Tang, cloves, cinnamon. It was all mixed together in a tupperware container and we would spoon the mix into cups and fill with hot water from the camp stove. We LOVED that stuff. And this reminds me of that, so I’m enjoying this.
Flavors: Clove, Orange
Weekday mornings around my house are fairly frantic. Even though I wake up really early (translation: I don’t sleep much), I wait until pretty much the last possible second to get dressed, feed critters, etc. I also need a low-stress, low-key way to start my day. I have lots and lots (and lots) of teaware. I’ve been trying figure out the easiest weekday morning tea system. Pretty sure I’ve found it.
This mug holds a perfect-for-me 16 ounces. It comes with a nice large stainless steel infuser basket and a lid that doubles as a basket trivet. I measure the tea into the basket, pour in water of the correct temperature, set my steep timer (aka – my iphone) and when it’s done, I remove the basket, shake it into the cup to let it drain, set the basket on the lid where it waits patiently for a re-steep and I have easy morning tea.
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BOOM BOOM! I’m gonna shoot you right down. Right off your feet. Take you home with me. PUT YOU IN MY HOUSE! Haw Haw Haw. Sorry. I can’t stop John Lee Hooker-ing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSnQ0bdHW0s) over this tea. Boy howdee this is good. There are many teas out there that I like a lot. But I have a pantheon of tea. Mandala’s Special Dark, my necessary shu pu-er, Verdant’s Golden Fleece – the best golden tip black, Whispering Pines Golden Orchid, my favorite black blend, and now – this. It is a genuine pleasure just to stick your nose in the bag and inhale (a quality it shares with Golden Fleece). Deep, rich luscious chocolate. Dark, creamy chocolate.
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Round three of the MzPriss Mood Adjustment Project of the morning (after Special Dark and Jun Chiyabari). I brewed this cup from my “oldest” bit of Golden Orchid – which doesn’t last long around here. It’s interesting to see the way it changes over time. The vanilla becomes more pronounced and opening the beautiful little jar I have it stored in releases an aroma of vanilla fudge. It is so very smooth and silky and lovely. This tea makes me very happy. Maybe one more cup of this and some Golden Fleece and I’ll be ready to face the world with some grace today.
I’m all grumbly/grumpy and am attempting to adjust my mood with tea. Yesterday was a fairly craptacular day, including among other things: my debit card quit working (for some reason it decided it wasn’t “activated” anymore), I thought I left my wallet in my shopping cart, went running back through the parking lot to retrieve it and I broke my baby toe by hitting it on the concrete parking bump thingie. Right now my baby toe is the color of 7 minute steeped Special Dark (which I had a cup of as soon as I woke myself up by getting my broken toe caught in the covers and which hurt like howling HELL). And also? It’s Monday.
So today I get to look forward to: going in late to work because I have to go to my bank and straighten out my debit card and hobbling around on my hurty toe without vicodin because I can’t take vicodin and drive/work and a crappy meeting that I’ve been not looking forward to.
Soooooo that is a lot of grumpiness right there. I’m trying to adjust my attitude. I had my big cup of comforting Special Dark, have now started on a cup of this delicious Jun Chiyabari from our Unflavored TTB and have Golden Fleece and Golden Orchid waiting in the wings.
I really like this tea and need to do a real note on it. I have enough left for one small cup after this and will do an actual note on it then. But right now I’m enjoying the floral, muscaty, lychyeeness of this. I plan on ordering some because this is happy tea. It’s all sparkly and lovely and I’m happy drinking it. It’s different from anything I’ve tasted before and I’m enjoying it very much. Another happy thing is that my dahlias are starting to bloom and they make me smile. Maybe today will get better.
This is a more like it. After an unfortunate bout with the Z11 Keemun this morning, I chose this one next. This is kind of the opposite end of the spectrum from the Z11. There is a barely-detectable smoke note, way way back – a nice antidote to the intense smoke/creosote of the Z11. This is far more delicate and well mannered. There is a hint of cocoa, a slight whiff of malt and a little yeasty graininess. I like the little floral, winey waft in the aftertaste. This is nice enough, but not very distinguished.