520 Tasting Notes
So… it was in the lower 50s when I left work early today. I had to be home to get new windows installed so I went in insanely early to make sure I was getting enough done for the week and so I wouldn’t have to spend much vacation time. :)
There is a Caribou close to on the way home and I was cold so I thought this would be perfect. And it was! Again, just like a pumpkin pie with lots of ginger. Honestly, I wouldn’t call this tea of any kind and maybe it isn’t. What it is is delicious!
This is the other tea I got from Green Terrace. It’s thick, fruity and bready with a little spice in the finish. Like sweet potatoes with cinnamon. It’s delicious.
It is similar to the Honey Black but different enough to be worth having both on hand. The Honey Black is way sweeter. I think if I could only keep one around it would be the Honey Black but this is an amazingly good tea.
Oh my. Vanilla and honey and bread and yeast and fruit and wow. This is deeply sweet and definitely a honey sweet. There is a honey aftertaste as well. The dry leaf smells UH-MAZING and the steeped tea is the same. This makes me so happy I put aside my “no more tea until September” idea and got this on their sale. There will need to be more of this tea.
(I couldn’t remember how to add teaware to the right place – thanks to some help from looseTman, this is a repost in the correct location!)
I have been using this for a little over a week now. It is a great size for use at work and I like that the minimum amount of water isn’t more than a cup. (I picked up a bigger cheaper kettle before I got this one and the minimum amount of water you can use it with is more than 2 cups.) I also like that the heating element is not exposed to the water.
It heats up quickly. The auto shut off does function as indicated. I don’t get any plastic flavor from the lid like some of the Amazon reviewers noted but I also don’t fill it up when I use it so that may have something to do with it. Dunno.
My only complaint about it is that it is kind of loud for the couple of minutes it takes to heat to boiling. A coworker turned around this morning and said “I’ve never heard a crack pipe but that’s what I imagine it sounds like. Nice start for your morning.” He was joking and said it didn’t bother him at all but it’s something to be aware of, depending on where you are going to use it.
It’s also small enough that I could see very little problem taking it on trips where I am already taking at least a carry on suitcase.
So. Full. Of. Tea.
I have been drinking tea all day long today. I got two tiny little double wall glass tea cups from Teavivre last week. I have never been a huge fan of glass for tea cups without handles, but these were just too cute to resist. And I’m so pleased that they don’t get hot at all. Great double wall insulation I guess!
I started the day with Bi Luo Chun Black (or Golden Snail Yunnan) from Whispering Pines then moved on to Golden Fleece from Verdant – both were delish though I think I’m somewhat over Golden Fleece for now. I’ll still never turn it down, but my palate is trending towards heavier teas lately. Next was Ailaoshan Black from Whispering Pines, Yunnan Gold Tips from A&D, No. 9 Yunnan from Steven Smith – all reliable and good, though the Ailaoshan was by far my favorite of the group. Finished up with Golden Tippy Yunnan from Tealeaves, which unfortunately didn’t really improve much with the short multiple steeping style sessions I was using.
Almost all of the steeps were done with 1 teaspoon of tea, spring water cooled from boiling, rinse leaves, 20 seconds for 1/2 of a little cup, 45 seconds to top off the cup, then 1 1/2 minutes for second cup and leaving the tea in the pot until I was ready for the 3rd & 4th cups.
While that sounds like a lot of tea, I guess in retrospect it isn’t that much since they were all done in 6+ ounce tiny
gongfu (not sure this is really gongfu) short steep sessions. I did resteep the Golden Snail so that’s…um… 42+ ounces?
So… this is a sipdown, running me out of Teavivre teas before my order arrives. :) I didn’t replace these but that doesn’t mean they were bad. I had mixed results with this tea but overall I liked it more than I didn’t like it.
Sweetish, caramely, thick, malty. For me, this tea was very water and temperature dependent. Too much temp without the right water and way too much smoke came to the forefront. Maybe it isn’t smoke I get from these teas where no one else gets it, maybe it’s burned tea from my improper prep! :)
These cups today were done with Hinckley Spring Water at about 205F and I used 10 balls for 16 ounces, steeped for about 3 minutes.
Yup. This is still amazingly good. Deeply malty and caramely.
Having recently taken a thermometer into work to see what the actual water temp is out of the dedicated line and the coffee maker spigot, I was shocked to find how off I have been in my estimation. It is actually only about 160F. I’m amazed any of my blacks that I love turned out okay with temps this low! But… knowing this, I now give the cup a bump in the microwave before steeping till it’s bubbling.
This tea was good at work before, now it’s just as amazing as it is at home. And other teas I’ve been retrying at work have definitely improved. I’ve been switching between this, Single Origin’s Kenya Kaporet, Harney & Sons’ Indian Nimbu & Golden Blend (which was tons better at a higher temperature), and the no-name golden yunnan from Chinatown.
I haven’t been posting much since I’m just drinking down my collection and not really trying anything new. It hurts my heart because I really, really want to order two of the new Harney teas from China and my TeaVivre sale order has to be my only purchase for this month. I do get on and read reviews and discussions, though. :)
Plus, work has been nuts. It sucks since I am busier than a one-armed paper hanger for the next two months but after September, I have no idea what I’ll have to keep me occupied! I’m also working on something that could turn out to be super neat if it all turns out like I hope. I can’t say anything yet… but I am positive you folks will like it. Stay tuned. :p
Oooo… now that I’ve had this twice more I can say with certainty that I like it quite a bit. It’s a thick, leathery, masculine Earl that still smells very feminine. The bergamot is really bold and strong. Mom noticed right away today that it also smells of roses when dry in the tin. I hadn’t picked that out before but yeah – really, really rosy. In scent only, though. In taste, this is pure bergamot with that thick, mildly malty Yunnan base.
And having tried this with 3 different preparation methods I now know how I like it. My first time was here at home with tap water. Just kind of meh and somewhat disappointing. Second time was at work with filtered water. Okay, but still underwhelming – I have since discovered that my hot water at work isn’t really hot enough for most of the teas I drink at only 150F!
This time I made it here at home with boiling spring water. That’s more like it. I no longer feel like I wasted my money buying a tin of this. :)
I do like this a LOT cold brewed. I used it as a “non-tea” for the tea party at work today. Steeped 24 hours in the fridge (about 3 tablespoons to 1 1/2 quarts of water) then added slices of fresh strawberry. Yum! Upping the rating based on how much I like it cold.
No one really said much about it specifically, but everyone drank their cups down so it must have been okay. :)