New Tasting Notes
My aunt sent me this for a Christmas gift. I fell in love as soon as I took it out of the box. Pictures don’t do the design justice. There’s the cup, saucer, lid, and infuser, all except the infused with the design that really stands out in person. Unfortunately on one side of the cup the design is absent, but this isn’t a huge deal. It’s a treat to hold with the style, and love the lid. This is the first infuser mug I’ve had that wasn’t a metal form of strainer, and I love that too. It does get some leaves and twigs in the cup, but this doesn’t bother me personally – I’m finding it a relief how easy it is to clean.
In theory I would be apologizing for no tea blog yesterday, but I am not sorry, TU19 came out yesterday and I was in utter bliss. A bit of backstory, the last ‘real’ not bugfix update for the Xbox 360 version of Minecraft came out last time I was in Pennsylvania, either in July or August of 2013! I know 4J Studios has been busy making Minecraft for all the other consoles, and that is awesome, but I was seriously gloomy about the lack of update. So as expected, when I saw yesterday that the new update was out, all my plans flew out the window as I went around taming horses and giving mobs really random names.
It is now time for yesterday’s tea today! My current home town of Kansas City has a delightful shop which I visit on occasion, Phoenix Herb Company (who will be at the Midwest Tea Fest, hint hint :P ) and I am looking at one of my favorite teas: Dian Hong! Basically Dian Hong translates to Yunnan Red, so this is a fancy red (or black) tea from Yunnan, it is not as fuzzy and golden as some of my favorite red teas, but it makes up for lack of gold by having a powerful flavor and smell. Or at the very least the other Dian Hongs I have had are like that, so time to see how this one compares. The aroma is super sweet, there are notes of raisins, sweet potato, a bit of dark rum, cherries, and some floral in there as well. It has a headiness to it, but more of a fruity sweet headiness than floral, though the distant rose aroma is quite striking.
So, into the gaiwan the leaves go, after their first somewhat short steeping (30 seconds if you are curious) the aroma of the leaves is still sweet, but it takes on a heavy richness. There are notes of cocoa, raisins, dried cherries, molasses, and a nice malty punch at the finish. It is an aroma that wakes you up, which is good, especially after an all-nighter of Minecraft. The liquid is really malty and bright with a distinct cherry undertone and a finish of molasses.
The first steep starts out really brisk and bright, it almost reminds me of an Assam who decided to visit Yunnan and liked it so much they stayed. I could see this becoming a really good breakfast tea. After the initial brisk malt tones, it mellows out to molasses and raisins at the midtaste, this in turn goes to sweet cherries and a touch of smoke at the finish. The smoky finish is so minute that it took me a few sips before I was certain it was there and not just in my head.
For the second steep, the aroma is much maltier and even more brisk, it practically effervesces and wakes me up from sniffing it, definitely a good morning tea! Like the previous steep it starts out brisk, bright, and malty, but it lacks the sharpness of astringency that some really brisk teas can have. After the beginning’s zinginess it moves into heavy cherry and raisin sweetness which lingers into the aftertaste. I could see this being a really good wake up tea for someone who wants a milder black but finds most Chinese red teas too mild and more ‘Western style’ black teas too intense.
I’m kind of glad I caved to Tiesta’s 50% off Black Friday sale, because now I have a bunch of fruity tisanes to drink in the evening when I want something caffeine-free. (You should have been here when I opened the bubble envelope and it was like a crazy blast of fruity scents! Even with all the teas sealed in their own bags. Ok, I just stuck my nose in the envelope and it’s still really fruity in there after a week. Amazing.)
Anyway, I liked this! The dry tisane and the scent as it brews are both very blueberry-ish. It brews up a lovely reddish colour from the hibiscus, but the tartness is balanced out with the sweetness of the dried fruits and the richness of the blueberry flavour. It reminds me of cooked blueberries – like the inside of a blueberry pie, but without all the sugar.
Probably should be avoided if you hate hibiscus completely, but if you’re a fan of slightly tart fruity/berry tisanes I recommend giving this one a try.
Another tea from Darjeeling Tea Lovers that I absolutely LOVED. That happens a lot with this company because their teas are spectacular.
The aroma is amazing – it has a remarkable peach and flower scent. Love it, and what I loved even more is that aroma translated to the flavor. I tasted peach, I taste the floral notes and these two elements meld beautifully together. Smooth and sweet. No sharpness or bitterness at all and there is very little astringency: just a slightly dry sensation felt in the aftertaste which is followed up with a really lovely sweet note.
The flavor makes me think of a lightly sugared peach. Sweet and fruit-like and absolutely wonderful.
A very forgiving tea. I oversteeped it by several minutes because I forgot to set the timer, but I tasted no sign of bitterness and there was very little astringency or tannic quality at all. Very forgiving.
Fresh, vibrant taste with delightful tropical notes. A vegetal note that is somewhere between grass and steamed spinach. Lightly creamy/buttery.
The pineapple is tangy, and the mango and papaya is sweet and juicy tasting. A really nice tropical flavor.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/10/01/green-pineapple-tea-from-the-persimmon-tree/
So, having ascertained last night that I’m capable of operating the gaiwan without spilling hot tea all over myself, I decided to try one of Verdant’s black teas in it this morning. 3g of tea, 4oz of water. Verdant’s standard instructions suggest to steep for 2-5 seconds, and add a few seconds with each infusion. I think I started with 20 seconds, and immediately started going for longer and longer infusions trying to get the richness of flavour I was craving, until finally I had to just admit to myself that what I really wanted was to be steeping this western style. :) Oh well, live and learn. It was a perfectly pleasant tea to drink, I just found it… light… gong fu style. After the first infusion the wet leaves smelled way more interesting than the tea did. I only got the cocoa notes for the first 2-3 infusions, and then after that it was all roasty flavours, like a roasted oolong. Not bad, but I think just not what I was looking for first thing in the morning.
Flavors: Chocolate, Grain, Roasted
I had my doubts about this tisane because by the looks of it, it’s mostly hibiscus. The idea of the dried grape skins was intriguing to me, though, but because all the ingredients – grape skins, hibiscus and berries – are all so dark and ruby reddish in color, it looks like pure hibiscus which elicited an “ugh” out of me when I first measured it into my Kati Tumbler.
However, it tastes a lot better than I anticipated it would. A short steep time – 4 1/2 minutes in 195°F water – helped keep the ‘hibiscus effect’ to a minimum. (The hibiscus effect = very tart, syrupy, thick liquid that happens after being steeped too long.)
Anyway, I didn’t taste a lot of hibiscus. It has a strong berry taste to it. Served hot/warm, it tastes a lot like warm grape juice! Served iced, it tastes like grape juice and I suspect this would be a great tea/tisane to serve to kids because of that grape-y flavor.
I liked this a lot better than I thought I would.
Day 19 of the Teanzo Advent Calendar …
Tasty! I usually prefer a rooibos blend to be very strongly flavored, so much so that it masks the flavor of the rooibos which isn’t my favorite taste. I don’t mind rooibos as much as I once did, but, I still like a good, strongly flavored rooibos blend. This isn’t as strongly flavored as what I used to want, but I’m not minding that because the nutty flavors of the rooibos works really well with the vanilla notes.
The vanilla tastes authentic. It doesn’t have a fake taste or a cheap vanilla extract sort of flavor. I enjoyed this.
Here’s my full-length article: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/12/19/24-days-of-tea-holiday-countdown-day-19-from-teanzo-1856/
Method: Gongfucha with 7 grams of leaf to 120 ml of water with a quick rinse
(The pot I’m using is my porcelain oolong pot with a pour of around 10 seconds, so subtract 10 seconds from the steep time to get the tea’s “idling” time.)
The dried leaves are predominantly a nice deep green, with a fair amount of lighter shades thrown in there. The smell of the leaf is roasted, It’s not smokey, but it smells like its been through the heat, which is what you’d want to look for in a light roast TieGuanYin.
1st Steep (15 seconds): The Color of the liquor is a very pale green, but the Smell coming off of it is divine! It’s roasty and has a vegetal sweetness on it. The Taste is quite light, but it is vegetal with some roast in the finish. The Aftertaste is a clean, simple, and lightly lingering toasty flavor.
2nd Steep (20 seconds): The Color has gotten obviously deeper, with just a touch of yellow added to it. The Smell has also gotten a fair bit stronger; it’s now similar to how Genmaicha smells, a little like roasted popcorn with some vegetal green-ness underneath. The Taste is sweet; the roast, even if it is just a light one, is at the forefront, with just a light and refreshing mouthfeel as it’s backdrop. The Aftertaste is definitely roasty, mostly on the sides of the tongue, like popcorn that’s almost been roasted too long.
3rd Steep (20 seconds): The Color’s slightly greener than the last steep, but the Smell shows no hints of letting up on it’s roast (keep in mind that it’s not overbearing, simply strong and present) anytime soon. The Taste has taken on a slightly fruity not, not too much though, like fruit that’s been roasted and dried. The Aftertaste is slightly astringent, I can feel it pulling on the inside of my lips, but it’s not at all unpleasant and has that nice roasty flavor.
4th Steep (30 seconds): I’m not really sure, but the Color seems like it’s gotten richer, although it might have just gotten a bit more yellow, not too sure on that count :). The Smell, though, is still that sweet roast, strong, but not overpowering, yet somehow delicate. The Taste is roast, roast, roast. I don’t think I’d like anything much more roasted than this. This, however, is nice. There’s some astringency in there, more than in the last steep, but it’s not too bad at all. I like having that light pull in the mouth. It’s not bitter, just corn-roasty. The Aftertaste has more corn than the taste, and the roast flavor has migrated to the back of the cheeks.
5th Steep (35 seconds): The Color on this is holding up incredibly well, not a single drop in shade or tone. The Smell is still roasty, but it’s starting to lessen a bit, so that the smell of the leaves themselves can begin to come through. The Taste is vegetal on the front, but in the finish it hits you with a roast that’s just as strong as the others, with no signs of letting up. The Aftertaste is still quite roasty, and the taste has come back to the sides of the tongue.
Summary: This is a good tea. And for the price ($9 USD per 50 grams) it’s a fantastic introduction to roasted oolongs. I’m not the biggest fan of roasted teas, I’ve had a few and only really liked one. This, however, has a light enough roast that it’s almost endearing. I could see how this would be comforting as a daily drinker, it’s got a welcoming roast scent and taste. Beginners unfamiliar with roasted teas would find this to be a nice tea to start wit, since it’s not overpowering. Roast-lovers probably already have some stashed away. Again, a great tea at an affordable price with just the right amount of roast on it.
Picked up a bottle of the original kind. I just wanted kombucha all of the sudden.
This didn’t really taste like much. I prefer the Gingerberry kind. Ginger and kombucha were a match made in heaven. This plain kind was okay. It was something healthy to drink, and it wasn’t gross by any stretch. But I think if I’m going to drop the $4 for a single bottle of this stuff, I want it to be more memorable.
I’ve been wanting to try this one for forever… I finally found it at Shaw’s of all places (along with a fully stocked display of Caramel Apple Dream!)
I’m in love! This tastes EXACTLY like a sugar cookie. I’m on my second cup already. It’s a creamy tea, and it’s sweet and bready and buttery and perfect.
I wish they made this and the Caramel Apple year round, but I suppose if they did, they wouldn’t be as special.
We went out for Somali food for the first time today, to a little restaurant that opened recently. We were served a delicious clear broth with lemon and meat samosas to start. My sweetie ordered kalaankal, a dry beef stew, and I had grilled king fish, which was salty and heavily spiced. Dinner came with muufo flat breads, similar to Indian chapati. Everything was delicious.
After the meal, the owner brought out shaah, Somali tea. This is a really strong black tea similar to chai. Heavy on the cinnamon and clove, with ginger, cardamom, maybe nutmeg and black pepper. Very sweet – not quite syrupy, but thick and very strong tasting, with a spicy kick. Amazing! So delicious.
If you ever get the chance to try this, definitely do.
Overboard Traveling tea box
I’m up drinking caffeinated tea, but only because I chose to go out late and also drink a Diet Coke, so what’s more caffeine going to do what hasn’t already been done? Also, I made the mistake of going to Kmart and trying to use their e-coupons. It’s a great idea, but never works… anyway, right – this tea.
It was freezing when I came inside so I figured I should make myself a cup. Unsweetened, it’s light, a little bit floral and citrusy, though I’m not detecting anything buttery about it; its mild. I tend to like my earl grey with a bit of vanilla. Ok, a lot of vanilla, like I added cream but don’t want to clog my arteries. I’m sure my palette isn’t refined enough to appreciate the finer nuances of tea, but creamsicle tea is pretty awesome. I added sweetener, which made it a sweet citrus tea. Tasty, certainly not horrible, but I’d reach for my Argo Earl Grey Cream over this, even if this is easier and bagged and white.
1 sachet in 12 oz of water.
I love having this tea in my cupboard. It’s so good. There are layers and layers of flavor from stone fruit to malt to tobacco to berries to molasses to floral to salted caramel. It’s a tea I enjoy being able to sip and savor because there’s so much to enjoy inside one little cup. Thankfully it resteeps well because I’ll always want another cup of this.
This is tasty – it really does taste like dessert-y raspberries. The smell of the dry leaves is heavenly – makes me want to just start eating it. I LOVE raspberry – it is tart and juicy and probably the perfect fruit for me next to peaches. The chocolate was a mild and minor note, but I preferred it that way. I find chocolate teas to be a bit too oily and just make me want the real thing. Overall, this was a win.
I’ve had this kettle for over three years now, and it’s still working perfectly. My favorite feature here is that the kettle can boil water then cool it down to a specific temperature – which can be important for getting the best flavor in some teas.
Though I’ve been happy with this kettle, I’m hoping to upgrade to the Breville One Touch soon!
Time to tear open a sample packet. Passion fruit is a favourite fruit of mine. So tart and bursting with flavour. For me, the more sour the fruit, the better. This is my first passion fruit tea, and by the looks of it, I’m definitely going to have to continue my search for a good one.
The scent of the dry leaf is very subtle, and the very little fruity flavour that I do get does not resemble passion fruit at all. It’s more like peaches, with maybe a tiny hint of dates. Actually, it’s my mom who first picked up on the date-like smell, and once she mentioned it, I started to see where she was coming from. But that said, no passion fruit.
You know how I’m certain? Because I’m sitting next to a freaking sliced-open passion fruit right now. Not that I need to refresh my memory or anything but since I happened to find them on sale, I figured this would be the perfect time to compare the nuances of the tea with the actual fruit.
Sipping on the tea first, the base is quite robust. For the first five minutes or so, without any additives, it basically just tastes like a plain black tea, as the strong base overrides the delicate fruity notes. I went ahead and added some light cream to mine wondering if it would tone down the base and bring out the fruity notes. Nope, big mistake. Now it basically tastes like Tim Hortons. Hmm. But just now, I had a sip of my mom’s, who left hers as is, and sure enough, as the additive-free tea cooled down, the fruity flavours come out more. Again, I detect mostly peach more than passion fruit.
I’ll drink the rest of the sample black, and let it cool down slightly. I’m sure it wouldn’t be bad iced, but regardless, I’m definitely going to have to continue my hunt to find that perfect passion fruit tea. A teaspoon of pure passion fruit goodness reassures me that this needs to be done.