New Tasting Notes
This is a pressed “pearl” tea that comes in balls a little less than an inch in diameter. You only need one even for an over-sized mug of tea, and they can be reused twice as long as you don’t let it sit too long.
This is a lovely black tea with lychee flavoring. (Lychee is a sweet Asian fruit, one of my favorites, which figures since I’m from Iowa.) Very nice hot or cold, and barely any sugar required due to the sweetness of the lychee.
Flavors: Floral, Lychee, Sweet, Tea
I regret being forced to rush through this one this morning in my frenzy to prepare to substitute teach today. It was my first day ever, and I know most subs suck, but I am really intent on making sure I break that mold.
This was perfect this morning. A bit sweet, not bitter at all, and very earthy and woody. There was a thick fruitiness, but I’d need to drink it again to be sure. But drink it again, I most certainly will!
I had an afternoon session with this tea. Work at home days are good for Sheng sessions! This tuocha is so darn compressed though! You really gotta be aggressive! ;) It has a nice orange liquor color, and tastes a bit of smoke and fruit. I quite like it. I got super energized by it and very productive, but then felt kinda sick. Oops! Maybe I need some Shou tonight.
After jump62359 mentioned an iced latte, I decided to look up how to make one. I got excited about the idea but I had no milk. Also, last night when I was drinking this tea, I decided it would be perfect for my first iced latte. So after grocery shopping today, I decided to make it. Unfortunately I was simultaneously making a few different things for my dinner so when I brewed it, I forgot to put in more leaf than a usual cup which meant this was seriously underleafed and yet it’s still good. It actually just tastes like marshmallows which is pretty great. Thank you OMGsrsly!!!
Drinking this one currently; though to be fair I’ve got two other mugs in front of me as well that I’m also drinking. I started the day with one, and gradually I’ve just been getting up to steep something new without actually finishing anything off. I’m hoping doing the tasting notes for each respective tea will be enough motivation to finish the mugs.
I wasn’t feeling this one at all as a cold brew but it’s a little better hot; the berry flavour is more distinctly blackberry and more powerful than the cream component which I wasn’t feeling at all the first time around. However, part of this new distribution of flavours is a sharpness coming from the tart hibiscus in the blend. It’s not the worst thing ever, but it doesn’t work with the cream. The cream somehow seems to be less artificial and chalky hot than cold brewed so I’m sorta seeing why other people have found this one to be really good; but that unappealing multi-vitamin sort of taste is brought out in the aftertaste in which the cream component lingers more than the berry. The rose doesn’t seem as noticeable to me hot, but it’s still here as well. More tied in with the berry, I’d say.
This is definitely a step up though, and maybe this one will end up growing on me. For now, probably just gonna finish it off hot and then after that I’ll be done with this one.
It’s been a super lazy day around the house so far; we washed a bunch of dirty dishes ’cause the ones in the dishwasher had been sitting around so long they were starting to grow mold, and I painted my nails a really pretty matte cherry red – but otherwise not much has been accomplished by me other than clearing my queue of posts.
Tre actually went grocery shopping; so for the first time since like August there’s food in the house that’s actually his instead of me sharing my food (usually in exchange for him cooking it) or him just ordering in like has happened the last half a year. I actually had to make fridge space; which was weird. Of course, 90% of what he bought was TV dinners, chips, ice cream and other junky type stuff…
This was brewed a little diluted. I brewed for longer to try and compensate a bit and it’s not awful. There’s a sweet bit in the middle that’s really very tasty.
I’m not in any mood to appreciate it though, since it’s looking like there is a very good chance that I will be putting my oldest cat, Sinatra, to sleep tomorrow morning. He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure on Saturday and since then has seemed to respond to the diuretics with tons of peeing, presumably shedding some of the liquid in and around his lungs. On the other hand, he does not want to cuddle or move around or do anything but move from his heated bed to the foam bed and eat junky cat food that I put on the bed with him. He is normally the cuddliest cat in the world so this is telling me that his quality of life is really not good right now so in terms of that, it might be time to end it. This is the worst part of pet ownership and I hate this decision so much.
This isn’t bad- I skipped it hot and made it iced and it works pretty well. I taste artificial honey, but it isn’t overpowering or overly gross, and there is a thick earthy fruity taste that I assume is supposed to be the fig. It’s weird but it has all those figgy elements without actually tasting like fig. That said, I punched it up with a tablespoon of agave in the pitcher and it served me well on my first day substitute teaching!
A few weeks back I mentioned buying a bottle of grenadine in an attempt to jump start yet another ‘project’ or ‘operation’, if you will. Instead of “Operation: Birthday Cake In Everything” I’m going to be moving forward with “Operation Make Your Own Monk’s Blend”! Traditionally, a Monk’s blend is black tea with grenadine and vanilla so I figured it’d be fun to try experimenting a little with the straight blacks I’ve got currently since neither grenadine or vanilla is particularly hard to get a hold of.
So, Trial #1:
I used about 1 1/2 tsp. of Grenadine in my timolino worth of this tea. My fear was actually that I may have been starting out with too much grenadine since it’s very syrupy, sweet stuff. I find the grenadine I’m using in particular (Rose’s Brand) doesn’t actually taste much like pomegranate (which is what grenadine is actually traditionally supposed to be) but has a more generic “red fruit” flavour, almost cherry or strawberry.
This came out… Interesting.
It’s kinda drying and astringent with some really smokey notes from the Keemun. The grenadine is present, but not at all as much as I thought it would be. What I’m taking away from this is that smoke and grenadine don’t mix together in a satisfying way and that I’m probably going to need to use at least 2 tsp. of grenadine next time, if not possibly a tablespoon (though that just seems like so much grenadine). It did “pop” a litter more as it cooled down, though. And it certainly was drinkable overall even if the flavours clashed a bit.
Thank you MissB for the sample!
Cold Brewed this one; I have a lot of experience with Gin (it’s my hard alcohol of choice), as well as some experiences with Gin Fizzes, and my opinion is that Gin should be consumed cold and only cold. So that’s what I did with this one!
Overall, it was a pretty big flop. Not that it tasted bad; it was just really subpar with bland, predictable sort of flavour notes: Ginger, lemongrass and lemon/less distinct citrus in particular. It had that super distinct licorice root sweet finish; but I don’t see any mention of there being licorice root in it though. I find that hard to believe.
Yeah; didn’t remind me of a Gin Fizz and had just an average at best flavour; this one wasn’t a winner for me. It’d have been one thing if it didn’t taste like Gin Fizz, but was really unique or tasty. Such was not the case though. You can’t love ‘em all though; thankfully I don’t seem to be in the minority here…
Today’s word of the day is: exorbitant! Exorbitant means ‘going beyond the limits of what is fair, reasonable, or expected’.
Flavors: Ginger, Lemon, Lemongrass, Licorice
Casually drinking though this not my favorite tea but the jasmine is way more pleasant relative to other scented teas I’ve had in the past. I can taste the bai hao yin zhen through the scent which is nice as lower quality teas in the past made my head hurt and stomach churn from the intense jasmine. I would recommend gong fu this guy unless you really enjoy jasmine then try your luck with longer steeps.
I think the theanine in this guy is pretty high and I felt dopey and numb after a session of this and a lao cha tou this morning.
Didn’t pay enough mind to really rate of give any notes I enjoy verdant’s hong and bai cha though and will probably only order those types of teas exclusively from now on.
ZSXZ is one of my favorite styles of black teas, and this is a really nice version of it. I drank the last of what I have at work today. It is just so good, so chocolaty, no rich, everything I like in a Fujian black tea.
Am I a little sad to see this one go – not really – I’m hoarding quite a bit of 2013 which, IMHO, was even better than 2014. I’m quite sure there will always be a version of this in my cupboard – here’s hoping for 2015.
My tattoos are so damn itchy; and I know that’s an entirely healthy part of the healing process and I haven’t caved at scratched/picked at them because I’m determined to make sure they heal well; but man my will power is being tested!
This was the tea I made for the way to work though; I had it in a new ceramic double-walled travel mug I bought for myself (it’s got lots of vibrant spring coloured flowers on it and it’s really pretty) because I thought I’d lost the leaky glass double walled thermos I normally use; I had forgotten it at work, and when I couldn’t find it anywhere in the staffroom I just assumed some asshole had stolen it. Funnily enough, when I got to work I saw it sitting on the counter so I snatched it back up and now I’m back to two travel mugs (other than my timolinos; I still use those, but these guys let me drink my tea immediately). I guess whoever took it saw me looking for it and brought it back?
Anyway, this sample comes from – of course, MissB! It’s one of what seems like few black teas from her – not that I don’t appreciate the greens. Black tea is sorta my jam though; and this one certainly sounds interesting if nothing else!
The smell of the dry leaf and as it steeps is more floral than anything else; definitely kind of rosey but I was totally getting more of a softer lavender vibe than violet. Somehow, the sort of dry bitterness of grapefruit translated into the smell? I don’t know how it did that – but it’s absolutely what I was thinking of.
The taste is on point for me though; it’s quite soothing and pacifying with a sort of daintiness about it, and the floral notes match the tea related cravings I’ve been having the last few weeks as we really transition from Winter to Spring. I would call it a good “bad day” tea.
While I still picked up on some lavendar like notes as well as the obvious rosey ones, I did start to see the violet as well. And, the fact that this doesn’t taste like drinking perfume despite all of those floral notes impressed me.
The real star is the grapefruit though; I’ve actually not had many grapefruit teas to my recollection and I don’t really eat a whole lot of the actual fruit, in fact I can’t even remember the last time I had a grapefruit – because I typically find it much too bitter, but this somehow managed to very authentically capture the sweetness of the fruit while keeping the bitterness at bay. It was present just enough to kind of affect the mouthfeel and add more dimension and layers to the tea but without detracting from the experience of drinking this one. However, I know I was also very reserved with how long I let this one steep, and I can see a longer infusion bringing out some very negative traits; too much floral and too much bitterness being the worst offenders.
But overall this was, not so surprisingly, very good – I was impressed how well the floral notes and citrus cooperated while still maintaining some juxtaposition and the black base was smooth. If I have any criticism it’s probably that I would have wanted a smidgen more grapefruit flavour.
Holy Tea Drunk
These freshly fermented nuggets have some duiwei which is too be expected being so new but that does not take away from the experience at all. Just be sure to do two LONG rinses (30 seconds or so) and/or break up the nuggets. I actually tried the suggestion of break up the nuggets which did produce a more consistent session that peak much earlier ( I believe my original session went for 10-14 steeps). Can’t say it was to my liking due to every pour having my filter clog up and over flow due to its slow moving thick viscosity and resulting fanning of breaking up the nugs.
Flavor wise it was the same as last time being super rich thick and sweet. Early steeps reveal warmed milk sweetness and consistency which build until you get hit with a cocoa flavor profile that sweetness peaks at a caramel almost toffee like after taste.
I sessioned a bai hao yin zhen directly after so I can’t say this tea my resulting feelings were in isolation from this tea but on the train this morning I was literally the most tea drunk I have ever been and not the hopped up laughing giggly, I was straight up numb and nodding out trying to snap myself out of it. My vision was blurred and delayed as if I drank a few shots. Really not the best idea prior to lifting heavy for 2+ hrs as I literally felt disassociated from my body and couldn’t get a grip.
Such a great tea I will throw some in my cart every order I make It’s my guilty pleasure and a counter balance to harsh sheng. Just note to self NO PUER OR OOLONG on lifting days!
Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Molasses, Toffee
I drink this one a lot, so there’s not much more I can say about it. That being said, I brewed it up using a teabag today instead of my Breville tea maker (as I only wanted one cup) and I feel it’s slightly under-steeped despite having steeped it for the same amount of time. Additionally, due to my apparently lack of cleaning skills, the water seemed to still have a slight spicy kick to it from my Mango Diablo from this morning; this actually adds to the tea really nicely and would potentially make for a good mix.