2613 Tasting Notes
My cupboard number jumped up a bit today thanks to a surprise tea package from the best tea twin in the world, VariaTEA! I’ve already had fun trying out a few of the samples she sent and I’ve picked out a couple more to hopefully get to tomorrow on my day off.
This tea, however, comes from the also awesome MissB!
I don’t know how I felt about this one – I had only really casually read the package when I steeped it up and was also really only giving like a third of my full attention to it when I drank it so my observations for it probably aren’t super on point. For one thing, I definitely thought it was a green base when I drank it. It was just so light without any real notes characteristic of black tea that that’s the last place my mind went to. And, it’s not like Jasmine Greens are uncommon; I figured the ‘fancy’ aspect was the EG added – not the jasmine being adding to an EG.
Also, the jasmine was pretty light! Even without paying super close attention I know that it wasn’t a strong flavour. I think I smelled it more than anything else – but the flavour was very much citrusy (almost too citrusy; like orange peel or lemon peel) bergamot.
I don’t know – I guess I’d try it again while paying more attention, but as is I find it good but kind of lacking, especially now that I know it’s a black base and not a green base. Where’s the base support!?
I stumbled upon this fun list thing earlier tonight:
I only got 18/100 though to be fair easily half if not more of the dishes are meat dishes and I haven’t had meat since I was nine – and I certainly wasn’t having snake as a nine year old. It’d be cool to find a vegetarian alternative checklist. How’d everyone else do? Some of the things on there certainly surprised me: Pistachio Ice Cream!? Yeah – it’s damn good (I have a tub in my fridge right now) but is it that unusual it needs to be included? The durian made me think of Fjellrev and Sil – that’s something you can both check off!
Not a big fan of this one; but I got some for Easter and I had the idea of trying it paired with the Cinnabon creamer I currently have. It occurred to me, however, that even though I’ve had this before I haven’t written a tasting note for it – so before I try it with additions I thought I’d write a note up for the straight version of this one…
I’m having it in a timolino; and it’s not awful but there’s a lot that isn’t meshing with me either. It drives me crazy how much rock sugar is in this blend; I don’t like when my tea is pre-sweetened for me but I especially don’t like when it’s with sugar! Stevia I can handle because I can’t actually taste it that much (I know; lucky me) but this makes such a big difference!
So basically; this is just a super sugary cup of coconut and weak chocolate flavour. I can kind of taste almond, but it’s quite light. The lack of strong pecan notes, since that’s the nut actually used in this blend, makes me sad. I’ve yet to find a DT blend that uses chocolate that I actually really like – if we’re not counting the white chocolate blends, since developing my palate. But at least this one uses cocoa nibs and not just chips. It reminds me of haystacks, which I used to make with my mom. They’re drop cookies (for people who aren’t familiar with them) which was awesome because it meant no eggs – I could eat as much batter as I want. I feel like, were it not for the rock sugar and the chocolate flavour I might enjoy this one a lot more.
Side Note; I was skimming Rikyu tonight to see what new chawans they’ve got in and I stumbled upon this one…
Yeah, I’m sorry but speaking as a Canadian the first thing I saw when I looked at that was not green ‘maple leaves’. I even did a brief Google image search for ‘cartoon’ maple leaves and pot leaves and this totally looks spot on for one of them. I’ll give you a hint guys; it wasn’t for the former…
I’ve never heard of any of my more, uhh, ‘liberal’ friends craving tea when they’ve got the munchies – the ‘demographic’ of people who have an interest in this ‘maple leaf’ chawan might be pretty slim.
So, when I left off writing notes last night I was on my way out for a date. And what a peculiar date it was…
It was a first date; and the guy seemed pretty nice beforehand. We’d had a couple really good conversations, and he was kind interesting with some of my nerdier interests – and pretty adorkable, so I was pretty excited. The date was a simple one; tea date! I swear; I’m not the one that suggested it! I feel like I must have a reputation of sorts at my local DT because I’ve been on something like eight tea dates (with different guys) at that DT store in the last year.
He picked me up, and was pretty visually nervous (plus he kept tripping over his words which was kinda cute); and off we went. At the store; he picked up a carry mug, 50g of Chocolate Chili Chai and a To Go of Jungle Ju Ju. To kind of switch things up, I let him pick out my drink – and he decided on (with no input from me) this one, iced. Oh boy…
Yeah; it’s no secret that I kind of hate this blend – but I told him he could pick, so I shut up and drank the damn thing. It actually wasn’t too bad; when he was busy looking at different cups and mugs and stuff I approached the associate and asked her to cut the steep time a few minutes short which I think definitely helped. It was certainly more peach than jasmine, and not nearly as chemical as I know it would’ve been if she’d steeped it as long as originally intended.
Added bonus from the trip; I was wearing short sleeves (so as to not irritate the new tattoo I got) so the associate was able to see my Camellia Sinensis tattoo! It’s the first time I’ve been to my local DT with short sleeves since getting it. And her reaction was great; she instantly cut out all the usual sales pitches/bullshit they have to say and had some pretty good tea convo with me! It was fun – though the date may have been a little lost/left out.
But that’s sorta when things got weirder? I know we didn’t really have anything planned in particular after grabbing tea – but I expected to like sit down and drink it or walk around the mall or something. Instead, he just kinda headed right for his car and then drove me home. So, all in all, it was like a half hour date? Which seemed very rushed/short – especially since I was having a good time! His car is a write off and it was making some questionable noises when we were driving to the mall, which is why he said he wanted to end the date (in case the car broke down) but I don’t know…
And then, when we got to my house he just kinda said he’d had a great time and hopefully we can do it again sometime. But that’s it; didn’t move in for a kiss/make a move or anything. It felt kind of weird/mixed signal-ish to me. I texted him today on break; just a casual ‘hey’ but no reply back. I guess I’ll try again in a few more days if I don’t hear from him by then. I thought he was having a fun time too but maybe I was reading the situation poorly? If that was a ‘blow off’, it was a very weird/indirect one. And not gonna lie, I’ll be a little disappointed because he seemed pretty great; but it wont be the end of the world either…
PS. I really hope you guys can see the link, but the tattoo in the top left corner (bird cage/umbrella hybrid) is the one I got! It hurt like a mother fucker today at work, but I’m also very happy with it!
The lines at the top near the point/tip look a little wonky there, but they look fine in person. It looks weirder there because of the position my arm was in when they took the picture.
Holy mother this is a fucking spicy tea!
I mean, I shouldn’t have really expected otherwise because of the three ingredients in this is chili rings, and the last time I had a tea with those was that chocolate chili herbal one from RiverTea and it was almost too much for me. Visually, this has a hell of a lot more chili in it than that blend too. But I bought it anyway yesterday ’cause it seemed so unique and fun.
Unique, yes. Fun? Uhh…
I went with a cold brew to first try this one. Basically, the front of the sip is your regular roasted mate flavour; nothing out of the ordinary there. You kind of taste a bit of extra sweetness from the candied pineapple but it’s not adding a whole lot. But then. Man, then, BAM! Without the formality of a nice transition you’re just hit with the fires of hell all over your mouth.
It. Is. So. Damn. Hot.
But you know what? It’s bearable because it doesn’t linger much longer past when you finish your sip – and it’s certainly accurate to the name. So major points for that; I don’t know if they could get any more accurate in that department. I wont make the mistake of prepping it for something casual to sip on again; but I do think this will absolutely do the trick when it comes to being something loud, in your face, and highly caffeinated to drink for those early, early morning file maintenance shifts.
And spice lovers, you have to try this one! It’s exactly what it claims to be, and how often can you say that about a tea?
Gotta make my tasting note quick; I’m waiting for a date to get here any minute now…
I’ve been hoarding the last little bit of this sample, but I finished this one off last night; despite the caffeine I thought that the floral aspect of the tea might help me fall asleep. As I’ve well documented today, I’ve been having bad insomnia all week. It did the trick though! Not half an hour after finishing the mug I was out like a rock.
The magnolia was spot on; and the base was amazing as always. So soft, creamy and buttery! If a group order ever takes place for Tea Ave please let me know guys; I really want to pick up more Ginger Lily but since that’s the only one I really want putting in my own order doesn’t seem all that realistic right now.
Unrelated; I ended up getting a spontaneous tattoo done yesterday! One of the shops in town was doing a flash sale on Umbrella themed tattoos so I got a really cool one added to my inner elbow. It’s an umbrella where the top portion is a birdcage with a canary in it. It certainly hurt more than the two on my forearms; but it wasn’t unbearable. I think the position my arm was in while it was being done ended up being a lot more uncomfortable.
Hurts like a bitch this morning though…
Thanks MissB for the sample!
This is a goji and green tea blend; that’s it. Do you know how excited that made me!? REALLY EXCITED is the answer. I’ve had this ‘theory’, if you will, that I somehow have an inability to taste goji berries ‘cause every time I’ve had a tea in them I haven’t noticed anything remotely like what they’re supposed to taste like. But the goji in this doesn’t have any other flavours to compete with aside for the base so I am stoked to put this theory to the test and maybe learn some things.
And guess what guys… I TASTED THE GOJI!
It was mind blowing; the base was there and pretty nice with some grassy notes but right over top of it, all sparkly and juicy was this pretty incredible fruit flavour! It reminded me of over ripe strawberries and the sweeter side of cranberries. WOW IT WAS GOOD. I don’t know how I’ve been missing out on this flavour for so long either!? Taste buds what’re up with you guys!? You let me down for so long with such an interesting flavour.
In other news; while my Dad was visiting we went out for lunch at the restaurant Tre works at…
I don’t get what he complains about all the time; it’s pretty small, and certainly wasn’t busy at all. There were two other people dining aside from my Dad and I. The service was really good though (maybe ‘cause we walked in and immediately saw Tre though – so he knew we were there). It was a touch freaky having the wait staff know stuff about me ahead of time though; like the fact I’m vegetarian and allergic to mushrooms.
The food was really good; I got a poached pear salad with Saskatoon berry dressing and blue cheese and it was heavenly. Of course, it’s a combination I’m familiar with – Prairie Ink (my favourite restaurant) serves a very similar salad but this one was certainly able to compete with it. When he got home later that night, Tre said he gave me the ‘big pear’. Thanks? It was good, though…
We left a 40% tip – I always tip well (if you can’t afford to tip you can’t afford to eat out), but my Dad doesn’t really believe in tipping. I made sure that it was a good one though; partly because my roommate works there, but also party ’cause it really was a good experience.
Now Tre can’t complain I haven’t been, though!
Gotta remember not to eat matcha cupcakes at night. While I’m sure they’re not entirely responsible for all the insomnia I’ve been having as of late, they certainly can’t be helping.
…I did use a lot of matcha in them. Like 3 tbsp!?
CAFFEINATED CUPCAKE POWERS ACTIVATE!
Also, I fed one of these two my Dad while he was visiting. He was hesitant to try it ‘cause he’s pretty much cut out all sugar from his diet, but I guilted him into trying one. There’s a lot of good stuff in ‘em too – like vegetables and all that jazz. He didn’t like it; but he’s old and crazy, so…
Well, I finished it off. Err, sort of. It wasn’t exactly me who finished it – though I did have a couple sips when I was preparing it.
I made this one for my Dad yesterday; he came up for a few hours in the morning to visit – and he brought some of my dental refund money with him! Hooray! I made this one specifically for him because I wanted him to get to see the chawan he bought me for my birthday in action! And why not take advantage of the easy sipdown!?
The whole process was captivating to him; from measuring to whisking to just drinking it. I went with a more traditional prep method; simple hot water instead of cold milk which is my preference. I personally, just based on the few sips I had, thought that apart from feeling thinner the flavour was a lot more cinnamon than berry.
Dad couldn’t pinpoint the flavour at all though; but to be fair “Rich Berry Pie” isn’t exactly the easiest thing to guess. He knew there was fruit – but that’s about all he was able to narrow down. He did enjoy it though!
I ended setting almost all of it aside for some more ink though; first thing I did in the morning was a tattoo consultation: I’ll be adding a Mrs. Marvel quote, my siblings names, one of the panels from Shel Silverstein’s poem “The Thinker of Tender Thoughts”, and a banner of binary code to my quickly building accumulation of tattoos. I have a three hour session to get everything done booked in for about a week from now…
Thanks to Sil (I’m pretty sure) for the tea! I remember asking for this one in a swap once, I’m pretty sure, though I don’t recall with who. They only had a cups worth though, so I was more than ok with not trying it. And turns out it worked out so I get to taste it anyway!
I cold brewed my sample; it’s been absolutely, breathtakingly gorgeous here lately so I’m not making hot tea for my commute to work anymore – which means I’ve had to be a little bit creative with what I’m picking out for cold brews. And since it’s a jumble of tea types, part of me was also relieved about not having to figure out what temperature to brew this one at hot.
This was a very weird tea; there’s certainly a lot going on with it. I tried it semi blindly; I hadn’t looked it up before hand but I had seen reviews on it so I knew to somewhat expect strawberry and caramel notes. Otherwise, I had no prior knowledge.
My experience was that the oolong stood out the most of all the teas mixed in here; and then the black tea – didn’t really pick up anything particularly like green tea. Perhaps the little bit of nuttyness at the front of the sip? But that note could be attributed to the other base teas as well. In addition to some nuttyness, I noticed a fair bit of toastier notes and mineral notes at the start of the sip; this is partially what made the oolong stick out a little more for me.
This transitioned into the body of the tea, which had a sort of ‘medium’ sweetness and richness to it; definitely the caramel. While this flavour was strongest in the middle of the sip, it was still present all throughout. The finish is where the strawberry kicked in for me; though I found it more of a soft, generic red berry sort of flavour and a lot less distinctly like strawberry.
Now that I’ve looked up the tea I know there are also some floral ingredients. I don’t recall pinpointing anything distinctly floral at all – but it is possible (though perhaps a bit of a stretch) that the presence of these flavours, if there at all, were just kind of smooshed in with the flavour of the oolong for me. With all that was going on with this tea I think it’d be perfectly reasonable for me to have missed them again.
I would totally drink this again; the impression I got is that this is definitely one of those teas that gets better the more you drink it. Thank you Sil!
So a couple nights ago I made a fun, experimental batch of cupcakes. Basically, I didn’t have super high expectations for them but I thought it’d be cool to mess around and use up some of the ingredients sitting in my kitchen just in case.
What I ended up with was Zucchini Vanilla Cherry cupcakes iced with a Strawberries and Cream Matcha frosting! I don’t know if that sounds good to anyone else – but it sounds mouthwatering to me!
Tre was my Guinea Pig; he got to eat a cupcake before icing and one afterwards. He definitely prefers the one without matcha icing – he says it’s moist with a rich cherry flavour. Somewhat surprisingly, the reason he doesn’t like the icing isn’t because of the vegetal matcha but because he thinks that the strawberry blends into the cherry too much, and it just because an overwhelming flavour. I can respect that, I guess.
Personally; I love the icing! I did use a lot of matcha, so the flavouring certainly isn’t subtle – but I find it distinctly separate from the cherry flavour in the cake itself. The matcha didn’t do anything weird to the consistency of the icing either; I’ve made a few kinds of icing with stuff “infused” into them and weird texture can definitely be a problem when doing that.
So; these cupcakes are a total win! And I’ve been munching on them pretty much non stop. Definitely wont be doing a tasting note for each one though – that’d be like 24 tasting notes for this tea alone, and definitely a pain to write out along with being a disproportionate number for my “most logged” teas. I may do one or two more tasting notes for them though, if anything interesting crops up.