3095 Tasting Notes
Tea 108 Week One Ramblings:
So, I was supposed to be taking Tea 107 as my next module; which is Cooking with Tea and Tea and Food Pairings but the class didn’t have enough people in it so they asked if I’d like to have my money refunded or transfer into a different class. I’ve gotta do them all eventually, so I just transferred into the one that was at the closest time: Tea 108. This module is all about the ‘Business of Tea’. Honestly, I think it’s one of the ones I was least looking forward to but it’s going alright…
Teas I had to cup for week one were the following:
- Pai Mu Tan
- Silver Needle
- Mao Jian
- Lightly oxidized oolong
- Kandy Ceylon
- Indian Orthodox (probably Assam going off the flavour profile)
- 2nd Flush Darjeeling
- Pu’erh (Not specified what kind)
That’s twelve whole freakin’ teas so I wont break them all down; I’ll just say my favourites were the Silver Needle, Gunpowder, Gyokuro, Oolong, India Orthodox, and the Pu’erh. There weren’t actually any in this round that I disliked though.
One cool thing about this course is that the testing at the end is different: I don’t have to do a blind tasting and instead of a Skype presentation privately with my instructor I have to come up with a tea ‘product’ and market it in front of the whole class which is unique. I don’t have any really thought out ideas thus far, but I think it’ll be fun regardless.
This is the cold brew I made for the ride home from Saskatoon post apartment clean up.
It wasn’t bad; I felt like drinking it from a timolino kind of dulled some of the subtleties like the distinct lily notes or the very light ‘tickle’ from the ginger – instead this tasted like a more generic, lightly floral oolong with milk oolong-like notes, and almost like a soggy gingerbread cookie taste? But soggy gingerbread cookies in the best way, if that’s even a thing with soggy cookies…
One more cup and this’ll be done! I feel like I’ve been quite efficient with drinking this tea, which is great – I’ve also enjoyed every mug I’ve made since reordering it which is also great!
This weekend my Mom and I had to drive into Saskatoon to finish packing up my stuff there and clean the suite – after that was done but before we drove back to Regina we stopped at Prairie Ink for supper.
Even though I was tired and would have preferred going through a drive through on the way home I was happy we wound up there. Prairie Ink is my favourite restaurant and I’ll miss being able to easily walk over and get a bite to eat. Their Pear & Blue Cheese salad is simply the best salad I’ve ever had and they offer so many other great healthy, vegetarian friendly dishes. Since this is my last time eating there for, most likely, a long time I got the Pear & Blue Cheese salad and ‘Grown Up Grilled Cheese’ (Brie cheese, arugula, tomato, caramelized onion) since those are my favourite dishes and a fresh pressed “Zest of Life” juice which I hadn’t tried before (Grapefruit, Orange, and Lemon juices). My mom ordered the same food but the house iced tea they serve. Shame on me, I’d never tried it! I actually ended up trading drinks with her – we liked each other’s drinks better.
The iced tea was really tasty; both lemon and orange notes were quite prominent and refreshing. It was actually a little like a mellow, less over the top sugary creamsicle, but with a mild black tea finish. Honestly, the tea component was a bit of a stretch – but the drink was nice overall. I can’t believe I hadn’t tried it.
After supper we browsed the book store, since the restaurant is attached to a McNally Robinson. There weren’t any new tea related books of interest, but I did buy a jar of cranberry infused Manitoba honey which turned out to be delicious and I got myself a “Little Miss” mug that I’d been eyeing for a while. This one, actually:
Isn’t it cute?
Well, yesterday my mom and I drove down to Saskatoon to finish clearing out the old apartment and clean the place up. This was the tea I cold brewed for the ride down there; in hindsight I should have chosen something caffeinated because it was a long day and the extra boost of energy would have gone a long way.
The tea was nice though; very, very strong apple notes were brought out with this cold brew as well a buttery notes that brought a thickness to the mouthfeel of the liquor. The pistachio notes disappointed, but I did enjoy the sweetness of the almond notes which were present. It was better at the top of the morning when we were first driving down, as opposed to right before we’d arrived and the liquor was room temperature.
We basically broke the day into three ‘stages’ though: the first was gathering up everything still in the house that I didn’t want but that could be donated – that stuff was driven down to the Value Village in Saskatoon and donated there. Loading the giant dresser into the car was a bitch between the two of us – but we made it work, and thankfully the donation crew at VV unloaded it for us (like I knew they would). Then we gathered up anything that I DID want to take back; a bookcase, some end tables, dishes, pots/pans, cutlery, and a few books I’d missed in the rush to pack everything the first time. Finally, we cleaned the place so I could get my damage deposit back.
The whole process was very cathartic, and at the end of the afternoon it felt kind of nice to be closing that chapter of my life even if I’m not 100% happy with living in Regina again, and losing the independence I had living on my own. I’ve just got to work hard so I can reach a place where I can afford to branch out again, because that’s what I want the next chapter of my life to be.
Brought the last of this with me to work late last week; I finished up at lunch. It was so good. I’ve been kind of flipping back and forth between liking this and finding it unsatisfactory to be perfectly honest. I probably wont buy it again, because my experience has been that it doesn’t brew up all that consistently. However, that said, this final cup was a delight!
Notes of Cherry, Eucalyptus, Sweet Potato, Flowers, Molasses, and a whole bunch of other interesting things! Drinking this tea has certainly been an interesting experience; each mug was a grab bag of flavour notes.
Never a dull cup.
Earlier in the week I got a chance to go to The Vintage Tea Room with my Dad; I was there at the start of the month to apply for a job but I didn’t have time to stay and actually have any tea, which is a shame ‘cause it’d been probably close to a year?
I got a cucumber cranberry cream cheese sandwich, and we split a pot of tea!
This was my pick; I remember last time I was in town and had a chance to spot in here I bought 50g of this and it was the best Monk’s blend I’ve ever tried. However, my tastes have changed a lot over the last year and I needed to know whether I’d still like this. Dad was skeptical about this tea – pomegranate and vanilla? He seemed unimpressed. However, he was won over! And you know what, I fell in love all over again. The flavour profile is so lovely; bright notes of grenadine, silky vanilla, a full bodied, malty black base…
I swear, we were passive aggressively fighting for the last cup. I don’t have tin space for any of this at home, but should I clear out a tin I’d certainly pick up another 50g of this for at home. Even though the tea room is less than a five minute walk away, it’s a lot more cost effective to be brewing in my own time.
Unsweetened tea soda made with the soda stream we’ve got in the house; I’m really loving having that around – it honestly makes tea soda such a more easy thing to make. The downside, of course, being that everyone keeps asking me to make soda for them…
This was my mom’s pick, and because it’s so strongly flavoured we did it unsweetened too. It had an interesting, ‘drying’ mouthfeel. Not necessarily ‘astringent’ because it wasn’t puckeringly dry or an ‘all over’ sensation – it just made your tongue feel dry. However, the taste was really lovely. More “Pina Colada” than “Strawberry Colada” though you wouldn’t have expected the strawberry to taste so light just going on the pop’s colour. I adore pina colada anything so I was sold instantly when I realized how much the pineapple notes were popping.
Made with a splash a milk, this tasted very delicious!
The mouthfeel was creamy and incredibly thick; I almost felt like it could have been whipped up into cream for early Sunday morning pancake toppings. It tasted really indulgent with confectionery type notes such as chocolate, caramel, and mocha. It was also, obviously, very roasty which only complimented the pacifying feeling of drinking a cup of hot milky tea.
Perfect before bed or to ease into your day with.
Finally cold brewed this blend instead of accidentally brewing up Jabberywocky by mistake. The tins looks so damn similar! However, the frustration of brewing up the wrong thing was well worth it because in the end this was a super rewarding cold brew. Interestingly, it was incredibly chocolate flavoured as anticipated, but there were also flavours that reminded me strikingly of carrot cake (minus cream cheese icing). Chocolate carrot cake? HELL YEAH!
Actually, carrot cake in general is pretty exciting. But I’m not talking any carrot cake flavour with this cold brew. I mean gourmet carrot cake; the stuff that’s giant and fluffy where you can see all the big carrot shreds and not just fine orange bits, with visible chunks of walnut and maybe raisins, and a mellow spice taste, and almost a ‘molasses-y’ brown sugar sweetness too. Damn good carrot cake…
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cake, Carrot, Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Molasses, Nutty, Raisins, Walnut