3228 Tasting Notes
Cold Infused Juice Take #2!
So, as an optional recipe from my Tea Sommelier course I first tried cold brewing a Huiming Hong Cha from Camellia Sinensis in Orange Juice. While it was good the orange juice was a really dominating flavour so I’m experimenting a little to see if I can improve the way I’m cold brewing so the flavour is better. This time I cut the orange juice with water so the flavour wasn’t so intense and the tea had a better chance at not being drowned out.
My thought process for picking this particular tea is that it’s also floral like the Hong Cha and has a lovely plum taste so I was hoping the combination of those two flavours would come through and compliment the sweet, tangy OJ. I have to say, watering down the juice did the trick and the flavour of tea was really obvious. Unfortunately, the flavour profile didn’t work out the way I was hoping for. Instead of the floral and fruity components coming through in the taste, the really nutty/woody and mineral tasting notes of the oolong were the prominent ones. I adore these qualities when I’m brewing this tea normally, but as a “tea juice” they did not compliment the OJ.
I’m still calling this a success even though it didn’t taste wonderful, though. The reason for that, is that I learned that watering my orange juice to get more tea flavour definitely works! Next up, is to try pairings with different kinds of juice!
It’s been a busy, and tiring week at work! I’ve built up a whole week’s worth of missed reviews, so time to crack into those before I have class in a few hours…
And speaking of class, I finished this tea off as a “cold infused juice” which was an optional recipe for the class I’m currently taking, which is tea and food pairings/cooking with tea. Basically, I just cold brewed a larger than normal amount of tea straight into some orange juice. As someone who’s already very comfortable with cold brewing it was impossible to resist trying this out. It’s something I’ve actually been curious about even before this class.
I picked out this tea because I thought the strong floral/rose notes of the tea would really compliment the orange. And it totally did! The flavour pairing was a really solid choice, and I’m happy with coming up with it all on my own instead of following the ‘guide’ of tea/food pairings we received in class. While it IS nice to have that as a reference, I think coming up with good pairings is definitely a skill and one I want to master without a major crutch.
The only issue, I’d say, was that the orange juice was still very strong and while I definitely did taste the tea there was still a lot of competitive flavour from the juice itself. That’s an issue because cold brewing this way already takes a lot more leaf than a normal cold brew would and cold brews ‘eat’ leaf really quickly already. I’m going to try this again, for sure, but I need to play around with how I’m using my “juice” base. I don’t know if that means I’ll use a different kind of juice or if I’ll cut it first with water but some more experimentation is definitely coming.
As for the tea itself; for one I didn’t actually pick out myself to order (it was a free sample) I was really quite happy with it and I’d be tempted to get more with my next absolutely inevitable Camellia Sinensis order. It’ll depend on whether it’s available in sizes smaller than 50g because I wouldn’t want that much. If I can scoop up 25g I’ll be getting more.
Flavors: Floral, Rose
Went Christmas Shopping with my Mom a few nights ago, and since we were at the mall we stopped at DAVIDsTEA. I was really craving lemons so I grabbed an iced To Go of this tea. It’s been a long time since I last had it, and revisiting a tea is always nice as well.
This certainly satisfied my lemon craving; but sadly it also reminded me of why it’s been so long since I had this one. It tastes like lemon peel and has that sort of pithy, bitter taste to it. I remembered, instantly, after taking a sip trying to make this taste like creamy lemon by making it with milk or adding sweetener and it just never not tasting like lemon peel.
In addition to my Christmas shopping, I also bought myself a few new tabletop games!
I got three that I’ve played before…
- Tipsy Tower (A Jenga drinking game)
- Once Upon a Time & Seafaring expansion
And a couple new Micro games I’ve not played before…
- Kittens in a Blender
Elevenses is the one I’m most dying to play though: it’s a game centered around tea! After I got home I looked it up, and turns out it started off as a kickstarter! It looks so good and I’m so psyched for it! Obviously it was successfully funded awhile ago, but you can check out the kickstarter still. Doesn’t it look so cool!?
Stole a sample of this from my mom’s stash and just as quickly as it was stolen it was finished off as a cold brew. To be blunt, I’ve had both better and worse mint chocolate cold brews (and teas just in general). There’s nothing specifically bad about this blend, other than perhaps a very slight metallic kind of taste but none of the flavours pop because none of them are really rich. They’re just… there.
I don’t care which flavour, but something in this blend has to be kicked up a notch for it to really do its job and appeal to me. It could be the mint, chocolate or maybe even a third flavour like vanilla but if none of the flavors step up this tea just taste flat.
Lauren thoughtfully included this as an extra sample in my Quarter to Tea sample order!
We’re a long way from summer now, so a tropical themed tea feels a little out of place but just because this might not be the ideal season to drink it doesn’t mean it’s not going to be super tasty! So, when I cold brewed this tea I did my absolute best to be open minded about it. And honestly, it wasn’t hard: the coconut in the blend smells super fresh and yummy and I could see lots of goji berries which are a fruit I’ve really tried to learn more about this year. Both are things for me to get excited about.
Like I said, this was cold brewed because Lauren from A Quarter to Tea specifically said on the tea’s page that it’s great iced. I don’t normally ice teas, but I do cold brew them! I find, if a company is going to specifically point out a way to try their tea I want to take that into consideration.
Mostly; I thought this was just a really nice smooth, vegetal and grassy cold brewed green tea that demonstrated characteristics of both the Chinese and Japanese style greens in the blend. On top of the really enjoyable base, the coconut was quite a dominant flavour. It tastes insanely fresh! It’s a nice balance between tropical “Pina Colada” type coconut and a more confectionery type coconut. It reminds me of DT’s Coconut Grove which is something I haven’t gotten to say in a LONG time since that delightful blend has been discontinued for a while now.
Sadly, none of the fruit really seems to contribute much flavour. I certainly don’t taste the goji and I just barely taste the faintest citrus flavour on the finish of the cup. I’d never be able to identify it as tangerine is I wasn’t reading an ingredients list. I don’t mind the absence of fruit because I get to enjoy the coconut, but I doubt that’s entirely what was intended and if you’re looking for fruit flavour you may be disappointed with this blend.
Regardless, it was a good experience for me.
Freebie sample from my last Camellia Sinensis order!
Today in tea chat I had Oolong Owl pick something for me to brew up that I hadn’t tried before ’cause I was feeling indecisive and this is what she chose. So, prior to and during class today I brewed this tea Gong Fu in one of my gaiwans.
It’s a really interesting tea: I don’t have a ton of experience with Chinese blacks. Admittedly, I think I lean a little more towards Indian blacks but I’m open to learning and exploring and trying new things. I wasn’t the most technical about this session; but really when am I ever when it comes to brewing Gong Fu? I much prefer to just drink in the moment and go with what feels right rather than take a more technical/precise approach. There’s a time and place for that, but sometimes tea is best as an experience.
Seven infusions in total:
Infusions one to three had a very dry, astringent initial mouthfeel but none of the infusions were actually bitter. All infusions except for maybe the last one were quite rose flavoured which was a different experience. I’ve definitely drank my fair share of floral blacks but don’t think I’ve had much experience with ones that taste distinctly rosey and certainly not to this level/degree. I quite liked the flavour, though! Then, the first few infusions were more nutty with a woody undertone; a mix of sort of peanut nuttyness as well as a sweeter almond-like flavour. Both almond skin which has a drier nutty taste and then as infusions progressed a more sweet, marzipan-like nutty flavour. There were honey notes too which seemed stronger as the infusions progressed. The middle infusions had a nice fruity quality to them; kind of like red currants? But the first few and last few infusions lacked this flavour. Faint notes of cinnamon, as well but not consistently throughout steeps.
This was a really interesting, enjoyable tea! I’d have never picked it out for myself either, so I’m definitely thankful that Camellia Sinensis added it to my order. They’re probably just adding random teas as free samples, but occasionally it feels like the samples they toss in are more thoughtfully picked out. Not sure, honestly. I’d definitely brew this again Gong Fu except I’ve already got the remainder of the leaf cold brewing right now in some orange juice as it’s the tea I thought would best work for the optional juice infusion from class this week.
Tea 107: Week Two Recipe(s)!
So, this week we had two mandatory recipes to complete, and then several optional ones. The optional ones included Laphet (pickled tea salad), a cold infused tea juice, and marbled tea eggs. I didn’t make the marbled eggs
though I may in the future though I did make the Laphet and tea juice. However, I’m going to post those tasting notes separately because they used tea from my own personal stash instead of the tea we’re set for class so I know exactly which teas were used.
Here’s my break down of the mandatory ones, though…
Earl Grey Creme Caramel Custards
This is definitely the tastiest thing I’ve made these last two weeks, and I’m not ashamed to say that I ate three out of four of the custards from this recipe in the span of like four hours. The fourth, my mom ate but had she not I’m sure I would’ve finished it too.
I know you can make Creme Caramel Custards from scratch but because I don’t have super wonderful cooking/baking skills I just picked up an instant mix from the dollar store and used that. In the future, I would like to try doing it by hand though ‘cause I’m sure these would taste better from scratch. To infuse the EG into the custard I just stuffed a tea filter with loose EG and added it to the sauce pan while I was boiling the milk. The tea just did its thing and steeped into the milk, naturally giving the custard a smooth Earl Grey flavour.
I will absolutely be making this again because it was just so easy to do and the flavour was so satisfying. I’d love to test out how other teas would pair with this as well: a malty and sweet assam or good Chai could probably be equally satisfying.
Matcha is so easy to cook/bake with, and anyone who’s been following me on Steepster for a while now knows that this is definitely something I’ve done in the past, but with RLT’s flavored matcha. I wont get into great detail about this one for that reason alone; it’s not something new to me. Suffice to say, I made a straight up matcha icing (no flavouring other than the icing itself) for some sugar cookies. Tasty, yes, but not as much as a RLT matcha.
Finished off the Goat’s Milk Ice cream today using some of this matcha. I thought I’d grabbed a tsp. but actually grabbed the 1/2 tbsp. and didn’t notice until after the matcha was added so this was really, really strong. It was great though! Best Goat’s Milk/Matcha pairing thus far, actually. The cinnamon notes in particular were super strong but well balanced from the creamy vanilla and the berry notes blended into that sort of sourness/tang that’s present in goat milk products.
Finished off as a hot mug, which was sort of unpleasant until this reached around room temperature; and then it was surprisingly good? The floral notes which I find very poorly paired with the chocolate notes seemed to melt away and instead it was like drinking milk chocolate. I feel like that’s more what LP intended this to taste like. Not sure why I could only achieve that flavour so briefly, though.