3234 Tasting Notes
Yesterday’s Cold Brew!
I’m really happy I got in on Tea Ave’s free shipping sale; this was essentially the only tea for the sampling I did that I just needed to buy more of and I always find it super hard to justify an order for a single tea. I believe apart from this time I’ve only done it… Once?
Part of me was secretly worried I wouldn’t like this as much as I did when I first tried it, but it was wonderful. The ginger was very light and instead I got a really wonderful, light floral/lily heavy tea with some creamy, butter or condensed milk type notes. Additional things I found present were almost jasmine-like floral notes, and greener notes that reminded me of snap peas with the sweetness and crispness.
I definitely don’t regret my decision to pick up more!
It was really hard to not hoard the last cup of this; but once I had it steeped up for work there was this feeling of relief follow by melancholy over the fact this will be my last time drinking this tea. The lime and guayusa notes were really wonderful; it tasted like the rainbow after a long summer rain – if that makes any sense at all. You know, a damp fresh earth flavour with the brightness of lime and juicy blackberry as colourful top notes. Apologies about my poetic drivel, but it makes sense in my head. Sounds a little campy typed out, though…
I shared some with Chef Darcy and he really enjoyed it. In fact, he said it was one of his favourites I’ve ever shared with him. His all time favourite was Butiki’s 1991 Da Ye Aged Oolong; all of the ones he’s REALLY enjoyed have been Butiki blends and it makes me really sad knowing I can’t really share more of them with him. He asked if I’d ever bring this one back in, and I just couldn’t bring myself to tell him this was the last of it so I just shrugged and gave a halfhearted “sure”, like ‘no big deal – plenty of Butiki to go around’.
Went on a late night adventure!
It’s currently quarter to midnight or thereabouts and I figured I’d make myself some tea and enjoy it in the backyard – we just had a heavy rainfall and it’s a beautiful temperature out and the fresh smell of petrichor is everywhere drawing me in.
Since I haven’t had this super interesting tea since that first Gong Fu session I really wanted to make it again; it cost my Dad a pretty penny to buy it for me for a birthday gift (something like $30 for an ounce!?) and while I don’t want to just guzzle it down I suppose there’s no good in having it if I’m never going to make it. I opted to steep this western style in a big glass mug, even though I know that’s probably not the best way to enjoy it, since Gong Fu probably isn’t a realistic option outdoors right now. Also; I need to go to bed soon as well so more than two infusions would be a bad idea too. -3g/12 oz. at 80C for 5 min as per Camellia Sinensis’ recommended brewing instructions. -
I got outside and went to the backyard, and it was beautiful but I immediately realized that while I definitely wanted to be outdoors I didn’t want to be still. So, I went for a walk for a couple blocks, mug still in hand, without glasses/contacts in the black of night and drank my tea. I was blind as a bat; and lucky I live in a relatively nice, suburban ‘soccer-mom’ kind of neighborhood where midnight walks are still a safe and ok thing to do. I actually only ran into one person; and they gave me a strange look since I was walking around drinking tea from a mug at midnight(ish) on a Friday, seemingly headed nowhere.
The tea was pretty delightful though; the strongest flavor was a rich, nutty hazelnut note but other notes like chestnut, hay, and a toastier note like barley or brown rice were also present. Some buttery notes as well; nothing excessive. The finish was also a little peppery/spicy as well. One thing I will also note is that it wasn’t as smooth as I recall the Gong Fu being, nor quite as sweet. While far from bitter there was some astringency and sharpness, most notably a dryness in the back of my throat after each sip. To be fair, I did say that I knew this wouldn’t be as good as the Gong Fu session though.
Since I’ve tried a few ‘unconventional’ Genmaicha blends lately I wanted to do something different with this one, which is why I cold brewed it. I’m not even sure if I’ve ever done that before with a Genmaicha blend; I can’t easily bring an example to mind.
I have to admit it was a little weird tasting a cold brewed Genmaicha; the green tea wasn’t anything exceptional nor was it disappointing but the strong, drawn out notes of roasted brown rice – which took on a near barley taste, were more intense than I would expect from Genmaicha. More like a good mugicha than anything else, to be honest.
The strawberry certainly is not the most vibrant strawberry flavour though. I wouldn’t even call it all that realistic to be honest; what it does taste like it strawberry candy. Some kind of cross between those fluffy strawberry marshmallow five cent candies you see in gas stations and a really nice strawberry gummy candy? I like the taste itself, but the pairing with the green tea/roasted notes doesn’t work for me.
So overall; I’d say there were definitely high and low points to this tea and if I revisit it I’ll definitely be trying an alternative prep method (perhaps something more traditional) than revisiting this one. It’s not worth a second taste.
I’m finding each time I make this that one of the flavors almost jumps out more than the other; this time around the lime was the strongest flavour present, with subtle blackberry and wine-y notes and an earthy, mossy, rainforest-y guayusa background.
I shared some with a coworker at work today, and she just loved it. She’s never had a guayusa blend before and she said that it seemed really fascinating to her. It’s a shame I’ve yet to find a company with guayusa that can compare to Butiki’s. Has anyone even come close to doing so? Or at least have suggestions of companies to try? One more cup left to go for this blend; I’m fighting my gut instinct to hoard it right now and will try to finish it off tomorrow…
Since I only had a cups worth left of this blend I figured it was as good a time as any to finish it off; I’d have loved to revisit it cold brewed but there wasn’t enough leaf left for a decent cold brew. Honestly, I don’t have much else to add for the flavor though.
I’m still really happy that I grabbed this one to try out because I did like it but honestly, if Butiki were still open, I’m pretty confidant that it’s one I wouldn’t pick up again so I’m not overly torn up about this sipdown. Not like I’ll be with the ones to come, anyway…
Wondering if Liquid Proust is gonna become the new ‘Fallout Boy’ of tea, with super long named for flavored blends. I’ve noticed a few blends have relatively lengthy names. Not a criticism, just an observation…
Also, that’s a lowkey challenge.
I decided to cold brew the last of this sample from Andrew; I really enjoyed the hot version I did like a month ago and I wanted to see if it held up to a different prep method. One which, I believe, Andrew hasn’t tested? I think I remember reading somewhere (possibly in one of YOUR tasting notes?) that you’ve not tried your blends cold brewed/iced. The short answer to this experiment? It’s still damn good.
The longer answer: I think cold brewing this makes the bergamot in the blend much, much stronger. Not to a point where it’s a bad thing or overwhelms the other flavours but by the end of my 25 oz. brew I did realize there were moments where I felt it was coming off as a little intensely perfumey or where it seemed forced. Disregarding the peach for a moment, there’s also a floral quality as well as a sweet cherry-like quality (almost like cocktail cherries) to the flavor, both of which help to redeem to bergamot a little. I’d recon those two notes both, to an extent, come from the formosa base more than anything else.
Shifting focus to the peach in the blend; I wish it was stronger with this cold brew and any lighter than was present and I’d definitely be disappointed. But it’s still undoubtedly the best peach flavor I’ve had in a tea to date and if you even like peachy teas a little this is one I’m probably always going to recommend over others I’ve tried.
First time I made this I was very underwhelmed. I cold brewed the last of it earlier in the week to drink during class and while I can’t say I was overwhelmed it was a big, big improvement. Maybe I was just ‘whelmed’.
The biggest change was that I tasted such a strong, orange citrus note. Each sip was practically bursting with it! I’m not entirely sure how that relates to ‘gingerbread’ but it was very pleasant. The taste of cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg was present too. Obviously ginger, as well. Then there’s this almost clove-like spicey note that, combined with the powerful, aromatic orange made me think of Pomander Christmas balls. You know, this kind of thing:
When I was a part of the SCA they used to pass these around at the end of festivals/feasts and you’d have to pluck a clove out using your teeth. I didn’t realize until much later that was something of a Christmas tradition for many people, and I’m only just now realizing what a great way to get Mono that would be…
The final thing I’m tasting is the marzipan sweetness of the almonds. What a wonderful, strong improvement! Preparation method can make such a big difference in taste, it’s not even funny.
This is a queued tasting note.
Cold brewed this one just to try something different than having it hot. I think a latte is probably the next thing on my list to test out…
I think the cold brew had a much more full flavour. It was sweeter and the cream cheese frosting/icing element was really well captured and conveyed. There were still spice notes, stuff like cinnamon and nutmeg. All of the ‘warming’ spices, really. The ones you’d dash into a cup of hot cocoa to make it feel ‘toastier’ and more comforting. I want to say the carrot tasted sweeter and stronger too – still in a ‘carrot juice’ sort of way, with the sweetness.
Man, writing that last tasting note for Midsummer Night’s Dream has me tearing up a little; I’ve come a long, long way since I moved here to Saskatoon – this city has been amazing for me, it truly has, but I still have really rough days, weeks, hell even months. It’s amazing the way we can associate so much with one tea just because of an experience we had drinking it.
But anyway; I made this a few days ago and it was pretty good. I realized I’d ignored it long enough that I wasn’t 100% sure if the coconut was still alright but it didn’t taste funky at all so I’m thinking I’m still in the clear. The taste was divinely and strongly coconut, caramel, and mulberry with just a hint of sweet hay from the silver needles. The mouthfeel, unfortunately, was very very oily though. I should have added a splash of milk just to hide that a bit better.
I drank this while watching Kingsman: The Secret Service. I’d heard a lot of good things about it but just hadn’t set time aside – and I’m really glad I did. Everything I anticipated it to be was everything it wasn’t and the comedy and action scenes were just… Gold. Just like this tea.
Seriously; the whole thing was wonderful!