3364 Tasting Notes
Hope everyone’s having a good Thanksgiving weekend!
It’s pretty miserable here in Regina right now: heavy winds and off and on rain all day, but now that I’m done work for the day it’s been kind of nice having a proper sit down meal with my family and just lounging in the living room watching TV together.
It feels… Proper.
- (Vegan) Fish Filet
- Cherry Jello
- Vegetarian Stuffing
- Mashed Potatoes w. Strawberry/Fig Balsamic
- Steamed Broccoli
- Cranberry Soda
- And of course Pumpkin Pie
I have to admit, the only reason I bought this tea was because it has ‘mushroom’ in the title and it intrigued me since I’m very allergic to mushrooms. Though the tea itself has little to nothing to do with mushrooms, it still felt kind of cool to get to say I was ‘having them’. #TeaOnTheEdge #ButNot2Edgy
I only bought a sample amount; two blooms. When I opened up the package I was pretty taken aback because the smell was very pungent and defined. It certainly smelled strongly of apricots but also something sort of akin to sweet and sour sauce? I wasn’t expecting that level of smell at all, though it was intriguing to say the least.
I made three 12 oz. infusions of this one over the course of a work day, making sure to take note of the differences. I certainly freaked out a few coworkers at my new job; they saw this unfurled tea bloom from a distance/in passing in my mug in the breakroom and assumed something fungal was growing in my mug and that’s because the bloom certainly wasn’t the most attractive one I’ve come across – there’s no “flower” tied into it just an arrangement of white tea leaves tethered together. Which is fine: I wasn’t drinking this tea for the aesthetics however I’ll admit I did expect the “mushroom” to tie in with the overall shape of the bloom but it certainly didn’t look like any mushroom I’ve seen.
The first infusion was a mix of sharp, lively, tangy notes of apricot and peach. Again, the intensity of the ‘tang’ reminded me a little of sweet and sour sauce. Actually, in particular I couldn’t help but think of a very particular flavour from highschool cooking class I’ve only experienced once: we made vegetarian meatballs with a “sweet and sour sauce” that used apricot jam and ketchup in the sauce and this was quite similar to my memory of that sauce. There was also a very slightly malty taste to the finish of this infusion.
The second infusion was about 50/50 malt and apricot/peach with less of the piercing tang. It was probably the smoothest infusion overall and I’d say my favourite. Finally, the third infusion was more malt than anything else with light notes of apricot and a bit of a peppery finish. I swear there were also very light cocoa notes on the top of the sip as well.
Overall, I thought this was surprisingly delightful – more so than I actually expected it would be if I’m being completely honest/transparent. What started off as a bit of a ‘gag’ purchase actually resulted in a wonderful tea session and intriguing learning experience. Also, credit where credit is due: What-Cha has done a marvelous job describing the overall flavour of this tea on their page for it. While I was taken back by the intensity of the apricot notes there’s no doubt in my mind that their flavour description was super accurate. I absolutely recommend trying this tea!
This is such a sweet Lapsang Souchong; I really enjoy all of the flavour notes present. I mean, the range from smoke, wood, leather, and tobacco notes to cocoa, and sweet jams is really phenomenal. I’ve yet to find another Lapsang blend quite like this one.
And on a loosely related note, I recently got approved to withdraw money from my education fund for the purpose of buying nicer teaware. The money went through last night, so I’ve placed an approximately $200 order for some teaware from Camellia Sinensis that I’ve been eyeing up for a while. Finally, I’ll have an actual tea tray and my first yixing pot (as well as a couple other goodies). I bring it up because I’m dedicating my first yixing pot to Lapsang Souchong! I can only imagine how fun it’ll be to season a pot with this wonderful, strong smokey tea.
I’m saving the last of this tea until I’ve seasoned the pot appropriately so I can enjoy drinking it from my Lapsang pot and contribute some of the flavours of this wondeful, interesting blend to the pot as well!
Finished this one off hot early last week; unfortunately I neglected to make any notes at the time. I do recall it tasting equally of ginger and lily though with an additional creaminess and a mild cinnamon-like taste. If Tea Ave. had another free shipping sale I’d probably pick this one up again as I quite enjoyed having it around again.
This is a queued tasting note.
Cold shaken in milk. I thought I was generous enough with the amount of matcha used but this tasted quite weak to me. I remember thinking that my first tasting of this sample from TeaNTees was rather mild too, so I’m really wondering if the flavour level is different from what I normally go for or if the matcha is just showing its age or some other third possibility.
Regardless, it was fine I suppose but not exceptional. Actually, it was kind of like a watered down Starbucks Frappucino bottle drinks. I mean, those are pretty sweet anyway so a less concentrated version isn’t a bad thing – but not really ‘my jam’ either. To be honest, coffee/mocha anything isn’t really my thing though.
This is a queued tasting note.
Had this one cold shaken in milk for lunch last week alongside and unexpected veggie burger. Let me explain…
So at work we have a ‘found money’ policy where, if a staff member finds money in any of the donations, they can turn it in and the company will give them 30% of whatever they found. A few weeks before I started, someone found $2000 in a suit. An amount that large has to be turned over to the police, but thankfully the suit that was donated had a dry cleaning slip in it which helped the police track the owner down and return the money to the owner. How someone forgets $2000 in a suit baffles me, but long story short the company still honored the 30% finders fee for the person who found it and that person, in turn, paid for a staff BBQ!
What’s really cool is that, for the first time out of any place I’ve ever worked, they made sure there were vegetarian options at the BBQ (so I actually got to participate) as well as Halal options since a large portion of our production staff is Muslim. It just really humbled me to see a company be so inclusive with all of their employees. It’s a really refreshing change of pace. Not that Sobeys wasn’t a great place to work; but staff events certainly didn’t have the same amount of inclusiveness.
This is the last tea I had before I got really sick. At this point I certainly wasn’t ready to admit just how sick I was feeling, but drinking this kind of slapped me in the face and made me go “No, you’ve been sick all week. You need to stop pushing yourself and rest”. And what about it made me realize that? Well, I went to drink the cold brew and all I could taste was water, and maybe lemon? I may have made that lavour up though: I was so desperate to not be sick I could have possibly been projecting past experiences with yellow tea on this one.
So, I resolved to not waste anymore good tea, especially something like a yellow tea which I really want to be able to taste and document to further learn from, until I’m back to ‘tip top shape’. I’m still working on that…
Tea 108 Cuppings: Week Two
Man, I’m so behind on tasting notes…
This week was a little different than other weeks I’ve done in various modules: I did two comparisons, essentially. The first was a side by side comparison of four different bagged Orange Pekoe teas from different companies (which were unnamed) to see what taste differences there were between them all. It was interesting because it really forced me to look closely at the flavour profiles of generic bagged OP and I found that across the board I found all had a rather strong nutty profile which I’d been fairly blind to previously.
My favourites was the 1st – I wish I knew the company, but alas that’ll remain a mystery I suppose. The 1st had a distinct sweetness (like maple walnuts) and smoothness that set it apart from the rest of the set. The 2nd and 4th both tastes horribly bitter and astringent to me. The third was interesting; I’d wager it was from Tetley given the distinct shape of the teabag that differed from all of the others. That’s only a guess, though. This one started off smooth enough, but evolved into a very sour/acidic tasting tea; an unpleasantness that lingered way too long.
The second comparison was of two loose leaf Earl Grey blends. Visually, the dry leaf was very contrasted – the first was finely fragmented flat pieces of brown/rust coloured leaf and the second was longer, wiry off black leaves with cornflower petals throughout. Visually, the second appealed to me more. Not because of the bright splashes of blue, but because of the leaf shape. The first EG was definitely stronger; it had notes of bergamot/citrus (obviously) but was also quite floral. However, a stronger flavour isn’t always a good thing and it did wind up tasting a little rough with some astringency. And, while the bergamot packed quite a punch it was also fleeting. The second had less floral notes as well as a bergamot flavour that was more gentle. On the flip side, while the overall taste was milder it was also cleaner/smoother and more long lasting. Personally, I preferred the second EG though there’s strong pros/cons of both.
It’s been two days since I had a drop of tea. I’m still painfully sick. So much so I called in sick yesterday, and today I’ve spent all day in bed. Instead of sipping down the beverage that I love I’ve been drinking Neo Citron. Lots and lots of Neo Citron. So, all of these tasting notes are backlogged: I wanted to work on them yesterday but honestly I was just too tired.
This one comes from TeaNTees and I’m assuming it’s from the old 52Teas company given what the packaging looks like. I’ve yet to order from the new 52Teas so I don’t know what the packaging looks like but I imagine it’s different from how Frank packaged things. That means this tea is fairly(ish) old, and since it has coconut in it that does raise a bit of a red flag – I’m wondering if that coconut has turned? However the dry smell seemed safe so I went ahead and cold brewed this.
I think I managed to drink this right on the cusp of it turning as there was a slightly soapy note that crept into some sips but mostly this was a very smooth, creamy, and sweet. The black tea flavour overall was quite light, with emphasis on the added vanilla, cream, and coconut flavours. I think this tea very well conveyed what it was attempting to!
Thank you TeaNTees for passing it along!
This is a queued tasting note.
Bought some plain Milk2Go so I’ve been bringing a bottle with in my lunch for work all week along with some matcha. This wasn’t all that extraordinary: just sweetened milk? Maybe a little floral? But it was nice to have something cold on break after an exhausting morning carrying in dressers, wardrobes, and other large pieces of furniture.