3234 Tasting Notes
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.
Started my morning off with a cup of this tasty brew! Very strong mango and papaya notes which contributed to a wonderful, overall tropical and fruity flavour to the earthy and vaguely sour guayusa. Yummy! I’ve been reading in class about infusing tea into juice and while this isn’t totally the same thing I think this would taste nice paired with orange juice.
I made Laphet (pickled tea salad) last night, and drank this whilst preparing everything for that. I think this was the perfect tea to drink while making everything though: the entire kitchen just stunk of intense green tea, garlic, and lemon. The salad uses 100g of green tea which has to get steeped in a pot of boiling water several times so the smell was super strong. I needed an equally strong tea to drink during the process, otherwise everything else going on would have just engulfed the experience.
I’ll write about the salad later, after it’s done fermenting and I can try it.
This cold brew was really interesting; there were notes of copper/brass and a metallic like tinge, as well as a meatyness and leathery quality to the flavour and of course a strong earthiness. It was as tasty as the hot brewed version, but in a very different way.
It’s also hard to explain, but the mouthfeel felt really, uh, round? But not like in a “well balanced and smooth” way (though it was) but in a way that was more of an experience and ‘action’. This might sound crazy, but I took a sip and it felt like I was licking the surface of a big, copper/brass orb? Sometimes I hate using poetic language to describe the feeling of drinking tea but that might be the best I can do in this case.
So, I definitely did try out that Goat’s Milk ice cream with a different matcha mixed in.
The only that I instantly thought would work well was the Bananas & Cream matcha so that’s where I started. Because the ice cream is vanilla flavoured, the cream aspect of the matcha merges very seamlessly. The banana is very sweet and pudding like, and then the finish has that nice ‘goaty’ tang to it. I sort of felt kind of posh eating it?
I’ve got enough left to try one more flavour; leaning towards Rich Berry Pie or Pineapple right now…
Tea 107: Week One Recipes!
So, I just started my next module started last week and the ‘theme’ for this one is “Cooking with Tea/Tea and Food Pairings”. It’s one of the classes I tried to sign up for before (instead of The Business of Tea) but at the time not enough people were registered. Now, it’s the class with the largest amount of students in it that I’ve had to date! The first few weeks of this module are dedicated to cooking with tea, and after that there are a few weeks of tea and various food pairings. So, here are the recipes from week one!
Matcha Infused Ice Cream
This is something I’ve often wondered about doing many times before; I drink a lot of matcha and it’s no secret that I like to combine it with other things, such as baking. Imagine mixing any of RLT’s flavoured matcha into vanilla icecream! The possibilities are endless, right?
That’s kind of what we did, though I used a plain cooking grade matcha provided by class instead of any of my large personal collection. We were meant to pick out a vanilla ice cream and just blend in the matcha and then refreeze it. In this class, we’re encouraged not to follow the recipes directly and instead make substitutions as we see fit and get creative, so instead of a ‘normal’ vanilla ice cream I used this as a chance to try something really new (since I’ve had green tea ice cream before) and I bought a vanilla goat’s milk ice cream.
This was the easiest recipe to make so far: I just measured out 2 tsp. of matcha into a bowl of ice cream and stirred it all up. Then, because I wanted to try it right away I just ate it instead of refreezing and doing it later. The only problem was that it melted faster but the taste was great! Very smooth and vegetal. This is absolutely something that I’ll make again in my own time but probably using a RLT matcha because the flavours appeal to me more so and I know the quality of the matcha from RLT is better.
PS. Goat’s Milk icecream is pretty good on it’s own too. Definitely has that distinctly “tangy” sort of taste you get with any product made with goat’s milk. If you like goat’s cheese or stuff like that this’ll totally appeal to you though!
Lapsang Souchong Cheese Spread
This one was a little more challenging to make, but only because it involved grinding up a tablespoon or so of Lapsang Souchong and I neither own a mortar and pestle or a food processor so I spent forty minutes grinding the tea by hand with a spoon while watching Netflix so I wasn’t completely bored.
The groudn tea was then mixed into 1/2 container of Phillie Cream Cheese (just the plain one) along with whatever spices we wanted to add. All I added to mine was 1 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder. The result was the perfect light, smoky cheese spread/dip that everyone in my family enjoyed – even my brother which was super unexpected. We ended up trying it with potato chips and on bagels. The only real downside was that it had a grittiness to the texture that was very unpleasant. Had this been properly grounded, I think it would have been much better though. If I had a better way to grind the tea, I’d totally make this one again too.
This was the recipe I got to talk about in class as well; everyone had to discuss one of the three recipes in depth and how they made it and this was the one I chose to talk about. My instructor was surprised to find out how much I like Lapsang in my ‘normal life’; she said normally this is the most polarizing recipes in the course because people dislike Lapsang so much. I can see that, as my friend Kandyce (who works at DAVIDsTEA) says, “The only people who order LS are stuffy middle aged men”. I’m definitely not one of those…
I don’t drink/eat a lot of soup: it’s just really not my thing and the idea of using tea as a stock/broth doesn’t overly appeal to me either so this was definitely the recipe I was least looking forward to. It did turn out to be my least favourite, as well.
Basically, I brewed up a pot of very intensely strong Genmaicha and then heated it on a stove top with some vegetable bouillon mixed in (we had the option of using vegetable or chicken and as a vegetarian I obviously went with the vegetable route). I also added in chopped onions: white, red, and green. But when all was said and done the soup just tasted very thin and bland (apart from the onions). I mean I certainly could taste the green tea and the roastiness of the brown rice in the blend but it just didn’t wow me.
I wouldn’t do this recipe again; or at least not this way. I’d be open to trying other tea based stocks with soup again but some things would definitely have to be switched up for this to really appeal to me.