344 Tasting Notes
I have returned from sunny warm climes of Santa Barbara!
Holy carp it’s cold. Brrrr. I’m seriously regretting getting on that plane yesterday. I could have pitched a tent on the beach, right, after my friend got tired of me and kicked me out of his house?
On the brightside, my Black Friday order from Harney & Sons was waiting for me, and I tore into it today. I contemplated my choices and grabbed the SoHo blend for a nice, warm, filling cup of tea on a winter’s day in the DC area. (Granted, it’s relatively warm for a winter’s day, but it’s cold enough I still couldn’t feel my fingers.)
Lovely. Pure bliss. It’s chocolately, nutty, and delicious. A perfect winter’s cup of tea.
Flavors: Chocolate, Nuts
Okay, I owe this tea an apology. It turns out that the awful taste that I first experienced was not the tea’s fault – instead, it was lovely Santa Barbara’s water, which is all sorts of foul tasting.
I had a different tea, which I knew should not have tasted oily and evil, but did. So I switched from the tap water to bottled filtered stuff to brew tea. And magically, the tea stopped tasting awful.
It’s still bagged tea so the quality is nowhere near what a loose hojicha would be, but it’s decent, and caffeinated, and doesn’t make me want to gag because it tastes like sweet oil.
Seriously, what the heck is up with the tap water here?
This is the weirdest hojicha I’ve had. It doesn’t taste like hojicha.
I’m currently visiting a friend in Santa Barbara and we went grocery shopping. He asked what I have for breakfast, and I responded – naturally – “tea.” The selection of tea wasn’t great – mostly bagged, though I later discovered there was some loose stuff toward the front but by that point I was fine with the lone box of Choice I grabbed. I’d had good luck with their bagged tea in the past, but this one was… ugh.
I’m not sure what was wrong with it. It just tasted so off. It was oily, and did not taste pleasant at all. Hopefully I can sneak into a store later and get something better. And a strainer – the man does not own one.
While cleaning out the tea cupboard I found a tiny ziploc baggie of this I had saved for some unknown reason. I had once upon a time the gigantic tin of this stuff, bought from the Middle Eastern market, back when I was just slowly getting into loose teas. I gave the tin away but apparently had kept a bag for some reason.
Well, suffice it to say that I have well and truly become a tea snob. Because I’m sorely tempted to dump this mug into the sink and toss the rest of the tea.
Sometime in the past year, I remember getting into it with a friend of a friend on Twitter (really, will I never learn?) who was vehemently offended that there are people who will pay more than $1/oz for loose tea, because – as he said – the stuff he got from Ahmad in the giant ass tin was good enough for him.
Oh, how I laugh now. Because honestly, this tea is not even in the same league as the other earl greys I have in my cupboard. The bergamot is very faint, the tea base is a bit rough, and the taste is closer to Lipton than to earl grey.
I got a small sample of this tea from the vendor when I purchased some other tea at the Philadelphia Coffee & Tea Festival. This tea is divine. I don’t get much subtlety in flavor but it’s soothing and perfect for a cold November day when it’s snowing outside. Savory, smooth. Lovely.
It resteeps amazingly well.
I had some of this last night while over at some friends’ for dinner. It was nice. Pleasant, light, but I think I didn’t let the water heat up enough before I stopped the kettle (I have a glass kettle and can see when the water is just about to boil. They had a metal one.) because it wasn’t very strong. I think if I get the chance, I’ll have this again and steep it better.
I’m finally sitting down with a cup of this. I had bought a tin from the Philadelphia Coffee & Tea Festival and liked it well enough. However, brewed the way I like to brew tea (lower temp and longer steeping time), it is so lovely. Savory, with hints of smoke, a depth of flavor that I love. Rolling it on my tongue, just a smidge of sour/acridness but very faint.
So lovely. Definitely try this if you love black tea.
I’ve been wanting to try this for a while and I snagged a bag from the last TTB that came through. It’s good. It’s darker than a traditional Earl Grey, the bergamot is more subtle and works really well with the dark – almost smoky – flavor of the tea. YUM. I wish this was available loose.