260 Tasting Notes
I jotted down some notes in a Word document about this tea because I knew I wasn’t going to have time to log this when I wanted to [yeah, I’m a nerd, etc. etc.].
Auggy sent me this tea with the caveat that it was a possible “meh” tea, but that it was good for comparison purposes. Really, I’m up for trying something that’s going to give me a better range of comparison, so that means I’m game for pretty much anything.
I was surprised to discover that this had a really full flavor to it. Which I probably wouldn’t have been, had I remembered what Auggy had written about it, but I’ve never made claims as to the strength of my memory. Well, maybe except to say that it can suck sometimes.
Anyhow, this wasn’t weak. And I liked that. What I’m not sure that I liked was that even though it had a fair amount of flavor, it felt kind of…flat. Not quite as dimensional Jackee Muntz. It also had a kind of salty quality to it, which I normally wouldn’t mind, but this was tap dancing just a little too loudly for me. Actually, this one probably had the strongest malt taste to me of all three of the keemuns I’ve had so far [Jackee Muntz, Keemun Rhapsody, this one].
What I did like was that it had a sweetness to it. It reminded me of honey. Not gonna lie, I would have liked caramel [still can’t quite let go of that], but I’ll take honey. You’d think that the saltiness and the honey taste would have combined to make something resembling caramel, but for whatever reason, they didn’t come together for me.
In the end, this didn’t combine quite as nicely for me as the other two. The components read much more as separate entities than anything else, and while I think this makes it easier for me to pick tastes out from it, it makes for an overall experience that isn’t quite as enjoyable. I guess it’s kind of like what they say about a well-composed dish. You should be able to both eat the components on their own and combined into a bite and enjoy it all.
This certainly wasn’t horrible, but it’s not going to make my favorite keemuns list. I’ll finish off the sample though, no problem. Thanks for the experience, Auggy!
Yesterday’s arrival of the sorapot shattered my Keemun Day [not that I’m complaining], so today was it. I am pleased to say that I like it a lot better today. I let it sit for a full five minutes, and I think it really benefitted from that. This is going to end up being a comparison review, so I’m going to state that up front.
It’s not as dark as Jackee Muntz, and it’s also sweeter. The lack of that whiff of smoke makes me read this as perhaps having a little less flavor, but it’s smoother and I like that hint of sweetness that I’m getting.
Really, they’re reading as two completely different teas to me, each with their pluses and minuses. Jackee Muntz can be too sharp, Keemun Rhapsody can be a little too weak. One has depth but can be dissonant, the other is smoother but a little flatter. To me, I think they about even out, so I’m going to give them the same rating as they appeal to me equally.
This isn’t so much about the tea as it is about the teapot.
Wait, let me rephrase that.
This isn’t so much about the tea as it is about The teapot.
Yes, I got my Sorapot in the mail today, and yes, I love it. It is fabulous. It is divine. It is solidly-constructed, and it beautiful, and, for me, worth every single penny I spent on it. I have to give a major, major shout-out to our Steepster Overlords for having the thoughtfulness to include something like this in the Steepster Select cycle and I have to give some major, major props to Joey Roth for designing such a singularly exquisite piece. I have seen teapots that cost much, much more than this [and not just ancient ones – more contemporary ones, too] that I don’t think are nearly as nice, or as well-made. It’s fully functional, I think it’s breath-taking, and it’s made with thought. I can’t ask for much more out of something I’m going to drop a fair amount of money on.
I knew that this would be arriving soon-ish, so I saved my last little bit of Four Seasons for it. One, because I knew that it would look gorgeous as it opened up in the glass chamber, but most of all because I knew that the first tea I drank in this should be special. My BFF dropped by today, and we spent some time catching up, drinking tea, and watching Avatar [the TV show, not the movie – both are excellent, by the way]. She patiently waited while I took pictures, and we sipped on the tea while we chatted about what’s been going on in our respective lives.
It made for a really nice, really calming afternoon. Four Seasons is a versatile tea. It can be enjoyed in solitude, easily taking the center stage of your attentions with its subtle complexity. It’s a lovely companion when you’re sitting down to do some work with its thick yet light richness of flavor. It can swish and ripple softly in the background while you settle in to have a conversation with a friend. And it unfurls majestically in an extraordinarily designed, long-awaited metal and glass teapot.
And now, in a manner completely contrasting to the tone of this review [because I like to shake things up], I present to you: my Sorapot.
I was already sending tea packages to Auggy and teaplz, and I knew that all of us wanted to try this tea. So when I was standing in line at Williams Sonoma, and it was staring at me I finally said, “Oh, fine. What the hell,” and grabbed a tin so I could split it three ways.
I honestly don’t know how I held off for this long, because the tin explodes in your face with delicious scent. I mean, if it tasted as strong as it smells it would be undrinkable because it would be like kool-aid on steroids, but scent-wise? Mmmmmmmmmmm.
I’m going to sound mildly repetitive here because Auggy and I had very similar drinking experiences with it, but I’ll try to deviate a bit. We all know I can deviate.
As a liquid, this smells rich. Rich like…thick cream rich. I also get strong whiffs of vanilla. And lying on top of all of that decadence is strawberry. Beautiful, beautiful strawberry, glistening above the warm and heavy aromas. Like Auggy, I was slightly hesitant to sip it right away. Part of me felt like nothing could possibly compare, but part of me also felt like if it truly tasted like this I wouldn’t be able to finish it because it would be so cloying.
Once it had cooled down enough for me to take a confident sip of it, I was pleasantly surprised. The vanilla wasn’t there. The creaminess was kind of present, but not overwhelming. Mainly what I got was berry. Specifically, strawberries – like when they’re not quite ripe. The strawberry taste was definitely strong, to the point that the tea almost felt like it was bleeding strawberries. And yet, it never reached the point of “too much.” It was sweet sometimes, but not obviously sweet, and more so when I sucked air in over everything. There was a distinct tartness that hit the back of my tongue as well, that sang of strawberries.
Most impressive to me was the mouth feel. It was thick, heavy, viscous, silky, and it made me feel like I was eating strawberries and cream. If there had been more creaminess in the taste, I certainly could have fooled myself into it.
And then, all of a sudden, the bomb went off. This tea blew up in a very good way. I’m not sure if it was because it had cooled to a magic point, or because Auggy mentioned that she was doing that silly looking slurping thing that people often do with wine and so I started doing it in earnest, but wow. It was like berry-palooza. It was like I had won the lottery, and they paid me in berries. It was like I was the queen and all of the townspeople were berries and I was drinking them. The only two I could pick out were blackberries [sweet, ripe ones] and strawberries, but there were more. It was more complex than that. The tea grew in sweetness, and the texture was making it all slide around very pleasantly, and I officially fell in love with Marco Polo.
I really, really wish I could give this a 100, but I know that the reason why I loved this so much today was because 1) I drank it out of my Sorapot [more on that in a forthcoming review – I’m logging this first] 2) I was really in the mood for a fruity tea and 3) I think drinking tea with someone else is always more enjoyable, even if you are both basically just typing “OH MY GOD WOW!” back and forth.
If this ends up being something that I find myself craving often, or could see myself drinking on any given day, it may reach that point, though. It’s pretty damn good. Never would have tried it if not for Steepster, too, so thanks Steepsterites!
Hello! Welcome to a tea that Auggy sent me!
Right, so if you take Rishi’s Citron Oolong, and you take away the hint of lime that you get in that, and you replace it with a hint of orange, you would have this tea.
They’re cousins! Identical cousins!
I’m not going to copy the entire review I wrote on Citron Oolong, but to summarize – light, refreshing, citrusy, with a hint of Fruity Pebbles/Froot Loops. The flavor comes through more at the back of my tongue, and if I can suck in air over the liquid. Very similar to Adagio’s Citron Green, but not nearly as mouth drying, so I like it better for it.
I had been thinking about ordering some Citron Oolong, but I held off this time and I’m glad I did, because this tea also runs quite a bit cheaper [$14.75 for 4 oz. of Orange Blossom vs. $19.50]. Any differences between the two are so negligible to me that it can’t justify the near $5 difference. Bumping Citron Oolong down and having this one take its place.
Lena was lovely and sent me an entire sample tin full of this. I was really excited to give it a try, so I steeped some today.
I’m going to preface this by saying a couple of things. One, I am still adjusting to the fact that Jackee Muntz completely morphed on me from tasting like caramel sauce to tasting like what I guess keemun tastes like. Two, I’m not sure that keemun is a type of tea that is ever going to make my favorite black teas list. Three, this rating is completely liable to change.
Right. Now that that’s out of the way, this tea was decent. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great for me either. It tasted weaker to me than Jackee Muntz, which made me think that maybe I didn’t steep it for long enough, because the water was definitely at a rolling boil when I took it off the stove. Adagio recommends 5 minutes, but I was a little scared to let it sit that long, so next time I’ll try it at the full five.
I didn’t get any caramel notes from this, it was mainly lightly smoky with pine notes, maybe with some very subtle notes of cocoa. Reading the description now, I think I definitely need to let this steep longer. I didn’t get rich or sumptuous from it at all, and the supposed biscuit and fruity notes weren’t available to me on this cup.
I’m eager to try this again, because it looks like a relatively high quality tea, so I’ll probably give it another go tomorrow. Fingers are crossed! Good brain waves are being sent! C’mon, keemun!
Brewed it this morning.
Tasted floral and of corn.
Still quite delicious.
Brew it once, then stop.
Does not hold up to re-steep.
Well, for me at least.
I do not know why
This came out in a haiku.
Well, being honest, this is in homage to a shirt/hoodie Auggy found.
I wants it.
Anyhow, I ran out of what I had of this, but they had it in Williams Sonoma so I grabbed a tin. I find myself craving it somewhat often, so this is going to be a tea that I replenish for sure. I like it a lot. Giving it a ratings bump.
My mom has made the same tea nearly every day for as long as I can remember – Good Earth’s Original Decaffeinated tea. I rarely see her deviate from it, and I’ve taken the I’m-not-gonna-force-you-guys-to-drink-something-else approach when it comes to my parents and their tea drinking.
Over the holidays, though, my brother came back and I made him a fair amount of tea and my mom got curious. It made me laugh, because it was like…when you offer a kid something and they’re not familiar with it so they say, “No thanks,” but then when they see everyone enjoying it they kind of sidle up and stand there, watching. You ask them again of they want something and they look sideways at you and say, “Yeah…maybe. I guess.” So when my mom told me, “You know…the next time you’re making tea could you make me a cup?” I tried to remain calm and just said, “Yeah, sure.”
After much deliberation, I decided on Ryokucha. I wanted to choose something that was different and full of flavor, and so I decided that this would do nicely, but I gave it to her with a caveat of, “This is going to be a little different, so…take your time with it.”
And “Hey Mikey, he likes it!” – when she was done, she came over and said, “It’s good! Kind of…earthy?” So my mom likes Ryokucha! I’d call that a hell of an endorsement. My opinion of it has not changed. Also, I hadn’t really ever noticed it until Auggy mentioned it in her reviews, but it IS really creamy, and I’ve really been enjoying that aspect of it lately. Actually, you know what? I think I’m going to give it a little ratings bump. I’ve had this…probably 5 out of 7 days for the past couple of months, so it’s earned it. She works hard for the money.
I am really hyper right now. I don’t know if you can’t tell from the ridiculous commentary I just bombed Steepster with, but I went with the family to go to see Young Frankenstein at the Kennedy Center tonight [decent show, some funny moments but not stellar] and I’ve got plans to go shopping tomorrow and I’ve had more tea than usual today [which means a pretty crazy amount] so I’m bouncing off the walls at 2:45 in the morning.
My brother wanted in on a saucepan of this, so I made one earlier today and we fell asleep on the couch watching TV this afternoon while drinking it. This last one was with 2% but I’ve made it with whole milk [decadent] and soy milk [delightful] before, too. He gave it a thumbs up, and our mom kept stealing sips from our cups, so apparently she liked it, too. This last batch also means I’m out of it [I absolutely flew through this tin and it was a large one, too], but luckily it’s in stock so it’s going on the order this week.
It’s so smooth and creamy and it almost takes on this lovely caramel quality on certain sips. It’s spicy and sweet, and just…oh, I can’t even put it into adequate words. From the process of making it to the taste, it’s just comfort and warmth and homey and delicious. It’s watching House reruns and falling asleep on the couch with your brother under a throw blanket in front of the Christmas tree while your mom sneaks off with your cups to finish them off.
This is the last of the teas I took notes on while I was in the throes of academia. It is another one of the teas Carolyn sent me, and though I was afraid I might jinx myself by prematurely drinking a celebration tea before the semester was actually over, it was too pretty to put off trying it any longer.
This cup is pleasant. It’s smooth, and it’s not too strong, which I was a little afraid it might be when I looked at the ingredient list. I was half expecting a fireworks of exploding flavors [much like the tea is a fireworks of exploding colors], that would perhaps result in a great clashing and clanging with much dissonance on my tongue, but I was surprised to discover that this wasn’t the case. It all melded together. I’m still trying to decide whether or not I was disappointed by that, even more than a week later.
I wasn’t really able to pick anything out of the cornucopia of components, except for a black tea flavor with the slightest hint of maltiness to it, and a tangy fruity flavor. The maltiness makes sense because the description says this contains assam. The fruit flavor slightly reminded of the dreaded hibiscus, if I’m being honest, but only slightly. Probably I wasn’t paying full attention, what with trying to watch a physics video and jot down thoughts on the tea at the same time. [In fact, I have a formula written on the page here that I think is for the escape velocity from Earth. Wow. Guess I retained something after all.] It also had a kind of spiciness to it. Nothing overwhelming, but enough to give it a nice kick.
Luckily, Carolyn was very generous with the quantity of tea sent to me [again, I must thank you, Carolyn] so I definitely have enough to be able to sit down and really soak this one in. Maybe play around with temperature and steep time a little bit. I might have had this a little cooler than it should have been. The rating on this tea is very likely to change, but then again, I’m constantly shuffling all my ratings around anyway, so this point is likely unnecessary.