234 Tasting Notes
And my good mood has come crashing horribly back down into the bleak pit of garbage that is pretty much my life. Yippee! I had the delightful pleasure of paying rent on the flat I’ve already moved out of (because I was able to give them notice just one blasted day shy of a month, and thus get to pay for July even though I’ve been living in Oxford since the middle of May) and who the heck knows when I’ll get my deposit back on that place. And since my one gig ended with the uni and I don’t have another definitively lined up yet, who knows whether I’ll be able to cover my bills and stuff for the end of this month either, let alone cover my massive and constantly escalating debt?
So if I seem to mention with annoying frequency that I take art commissions and knit stuff on etsy and all that, it’s only because I HAVE RUN OUT OF PLACES TO PULL MONEY OUT OF AND THE BANK IS STARTING TO PHONE MY HOUSE AND I’M REALLY SCARED AND I CAN’T FIND A WAY OUT AND IT IS REALLY SCARY
I’m so blessed to have the most supportive and wonderful partner in the world to keep me calm through all this nightmare, admittedly. If he liked teas that weren’t PG Tips and the like, I think he’d be something like a black dragon pearl.
As for Amy, she’s grown on me a little. Bumping the rating of this one up a bit as I rather enjoyed it today. Somehow the balance just worked for me, or maybe I was just in the mood for fruit and spice. She’s a pleasant brew today.
Ok, so this tasting note actually represents the million or so cups of this I inhaled over the course of Friday and Saturday on the way to and from the Wirral to do social with a bunch of people from the Doctor Who. And I did! With copious amounts of tea.
This may have something to do with the fact that somebody bought me drinks on Friday night and couldn’t bring myself to, like, say no to free champagne. And I kept getting sidelined by people I hadn’t shared a string of terrible jokes with every time I insisted I was going to bed. I love the Doctor Who people who know how to have a good time.
(I also love the half dozen tea bags I totally stole from the breakfast bar at the hotel.)
Oh, yes. This was an impulse feelings-purchase after learning that my favourite Starbucks in Oxford is closing. After a wistful hour or so perusing job listings from the cozy upstairs loft overlooking High Street after finishing work at the Examination Schools for the day, I meandered over to the Whittard across the road with a taste for whatever was the closest I could get to caramel. This seemed to fit the bill.
And indeed it has! It’s got a nice sweetness and a nutty flavour that reminds me a bit of their vanilla shortbread tea, but where that one has notes of vanilla and biscuits, this one has a cozy malt and caramel tone. I have a feeling this’ll blend well with a pu erh if I’m feeling creative.
Hellooooooooooooooo baby. I don’t know what it is, but this is totally hitting the spot today. I totally didn’t time how long this steeped for, but yeah. It’s light and lovely.
This tea pairs especially well with hoovering an entire bag of bbq popchips and bingewatching Archer before going to work. Yeah, perfect.
I’m sat in bed in my beautiful new home, watching Celebrity Masterchef and drinking a soothing cup of this before bedtime. It’s still a fairly understated brew to my palette, but warm and cozy and certainly pleasant with its notes of chocolate and almond. And the fact that it doesn’t taste overly of rooibos. I’ve still got about a million money woes, but I feel like I can finally rest a bit. My new digs have a gorgeous kitchen, an augur, a piano, and a pond. And my bedroom has this crazy little window seat balcony doodah. It’s good. I just have to remember that the ensuite bathroom door faces directly opposite the window, which faces opposite lots of other people’s houses, so I really ought to remember to close the curtains before getting into the shower in the morning, lest loads of my neighbours see me in all my glory! I shouldn’t like to be responsible for blinding half of the people in my postcode :p
Though I like to think Captain Jack would approve.
Guess what, guys?
I’M LIKE TOTALLY DONNA NOBLE NOW. By which I mean I started a temp gig with the uni today, and actually I love it a lot? I’m in my thirties, I’m a temp, I have like no money and no idea what the crap I’m going to do with my life, and I sincerely hope that my partner isn’t too good to be true and secretly in cahoots with evil aliens and stuff. Or maybe I’ve already gone adventuring with the Doctor and I don’t remember? OH NO :(
And this tea is still pleasant, but just not quite as BAM! wizard as it could be. Though as far as cinnamon and orange is a winning combo with tea, it’s a winner. Cozy, cozy flavour.
Ok, so I’m not changing my assessment of this that it’s good, but if I’m honest, it’s not that often that I’m drawn to wanting a white tea at all, and I probably could have gone with something a bit more robust today, though my stash of temporary pre-move teas is getting pretty thin, so I made do. Oh well. Still tasty, don’t get me wrong, but maybe next time I get round to using this, I’ll just do a cold steep in the fridge to have something to sip on throughout the day when it’s hot as balls, rather than as my morning cuppa.
Because I mean, WHAT A DAY IT’S BEEN. Pretty low-pressure in terms of workload, but found out at about half past four that I have an assignment from the uni that starts tomorrow morning, so sudden YIKES DO I HAVE ANY CLEAN OFFICE CLOTHES type panic. It’s only a two-day stint, with a weekend in between (albeit a weekend of driving up north and back to pack and move), but since it’s been a while since I had a proper office job, a decent way to ease myself back into the exciting world of administration. I’m stupidly excited. Filing stuff? Preparing department records for an audit? TAKING THINGS AND PUTTING THEM IN THE RIGHT ORDER? I’ve missed having an outlet for my love of arranging things in sequence.
Like, it’s taking all my restraint not to catalogue and recatalogue my beautiful spreadsheet of teas. And then take my tins, boxes, and bags of tea, and arrange them in the right order. Yeah. There’s a reason I spent over a decade working in a library. Mmmmm, order.
After reading *TheTeaFairy*’s inspiring note about Mandala’s milk oolong the other day, I developed such a hankering that I’m really grateful that I had a little ziploc of a milk oolong of my own that I brought with me to tide me over until I can move my whole tea stash down from Manchester into my new flat here on the weekend. I do love a good resteepable tea that I can just keep drinking all day, and man, does this one go on forever. So much lovely, sweet honeydew flowery goodness, perfect for an idle Tuesday of drawing some things for a secret project for an interesting publisher, wandering to a wool shop down the road from Gentleman’s home, and making Hungarian cucumber salad. I shouldn’t be in such good spirits for someone so recently unemployed, but I think just not being in a godawful job anymore is enough to make me feel a little better about the world.
Today’s mildly more exciting than yesterday, at least inasmuch as I bought office-appropriate linen trousers from M&S and I’ve decided to phase out wheat and processed sweeties in order to try and get my inflammation in check a bit, given that my ankles now hurt to stand on. Tomorrow, I’ll invest in some pineapple. Pineapple’s an anti-inflammatory.
So something moved me today, before dashing to submit a few job applications before their noon o’clock deadlines, to do a few steeps of this oolong. It’s not the most remarkable tea in the world, and it’s not something I crave very often if at all, but sometimes it’s a good, simple I-don’t-know-what-I-feel-like-drinking-so-I’ll-just-have-this choice, and it fulfilled it well. Still as autumn-leafy as ever, at once light and wholesome, with toasty granola notes and traces of dry earth. Ho hum.
Well, poopsicles. Looks like the computer ate last night’s tasting note somewhere between my writing it and it actually being posted! And here I was just thinking y’all didn’t like my ridiculously over-sharing personal rant-reviews anymore. Let’s see if I can remember what I had to say:
Ah, well. Remember that bakery job I told you all about that I started a few weeks ago? Hated it. Hated it so much that I quit on Saturday. My manager, an absolute sweetie to whom I bear nothing but good feelings and apologies for taking off without a notice period, was absolutely understanding. That, at least, was something. The upshot of it was that instead of the R&D I’d been told I was going to be doing, they started what will be about 3 months of ongoing renovations, leaving a kitchen with concrete dust and wires hanging from the ceiling while people are trying to make bagels and brownies in a tiny, cramped space that’s scarcely sufficient for the volume of stuff being done. It’s hotter than Lucifer’s scrotum, and in addition to my hands seizing with tendonitis and becoming useless, it hurts to stand on my ankles, and my eczema’s manifesting itself in places it’s never been before, like the backs of my hands and arms. It’s not like building up the muscles you need to do heavy lifting. This is the kind of chronic stuff that only gets worse. Coming home in tears isn’t worth 4 6-hour shifts a week at 6 quid an hour. Sorry, gang, it’s back to a functional home bakery (and unemployment) for me. OH GOOD.
I’ll miss the fanta floats. It’s not on the menu, but man, a pint of fanta with a scoop of raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream? MAGICAL.
So last night, feeling a combination of relief and fear (given that I’m paying rent on two flats for the month of July, which I decidedly couldn’t even afford on my meagre bakery income, let alone none at all – feel free to tell your friends I’m taking illustration jobs!) I brewed myself a load of mambo, because mambo is a feel-good tea. It’s got just enough je ne sais quoi to it to keep you interested, without being overly challenging. It’s smooth and gentle and recalls flavours of ripe peaches and soft dustings of cocoa. There’s something incredibly comforting about it, while retaining a lightness: it’s like being hugged by downy soft pillows when you need someone to tell you that everything’s going to be okay. I’ll be sad when I run out of this one, and then I’ll be immediately onto Adagio’s website to restock.