241 Tasting Notes
Well, I made us nectarine buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup, so it stands to reason I’d pair a tea with maple-y chestnutty goodness in it, right? Oh yeah.
This is one of my ultimate comfort teas. I’ve fed this to quite a fair few people now, and every time I do, they get that dreamy look on their face, like, recalling the feeling of a really cozy hug. It’s also the face I make when I watch pretty much any Hartnell episode of Doctor Who. It’s quite a plain tea as flavoured blends go, but that lets the lovely assam shine through the gentle flavours rather than being hidden beneath it, lending a serious backbone to the warmth and sweetness of chestnut and cream. I keep an extra bag of this on hand because I’d be lost if I ever ran out. Oh, lovely One. Quite so, quite so, hmm!
We got this because a) it was on sale in Tesco; b) I needed a quick and easy plain tea solution for when Gentleman is staying at mine; and c) of the three teas One Acre makes, this one is described by the company with words like “full-bodied” and “characterful” and “rosy, smooth, and refreshing”, as I prefer my more utilitarian black teas to be on the smooth, full side than the lighter, brisk stuff.
And it’s smooth and full! The main tasting note I’m getting from it is “tea,” but that’s no bad thing. There’s a bit of fruity maltiness but nothing terribly overpowering either. It’s just a really nice, easy-drinking tea, which is no bad thing when I’ve been thrown into a new job where I was pretty much left entirely on my own on my second day to sit and crochet tea cozies waiting for the phone to ring.
Ahhh, the joys of being a temp. That is, not knowing what the heck you’re doing from one week to the next, but assuming you’ll probably be working at least half the time? This week, it’s Engineering Science. Oughtta be fun!
Also, having lost my trusted crochet hook, I caved and bought a new one today. I expect that this means that my old one will turn up by Wednesday at the latest. That’s the law of these things. Now I can make more tea cozies!
Good Gosh, I do like this tea! It’s got the same sugared pumpkin/treacle/sweet soy flavours I got out of it before, but is that a hint of cinnamon I get too this time? Mind you, it’s only there about a third of the time, oddly. It’s a mysterious wee beastie. The second steep is lighter-bodied but still full of flavour – is that even an oddly ephemeral whisper of pipe tobacco I’m getting? Yeah, I continue to approve of this.
What do you do when you’ve been stressed beyond belief for so long that you no longer remember what it’s like not to be in a constant state of tension and panic?
You make jam, that’s what you do.
Tonight, I took a punnet of blackcurrants and a punnet of cherries and added some caster sugar and a touch of vanilla and made a jam that takes me right back to the homemade blackcurrant jam my grandmother would make when I was a wee slip of a girl. GOOD GOSH, this is good stuff. It’s sweet without being overly so, and the vanilla lends it a little depth running through the sweet-tartness of the currant and it’s just dark and rich and gorgeous. And I had a cup of this tea while I was making it.
And GOOD GOSH, this tea is still really good too. It’s got a nice medium weight to it, and a buttery sweetness with that almost dried fruit thing happening around the periphery alongside the pleasant nuttiness. Boy, do I wish I knew I was going to have enough money to pay rent this month, AND enough to put in a Dammann order and get myself a giant-ass bag of this comforting stuff. Soon, baby. I don’t know what I’ll do without the joy that comes from knowing this is in my cupboard.
Remember that time I spent pretty much the entire year I lived in Manchester meaning to get around to visiting Sugar Junction and sampling its menu of interesting teas? Yeah, it took me until the day I officially handed over the keys to my Manchester flat. Whoops.
If I was going to sample just one tea, it pretty much had to be Northern Quarter Blend. I mean, it appeals to me in both flavour and spirit: it’s redolent with aromas of rich, deep caramel, and its named in honour of the neighbourhood where I used to buy all my art supplies and wool. FEELINGS.
As for the tea itself, well. It’s chock full of darling hop flowers and little caramel cubes, which I enjoy muchly (and the latter of which I had to be stern with myself about not just picking out of the bag and eating like I used to do with the marshmallows in my Lucky Charms). A three-minute brew reveals a tea that’s got that characteristic briskness of a Sri Lankan tea, with a lingering caramel sweetness that sits around the edges of the palate. Letting it cool a bit (albeit not much of it, because I hoovered most of this pretty quickly) brings forward a very subtle flowery note from the hops, and it turns out that adding milk gives it almost toasted-marshmallowy overtones. Oh, I do approve of toasted-marshmallowy overtones, all right!
And it’s nice to know that hop flowers also have the added benefit of helping to calm anxiety, stomach complaints, and lady trouble. Yeah, finding out that I don’t actually have a new work contract lined up for next week after all has kind of put a damper on things, given the whole I-have-no-money-and-just-paid-rent-on-two-apartments thing and now don’t know when I’ll have an income again. Yippee!
Ah, this is more like it. Something I wouldn’t add milk to, that is.
That being said, I did, in my haste, add about twice as much sugar as this needed, and as such all I can really taste is sweet black tea with overtones of raspberry. That’s no bad thing, though! Just… wowzers, you are a sugary cuppa. Sorry Rose, I’m just having an off night when it comes to tea! At least I can drink this one! facepalm
Well, I surely would have enjoyed this tea if I’d noticed that our milk had turned BEFORE pouring a bit of it into my mug. It’s meant to be good until tomorrow! Oh well. It still smells like a delicious tea, and I’ve got just a little left of my sample from the lovely Sil to save for a tiny cup on a rainy day. No sense crying over curdled milk.
Tomorrow I make the trek back up to Mancunia to FINALLY hand the keys over at my old place and it sure would be nice if eventually I got my deposit back, considering. Looking forward to a nostalgic meander about the city centre and probably having dinner at Wagamama and retiring to the Ramada where Gentleman and I first established our romantic intentions to one another. Ok, and finally stopping in at this tea place in the Northern Quarter that has a blend I’ve been eyeing for the better part of a year, heh. Of course. I mean, we’ve also established that the only specific places we definitely need to visit when we take a weekend in Paris are tea shops. nods
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.