411 Tasting Notes
I may have mentioned this before, but one of my ever increasing number of hobbies* is researching and recreating Medieval cooking. Much like today, medieval people were very into conspicious consumption. They liked using expensive pricy ingredients to show off to their guests – “See! Look how much money I can spend – just on dinner!” Spices were always one of the most popular ways to show off wealth. They were very expensive and very highly valued, and saffron was one of the more popular spices.
In the cooking I do saffron is mostly a coloring agent, as it turns the food a lovely golden color, and not used for flavor. I find the flavor very light and subtle. So I was very curious about what affect it would have on the tea.
The teabag smelled like generic tea. Pouring water over the bag, it did turn bright yellow for a moment – then turned into a normal tea color. The brewed aroma again smelled like a normal tea. In drinking, I’m getting a bitter high note – like I over-brewed the tea, but it didn’t have the tannic drying effect that normally goes along with the bitterness. I prefer my tea sweetened, so after a few sips of the tea unsweetened, I added my favorite sweetening agent. It toned down the bitterness, and turned it into a very bright flavor.
Either way, I don’t think I like the addition of the saffron. The tea behind the saffron tastes quite nice, and would have likely been a very nice cuppa on it’s own. But as it is, it’s not really for me.
*My craft room is crying from from too much stuff and too many projects. You can almost hear it crying from the street, “no more stuff, take the yarn away! I don’t need any more embroidery floss!”
This is a solid white tea. Just a nice solid white tea. The leaf smells lovely and fruity. Once brewed, the aroma of this tea is sweet and slightly grassy, It brews up to a golden liquor; a really pretty cup. The flavor is pleasantly hay-like, and very mellow, but the aromas don’t arrive on the tongue. There are no outstanding high notes, but nothing distracting either. It does have a base-line sweetness to it, and overall, it’s just really pleasant. I don’t know how typical or representative of a White Peony this tea is, but it’s good and would compliment a number of sweet treats or an afternoon sitting and reading.
This tea is a dream. But I don’t mean that in the standard “yay – happy – life is great” meaning of dream. I mean the actually discordant random chaining of events your brain comes up with late at night, possibly after eating too much late-night pizza. Let me explain.
The packaging on this is beautiful. They send their tea in an amazing brown and pink high-end gift box complete with big satin pink bow. I should be at a spa for packaging like this. In the dream, there would be cherubs and happy music. Until you untied the bow and opened the box. Then the lighting would change, and possibly add a whole bunch of discordant notes to the score. My first though: it looks like chamomile and pot. Lots of small little bits of green with twiggy parts, and flower heads. And now I’m lost for words. Really. Wow….
Now, as I’m at my work in this dream, I’ll risk running afoul of my HR department and brew this up. (Think they’d believe me if I claimed “No, no! Really! It’s just tea!” I know we’re a drug-free workplace!” ??) Opening the plastic, the aroma is quite strong. The main scent is chamomile with an underlying hint of something green and something sweet, but undefined. Time to add the water. In the dream, the scene would shift quickly to a Japanese tea shop because – WOW – it looks almost like matcha. It’s very thick, opaque, and GREEN. As it brews, it’s turning more brown. It’s reminding me of murky swamp water. Um.. I don’t like where this dream is going.
After about 3 minutes, I strain the tea, and try it. And now we’re in a nightmare. Very chamomile but with a cloying natural floral sweetness I can’t place, and an almost chemical aftertaste. I cannot finish this cup. It’s like drinking a hippie’s herbal perfume experiments gone wrong. I try cooling it down, and watering it down, but no luck.
If you think that chamomile is the best thing in the world, you may like this tea. But I’m sorry – this tea scares me. I can’t drink any more of this. I don’t even think I’ll pawn this off on someone.
But I will keep the box.
This is such a light, refreshing tea. Very mild, very light – the brewed color is a light pale wheat color. The brew has a light hint of a tang or tart to it as well. Lovely.
I once read a Japanese food related comic, that mentioned drinking hot tea on a hot day. I alway thought that was absolutely insane. However, this tea makes me understand this. I could drink this tea on a hot day and be refreshed and happy.
For an everyday drinking tea however, I’d like something with a little more oomph.
These teabags are adorable; little bendy strings with the leaf, the pyramid shape leaving room for the leaves to dance, the packaging. They’re highly engineered and very cute.
However, it’s what’s inside that counts, and as a chai, it didn’t really stand out. Chai should be bold and brave and spicy. This is a delicate chai. A demure chai. Not quite a wall-flower chai, but definitely not the belle of the ball. Nice to drink, but not something I’d actively seek out.
What I found that I really liked using this tea for was making cocktails with it. I originally got this idea from a class I took at a local tea shop. They had gotten the Tea Forte tea cocktails set in, and this is a modification of one of those recipes. This is a LOVELY decadent drink, to replace dessert when you feel like laying about and being pampered.
1 Bombay Chai Tea Pyramid
Double shot of Whipped Cream flavored vodka (can be done with regular vodka, but this adds an extra dimension of yum)
whole milk (or half and half if you feel REALLY decadent)
Take the bombay chai tea pyramid and put in a small cup. Pour the vodka in, let sit approx. 5-8 minutes. Remove tea pyramid. Take a large juice or highball glass, fill with ice. Pour in steeped vodka. Then add at least 2 tbsp of simple syrup, more if you like things sweet (you can adjust after finishing the drink). Fill the glass with milk. Taste, adjust the sweetness with more simple syrup as needed. Then enjoy.
The tea pyramid can be resteeped two to three times for more drinks. (For you, or your friends – if you want to share.) It’s amazingly yummy. Completely decadent. Lovely.
I made two pitchers of this, iced, last weekend. You know, back when it was hot? Now, I’m finishing off the last one, shivering in the 50 degree weather (10 C).
It’s lovely warm, and lovely iced. Fruity with a hint of that cranberry sour.
I just wish I had the warm type today!