247 Tasting Notes
My wife needed to kill an hour waiting for some work, so she wandered into our local Whole Foods store (we don’t normally shop at such frou frou stores) and discovered that they have whole section of loose teas for $2/oz. Such a dear, she got me a sample of their Assam Breakfast. Brewed some up this morning. The leaves have that salt-n-pepper look of havning some light tips. Nice large fragments and a clean smell (not mustly/moldy). I poured water at a simmer straighted through the leaves in a mesh teaball and didn’t let it sit more than 30 seconds. I was amazed by how much color I got in that 30 seconds. Taste wise it was fairly flat without any astringency or tannic bite. slightly woodsy and not malty like I expected from assam. I suspect, with the salt-n-pepper look, that its a blend..of what I do not know.
The dry leaves gave a quick vanilla shot when I opened the package, but either I got used to it or it faded quickly, as the rich vanilla smell dissipated in a few minutes. The tea brews a nice toasty brown and the vanilla smell is clear, if a bit sharp. The taste has a definite vanilla flavor and finish…sort of like a vanilla cake with a little excess vanilla. A good sipping tea.
Edit: 2nd steep…smells good, like baked goods with vanilla, but not much tea…sample was wrung out.
Edit #2: Over ice, Wow, this is great over ice. Nice refreshing vanilla aftertaste! Rating boost.
Let me first say, this tea is delicious…close your eyes and just drink it. But, I’ve got to bust Golden Moon’s chops for relying on “spice oil”. You see, I’ve had this type of Chai from a company (who’s name I dearly wish I could remember) who used the real, whole spices to make it. GM’s attempt is more like camouflage for the “spice oil”. I searched the tea sample and found 1 1/2 cloves, five “bits” of cinnamon, four empty cardamon pods, and one cardamon seed. The cardamon pods are big and noticable, but useless…they’re like putting in corn cobs, all filler and no value. The rest of the spices were real but, in my opinion, were window dressing for the real flavoring, the spice oil.
This made a nice, drinkable tea when steeped as a black tea, and the windows were well dressed ;-)
From my first glimpse of this tea, I knew it would be something special. I expect to see small bits and fines with blended teas; however, this tea had large leaf fragments (1-1.5 cm). Salt and pepper, with the promised “golden tips” and the regular black tea. Very visually appealing. Taste was excellent as well; being a mellow, malty flavor with no tannic bite. This has to be one of the best Irish Breakfast tea’s I’ve had.
Got a second steep from it…not much to write about there, as the sampler was a bit wrung out by the first steep.
My first Pu-erh! I was looking forward to this one coming out of the grab bag (ok, I helped it…). I had no idea what to expect. The leaves were ugly, that’s the only description that comes to mind. I followed the directions, 3minutes with boiling water. I got the darkest tea I’ve seen, excepting the obvious brewing mistakes. It was very smooth, earthy, woodsy. Had a bit of weight to it in the mouth, almost like coffee. It is not a tea I would describe as “bright and sparkly” in the cup. I don’t know if I liked it. I didn’t dislike it…I need to do more pu-erh’s. different, definetly different.
yesterday’s grab bag special…and my first official “gunpowder” tea. I had no idea what to expect, but from the looks, I guessed green tea. I ended up a little over steeped, so tea had that sharp, astringent bite that they all get when overdone. Immediately thinned with some hot water and it was a pleasant tea to drink. I think I got what I suspected; the tea had massive green leafy vegetables taste, like spinach or kale. Not a problem, as I like greens, but not expected to be that “in your face” bold.
The tea was a greenish amber in the carafe (I have a clear pyrex carafe for tea) with little fines floating around. I did not get a smokey flavor as suggested by GM writeup. Finished a full 12 oz mug, but declined to resteep. I’d drink this again, but not one that I’ll likely go out of my way to get more of.
I’ve been remiss in logging my teas…so going back a couple of days. This tea was a puzzle. When I opened the sample, I got a strong smell of spearmint…like Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum. I was astonished by it so much that I called over a fellow tea drinker and asked him what he smelled! “Mint”, he said, looking at the lable askance. I/We have no idea whats up with that. Brewed the tea up, water just at boiling. Lots of floral notes and a little citrus…but not what I would identify as bergamot. The florals were present when drinking the tea, and again, not what I could call “Earl Grey”. In fact, it was more like “Lady Earl Grey” from Twinnings than anything else. As it cooled, the flavors got odd. Not such that you couldn’t drink it odd, but rather the florals receded and more of a citrusy mint something was left. I could drink this again, but there are much better teas to be had and its not something to please the Bergamot! Earl Grey crowd.