227 Tasting Notes
I gently set the tea on the table to steep when my beloved looked up from his book (a rarity since he hardly ever notices me when he’s deep in a book), sniffed the air and said, “Chocolate tea?” It really does smell good, like good deep chocolate.
It tastes wonderful with a creamy, malted, chocolate, mocha taste and something slightly grassy. No bitterness. No astringency. No weird dusty taste. It’s a far cry from my yerba mate experiences of twenty years ago. (Those were the experiments that led me to swear never, ever, ever again to try yerba mate.) It’s quite nice. I can see using this as a base with ice and soy milk for a chocolate malt smoothie.
There is just the slightest tinge of bitterness to this tea. I suspect that I over-steeped it by a few seconds. Nonetheless it is still quite nice. It smells buttery and vegetal with just the slightest hint of flowers. My beloved says that it smells like a meadow and I can sense that as well. The taste is warm and calming with the same buttered vegetal promised by the fragrance.
I dressed in my favorite bellydance cover-up, a flowing velvet affair with beads and gold embroidery, turned on an episode of Firefly (Trash) with a tea scene with Inara and then rinsed and steeped the Imperial Concubine tea and served it alongside two pieces of rose Turkish delight.
The tea begins with a musky sweet aroma with notes of honey and apricot and has a light, smooth taste. The second steeping adds a very slight smoky note with an apricot fragrance and taste. The third and fourth steeping develop the sweet apricot and honey taste further. It is a nice tea.
I began with a steeping time of 45 seconds and increased it over the period of re-steeps ending with the fourth steep of 2 minutes.
A very similar tea to my favorites: The Simple Leaf’s Dawn and Golden Moon’s Sinharaja. The leaves look different, though. Where Dawn and Sinharaja have mono-colored leaves, these are variegated with shades of olive green, chocolate brown, yellow, and gold. The fragrance is redolent of cocoa, raisins, and sweet tea. The color of the liquor is reddish brown (and it actually darkened as it sat once I removed the leaves).
It has the same strong tea and cocoa taste I love but with a tad more astringency. It is a very good tea.
I had to go off on a variety of errands, which seemed like a good excuse to try out my marvelous new JoeMo tea travel mug that I got through one of the Steepster Select offers (via TeaFrog) and this cold-brewed iced tea from Den’s Tea. I’m so glad I did! All I had to do was place the little pyramid silk tea bag in the tea holder of the mug (which works for loose tea as well), pour in cold water and wait. Den’s Tea suggests an hour, but I was impatient and was sipping wonderful mango flavored iced tea in 45 minutes. The mug is a revelation. It is sturdy, cleverly designed, has a lift out tea strainer, and a mechanism that makes drinking out of the mug a great deal more pleasurable than most travel mugs. I highly recommend it. Here is the link: http://teafrog.com/teas/joemo-xl-tea-travel-mug.html
On to the tea! I was surprised. It was tasty, well-flavored, non-bitter and basically delicious. I didn’t think that cold-brewing would work that well, but it did. The tea has a creamy mango sencha flavor that went well with my errands. Also highly recommended.
This is a tea that is better as it cools a bit. Initially I could taste no fruits at all but as it cooled I began to get a pleasant banana and slight cherry sweetness toward the end of each sip. The tea used as a base is very strong, slightly astringent and slightly bitter. I recommend steeping it for less than 4 minutes. It is an ok tea. I can see myself drinking it again. I prefer 52teas’ Coconut Cream Pie, which seems to have more flavor.
OK, I thought I’d just top off my caffeination before heading out (while waiting for my beloved to slowly ready himself) and try this new tea at the same time. It’s not for me. I couldn’t finish it. The spices are too strong and hurt my throat and the ginger smell is too strong for me to enjoy the fragrance of the tea.
I’ve put it in my “Give to a Good Home” box.
Mixed this with hot chocolate “mix” (actually ground up dark chocolate bars is our hot chocolate mix), Vanilla Soy Milk, and Soyatoo Cream then frothed in our hot chocolate maker for a delicious frothy beverage with lots of chocolatey and matcha goodness. It’s a great start to a new year. Now off to our run!
I’m continuing with my tea drinking instead of food to prepare myself for an evening of riotous pleasure. Chai Agni is perfect since it is decaf, which means that I won’t be up all night if I have it late. I wish I could find more decaf teas (not rooibos or honeybush) that tasted as good. It is, of course, delicious and warming with its lovely peppers, spices, and chocolate notes.