227 Tasting Notes

67

OK purists, shutter your eyes now. This is not real tea. This is a melange of roasted chicory, chocolate, pepper, and ginger. It brews up black like coffee with a strong ginger smell. In my teens I was quite taken with herbal experimentation and this smells like one of my experiments. It brings me back to my mispent youth. It tastes fairly close to coffee with a ginger chaser. It’s not terrible and I can see it as an option for evenings when I want something dark without the caffeine.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 15 sec
Angrboda

Chicory, isn’t that that stuff they used during the war to make replacement coffee? I’ve never had that, I’m imagining something kind of earthy and woodsy.

Carolyn

If you are talking about Europe in WWI and WWII, then yes, roasted chicory was used as a coffee substitute. It basically tastes like a milder form of coffee, not woodsy or earthy at all. In New Orleans they have a chicory-coffee combination that they serve that is very good.

Angrboda

Yes, that’s what I meant. I forgot coffee wasn’t difficult to get everywhere. :) I’ve never had it myself, but I know of at least one place in the city where I work where you could get Richs Replacement Coffee until recently. It was the most common brand in Denmark during the occupation and it was even sold in the same package design as in the forties. But they’ve stopped making it now, I think. People would mix it with real coffee and stretch the beans that way. I think I’ll try and keep my eye out to see if I can get a sample of it and see what it’s like.

Carolyn

@Angrboda I had to ask my beloved (who is a military historian), “Suppose you were Danish and were talking about using chicory as a coffee substitute in ‘the war’. Which war are you talking about?” He immediately said, “World War II” and then corrected himself, ’Well, World War I also. She could be talking about either one. Hmmm. Denmark, huh? Probably World War II. The real question is how she feels about Brussel sprouts. That would tell us which war."

He’s very handy to have around.

There are three kinds of coffee substitutes: those made from roasted grains (typically barley), those made from roasted roots (like chicory); and those made from roasted fruit (figs are popular). When you pick up Rich’s, check to see what they’re using.

Angrboda

I did mean WWII, yes. Since we were occupied by the germans, that’s the big one for us. Interestingly, during that whole climate todo in Copenhagen, the police had to borrow police cars from Sweden and Germany to cover everything, and while the swedish police cars still said ‘Polis’ on them, the ‘Polizei’ on the german cars had been covered with the danish ‘Politi’. Even now over 60 years after the end of occupation, they couldn’t have cars with ‘Polizei’ on them driving around in Copenhagen. Too sensitive when there are still people alive who remember the occupation. And as for Brussel sprouts, I don’t much like them. I think they’re too bitter. But then I’m not one for most sorts of cabbage anyway.

I passed the shop today where they had it, but I forgot to stop in and check the package. I think it’s a 250g package or something like that. Bit too large to buy in case I don’t like it. :)

Anyway, I think it must have been either of the first two, or possibly a combination. I think the fruit variety would have been even harder to come by.

Carolyn

@Angrboda That’s a fascinating story about the German police cars at the conference in Copenhagen. I’ll have to tell my beloved. He will be interested to hear it.

As to the Brussels sprouts, he maintains that anyone who lived through WWII in Germany and the areas occupied by Germany hates Brussels sprouts because they were amongst the few foods that were available to the populace in the late war. I personally think that this is just his gambit to avoid eating Brussels sprouts, which he hates and I love. But since he is the historian, I can’t say much.

Angrboda

He might be on to something, actually. My dad likes it and I don’t know about my mum. It’s not something that was ever served in my family. I’ve never seen my grandparents serve it either as far as I remember. On my mum’s side, my grandparents were only children at the time, but on my dad’s side my grandparents are some ten-twenty years older, so I could imagine that they at least had eaten enough brussel sprouts to last them a life time.
With the exception of my dad’s mother, all my grandparents are out of farmer families, though, so they’ve likely had a bit of an advantage there since they could grow the vegetables they needed themselves and they had cows too so they probably almost always had butter too. A while ago we came to talk about it somehow and my grandmother told of how the german soldiers would come up to their house to buy eggs and milk and such, and how in hindsight it had probably been pretty problematic to trade with them. What if the resistance movements discovered it, would they consider it some form of collaboration? Or, on the other hand, did they dare say no to the occupational force? She said they never had any trouble though. She must have been barely ten or so at the time, and if she was alone in the house she would hide when they came and pretend no one was home because she didn’t dare talk to the soldiers.

It’s difficult for me to imagine the occupation and what it meant to the daily lives of people then, in spite of having learned about in great detail in school and a number of films and tv-series and what not having been made about it. It seems like it’s so long ago, but it’s still less than a lifetime for some people.

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83
drank Tankha by The Simple Leaf
227 tasting notes

This tea has large, beautiful, multi-colored leaves that brew into a golden liquor with a sweet fragrance with hints of incense. The tea is from Darjeeling and I detect in it that same Darjeeling floral fragrance. The taste encourages a kind a lazy sensuality as it spreads its floral complexities across my taste buds. It is surprisingly light in taste for an oolong. As it cools a bit, the incense begins to come out in the taste as well as the aroma.

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 3 min, 0 sec
teaplz

You’re making The Simple Leaf sound so delicious, Carolyn! Always a pleasure to read these reviews.

Carolyn

I cannot believe how much I love The Simple Leaf’s teas (especially Dawn). They are a fantastic company: a true gem.

takgoti

No. No more new tea companies I want to buy from.

Buzzer Sound

I’m sorry, but your application for purchase has been denied. New applications are being accepted during February of 2010. Please hold all suggestions and posts until otherwise notified. Further details will be announced as they are determined.

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99

Welcome back to my cup, sweet Bohea. We’ve been too long apart. I’d forgotten your raisin sweetness, your handsome golden tipped leaves and your pretty copper liquor. Let’s just sit here for a while and get re-acquainted.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

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80
drank Chocolate and Cream by TeaFrog
227 tasting notes

The tea is exactly as it claims to be: chocolate. This is probably the most chocolate of any tea I’ve had. It’s very good. It has a slightly odd perfumed fragrance as well, which I assume is supposed to be the “cream” flavor. It’s a good tea but somewhat monochromatic. If what you want is just this side of hot chocolate, this is a good place to go.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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88
drank Royal Palace Pu-erh by Samovar
227 tasting notes

This is a tea takgoti sent to me since she knows that I enjoy trying pu-erhs. This one is quite nice. It has a very smooth taste. Of course it has that distinctive pu-erh fragrance. But I think I actually like this one. I will have to think on it further to determine what exactly makes it nice.

Update: Have now had three steeps of this and I like it more each time.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
takgoti

YAY! Keep going with the steeps! I’ve honestly lost count with how many I can go for on this one. It can stand up to a lot; I think I’ve gotten around 15, no joke.

Carolyn

I have kept on going. It’s pretty amazing. Until this last cup of tea, I’ve drunk only Pu-erh. Thank you so much for sending this. It is really wonderful.

takgoti

You’re very welcome! This has warranted a Cheshire Cat grin on my end. It tickles me very much that you’re enjoying it.

teaplz

15?! Wow. I wonder at what point the cups stop having caffeine… I’m always worried about caffeine levels and it makes me feel ridiculous. :(

And yay, more pu-erh! There’s been a lot of pu-erh drinking going on on Steepster lately.

takgoti

@teaplz When I drink pu-erh, I usually start it hours before I know I’m going to stop drinking it, because I really drag it out. By then, the caffeine usually isn’t what’s affecting me, it’s the nice little pu-erh high. Mmm…pu-erh high.

Carolyn

@takgoti Yes, there was a little pu-erh high (with much giggling as I cleaned the kitchen). Very nice.

@teaplz Pu-erh is supposed to have quite a bit of caffeine compared to other teas so I’m cautious.

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78
drank Black Frost by The Simple Leaf
227 tasting notes

I felt like something simple and dark this morning and this came to hand. I really love the smell of this tea with its multi-layered floral and other notes. The taste is just a good ordinary black tea.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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91

The needle-like leaves have a wonderful nutty fragrance with slight notes of resin and flowers when submerged in hot water. The liquor produced is pale yellow and has a slightly deeper resin fragrance than the leaves alone.

The taste is rich and complex with notes of butter, nuts, pine, and a few other tastes I cannot describe. A very worthwhile tea with wonderful surprises in the flavor.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

I just bought my 1st yellow tea and I’ve been wanting to order from UTI for a while and when I do, I’ll be ordering yellow tea.

Jillian

UTI? LOL, I’m not sure they’d want to be associated with the acronym for Urinary Tract Infections! XD

Cofftea

I was really tempted to say something like “so is a yellow tea from UTI better at getting rid of UTIs than say a black tea from Adagio?” UTI is also a car mechanic’s school.

takgoti

I cannot separate the UTI acronym from its urinary counterpart. The fact that this is a yellow tea makes it all the more unfortunate. This does remind me that I need to order yellow tea from Rishi, though. May need to give this a go as well. Methinks I will be ordering a lot of tea tomorrow.

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79
drank Honeybee by The Simple Leaf
227 tasting notes

I confess, I’m always a bit leery of oolongs. I’ve had so much bad luck with them that I approach them much as I do pu-erhs, with a “Chin up! Be brave!” admonition. But I remembered I liked this tea from The Simple Leaf (and I love the company), so I thought I would try it this afternoon. Hopefully it will help quell my hunger pangs until I can get home and eat something healthy.

The fragrance is honey sweet and the liquor looks like honey as well. The taste has floral notes, honey, and a slight sharpness that I can see would veer into bitterness with a longer, hotter steep. It’s nice.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Suzi

This one sounds really nice, but I love honey :D

Carolyn

As it cools the honey becomes even more prominent. If you love honey, you’ll love this.

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95
drank Pineapple Sencha by Den's Tea
227 tasting notes

I could drink these flavored senchas all day (and frequently do). Sadly, that means that I am ripping through my little bag of pineapple sencha and will have to purchase more.

Preparation
150 °F / 65 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Cofftea

I feel the same way about the Apple that Lena gave me!

LENA

I’m working up my next order for Den’s Tea.

@ Cofftea – I’m glad you are still enjoying it!

Ricky

Can’t wait to try my Apple one. I’ll definitely be ordering from Den’s tea once I finish my samplers.

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100
drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
227 tasting notes

The tea has improbably large, twisted black leaves that smell of chocolate. It brews up into a brandy-colored brew that smells like chocolate. The taste is true to the fragrance, it is like a cocoa tea with no bitterness and the merest hint of astringency. This is so good! I really need to order more of this when I run out of my small package. I’ve upped the rating a bit.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
takgoti

Oooh, that does sound rather delicious. If I may pry, what is it not doing that’s keeping it shy of perfect?

Carolyn

There are three qualities a tea must have to be a 100 tea: Perfection of Taste, Passion, and Lasting Joy.

Both 99 and 100 teas have perfection of taste and this tea is simply perfect in that way.

However, the primary difference between 99 and 100 is passion. Both 99 and 100 teas must taste perfect with no downsides. But a 100 tea must have that quality that compels me to order the largest size possible of the tea. It must engender in me a devil-may-care passion. I must feel that my life is simply incomplete if ever I run out of this tea. This tea has passed that second test. A few days ago I put in an order for a pound of it.

The third quality is that I must not regret it when the large size arrives and, in fact, seeing the large quantity of tea must continue to fill me with happiness for a long time afterward. This tea has not yet proven itself regret-free since the large quantity hasn’t yet arrived. My honest guess is that this tea is going to prove to be a 100. I am already looking for a yixing teapot to dedicate to this tea and I never felt that way about a tea before.

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Bio

I’m a suddenly enthusiastic tea aficionado. I had no idea how varied and delicious teas could be. Also I’m a dairy-free vegetarian, so if you see me say “cream” or “milk” it means soy milk or soy cream.

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Memphis

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