101 Tasting Notes
On the walk home I stopped in a small grocery to look around and felt weird about walking out empty handed after being in there so long. Grabbed a cold bottle of this one the way out. This is my first time trying Honest Tea, and I always thought I’d like it because it’s everything I want. It’s in a glass bottle, only lightly sweetened, not flavored overwhelmingly with cheap flavor, and uses citric acid as a preservative. Plus oolong! Oolongs are great iced!
Unfortunately this was not very good. Tasted like watery black tea that’s been sitting out for too long. Has a weird flavor I always associated with American plastic bottled teas. Sweetness and peach flavor was spot on though. I’m not sure if I will try another, but I’m almost wishing I picked up a kombucha instead of this and I know I don’t like that.
I hit up the Teasouce booth at the state fair since who can resist tea samples AND looking at all the wonderful quilts, knitted and crocheted items, jellies, cookies, and breads showcased in the building. They only had samples of four teas available and all were served iced and sweetened. I skipped the red berries since I’ve had it before, it’s a rather nice berry based herbal. The Minnasota N’ice I had been wanting to try for awhile since it sounded intriguing being an orange and jasmine flavored tea meant for icing. The orange was rather strong in my sample fading into a light. floral aftertaste. I didn’t get much of the base, but it’s been awhile since I’ve gas a sweetened tea so I think I’ll still want to try it on its own before passing judgement. The next sample was an organic lime flavored green tea. I was a little underwhelmed by it, but again may have been the sugar. The last I tried was a raspberry matcha. I don’t care much for flavored matcha and this was super sweet. The raspberry flavor was spot on though.
There was also another tea seller called Log Cabin Teas with a booth. They had a whole wall of tea dispensers for people to dispense their own samples, but I wasn’t willing to fight the mob to try any. They had a sign saying something along the lines of “samples are for tasting not for drinking”, from what I could see it wasn’t doing a whole lotta good. From what I could see they were also predominantly flavored and probably sweetened teas.
I’ve wanted to try this since I’m developing a fondness for small cakes and can’t help but want to acquire more. Can’t seem to find my tasting notes though, but from what I remember it started out strong with apricot notes. The tea was thick and full bodied, but I never got any bitterness out of this. Easy drinking but full flavored, resteeped a long time. No smoke.
From puerh plus TTB:
1st steep: stone fruit
2nd: a light floral taste
3rd: brewed a dark green gold color, the only tasting notes I have are “liquid gold”…not sure what I was thinking there.
4th: brewed an orange color, slight bit of drying bitterness here
The drying effect lasted through the next couple of steeps. Then it sweetened up while gradually fading away…
I saw this in the puerh plus TTB and wasn’t interested. I’ve been drinking hojicha a long time and one of the first loose leaf teas I bought were packets of Yamamotoyama hojicha. I assumed toasting was a great equalizer of tea quality. The stems were such a gorgeous deep brown color that I eventually opened the packet for a sniff. It smelled like chocolate. I’m not sure how or why but exactly like chocolate. So I took the sample and waited all of a week before I had to have it.
I doubted my senses so I double checked with my favorite non-tea drinker by shoving the package in their facing and asking what it smelled like. “Chocolate” came out on its own from someone who couldn’t tell hojicha from a nice mulch so it wasn’t just my brain playing tricks on me. I brewed this in a steeper mug and got two cups of glorious toasty chocolate tasting late night tea. The toasty was was full without being acrid. I think I probably could have got another cup out of it, should I not turned into the night. I am ashamed about my past ambivalence to hojicha, and now feel the need to see if I can find a particularly fine example of roasted barley tea out there.
Sample from 2016 Puerh Plus TTB.
I made sure to grab some Mandala samples since their store is only a few hours from here which as far as tea vendors go means we are practically neighbors. Plus I’m going to have to place an order some day for some tea soak anyway and its not like I’m not going to order any tea as well.
Im not very experienced with sheng, the vast majority of what I’ve had has been either very young (1-2 years) or nondescript (unidentifiable “green puer”). One of the things I sort of got a handle on while sorting through the TTB samples is how older sheng said start to smell when fermentation gets underway, and thus sheng smelled older to me. I brewed about 175F and didn’t rinse. The 1st cup came out with the fruity apricot of a young sheng. The 2nd steep was a bit bitter, but with an earthy flavor. A ruddy color started to come out here which continued to darken over the next few steps into a dark gold color. 3rd steep was tobacco, smoke, and acrid bitter. 4th became so pleasant that I drank it without taking notes. After that the tea smoothed out considerably and became a little sweet. There was also a silky texture to the tea. I lost count of steeps after this,but it lasted awhile. The leaves at the end of this were mostly green with some with dark purple brown coloration. There were quite a few fat buds as well.