654 Tasting Notes
Another sipdown – ESP’s Genmaicha with Strawberry. It’s not in the database and I don’t feel like adding it right now. Liquid Proust included this as part of the Japan group buy while he was studying there (thanks!). It smelled so strongly of strawberry that I had to separate it from the rest of the teas as soon as I opened the box. I may have waited too long to drink this, though, because the strawberry scent has faded somewhat and does not seem to carry over to the flavor. This tastes like a slightly sweet, very faintly strawberry genmaicha. It is a bit too sensitive for my liking; I suggest steeping it at low temp for no more than a minute. Otherwise it comes out tasting more like burnt rice than roasted rice. It holds up decently to a second steep, though it does lose whatever faint strawberriness there was in the first one. This was nice enough but not something that I’m heartbroken to be out of.
Thank you to Nepali Tea Traders for the sample! I suspect this is the same tea used for the base of their Masala Spiced blend. It’’s delicious. Apparently Nepalese blacks lack the astringency of most other black teas and don’t hurt my stomach. This one is mellow and bready with a faint apricot note. In later steeps, a strong honey note comes to the fore. I’m truly displeased that this is a sipdown. Once I get my cupboard under control, this goes on the keep-in-stock list. Though it seems like I’ve been saying that for years about various teas and my cupboard is still a mess…
Flavors: Apricot, Honey
Sipdown! Many thanks to MissB for sending me some of this unique tea. I can tell you that I quite like it, but I am having trouble articulating why. The problem is that I’ve never had saffron before so my palate can’t ID it and distinguish it from the other flavors. The honey flavor is very tastily strong here. There’s also a sage-like note that I think might be the saffron, and a slight tartness that lingers on the tongue. Although I don’t feel the need to instantly hunt it down and buy 10 boxes, this is certainly a blend I wouldn’t mind having in stock (especially at the office on days when I need a soothing moment).
I was in midtown today for a training, so I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and treat myself. I have been wanting to check out the matcha at Ippodo for a while (http://www.ippodo-tea.co.jp/en/shop/ny.html). The shop is absolutely lovely. Lots of wood creates a serene vibe. I ordered iced usucha. Honestly, it was worth the $4.25. The matcha was prepared in the traditional way and poured over ice. Just watching them prep it was really cool. The matcha itself was just right (at least to my taste buds). It was grassy and vegetal and refreshing. The first few sips left an astringent aftertaste, but that went away and didn’t come back as I kept drinking. I did learn that I can’t drink this on an empty stomach – the energy boost came with a serious bout of nausea.
Thankfully, I then walked a few blocks south and enjoyed a nice meal at Franchia (http://www.franchia.com/). I ordered the dandelion tea. It had a roasted, savory flavor that complemented my meal and soothed my stomach.
To round out the evening, I stopped by the Morgan Library and checked out their Alice in Wonderland exhibit. Highly recommended. Especially on Fridays from 7pm-9pm when they have live chamber music and free admission. :-)
Thanks to Chi Whole Leaf for sending me this sample!
I used 1 tsp of powder stirred into 8 oz of boiling water. Like most powdered teas, the powder settled at the bottom no matter how much I stirred. This tea smells like cozy chamomile and mint. The flavor reminds me of Bonomelli’s chamomile – strong sweet apple notes. This came out a little thin once the powder settled, so I pulled out my trusty milk frother for a better blend. I still ended up with some clumping of the ground flowers. The company warns that this is likely to happen, but it still isn’t exactly appealing in either appearance or added texture in the sip. I like the taste of this but ultimately I can’t get over the weird texture (nor do I have the patience to strain my tea). Sipdown!
Flavors: Apple, Mint
Sipdown! A sample of this came in the most recent magazine. It’s nice. The ginger and lemon are equally balanced. Hardcore ginger fans would find this unsatisfying, but I like the medium ginger flavor and the way it’s softened by the lemon myrtle. Plus, I got two solid steeps out of the leaf. This would be a nice alternative to the straight ginger tea in my cabinet.
Flavors: Ginger, Lemon
Thanks to Chi Whole Leaf for the free sample! I’m still not sure how I feel about this one. The scent is faintly rose and heavily hibiscus. The brew is a lovely pink and the powder suspends well in hot water. The flavor is… mostly hibiscus. Tart and sweet. If I did not know that there were other flowers in here, I would not be able to guess. So if you like hibiscus, this is great. If you don’t, this is definitely not for you. If you’re neutral on hibiscus like I am, this is a nice choice on occasion but not a must-have. Sipdown!
I picked up a sample of this at the Coffee & Tea Festival. Enjoying it tonight with a bit of Manuka honey. It tastes refreshingly of peppermint and a tart touch of lemon. There’s a nice tingly afterfeel. This feels like brushing my teeth, but not in a gross way. Brushing my teeth with some hippy natural herbal paste? Anyway, this is a solid blend that blows away several of the meh peppermint herbal blends in my cabinet right now. Unfortunately, it’s a sipdown!
Flavors: Lemon, Peppermint
Thanks to Chi Whole Leaf for the free sample! Blended into hot water with my trusty milk frother, this was a pretty boring mint tea. Not bad, but not exceptional either. I frothed the last of the powder into a glass of cold rice milk. The result was a better suspension than I got with the hot water. The flavor was better too. The mintiness of the tea interplayed nicely with the creamy sweetness of the rice milk. I never picked up on the eucalyptus flavor, unfortunately. Overall, I think this kind of powder is most useful for making quick iced tea or lattes. Sipdown!