642 Tasting Notes
Sipdown! I’m on a roll this weekend.
This blend is still wonderful. The floral notes are predominantly rose and jasmine. There’s a thick, subtle sweetness to it. There’s something holding the sweetness in check – a woody quality that maybe comes from the juniper? I can’t pinpoint it but it’s a nice balance to the sweetness.
Thanks to Stephanie for this sample! I brewed it up in my Den’s Tea kyusu. The instructions are for two steeps but I got a third steep out of the leaf by brewing at 180f for about 3 minutes. It’s a basic, grassy sencha. I may have let the leaf get too old. It’s tasty but doesn’t have a lot of the nuance that I’ve come to expect from Den’s Tea. Still, it’s got a decently thick mouthfeel and clean flavor.
Happy Lunar New Year! I’m celebrating by drinking only Chinese teas today. This sample from Teavivre is first on deck.
The dry leaf is seaweed green, long and wiry. One thing I give Teavivre credit for is that the pictures on their website are consistently a fair and accurate representation of how the leaf actually looks. The dry leaf smells of fresh cut grass and honey.
Steep 1: 185f, 30 seconds. The wet leaf looks like steamed spinach and smells like… kale? asparagus? The brew is a green-tinted gold and smells like fresh peas. The mouthfeel is medium-thick and slightly dry. The flavor is light, sweet, and vegetal. It’s basically springtime in a cup, which seems apropos for the Spring Festival!
Steep 2: 185f, 40 seconds. This steep smells more cooked, like steamed spinach (although that might be the visual influence of how the leaves look). It’s still a green-tinted gold, darker this time. The flavor is vegetal with a bitter note. Kale maybe?
Steep 3: 190f, 40 seconds. Basically the same as steep 2.
Steep 4: 185f, 65 seconds. There’s a faint hint of roastiness in the flavor this time. Like roasted greens or maybe grilled asparagus.
Steep 5: 185f, 2 minutes. I think this is the end of what this leaf has to give. The bitter note is stronger, making the brew taste like kale. Incidentally, I don’t like kale. Teavivre says this leaf gong fus for three steeps. I maybe did not need to get more ambitious than that. :-)
Flavors: Asparagus, Kale, Peas
It’s cold and windy and rainy and TBH I’m semi-irrationally scared that the wind will blow my air conditioner out of the window. Mostly I am perturbed by the eerie noises that the wind is making and the fact that some of it is getting through the a/c. So, like any good Steepsterite, I reached for a comforting cuppa. Phi first exposed me to this tea when she sent me a sample (thanks, friend!). Then there was an ounce of this in our gift bags at the Philly Coffee & Tea Fest. I am trying to enjoy rather than hoard it but it’s SO GOOD and I don’t want to run out. It basically tastes like a cinnamon oatmeal cookie. This tea is just wintry comfort in a cup. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put in some earplugs, curl up under a blanket, and try to sleep through (hopefully) the worst of this storm.
I had planned to attend my local march today. The conspicuously-timed stabbing migraine I’ve been fighting since yesterday morning had other plans. So I am stuck at home, trying to rest and not dwell on the frustration of having my body betray me or the guilt of not being in the streets with my friends and colleagues. What does one even drink on a day like today? Why, Butiki of course, for this is a day for dwelling on what we have lost and remembering what we still have. I’m pairing it with Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.
This blend has held up quite well. I may have added too much sugar to the first steep, resulting in an imbalance between the almond and maple flavors. I didn’t really get any waffle flavor, though there was a nice thick mouthfeel and no driness. I’m on steep 2 now and the flavor of the base tea has come out to play, sort of bready and just a touch bitter. This is a wonderfully soothing, dessert-like blend that I’m happy to still have a little of.
Honestly, I’m not getting a lot of pudding flavor or texture here. Instead, this tastes like a thin Mexican hot chocolate. It’s probably a mild-to-moderate kick of spice but I have an Eastern European palate so it tastes super spicy to me. A splash of rice milk helped smooth out the spice. I think whole milk would probably be great here to add some thickness and mellow out the chili flavor. Alas, I have none.
Flavors: Chocolate, Spicy