583 Tasting Notes
1 scant TB for 500mL water, nothing added.
I love jasmine tea. It can be tricky to brew, and I learned recently, thanks to this very site, that for years I’ve been using water that’s too hot. Water that’s too hot can scald tea leaves and blossoms and make the overall tea bitter.
Today, I followed instructions … at least, as best I could without a thermometer or fancy adjustable kettle.
Dry leaves are medium to long and twisted. Liquor is pale straw. Scent is heady and heavy with jasmine … with REAL jasmine. No fakery here. Assertive and pleasant finish. Clean mouth-feel, which I really like and generally only find in white teas.
The green tea, as another Steepsterite has noted, is not especially strong and is almost as delicate as white tea. Almost, but not quite: there’s a slight bit of vegetal and (ooh, look at me with my new word!) mineral tastes from the green tea. The mineral taste may come from my tap water, either; my city’s water supply comes from a lake. In winter, when the city lowers the chlorine levels, you can catch bits of reed and rocks in the water, very refreshing.
But back to the tea. The jasmine mouth-feel is fairly heavy; someone else compared it to soap. I wouldn’t go that far, but this is a serious jasmine tea. The scent alone intoxicates, in a good way; can’t wait for the jasmine “hit” from this brew. AHHHHH, there it is … laughter and smiles and peace. Any word on whether jasmine flowers are narcotic at all? ;)
Final note: aftertaste goes from clean to slightly powdery.
I slightly prefer the Dragon Pearls I got from my local teashop, but Andrews and Dunham’s Jasmine Green is also excellent. I’ll be sorry to finish this little tin, but I won’t be hoarding it, either.
1TB, 500mL water, no milk or sugar
Oh, MY! I steeped this in a little 500mL teapot set on a desktop mug-warmer … and then FORGOT about it. Half an hour later, I found it. I thought, oh well, let’s see how bad this got.
Dark liquor, yes, but clear, no murk or sediment. No bitterness! A simply divine scent of some mysterious fruit brandy — beyond raisin — then the taste of really, really good deep Assam. An astringent finish, but I like that with Assam. The brandy-like scent translates to a heavy-wine mouthfeel, something like what you get with a good Keemun, only heftier.
Kopili Estate, I salute you.
2-3 TB in 125mL gourd, 1/2-1 packet stevia, 125 mL steaming (not boiling) water.
Sweet yet ‘green.’ Some coffee flavour, some white chocolate, some cloves. Really pleasant and mellow green mate taste amongst it all. Medium body and slightly creamy mouthfeel when sipped through a bombilla, versus a definitely thin body and sharp mouthfeel when drunk as a tisane. Good for 3-4 infusions. Can be quite potent. A good friend when fighting deadlines. Yerba mate does not affect my sleep hours after the fact, something I really like. Dregs in the gourd look like the bottom of a bog, but that’s okay — everyone else is scared to drink it. More for me!
I try never to run out of this one. I’ve asked for a big 250g bag as a Christmas present.
1 big bag for 500mL water (medium take-out cup from Starbucks), no milk or sweetener.
Ai yi yi. Be careful if you get Joy to go. Traffic and other delays meant mine steeped wayyyy too long. The oolong is lost. Astringent and spicy Darjeelings, intoxicated with new power, have bullied this cup. Some stronger black tea is grunting in the background. Something else— oolong?— tastes scalded. I love a good strong tea, but Tazo’s Joy is delicate and complex. Steep carefully!
1 TB for 500mL water, no milk or sweetener.
I find Kenya Black Dryer Mouth — so named for the malty pucker it can cause — tastes and feels like a cousin of Assam. It’s brighter in scent and liquor than an Assam, more like a Ceylon that way, but it’s got maltiness, baby. Smooth finish, no bitterness.
Dry leaves look black; steeped leaves turn a beautiful dark rust with some dark green.
Light to medium mouthfeel. Not as creamy or chewy as a good Assam (can ya tell I’m out of Assam and dying to have some this morning?) but very, very good. Bright and feisty.
Many Irish Breakfast blends use Kenya teas.
2 bags for 500 mL water, no milk or sweetener.
Decaf black tea is dicey. I often find it tastes stale or hollow.
Stash decaf English Breakfast is not the best black tea from Stash, and it’s not the most flavourful English Breakfast blend. I blame the decaffing for this, not the tea itself.
BUT … and this is a major saving ‘but’ … when I wake up feeling sick at 2 in the morning and sleep seems as far away as a Darjeeling estate, Stash’s decaf English Breakfast is lovely. I brew it strong, of course, try to steep it past the decaf hollowness; it quickly slides then into a comforting, if astringent, puckery maltiness. I love it. And even if it doesn’t help me get back to sleep, at least it won’t keep me awake.
2 bags for 500mL water, no sweetener or milk.
I generally don’t care for flavoured black teas. Too often the black tea base is of a low quality, and the added flavour seems to mask, rather than accentuate, the tea. Stash, however, do a consistently good job with flavoured black teas, especially for bagged tea.
There’s Indian black tea in this blend, perhaps Assam, or maybe it’s Kenyan … something’s got a kiss of malt to it. The maltiness then emphasizes the peach flavour, which is heavy but not fake. After 5 minutes, the brew gets astringent, but not, surprisingly, bitter.
The peach flavour is better than that ubiquitous radioactive peach flavour/stench that seemed to infest everything in the late 1980s; there’s depth to the peachiness here, which then emphasizes the slight maltiness of the black tea, and so back and forth, back and forth …
Medium to heavy body. Silky mouthfeel. Not an everyday tea for me, but one I cherish when I’m in the mood for it. I don’t care for everything Stash offers, not by a long shot, but when they get it right, like this Peach tea, they seriously get it right.