2238 Tasting Notes
This is one of my all-time least favourite raw pu’erhs, and yet somehow more of it seems to keep appearing in my cupboard. I’m not even sure how it gets there, because I thought I’d polished all of this off ages ago! Apparently not.
It has a flavour to it that I find hard to describe – it’s slightly metallic, but with an undertone of decaying fish? That’s not exactly right, but close enough. It’s kind of briney, but not salty…like brine if it wasn’t salty? This was one of the first raw pu’erhs I tried, and unsurprisingly it put me off them for a long time. I now know that they’re not all like this, but then this one’ll come back around and put me off all over again.
This tea makes me sad. I don’t think we’ll ever, ever be friends.
I can smell menthol, and I can just about taste menthol, and that was the first surprise for me with this tea. If it’s subtle in terms of menthol flavour, though, it certainly posesses the effect in quantity – my lips are tingly, and it has the same cooling effect mint tea has for me. Who knew?
In my head, I was expecting this to be a bit like the other Fengqing raw pu’erhs I’ve tried, none of which I’ve particularly enjoyed. This one, though, is more than a little different. It has the underlying brassy flavour I most associate with raw pu’erh (at least of this variety) but it’s also somehow fresher and cleaner. The menthol plays a large part in creating that effect, obviously, but it’s more than that too. It’s like spring leaves as opposed to autumn leaves – it tastes greener, less earthy, brighter.
As ever, this probably isn’t something I’d want to keep around long term. I think on balance raw pu’erh just isn’t really my thing, but this is one of the more palatable I’ve tried.
I’m pretty sure this is the last of the Spring 2015 teas in my cupboard, and it’s a pretty good feeling to get to this point. It also means that I can maybe allow myself some of this year’s spring greens, just in time!
This one isn’t a variety I’ve tried before, as far as I can recall. The leaves are pretty unique looking – long and very thin, but twisted. They can be unfurled into almost whole leaves in most cases. The scent of the wet leaf is strongly vegetal (in the way of spinach, or green cabbage), but the tea itself is a more delicate affair. In some ways, it’s almost more floral than vegetal – drinking this reminds me a little of the scent of lilies. There is a vegetal flavour also, but in truth it’s more underlying than I expected it to be. I have some doubts as to whether spinach and lily really work _all_that well together as a flavour combination, but that’s mostly just me being a baby. It’s okay, really.
It was interesting to try a new-to-me green variety, although it’s not going to become a favourite I don’t think. That’s still Bi Luo Chun for me!
This is from the Spring 2015 harvest, so it’s release from my cupboard is long overdue. It seems to take longer to brew up than I’d expect, and after 3.5 minutes it’s still basically the colour of water, with just a tinge of light green. That’s not to say it’s not flavourful, though, because it is. It’s lightly vegetal, and very smooth, with just a hint of smokiness. The flavours I get mostly are cucumber and garden pea, so it’s slight and fresh-tasting, and just perfect for the early days of spring. Another one I shouldn’t have left so long.
ETA: I found out my cat died while I was writing this note. She was 21, so pretty old for a cat, and she’d had the most amazingly pampered life so I can’t feel bad on that score. It really hurts, though – we got her when I was 9 so she’s been with me through most of the major things in my life, and lots of ups and downs. I’ve lost a lifelong friend, and I’ll miss her.
Finally getting to some of my older Teavivre samples! I’ve been spoilt for oolong recently, having just worked through Dark Matter 2016. I’m not expecting this one to hold up to those kind of standards, but you never know…
In actual fact, it’s not bad. I’m getting an initial grape flavour that I really like – it reminds me a little bit of darjeeling and a little bit of grape flavour hard candy, and it’s sweeter than I was expecting. There’s a light roastiness underlying, but it doesn’t translate into a metallic/brassy kind of flavour, so that’s a win. I get a little earthiness towards the end of the sip, and maybe a touch of orchid floral, but mostly it’s sweet grape (and I like it!)
As an aside, I noticed it said in the description that Dan Cong oolongs are good for hypertension. Probably it’s a good thing for me to be drinking right now, since the management company of the block of flats I live in are being… * insert appropriate word here*
We had heavy snow last week (really heavy, for my part of the world), and on Saturday, as it started to thaw, one of our communal pipes sprung a fairly spectacular leak. It’s literally gushing, spraying water everywhere, the works. I can’t find the stopcock, and none of my neighbours seem particularly bothered. I’ve reported it to the company who are supposed to maintain our communal spaces, and they’re basically not bothered either. They send incredibly passive, don’t care kind of email responses (eventually…) which give me no confidence at all in their ability to actually fix anything. It’s not the first time, so I don’t know why I’m surprised – maybe I’m not actually surprised at all but just really fucking annoyed. I pay them over £100 a month to fix this kind of shit, and, well…
I think I need some more tea.
It’s been years since I tried this one! My last sample was tea bags from the Christmas sampler, and I judging by my rating (50) I didn’t like them all that much. I think that might partly be an “in comparison to the other teas in the sampler” rating, though, because there were some good ones! I can remember Chestnut in all its glorious goodness even now! This time, I have a loose tea sample of this one which came as a freebie with my last order. I’m happy to have the chance to give it another go.
Dry, the scent is hopelessly artificial and slightly on the bitter side. It doesn’t fill me with optimism. Brewed, though, it’s quite a different story. The immediate problem is the black tea base, which is a bit obtrusive. Adagio’s base never was their strong point, though, so I feel like I can set that aside. More so since the candy apple flavour makes it all worthwhile. It tastes, to me, exactly like those sugary red fairground confections – very sweet, with just a hint of caramel, and an undertone of apple. If I’m going to be picky, I’d say the apple perhaps isn’t quite enough of a contrast – I’d really like it to be stronger and a little sharper. It’s definitely a floral/floury red apple kind of flavour, though, which I like in this context. It works well with the general level of sweetness.
I’m going to increase my rating of this one a little, because 50 is a fairly indifferent score for me and I do actually like this one. I’d not go out of my way to keep it around all the time, but it’ll be a nice addition to my cupboard for a while.
I’ve tried this one many times before – it’s a pretty solid “vanilla cake frosting” affair, and one I try and keep as a cupboard staple most of the year. I tried something a little different with it today, and made it as a latte. I don’t know why this hasn’t occurred to me as a possibility before now, but there you go.
I used what I’m coming to think of as my usual “latte base”, which is 100ml hot milk, 1 tsp of honey, and 1/2 tsp vanilla essence. I used 3 tsp of leaf in 300ml boling water, gave it four minutes, and then added it to the milk mixture.
It’s pretty good, although perhaps not quite as spot-on as I’d hoped. Possibly I need to go the other way and use 300ml milk and 100ml water, which is the alternative option I sometimes choose. In hindsight, think it would be creamier and more delicious like this, especially with the rooibos base. I got most of what I wanted, though; vanilla, cream, cake, liquid deliciousness…
It’s always a winner, this one!
These are some of the oldest teas in my cupboard, other than a few SBTs that I’m saving for the summer. I figured it was time to give another one a chance, given that I’ve been pretty happy with them so far.
This one lives up to its name pretty well. Caramel is the main flavour, followed by vanilla. There are lots of caramel pieces amongst the leaf, so I imagine that accounts for it in part, although it also means there’s a pretty oily texture to the whole thing. I like that the flavours are pretty natural, though, and not overdone in the slightest. It’s a sweet, gentle, and a pleasant cup for a very cold morning.
I wouldn’t say I get cookie from this, as such; there’s nothing at all that makes me think “biscuit”. I’m happy with it, though, so that’s a minor complaint on the whole. It still has a delicious dessert quality, and that’s really all I wanted!
I did a bit of background research on Tulsi today – also known as Holy Basil. I knew about it’s Ayurvedic connections, but I don’t think I properly realised that it’s related to Italian/Sweet Basil. Somehow, I’ve just never made that connection. Tulsi is supposed to be less sweet, with a stronger flavour.
This Tulsi is plain and unflavoured, and hails from Sri Lanka. There’s a lot of talk on the label about how it’s grown next to the Indian Ocean, and how the terroir affects the flavour and quality of the leaf. I totally get this, because when I took my first sip (before reading any of the label notes) I immediately thought “salt” – now I know it was grown in a potentially salty location, I understand that better.
This is a salty, deeply savoury cup. Basil, to me, is pretty savoury anyway, and this tea is basically like basil on steroids. It’s not nearly as aromatic or fragrant as Italian basil in plant form, but the same basic flavour is there. It comes across as a little medicinal, but not in an obnoxious way. It’s actually very pleasant and soothing, and is making me feel more meditative.
I didn’t really expect to enjoy this one, because I haven’t really enjoyed tulsi blends in the past. This one has made me reevaluate that, though, and that’s one of the things I love about this tea journey we’re on.
I bought this one…ages ago, so it’s a massively long overdue first try for me. I’m not too worried about keeping pu’erhs, though, since they tend to age gracefully. I’ve not tried many pu’erhs like this one before (and by that, I mean of the needle variety). It’s very cool looking! The dry leaf smells strongly of rum, which I’m taking as a good sign because – let’s be honest – rum improves most things. I’m at work today, and it can certainly improve that!
Brewed, I’m pleased to find that the rum is retained. The first steep is like drinking a light-ish black tea with a slug of rum added, with all the aromatic sweetness that might suggest. The pu’erh isn’t earthy or muddy even though it’s a ripe, which is as welcome to me as it is unusual because it allows the flavour of the rum to shine through. This is a smooth easy-drinker if ever there was one, and it’s such a shame it’s no longer available.