1881 Tasting Notes
This is one of the last black teas in my cupboard that I had rated 80, and after going through all the other ones, this is the one I think deserves a bump.
The flavor is naturally sweet and an almond that doesn’t taste like flavoring. It’s well-integrated into the base, as are most Mariage Freres flavored teas.
We’ll see how it compares to the higher rated black teas, but it doesn’t belong among the last few 80s.
Sipdown no. 9 of April 2019 (no. 58 of 2019 total, no. 546 grand total).
Chocolate mint teas have a hard row to hoe with me. I love the idea of Girl Scout thin mints in a cup, but that’s almost never what I get. Usually it is a problem of balance in the blend. Almost always too much mint. Every once in a while, not enough mint.
I gave this one relatively high marks because I thought the balance was better than most, though the chocolate could have been given a bit more of a boost. I stand by that original assessment.
It would be wonderful, one day, to find Girl Scout thin mints in a cup…
Sipdown no. 8 of April 2019 (no. 57 of 2019 total, no. 545 grand total).
I stand by my original note on this one — definitely a tasty and satisfying Ceylon with the typical “tea” taste (like Nestea only much, much better).
I thought about whether to uprate it and I’m on the fence. I think if I were tasting it today for the first time, I’d rate it about the same. So I’m sticking with the original rating.
This sample packet has two “nests” in it, each individually wrapped.
Unwrapped, the leaves are light colored — they almost look like white tea leaves — and rather long. They’re tightly compressed. I rinsed and planned to let sit for 15 minutes before trying this yesterday, but then I ended up not getting to it. So the leaves sat overnight. I rinsed again this morning.
Then: gaiwan, boiling, 5/5/7/7/10/10/20/30/40/60
The liquor is a sort of golden apricot color in the early steeps. The flavor is mild. Not sweet exactly, but not bitter either.
I get the same general aromas and flavors that I get from other shengs — butter, white chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toffee — but also with a bit of smoke on this one.
The flavors are all quite smooth, which makes them seem a bit muted. But to me, that is an ok trade-off.
I am slowly but surely getting through my pu erh samples. It’s starting to seem like a bit of a chore now, here at the end, to get initial notes done on all of them.
On the flipside, I’m very much enjoying the result of having made it through my entire cupboard with initial tasting notes. Mostly this means I get to drink the tea and just enjoy it, without feeling the need to think about it enough to record a note. Sipdown notes are so much easier, since I only note the difference between my initial tasting note and the sipdown, if any.
In any case, I don’t know whether it’s that I don’t have a sophisticated enough palate, or whether I am not tasting the right teas, but I am finding that the shengs I taste all sort of taste the same. They mostly vary in whether there’s a smoky note or not, and in degrees of intensity of flavor.
I was expecting a much bigger difference in aroma and flavor from steep to steep than I typically get.
Which doesn’t mean I don’t like them. It just means it seems like a lot of trouble to go through multiple steeps for not very much ROI.
Flavors: Butter, Cocoa, Coffee, Smoke, Toffee, White Chocolate
Sipdown no. 7 of April 2019 (no. 56 of 2019 total, no. 544 grand total). A sample.
I got a second sample of this when I ordered some cute little glass cups to replace one that broke.
And now that I have some really unpleasant congestion going on, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to have this. This time around, I get a bit of everything, even the orange.
But my original description was pretty spot on. So I’m sticking with it.
Sipdown no. 6 of April 2019 (no. 55 of 2019 total, no. 543 grand total). A sample.
I was looking for the entry for another American Tea Room pu er that I’m planning to try a sample of today and saw that I’d rated this one below 80. Since I’m currently sipping down my lowest rated teas and this one is on the lower side, as well as, according to my prior note, not one I found very special, I thought I’d take the opportunity to add to my sipdown count and polish off the last of the sample.
I made it western style, and it’s actually kind of nice to have a big cup full that I don’t have to think too much about — just enjoy the warmth and the relative mildness on my congested sinuses. I don’t have any great epiphanies that I feel I need to add to my notes on this — the original note captures it pretty well.
Sipdown no. 5 of April 2019 (no. 54 of 2019 total, no. 542 grand total).
A surprise sipdown, courtesy of the BF’s sore throat which caused me to make a bigger pot than usual.
Nothing really to add to the original note on this. I did think about whether its rating should stay the same and decided it should.
Sipdown no. 4 of April 2019 (no. 53 of 2019 total, no. 541 grand total).
I love the name of this, but unfortunately the tea was just very good, not spectacular.
As I’ve been revisiting my teas working from the lowest rated up, I have been trying to pay particular attention to whether I ought to change the ratings on some of them. In some cases, that does seem warranted, either upward or downward. In others, the tea is exactly where I would have placed it were I trying it for the first time. This one’s rating seemed to me pretty spot on.
Also, it is starting to bother me that most of my lowest rated cupboard occupants are fruit blends or herbals. Particularly the chamomile blends. I have been focusing on sipping those down for a while now and I can’t seem to make a dent in them. Sigh.
Sipdown no. 3 of April 2019 (no. 52 of 2019 total, no. 540 grand total).
Definitely one of the better flavord pu erhs I have had.
In my original note, I complained about the ginger not being strong enough. Clearly I needed to shake the packet up because in the last steep of this, the ginger is quite strong and tastes like the spice, not a confection. It must have all settled to the bottom…