1537 Tasting Notes
Sipdown no. 78 of 2018 (no. 434 total). A sample.
I didn’t have quite enough for the minimum steep in the Breville this morning, so I rounded it out with some Jasmine Silver Needle from Todd & Holland.
From one perspective, this was a mistake because I really can’t taste anything other than the jasmine. From another, this was not a mistake because at least I can taste the jasmine.
I’ve had this tea (unopened) for a while, but surprisingly I hadn’t put it into my cupboard here. I’ve now remedied that misstep. Finding more tea that I haven’t put in the cupboard isn’t exactly encouraging. I am finally down to under 400 tins, and I had hoped I’d be down one more today. I’ve said before, it sometimes feels like my tea breeds while I’m not looking. It feels like that today.
But anyway, I really like this one. At first I didn’t get the macaron reference, but then I don’t get much almond from this. It’s not that it isn’t there — there’s a nutty aura to the aroma of the dry leaves that carries over into the tea’s aroma and flavor, but it’s not the primary note.
Instead, I smell and taste cherries in a big way, and some other berries and some creaminess, almost.
As the tea cools, the macaron reference becomes more understandable for me. The almond is more pronounced when the tea is cooler.
I don’t taste the tea base much, though there’s some green-ness tempering all of the above.
Complex, interesting, and really appetizing. Yum.
Flavors: Berries, Cherry, Creamy, Grenadine
I have a number of unopened American Tea Room sample packets, still. It’s kind of sad to know that when I drink them down, that will be the end of American Tea Room in my stash.
And yet, this one is consistent with my experience of white tea so it won’t be one I’ll miss. I tried it at two different steeping temperatures: the Breville white setting (4 minutes at 184F) and as an herbal. Neither way gave much aroma, color or flavor. The color was a very light beige that was almost clear. The most interesting parts of it were the leaves (very fluffy and furry) and a sort of artichoke like aftertaste.
I don’t get “ripe fruit on a tray” here, but there is something fruity about this. I’m just not sure what kind of fruit.
The smell in the tin is more floral than fruity, but not a floral I can identify, and somewhat spicy. It’s not jasmine, rose , or lily of the valley. Do cornflowers smell, I asked myself? And the first answer that came up on google was “green, earthy, with a subtle peppery note.” Yes, that’s the floral, then, because I was going to say pepper and then went, “nah, that doesn’t make sense for a green tea.” Who knew?
Now for the fruit. After steeping there’s something melony about this. I don’t really get the citrus others did, but I do understand the reference to baby powder. It’s not unpleasant, just weird. I can see lychee, as others have said, but I’m wondering if the fruit I’m smelling is dragonfruit as there’s something kiwi-esque about it. I’m going out on a limb here because I have never smelled, nor tasted, nor even seen the fruit known as Hand of the Buddha, but I’m wondering if that is the citrus others have smelled. It would go with the name.
The tea is golden and fairly clear with particles afloat in it — and it tastes like a melony green tea.
Not my favorite, but interesting.
Flavors: Floral, Melon
Sipdown no. 76 of 2018 (no. 432 total). A sample.
Steeped at the “white tea” setting in the Breville. Not as hot or as long as herbal, but resulted in pretty much the same flavor. Strange. This is different from the experience I’ve had with other white teas.
In any case, my thoughts on the flavor haven’t changed since I wrote about this first a week ago.
Sipdown no. 75 of 2018 (no. 431 total).
The bag this came in was humongous, so this sipdown is a feat. I’ve been drinking this daily at work, and also made a few pitchers of cold brew.
The cold brew is why I’m bumping the rating. It’s decent and refreshing. I’m still not loving this hot, but you can’t win them all.
Happy 4th of July to my U.S. peeps! Today I intend to spend planning our vacation to Italy!!!! I haven’t been to Italy in years. I can’t now remember whether it was the late 80s or early 90s, but now I’m looking forward to going back. No. 2 is quite a sports car aficionado so we’ll be visiting the Ferrari and Lamborghini museums, but otherwise I expect the trip to be similar to the one I took years ago. Though this time I’d like to try to get to Lake Como.
Anyway, it being a holiday, I cracked open a couple of teas. The first, the Art of Tea green pear, was in a tall, tubular tin, so I thought I’d go with that same theme. This is in exactly the same tin design, with the little interior “plug” with a knob on it. Cute.
I had to read up on what this tea is supposed to be because Mariage Freres is nothing if not coy in their descriptions. Spices can mean anything — here it means caramel/creme brulee apparently.
Which is amusing because when I opened the tin I smelled chocolate and rose. After a while, I realized it wasn’t chocolate so much as caramel.
Now, I’m not a custard fan. I don’t do creme brulee, though the BF is a huge proponent of it. It’s a texture thing for me. Still, this is a tea worth having.
The aroma is pastry-like, cream-caramel with rose at the end, and that’s how it tastes, too. The tea is very dark amber and clear.
This is a blend that shows off Mariage Frere’s blending prowess. It’s very well done; the blend is one with all of its elements and with the tea base, which is smooth. It’s sweet without being cloying, and there’s a bit of a coolness in the mouth after the sip, which is pleasant.
I like it better than the last tea I had with something close to this flavor profile, the Leland Bogart. This is not as “dark” a flavor. Rather like the difference between dark roast and medium roast coffee, and I prefer the more medium for this flavor.
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cream, Pastries, Rose
Pear seems like a tricky flavor. I’ve had pear teas and while they’re always tasty, they don’t always taste like pear.
If the dry leaf was any indication, though, that wasn’t going to be a problem here. The tea in the tin smells like the juicy run off from canned pears, without the sugar.
Steeped, the aroma is less intense and greener — the tea base comes out a bit more. But there’s still more than a definite hint of pear in the aroma. The tea is an intense gold color and remarkably clear.
It’s in the flavor, though, that this really shines. Though I have to focus my mind a bit on the warm pear desserts I’ve had in the past to get past the initial jarring effect of hot pear, that’s what this is. Hot pear, not sugary, with a grassy green sencha coming through mostly around the edges. It’s amazingly true to flavor, without any artificiality.
I dub this my official top pear tea so far.
I cracked this open for the first time yesterday, but didn’t get a chance to write a note about it.
Interestingly, when I had it yesterday, what I tasted was chocolate and raspberry. Then I read the description. Cranberry and almond!
However, it appears I’m not the first to taste/smell chocolate, so I feel a little better.
In the tin, I still smell chocolate and I still smell berry, though what I smell might be more cherry than anything else. Like chocolate covered cherries? Not cranberry for sure, and not almond.
After steeping, there’s not so much chocolate in the aroma and something that is definitely nutty. I can get to almond if I try. And the strong smell of cherry/berry is less, too. I can get to cranberry, but honestly I wouldn’t pick it out if I was blindfolded.
The tea is medium brown. Sort of “chestnut” as in the color of a horse.
Regardless of what this is supposed to be and what I get out of it, I really like it. It’s very flavorful, naturally sweet (but not too sweet), still has that hint of chocolate/cherry even in the flavor. But I do taste the cranberry, and I like cranberry quite a bit. So there’s that, too.
Flavors: Almond, Cherry, Chocolate, Cranberry, Raspberry