1685 Tasting Notes
I’m getting closer and closer to having tasted all the black teas in my cupboard once with a note to show for it. By current count I have 15 still untasted and unwritten about including this one.
Two caveats, though. First, I went looking for the Upton Castleton darjeeling today and I couldn’t find it. So I suppose it is possible I put that one in there by accident, but I don’t know for sure. I’m leaving it in for now because sometimes things turn up. There may be others that fit that description as well. Second, I am hoping that after this long weekend, I’ll have reduced that number to nine. If I continue at my current pace, I’ll have gotten through them all by the end of the month, what with Thanksgiving falling in the middle there.
I’ll be a little sad when there’s nothing left to discover for the first time with my black teas, though. This one for example.
Everyone says it tastes like Marco Polo by Mariage. I wish I had tasted that more recently,
though I clearly loved it because I gave it a 92. I got some strawberry with that one. I’m not really getting strawberry with this so much. Maybe a little.
In the tin I smell berry fruit, raspberry maybe. And a cocoa note. I smell even more raspberry in the steeped tea. Not much of a cocoa note, though, more of a cream one. The tea is chestnut colored and clear.
The flavor starts out like the smell, but there’s more to it than that. In the aftertaste there’s a pleasant caramel note that has a touch of sweetness.
Just a really wonderful taste to start the day with.
Flavors: Berry, Caramel, Cocoa, Cream, Raspberry, Strawberry
Jasmine green, a perpetual favorite of mine if done right.
Done right to me means:
1. The jasmine smells and tastes like the essence of flowers rather than a flavoring agent.
2. The jasmine is integrated into the tea, rather than smelling and tasting pasted on.
3. The tea base is both a great delivery vehicle for the jasmine and not completely overpowered by it to the point where it disappears.
4. Extra points for juicy, flowery goodness.
This tea, which is a vibrant, clear golden color after steeping gets high marks on the first three. The underlying tea contributes a soft, buttery aspect to the tea.
It could be juicier. But 3 out of 4 ain’t bad.
Catching up on my TV watching this morning. Kids’ piano recitals this afternoon.
And I voted yesterday so I don’t have to think about how to work it in on Tuesday.
The tea smells very lemony in the tin. Tart, with some other spices in the mix though I can’t tease out individual smells.
After steeping, the tea is a medium gold color, with suspended particles in it and smells like a less tart version of the dry leaf smell.
Lemon is definitely the main flavor here, and it’s a nice one. It’s not sweet, but it is neither bitter nor too tart. Whatever other spice (clove?) might be in the mix gives it a sort of sultry flavor, which keeps it from being too perky.
It’s a very nice lemon flavored green tea. I’m trying to remember whether I’ve tasted others of this type and I’m not remembering, though it seems very likely. It’s times like these I would love a meaningful way to search my own notes.
Flavors: Lemon, Spices
So right before this I had Gauguin, and when I tasted this I thought: Gauguin without the fruitiness.
There are some other differences. The smell in the tin is more intense with this tea and it has an almond pastry note in the dry leaf. It steeps a little less dark than the Gauguin, though the leaf looks similar. This is more of a clear, dark amber.
I totally get the macaron aspect in the aroma of the steeped tea, which, come to think of it I got in Gauguin as well. Some of what gives it that aspect is, I think, the coconut. Some of it is the cocoa and caramel notes. I wish the pistachio was more pronounced as I love pistachio.
The flavor is very reminiscent of the Gauguin of this morning, but without the fruitiness. I kind of like the addition of the fruitiness, but it’s otherwise too close to call.
Flavors: Almond, Caramel, Cocoa, Coconut, Nuts, Pastries
This tea is something of a mystery. I can’t find any information about it online, and The O Dor no longer sells it.
It’s definitely a black tea, not CTC, and it has bits of what look like dried fruit in it. The dry leaf has caramel and cocoa notes. I am thinking it is likely an Assam base or at least has Assam in the base. The steeped tea has that, as well as some fruity notes and a little smoke. The tea is dark brownish red and clear.
The tea reminds me a little of the Mariage Freres Wedding Imperial from yesterday, except that it isn’t nearly as heavy and is fruitier. If I’m guessing, I’m going to say mango (because Gauguin) and maybe some red berry. I get a little bit of a raspberry note.
It’s rarely the case I have a tea that is as clean a slate as this one. I wish someone else had some and would write about it. Would be fun to compare.
Edited to add: See also note on The O Dor Je t’aime — this has a lot of similarities. Yeah, I think I didn’t zero in on the coconut, but Gauguin has that as well.
Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Coconut, Fruity, Mango, Raspberry, Smoke
When I first opened this, I was terrified! I thought something had gone wildly wrong between the time I bought this and the time I opened it, years later.
What a relief to see the picture on this page and read other notes that talk about the pellets!
I am doing the compulsory short steeps in the gaiwan starting at 15 seconds.
I know of ginseng only as an herbal supplement that is supposed to do various things for you and I certainly couldn’t tell you what it tastes like. But this tea has the following attributes:
Dry smell: wood
Steeped smell: wood and rocks
Flavor: wood and rocks
I taste no licorice, by the way. Though the fresh aftertaste is reminiscent of the effect in the mouth after chewing anise seeds.
The color is a light amber.
I’m glad I tried it. It’s tasty enough — a little toasty in with the wood and rocks. I might even keep some around just for the entertainment value of spooking myself every now and then with the pellets. (Why are they pellets, anyway?)
But the flavor doesn’t bowl me over.
Flavors: Toasty, Wet Rocks, Wood
I forgot I even had this. It was in a sealed, never opened packet.
When I first started drinking green tea I didn’t get dragonwell. But now I love it. And despite its age, this one smells wonderful in the packet. A little juicy-vegetal, a little sweet grass/hay, a little nutty. After steeping, its a pale, clear golden yellow and smells like sweet grass.
It’s slightly sweet, slightly nutty, and a little grassy in flavor. I think I’d also taste the asparagus everyone else tastes if not for the fact I just ate some asparagus for lunch.
It’s hitting the spot after today’s special Pokemon event. Alas, I didn’t get a shiny Gengar. :-(
Flavors: Grass, Hay, Nutty, Vegetal
My favorite thing about gyokuro is how it looks. I love the fine leaves that look so soft and richly green. The dry leaves smell nutty, a bit like almonds, and the aroma has a juicy character.
I also like the color of the steeped tea — the green in the liquor, rather than the typical color somewhere on the yellow spectrum. This one is a light greenish yellow, more green than chartreuse.
The steeped tea smells brothy, a bit salty, a bit nutty, a bit vegetal. The flavor is grassier than some, which I like, but also has the seaweed notes that I’ve come to expect, and something a little on the nutty side, like edamame.
I made this at a slightly higher temperature than recommended for a first steep, mostly because the Breville won’t go lower than 160.
The description says this is Den’s best, and it is quite good. I wish I appreciated gyokuro more in general. I enjoy it but I feel as though its greatness is somewhat wasted on me since I’m just as happy to drink a good sencha.
Flavors: Almond, Broth, Grass, Nutty, Salty, Seaweed, Soybean
Continuing with the project to get through all the teas in my cupboard and write a note about them, I am almost to the end of 15 out of 21 cupboard pages. w00t! And even more yay because until this morning, I had 22 cupboard pages. But with a spidown I cleared out that pesky page with only one tea on it. So there.
And I’m not fully neglecting my samples either, those little packets that don’t get a place in the cupboard but still take up space in tea world.
Even with all that, I don’t feel like I’m making a terrific dent in my supply here. Sigh. All I know is I haven’t bought any tea since I replenished my (gone) herbal/fruit blend stash months ago. So where they come from I have no idea.
This one is quite smoky in the tin. A woody smoke, like the remains of a wood fire in the fireplace. Charred wood, but not ash, which is fortunate. Not much resin, and no meaty-bacony smell either. Also fortunate.
After steeping, the smoky aroma spreads out and mellows some. It’s still there, but it’s more subtle. Not so much at the center of things as the edges. The color is very pretty, dark reddish-amber.
The tea has sweetness to it, and the flavor isn’t overly smoky though there’s a hint. It’s surprisingly smooth and gentle on the stomach. I would call it a medium-bodied to light bodied-tea. The mouthfeel is smooth and soft.
It’s enjoyable, for when you want a hint of smoke but lapsang is too much. It’s at least as good as I remember the Mariage Freres Lapsang being, though different. Rating accordingly.
Flavors: Campfire, Smoke, Wood
Sipdown no. 122 of 2018 (no. 478 total). I wonder if I can make it to 500 sipdowns by the end of the year? Probably not. I do think I’ll have something on the order of 10 more, though, if I hit the samples.
I sipped this one down Wednesday. It had become my take it to work tea.
After looking back at my original note on this, I don’t have much more to say about it other than to agree with myself that it did make a nice work tea.