1993 Tasting Notes
This is the next lowest rated black tea in my cupboard, so imagine my surprise when I had some this morning for the first time in a long time and went — wow, that’s really good.
I can see why I might have been conservative in the rating. It’s a sort of a heavy tea base and mango is such a juicy-light flavor, it is sort of odd to have it paired with a heavy base. I can also see why I thought it would be good iced (and I’ll try it that way eventually).
But for now, I have to bump the rating some. Just a few points for now, but if it continues to grow on me I’m open to more.
Sipdown no. 4 of 2021 (no. 624 total). Backlog from yesterday.
And it’s gone! The BF had asked about it, and I had enough for two cups left, so I made him some.
He really liked it. He described it as “sweet, but spicy.” Yeah, I guess it is that. And to be honest, it sort of grew on me. Enough that I’m bumping the rating some.
I had thought this was the sort of thing I’d only drink if I needed it as medicine, but I think I was being unfair. Particularly since last night I moved on to the Paris Herbal from Harney which I inexplicably rated a 78. Bumping that one down.
Maybe my tastes changed? Or maybe I remembered the Paris as having more oomph. But it was heavy, heavy on the rooibos last night.
Sipdown no. 3 of 2021 (no. 623 total). A sample. Backlogged from yesterday.
I rated this one pretty high when I originally put it through its paces, and I’m not going to second guess myself. Particularly since, though it appears I tried hard to preserve enough for a second serving, I failed. I had to add some tieguanyin from the defunct Chicago Tea Room to the mix to have enough to steep western style in the Breville.
Certainly, a nice final caffeine infusion for the day. I’m reminded that I need to drink this sort of tea not on the heals of a stronger one, though. Definitely need more than just a palate cleanser to fully appreciate the subtlety of this one — need at least half a day without other tea flavors. I described this in the original note as a light, by which I don’t mean in flavor, but in the emotional state it induces. To fully appreciate that, I’d need more of a time break between the last heavier tea and this.
Sipdown no. 2 of 2021 (no. 622 total).
I did not really intend to sip this one down. I thought it was a different Tea Gschwedebalaboop tea that I had rated lower. So there was some confusion, but also I think I had almond on the brain from the Brioche substitute discussion.
I stand by my original assessment — not a substitute for Brioche. It’s not sweet enough, and not pastry enough for that. Though it is more of a pure almond flavor, which also has a place in the flavor pantheon. With age, it is less alcohol like and more just nut like.
Look at me, on a sipdown roll in 2021!
Sipdown no. 1 of 2021! (no. 621 total).
Happy New Year, and may it be a lot better than 2020!
Still continuing with the house project. Going room by room. The easiest rooms first. I feel a lot better without all the clutter around. I don’t have high hopes that it will stay that way, though.
Anyway, I thought this tea would be right up my alley. I love fruity teas, and particularly French fruity teas. And yet, as I said in my original note, this one doesn’t have that mysterious French thing going other than in the name.
It’s an ok fruity tea, but I prefer the ones from Kusmi, Mariage Freres, etc. Those have more depth — this one has a sort of painted on quality to the fruit flavor.
Sipdown no. 25 of 2020 (no. 620 total). A sample.
Feeling rushed while having this, because I have to get my house cleaned as it is bugging me a lot. Rushed is not my favorite way to enjoy green oolong. I made it western style. For thoughtful details, see original note.
For the 10K foot level commentary, it’s a little less floral and buttery than my original note suggested, which may be a symptom of age.
But it has a fresh floral aftertaste that is quite pleasant.
Sipdown no. 24 of 2020 (no. 619 total). Sample tin. Backlog from yesterday.
There was so little of this left, it screamed for a sipdown. It is what I’d added to the Upton the other day so I would have enough to steep that in the Breville without having to go all fractional. I made it western style having done my duty by it through multiple steeps in the original tasting.
Green oolongs are so wonderfully springlike, it is hard to think about the fact that it is basically the dead of winter. Not that we have winter here, really.
This one was lovely and floral, with just enough butteriness.
Sipdown no. 23 of 2020 (no. 618 total). A sample.
It’s with a wistfulness that I sip down the American Tea Room samples I have left.
I rated this one particularly high, and yes, it deserves it. Yunnan is likely to be my favorite black tea forever — the richness, the maltiness, and here, the sweetness that reminds me of molasses. I was very sad when ATR went away.
And I’m sad that this is gone.
But the really important question is — did anyone ever find a substitute for Brioche? I still have a sample of that I really should sip down but if there’s no substitute I don’t know if I can bring myself to do it any time soon.
I went back to this last night because for two nights in a row, I cooked with turmeric and it seemed (whether this was placebo effect or not, hard to say) to really make my knees feel better.
One of the side effects of the pandemic and associated shutdowns is that I’ve discovered I don’t hate cooking. I actually like it, as long as I have all the ingredients I need. Not having the ingredients stresses me, as does going to the grocery store. Long story, but as an only child I spent a lot of time in grocery stores alone while my parents did the weekly shopping. I would go to the toy aisle (they had those back then) or the pet aisle and pretend I had a dog, and make a mental list of all the things I’d get for the dog. I never got a dog, but in an ironic twist, we just put down a deposit on a basenji puppy!
As an aside, having the ingredients makes me think of one of my recent Netflix love affairs, Midnight Diner. Really lovely little series.
Anyway, I hate the grocery store. I was pretty excited back in the 90s when Web Van came along, and I thought it was a gamechanger, but like a lot of tech startups it failed and nothing really came along to replace it until Instacart. Which is my new best friend. Yesterday I had them deliver a can of coconut milk, a can of tomato sauce, some cilantro, and a tin of baking cocoa (not for the recipe below, for no. 2’s mug cake obsession). It doesn’t get better than that.
Which allowed me to make this:
The day before, I made this:
So right. Turmeric overload. I love Skinnytaste in case it isn’t obvious — really tasty recipes that aren’t highly caloric but are filling. The only thing I love more is Home Chef, which I credit for my new found love of cooking — thanks, Home Chef, for measuring everything for me and packinging up all I need, with clear, easy to follow instructions. And for not being delivery flakes and having recipes that taste healthy and nothing else, like Sunbasket, or that taste great but all taste the same, like Blue Apron. OK, that last comment might be unfair because my son was the one who picked the recipes for Blue Apron — he wanted to learn how to cook, but every recipe he picked was Chinese or Thai and after a while I associated Blue Apron with the flavor of soy sauce. End digression.
Start another digression. What is so hard about pronouncing turmeric? TUR-MER-ic. There’s a commercial that drives me nuts by pronouncing it tu-MER-ic. No R, accent on the second syllable. What?
In any case, I thought I would continue in the turmeric vein. My knees feel a lot bettter, but I still don’t love the taste of this blend, which given my love for all things Samovar pains me to admit. It’s not terribly flavorful except for a licorice note that sort of masquerades as mint. The citrus isn’t overly noticeable with age or luck of the spoon, but the turmeric is, and on its own, it’s not my favorite flavor. I feel the same way about cumin. It’s good with other things, but on its own, not so much.
Sipdown no. 22 of 2020 (no. 617 total). A sample.
This was another casualty of the combination project. I am going back to samples to sip down so that I can combine sample boxes. Only two left now, which is great progress.
I actually didn’t have enough of this to brew western style, which is what the situation called for, so I added some from a Harney sample (which is now very much within its own sipdown range).
I gotta say, I do love green oolongs. An excellent dark oolong is awesome, but the green ones are like being surrounded by soothing flowers. They make my mental state better just to smell them.
Brewed western, I didn’t notice the dairy quite so much, which is fine because I don’t love milkiness in oolongs. The slight butteriness was just the right amount.