1206 Tasting Notes
In the tin it smells remarkably like every other Simpson & Vail tea I’ve ever had. Floral, particularly rosey. Reminds me of the various incarnations of Earl Grey from Simpson & Vail, but even the non-flavored teas smell this way, which I attribute to their being stored together in their paper bag sample bags. And like the other S&V florals, it’s a pretty tea with the petals and pod pieces adding visual interest.
I don’t really smell cardamom in the tin. After steeping, I smell something in the aroma that is spicy, and if I try hard enough I can single it out as cardamom. The spice is actually the predominant note in the steeped tea’s aroma. The floral sort of heads to the background. The liquor is clear medium brown.
It’s mild, pleasant, with some spice and some flora. I have to run out, so I may have more to say about this a bit later.
I’ve had this in my cupboard for a while and I can’t believe I haven’t cracked it open before now. I realized that I have rather an overabundance of flavored blacks in my stash. My buying pattern before I went on hiatus was, go to an online retailer to get one or two things, and end up buying about 30 because they all looked so interesting. And yet, I can’t really drink more than a couple of cups of flavored blacks in a day. Hence the overabundance.
In the packet it smells rather intensely of caramel flavored coffee to me, a little on the bitter side, a little on the sweet side, and something in the middle that’s like baking powder. It has a dark reddish brown liquor. The aroma is less baking powder and more baked something else which is good. Not as bitter smelling after steeping.
The taste has no bitterness at all, and is in fact remarkably smooth. It’s a nice caramel flavor, not too sweet but just sweet enough. At first it reminded me of the amaretti cookies, but more in terms of texture and atmosphere than in terms of flavor as there’s not an almond note that I can discern, though supposedly this contains almond. Perhaps it was the luck of the spoon. If there had been almond to my tastebuds, this would be more similar to Brioche than it is. But in addition to not tasting the almond, this also doesn’t give off the same bear claw type baked goods flavor. The “cookie” part is not a soft, baked, flaky sort of flavor, more of a hard, chewy sort of flavor.
The package recommends having this with milk, but I don’t think it needs it. Which is a good thing, or I probably wouldn’t give it high marks.
It’s tasty, just not as cookie-ish as I had hoped. But perhaps, as I mentioned, that’s the luck of the spoon and I’ll get more of that flavor on the next try.
Flavors: Caramel, Cookie
Tried this hot today, steeped Western style.
I know I’ve had peach oolongs before. I remember having the Adagio and not being a fan. This is better than I remembered the Adagio being, both in terms of the peach flavor, which is not juicy, but rather floral and subtle, and the underlying tea’s flavor which I expect is a better quality dark oolong.
It has a clear, dark apricot liquor and a pleasant, mildy peachy aroma. The tea has a smoothness to it, which makes it more pleasant than the sharp notes of some flavored dark oolongs.
Flavored oolong is so hit or miss for me. I’ve liked a few, but I’ve felt pretty meh or worse about most of the ones I’ve tried. I don’t see spending time trying to make this perfect. I don’t love it enough for that, and I expect I won’t even try it in the gaiwan. I’ve sort of come to the conclusion that with the exception of jasmine oolongs, it’s really not worth the trouble to do anything other than Western in the Breville.
The BF likes this cold quite a bit. I think most of the remainder of this second container will be dedicated to cold brew.
Flavors: Peach, Wood
Sipdown no. 36 of 2016 (no. 247 total).
Nothing to add to the previous note in terms of description. I liked it but some other yunnans do more for me.
Busy week! I have been drinking tea, but not trying anything new on purpose because I haven’t had time to write notes. No. 1’s basketball season is in full swing. Fortunately I think it only lasts a few more weeks, because little league baseball season has started. Both kids have games today. They also both have a piano contest in about two weeks. Things should calm down a bit after March, which I’m also expecting to be a very busy month at work.
Still liking the new job. Now just have to get the rest of my life (exercise, writing) in order. Oh, and my shoulder stopped hurting after three days of Aleve and heating pads, pretty much as abruptly as it started. I’m now wondering whether I had the standing desk at work positioned too high. I lowered it some and haven’t had a repeat.
Sipdown no. 35 of 2016 (no. 246 total).
I don’t rush to Assams because some grab onto the back of my throat in an unpleasant way. But sometimes I wonder why I don’t give them more of a chance. Usually, after drinking one like this.
It has a lovely sugary sweetness, a bit of breadlines and a cocoa note. It doesn’t grab my throat, at least not enough to bother me.
I would mourn it’s gone-ness, but I have plenty of others.
Yesterday around 4 I was at work and my right shoulder started hurting for no apparent reason. It’s better today, but it was a rough night, involving lots of Advil and a heating pad. I briefly worried about heart attack, but I don’t think it’s that as I have no other symptoms.
It put a crimp in my plans for today, though, because now all I can think about is when I might be able to take a nap.
Somehow I have two containers of this. Not sure why. I think I must have ordered one and then got another one through the tea of the month club. I likely ordered it because the BF is a big peach fan.
I was looking around for things to try in cold brew, and because I had so much of this I thought I might give it a shot.
I dunno. The peach is fine as far as it goes. It’s a light, almost floral peachiness, not a juicy, fruity peachiness. But the tea, at least cold, is a rather single note dark oolong, heavy on the woodsy. It makes a decent cold tea, but I hope that when I get around to trying it hot, that will reveal more depth and complexity.
Flavors: Peach, Wood
Sipdown no. 34 of 2016 (no. 245 total). Backlogging from yesterday morning.
I had big plans for this long weekend on the clean up front, but alas, I got sucked into playing Unravel. I loved it, but this reminds me why I stopped playing computer games. I get obsessed and don’t get to the other things I need to do. It’s the first time I’ve really played a computer game I wanted to play with my kids (as opposed to one they wanted to play), and we made an excellent team. I was the brains and they were the brawn-I figured out the puzzles and they got me past the parts that required fast-twitch reflexes.
I started yesterday morning with this, on my continuing crusade to sip down things I like, not just things I don’t like as much. It’s remarkable how well this captured the butter pecan flavor. The only real negative about this one is that sometimes it could hit my stomach wrong, particularly if I hadn’t eaten first. But in terms of flavor accuracy and pleasantness, it was very nice and I’m sorry to see it go.
Sipdown no. 33 of 2016 (no. 244 total).
After the jasmine pearls, this was what I’ve been bringing to work in the Timolino until I scraped the bottom of the tin this morning.
Nothing to add to the original note regarding taste. Just recording the sipdown, and hoping to do some pretty serious tea tasting over the long weekend.
Sipdown no. 32 of 2016 (no. 243 total). A sample, and the last of the Samovar oolong samples. All I have left now of the Samovar samples are a few white teas.
It’s been at least a couple of weeks since I poured this out of the packet and into a filter, intending to steep it. I never got around to it, and though I had meticulously saved the sample packet with its steeping directions, my cleaning ladies seem to have thrown it out.
The one time I tried going gong fu with a Samovar oolong sample it didn’t work so well, so this time I decided to come to the page for this tea and look for directions. Seeing none, I read about how people had steeped it. Given what Lena said about boiling water, I decided to go that route. I also steeped for about 2 minutes, since I was going western and using a higher water to tea ratio.
I was pretty amazed at the result. First of all, that thing they say about coffee in the Samovarian poetry section is pretty right on. There’s a coffee-like aroma that sort of melds into something that is almost like butterscotch. There’s what I call the malty note as well, which so many Samovar teas have and which I love in some yunnans and some red wines as well, but which I didn’t expect in an oolong. The liquor is a rosy amber and very unique.
The flavor is remarkably complex. So many dark oolongs give off a sort of a single note of woodsy stonefruit. Not this one. It has layers that shift around on the tongue so just when you think you’ve tasted one thing, you’re tasting something else. I don’t taste peat moss, but I for sure taste a bittersweet chocolate note, and the roasted barley as well. The sweet note is still butterscotch to me and not raisin sugar, but delish nevertheless.
And they still have it!
I suspect to get the most out of this one you need to prepare as directed. I’d be afraid to do otherwise given my past experience with Samovar oolongs.
Flavors: Butterscotch, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Roasted Barley
It will be interesting to see what this tastes like, as it has been living in its paper sample bag in a plastic container along with other Simpson & Vails, some of which are florals, in their paper sample bags.
The dry leaves are small and medium in the tippy and curly department. They smell a little perfumey, which scares me some.
The tea steeps dark, darker than I’ve seen in most yunnans. A clear, dark mahogany. The aroma is malty-deep, slightly sweet, with just a hint of pepper. The perfume smell doesn’t carry over into the aroma, fortunately.
The flavor is surprisingly mild given the dark color and smell, but flavorful. Gentle on the stomach. There’s just the smallest amount of perfume carry-over, but not enough to give the tea an altogether different flavor from what it is. It’s not the best yunnan I’ve had, solid, but not overly interesting. It sort of reminds me of the Numi Chinese Breakfast.
I suspect I’ll sip this one down easily and quickly, both because it’s a pleasant drink and because with all the other yunnans in my cupboard that I prefer to this one, I’d rather sip down this one as a distraction from focusing on the others.
Now for the life update. No need to read if you’re in this for the tea. ;-)
Sorry I’ve been rather scarce. I’m still getting a feel for the new routine. I’ve been doing coffee first thing in the morning for the extra alertness jolt with fast preparation time, taking tea with me in the Timolino, typically a green of some sort, and always one I’ve written about before and so far there hasn’t been much to add by way of notes.
There is tea at work, by the way. There’s a full Starbucks in one of the campus buildings, and a variety of bagged Numi teas in the kitchen on my floor. I also brought some tea to work. Essentially all the bags I have left. I haven’t actually steeped any yet though. I’ve been occupied with trying to learn everything there is to learn which makes the time fly and before I know it, the day is gone and I haven’t made any tea at work again.
On the home de-cluttering front: continued success! This morning I packed up five boxes for storage, mostly my old toys I’d saved from childhood for the kids that they’ve outgrown and the toys they have sentimental attachment to but don’t play with anymore. With that, the toy project is pretty much done except for the random things that continue to turn up in weird places. I can pretty much be assured to find at least one Lego in every drawer in the house if I look hard enough. ;-)
So to recap: toys are done, office is done. What’s left? Books and clothes, mostly.
Last weekend we took some books to the library to donate. They don’t put them in the library but they sell them for fundraising. There will probably be another box or two of these coming as I finish going through the kids’ books with them, but there aren’t too many left to go through. Then there will be are a few boxes of books to store—baby favorites that they don’t want to let go but don’t look at much anymore.
The book project was pretty amusing. Who knew we had five copies of Goodnight Moon, until we looked through everything?
I’m hoping to finish some of this packing up this weekend, but I’m not going to stress about it. As long as I continue to see progress, I think I can keep motivated to finish.
The one thing that has suffered in all of this is my writing. I have several stories I’ve workshopped and need to revise, and some stories that have been sent back from magazines that need to be resubmitted. Maybe I’ll be able to make an hour or two tomorrow to work on my Writers of the Future entry for this quarter. According to my readers it only needs some minor revision, so if I can get it revised, I can set it aside until next weekend, do a reread, and submit if I can’t think of anything else to do to it.
Flavors: Floral, Malt, Molasses, Pepper