2954 Tasting Notes
March Sipdown Prompt – a single origin tea
I discovered this pouch in my “finer teas” box – a box of teas I will only drink when I have time to pay attention to them. I am sure this must be a gift from derk, and I am sorry it didn’t get sampled much sooner, because it deserved better treatment than this.
I think I have enjoyed every tea from What-Cha I have tried, and the teas from Nepal have pretty predictably been winners. No exception here.
First impression was that this tea has that taste I find hard to describe, but that was prominent in Wild Forest Oolong. It is giving me the same vibe on the swallow – a lovely, rising sweetness and then a mineral aftertaste.
Although this is a fairly light tea, it packs a lot of complexity and flavor. The medium gold color of the liquor doesn’t foretell what you will taste.
I could have kicked myself for taking a bite of food before sipping, but this is where the tea surprised me. It was just brisk enough to say, “Look at me!” despite the heavy breakfast fare. I made sure to leave enough to get a thorough taste after the meal.
I agree with derk entirely on the notes for this one. When my cupboard gets lower I would definitely be in the market for some Nepalese oolongs.
Thank you, derk! I am sorry it took so long to get to this one!
The final teabag from gmathis! Many thanks!
We were finishing the last little bit of my birthday cake tonight and I needed some decaf to go with it. I am so glad this wasn’t just another chamomile or rooibos blend. It is actual decaf black tea!I taste nutmeg more than vanilla. This was good as is, and the resteep was okay although weaker than the other two blends I tried from Taylor’s this weekend, but I think it would be even more delicious with a flavored creamer as gmathis mentioned. I wouldn’t mind placing an order for the trifecta myself once the cupboard gets a little lower.
I did get a sipdown in today, too! Apricot Black Tea by Harney is off shelf, and I expect another sipdown tomorrow, so maybe I will finally make some progress on that cupboard.
This was a gift from my dear derk.
I love oolongs but I have had some disappointments choosing them myself, especially with some TGY that gave me high hopes, and then were just…okay. But every now and then I have a tea that makes me wonder why I ever drink anything but oolongs. This is one of those.
This is a bug-bitten oolong, and as smooth as the day is long in midsummer. A swirl of layered aromas arrested my attention when I poured this up. Baby powder! One of my favorite tea scents – prominent in my fave Wen Shan Bao Zhong and a few other teas, and I suppose it is more accurate to call it magnolia and light jasmine. That was the first scent that rose up and I was able to tease out and identify. A little mineral, and just brisk enough to have with food where the briskness is undetectable but simply clears the palate for the tea, but after snacking is done, there it is, the tingle on the tongue. Not astringent, not sour or bitter. Perhaps this is the grapefruit and pomelo the seller mentions, but it isn’t as bitter as some grapefruit can be and I have never had a pomelo.
There are some floral notes that I would liken to incense, and I was unsure if it was the tea or was indeed my incense or oils, because I was cleaning today and have had lavender, sandalwood, and jasmine scents out and about. The scents in the tea are more of the bitter-floral that I love, such as you find in neroli, but far, far more gentle and subtle.
This is brilliant, and if I wasn’t full to busting I would have more right now, but since I can’t, I am saving these leaves on a plate to dry and enjoy again tomorrow.
Another from gmathis! Many thanks!
Having read other reviews, I kept my first steep at 3 1/2 minutes. I am having this with lunch, which is a huge bowl of broccoli with hollandaise sauce – one of my guilty pleasures. Plain broccoli also shared with Sam, the King of Dogs.
The aroma reminds me of Cookie by Lupicia. This is similar to the Toast and Jam brew but obviously not jammy. I added milk and sugar before even tasting it because I wanted a treat and I knew by the smell I would love it that way. It is very much like a British tea cookie, not like American sweet cookies. There is a dark, rich, baked aroma. Yummy!
Although I resteeped the bag, I did not combine steeps this time but drank them separately. The second cup is really good, very similar to the first. I did steep it a lot longer, partly by plan and partly because I told the all-knowing cylinder timing it for me to stop and then I got distracted and didn’t pour it up. It didn’t hurt the tea at all, though I expect it would have on the first steep.
NEXT PART ABOUT DOGS, NOT TEA
My beloved Sam, our eleven year old rescue who we raised from one day old, had a bit of a rough year last year. First a limp early in 2022. Vet found nothing, said it was probably a play injury that should resolve. It did.
Then our usually so healthy Sam got a digestive problem. Things got pretty bad and he had to get fluids, which helped tremendously, and was given antibiotics. All through this time he gained a pound or two, which we assumed to be because the limp and then sickness made him less active.
Other little symptoms made us think it was age catching up with him, but so suddenly? Then another two pound weight gain, up to 64. I was so sad that maybe my sweet Sam wouldn’t be with us much longer. Then – sudden BIG weight gain.
Another trip to vet – no thyroid hormones detected in blood work. Meds started. Less than two days later – Sam had bright eyes and a spring in his step again. He has now lost over nine pounds in five weeks, has more energy, coat is shining, and has only about six pounds to go.
I am sharing this for the dog lovers. Aging is normal, sudden “aging” might have another explanation. His meds are sooooo cheap.
Take good care of all your little fur friends, and persist when things are not right. They deserve the best we can do for them!
I’m glad Sam is doing well now!
My big grouchy cat is 14 this year, I think, and I worry about the old lady.
Aw, wonderful to hear that Sam is on the up-and-up! Give him a pet (and some broccoli?!) from me. :)
I got a card and tea surprise in the mail today from gmathis! I have read so much about this one that I had to try it first, and immediately.
I only steeped for three and a half minutes since I was planning to drink it plain. I split it with Ashman. Aroma is sooo jammy but first taste was so dark toast to me that I would have sworn it had roasted chicory or barley or something in it. Looked it up and it doesn’t. The jam seemed lighter than the toast aspect to me. It was good, and I can see craving this with breakfast! Ashman liked it and drank the whole cup, even though there are few black teas he likes plain.
We made a second steep so Ashman could try it with milk and sugar because that is how he prefers most of his black teas. Now he really, really liked it! I tried it that way, too, and man oh man the strawberry jam has popped. Even though I usually avoid add ins, I would do it for this tea because it is just so good that way.
Thank you, gmathis! (And I am pretty sure you’re right. That’s a duck!)
March Sipdown Prompt – a tea with a leaf in the logo
First of all, I thought this was going to be the world’ easiest prompt, and then the first two teas I pulled to fulfill didn’t have a single leaf in sight. Well, now I have THREE leaves in the logo with this one!
I had this first as a latte and only tasted hojicha. Maybe it was just me, or I put too much maple syrup, or my tastebuds are just old. Tonight I was just craving something, anything, and decided to try it without milk.
Three matcha scoops of powder, about seven or eight ounces of 160F water, and a little splorp of maple syrup.
And wow, I like this so much better! I love this lemon flavor! It is fresh and light, not sour or tart but just…cheering. Now I am eager to have it cold, too. It seems like it will be so refreshing when hot weather gets here.
I am glad I got the large pouch of this one.
March Sipdown Prompt – a pie flavored tea for Pi Day!
Happy Pi Day! Happy birthday to Albert Einstein! And happy birthday to me!
Once again I thought I had run into a prompt I couldn’t fulfill. I don’t have any tea with pie in the name, but I could use something that would be the flavor of pie. That left me mainly with apple or chocolate, and we have a chocolate prompt coming up in two weeks so I went with apple.
As a kid, I didn’t like pie. My mom loved it. The only pie I ate was apple pie, warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Now I like lots of different types of pie, but I will honor my childhood favorite today.
This tea is amazing apple apple apple. But the apricot keeps it from being tart and overly bright as it adds a nice deeper note to the profile. Even though the base is Indian tea, which can be so strong as to upset my very delicate stomach, this tea gives me no gastric distress.
This is classic Lupicia blending at its finest. I usually steep my tea leaves and then immediately resteep and mix the two together for economy. Instead of one strong and one weaker cup, you get a medium mix.
Although I did that once with this tea, I will not do it again. This tea is too perfect just as it is, and to lessen its beauty would be anathema.
As a musician, I love the fact that Albert Einstein was once asked by a woman at a lecture, “Can you explain the theory of relativity to me?” To which he replied, “No, but I can play it for you on the violin.” (He was a very good musician and his cousin Albert was a famous and lauded music theorist.)
Happy Pi Day to all!
OK, I will be able to remember the date now! In the meantime, invoking the “three weeks either way” rule1 Happy day!
I ordered these crassicolumna tisanes when we started having trouble sleeping after caffeine and even high sugar at night. Hot cocoa went by the wayside, and Teeccino replaced it. I wanted something to gong fu and this and the Wild Crassicolumna Black tea were going to fill that spot, hopefully.
But tonight I wanted something to go with supper, just a faux Asian dinner I threw together. I really wanted green tea but I don’t have any that is decaf. I didn’t want flowery or minty herbals, either. I settled on this.
I don’t think I have had any other yabao so I can’t really make comparisons there, but I can say this was excellent with our meal. Ashman loved it. I have made three steeps Western so far and might make another.
This is more akin to a highly mineral white tea than anything else I have had to compare it. It has good body, the color is goldish like my large broken leaf shou mei and deeper than I expected, and the mineral notes make you want to gulp and gulp.
I can see this being a repurchase when it is gone. Good stuff.
I will also be lookng into a good hojicha to steep by the big potfuls, not something I would really do with my powdered hojicha since it would settle to the bottom throughout the meal and post-meal tea drinking. Any recommendations there appreciated.
This sounds lovely. When I was trying to reduce caffeine, I drank a lot of kukicha. Sometimes I’d add bergamot oil and almond milk and it was a decent stand in for a proper earl grey.
Hey ashmanra, I have some fresher hojicha for you if you want free tea.
Reviewed favorably by Cameron B
I admittedly haven’t tried it yet and won’t be able to drink through it by myself.
Ashman really loves white tea, so I especially wanted to have this one when he is home. Today was the day! Thank you, derk, for sending this my way!
We are so sad at the loss of one of our elderly dogwood trees, and Ashman is cutting it down today. It is quite old, and was half dead last year but we left it up. This year there is absolutely no growth or bud of any kind, and it is bare while the others are starting to bloom. It has provided beauty year round, and shade in our hot, humid summers. It bore a disc swing for the children many years ago, and gave us beautiful blooms each spring. The berries attracted flocks of robins in late fall and winter and we enjoyed watching them and hearing them chatter. During storms and high winds, its branches would sway and cast shadows on our bedroom window at night, and by day I would sit on the bed and watch the leaves tossed by the wind.
We have three dogwoods left, all about the same age. We have a new one ready to plant near where the dead one had grown, and it is time to start thinking about how we can get some planted so that they can start growing to replace these that will also see the end of their time. It is so sad when a tree dies. I have always said that the trees were the best part of our home. I will not live long enough to see the new ones attain the size of the one we are cutting today. But someone, someday will enjoy them.
Sad tale over
NOW THE TEA!
These are such new, tender leaves. The wet leaves in the steeping basket have an almost luminous bright green color with some tippy looking leaves that are soft and pale. A few slightly larger leaves have a bit of faun color on them and pretty little serrations on the soft leaves. I pull a few from the basket and smooth them out. Yes, two leaves and a bud, with a tiny bit of soft stem on some. Then another pair, one unfurled, one folded in half still.
When I filled our cups, I was really surprised by the color. Well, by the lack of color. My white peony and shou mei teas steep up to golden and even light brown, but this is so clear. First steep is mild and has light flavor of steamed snow peas, no butter. I think…minerals, too? Reminds me a little of a silver needle white.
Third steep is now approaching a golden color but still pretty light. Now I detect notes of sun warmed hay. I shouldn’t be drinking this much caffeine this late in the day but I don’t want to waste these leaves. I can nap tomorrow.
Ashman liked it a lot. He prefers mild teas and has always loved white tea, so this was a good one for today.
I am so glad that derk shares some with you from group order. I have thought about sharing them too, but I apparently ordered so small amounts :D
I am glad you like them and I feel you with cutting down old trees.
Thank you, beerandbeancurd! We set aside the branch that held the swing in hopes of getting a creative idea of something to make with it! Ashman does woodworking with traditional tools and has taken classes at Roy Underhill’s Woodwrights School, so I am thinking a small box to remember the tree by. A little pink dogwood is going in it’s place.
March Sipdown Prompt – tea from your biggest tin
At 250 grams, this is definitely my biggest tin, although I have a couple of pound bags I foolishly bought of some other teas. This is also one of my newer teas, so I expect it may be around for a while. This is definitely not a sipdown, but work towards one. Also, I wouldn’t buy this again now that I know that Kusmi’s Bouquet of Flowers has orange blossom galore but is a tastier mix of flavors.
I tried an orange blossom tea last year and was disappointed that I didn’t taste much orange blossom. This one delivers in the orange blossom department BIG TIME. The black tea base is a little disappointing to me, though, because it is so one-dimensional. Maybe they really thought everyone would add milk and sugar to this so they didn’t make a big effort there? And orange blossom by itself isn’t wowing me like I thought it would, so Kusmi for the win there again. I don’t hate this, it’s just that I have found better options.
I might play with parameters but also might try mixing various other black teas with it. The orange blossom is so strong that it should still come through with no problem even if unscented black is added. It might be good with a jasmine black….ooooo. Or stretch my Kismi blend with it?
I made a pitcher sweetened to chill for lunch tomorrow and a preliminary sip with ice was satisfactory.