911 Tasting Notes
The Final Sipdown: Day 5
Decupboarding Total: 9
Does it count as decupboarding if I didn’t know I had this tea in the first place? It was a total surprise to me to find this tea under some sample tins. Oops.
I opened the little freebie Lupicia bag expecting a teabag. Because every Lupicia freebie since the dinosaurs died off has been a teabag. So yeah, it made a bit of a mess when I opened this because not a tea bag. Loose leaf. Double oops.
Though… it doesn’t look like actual loose leaf. The leaves are small and broken it looks like they just forgot the bag part of the teabag. Of course, I must keep in mind that I did find this little packet under some small tins. So it might not have started out so… powdery. Triple oops?
Fortunately, most of the leaf-related mess stayed on the kitchen counter where I was able to scoop it up and dump in the teapot. (I am a total nerd so I did weigh it first. 3.4g. I continue to appreciate Lupicia’s realistic grasp of how much leaf it takes to make a cup of tea.)
The packaging, leaf and tea (and now my entire kitchen) smell strongly of lychee. Not lychee tea, but actual lychee. See, a while back I had some of Samovar’s lychee tea. It was nice but I couldn’t speak to how realistic the flavor was, so when I was at the grocery store a few weeks later and saw actual lychee I picked up a couple. This tea smells exactly like a fresh lychee fruit ones it has been removed from its shell (husk? rind?). Of course, this isn’t supposed to be lychee tea. It’s supposed to be durian. But I don’t know what a durian is so to me? Lychee tea.
The tea is a bit bitter. But honestly, I don’t think that’s the tea’s fault. I think that the fault of whoever put it under some tea tins and crunched on the leaves for a while. (Yes, that’s me.) I think if the leaf were whole (or at least more than it is now), the bitterness wouldn’t be there. So leaving the bitterness aside, what about the rest of the taste?
Lychee. Full on lychee.
As always, the flavoring Lupicia does is very nice. It’s strong but I can still taste tea under there. (Aside from the bitterness from the broken leaves, yes, there is tea taste there! Yay!) Also, the durian lychee tastes absurdly natural. No chemical taste, no funky aftertaste, nothing. Like I actually just ate the fruit (or pureed it into my tea). And that’s pretty awesome.
Normally I have an issue with flavored green teas. It just seems wrong to me so it is pretty hard for me to love them. I guess I’m a green tea purist. This though? Very tasty. I could do without the bitterness but again, I’m not blaming the tea for that. In fact, the flavoring is so nicely done (and it doesn’t hurt that I apparently like lychee) that I would like to buy some of this so I can try it without the crushed-leaf-induced bitterness.
The Final Sipdown: Day 5
Decupboarding Total: 8
I have raised my personal decupboarding total needed per day to two. Gambatte! (Sorry, reviewing Japanese in another window.) Anyhoo, this is number two for today. I really enjoyed having it yesterday so I thought I’d have it again. It’s still tasty but for some reason today I’m getting a bit more woodsy taste and a higher level of astringency. A little more fall-like and less grape-y than I was anticipating but still a tasty cup and it works well with today’s cooler temperature. A good ending to its time in my pantry.
The Final Sipdown: Day 5
Decupboarding Total: 7
Another tea down! This one is another one that falls under the it’s-good-so-I-didn’t-want-to-drink-the-last-bit category. Nicely (but not overly) smooth, smoky (strong enough for the smoky lover but not so strong that it would scare off the not-yet-a-smoky-lover crowd) and slightly sweet, this is a good tea to fill my smoky needs.
Or it would be if I still had it in my pantry. But I don’t. Booyah.
Oops, I forgot to log this one when I was on Steepster earlier (ironically backlogging last night’s teas). The bits of leaf are decently small so I was expecting a strong brew. And it is. I tried it first without additives fully intending on adding sugar and half & half after a few sips. And yes, the additives were desired but I was trying to get computer-related things done and ended up not going back to the kitchen for tea doctoring until I was over halfway through the cup.
It’s malty, nutty, stout and chewy with a little old-nut-esque bitter at the end (a note that seems pretty typical of the stouter Assams for me). I did finally add sugar and half & half but I added too much for the small amount of tea left so it ended up more like tea-flavored sweet milk (which was actually pretty good but not a good representation of the tea).
Currently, this reminds me a lot of Taylors of Harrogate’s Pure Assam, though with a bit less intensity to the bitter-nut taste. I’m going to hold off rating this until I can doctor it properly and then see how it floats my boat then.
The Final Sipdown: Day 4
Decupboarding Total: 6
Yay! I’m ahead my one-a-day goal. Very exciting! (Well, it is to me. You might be less than thrilled.) I might make two-a-day my new goal. How daring do I feel? Hmmm….
This is a really interesting oolong – sweet and fruity and floral and vegetal. It’s got a note of something that is really unusual – it’s like a combo of kettle corn and stewed apples. I’ve been more daring with water temp on green oolongs (normally I do them at 175° since they seem to be easily ‘cooked’) and this one held up well and gives more sparkle than at 175° so thumbs up.
The second steep (1:30) is more ‘normal’. (In other words, not so strong on the kettle apples.) Nicely sweet on the front end and a flash of astringency at the end. It’s a tasty tea. Tasty, I tell you!
I was hoping for good things from this tea and maybe that’s my problem – my expectations were too high. I mean, it’s not a bad tea. It’s a gently smoky tea with a nice sweetness at the end of the sip. Super-faint hints of cocoa occasionally pop up, as well as something almost floral. It’s got a nice depth of flavor and actually reminds me of Teas Etc’s Bohea (which I love).
All of this sounds great, right? But there’s one thing that makes this one a non-happy tea for me. The aftertaste. There’s a little twinge of something on the end of the sip and in the aftertaste. I can’t quite peg what it is but it’s a little… off. It makes me think I’ve just walked through a big cloud of hairspray while inhaling through my mouth. Something sticky and a little perfume-ish/chemically. It’s not a very strong aftertaste so it’s almost ignorable, especially if I sip a little more quickly. But ultimately it means that this tea gets no love because there are other softly smoky teas in my life that behave better.
I’m wondering if Upton does something to their leaves that gives them this aftertaste. This funkiness isn’t near as strong as the ick that was the Extra Bergamot aftertaste (that one was bitter and sticky and wrong) but they could theoretically be related. Perhaps the way they store or package or maybe even flavor their teas? I see nothing that indicates that this tea is artificially flavored but maybe?
The Final Sipdown: Day 4
Decupboarding Total: 5
For me, the worst thing about this tea is the end note. There’s something sour/bitter/tacky/acrid/just off about the taste at the end of the sip. From the artificial flavoring, perhaps? From the not-so-stellar leaf quality? I don’t know what it is and, at this point, I don’t care. Because this sample is gone and I will never get it again. Rejoice!
Na-na-na-na. Hey hey hey. Goooooodbye!
The Final Sipdown: Day 3
Decupboarding Total: 4
PS – Cut the steep time on this to 1:30 and I’m much happier with it. Ironically, it is my last cup, but whatever. There’s still some nice astringency but it is better balanced by the creaminess and chlorophyll sweetness I expect from Kukicha.
Also, I iced the second steep (15s) of this from yesterday and just had some. It’s fairly mild and softly sweet and grassy. Very nice.
It’s officially The Final Sipdown: Day 3 and I thought I would be decupboarding my Kukicha. (Actually, I still might, but that will be determined later today.) Instead, this lovely little tea is the one that is going bye-bye.
I’m sad to see this one go. It’s sweet and thick and almost a little textured, especially before it cools. I don’t know exactly why Adagio calls it ‘delicate’ because I really don’t think it is. (Just because it isn’t tough enough to jump you in a dark alley and steal your wallet doesn’t mean a tea is ‘delicate’.) This has a little Yunnan-like boldness and a lot of Fuijian-like sweetness and smoothness. Very enjoyable and something I could totally see picking up.