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Recent Tasting Notes
This time around, I cold-steeped this, as opposed to cooling a hot-steeped tea. There’s definitely a difference, and for the better – it tastes clearer and lighter, and even the most delicate flavours seem crisper, more well-defined.
Now this might be typical for cold-steeping versus cooling a hot-brewed tea of this kind, but I haven’t experimented with that much at all before, so I’m excited about these highly scientific findings.
Really, really good. I’m making another pitcher.
When I bought this, I got the tea in a paper bag, as per A.C. Perch’s usual routine. At Kastrup airport, my whole carry-on smelled like a ‘Caribbean whorehouse’, according to the security guy, who looked like he knew what he was talking about. The tea proceeded to invade my kitchen cabinet for more than a week, even after I put it in a tightly sealed plastic bag (I was out of canisters! Stop looking at me like that!). I do love a richly scented tea, but this over-the-top fruit explosion just seemed too artificial. It reminded me of those crazy technicolour infusions you get at Apostrophe (UK) or Argo (US).
Since those initial doubts, I have proceeded to treat this tea very badly, by continuously ignoring the ‘steep for 8-10 minutes’ directions. Let’s just say shorter steeping times suit my current schedule better. Today, however, I tried the 8 minutes. The difference isn’t huge, to be honest. It gets significantly darker and exhibits a slightly bitter aftertaste I’m not used to. The general body of the taste, however, doesn’t really change. This is a fairly simple tea, both scent wise, in the bag, and taste wise, in the cup – to me, both amount to a nicely balanced tropical fruitness, but picking out individual notes is a challenge. It’s tropical. It’s fruity. And that’s it.
Still, I’m very pleased with it. It’s easy to drink, works well to re-steep (at least if the initial steeping time isn’t so long, otherwise it tends to lose too much flavour) and I enjoy it very much cold – I’ve kept a big pitcher in the fridge for the past week. Drinking it cold (and steeped for a shorter period of time) brings out more character and complexity. A definite summer staple for me.
[Purchased at A.C. Perch’s in Copenhagen, June 2013.]
So I have been really quite angry today that I have all this great new tea that I can’t try due to infection of doom whose symptoms keep rotating (though today and yesterday’s rattling cough are new and yes I’m going to see the doctor tomorrow).
After dinner I decided to brew up a pitcher of Silver Yin Zhen Pearls, but alas it tasted awful perhaps partially due to a bit of soap and chai residue but mostly I think because it was an old tea from a clearance gift set, never cared for the pearls anyway.
So after that I thought anything would taste good and proceeded to brew this one from Angrboda, which I had actually measured out earlier in the day. I’m not liking it and I’m not sure why. It bares no resemblance to the pearls, that was all musty and stale perfume, this is fishy and metallic and calls to my mind shark (no idea). Might try a resteep but could just be my tastebuds being all wonky, should probably just go back to my throat coat :sigh:
And for December 12th we have… jasmine. Jasmine?! PERCH’S, YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! December of 2014 will forever be known as the Month of Meh! If you want a detailed tour of my dislikes, then look no further than this Christmas calendar. All I need now is for hibiscus to show up. If it does, I might actually just refuse to drink it.
I get that there’s a certain risk involved when buying a tea calendar like this that not everything will be to your liking, but this is just ridiculous. We are halfway through and so far there has been one (ONE!) tea that I really liked, one that was at least interesting sounding, one that was acceptable and the rest have been at varying stages between meh and blegh.
I’ve had this one before when it was sent to me as a free sample. Didn’t like it then, don’t like it now. I don’t like jasmine because it’s so very very very floral. I find it’s like drinking perfume. Some people find it sweet and I can sort of see that, but it’s not a kind of sweetness that I enjoy.
Just Say No.
Here is another one, received as a free giftie with an order, and another fine example of how ACP tends to shoot rather past the target with these. I’m not keen on floral scented things to be honest, and out of those, jasmine is probably my least favourite. And I’ve accumulated two of these somehow.
I think this is meant to be taken in very small amounts. I can drink maybe half a small cup before the jasmine overpowers me with the perfume. It’s so…. little old lady.
Eh, I give up. It’s just so not me it’s not even funny. Obviously my Open Mind is having a day off or something.
Day 9 in my Christmas calendar and another miss for me.
We’ve had Husband’s parents over for the weekend, so I haven’t had access to my computer. Therefore, expect some backlogging. I thought about queueing again, but decided not to. Not with the Christmas calendar, anyway.
So far I’ve been less than keen on the offerings of this calendar and I can only hope that things will improve somewhat. Today’s (well, yesterday’s) Darjeeling did therefore not really come as a surprise so much as a ‘well, that’s overwith, then.’
It came in satchets and I’ve had one before which I manage to utterly ruin, so this one was new-ish to me. I don’t much care for Darjeeling and this one was another in the long line of why. Too grassy, too spicy, too… too high-grown, really. I made it at 80°C, because a lower temperature lessens the things about it that I find a bit unpleasant. Sadly it doesn’t remove them.
I wasn’t paying too much attention while drinking it, but I did drink all of it and I didn’t screw up my face at any point and wonder why I was bothering, so I think we can conclude that it was relatively drinkable. It’s also funny how knowing that this is the only cup there is of it factors in. If I knew I had another load of cups to get through, I’d have been a lot less accepting of it, but as it was I found it tolerable. Still not keen, though.
I shall be writing up the missed days and posting them as I finish. Might take me a couple of days though. Oooh! I can throw in, though, that December 7th wasn’t actually a tea, but a small packet with two ginger biscuits. As I don’t care for ginger (another miss) I gave them both to Husband, who informed me that they were quite nice and went well with the cup of tea we were having at the time. Can’t remember which tea that was, though. It’s also entirely possible that I was the only one having tea at that point and the others were having coffee.
I received this bag as a free sample when I ordered from AC Perch’s recently. The last two times I’ve ordered from them I’ve received free bags. That must be a new practice and although I haven’t had anything that I actually expect to like (This, bleh. A green ginger-y one, bleh. And a jasmine one, bleh), I definitely approve. :)
Anyway, I thought this would work as the sample finished for the day, so I made a cup. Unfortunately then I got side-tracked and forgot about it.
After some hour and a half, the boyfriend came home and commented on the neglected mug in the kitchen. As an Indian, I knew it was probably ruined, but I test-tasted the lukewarm result anyway.
No clue what it would have been like as properly made, and I swear I didn’t sabotage it on purpose.
Oh! It is so good! That’s about the only thing I can think right now. This is, hands down, the best raspberry flavored anything I have tasted! And, considering it’s paired with a phenomenal oolong, it’s even better.
Normally, when raspberry is in a tea, the result is a bitter-tasting brew. Not so with this tea. It’s extraordinary. The raspberry is so sweet and delicious, but not at all syrupy. The oolong is probably the best part. It’s a roasty, delicious oolong that pairs wonderfully with the raspberry, keeping it from going off the sweet-o-meter. The result is a fabulous raspberry oolong that I would seriously be willing to either pay the shipping to have sent to me from Denmark, or, preferably, just fly to Denmark myself to pick up.
It’s lovely! Thank you so very much to Angrboda for sending me this tea sample.
This is from a very generous sample sent by Angrboda, thank you so much! I had sent her some tea from Mozambique, and was interested to compare with other different African teas. Kenya tea I have had before, Tanzania never.
Not sure why it took me so long to try this. Breakfast teas are usually the ugly ducklings of my tea cupboard – I only dare have them in the morning, but I never have tea at breakfast, so mid morning at most, and to brew loose leaf, I got to have my things. Loose leaf breakfast teas have a very narrow niche of opportunity with me. Here goes this one though.
First thing, I think I brewed it wrong. About 5 minutes with boiling water brought just below boiling point. It was too long or too hot, this brewed up a bit too tanninic, too astringent for my taste. Got to experiment with it, definetely a bit colder brew.
Other than that, oh this is tea indeed. A nice cuppa, so to speak. A lot of body, a lot of taste (though like Angrboda points, a sort of generic tea taste, no real individual notes), and I think a lot of caffeine (will be surer of this in a couple hours). It reminds of Ceylon teas mostly, and it´s a pretty different thing than the Mozambique tea I know – which is more like an afternoon tea almost. I think this would make an awesome base for flavors. And I really got to tweak those brewing parameters, this is worth getting right.
This is one that the boss and I drink copious amounts of at work, and the boss especially is very fond of it. And yeah, once again ACP’s steeping instructions are Teh Krazey! A fruit flavoured blend of black and white, there is NO WAY I’m steeping that for 7 whole minutes. And there is even less way I’m doing it in boiling water. I can only conclude that the good people at ACP like their tea vastly different from how I like mine.
Anyway, fruit flavoured black and white. I have not been able to discover exactly what sort of fruit, but there is some sort of citrus peel in there and on the whole I think it tastes vaguely tropical, so my best guess is orange and something else. Perhaps pineapple or passion fruit. I have finally succumbed to curiosity and sent them an email asking about it.
The first time we bought it, it was the boss’ choice and I think she was initially drawn to it because she liked the tin, and then found the description interesting. She has since then requested the tin re-filled. We have a selection of six different ones to choose from and as it looks like now, three of them are always this, the Late Summer blend and the internationally acclaimed Raspberry Oolong. Slowly we are beginning to understand that the remaining three needs to be flavoured as well, because unflavoured teas, even those that we otherwise really enjoy, just don’t seem to fit in properly in the work place and they’re never even half as nice when made there.
I’m very certain of the orange, and here at home where I can brew it far better than I can at work, it’s very very orange-y indeed. I can also detect some floral notes around the edges, which I attribute to the inclusion of white in the blend. This flavour is shaped like a half globe. Most of it is orange-y fruit flavour, the flat bottom surface is the black base and the curved surface is the floral note. I’m not really getting much of the black base here, but I’m rather getting the impression that it would be very noticable if it weren’t there.
Brewed here at home, under more controlled conditions than is possible at work, I’m finding it really rather pleasant. At work, it very much varies. Not surprising considering the white content and the inability to really control water temperature much.
I’m slightly surprised that the boss has fallen for such a tea under those circumstances, but really, even though the quality of the individual brews vary, it’s not at all a finicky tea. As mentioned, brewing conditions are FAR from controlled and we don’t always have time to actually hang around in the lunchroom until tea is finished brewing. We make a liter at the time in a thermos using those filterbags that you put leaves in yourself, and it has happened more times than I can count that a tea has had a good half hour because we were distracted by Evil Work and forgot about it. I think that’s part of the reason unflavoured teas just don’t work well there. Added flavouring can hide a LOT of abuse.
EMPTY THAT BOX!
I got this one as a free sample with an ACP order. They’ve started doing that, I’ve noticed, tossing in one of their satchets as a free giftie. I’m just hoping that eventually they’ll put one in that isn’t already a confirmed dislike for me. With this one it was the ginger. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really like ginger at all, so I needed to get this one out fo the way some other way. It seemed a good candidate for a cold brew so that’s what I did.
The citrus is coming out very nicely this way, both in aroma and flavour, where the ginger is somewhat more to the background. Now THIS I like! The ginger adds sensation mroe than flavour, really. It actually tastes a bit like a fizzy lemonade that’s gone flat. That’s not really a bad thing if you ask me.
A surprising like on this one!
December 3rd in my Christmas calendar. I’ve had this one before, but once again it was a bit of a meh choice, although tons better than the first two.
I love vanilla and I’ve learned to like a flavoured rooibos now and then, but I just don’t think rooibos is a very good base for vanilla flavouring, really. Vanilla rooiboses that aren’t just vaguely disappointing are few and far between. There was even one once which was outright vile and tasted like when you accidentally get shampoo in your mouth in the shower. Ick.
This one is on the better end of the scale though. The rooibos isn’t too pencil-shaving-y and the vanilla is heavy but soft and reminds me of custard. Funnily enough, the custard is also something I thought when I posted about it the first time some years ago. Must be true, then.
Back then I gave it 79 points, but I’ve knocked that down some today. Better end of the scale, yes, but not sure I think it’s that high up anymore.
Very uncharacteristically I felt inspired for a rooibos tonight. It’s been a while since the last one, but some of you may recall my utter shock and surprise when Cteresa shared a rooibos with me that I found really pleasant. In spite of the fact that, by itself, I don’t like rooibos. Enjoying the one that Cteresa sent me so much was really one of those Earth-shaking experiences, and it made the boyfriend suggest that I could try some of the ones that he had brought with him when we moved in together.
I tried one or two and it wasn’t really a huge success. I discovered that it’s entirely possible that not only does it have to be flavoured with something in order to be drinkable to me, but it has to be flavoured with something sweet too. The lemon-y one that he really enjoys didn’t really do the trick for me. There is both a caramel and a vanilla one in stock and I’m sure I’ve tried one of them with modest success, but I can’t remember which one. I don’t appear to have posted about it either.
So I knew it would have to be one of these two and let the boyfriend decide for me. He picked vanilla, which suited me fine. What with my persistent vanilla phase and all. Come to think of it, the one Cteresa shared with me was something vanilla-y as well. I can’t remember what else it had, it was some kind of fruit. But definitely vanilla, which makes me both hopeful and concerned about trying this one.
Please don’t let the perfect vanilla tea be a rooibos. I’m not sure I could bear that.
It smells strongly of both rooibos and vanilla at the same time. The vanilla here is sweet and all creamy so that the aroma leaves an impression of a sort of slightly spiced custard.
The flavour is pretty nice as well, actually. It’s… still rooibos-y and I could probably live with it being a little less so and a little more strongly flavoured, but the vanilla is coming through clearly and very sweetly. I do like the one Cteresa shared with me better, though, with its fruity aspect as well. I’m sort of missing that a little here, even though I can’t even remember what sort of fruit it was. Completely drawing a blank on that one and I can’t, frankly, be bothered to look it up right now. It’s late.
Yeah, this is quite nice. But I am sort of relieved that the quest for the perfect vanilla doesn’t stop here.
I thought I had already tried this! So curious about it, thought I had tried it and find the very generous sample Angrboda gave me unopened. I do have too many teas, it is now confirmed.
I am not too crazy about oolong normally. I do love raspberries though, and this red fruit oolong from a local tea seller works for me in a good way. In all good omens.
The tea did not disappoint – it smells incredibly strongly of raspberry, in a way that seemed a little bit artificially flavoured (but I am paranoid). But when infusing the taste is pure natural raspberry, a little bit tart which is just right for things with a raspberry taste. Lovely! Though I think I should have been more generous with the dosage or skimpier with the ammount of water – and this will definetely get multiple steeps just to see how it goes.
A gift from Angrboda, thank you so much and it is fascinating, this is so not like my usual Lapsang Souchongs (do not know how to pluralize that). That is not a bad thing, and it makes it extra interesting.
First this LS is sort of a tough guy with a marshmallow centre. It smells very very smoky, very piney (unlike my usual ones, which btw are Twinings and Mariage Frères Imperial LS), very dude. The scent of the brewed tea is much milder, much drier, almost herbal. And the smoke taste is nearly gone on the palate, it tastes sweet, a bit fruity maybe, maybe a tiny bit astringent (or I steeped it too long, a possibility. Though I do personally like this level of astringency), maybe pomegranate-ish? Dunno. This is sort of a puzzle, but I am sure going to enjoy the rest of my sample of this!
This smells absolutely wonderful – and I realized one thing. I opened the packaging ( I am totally envious of the little ziploc foil packets Angrboda sent this in) and my first impression was that this smelled “american”. American not having any value associations, I just smelled it and thought it. And then realized why, it´s the cranberries! Cranberry and a hint of vanilla, it is a smell and flavour I associate with the USA. Though not particularly with late summer, but maybe because cranberries for me are so exotic and rare and not associated with any particular season. It is a a very good late winter tea as well!
And it works, it really works here. Very nice tea. Reminded me a bit of a black version of Thé à l´Opéra. Very nice base as well.
This was part from a wonderful surprise from Angrboda, thank you!
First of all thanks to Angrboda for sending this oolong tea to me, it’s the second time I taste an oolong. The other oolong I’ve tasted was called Dragon Eye Oolong, and that one was more a “black” oolong than a “green” oolong, and I have read that oolong teas varies from 8% fermentation to 85%, so that oolong was probably fermented by 60% – 85% I think.
This oolong is by the way much more green than the other oolong I’ve tasted, but it still got some black tea taste.
The dry leaf smells of course of raspberry, but it isn’t that sweet raspberry smell, it smells quite natural and unsweet. There are pieces of blackcurrant in this tea, which really surprises me since it’s just called Raspberry Oolong. The liquid tea smells natural too, and doesn’t has an overpowering sweet “nose”.
The liquid tea has an ever so lightly tartness to it, and is very silky in texture.
It didn’t get tannic or bitter, even though I steeped it for around 6 minutes. This is a really great tea, and I love that it both has a green tea taste and a black one, very nice.
I like this tea WAY better than their White Temple Tea.
Oolong is one of my favourite teas now.
Appearance: Furled green/black leaves and pieces of raspberry and blackcurrant.
Dry tea-smell: Natural raspberry. Not overpowering sweet.
Color: Right between a green tea and a black tea, which means brownish-green.
Brewed tea-smell: “Tart” raspberry.
Taste: Very silky oolong, green tea taste and black tea taste, raspberry and a lightly tart aftertaste.
Well, this is the first time I try a tea from A.C. Perch’s, and it seems to be a tea house with potential!
I have tasted some white teas before, but not many at all, to be exact this is the 2nd white tea I try, which is to say that it isn’t a lot.
The tea itself is Pai Mu Tan, can’t be anything else, the other white tea I’ve tasted was a silver needle, and it didn’t had much flavor. The dry tea smells nice. Fruity, exotic, sweet and so on. The leaves are quite big and flat, and the steeped tea got that characteristic, almost silvery color to it. White teas are so adorable in color. I steeped this tea for a long time, 6 minutes, maybe 7 minutes, but it doesn’t seem to be a too long steeping-time. I can not clearly tell which fruits it smells of in it’s liquid form, it is just one fruity orgy, but there’s clearly strawberry and pineapple in it.
The taste is sweet, which may be caused by the candied fruits added to this tea, and of course the white tea itself, which tends to be sweet. I almost only get strawberry and pineapple when I drink it, and it is also tart due to the pieces of fruits added to it. Great tea, but it really is a fruity orgy. I don’t think it overtakes the best Kusmi-teas I’ve tasted.
Appearance: Big, flat white tea leaves, orange peel and candied fruits.
Dry tea-smell: Fruit. Strawberry, pineapple and papaya.
Brewed tea-smell: Strawberry and pineapple.
Taste: White tea, sweetness and tartness. Strawberry and pineapple.
Here’s one from the work stash. It’s a new one we haven’t had before, and I drank it for the first time today, taking a few quick notes.
This was one that the boss picked. We tend to buy some flavoured and some unflavoured when we buy, some black and some oolong. Our two flavoureds are still the raspberry oolong and the late summer blend, both of which are nommy. I don’t suspect those two are going to change for a long while yet. They’re the sort of teas that it’s difficult to be finished with. Unlike the green Bolivia, which we both seem to like less and less every time we have it. We’ll never be rid of that stuff.
Anyway, we needed to pick some unflavoured black and some unflavoured oolong, and the boss picked this one for the oolong. I had rather hoped she would choose the dark Fujian oolong instead, but alas. It was her turn to pick something and all that and I had already picked (a flop of) an unflavoured black.
Did I mention I was sceptical? The last time I had something called Formosa Oolong, it was from a different shop, yes, but it was SO BORING as to almost turn me off Taiwanese oolongs all together. That’s boring. It had no character. It was lackluster. It was… lifeless.
So I was sceptical.
But I wasn’t in a flavoured mood and I was freezing, so I was rather in a hurry to pick something. Europe is a deep-freezer at the moment. It was -10°C when I was walking to work this morning, and -6°C when I was walking home. And we’re getting off easy in Denmark. Look up Ukraine. Then be glad you don’t live there. shivers
Yes, but when are you getting to the point, Ang? I hear you ask. The answer is now.
I don’t often bother to describe the leaves of a tea unless there’s something about them that strikes me as unusual or noteworthy. Most of the time, when I try, I find myself just looking at me and concluding that they are leaves that look like tea leaves and something they are large and sometimes they are small. These had so many different colours. They were primarily ranging from golden to dark brown, which I didn’t find particularly unusual, but then there were some of them that had white bits on them. At first glance, it looked exactly like they were mouldy! They weren’t, obviously, they’re supposed to look like that, but it was a moment of annoyance when for a second I thought that we had in our recent order had one possibly mislabeled tea and one ruined tea. It would be very unlike ACP, though, so I pulled myself back together and confirmed that I was indeed being paranoid.
Then I smelled the leaves. That a pretty aroma! That was nothing like the above mentioned dead lack of success. Nothing at all. It was all sweet and honey-like, and it had just the teensiest hint of something floral. It smelled like sweets, really.
This took care of some of my scepticism. This was definitely nothing like I was expecting and thank all deities for that. The aroma as well as the flavour was all nutty and chocolate-y. ACP says chestnuts and honey, but I disagree. It was hazelnuts for me.
Ever wondered about a Nutella tea? Hazelnuts and chocolate, this is one. It’s not as creamy as Nutella, for obvious reasons, nor is it as extremely sweet, but it’s definitely that sort of flavour profile I’m getting out of it.
How interesting! That was the sort of thing I had expected to find in the oolong I was hoping the boss would choose. She wasn’t at work today, so I don’t think she has tried it yet, but I’m looking forward to hearing what she thinks.
Also, this is another example of ACP’s ridiculous steep time recommendations. 8-10 minutes! I don’t think so, ACP! I like my tea still drinkable, thank you, and not stewed. I really wonder where they get these crazy times from. It’s all their teas, and they don’t give a leaf amount recommendation. They can’t be using very much at those times.
Now, somebody revive the gong-fu drinkers. There appear to have been some instances of fainting…