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Recent Tasting Notes
Dear Pumpkin Spice,
I wanted to like you. Really, I truly did. I know that you might not want to hear that right now, but please hear me out.
When I was mildly disappointed with the first cup, I did not shun you. I tried you again the next day. When that cup, too, left me crestfallen, I was not deterred.
I know what you’re thinking, but don’t you DARE pretend that I didn’t put effort into trying to fix this. I experimented. I changed your steep time. I changed your water temperature. I changed the amount of you that I put in…you. I sat by your bed and read you Harry Potter, and I even held your hair back on that one night we decided to take shots every time those girls on The Hills did something that made us want to lose our faith in humanity. And still, after everything that we’ve been through, things just never felt right.
You were just so bitter. I could never understand it. You looked so good on paper, and I’d be lying if I said your scent wasn’t slightly intoxicating, but being in your company simply wasn’t enjoyable.
I think that the night I knew it was over was when I broke down and tried you with cream and sugar, and I got no pumpkin flavor and could only taste the sugar. With all due respect to your parents, why would they name you Pumpkin when there is no pumpkin to be had? Are you related to the Scented-Bitter-Waters who live up north?
And now, we must part ways. I’m sorry, Spice. Please believe me when I say that I wanted this to work.
P.S. You wouldn’t happen to have any friends who taste a lot better than you do, would you?
After last time’s what I consider to be failed experiment, I went and read up on what other people were doing who made this tea. In a twist of irony, it turns out that I did need more balls. At the suggestion of several people [though I believe most vehemently @cofftea] I put in a whopping 5 for my cup today and was pleasantly surprised.
The enjoyment I got on this go round was vastly improved. I got a lot more of that cocoa aspect from it [and by cocoa I do mean like the unprocessed, unsweetened stuff, not a Swiss Miss packet with the mini marshmallows].
It reminds me of when I was younger, and my mom would be baking something with unsweetened chocolate and I would beg her for a piece. She’d always say, “No,” [or sometimes “NO! GO AWAY!”] but then one day [either I was being notably obnoxious or she just wanted a laugh] she broke me off a small chunk. And would you believe it, she made ME clean up the chocolate that I promptly spit on the floor. THE NERVE.
Now that I’m older, and I like to think that my tastes have matured a bit, I have developed more of a liking for that dark, bitter chocolate. [Not to be confused with unsweetened baking chocolate, which remains nasty raw, in my opinion.] You know, the kind of thing that the fancy chocolatiers carry and come from various places in South America. [Scharffen Berger cocoa nibs are WHERE IT’S AT, by the way.]
With all this talk about chocolate, you’d think I’d be ready to jump into bed with this tea, but I think I need it to hint at sweetness, and I’m not getting any of that. This is a problem I often have with black tea, which again is ironic because I used to be ALL ABOUT coffee and black tea is most reminiscent of that flavor profile for me. It’s just too bitter for my tastes, I think. I need to put additives in it to really enjoy it, and I don’t like putting things in my tea for whatever reason. Call it a quirk. Black teas also occasionally upset my stomach, and though I know you’re DYING to hear more about that particular experience I’m not going to indulge you with the unpleasant details involved.
I can see myself enjoying Black Dragon Pearls when in a specific mood, and I think this might be something I’ll seek out once winter roars into gear, so I’ll likely be saving it for then. Maybe I’d like it more if I combined it with something a little sweeter. [If you have suggestions, please, leave them.] Or perhaps I’ll go against my ever-so-stringent belief system and try this with a little caramel in it, because that could just be the clincher that results in a re-order. And if nothing else, Jeebus knows I need to be spending more money. WE SHALL SEE.
I still consider myself to be new to the tea game. Now that Steepster has me reading all of your wonderfulness, I find myself googling things [or binging things – I’m an equal-opportunity search engine user] on a consistent basis. If a year ago, someone had asked me if I liked Ceylon, I would have said, “Is that like a robot?” And if someone had asked me if I wanted to try some Black Dragon Pearls, I would have said, “What is that? Dragon testicles?”
BECAUSE I’M CLASSY.
But really. These balls are huge. [Snicker, snicker.] Maybe I just haven’t had a lot of “pearl” tea, but these seem exceedingly large to me. Is that how Black Dragon Pearls are done traditionally? I am enclosing a picture for reference. [There’s a rotate button on the top right. I can’t get it to turn on my phone.] My wallet is not for reference, I just think it’s funny.
The taste of the tea wasn’t nearly as impressive as the size of its balls [okay, okay, I’m done]. If I say that it had taste but was rather flavorless, would that make sense? Maybe I didn’t let it sit long enough, but I found the whole experience to be relatively bland. The cocoa was a lot more apparent on the nose than the tongue, but I did get a couple of glimpses of it towards the very end after it had cooled considerably.
Additionally, any tea that I can watch unfurl is always enjoyable for me because I’m easily entertained. I’m on the edge of giving this a thumbs up, but it’s not quite there. Maybe it’ll grow on me. Or maybe I just need more balls.
That’s what she said.
Finally got around to making a pot. I haven’t had this tea in several years, and I feel like my tastes have matured since then. But naturally, I’m going to like an assam/ceylon blend.
It’s a good tea, don’t get me wrong. It’s strong and a little bitter, but it just doesn’t have a lot going on. I guess I’m starting to lean more toward Chinese black teas? Or maybe I’m just having an off night. I’ll give it another try before I consider my rating final.
I don’t usually go for Irish Breakfast tea, simply because it’s usually boring flavor-wise and I like my tea exotic. But I was really pleasantly surprised by this tea. I like it a lot. The leaves have a very pleasant, sweet smell. I knew I’d like it as soon as I smelled it. I will probably be re-ordering this. It’s also probably good to mix with other teas as a black tea base.
This tea is what I was thinking of when I was a child and making imaginary magic potions that could heal your lifeforce or imbue you with magic. The tea itself is a feel good item and can lift spirits. It allows you to shrug off discomfort, like it was some kind of winter coat and just feel good.
It has a cool blonde liquor and a mild smell like tanned leather or some sort of soft herb like tarragon. The taste has notes of butter and hay, like some impossible grain beverage. There are no truly bitter flavors present.