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Recent Tasting Notes
I have two things working in my favor with this tea. One is that I know to expect the artificial flavors and the second is that I don’t have any particular reactions to artificial flavors. That said, a big thank you to @teanecromancer who sent this one my way after discovering the above the hard way.
The artificial flavor/aroma is a touch much in the first steep, but after that it was a pretty enjoyable accompaniment to my day. I don’t think that I would buy or stock this, but if I had some on hand or someone were sharing, I’d definitely drink it again.
Friends, it is time for a change, specifically a hair change. Yesterday was root day (aka the day I hide it from the world that I am naturally a blonde) and I realized I needed to touch up my blue tips. Sadly I also realized I was out of blue dye, so I thought…why not change things up a bit? I went to the store to get bleach and some purple and later today I will have purple tips instead of blue. Maybe. Last time I went purple it was not the best choice, but I think since it will be the tips rather than my whole head it will look pretty cool.
Today I am taking a break from my usual gongfoolery to try an Earl Grey variant from CuriosiTea, Lady Earl White Tea. A Blend of Bai Mu Dan, Bergamot Oil. Rose Petals and Lavender. I like my Earls with lavender, I love roses, and am quite fond of Bai Mu Dan so I thought this would be a take on an Earl I like…since usually, I am not a fan of straight up Earl Greys. The aroma of the leaves is quite potent, not really getting much of the white tea, roses, or lavender, just a small explosion of bergamot…this made Ben happy because he loves his bergamot super strong. After this initial citrus burst, undertones of roses pop up, though they are faint next to the powerhouse that is the bergamot.
Into the steeping apparatus the leaves and petals go for their soak, the aroma of bergamot pretty quickly escapes the steeper and wafts around my desk like an orange wave, it is very refreshing. There are notes of roses and wet have in the wet leaves, along with bergamot of course, though the promised lavender has not popped up quite yet. The liquid is a double blend of roses and bergamot with a slight underlying sweetness of honey from the white tea.
Well, if tasting this tea were a battle (I have been reading about European history in the 10-1200s and there are a lot of battles, it is on my mind) I would say hands down the bergamot wins. It is very decisive, I did not really taste anything else until the aftertaste of gentle roses and very distant lavender. Sadly I do not really taste the white tea base, it is totally overshadowed by the bergamot, which is a little sad since I think these flavors together could work well if it were toned down just a bit, Ben, who is well known for being Der Erlkonig felt the same way, really liked the strength of the bergamot but wish the base was stronger or the bergamot were weaker so that the base stood out more. I did give this to my housemate who I am corrupting into the ways of fine loose leaf tea and who was craving an Earl and she liked it, so I am perfectly willing to say this would be a fine introductory tea and that Ben and I are just too picky after all these years!
If you do not follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you probably don’t know that I have gotten back into painting, finally. I am not entirely sure why I had that massive several month long break from painting, and why it took redoing my bedroom into a tea room that reignited the painting itch, but I am glad that it did. It is not that I lacked for inspiration or desire to paint, just everytime I tried to paint it didn’t work, and I can only blame a lack of paint or good brushes so much. Either way, I am glad to be back at it, finally finishing my Dreadfleet ships, just have Count Noctilus’s Bloody Reaver left to go!
Today I am looking at Ginger Plum Oolong by CuriosiTea, a blend of Sechung Oolong and Ginger Pieces. I love Oolong and I love ginger, so I thought this would be a fun tea to Gongfu. I assumed by reading the ingredients that the plum note comes from the tea itself, since it seemed to be a bit roasted and roasted Oolongs can have a wonderfully fruity note. Sadly the moment I opened the pouch I knew I was mistaken, even though it is not listed in the ingredients, this tea is definitely flavored and not by anything natural. Now, this is not me being an elitist snob who only likes the ‘pure teas’ true I do prefer them, but a well done flavored with natural flavoring tea can be excellent. I cannot do artificial flavoring, and I can tell it is artificial a mile away, because artificial flavoring (along with perfumes, scented candles, air fresheners…things of that nature) are possibly the worst headache trigger for me in existence. Since it does not list any flavoring on the website or packaging, I opened the bag and stuck my face in…which was a horrible mistake!!! I was punched in the face with a bubblegum fist, yes bubblegum, I am not sure how or why, but there are no notes of Oolong or Ginger, just bubblegum. I hate bubblegum.
So, even though I now have a splitting headache I realize I have a job to do, who knows, maybe once this tea has been steeped it will taste and smell totally different? Like that one Puerh I had that smelled like a barn floor but tasted like honey, sometimes things don’t match as cleanly as expected. So into my gaiwan the leaves go, slowly my tea area is filled with the cloying sweet smell of bubblegum and a tiny hint of ginger, still no Oolong though. The liquid has a peculiar note of burnt bubblegum, so I think I finally found a bit of Oolong, though the only note I am getting is char which is not promising. Sadly my headache is increasing, I am very much so not pleased about this headache situation, if this tea had been properly labeled I would have never picked it!
Here is the moment of truth, sipping and at first it is a nice mild ginger, I let my guard down a bit and NOPE. The midtaste is an explosion of bubblegum that did the double punch of making me gag and making my head hurt so bad that my vision goes blurry. The aftertaste is lingering bubblegum and it just won’t quit. I tried a second steep to see if the flavoring had been washed off, but really all I get is watered down char and bubblegum. I then had to take some Advil and recuperate in a dark room until the headache eased up, which I should point out took over a day. I know not everyone is as sensitive to artificial flavoring as I am, but I do wish it would have been properly labeled, but to be fair the distributor that CuriosiTea uses also doesn’t list flavoring so I am not sure who to be cross with. Just remember tea companies, list ALL the ingredients!!