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Recent Tasting Notes
Thanks so much for sharing your creation, KittyLovesTea ! As a rule green tea isn’t really my favourite, and genmaicha has always kinda confused me, but this is one that I really enjoyed to the end! Including this last cup, which I have been hoarding for the best part of four years… It’s finally time to let go of that one last cup I’ve hoarded of all my teas since my interest began. I have far too many of them and a good few are 4 years old (yikes!) so to say they’ve seen better days is an understatement. I can happily say, though, that this tea was deliciously nutty to the end! A lovely tea to warm up with at work in the rotten weather. The water in the boiler at work is roughly 90 degrees, but there was no astringency to suggest the tea was burnt, and the flavour was not too savoury, which is something that I’ve found with other genmaichas. I don’t think a genmaicha is something I’m ever going to gravitate towards on a regular basis, but even as someone who doesn’t often drink these teas, I happily drank each and every cup.
First time ever foraging my own tea!
My in laws live in a small town 3h away from us. Every August the blueberry picking is amazing (in 2 days the husband and I picked ourselves 14L of blueberries!). This time I decided to save some of the leaves and see how that would be as a herbal tea. We were tossing the leaves away anyways, figured I might try using it for something!
I saved the leaves (some had stems and I think a couple blueberries snuck in too) and after cleaning them (left them for a day or two before I could get to them as well) I spread the leaves out on a baking sheet and then baked them to dry them out on the lowest setting my oven had (200F). I believe I baked them for 20-25min before they felt “crispy” enough, and then I put them away. Today I grabbed somewhere between 1-2 tbsp of leaf and steeped them in 8oz of boiled water for 5min. The taste is herbaceous, slightly woody (thanks to the stems/twigs attached) with a very subtle sweet after taste). Altogether It was alright. It didn’t wow me, so I’m debating blending these leaves with other things or just tossing them (i don’t mind doing so since I didn’t pay for them, haha). Altogether a neat experience regardless!
Flavors: Herbaceous, Wood
A neighbor gave me a tin of shou mei a long time ago. I liked it, but somehow it got pushed aside over and over as not being something I was really in the mood to drink. I enjoyed a number of flavored white teas, and over time this one became a bit of a burden. I wanted to finish it, it was too old to give away in good conscience, but I didn’t really want it.
I decided to flavor it to make it more like The White Wolf from Belloqc. I fully intended to add some spearmint leaves this morning but was multitasking and too rushed, so this is just shou mei that has been sitting sealed with some crushed star anise in it for a couple of weeks.
It did the trick! I will probably try it again with spearmint and maybe chunks of cinnamon added, but this was good and made a nice addition to our breakfast.
Used less hibiscus this time, resulting in a translucent pink color that looks more like tea and a tea that smells like lemon hibiscus. The taste is more mellow and it tastes more like orange and mint. The amount of hibiscus really affects the flavor. One tbsp and you may or may not taste it; one and a half to two tbsps, and all you taste is hibiscus.
Flavors: Lemon, Orange, Spearmint
So, I hope I don’t get in trouble for adding my own tea. It’s much like Mountain Rose Herb’s Hibiscus High, but instead of orange peel and lemon balm, they use lemon peel and lemon grass. I don’t that makes too much of a difference based on how much hibiscus is in it, but I haven’t tried Hibiscus high, and I didn’t realize my tea was so similar until I received the catalog and after I ordered all of my herbs separately.
I have to say I have no idea what I’m doing when I mix tea. I don’t have any proper way of measuring it. My process is rather haphazard actually. First I take all the bags out of the closet. Then I realize I grabbed a different herb, usually lavender, and so I go back to the cabinet for the right thing, usually spearmint, dropping bags in the process. Then I usually add each item to my tea bag, varying the amount, but I usually leave hibiscus as the dominant ingredient.
I actually bought everything originally, because I had rose hips, but making tea with just rose hips left me with a sour and one-note brew.
Anyway, the predominant scent once mixed is of spearmint, followed by the fruity scent of the hibiscus that is almost but not very citrusy. The flavor of hibiscus is rather complex as is the scent, so it overpowers the other ingredients. Since I haven’t had the hibiscus by itself, I don’t think I could explain how the other ingredients assert themselves. I will try to add that later for a more complex description.
This tea is a bright red and very opaque. It almost looks like fruit punch and has a strong fruity flavor. Re-steeping results in a mild orange-red color with no flavor, so I wouldn’t say it’s worth keeping the bag for a second use.
Flavors: Berry, Champagne, Citrus, Lemon, Mint
From the queue, written March 19th 2014
Another from the EU TTB, round 2. It’s been ages since I’ve last had a genmaicha and I can’t rightly recall what I think of them. I had a genmaicha phase shortly after having it for the first time ever, but then went off it. What better way to re-introduce myself than by having some of this one that KittyLovesTea made herself?
If I recall correctly, it was made from some sort of ‘blend your own’ kit, and Kitty added some houjicha to hers, making it more toasty-roasty.
It certainly smells toasty-roasty while it steeps, almost to the point of slightly burnt, and I find myself quite looking forward to tasting it. When poured off the leaves it’s a milder aroma, though, and the green tea itself comes through. It smells both strong and mellow at the same time.
Oh, it’s very toasty-roasty! And as I thought, also quite strong. No mild little delicate green here. It tastes to me closer to something related to a roasted oolong than to green tea, and I quite like that. I don’t really drink very much green tea at all, partial as I am to the darker end of the spectrum. This is grainy and roasty and very nice.
Well blended, Kitty!
Yesterday morning I awoke to find that there was no hot water, thinking it was the pilot light on the boiler (which is ancient and has instructions which may as well be in a foreign language) so I left it for my husband to do when he got home. He arrived home (late due to overtime) and had a fiddle around for half hour before enlightening me that it’s not the pilot light. On top of the hot water there is also no central heating. So I phoned up the gas company this morning and they sent someone over to have a look (he too was late). The man said his name was Wayne and after ten minutes of reading the instructions and starring intently he had to phone a Mr Gotham. My face lit up, Wayne…Mr Gotham…I knew where this was leading. When he got off the phone I as casually as I could asked what time Batman would be over (not being able to hide the smirk on my face for long). The only response I got was a blank expression and a quiet ‘What?’. I thought it was Batman comedy gold but gas engineers apparently are oblivious to it. Oh well, made myself chuckle anyway! Long story short – Boiler still doesn’t work so I have tomorrow morning off work while Mr Gotham comes over to inspect it himself.
So here I sit with my Genmaicha, a smile on my face and the start of a Civilization V game. Oh well, it could be worse.
The blend that I loved so much that I purchased and produced 550g worth. Am I crazy? Perhaps, but aren’t we all? My husband says this tea tastes like shredded wheat and well it does bare that resemblance. It’s a nice full on Genmaicha because of the Hojicha so it does have that lovely toasted charm. Through the toast I can taste the sweetness of the Bancha and the blend lightens and becomes almost grassy and green.
Plus I also love that each pot is good for two steeps :D
Just as a side note – I will not be rating or recommending this tea as it seems unfair of me to do so.
I really like genmaicha and I’ve been looking for one solid brand to keep as a staple. Now I just need to find a way to get KittyLovesTea to produce this in large quantities, because this is seriously good. Very well-blended, just the right amount of toasty to me (I really love toasty) and with a nicely balanced tea base. I’m impressed!
Additives are not my thing, but if I had any maple sugar lying around, I would put some in, and this might be the EU swap version of DT’s Movie Night.
I’m going to snag a little bit more and put in a sample bag for later use, but there is plenty left – the rest of you should really try it.
[Sample from the second round of the EU Travelling Box, spring 2014.]
Thank you Roswell Strange for the chance to try your custom blend. It is not my favorite but I am super impressed at how you were able to turn 3 teas that were not so great into something fairly tasty. This is floral and lemony but not overwhelmingly so. Not bad!
Flavors: Flowers, Lemon Zest
Well Roswell Strange, this is a pretty successful blend I would say. I was very hesitant given it smelled pretty floral but it is not overpowering. This is buttery, floral, citrusy, and just a bit tart. All flavors I usually don’t like but they are all balanced pretty perfectly. I don’t think I would reach for this but at the same time I doubt I would have much trouble getting through the sample. Good job at combining teas that you didn’t love to make a pretty good mix and thank you for sharing!
Flavors: Flowers, Lemon Zest
Well… as it is the ‘Holiday Season,’ I am giving my loved ones tea. The special friend of mine that will be receiving this tea, drinks about two *$ Venti Soy Vanilla Lattes a day. Thus, I decided to create a tea alternative. It’s a very subtle tea, but I think that she will appreciate the flavor profiles. With unsweetened vanilla almond milk and a tad of sweetener, it bears a decent resemblance to her brew of choice.
Well, goodbye custom blend! I didn’t realize that drinking you this afternoon would be a sipdown but that’s ok – I think we’ve run our course.
Today I had this one hot and I think looking back on it that was the better way to drink this one: it felt less, and I know this isn’t the right word but I think it’s close enough, “musty”. The bergamot was mild but present and the right was just light citrus and berries with a sort of tingly feel on the tongue in the end sip.
It was definitely a great way to re-purpose three blends that I wasn’t a fan of to begin with, so cheers for that. Now I’ve freed up another tin though – so I think after it finishes air drying (I washed it out because the bergamot was very strong smelling and I didn’t want it tainting anything going in here) I’ll be moving Ombrelle de Papier out of its bag into the tin. That should help make some room in the “white tea” section of my tea storage closet for when my 52Teas order arrives (I have two pouches of white tea incoming).
Hooray! Lots of tea drinking progress today!
My Dad brought me some home baked muffins today when he came to visit, and I’m having one right now. It’s ok but it tastes ‘healthy’. Healthy is not typically a word I use to describe the foods I really like…
This is a cold brew (12 hours total steep time), and it feels a little heavy handed on the Bergamot – but that could just be because it’s late at night and I associate EG with morning teas. I don’t know – it’s oddly “musty” too though. Tea shouldn’t taste musty…
The Houseguests are being really amusing right now!
I made tea tonight for both Tre and I, and this is what he ended up having. He asked for something with “No cinnamon, licorice or lemon” and I was already making this for him when I remembered that a third of this is DT’s Earl of Lemon (a flavour he didn’t want) and a third is McQuarrie’s “Ontario Ice Wine” (a flavour he absolutely hated and flat out refused to be served). Oops.
I stole a few sips from his mug before I doused it in sugar and passed it off. It tasted pretty good, maybe a little bergamot heavy though.
It worked out – he liked it for the most part (said he could taste the Goji). He didn’t mention noticing the lemon or the ice wine in it – so yay for that!
Flavors: Berries, Flowers, Lemon Zest, Melon
Finished off the last of my cold brew of this with breakfast, and forgot to log it. It was nice enough, and refreshing though I think I may need to crank down the settings in my Fridge because it was more like having a Bergamot Slushie – my fridge is apparently that cold…
Now I’ve got some White Angel cold brewing for tomorrow!
It’s amazing how certain combinations of blends can create an enjoyable tea when the blends used individually were really quite unappealing.
This blend mixes three blends I didn’t like in a 1:1:1 ratio, and somehow that created a really lovely fruity, light Bergamot drink. After sending some of this as an extra to VariaTEA I decided that I definitely needed to try this cold brewed, so that’s exactly what I did!
I think my small pitcher worth of this cold brewed for around 15 hours – possibly a little less. The smell is definitely Bergamot, almost entirely straight Bergamot; but the taste is a nice balance of Bergamot and sweet fruits like red berries and fresh citrus like lemon. Quite refreshing!
VariaTEA, I think the sample I sent you of this was pretty large so I definitely recommend trying this hot and cold!
Decided to try my “Frankenstein” tea again, to see if it’s as good a second time around. I’m sipping at it as a bedtime tea while enjoying a late night snack/supper of sloppy Joe styled princess Alphagettis…
Second time I’m not nearly as floored, but I think that’s because the first time my expectation were so low that even just a decent/mediocre tasting tea would have seemed crazy delicious and exceptional to me.
I am getting a light bergamot, and the lemon/goji/berry notes give it this really weird but appetizing taste. Tonight, the mouthfeel is quite a bit thicker than I recall it being…
Also, I’m weeping inside right now… I just finished watching tonight’s Supernatural episode and I wont give anything away for anyone who hasn’t seen it but I’m just so, so heartbroken and it really makes me wish that I wasn’t caught up right now, and I could go back to the (somewhat) happier episodes earlier on. :’(
See tasting note here:
Today I decided to do a custom blend featuring Upton’s Fuding White Treasure and Harney & Sons Nahorhabi full leaf Assam. If you’re interested, my reviews can be found here:
Initially, I was a little concerned that the Assam would mask some of the subtleties of the white tea, so it’s possible that I used more white tea than I normally would if I were drinking it straight. I used 2-3 grams in my glass press for my 8 oz cup. For the Assam, I used about 3/4-1 tsp. While steeping the tea, I was picking up more of the nutty or roasty quality of the white tea, and only slight aromatic qualities of the Assam. Had I under compensated and not used enough black tea?
The cup color was midway between each tea, being light brown in nature. Even in the cup, I was detecting more white tea aromatics, and only light maltiness from the black tea. On my palate, surprisingly the Fuding White dominated with its roasted taste, and I was only noticing light, malty, chocolate flavors. I believe the white tea smoothed out the Assam. I was amazed it had turned out this good for totally guessing on the amounts of tea. While my first cup was smooth & delicious, I was hoping for just a bit more of the Assam character and flavor.
I decided to reuse the steeped leaves for my second cup, adding roughly 1.5 tsps of the Fuding White & about 3/4-1 tsp. of the Nahorhabi Assam. Did I now run the risk of the black tea masking the white tea? Steeping aromas were more malty chocolate Assam, but the white toasty aromas were lightly noticeable. :)) Cup color was still a mixture of the two teas but darker. Cup aromas were more malty & chocolaty, but the roasty quality of the Fuding White refused to whimper away. The Assam flavors were leading here, with the toastiness shadowing the sunlight. The flavors on my palate were deeper, but still sssoooo smooth & delicious! :)) [2:45 at 185-195F].
I’ve gotten the best of both worlds with my custom black & white blend today. The first cup showcased more of the Fuding White Treasure, and in the more balanced second cup the Assam was master. All in all, quite a harmonious blend, like a good friendship.
Speaking of friendships, my loving Beagle Cookie died 10 years ago today. While it was a very sad day & time, I still think of her quite often, usually remembering the happy times! We used to go for walks almost every day-she (we) loved our walks! I still remember how I would worry when she snuck out “on the prowl” all night long. :// She used to love to chase rabbits (she was a rabbit dog), outside kitties, and eat crickets. I’ll never forget those clear, bright, sunny, blue sky days, when she used to roll on her back in the grass with a smile on her face [YES, I said smile :)) ]. She always enjoyed chasing butterflies-running, trying to catch them in the sunlight! :))
Oh, how the memories return, and give me sadness & JOY! :)) :
Cupped & Reviewed: Saturday, July 7, 2012.