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Recent Tasting Notes
I freaked out a little when I put this in the gaiwan because it seemed to be full of saffron-yellow powder.
Then I realized, those were osmanthus flowers. They look like the pictures of osmanthus flowers on the internet, anyway. I hope that’s what they are and not something that shouldn’t be there.
In the tin, the tea doesn’t smell much different from the usual green oolong smell. Mostly just a grassy smell with a light floral note.
Gaiwan. 195F. Rinse. 15 seconds plus 5 for each additional steep.
The tea is pale yellow, clear, and smells a little vegetal and somewhat floral. Nothing distinctive about either, to the point where a particular vegetable or flower jumped out and announced itself. It tastes the way it smells. It doesn’t have either of the things that make me love green oolongs — the butteriness or the juicy floral.
I didn’t notice much of a change through four steeps. I got none of the overt sweetness Auggy mentioned, and frankly, I felt like this was missing something.
It was supremely average. It will be going into the cold brew queue.
Flavors: Floral, Green, Vegetal
Sipdown no. 128 of 2018 (no. 484 total).
I’m back from my business and pleasure trip to Sweden, which was both very interesting and very dark this time of year.
This tea had the distinction of being the lowest rated cold brew eligible tea in my cupboard (I can’t face the idea of cold chamomile), and so that is how I enjoyed it until it was gone.
Greener oolongs make unexpectedly good, unusual, cold brews in my experience. I enjoyed this as a cold tea.
I"m starting with oolongs again today. Since they take a little more work, I find it helps to drink them when I’m fresh.
This one looks pretty green, but in the tin it smells like I’m putting my nose into a food seasoning of some kind. There’s a salty, spicy note. Having just made it through Thanksgiving, I want to say it’s sage.
After rinsing and doing a first steep in the gaiwan at 15 sec, though, there’s nothing of that in the aroma or flavor. The tea is pale yellow with a green tinge.
I didn’t get a lot of flavor out of the first steep. I got some floral notes and some buttery ones, but it didn’t really pop. The leaves pretty much completely unfurled after the first steep. And yes, here I get a pineapple note! It’s a sort of a strange thing but it’s there in both the aroma and the flavor.
The third steep continues the pineapple note and it’s with this steep that I understand the reference to a honey note. Though the tea is a pale yellow which makes me somehow expect it not to generate a honey note, it does. I’m also getting a slight marine note here. There’s a sugary smell left in the cup after the tea is gone.
By the fourth steep, the color is different. It’s a more intense, lemon yellow color. The flavor is similar to that of the third steep. The tea is a bit drying to the mouth.
This is definitely different from other greener oolongs that I’ve had. While I can’t say I like it as much as some of the more floral, more buttery ones, or yesterday’s milk oolong, it’s a refreshing change of pace. Some day when I whittle my stash down will I keep a Forever Spring oolong in it?
Not sure yet. This is the first one I’ve had so I’m rating it rather conservatively in the very good column. It’s a rating that is subject to revision with further thought and perhaps something else of this type to compare it to.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Honey, Marine, Pineapple, Sage, Sugar
I intended to try this yesterday, but the day got away from me once the turkey was in the oven. So I decided I’d mix it up and start with oolongs today. I feel so adventurous!
I am guessing this is Da Hong Pao, despite the hood nomenclature. It walks like a duck. The leaves are beautiful and big, dark and chocolate brown. They smell roasty-toasty. Actually they kind of smell like toast, the kind one makes in a toaster.
Stepped in the gaiwan after rinse. The Zo is still at 190F (what gives) for short steeps starting at 15 sec.
The tea is medium-dark amber and smells mildly toasty. No sharpness. For whatever reason, I find myself thinking this would make an excellent iced tea. It has a rather singular note on the first steep. No surprising sugars or florals, just a straight up roasted but mild flavor.
The second steep gets a little more interesting. There’s something that smells a bit like camphor in it, though it is very faint. And some wood. It’s still smooth, though there’s a high note that tends toward some sharpness. It’s drying to the mouth. There’s a tad of smoke in the aftertaste.
I’m trying hard to get what the description means by malty here. I’m not getting that. The third steep is similar to the second, though I taste a note that’s sort of like coffee, too. This is one tea that definitely changes from steep to steep. It becomes more complex, too. I suppose this is a reason not to drink it iced, but the idea of having it iced still intrigues me.
The fourth steep is similar. I don’t know whether it’s because I still have a bit of a sniffle, but this seems like it can grab your throat the wrong way when you’re not paying attention.
It has more going on than the ATR that I found a bit boring, and has some odd things about it that don’t endear it to me as much as the Andao. Rating accordingly.
Flavors: Camphor, Coffee, Roasted, Smoke, Toast, Toasty, Wood
Sipdown no. 9 of 2019 (no. 497 total).
My experience has been that sometimes teas that are just sort of average-good really come to life when I cold brew them. This tea falls into that category. It makes a silky smooth, naturally sweet, green oolong cold tea. The milky aspects are somewhat subdued, too.
Basically, the aspects of this I liked are enhanced and the aspects that I didn’t like as much are muted in the cold brew process. I still think the rating is about right — it might have been a stretch to give this a 78 based on my hot experience of it, especially since I gave the Lupicia of yesterday lower and I think they were pretty similar.
The last caffeine of the day! And before noon, even. That never happens on weekends. :-) Huzzah for early starts and uninterrupted tea tasting and note writing.
I can’t believe I’m the first to write a note about this. It has been eons since Takgoti graced these pages, and she entered this in the database.
This is an obviously green oolong from the color and balled up leaves. I am expecting mega-unfurling as the tea steeps.
The dry leaves smell mysteriously like cotton candy. Huh? Maybe it is very sweet cream?
First foray — gaiwan — 195F — rinse — short steeps starting at 15 sec.
The steeped tea has a very mild smell. A little milky, not overly sweet. It’s a light, butter yellow color and it tastes like…. very mild, slightly sweet milk. Hence the name, I’m sure.
By the second steep, the leaves have unfurled and become huge. The color is the same hue, but slightly darker, and the aroma has a floral note. Gardenia perhaps. The sweetness in the flavor remains but has become a little darker. Not quite caramelized or brown sugar, but headed that direction. It still has a milky reference point, but not so milky that it makes a non-milk drinker (for flavor reasons) like me unhappy.
Steep three yields a deeper yellow liquor. Almost like liquefied butter, but clear. A mild, milky floral smell. The flavor is deeper, the milkiness turning more into butteriness.
I’m going to give it one last steep. Then I have to stop to move on to the rest of my day, alas.
The fourth steep hasn’t changed much from the third. So I feel somewhat ok about stopping here.
I generally prefer green oolongs to dark ones. This may have been my first milk oolong, though I can’t recall. I liked it, but having now experienced it, I prefer tieguanyin or other green types.
Flavors: Butter, Cotton Candy, Cream, Floral, Gardenias, Milk, Sugar, Sweet
I’ve had this before but never written a note about it, apparently.
The degree to which the dry mix smells like an orange cookie is remarkable. I smell a very definite pastry/cookie note, as well as orange, and some spices that aren’t listed in the mix which I find fascinating. I smell more ginger than coriander, more cinnamon than clove.
The pastry note remains to some degree in the steeped tea’s aroma and flavor. But all of those spices I smelled in the dry transform into the listed ingredients. The pepper note, in particular, stands out — which makes the tea flavorful but less pastry-like. The color is dark orange-amber and clear.
The smell I found so remarkable returns in a different form as the finish and aftertaste of the tea. That pastry note does survive once the stronger spice notes retreat.
It’s a pretty interesting tea. I am not sure it is quite up there with The Tea Table’s version. I had that last a while ago so it’s hard to know. But even if it doesn’t, it isn’t far off.
Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Clove, Coriander, Ginger, Orange, Pastries, Pepper
When I look back on it, I wonder what possessed me to buy this. It’s an odd choice for me. I don’t typically love savory teas, and lemon basil is a flavor I associate with roast chicken.
The first time I tried this a few weeks ago, I tried it in the gaiwan through multiple steeps but I didn’t take notes because I was (a) rushed and (b) I honestly didn’t know what to say about it. There was virtually no change from steep to steep. All I could think about was how odd the flavor was.
So I’ve pretty much decided that it’s not worth the trouble of multiple steeps. I’ll be drinking the rest of this Western style, steeped in the Breville.
In the packet, the smell is more lemon than basil. In fact the basil isn’t something I would have identified as basil if I hadn’t known it was there. After steeping, there’s much more basil in the aroma than lemon. The liquor is peach colored and clear.
The flavor is more subtle than the aroma. The basil is pretty dominant, the lemon less so. And yet it isn’t what I would have expected — it’s not like the run off from a roast chicken dinner. It’s not bad. It’s just not what I am looking for in an oolong experience.
To be honest, I’m not big on a lot of flavored oolongs, which is too bad because I seem to have a ridiculous number of them that I haven’t even tried yet.
If I was into experimental cooking, though, I might use this as a rub or a stuffing (to be removed before eating) for a roast chicken and see how that works.
As it is, I’m putting this in the sipdown-sooner-rather-than-later rotation.
Flavors: Herbs, Lemon
This was from a tea swap with Whiteantlers.
Today I’ve been busy with rearranging the house for new furniture and our home study in three-four weeks. So, to start the day with a solid cup of tea was a necessity. I must admit that I’ve been slacking on drinking more than Sencha lately, but that’s mostly due the fact that I’ve got nearly 2 pounds of it in the cupboard, and that it’s quick to make in the morning….
Now, to the tea:
I figured it was overdue to have a cup of this Nepal Moonlight from Whiteantlers, considering that it has been a while since I’ve received it. I have a tendency to be distracted from sampling teas, since there are oftentimes moments when I either choose something else, join group buys, or buy more tea.
Anyway, this was pretty good. I’d compare it to a Darjeeling. It has that malty quality, but it’s lighter. I get a little nutty flavors in the back of the mouth, but it’s mostly that malt taste. I’d compare it to dark chocolate, or perhaps a weak dark beer—however that works. After a few steeps in the gaiwan, it becomes slightly astringent. I hadn’t changed the temperature or the amount of seconds steeped (I gave it a 15s steep each time, with one 5s rinse to open the leaf a little bit; therefore, with the rinse, there were 4 steeps total).
The liquid has a nice orange hue to it; which was surprising since the tea leaves appear to be green-ish.
All in all, this was pretty good. I’m picky about WHAT type of black tea I drink. I usually steer clear of the malty flavors, or if I drink them, I usually add sugar/cream. However, I drank this without any added ingredients.
P.S. The soundtrack for this session was Electric Light Orchestra’s “Eldorado.”
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Malt
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Citrus, Ginger, Pepper, Tulsi
I’m continuing on my Keemun craze. It all started with one innocent sample of Keemun Xiang Luo, and next thing I know I’m back to the tea shop to buy more because it was incredible. Then came the thought, “I bet this would go great with Stilton”, so over to the cheese shop I went. The pairing worked with a cheese other than the Stilton (actually Shropshire) as I thought it would, but I knew with the right Keemun it would work. So, back to the tea shop I went for more. I got some Mao Feng (this one) for the pairing, some Ho Ya A so I wouldn’t drink all of the Xiang Luo (they’re similar and the Ho Ya A is easier to get) and some basic Keemun (the Imperial) because once that Keemun spiral sucks you in…
Of the Keemuns I have, this is the boldest of the bunch. There is a definite smoky, roasted flavor. People who like dark roast coffee would find it familiar. Going hand in hand are other dark roasted flavors, mostly dark chocolate, but also some notes of tobacco. It has a smooth thick body, which given the taste, reminds me of a stout style beer. There is a little bit of a tannic bite, but just a little, possibly adding to what seems to be an afternote of spice.
Colston Bassett Shropshire was the cheese I initially had in mind when I was drinking the Xiang Luo for a Keemun pairing, but it didn’t work. The Xiang Luo just wasn’t forward enough, lacked in too many areas and just wasn’t quite right in others. The Moa Feng that I’m drinking right now has the bravado to stand up to the Shropshire. Harsher notes from the cheese or the tea were balanced by the other, new flavors were formed. A brightness formed that wasn’t initially there. Hidden flavors of dried fig and apple were revealed. Even the texture, became all around more fudgey. So far the pairing was great… but my favorite (and the most unexpected part) was the rind with the tea! The rind on this cheese is 100% edible, but it’s often strong to the point where you wouldn’t want to eat it, and the piece I’m eating is certainly close to that point, and by itself was pretty nasty. Talk about a balancing act. (when I talk about eating the rind, I’m eating it as part of a bite containing the interior of the cheese.) The tea completely washes away the harsh volatile flavors in the rind. The predominant flavors left are roasted peanuts, almonds, and chocolate. If nutella were made with almonds and peanuts instead of hazelnuts, it would taste like this. Finally, the pairing I was going for worked, and now the Keemun spiral can come to an end.
I steeped the tea western style in a ForLife brand steeping basket/cup combo. I used 8.9g leaves, 14 oz water, 202 F for 4 mins. I like a heavy brew with Keemun.
Flavors: Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Smoke
I found an old almost empty bag of this, way in the back of a cabinet. It is almost 2 years old at this point, so a fair review wouldn’t be possible. From what I recall it was a simple and delicious tea. I remember it having a really pleasant sweetness, but not much beyond that, other than that it was really affordable. I brewed some up today out of curiosity, and as expected it had suffered and wasn’t what it once was. I’m mostly adding this note to remind myself to get it when the spring 2016 comes around.
I ran out of this tea a couple weeks ago and forgot to review it, and they’re not selling it right now, but I don’t want to forget it. Absolutely delicious. It was almost all golden tips. I remember it being super smooth and rich. I never had trouble with over steeping or bitterness. Amazing value for a top quality tea. If they ever get it in again, I’m jumping on it, especially for the price.
Brewed it in the Breville this time. 10 g for 1000 ml water 170 F for 3:30 basket cycle. I’m generally hesitant to steep anything but black tea in the Breville. It’s still not anything spectacular (at this point, being a spring 2015), but it turned out better than I expected steeping it this way. Decent flavor, a tiny bit of sweetness and not much astringency.
Having some midday green. Maybe not fair to describe this one right now, because the 2016 should be coming out relatively soon. I’ll try to get some when the new batch comes in to be fair. The little dry leaves are a dark green with a tan tinge. After steeping the leaves expand a great deal and become a forest green with some rust colored streaks running through them occasionally. I’d almost say those rust colored spots look like oxidation but the taste of the tea doesn’t reflect that. The flavors are vegetal, mostly spinach but also a noticeable amount Nori seaweed (but not fishy). It is thin bodied, and leaves my mouth feeling dry, the same way that spinach would.
I brewed it in a 130ml easy giawan, at 170F, 6.5g leaf. Steeps lasted anywhere between 5 and 30 seconds. I got at least 10 steeps out of it.
A standard Keemun, nothing fancy, no bells and whistles, just solid, good old tasty tea from the Keemun family. I’m not calling it simple to detract from it, I say that because I find some Keemuns to be very complex, and contemplative. The backbone of this one is a malty flavor, the kind of malty flavor that I find to be the commonality throughout the black tea world, that which makes a black tea taste “black tea-ish”! I don’t really know how else to describe it. (albeit common to most black teas, isn’t always the back bone.) There are little hints of smokiness, and dark chocolate, but there’s no question that those flavors are in the background. The bitterness is halfway between standard black tea tannin and the sort of bitterness that the high grade Keemuns have, which is along the lines of bitter chocolate for me. (definitely a good thing) It is medium bodied and very smooth. Overall, great quality for something in its price range.
This isn’t really something something that I’d use for a tea and cheese pairing class, but since I’m eating cheese with breakfast, I might as well talk about it. Of course basic brie tasted good with it. It gives you that typical milk in black tea flavor, but also brings out the dark chocolate note a little bit, while subduing the little bit of smokiness it has. I also tried it with a Spanish (Navarra) sheep cheese called Roncal. It reveals the orchid flavor that Premium Steap lists in their description, but it’s still not incredibly detectable. The tea also helps bring out some of the fruit in the cheese, as it’s far from the fruitiest cheese out there.
I can’t wait until summertime. This will be great as an iced tea. It would also be at home with a big breakfast of bacon, fried eggs, buttered toast, and sausage… and lets throw some scrapple in there because I’m in Philly!
I steeped it in an automatic Breville for 4 min, basket rotation, 205 F, 9g leaf, 700 ml water.
I’ve always liked Keemuns a whole lot, but for some reason I haven’t had one in years. Peg (the owner) at Premium Steap gave me a sample of this, simply saying that I’ll probably like it (she knows my tastes) and it doesn’t come around too often. Yes, she was 100% right, and yes I went back to buy a whole bunch of it before it was all gone.
First off, I’ll say that this tea is extremely forgiving. Got distracted while steeping? Not a problem. Accidentally put too much leaf in the pot? Don’t fret. I’ve steeped this in a Breville, a Gaiwan, and a ForLife steeping cup/basket. At temperatures ranging from 90C to boiling. Different water to leaf ratios (more leaf = better for me). It’s really just a matter of preference. It’s not like many Blacks where if you’re off by a little bit on your measurements it’ll feel like someone shoved an unripe quince in your mouth.
The bitterness that you get here is along the lines of what you would find in dark chocolate. As a matter of fact, there is a whole lot about this tea that is along the lines of dark chocolate. The flavor is like those Taza Mexican Chocolate disks, where the chocolate is ground and grittier. The secondary flavor in here is of dried blueberries. There also is also a little smokiness and maltiness hanging out with some spices (cinnamon?) in the background.
The texture is super soft while the liquor is in your mouth. The finish leaves a mild pleasant feeling of dryness on the tongue, that wants to be quenched with another sip of tea… which unfortunately means the cup of tea disappears way faster than I want it to!
Overall a complex, well balanced and smooth tea. Even though there are a whole bunch of flavors going on here, some more predominant than others, they all meld together beautifully, and the texture matches perfectly. I love how it can taste so interesting and full without being harsh and aggressive. This tea is delicious on its own and doesn’t need anything to help balance it, but why would I stop that from letting me taste it alongside some cheeses!
I tried it out with Colston Bassett Shropshire Blue, Etivaz, Birchrun Blue, Roncal, basic brie, Idiazabal, and Chiriboga Blue. I see a trend developing for plain old, nothing special, double creme brie… it’s good with just about all black teas, or at least, is certainly never bad. In this instance the combo went to the world of milk chocolate, very tasty but not mindblowing. I thought that the Etivaz, a super funky alpine style, had a chance of being extremey weird with it, but I like to experiment. It turns out that the wet woodland funk, was nicely balanced by the tea. The tea was overpowered, so definitely not a go to pairing but they didn’t clash, as I thought they might… it’s all in the name of science ;-) There weren’t any clashes from the lot, but the one that I thought would be a home run wasn’t. Years ago, I remember having a Keemun (Moa Fung or Ho Ya A, I don’t remember) with Colston Bassett Stilton, and it being an amazing pairing. (Basically, Shropshire and Stilton are the same thing, the difference being one has a yellow background color, the other white. Yay for annatto.) When I went to the store, the Shropshire had more of the flavor that would work with this pairing. It was good but definitely not the melding of worlds that I remembered. The tea just didn’t have the machismo to stand up to the cheese.
This is a black tea of finesse, and Chiriboga Blue had the finesse and subtlety to match. I’m so happy that my cheesemonger suggested it. It’s young and subdued, with a lactic tart canvas, very yeasty upfront, the blue flavor is mild but metallic, and there is a hidden white wine flavor in the finish. This pairing wasn’t one that created new flavors out of the blue, as some do. (I just noticed the pun after typing that.) It subdues some flavors and amplifies others to refine all of the wonderful characteristics shine. Tartness and bitterness are more nuanced and smooth, yeast flavors integrating more with wine flavors, berries brighter, chocolate more refined, etc… It was like having a dessert of mixed berries with mascarpone and dark chocolate shavings on top, and just a dusting of spice (no sugar added, the ingredients standing out on their own) and washing it down with an easygoing white wine. Simple, elegant and delicious.
https://www.instagram.com/p/BDQxwI4kXx5/?taken-by=thecheesenerd (brie not pictured)
Flavors: Blueberry, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Spices
This tea reminds me a little of a decent Longjing. I brewed this half way between a Western style, and Gongfu style by using a a Forlife brewing basket in a 16 oz cup with 7g of leaves, filling it about 1/3 of the way. Just a little more than covered the leaves, so about 200 ml. I did a super quick rinse and got decent flavor out of it for about 5 brews and a ghost of itself (albeit, still tasty) after that.
At lower temperatures(160F-165F), on the first couple of steeps, it starts with a light floral flavor. Something that I find desirable and that I associate with greener Oolongs. This flavor seems to dissipate after a couple minutes of hanging around in the cup. At that point it has more of a vegital sweetness, with a tiny touch of bitterness. Like freshly picked asparagus that has been thrown on the grill just long enough to eliminate its raw astringency, and pick up a the slightest hint of grill marks.
At higher temperatures(180-185), there is no floral element to it. The predominant flavor is vegital, the sweetness of lower temperatures replaced by stronger tones of uncooked veggies. There is also a touch of Nori, similar to that of a Japanese green. but just a touch. I like the result of the higher temperature steep but my preference is definitely for the lower temperature.
For cheese pairing, I mostly used the lower temperature steeps. No home runs, but there were two pairings that were good and point towards pairings that may be great.
The first was a goat cheese from the Liore Valley called Valancay. This is the pasteurized version that they send to the USA. (It’s illegal to import raw milk cheeses aged under 60 days here.) It’s a pyramid shaped cheese, covered in ash. This piece was aged just the slightest bit (the age makes a big difference with this one.) There is a yeasty element to the cheese, that starts to form a white wine flavor (along the lines of Vouvray or Voignier) from the paring. The cheese does overpower the tea a little. I’m pretty sure that if an extremely fresh goat, (If you can get a raw pasture raised one, where the goats weren’t eating anything too strange, that would be best) just a couple of days age, were used, it would would bring this pairing to its full potential.
The second hopeful was a couple of washed rind cheeses. Delice de Jura is a pasteurized version of the raw milk Reblechon AOC, which is contraband in the USA (once again, thanks FDA.) It acualy tastes halfway between a real Reblochon and the stronger Alsatian Munster, as the wash rind flavor is more prominent than in Reblochon, and it lacks the thin white mold that covers real Reblochon. The pairing brings out the sweet vegital flavors in the tea. I also tried the tea with Le Burgond, a raw cow’s milk semi-soft cheese made in the style of Morbier, but from Burgundy instead of the Jura, where Morbier is from. (Similar to Raclette or Fontina Val d’Aosta) The tea brought out a nuttiness in the cheese. It was a decent pairing, but nothing that floored me. Once again the cheese being a little bit too powerful for the cheese. This leads me to think that the ideal pairing would be real Reblochon AOC. I would go for one that is on the younger side, right before the youthful lactic acidity has left it completely. So, I humbly request that someone out there, in a country that doesn’t have twisted regulations on raw milk cheese, give my suggested paring a try for me!
I also tried this with basic double creme Brie, 3 yr Gouda, Roncal DO, and Idiazabl DO. No flavors mingling there, with the Idiazabal being a bit odd of a combination, not in a good way.
I’d been on a hiatus from black teas for a while when drinking this for about a week straight. Long enough where I screwed up the steeping the first couple of days so much that my tasting notes would have been “cigarette ash w/ a hint of city dirt”. I made some adjustments, stumbled onto a good cheese pairing with it, and so luckily all of the shoe bottom associations were fleeting. Steeping too long seemed to be the biggest demon. I found 3 to 3.5 mins to be the sweet spot, going down to 2.5 would certainly work, and anything 4 or more gets pretty unpalatable for me. The temperature worked best between 205F and 212F.
Life is happier when the tea is steeped right. There isn’t any sweetness to the tea at all. The flavor has the fruitiness (minus the sweetness) of dried raisins with lots of seeds in them, tobacco, dried apple (minus the sweetness), and clove. The body is medium, actually a bit thinner than I expected.
Life is happiest when the tea was eaten with brie! In general, the right fats will balance the flavor of this tea (butter, egg yolk, bacon grease.) But this Assam also helped to transform the flavor of the cheese. All Bries have a tart flavor (the further from the rind you get) when they’re young. With better Bries this often means a well rounded citrusy flavor, but with lower quality ones it tends to be a less pleasant sour bite that doesn’t fade as much as it should with age. I happened to be eating a lower quality brie (T.J.‘s double creme Brie) and the tea was able to transform that sour bite into a smoother orange flavor. The bitter elements of the tannin and the cheese rind canceled each other out, leaving a nice mushroom flavor (from the rind.) In addition to the orange flavors created from the pairing, notes of bitter chocolate (along the lines of something that I would expect from a Keemun) and maltiness were uncovered.
I also tried a very simple cheddar, 3.5 yr Parmigianno Reggiano, and 3 yr Gouda with it. They didn’t interact with each other much (no positive or negative, flavors stayed individual rather than combing to make new ones) with the exception being that very close to the Gouda rind gave it a little bit of a caramel latte flavor, but the rest of the cheese was hardly effected by the pairing.
Overall a good quality tea that probably seems more complex (its medium, if there were to be a scale for such things) than it actually is from this review. It just took me so long to get right that I was paying closer attention to details and taking better notes, and possibly getting more caffeinated in the process!
Happy pairing, enjoy!
Night time, the snow stopped falling but its still chilly outside. I brewed up some Chamomile and Lavender and I’m feeling more relaxed all ready. Warmed from the inside. The combination has a mellow sweetness to it. I’ve never munched on hay before, but I imagine that if I were a cow, this is how a nice well kept fresh hay would make me feel. Flavors are mildly licorice, dark honey, musty. Less musty and bitter when the steeped at a lower temperature. At that point there is a really pleasant lemony flavor (I presume from the chamomile) and the licorice flavor becomes more of a fennel pollen flavor (still an anethole profile, but more floral, less earthy, still very light) Body is medium thin.
Steeped at 100C/212F a few nights and colder a whole bunch of nights. The cooler steep is definitely the way to go for me. For the colder steep I poured boiling water into my mug, with the empty (for life) steeping basket in there, and let it hang out a few minutes before filling the basket with herbals and pouring the water back to the boiling pot and then starting the steep. That is my long drawn out way of saying, I don’t know what temperature I brewed it at. Nor do I know the amount of flowers I used, unless you want to consider, 3"diameterX1.5"height of fluffy chamomile flowers w/ just enough lavender on top to cover the chamomile, an accurate measurement. I steep somewhere between 5 and 10 mins. Second steeping the same as the first, and very similar result in flavor. Just slightly milder.
Flavors: Lemon, Licorice, Musty