Tavalon TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
The theme for the day appears to be pouchong.
I thought I had two jars of this? I can only find one, but that may just mean the other one is buried somewhere…
The leaves on this one are much darker than the green pouchong from Canton Teas that I just had. Dark chocolatey brown and twisty. They smell roasty to the point of smoky.
Gaiwan. 195F. Rinse. 15 seconds + 5 for each subsequent steep. I did four.
The tea is somewhere between medium gold and butter yellow, with an amber tinge. I definitely smell roasty toasty, and that’s mostly what I got on the first steep. But the second and later steeps revealed something else hat my tastebuds tell me is almond. A very definite flavor of raw almond.
The tea has a soft mouthfeel and is milder than I thought it would be given the roasty notes.
After the second steep, the flavor is fairly consistent and I think the leaves could have gone on for a while. It just wasn’t the right flavor for me today so I was content to stop at four.
It’s a flavorful dark roasted oolong with an interesting almond note. I’m not sure whether it’s just the day, or whether it’s the tea, or whether it’s me, but while it was plenty tasty it didn’t knock my socks off.
Flavors: Almond, Roasted, Smoke
Sipdown no. 89 of 2018 (no. 445 total).
This also made a good cold tea. I know this because my 14 year old’s friend was here to join a school carpool a couple of days ago and wanted something to drink. I gave him some of this a cold brew. He tasted it rather tentatively at first, then upended the glass.
I realized, though, that my planning wasn’t great. This was a jar of 1.7 ounces. I had intended to try it as a plain black tea, but I’m pretty sure I forgot to do that. After a couple of hot stovetop cups, I made it into a cold version. And I’m pretty sure I then ran out of that, and went to fill up the pitcher to steep in the fridge, I dumped the last bit of this in the pitcher without remembering I’d wanted to try this hot as a regular black tea. Oh well.
Revisiting this one because I didn’t make it correctly last time. Like with the Simpson & Vail chocolate chai of yesterday, I didn’t make it concentrated enough.
This time: two tablespoons chai, one tablespoon black tea (Golden Moon French Breakfast).
It’s better this way, but it’s still quite mild. If you like mild, which I sometimes do, this is very nice. If you like spicy, which I also sometimes do, this is not that.
Also, there’s no black pepper, which I enjoy in chai. I’m still not really noticing the vanilla.
Bumping it a tad because I think I’ve now experienced it as it was meant to be.
I decided to start my chai sipdown experiment today after the lapsang success.
I made this one on the stovetop using two tablespoons of chai to a cup of one percent milk.
I haven’t had a real cup of chai since the weather turned hot. I expect I’d appreciate this more if the weather was cooler, but it was tasty even in the heat. It’s a nice blend of all the spices with none of them outweighing the others. I didn’t really notice the vanilla, but that is probably because I didn’t know it was in the blend until I started reading the other notes, after I’d finished my cup. The spices aren’t overly spicy, though, and I agree that this could use a bit more oomph. It’s a solid chai, though, and I’ll enjoy trying it various ways as part of project sipdown.
This is one of the lapsangs I’ve had in my cupboard for a while but haven’t tried until project lapsang sipdown kicked into high gear.
It’s a slow process because I only drink black tea on the weekends and holidays for the most part, and I basically have a one cup threshold when it comes to lapsang. Otherwise it’s too overwhelming for me. But while the colder weather lasts, I can find myself looking forward to that one cup.
The dry leaf on this one smells quite woody, like charred embers. But not ashy, which is a good thing. I don’t get a lot of resin, but I do get a strong pine wood smell.
Steeped, there’s more of an ashy smell which is worrisome. The tea is a medium orange brown color and clear.
The flavor isn’t bad. It doesn’t have the sweetness in the finish that I enjoyed in the Kusmi and the Leafspa. It maintains a smoky woody flavor throughout the sip and into the aftertaste. It has a smooth and soft mouthfeel that I like.
The flavor isn’t overly ashy, as I had feared. Nor is it meaty, which is sort of a relief.
I don’t like it as much as I liked the other two lapsangs I’ve spent a lot of time with recently, but it will have some time to grow on me. According to the handly little checkbox system on the bottom of the container, this 1.5 oz container will produce about 20 cups. Since I make 2 at a time in the Breville, I’ll have something like 9 more encounters with this tea to change my mind.
Flavors: Ash, Char, Pine, Smoke, Wood
I am not sure whether it is because I just had sardines and toast, but this is pretty awesome. It’s a very delicately flavored darjeeling when made according to the directions at a low temp, which is surprising because the dry leaf has that very distinctive and very strong sharp smell of many darjeelings. The basic underlying character is there in the steeped tea’s aroma, just smoothed out by a factor of about 30.
The liquor is golden, a surprisingly light color, and the flavor is mellow and strangely buttery, not a quality I’ve observed in a darjeeling before. Really, it’s like a layer of melted butter with a gentle greenish tea underneath.
For those of you who went ewww when I said sardines, this is one of the only things my dad used to make. He had a repertoire of about three dishes, one of which was taking canned Portugese skinless and boneless sardines in olive oil and mashing them up with lemon juice and vinegar, then having them on toast. Low calorie, high protein, and not a deep sea fish so the heavy metal concerns aren’t as great — easy, cheap, and delicious.
P.S. Am now binge watching Justified. Anyone else watch it? I was surprised that it was so funny, in a Pulp Fiction sort of way.
Flavors: Butter, Green
Sipdown no. 57 of the year 2016 (no. 268 total).
I think I am off mint flavored black teas. Chocolate mint still interests me, but plain or predominantly mint flavored black teas lately have not done much for me.
I had the last of this hot so I could rate it, but it was mostly a cold tea choice for me. And I liked it marginally better than the Purity as a cold tea.
The same is true of it hot. I like it marginally better than the Purity, which didn’t have enough ginger to make it interesting and which might as well not have been a black tea as I could not taste the tea base at all.
This one doesn’t have the ginger, and it is still mostly mint, but there’s a tawny undercurrent to it both in aroma and flavor that I am guessing is what the black tea contributes to the mix. It’s not awful, it’s just not doing much for me. I think I’m to the point where if I want to drink something mint flavored I’d go with a tisane, or maybe a Moroccan mint green mix.
I made a batch of this cold and it makes a pretty good cold mint tea. It’s similar to the Tavalon Purity in that I don’t really taste the black tea. It’s just sort of a backdrop for the mint, which gives it a bit more heft than a pure mint tisane would have, if that makes sense. Like the Purity, it also delivers a lot of mint leaf into the iced tea as they are slippery little devils and evade the strainer.
The main difference between this and the Tavalon Purity, besides the hint of ginger which this doesn’t have, is that this one has some serious astringency.
Which is a downside, in my book, for an iced tea. The last thing I really want to feel after drinking iced tea is that I need to drink water to rehydrate my mouth and throat.
Sipdown no. 46 of 2016 (no. 257 total).
The thing the BF and no. 1 have has made its way to me. I had wanted to break open some new teas this weekend but since I couldn’t taste them at this point I decided against it.
This is good, it’s just more mint than ginger or tea by a lot so not overly interesting.
I made this once last week but didn’t pay attention so I couldn’t write a note. Then for a change of pace, I made a pitcher of it cold.
It was really quite good cold, except that some of the mint leaves are small enough to be able to slide through my strainer, so it was leafier than other cold brews. So much so that no. 1 asked if it was ok to drink the leaves.
As a hot tea, it is heavy on the mint, light on the ginger, and ultra light on the tea. Mostly what I see, taste and smell, is mint. I can taste the effect of the ginger. I say effect because it’s more a cutting into the wall of mint than a flavor unto itself. I don’t taste black tea at all.
So I’m torn here because the flavor is very minty, and its a nice mint. Not a mouth full of dirt or bitter as some mints can be. And it tastes natural, not like a Tums. On the other hand, I hoped there would be more to it. Ginger and mint together can be a really nice blend, but the ginger isn’t strong enough here. And I can see why the other reviewer said they don’t really consider it a black tea so much as an herbal.
So balancing out the very nice mint with the disappointment on other fronts, I’m giving it a low very good.
Flavors: Ginger, Mint
Sipdown no. 38 of 2016 (no. 249 total).
As I predicted, this ended up dominating the cold tea category for the last few steepings. It’s tasty enough cold, and since I didn’t find it interesting enough as an oolong to work with over multiple steeps, it suited the purpose well.
The last batch is now doing its cold brew thing in the fridge. I was a couple of spoons short so I added two spoons of Kusmi darjeeling to round it out. Wonder what that will do.
Tried this hot today, steeped Western style.
I know I’ve had peach oolongs before. I remember having the Adagio and not being a fan. This is better than I remembered the Adagio being, both in terms of the peach flavor, which is not juicy, but rather floral and subtle, and the underlying tea’s flavor which I expect is a better quality dark oolong.
It has a clear, dark apricot liquor and a pleasant, mildy peachy aroma. The tea has a smoothness to it, which makes it more pleasant than the sharp notes of some flavored dark oolongs.
Flavored oolong is so hit or miss for me. I’ve liked a few, but I’ve felt pretty meh or worse about most of the ones I’ve tried. I don’t see spending time trying to make this perfect. I don’t love it enough for that, and I expect I won’t even try it in the gaiwan. I’ve sort of come to the conclusion that with the exception of jasmine oolongs, it’s really not worth the trouble to do anything other than Western in the Breville.
The BF likes this cold quite a bit. I think most of the remainder of this second container will be dedicated to cold brew.
Flavors: Peach, Wood
Somehow I have two containers of this. Not sure why. I think I must have ordered one and then got another one through the tea of the month club. I likely ordered it because the BF is a big peach fan.
I was looking around for things to try in cold brew, and because I had so much of this I thought I might give it a shot.
I dunno. The peach is fine as far as it goes. It’s a light, almost floral peachiness, not a juicy, fruity peachiness. But the tea, at least cold, is a rather single note dark oolong, heavy on the woodsy. It makes a decent cold tea, but I hope that when I get around to trying it hot, that will reveal more depth and complexity.
Flavors: Peach, Wood
The more I drink this tea, the more I like it. I’ve always liked chamomile tea for medicinal purposes, but I never liked it enough to just drink it. This chamomile based tea, also has cranberry and sour cherry, which give it just enough interest that I could drink it anytime. And because it is caffeine free, I really can drink it anytime.
Flavors: Cherry, Cranberry