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#tiffanys2021sipdown Tea #77 overall / Tea #44 for February
Thursday 2/25 — Starting to gather a collection when my boyfriend M asks me to make another black tea for kombucha. This was a sample (12g?) from 2020 Virtual Tea Festival box, can’t remember if it was for tasting competition or just regular freebie. Would not be something I’d be sipping normally so good to make use.
#tiffanydrinkstea #tiffanys2021 #tiffanysfaves #tiffanyinthe614 #tiffanysteasipdown #sipdownchallenge
Pulled this for my evening sipper, from a very old TeaSource order (a still-sealed January 2018 tea). Dry leaf aroma reminds me of their Evening in Missoula tea (one of my favorites, which I sipped down recently); they do share many of the same “rootbeer” ingredients, like wild cherry bark and sarsaparilla. This one does smell a bit more spice-heavy than Evening in Missoula, which had more of a minty undertone (thanks to the wintergreen).
Brewed tea still has that strong, pleasant rootbeer aroma. I’m definitely not digging the flavor of this one as much as Evening in Missoula, though. I definitely do taste sweet sarsaparilla (the sarsaparilla and lingering licorice root sticky sweetness really do come off very rootbeer-esque), but I’m getting a lot of cinnamon and chicory on the sip as well. I like chicory, but that roasty quality feels out of place here; not so much as to make the tea unpleasant, but considering both this blend and their Evening in Missoula have a very similar flavor profile, the other blend is the clear winner for me and I wouldn’t really feel a need to have both in my cupboard.
Strong rootbeer/licorice/spice notes, with this slight roasted coffee bean flavor on the finish. It’s fine, but the crisp, clean rootbeer flavor of Evening in Missoula with the wintergreen appeals to me more. That said, I won’t have any issues sipping this down; this cup was prepared hot (and was quite nice that way) but I definitely need to try it cold brewed/iced, which I imagine would work quite nicely.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Coffee, Licorice, Roasted, Root Beer, Sarsaparilla, Spices, Sweet
#tiffanys2021sipdown Tea #54 overall / Tea #21 for February
Sunday 2/14 — I am not a black/rooibos/white fan (more of a oolong/green/herbal fan) but my boyfriend got a SCOBY for Christmas so we started making kombucha. This was a sample bag(6 grams) from last fall (2020) Virtual Tea Festival. This is the one I brewed the night of 2/14 when my boyfriend requested a new plain hot black tea for our kombucha… nice way to easily sipdown a tea I’d normally just pass over when I have 1032492834823408324 different teas.
#tiffanydrinkstea #tiffanys2021 #tiffanysfaves #tiffanyinthe614 #tiffanysteasipdown #sipdownchallenge
Pulled this as my next “daily drinker until gone” package of old tea. Like (most) of my old tea, it still wasn’t opened yet! We got dumped on with the white stuff last night and I just want a simple, warm cuppa this morning.
Very tiny leaf for being full leaf and not CTC! Brewed 3.5g to 350ml 205F water for 3 minutes. Brewed cup has a lovely aroma of subtle barbecue smoke, tangy orange, and molasses, that together make me think of some fancy meat glaze.
Ooo, that is a strong cup of tea! Has a very deep flavor and some astringency, but is surprisingly smooth for how dark of a cup it produces. I get a strong burnt leather and smoke note, with a bit of a malty undertone. Toward the end of the sip, a subtle citrus is present, most close to orange zest. I get sort of a dark molasses and black pepper, thick and sticky coating feeling left afterwards on my tongue. Also, a ghost of a rose note left in the aftertaste, too. Tea is just a bit mouth-drying, now that I’m halfway through the cup.
It’s tasty, and I do like keemuns, but I might try using a little less leaf next time and see if that makes a difference on the astrigent/drying qualities without affecting the flavor too much.
Flavors: Astringent, Burnt, Citrus, Drying, Floral, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Orange Zest, Pepper, Rose, Smoke, Umami
I used this tea in my Salted Caramel smoothie yesterday to add an apple component (I don’t like actual blended apples because apple sauce is one of many foods that gives me texture issues), and it smelled so nice as the hot tea was steeping before I put it in the fridge to chill that I decided I wanted to make a cup of it as my take-to-work tea today.
The tea has a strong green apple aroma that is lovely. Sadly, it falls flat in the actual cup. I am getting a bit of an appley note, but the spices are very dominant and sort of washing out the flavoring, making it come off too subtle or as a background note. I need moar apple! Mostly I’m tasting a heavy cinnamon and clove note that isn’t spicy, but feels sort of chalky/drying as it settles over the tongue. It’s hard to notice the apple until the spices have faded off the tongue a bit. And I don’t really taste the green tea base at all… perhaps a very subtle warm hay note, but that could just as easily be coming from the lemongrass, I suppose.
It’s drinkable, but far from a favorite when it comes to spiced apple blends. I have two ounces to work through, so I’ll probably try playing around with it in a few different preparation methods (iced, latte) to see if any are a clear winner.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Drying, Green Apple, Herbaceous, Hot Hay, Spices
Busting out the aroma cup set for this session. The only steeping guidelines on the bag are for western-style but I prefer my oolongs gong fu style. Experimenting with tea gives you a better sense of what parameters the tea is best suited to. It’s harder to do that with western style unless you have a cupping set made for tasting. The inital smell is full of lilacs and orchids. While the wet leaf is reminiscent of a rainforest after a light rain with slight butter. My first steeping wasn’t long enough. Only did about 30 seconds, which usually is enough to decipher something but the hot tea didn’t give me much. Ah, now that is has cooled it begins to shine. Vegetal and little butter slight mineral in the aftertaste. The second steep is better and ripe with heavy orchid aroma from the aroma cup.
One of my sipdown goals this year was to do more gong fu brewing. This is a type of brewing that simply doesn’t fit into my “normal work week” (which involved taking either a warm thermos or cold water bottle of tea with me to work and drinkng that for the full eight hours, then having to switch to herbal infusions after I get home). So I’m trying to get in a session on my weekends off, and since I took next week off for staycation (gotta use-it-or-lose-it with the vacaton time), perhaps I’ll manage a few more over the week.
I tend to sort of “ignore” or “avoid” the pu’erh in my collection for a few reasons: firstly, I just can’t seem to warm up to the taste of it no matter how hard I try, how I brew it, what have you, which leads to the second, I tell myself that just maybe it won’t taste so foul if I “let it age” for eons in the back of the cupboard (so far, this never seems to work out for me though). This particular one I remember ordering some time ago at my local coffee haunt, Twin Beans, which sources a small amount of teas from TeaSource. They only do western brewing with small teapots there, I thought it tasted ghastly (but made it through my pot), and decided to buy some of the leaf from them because somewhere in my head I thought it would magically “be better” if brewed gong fu style instead. I never wanted an ounce of pu, but they sold by the ounce, so that was the smallest amount I could get. So I have more of this than I care to have, and it is probably time to see if brewing it gong fu actually makes it any better…
180ml mini pot | 9g | 205F | Rinse/10s/13s/16s/19s/22s
The wet leaf aroma after the rinse is that of bitter melon, sour vegetables, and a bit of tobacco smoke. The liquor of the first infusion smells the same. It… still tastes ghastly to me. It’s the tobacco taste! That may just be my most disliked note in all of tea-dom, banana-aversion aside. It’s just thick and coating and so prevalent I can’t even try to focus on any of the other flavors in the tea. Just so bitter and ashy. Ugh. The second infusion shows a bit of improvement; I’m still getting a sticky, drying tobacco smoke taste left on my tongue which is highly unpleasant, but during the sip the flavor is more of a slightly sour vegetal note, with a bit of that “marshy” taste I typically get from pu’erh. Third infusion became even more of that “swamp marsh” taste, which isn’t my favorite, but much better than the tobacco/bitter tastes. It became easier to drink the further into infusions I went, but never became “enjoyable” for me. Even when the sip became easier to swallow, I always had a somewhat bitter and ashy aftertaste that I just couldn’t get behind. I surprised myself for making it through five steeps.
Definitely not my cuppa, mostly because of the tobacco notes. I don’t like greens with that taste, either. Might sound sacriledge, but I think I’m going to add peppermint to the rest and try cold brewing and see if I can’t get more of a Moroccan Mint taste where the peppermint masks the tobacco taste a bit (as it does with Gunpowder Green, another tea I don’t like because of the tobacco flavors), as I find that easier to swallow. There is simply no way I’d finish off the rest of the leaf this way.
Flavors: Ash, Astringent, Bitter, Bitter Melon, Drying, Mineral, Smoke, Sour, Tobacco, Vegetal, Wet Moss, Wet Rocks
Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge National Kiss a Ginger Day / National Marzipan Day Tea #3
From last night! This particular tea is from Mastress Alita – thanks very much! It took a while to write a note for this as I’ve had many iterations of this tea in the past. Somehow some of these blends sometimes seem like there is ONE piece of rosehip… like it imparts just enough tanginess for me to notice. (Though it isn’t in the ingredients list, I swear I can see a rosehip in the pouch.) Or maybe it’s just an overabundance of the apple in the scoop I brewed, creating that tanginess. If anything, this cup wasn’t the bright pink from the beetroot that it normally is, so that is also unusual. So not just my tastebuds changing. Otherwise, it’s usually sweet almond with a hint of apple. So not quite what I remember but I don’t think I’ll ever get over this unique blend. I’m glad a few shops sell it.
2021 sipdowns: 8 – David’s S’mores Chai
Samurai TTB #50
I have yet to develop an appreciation for puerh. However, I do love sticky rice! And this little heart-shaped cakes were so adorable, I just had to give this one a try. And honestly, it was a pleasant surprise! The tea is a bit earthy, but it’s not musty or fishy like others that I’ve tried. The sticky rice really comes through in both the aroma and flavor and I love the unique umami flavor it gives to the tea. My only complaint is that I did find the aftertaste a bit drying to my throat. This probably isn’t something I’d purchase, but it was really fun to get to try it!
Flavors: Drying, Earth, Rice, Umami
A very friendly and enjoyable tea, lots of sweetness that reminds me of gyokuro but much more forgiving to brew. I like to make this one with boiling water to bring out the intensity of color and flavor, and it doesn’t add any bitterness at all. The flavor is straightforward grass and fresh vegetables, without any umami or saline notes.
Happy holidays all, I hope you have good tidings and good tea!
Flavors: Grass, Peas
ADVENT DAY 21
Ohhh I love apple teas. I drank it after dinner and it kept me awake till 3am though, I guess who’s tea has not caffeine than I realized. This is a sweet apple flavor – great for a winter night. It isn’t a spicy kind of tea, it is sweet and mild. It is a nice change from cloves and Cinnamon.
Lucky 13th day of Sara’s Old Tea Advent Calendar.
Oh, I like this first steep. I gave it a little wash, and it opened up nicely in the two-minute steep. I taste honey and malt and a little vegetal note. Oh, there’s some citrus too! I’ll comment as I do more steeps.
Flavors: Citrus, Honey, Malt, Vegetal
It’s time for the 12th day of Sara’s Old Tea!
These wet leaves smell like wet leaves!
It tastes like wet leaves too, and I’m not getting a whole lot of complexity from this one. It’s like sitting on a pile of autumn leaves in the rain, sipping some tea. I’m getting some dirt notes too. That said, it’s not bad. It would probably benefit from a full gongfu session, but I brewed it western style.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Dirt, Vegetal, Wet Earth
Turn it up to 11! This is the 11th day of Sara’s Old Tea.
It’s very mild, a bit floral, with a hint of lemon, and I swear a bit of cotton candy flavor. I did clean out my gravity steeper. So it’s not from any leftover bits of other tea.
This is really nice. I hope I can get a few more steepings out of it. It’s like lying on the grass at a park, making daisy chains.
Flavors: Cotton Candy, Floral, Lemon
Day 3 – Advent from Inkling – I am sorry I do not know how to tag somebody or link somebody! I really like this tea because it’s mild with a lot.of flavor, and very relaxing. It’s not bitter at all, I love straight black teas, I steeped 16 oz, then poured it in my teapot, then steeped another 16 oz immediately afterwards, and made one big pot. This lasted me till 10:30 tonight, I think I got like 5 small China tea cups out of it, and it tasted just as good as it did fresh this morning. I hope they still make this, I will definitely order my own. Thanks for I teosuxing me to this, Inkling!
Maybe it’s just the weather, but this tea tastes like December to me. Sweet grass with frost on the edges, the smell of snow, juniper berries, pine needles, a hint of bergamot. The color of the liquid is pretty, too… you might even call it a hazy shade of winter :)
Flavors: Bergamot, Grass, Pine
The first few steeps are honey-like, sweet and thick for a black tea; later on the texture and flavor lighten, becoming thinner but remarkably floral. I’d recommend this to someone who likes second-flush Darjeeling. I could also see it making a great mocktail with ginger ale and rosewater.
Flavors: Honey, Lavender, Rose
Fruity (maybe apple?), cardamon, Sweet potato, malt, bread. I don’t taste any spiciness. Very slight floral note. Also very smooth with no astringency. Somewhat of an all-day drinker.
Medium bodied, velvety texture.
Overall it’s a very good tea, and just on the edge of worth it’s price. I’d say get this on sale if you can, but at regular price it’s a decent value.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cardamon, Fruity, Malt, Sweet Potatoes
A very smooth puer blend, that is rich and much better than I expected.
I’m surprised at how good this stuff turned out. It’s an inexpensive puer that you would think loses its luster with the blend overpowering the puer taste. Not really, though. I get a vanilla and white tea flavor with some earthiness to balance it out.
Now, it won’t develop different taste profiles over steeps or over time, which is a lot of the fun of other puers. But if you want to make a foray into the world of shou puer tea, this could be a “gateway tea”.
For me it gives an excellent l-theanine buzz as well. Again, I don’t know if other people ever get this feeling but I love it.
And if you look at the current price, this is one of the cheaper puer teas at TeaSource.
All that combines to a solid rating, especially at the current price. But it’s not like a typical puer – so as long as you are okay with that, go ahead and try it out. This one reminds me a lot of the Iron Silk Puer blend, and though I haven’t tried it yet, the Sticky Rice Puer blend. (I think my next purchase may be a refill of this along with Sticky Rice.)
Flavors: Earth, Vanilla, White Chocolate