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Recent Tasting Notes
Here’s Hoping Teabox – Round Seven- Tea #47
This is the last tasting note from the teabox that I mailed yesterday. (Though I do have some teas I removed from the teabox that I will try later.) Bye teabox! It’s been very fun and again, I’m very thankful to all the Steepsterers who kept the Here’s Hoping box going for SEVEN rounds in successful travels. That is more than 70 teabox visits!! Did hope prevail or was it purely the greatness of Steepsterers?
Anyway, not much to say on this tea. A standard white tea, one of the leafy varieties rather than the needle type. The teabox might have had a ton of white teas but those that I tried were pretty tasty. Some high quality stuff! This is too, it’s just…. GOOD white tea.
Many thanks to Oolong Owl for sending me a sample of this tea. The leaf was very light and fluffy, and I ended up making a whole gallon of cold brew out of this – 2 steeps of 2L each.
The first steep was lemony, the second steep more astringent. BUT – you can read more in the first official tea review of my new blog! More info at http://booksandtea.ca/2015/06/26/tea-review-himalayan-full-leaf-white-tea-by-tete/
This is a very sad sipdown – because it was completely wasted.
I’m doing some work right now in an office (on-site self-employed contractor, long story). where there are storage lockers where people can store their things. As you can predict, lovely Steepster-folk, I was storing tea in mine.
However, the lockers are all connected, and there are air vents between the walls of the lockers. I didn’t notice this until Monday, though, when my locker started smelling funny. I traced it back to the locker next to mine, which was filled with an overwhelmingly strong fruit/flower/baby powder smell. I think someone’s goddamned PERFUME BOTTLE broke in there. It’s the only way to describe the strength of the smell.
My poor lovelies, guess what happened to my tea? It still smells like fucking perfume 2 days later, even though I switched lockers! And now, the new locker smells like the old one did because my belongings transferred the smell over!
It permeated the disposeable filters I brought with me, and the cups that I’ve had since taste like this perfume. So this tea was used up in equipment that ruined its fine flavour. So sad.
I think I’ll stick to keeping the filters in my backpack, which I take home with me every day. The rest of the tea in my locker is more heavily sealed and strongly flavoured anyway, but I don’t plan on bringing my more delicate stuff to work until I can air things out.
Backlog from sometime last weekend.
I made 3 steeps of this in my brand new tiny teapot from the Salvation Army…. and wow. I rarely get the chance to luxuriate in multiple steepings, but I got notes of wood, cherry, molasses. Just great. The first steep was the strongest, but man, the right teapot changes everything!
OMG, today has been an awesome day, guys. Because it’s a long weekend, and where I live, this particular long weekend is host to the local Rotary ribfest.
But it gets even better: last week I saw a contest advertised in the local paper to become a judge for ribfest. So I entered – and I won! And I got to go to the ribfest and eat a WHOLE LOT of ribs for free! A rib each from 11 vendors total – all in less than an hour! And afterwards I had a roast corn on the cob with butter and lemon pepper.
People, it’s about 6 hours later and I’m STILL stuffed. Just a huge pile of meat resting in my belly. And I also bought a pretty new hat with a wide brim so I can walk around in the sun without sunglasses.
Anyways, this tea. I thought when I got home that I would top things off with some lapsang souchong after the barbacue smorgasborg, but I just thought it would be too much of a good thing. So I had this instead. I steeped it for 4 minutes, but I think I should have gone for 5. I get hints of malt and sweet potato, but not much else aside from the smoothness.
But yes! Today was a good day! And yesterday I got my new laptop, which I’m typing on right now! MEAT and TECHNOLOGY – the source of many good things, alongside TEA.
I brewed some of this before leaving for work this morning. I’ll need to take some time and really sit down with this because the other reviews sound lovely – malt, cherry, wood – and I didn’t really get any of that aside from a generic black malty sweetness. I overleafed slightly and tried to compensate by understeeping. I’ll have to be more careful next time.
Many thanks to Oolong Owl for her recent stash sale – this tea was one of the ones she sent me, and the first new one I tried! (Of the teas she sent me, it turns out I had one in my cupboard already from Teavivre).
I brewed this up western style this morning – 1.5 tsp for 1.5 cups of water, 3 minutes, 70C. The resulting liquor was a nice yellow-orange green colour, somewhat pale, but still with some character in it.
The tea tasted like a pretty straightforward green tea – not quite buttery or green beany, but still somewhat vegetal. Slightly smoky.
In fact, it reminded me quite a bit of the Hunan Cloud and Mist I have from Capital Teas, or like a very light Yunnan green. I don’t know at what elevation this tea was grown, but I do wonder if that’s just what high-elevation teas taste like (assuming that high elevation is the reason behind the name “cloud and mist” in the first place).
I brewed this up both gongfu and western brewing.
The dry leaf smells of dry wood and black currant. The leaves are really pretty. They consist of long black and fuzzy gold tendrils. I placed them in my warmed gaiwan and gave em a shake. The scent of freshly baked bread and malt came from my gaiwan. The washed them once and prepared for brewing. The steeped fuzzies had the scent of deep malt and mahogany, and they became a deep rusted red color. The liquor was a brilliant ruby red which was pretty cool. However, the flavor was lacking. It was a dry subtle wood tone. There were no heavy chocolate or baked bread tones. In the later steepings, I could taste malt, but otherwise it was just dry wood. I recommended brewing this western.
The western brewing methods (3g for about 2-3min) yielded a dark red liquor. The flavor was deep baked bread and soothing light chocolate tones. This was a lot better and hearty than the gongfu counterpart. I will definitely use these parameters from now on.
The brewing parameters listed are for gongfu
Flavors: Black Currant, Dry Grass, Malt, Wood
An interesting white tea from Nepal! I liked the creamy texture and pear notes. With each infusion I got apricots and straw notes as well. I got 6 infusions before the white got too dry for my liking, but otherwise very nice!
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/nepal-teas-from-tete-tea-review/
My favorite so far out of TETE’s line up. The black is cherry woodsy, chocolate malt and amber. It doesn’t get too rich or thick and has a clean taste. Later infusions has a nice amber incense note and honey sweetness.
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/nepal-teas-from-tete-tea-review/ TETE black is photogenic!
Nepal Teas yum!
I tried all three of TETE’s line up and this one I liked the least. The green is a sensitive steeper and low temp of 160f works best – 175f was bitter city! This green is vegetal asparagus sweet. Later infusions get smokey and less sweet as well as dry. Next time, I need to try this green cold brewed!
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/nepal-teas-from-tete-tea-review/
So just how does one put the caret over the ‘T’ with an English keyboard on Steepster and Blogger?
Anyway the third tea from TETE. This is the white. I have written the company to see how the farms were affected by the earthquake but I haven’t heard back – possibly not a good sign.
Opening the bag I catch all the wonderful scents I expect from a premium white tea. It is sweet hay, along with fruit and floral notes. I thought I even detected a hint of malt. It scent is very nice.
I am getting sweet hay notes in the taste. There are hints of melon and grape. I am still catching a touch of malt. It is very light, but it is there. The aftertaste is lightly grassy and sweet like honey.
My son says it tastes like lemon grass. I guess if you take out the lemon it kind of does. He wanted to ice it. The problem was the second cup is more green and earthy than the first so he didn’t get what he was expecting. It tasted OK but nothing like the first – which was pretty awesome.
Another from Nepal. This one is simply called green tea. What’s inside is not as simple as the name. The dry aroma is highly roasted. It made me nervous as I have to be in the mood for roasted (not my favorite). So I steeped it in 160F water for two minutes. The wet leaf is even more roasted. Cautiously, I took my first sip. Wow. The taste is nothing like the leaf scent. I really like this. It is nutty. Behind this is a green thing going on. It isn’t grassy or viney tasting. I hate using vegetal but I can’t come up with a better word except tasty. Just enough bite to excite the palette. My guess is this would be great iced. I have been impressed with both teas I have tried from TETE so far.
I finally heard from Raunak of TETE. He lives in Kathmandu. The earthquake did much devastation there. He acknowledged the tea gardens are far removed from the epicenter. His words about the situation were, “…no time to ponder. Time to drink some tea and bounce back.”
So, I am having some of TETE’s black tea in honor of this spirit. It is my favorite of the three, though I found all of them to be very good.
This is a tea from Nepal. I sampled it before I heard of the loss of life and utter devastation from the earthquake. I have not seen the news yet but my heart goes out to the people of Nepal.
TETE has printed in tiny letters across the front of the resealable bag the word “Simplify”. They sell exactly three teas – black, green, and white. This is their Himalayan full leaf premium tea otherwise known as Black. Their website says the teas are sourced from remote farms and are intended to make life simpler for those of us who sometimes don’t pay full attention to time and temperature.
I have to be honest, I wasn’t expecting this to be so good. The aroma of the leaf is malt, and grain, grape and floral. Really it smells awesome. The leaf itself is complete full leaves and buds. The buds are golden and the leaves dark brown. Beautiful. The liquor is bright and clear, ruby red and orange in color. The taste is a bit malt with nice notes of grape and floral. The aftertaste is sweet, floral, and lingering. This is a smooth cup. I don’t catch any bitterness. The dryness is fairly minimal for a black tea, though I notice some cheek tingle. I am catching a light bite that I like.
I am very impressed by this one and can’t wait to try out the green and white tea.