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Recent Tasting Notes
So I went on a long weekend away last week, and came home with a couple of new teas. That’s turning into one of my favorite things to do while traveling, finding what teas I don’t have around my area, and snapping them up.
As I am now in the throws of drinking more teas in the evening, my collection of herbals is blooming, and this looked like a lovely addition to that collection.
So yesterday, after my yoga class, I broke open Yoga Blend.
Yum! This is like chai in herbal form. Proper chai, rich, spicy, warming. I like it a lot!
This would be excellent for a cold, especially with a little wild honey.
I love how all of these herbs and spices complement each other. The aroma is mostly cinnamon and fennel, but when you sip you get the full breadth of flavor plus a little cooling sensation that runs down your throat. After you drink, you can still detect the sweet fennel at the back of your tongue.
It’s almost edible, like a cinnamon graham cracker mixed with some fennel-studded focaccia mixed with a cardamom pastry.
Keeping this one in stock for my next sick day from work.
Flavors: Anise, Baked Bread, Camphor, Cardamon, Fennel, Honey
Yours truly has done a dumb, I lost my bottle of Tylenol, when I had the WORST headache. So here I am tearing my (at the moment slightly messy) desk apart trying to find the very visible bright red lid, to no avail. So I start hunting around the room, my purse, the bathroom…it was nowhere to be found! In a state of sadness I sat down in my chair and nurse my headache with a very large cup of tea, since caffeine has been a long time cure for my headaches. Really I think I started drinking caffeinated drinks as a kid because of my headaches, it is a family curse. So, me being dumb, my Tylenol was exactly where it was supposed to be, I realize shortly later, in my drawer with my other pills. Sometimes being organized means I can’t find anything!
Since it is Thursday, that means I can whip out the hashtags and have a Throw Back Thursday tea review, covering a tea that has sadly been languishing in my notebooks, patiently waiting to be rambled about. A while ago, fellow blogger and lover of fine tea, Steph of Steph’s Cup of Tea, had a contest and I was very fortunate to win. Today’s tea was one of the awesome goodies I received in my pile of awesome. Tea aside, you should all go read her blog, she is a wonderful poet, has a love of nature, and is a lover of different tea cultures. I love her blog and recommend it highly.
So, The Jasmine Pearl Co. is a Portland based tea shop with a love for sustainability, which I respect immensely. Their tea that I am rambling about today is Yellow Mudan, a Chinese Yellow tea, specifically from Hunan, named similarly to the famous White Tea, Bai Mudan, this tea is essentially Yellow Peony when translated, though it looks more twisty, like a needle tea rather than the fluffy full leaf tea. The aroma is mild and sweet, with notes of dried cherry and peonies (aha, so that is where the name comes from!) with a very delicate note of nasturtium and raisins, vaguely reminding me of a Darjeeling.
Into the gaiwan the tea went, ah yes, back when I only had my white gaiwan, I now have…many, though never enough. I might have a tea gear hoarding problem. The aroma of the now soggy leaves is very sweet, lovely notes of now fresh cherries and crushed vegetation, add in a bit of peony and a touch of grapes at the finish. The liquid on the other hand is all peony and chestnut! Ok not all peony and chestnut, there are also notes of creaminess and nasturtium, giving just a tiny bite of pepper at the finish.
Ok, I have to say it, HOLY MOLY FLOWERS! Hehe, the taste is super flowery, with a blend of peony and honeysuckle with a tiny hint of orange blossom at the beginning. The mouthfeel starts out very smooth and then builds into a slightly sharp, almost resinous, feel at the end. Like sucking on a bunch of pine needles, a very similar texture to that. As the taste evolves, it moves into fresh cherries and wildflower honey, with a finish of nasturtium and raisins.
Second steeping has a very similar aroma, lots of peony and chestnuts, but with an addition of honeysuckle and a touch of nasturtium at the finish as well. The mouthfeel starts off smooth and very quickly moves into sharp and slight dry, again reminding me of resin, I find this texture very fascinating and not unpleasant. The taste is very sweet, dancing from notes of peony and honeysuckle to nasturtium and grapes, with a delightful finish of honey. I love this tea, I have had it with other names and by another vendor (same tea type, but for all I know it is not from the same farm, I have found this particular tea is a bit of a pain to research) and enjoyed it immensely. At the time of originally trying this tea The Jasmine Pearl Co. was out of stock, and now that it is back in stock I am going to have to get some!
This isn’t generally the type of tea I’d chose for myself, but I received this as a free sample with my order a few months ago, and thought it was time I finally gave it a try. I have to say it looks lovely. Smallish leaves, but peppered with lovely rose petals, lavender flowers, and green leaves that I think must be the lemon myrtle.
I brewed it on the low end of the recommendation. 190º for 3 minutes. It’s quite nice. The peppery white tea base is surprisingly noticeable, even with the cold I have. The lavender and rose meld well together and the lemon myrtle is bright. It’s light but still flavorful. Definitely not something I would pick up for myself, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to someone who enjoys this style of tea.
Flavors: Floral, Lemon
This tea took some getting used to at first, but now I adore it. Nuo Mi Xiang, a Chinese herb, is added to impart the so-called sticky rice flavor.
The tea is best with very hot water, among other reasons, because it adds to the experience of having a steaming bowl of sticky rice. Very comforting on cold days.
The pu-erh component is not one of those overwhelmingly earthy types. It reminds me of something more like decaying plant matter or humus. Think autumn.
Like tasting carob when you’re expecting chocolate, the sticky rice taste a bit disappointing at first. The comparison is especially evident in the aftertaste and smell, but a big gulp of heavily steeped Nuo Mi Xiang will overwhelm most people. One must be very careful with the length first steeping because of this. Though the pu-erh component can certainly withstand a long steeping, one must refuse the temptation and treat it more like green tea. A couple minutes will do the trick.
The second steeping is the most enjoyable. It can handle a few more minutes and tends to taste a little more pu-erh-ish.
The third steeping needs quite a while to retain the taste of the tea. Luckily by then, the effect of the herb should have worn off. That being said, just treat it like the second or third steeping of a pu-erh.
As usual, I don’t think to review the tea until I’m on the 3rd steeping, so this note lacks a bit of specifics.
Flavors: Decayed wood, Rice
Had this with pre-packing breakfast. There isn’t a lot to have when most of your food is packed, and nobody went to the store. So I had some oatmeal. I usually have it with cinnamon, so this paired nicely. There was a lovely scent of ginger at first, and the cardamom came out when I brewed it. The flavour was a nice blend of the two spices. And the rose petals were a pretty bit of added colour. Thanks to cookies.
Flavors: Cardamon, Ginger
Oh, I get to be first! My evening cup while I watch Sleepy Hollow (the series). The scent is nicely creamy and floral. There is a kinda strong rose flavour, and the vanilla gets a little lost. As it cools, there is more creamy vanilla taste.
It’s interesting, and I want rose ice cream now.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Rose, Vanilla
An excellent Earl Grey. A strong, amazingly beautiful bergamot scent (I never get tired of that scent.) The base is Ceylon and Keemun which offers a strong background of flavor without being too aggressive. It’s smooth and well-rounded. No bitterness and only slightly astringent toward the tail. What astringency there is seems to accentuate the bergamot notes in a positive way.
Bright, citrus-y bergamot. Notes of floral without tasting perfume-ish. The citrus notes linger in the aftertaste. Tangy and invigorating.
A seriously good Earl Grey. Definitely in my top five. I’m not sure which Earl Grey it would displace … nor am I sure I’d want that Earl Grey displaced so just consider the statement to say that this is really good. If you’re an Earl Grey fan, try it.
Oh, thank goodness! This is leaps and bounds better than the last one I tried (and subsequently dumped). It’s a really lively smelling tea, I can’t stop sticking my nose in the bag. Heavy on the lemon myrtle which makes it nice and bright. Often times I find citrus flavored teas to be bitter, like the pith has been added along with the zest. This one, thankfully, is not bitter in the slightest. The bergamot seems a bit lost, but overall it’s a solid citrus blend with a bit more oomph than Twinnings Lady Grey. I bet it would be delightful iced.
I fondly refer to this one as my “Christmas tea” because it just tastes like Christmas to me. Cloves + Orange always remind me of the holidays, but the additional touch of Lapsang Souchong reminds me of a lit fireplace as well. It’s every Christmas Eve I remember from my childhood. I take it with and without (vanilla soy) milk, and it’s beautiful each way.
Merry Christmas Eve, all. I hope everyone here has an absolutely beautiful holiday tomorrow. And to those who don’t celebrate, I hope you have a nice Thursday :)
Flavors: Cloves, Fireplace, Orange
I get a little worried when there’s Lapsang Souchong in blends because it can be completely overpowering. Thankfully it’s used sparingly in this blend with just a hint of smokiness in the back of the sip. The star flavors here are clove and orange. With the lemon myrtle and bergamot adding a bit of brightness. It tastes like Christmas to me, I can’t wait to serve this around the holidays. I usually don’t add sugar or milk to my teas, but I think I’m going to try with this one, I bet it would be delicious. I also have to add that I love when you can see the flavoring in teas. There are full cloves in here, big chunks of orange peel and pieces lemon myrtle. It’s lovely looking.
I brewed for 3 minutes at 200º but next time I’ll go for 4, it could stand to be a bit stronger.
Flavors: Cloves, Fireplace, Lemon, Orange, Smoke
I can get the teas from Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants bulk at my local Chuck’s Produce, so, occasionally, I’ll wander over to the bulk section and see if anything catches my eye. This is the tea that caught my eye most recently. I love licorice.
This has a powerful licorice flavor not just from licorice root but also from fennel and anise. It is reminiscent of a strong, black licorice candy. It is snappy, warm and zesty, but with a nice sweetness too.
I love the licorice-i-ness of this tea but, I feel like the Gunpowder Green tea is a bit overwhelmed in this blend. There’s a bit too much licorice and not enough green tea flavor. It’s difficult for me to say that, because I do love licorice, but, when I drink tea, I do want some tea flavor too.
That said, I did enjoy this cuppa because as I say, I love licorice. It is yummy and it is something that I’m likely to buy again in the future.
I paid a visit to The Jasmine Pearl earlier in the afternoon right after work. With traffic, I was worried about making it on time, but I arrived with an hour or so to spare. Originally, I intended only on having their yellow tea and any other new orthodox offerings they had on hand.
Then I came across this blend.
I rarely go for blends. Even rarer is my inclination toward a cooked pu-erh blend. But this…whoah. It tasted like…earthy root beer. “Root Beer of the Earth”! Oh man, I have to write that down. Great book title idea.
Where was I?
Oh yes, great blend. Tastes like a flavored tea without any flavoring. Tastes pretty darn spiffy when iced as well.
Tea of the afternoon here. I decided to have kung pao tofu for lunch in the hopes that spicy food would help to knock out the cold that I have. Lunch was great and I decided to come back home and try this sample tea I got from the Jasmine Pearl.
I’m not rating this today since I’m so congested but it does have a wonderful roasted fruity aroma which was the first thing I noticed about it. The tea flavor itself seems to be chocolatey with some roasted barley notes and a slight bittersweetness in the finish. Of course I can’t really write a proper tasting note today.
I was really into puerh teas for the two winters prior but I haven’t been drinking much of it lately, maybe that will start to change soon. I wonder if any of my puerhs are aging well and how the climate in my apartment is helping out (or not). I have steam heat and it can get pretty humid in here. Anyway this seems like a really nice shu and the 5 oz. cake is only $17. Might have to pick some of this up in the future.
A really tasty grapefruit tea. Not the best grapefruit tea that I’ve tried, but it’s good and I’m really glad I decided to buy the tin from my local grocer.
What sets this tea apart, I think, is the addition of the lemon grass and lemon myrtle, so it gives the tea more of a lemony note than pure grapefruit flavors, and the lemon myrtle – since it is a rather strong lemony herb – seems to overpower the grapefruit notes just slightly, and I found myself wanting a little less lemon and a little more grapefruit.
The citrus notes do meld nicely, though, but, I just got something different from this tea than I was at first expecting. Enjoyable, just not my fave.
Phenomenal floral flavor and aroma. You’d think this was a scented tea at first because of the strong floral aroma (something like jasmine, gardenias, and camellias all mixed together), but you know it isn’t scented because that aroma lasts through multiple steepings. I took this tea through 5 infusions and was still getting the floral notes. Not an everyday tea by any means, but an incredibly fun addition to the tea cabinet. It’s one of those teas that I like to serve to people as a “taste experiment.” It’s a great demonstration of the range of natural aromas you can get out of just Camellia sinensis leaves without any added extracts or flavorings.