2188 Tasting Notes
Oh Golden Fleece, you are so freaking amazing. So naturally sweet, so spicy and smooth at the same time. It is such a great fall tea, what with it’s spiced sweet-potato flavors. And honey. Major yum. I don’t have a lot of time to write about this tea today, but you can bet I am savoring it.
I wanted to try this tea again since it has been a long time since I last had it. The last time I was pleasantly surprised but I wished it was an all black tea instead of a black/green blend, and I think that holds here. Despite that, it is a nicely almondy tea, and definitely one of the more almondy ones I’ve encountered over the years. It does have a marzipanny feel and a bit of an apricot hint, which really brightens up the sip, but I just wish it was on a yummier base. Still, it’s tasty and one of the few teas I’ve found that’s really almondy enough for me!
Hmm, I could have sworn I would have done a review for this tea already, but perhaps not. I am in any case almost finished with the large sample from MBSC, though I think I gave some of it away. I am drinking it this morning for the benefits of the raspberry leaf in it, which has helped me out in the past. I thought that another raspberry black tea that I had was the same as this one (i.e., sourced from MBSC), but it appears that it is lacking the raspberry leaf, so I may be looking for a source for that in a bit.
Anyway, this tea is tasty enough, with a nice sweet-tart raspberry flavor, and enough raspberry leaf to do the trick. It’s not quite enough of a draw to make me want to repurchase, mostly because the black tea is kind of meh and I want some straight raspberry leaf for future months.
This morning I had to get up at, no joke, 3:30am so I could drive two hours to the airport for my flight to Ohio to visit my boyfriend. If there was ever a time to need to the matcha energy boost, it was this morning!
I did a dual preparation, first off a bowl of hot matcha. This time I used probably 3/4tsp of matcha, and I actually measured out 8oz of water. Pour, whisk, pour. This time after I added all of the water I took a sip and was amazed. Here was the natural sweetness that people talk about with matcha. Even the addition of a little sugar (to try to bring out the caramel a biiiit more, but really it was pretty prevalent) didn’t really do much to it. I finally think I figured out a decent matcha prep method! When I first sip I don’t necessarily taste tons of caramel, but it quickly builds up to be nice and strong.
For my second preparation I tried the “cold brew” matcha so I could take it with me on the road. A half teaspoon of matcha in an old Simply Orange juice bottle (~13oz), a little cold water, a lot of shaking until it looked dissolved enough, and then I filled the rest of the bottle up with cold water. At first sip I thought I hadn’t added enough matcha. It seemed weak. But a couple more sips reassured me that it actually had good flavor, and the caramel came through well. This prep was so easy and so delicious… all of the matcha-y natural sweetness, all of the lovely caramel flavor.
Even that much matcha can’t really help keep me alert now that I’m at the airport waiting for the plane, but it certainly made the drive go well.
Last time I held off rating this one because I didn’t steep it long enough and it was weak. This time I steeped it four minutes, so hopefully that should be good enough!
Yes, now that this has been brewed stronger it is quite delicious. The base is lovely and caramelly and honeyed, sweet almost, with the bright bergamot on top. The bergamot is particulaly bright in this one, but that’s just about all I get from it… brightness. I wish the bergamot was a bit stronger, or at least a bit more well-rounded. Still, this is quite a delicious cup of Earl Grey and I wouldn’t hesitated to buy it again in a pinch.
Matcha, take three. I was going to make a matcha latte this morning but discovered that my milk had gone sour. So I decided to try again, this time with just sugar.
Today I pre-warmed my bowl with some boiling water before letting the rest cool off in my saucepan (oh yeah, because in my new apartment I don’t have any kind of kettle lol). This of course left the inside of my bowl wet, so then I was concerned about the match I then sifted in “oversteeping” I dunno, does matcha oversteep? Anyway, I put in a sprinkle of sugar as well, and then after the water was cool enough I poured just enough in to loosen up all the matcha on the bottom. Then a few more ounces to whisk in. After that I tasted it and, yup, bitter. I poured in a bit more water and a bit more sugar, whisked harder (satisfyingly got lots of foam!), then tasted. It wasn’t bitter, but it was very earthy and not exactly what I was looking for. I want caramel! Maybe I just had to have it in a latte? I think I realized that it seems like most people use more water (or milk) in their final product; I heard one person say that 1tsp of matcha should make an 8oz bowl. This never sounded like it would make that much difference to me (what would it do, just make it weaker?), but at this point I figured why not, and I dumped probably enough water to make about 8oz into the bowl, and color me surprised! It wasn’t so earthy at all, just light and pleasant, and a third sprinkle of sugar (so, probably a tsp total?) really brought out the caramel. It was so satisfying to make a delicious bowl of matcha without milk. Well, by the time I finish this tin of matcha maybe I will have truly figured it out.
I realized today that I haven’t had an oolong in a while. It’s been almost all black tea, black tea, black tea since I got back in the country. But something triggered in my mind and all of the sudden I really craved a tieguanyin. Also I went through my tea stash recently to update my swaps list, and I saw this one lying neglected in the back of the cupboard. For shame, and one of my favorite teas! It will be a very sad day when I run out of this one.
I walked into the office this morning and happened to look down at a package by the mail boxes. Before I even saw my name on it I saw Verdant’s, and I snatched it up! I had forgotten I got my tea sent to my office instead of my PO Box! Yes, my precious Bergamot Rose Laoshan Black, you are finally mine! Being away all summer I never got a chance to order this one, and when I came back it was out of stock, then David announced it was being discontinued! No!! But it came back in stock before being discontinued, whew, so I bought 4oz, which is a lot of tea for me to buy at one time. And I had never even tried it, that’s how much faith I have in David’s blending.
I tore into the pouch and oh my goodness it smells delicious. Mouth-wateringly good. Like bergamot and cookies and chocolate. It has a decidedly baked-good note to it that is familiar but I can’t quite place. No, wait! It smells like rosey bergamot chocolates. Like maybe a rose-bergamot fondant dipped in dark chocolate (now I totally want to make that, but I know my boyfriend wouldn’t like it because he’s not a fan of either flavor!).
Steeped, the bergamot and the rose definitely took a back seat. Now I smell the familiar Laoshan Black toasty chocolate notes. My first sip is decidedly rose and chocolatey. Definitely toasty grain notes, with some creamyish citrus lurking in the shadows. The bergamot in this one is extremely light, and the rose isn’t super strong either. There seems to be a reason this one isn’t called an Earl Grey, and I’d be lying if I didn’t wish for a bit more bergamot, but it’s still an extremely delicious and amazing tea. Glad I got a supply of it before it disappeared!
Well shoot. For some reason I thought I hadn’t tried this one yet, but apparently I had. Tells you how memorable it was! I basically concur with my first tasting note, in that this is fruity and decent enough but kind of boring, tea wise. I’m sure at one point in my tea journey it wouldn’t have bothered me at all that the black tea base is basically nonexistant in regards to the flavor (in fact I would have welcomed it), but that is not the case anymore. Oh well.
Matcha, take two.
There is a lot of conflicting information out there about matcha. Bitter matcha? Maybe you didn’t whisk long enough. Or maybe you whisked too long? Maybe you didn’t use enough matcha. Or maybe you used too much? Matcha preparation seems to me to be more an art than a science, and I am a scientist (I am also somewhat of an artist, but that is beside the point). :P
This morning I started out with about 1 tsp of matcha, which I sifted. Last time when I sifted I found little white granules in my matcha because my sieve is so fine, and I tossed them as not something I wanted. But then I read something on there that made me realize that they might actually be “flavor crystals” and maybe that’s why my first matcha wasn’t particularly caramelly. This time I dumped them in after sifting. I added some hot water, a few ounces, and whisked for just about 30 seconds (last time I spent longer whisking, I think). I took a sip, and it was definitely considerably less bitter and more caramelly than my last bowl. There was still an edge of bitterness so I added a couple of ounces of milk. That definitely took away all the bitterness and I was able to focus on the flavor. A little grassy, a little earthy, a decent helping of caramel. I thought I could draw the caramel out a little more even so I added a sprinkling of sugar, which worked pretty well. Yup, I could definitely get used to drinking this stuff! I need to experiment more, but it will be fun figuring all this out.