2189 Tasting Notes
Backlog from yesterday. I had a very nice cup of this tea in the morning, and then I resteeped the sachet in the afternoon. Having access to a hot water pot (and the ability to take my tea into the collections) is awesome, but it means I want to drink tea nonstop like I usually do at work. But I do kind of need to conserve my sachets, and I knew that this one would be up to a resteep. I did something I never do: I left the sachet in the cup for the entire time I was drinking it during the resteep. But it was still totally awesome! Definitely getting more sachets from Dammann for traveling; I love the individually wrapped ones because they are so easy to throw in a purse and such.
Later this afternoon I really wanted another cup of tea, but I didn’t want to use up my sachets I brought with me. So I poked around inside the cupboard in the staff lounge and filched a bag of this out of a large pouch. Normally I wouldn’t steep a pouchong at boiling, but that’s what the instructions on the back of the wrapper said, so I did. I was afraid it would be bitter or otherwise oversteeped, but it was almost the opposite. Maybe these teabags are really old, but there wasn’t much flavor to this cup. The aroma was somewhat unexpected, as I haven’t ever had a pouchong that was this roasty toasty. Actually it kind of reminded me of some kind of genmaicha, because it had that toasted rice aroma along with kind of a grassy green-ness. Not really my thing, but not bad. Too bad it didn’t taste like much!
Hallelujah, the staff lounge at the museum I’m visiting has a hot water kettle, and I actually have easy access to it (i.e., it’s not behind a locked door). The only problem was I didn’t have a mug and there aren’t any communal dishes in the staff lounge, but once again I was saved because the collections manager loaned me a mug. A cup of this, brewed properly, made me so happy this afternoon.
Well, I’ve been reduced to boiling water in the microwave. With a Dammann sachet, which is crazy. Man can you tell the difference. Years ago, before I was actually “into” tea, I used to boil water in the microwave at work and steep my teabags in them. These days I’ve always wondered how I was able to stand such bitter, yucky tea, but now I realize that microwaved water totally neutralizes any tea you put in it. I brought a bunch of Dammann sachets with me but it’s totally not worth using them in this, because while there are still hints of how good they are, it’s basically a waste. Oh well, if only North American hotels all had electric kettles like Asian hotels!
Oh hai, Canadians, I’m in ur country, drinkin’ ur tea. Ok, so this isn’t really Canadian tea, but it was possibly the tea shop closest to the Calgary Airport, and since I was just flying in to drive out into the boonies, I needed a quick fix. I saw on the website that they had rose milk tea at the shop and decided I had to go. It took me a bit to find it because the tea shop was actually inside a huge asian grocery. But eventually, success!
This was a really tasty rose milk tea. Most of the time with these you can’t really taste the “tea” base but the important part to me was the rose, and that was of course in evidence. The boba were a little too soft, which was my main complaint. Otherwise, I loved it. Gotta find a way to make rose milk teas on my own. The ones I’ve had all seem to use a thick rose syrup/jelly type thing with rose petals in it for the flavoring.
On the road again. This morning I woke up far, far too early to go to an airport far too far away. I bougt a cup of hot water at a cafe but decided to forgo their lackluster teabag selection. I packed a variety of sachets for this trip, and fortunately its a short one. When I was getting them together I found that I had three more sachets of this one left… I thought I was either out or down to the last one. It’s been a long time since I’ve had this tea, and I miss it! So delicious.
Gong fu oolong of the day. I am following Naivetea’s instructions exactly for this one, including amount of leaf for my 6oz pot since they are explicit on that point.
No rinse, first steep 50 seconds. It certainly smells nice, floral and buttery and a bit vegetal. Geez, apparently I can’t take a sip today without inhaling tea along with it! I just did it twice in a row. Bah. Ok, finally got a good sip. It’s fresh and green, like fresh sweet sugar snap peas. There are a little florals, but they’re not really very present. No sweetness, really just a pleasant green flavor.
Second steep, 40 seconds. Honestly, this steep is kind of meh. Very underwhelming. At once low on flavor but what is there is strongly vegetal. It’s tempting to give up on it right now, but I remember what happened with the last Naivetea oolong I gong fu’d (I got great steeps toward the end). I’m afraid the third steep, back to 50 seconds, is the same way. Fourth steep, 60 seconds, weaker but otherwise same. I’m afraid there doesn’t really seem to be anything more coming out of these leaves. Fifth steep, 70 seconds, same.
I’m not really dropping my score on this one because I did like the western style steep of it back when I first tried it. But following the instructions they sent exactly? A big ol’ meh. Even the first steep wasn’t really that impressive. Oh well.
I have a recent new appreciation for unflavored black teas, especially Fujians, so I decided to revisit this one, which was a sizeable sample from JacquelineM a while ago. I still have enough in the tin for another cup after this one, even!
Mm, I definitely appreciate this one more than I did the first time I had it. I’ve really come to love those Fujian flavors. This one has lots of those caramel, honey, bready notes. I like this a lot. I tell you, I never thought I would get into unflavored black teas because they didn’t really appeal to me, but I am definitely enjoying them now. Of course, that usually means that suddenly I need to try all the different kinds, like when I first got into oolongs.
Ugh, computer problems. It is annoying that probably my whole day will be taken up trying to fix and repair things. I need a comforting tea, and preferably one that helps me bust my sample stash. This fits the bill, as I only have a little of it left after this cup. Probably only enough to throw in a cold-steep blend.
I recently discovered some local-ish black currant juice in my grocery store, which was very exciting as I love black currant but it’s not a common thing here in the states. So I guess it’s kind of a black curranty day since I’m having this tea after I had my black currant juice with breakfast. Mmm, there is something just so utterly comforting about black currant (and thus this tea) to me, which is funny because it’s not like it’s a flavor from my childhood. But it is delicious.
Gong fu of the day. I’ve had this one once before but I think I mistakenly put the review under the organic version; I checked, and I have the non-organic. Whoops. Anyway I used one of the vacuum-packed sample pouches for my 6oz teapot; I measured, and it was a little over 1 Tbsp. I’m going to try this one a few short steeps to start and see how it goes. Side note: there are a lot more tiny tea bits in this pouch than I remember the last one having. Thankfully I have my ultra-fine strainer for my ru tea set, so no bits in my fairness pitcher.
After a quick rinse I did a 20 second steep, and it smelled and tasted delicious. Floral, sweet, a bit buttery, just overall delightfull. Really, basically everything I look for in a TGY, except for maybe I like a few more buttery/creamy notes, but that’s not a big thing. Second steep was also at 20 seconds, and the florals and sweetness have faded considerably from the aroma, while the vegetal greenness has become much stronger. The taste is pretty enjoyable; not as good as the first, but perhaps a bit better than my previous second steeps with other oolongs. Still some sweetness, still some florals, perhaps more butteriness, along with the increased vegetal notes. Third steep at 25 seconds is down to mediocrity. Maybe I do need to use way more leaf for my pot. I will certainly burn through my stash quickly that way!