2005 Tasting Notes
My tin of this is long past its prime, but then again, so am I. I’m not a tea legalist—I ignore expiration dates and nurture my old stock just as long as possible. This needed a little nurturing this morning.
Sometimes flavored teas age well; sometimes they start tasting a little metallic. (Lesson to be learned: enjoy whatcha got while you have it.) On the other hand, it still smells like the empty bin the Kraft Caramels come in at the store, and a little milk/sugar bring it back to drinkable. (Other lesson to be learned: value whatcha got, even if it’s old and shopworn.)
Much joy in simple things today—home after a long week on the road, leaves a shag carpet in the yard and still dropping like gentle rain, cat snoozing nearby, Dead Poets’ Society playing gently in the background, and a cup of good green tea that tastes better because it was a thoughtful gift.
The gift was from one of my Sunday sixth grade girls—two of her friends and their moms had an all-girl adventure in Boston, and I playfully asked for some tea from Boston. I expected a tea bag from the hotel; I received two lovely envelopes from the Boston Tea Party Museum with period-accurate loose leaf! (And I just love saying “Oliver Pluff” aloud!)
Y’all know I mangle my green teas more often than I get them right, and I think I was overzealous on the water temp—the taste is a bit more bitter than the crisp, fresh, leafy scent of the tea. But it’s satiny and smooth, fresh and about the shade of the few silver maple leaves still doggedly grasping the backyard branches.
Finally broke down and opened the baggie. (Reason for delay: If I drink it, it’ll be gone!) Black tea chock full of goodies, including what appears to be dried pumpkin or dried sweet potato and white chocolate chips.
It smells as good steeped as it does dry. Due to the chips, it’s creamy, cloudy, and very sweet; flavor stays a while after each sip. Pumpkiny? Yes. Tasty? Extremely. Caffeine? Gentle. Want more? Absolutely.
A no-trick treat (bag of this loose tea) from a work friend was waiting for me this morning in a mug wearing a cable-knit sweater!
I have not yet tried this—couldn’t find it on the Savoy website, but oh, my! It smells like pumpkin pecan pie! The mug is sitting on the corner of my work desk and is scenting the whole room.
Too tantalizing to waste on work water and a microwave. This one’s going home with me to be appreciated properly.
This is a gimme from a work buddy; she’s had it around for quite a while, so it may be a nootch past its prime, but it was a thoughtful treat all the same. I’m so-so with chai; sometimes the spice blenders get too cardamommy and it starts tasting medicinal. This one isn’t bad, and the lightness of the white tea makes milk unnecessary. Just enjoying it with a little honey, two black cats, and The Time Machine—appropriate for Post #2001—A Tea Odyssey.
(You didn’t tell me Sebastian Cabot was in it! I could listen to Sebastian Cabot read the phone book and melt into butter!)
Well, I was going to save Tasting Note #2000 for something extraordinary, but as I have a few minutes to share What One Learns From Steepster After This Many Tasting Notes, I’ll just make my observation about this humble and tasty little English Breakfast #1 on the list:
1. Sometimes the ordinary stuff is just as satisfying as the not-so-ordinary stuff. Sometimes even more.
2. I fritter away far too much time online.
3. Everybody needs a stash of solid, no-frills, can’t-ruin-it tea that requires absolutely no brains to steep.
4. Steepster people, you are fascinating, kind, creative, funny, insightful, well-read, and great fun to hang around. I have never (not counting spam) had an unpleasant or unkind encounter here.
5. Rating and reviewing tea scientifically is beyond me. I rely on weather and whimsy. You precise and consistent people amaze me.
Count your blessings, friends. A good cup of tea is one of them, but daily you are surrounded by ones that matter more.
You’ve been there. It’s the last ounce of “it’s getting old, but if I drink it now, it will be gone!”
However, we had our first frost of the season last night, my flannel sheets were far too cozy, and I had to get my chilly hindquarters out the door. Builders tea required.
For the record, I realize PG Tips isn’t exactly a rare breed; I just can’t find the loose leaf locally any more and I’m cheap—hate paying shipping on something I should be able to find at the grocery store.
(Post-posting edit. I wrote the following paragraphs last night, clearly inattentively, because I didn’t actually tell you what I was drinking. ELDERBERRY. DRIED ELDERBERRIES. Good grief. )
Some travel and heavy conferencing ahead (it’s a little like Rumplestiltskin, they lock you in a room and require you to be creative until the whole kids’ curriculum is planned—straw into gold), so in prep for alien environments, I intend to be steeping a whole lot of this over the next couple weeks. Mema swore by it during cold and flu season and she lived to a very cheerful and perky 92.
These are just the bulk dried berries from local health store; they do a lot of Frontier Natural Co-op stuff, so that’s the likely candidate for brand. Steeped straight up with no additives, it tastes like raisins. I’ve had it with cinnamon before, tasty; and I suppose I could sweeten with honey. Other stir-in suggstions from the audience?
Husband knows I’m a sucker for most of Bigelow’s seasonal teas, so he grabbed a box for me at the one local store that carries them. I married an enabler.
This is foo-foo tea instead of get-your-sleepy-hindquarters-out-the-door tea, but it’s good foo-foo. The caramel scent and flavor are just right—not much “salted,” but no great loss in my opinion.
My winter wardrobe desperately needs me to start losing interest in pastry and pie, so I foresee this as a tasty and comfortable pacifier when I am craving something sticky and sweet.
I have absolutely no idea where this teabag came from, but there it was in my little wooden box waiting for me to discover it.
At any rate, it was a pleasant evening discovery. Bigelow’s Ginger Snappish, which is my go-to for this flavor combo, is mostly ginger and a little lemon. This is its daffodil-yellow opposite: mostly lemon with a little ginger, though the spice got stronger as I sipped it bag-in-cup.
Now, if I can just remember where I got it…