1983 Tasting Notes
All of us have a unique, nobody-knows-but-me set of criteria for choosing tea. With me, it’s either mood or level of awake (or lack thereof).
Every note I have written for this one is attached to crinkled, crumpled nerves. Local flooding made the Weather Channel, turned Turkey Creek into Turkey Rapids as close as the other side of the street, and kept me on “clench” all day. (I was also a little cheesed with the wannabe videographers who kept blocking the only safe access point out of my neighborhood with their vehicles simply to get a good shot. It doesn’t have to go on Facebook, folks; I have to get up the hill.)
So a cup of gentle orange and almond with a little vanilla-ness was a much needed soother this afternoon. I made sure to include a big hunk of orange peel and a peppercorn. Sometimes you just need to stack the deck in your favor.
I think this was it—I never actually look at the catalog numbers and when I searched for “Upton Yunnan” I was presented with a distressingly large number of options.
At any rate, the sample pack of whatever Yunnan I ordered has been tasty. “Peppery” seems to be the standard one-flip-flop-fits-all adjective for Yunnan tea, and it does fit this one as well. As it cooled, it reminded me more of the burlap-feed-bag graininess of a Keemun. Tasty.
This is the foo-foo tea I wasn’t awake enough to appreciate this morning. It has cornflower and long coconut shreds in it, which makes the dry mix look like a party.
Though the label suggests a great deal of yo-ho-ho rumminess, it’s very, very understated; this has more of a tropical punch punch to it. Coconut, fruit, then maybe a little rum in the background. Cheerful, perky, sweet, celebratory—and quite, quite tasty!
We awoke to friendly thunder and much-needed rain, but the early-awake required me to set aside the fluffy-sweetums-foofoo tea I had intended to sample this morning. Heavy stuff required. This does well. Good, hearty, dark, solid rye-bread Assam-iness to fortify myself for an Easter morning with 10 and 11-year-olds.
Since the morning will be joyful-noisy, I’m taking a few moments to quietly ponder. I pondered these beautiful borrowed words from a gifted writing friend I worked with years ago. Thought you might like them, too:
Wonder is forever upon us.
May we live with an eye toward that wonder.
May we refuse to be cynical about life or people.
Instead, today, may we experience the newness of everything as if it were our first day.
From today forward may we walk, sing, eat, work, play and write as if it were our first chance to get to do any of them.
And may we do everything with deep gratitude, expectation and dumbfounded surprise.
(More here: http://matttullos.com/its-sunday-2/)
As Rosehips so gracefully put it, I whoopsed yesterday and overdosed on tea and pastry shopping. (There is currently Krispy Kreme and cherry strudel and tiramisu under my roof simultaneously. Don’t judge. )
..but we don’t have a Fresh Market nearby, so when we’re in NW Arkansas, we go a little nuts.
So this box just sorta jumped into my cart. (My husband made it jump.) It’s a nice, gentle little flavored tea; treated with care, you can coax a goodly amount of cherry out of it. A second steep treated with much less care made a decent cuppa chilled, but it had a bite. Nice and springy.
This is evidently Tazo’s favorite tea (my cat, not the company); last cup I made, he stuck his face in the mug and pretty much left it there.
Baxter, on the other hand, is a calendula lover—we use it, steeped strong, as a topical medicine for kitty skin itches and (this week) a really nasty head gash from a neighborhood rumble. He licked my fingers raw and tried to suck it out of the cotton ball.
So, what makes my cats purr should make me purr, yes? I have yet to find a tisane that actually makes me sleepy and undoes the clove-hitch knots in my neck and shoulders after a screamer workday (more of those than not lately). But the gentle mint and vanilla is soothing; I like this blend better than the regular Sleepytime (sans vanilla). Relaxing with a cup and a fur lump snoozing on my lap, that’s about as good as it’s gonna get.
Somebody left a stack of these bags on the pay-it-forward table at work. I snagged them, chiefly because you don’t often see a bagged Assam that simply advertises itself as an Assam.
It performs as advertised. Not top shelf, but a decent bagged tea that isn’t sharp or acidic and behaves exactly as you expect with some low, sweet, bready flavor. Excellent choice for work or groggy mornings.
(Upton carries several Mao Feng varieties. I’m rolling with this one…hope it’s correct.)
Beautiful long, twisty leaves. Reminds me of a quality Assam; cocoa and wheat toast.
Something this good deserves a lengthy and more luscious write-up, but my eyes will not open and this is the best I can muster :)