1705 Tasting Notes
I am sitting with a cup of this saying goodbye to Leonard Nimoy. Truly one of the biggest influences of my childhood. If it hadn’t been for algebra, which I could not grasp, I wanted to become an astronomer or work for NASA. Instead, I settled for playing Kerbal Space Program and watching old reruns of Star Trek TOS. It’s NCC-1701 for me. No bloody A, B, C, or D! I don’t know about Mr. Nimoy, but I feel certain Mr. Spock would have enjoyed this tea – or will in a couple centuries. Que spacey music.
I’ve read about marshmallow in teas as an ingredient. I’ve never tried one. This one, marshmallow leaf is the only ingredient. This is a bagged herbal. The bag is unbleached, organic, kosher. The box is 100% recycled material. The tag is staple free. The string is long enough to not cause the tag to be drowned when filling the cup.
Each bag contains 1.5 grams of leaf. I prefer 2g for a cup and 3g for a mug. I opted to use a 6 oz cup. Boiling water and 5 minutes later, I get a sunny yellow cup. The leaf has turned very green and feels squishy like a wet marshmallow.
According to the company description, this uses the leaf of the plant, while the marshmallow as I know it evolved from the root. That explains why the taste is nothing like a classic Stay Puft marshmallow. It is sweet but not overly so. It has an almost minty quality to it. This tastes lightly citrus to me, slightly like lemon. While not what I expected, it is rather tasty.
This is one of a series of five teas inspired by Jane Austen. The tin is attractive and should be useful for something after the tea is gone. Inside are 10 sachets each containing 2 grams of leaf. The leaf appears to be very nice quality – definitely not grocery store fare. The sachet aroma is mostly cinnamon (very pleasant and not over the top), along with a sweet fragrance wrapped around the black tea. This is kind of cherry like and reminds me of my grandfathers pipe tobacco when I was a kid.
A two minute steep produced a nice orange/red brew. Because of the cinnamon, my brain tries to interpret this as chai, but there is no cardamom or other typical chai spices. This is flavored with Marsala wine (no alcohol in the tea).
The taste is really good. At first you catch the cinnamon. This is replaced by a sweetness with a touch of peppery spice. It fades into a flavor that inspires thoughts of cherry wood. I have never tasted Marsala wine, but if it tastes anything like this, I would love it.
A little pricey but I really enjoyed the cup.
Put this leaf in front of me without telling me what it is and I would guess Golden Monkey. Beautiful dark leaf curls and golden tips. The fragrance is malt, and honey, and cocoa. Mmmmm. The brew is ruby/orange. I inhaled malt all the way to my lips. Then I was was hit with a rush of briskness. I did not flinch. Next I noticed how smooth and thick this felt. The taste is similar to the fragrance, though not as intense. This is not bitter. For an Assam, it wasn’t particularly drying. I am highly sensitive to tannins, especially in Assams. I could not drink this regularly on an empty stomach. I did, however, steep it four minutes, so willing to take the blame. A shorter steep might calm it down, though seriously it was pretty smooth after the initial hit. The addition of milk and sweetener might be another route. I just didn’t want any additions messing with it. No, I can’t believe I just wrote that either. The Splenda monkey is currently ashamed of me. He can go fling poo. This is too tasty for additions :) The aftertaste lingers of malt.
My very first ever gyokuro. Know what I love about the reviews for this one? Every one has a very different take on it. Here’s mine – One of the reviews said the leaf looked like confetti. Yeah, that’s it. To me it has a grassy aroma with some citrus notes. When I read the instructions for this tea I thought, man that’s fussy. It requires more leaf and waaaaay cooler temperatures than anything else I recall brewing. As fast as a kettle heats, it is hard to get it right. Then 5 minutes for the first steep? Crazy.
Turns out this is worth the fuss. This is probably too cool for most people’s taste. It is perfect to me. I taste of grass at first. My brain adjusts and then I pick up on citrus. Then cucumber. I love that flavor in a tea so it jumps out at me. Others mentioned this being sweet. I don’t really get that. To me it is savory. Not salty but that sensation. And there is a note that reminds me of dill. There is no bitterness. It is kind of drying. It’s OK because the cucumber and dill linger in the aftertaste. With the next cup it added a touch of earthiness.
Snow and ice. My youngest left at 5:30 this morning for work. 10 minutes later he pulled back in the drive. I asked him what was going on. His reply, “It’s just McDonalds. It’s not work the risk.” I’d like to say I taught him well but truth is I was never that smart.
I can’t post on my blog until the new billing cycle. I can write on it just fine but pictures can’t be uploaded while I am throttled for going over my data limit. le sigh.
So you guys get first crack at my take on this oolong. A Nepal oolong is unusual enough. This one is rolled into pearls. Not sure what effect monsoon flush has on the taste but thanks to the pickers who got wet so I could try it. The brewed aroma is strongly apricot and nectarine. The taste is much less so, but is stone fruit. Starts mellow and smooth of fruit. Then turns sweet and mineral. Next it develops a peppery spiciness (not too strong – just enough to be interesting), along with hints of mushroom. It trails off into a sweet aftertaste. I notice hints of cucumber making my connection to this more white tea like than oolong.
If you aren’t normally an oolong fan because they tend to be either a cup of geranium or too heavily roasted, then you might just find this appealing. It is very much not your typical oolong.
Had a little of this left over. Seemed like a good time to finish it off. Even though this is 7 months old in an open package sealed only with a paper clip, it is still really good. Baked raisin bread and honey, with grape and cinnamon notes. Wonderful stuff. I prepared a mug for myself and one for my son. He was not impressed. His tastes seem to run more toward harsher Ceylon teas. I happen to like those as well but there is just something about a smooth tea loaded with depth. Top notch, I say.
It is -5 here at the moment and the expected high may reach +8. Out of curiosity I checked the weather in Alaska. As far north as you can go it is still warmer than here. The southern part of the state has temps in the 40’s. sigh.
Grabbed a hot bowl of oat meal and this Yunnan tea. The dry leaf had a chocolate and tobacco aroma. The orange brew was baked brownies, honey, and malt. Just a gentle bite around the edge of the tongue. Very comforting. I just may survive this frigid day now.
Alishan…. need I say more? OK, how about the addition of a light scent of Jasmine? So yeah, this is really good. Except, man I can’t go with their steeping directions. 8g for 130ml. That might work for some of you. I went 4g for 90ml.
The first cup was excellent. It was lightly jasmine followed by the wonderful sweet florals of the high mountain oolong. I had flashes of citrus bouncing between orange and lemon.
By the second cup all that leaf had filled my tiny gaiwan and I did not like this cup. Just too much. It was like a cup of geraniums. Maybe this would work with flash steeps but at 1m 15s I was overwhelmed.
I moved the leaf over to my glass teapot and used 10oz of water for cup three. Yeah, this is much more the way I like my tea. Lovely oolong florals. Just a touch of jasmine. This drifted into a good mineral with spice. The aftertaste was sweet, lingering, oolong.
Jasmine and oolong make a great pairing. Not sure why this is the first time I have seen it. Anyway, thanks Tea Ave. and great start to my samples.