786 Tasting Notes
So. Full. Of. Tea.
I have been drinking tea all day long today. I got two tiny little double wall glass tea cups from Teavivre last week. I have never been a huge fan of glass for tea cups without handles, but these were just too cute to resist. And I’m so pleased that they don’t get hot at all. Great double wall insulation I guess!
I started the day with Bi Luo Chun Black (or Golden Snail Yunnan) from Whispering Pines then moved on to Golden Fleece from Verdant – both were delish though I think I’m somewhat over Golden Fleece for now. I’ll still never turn it down, but my palate is trending towards heavier teas lately. Next was Ailaoshan Black from Whispering Pines, Yunnan Gold Tips from A&D, No. 9 Yunnan from Steven Smith – all reliable and good, though the Ailaoshan was by far my favorite of the group. Finished up with Golden Tippy Yunnan from Tealeaves, which unfortunately didn’t really improve much with the short multiple steeping style sessions I was using.
Almost all of the steeps were done with 1 teaspoon of tea, spring water cooled from boiling, rinse leaves, 20 seconds for 1/2 of a little cup, 45 seconds to top off the cup, then 1 1/2 minutes for second cup and leaving the tea in the pot until I was ready for the 3rd & 4th cups.
While that sounds like a lot of tea, I guess in retrospect it isn’t that much since they were all done in 6+ ounce tiny gongfu (not sure this is really gongfu) short steep sessions. I did resteep the Golden Snail so that’s…um… 42+ ounces?
So… this is a sipdown, running me out of Teavivre teas before my order arrives. :) I didn’t replace these but that doesn’t mean they were bad. I had mixed results with this tea but overall I liked it more than I didn’t like it.
Sweetish, caramely, thick, malty. For me, this tea was very water and temperature dependent. Too much temp without the right water and way too much smoke came to the forefront. Maybe it isn’t smoke I get from these teas where no one else gets it, maybe it’s burned tea from my improper prep! :)
These cups today were done with Hinckley Spring Water at about 205F and I used 10 balls for 16 ounces, steeped for about 3 minutes.
Yup. This is still amazingly good. Deeply malty and caramely.
Having recently taken a thermometer into work to see what the actual water temp is out of the dedicated line and the coffee maker spigot, I was shocked to find how off I have been in my estimation. It is actually only about 160F. I’m amazed any of my blacks that I love turned out okay with temps this low! But… knowing this, I now give the cup a bump in the microwave before steeping till it’s bubbling.
This tea was good at work before, now it’s just as amazing as it is at home. And other teas I’ve been retrying at work have definitely improved. I’ve been switching between this, Single Origin’s Kenya Kaporet, Harney & Sons’ Indian Nimbu & Golden Blend (which was tons better at a higher temperature), and the no-name golden yunnan from Chinatown.
I haven’t been posting much since I’m just drinking down my collection and not really trying anything new. It hurts my heart because I really, really want to order two of the new Harney teas from China and my TeaVivre sale order has to be my only purchase for this month. I do get on and read reviews and discussions, though. :)
Plus, work has been nuts. It sucks since I am busier than a one-armed paper hanger for the next two months but after September, I have no idea what I’ll have to keep me occupied! I’m also working on something that could turn out to be super neat if it all turns out like I hope. I can’t say anything yet… but I am positive you folks will like it. Stay tuned. :p
Oooo… now that I’ve had this twice more I can say with certainty that I like it quite a bit. It’s a thick, leathery, masculine Earl that still smells very feminine. The bergamot is really bold and strong. Mom noticed right away today that it also smells of roses when dry in the tin. I hadn’t picked that out before but yeah – really, really rosy. In scent only, though. In taste, this is pure bergamot with that thick, mildly malty Yunnan base.
And having tried this with 3 different preparation methods I now know how I like it. My first time was here at home with tap water. Just kind of meh and somewhat disappointing. Second time was at work with filtered water. Okay, but still underwhelming – I have since discovered that my hot water at work isn’t really hot enough for most of the teas I drink at only 150F!
This time I made it here at home with boiling spring water. That’s more like it. I no longer feel like I wasted my money buying a tin of this. :)
I do like this a LOT cold brewed. I used it as a “non-tea” for the tea party at work today. Steeped 24 hours in the fridge (about 3 tablespoons to 1 1/2 quarts of water) then added slices of fresh strawberry. Yum! Upping the rating based on how much I like it cold.
No one really said much about it specifically, but everyone drank their cups down so it must have been okay. :)
I can’t believe I haven’t logged this. And somehow it wasn’t in my cupboard. Could have sworn it was but since it wasn’t even in the database I guess I was just imagining things.
This is a lovely chamomile. Gorgeous large flowers. It steeps up to a pale, delicate buttery yellow. Smells of honey and well… chamomile. :) There is no honey in this but the taste of it is certainly there. Chamomile is the only drink I like putting honey in, but this one doesn’t even really need it. I put less than half a teaspoon in an 8 ounce cup. I also like it a lot with a couple drops of vanilla extract added along with the honey but I didn’t put any in tonight.
On a sad note, somehow one of the Jane Fern bumble bee bone china mugs my mom got me a couple of years ago has a huge crack in it. :(
I thought it was just stained and was telling myself to take the baking soda to it, but I inspected closer and I could feel the crack. All the way down the side. Have no idea how it could have happened. I’m always very careful with my cups. I guess I still have one but it makes me sad to lose the set.
Yup, still like this one a lot. It’s thick and brothy and smooth and yet still mineral-y and sweet. Still get no apples, though. :)
I have been looking at my tea stash(es) and my tea cupboard and my tea shelf and thinking “Man, you really have got to drink this stuff before you buy anything else, on sale or not. This is getting obsessive and probably it probably indicates an addiction. Not to caffeine but to collecting and hoarding.” So I threw out things that I knew from the last tastings were past their prime and not very good. I’m newly resolved to not let my tea “go bad” anymore. And if I do without a favorite for a little bit while I still have a second favorite or two, so be it.
And in pursuit of yet another stash reduction, anyone who wants to try something, let me know. No swap needed, please don’t send me anything. :) My cupboard is up to date. Browse and let me know!
While this is woody and spicy and without bitterness, it is an overall disappointing cup. I can get Yunnans I like much better, with much more depth of flavor, for less or equal price from other companies. It’s not awful enough to not drink but I can tell it will be a long time before this gets to a sipdown.
First cup was at work. Filtered water, probably around 190F and for 3 minutes, then 5 minutes. Second cup was here at home with unfiltered water just off boiling for 3 minutes, then 5 minutes. I’ll keep trying with some different parameters, but for now there just isn’t much there there to this tea and it won’t be the first or even fourth thing I reach for when steeping a cup.