7227 Tasting Notes
One of the Gong Fu sessions that I enjoyed over the weekend.
This tea has really developed into something quite lovely, not that it was a bad tea when I first tried it – I just think it still had that greener/bitter edge to it that I’m not hyper found it. Now, I find it leans more heavily into the fruity traits that Yiwu pu’erh is a little more well known for and is smoother and sweeter. Much more like my kind of Sheng!
I think six steeps total? I had intended to take a break after the sixth steep and revisit later in the day but time got away from me and I ended up forgetting – and I felt weird rebrewing tea that had just been sitting, damp in my gaiwan for over 24 hours the next day – even though it did still smell fine. Right off the bat, when I started the session, this was delightful though: bright, sweet notes of things like cranberries, red currant, and candied lemon peels. Still a little green and sheng-y, but mostly just this bright, full of life fruit salad kind of vibe.
So because I am very, very much not a morning person I have reverted back into my old morning routine of prepping all my stuff the night before (lunch, shower, work clothing, travel mug & tea that I intend to steep for the commute, etc.) so that I can wake up as late as humanly possible before I have to boogie on out of my apartment to catch the metro. I’ve gotten it down to about fifteen minutes awake and in the apartment before I leave to walk to the metro station…
Part of this “morning routine” now include bringing everything I need to make breakfast with me to the office and making breakfast there and eating it at my desk. Ultra efficiency! A few days ago, breakfast of choice was oatmeal – and because I’m in a lab surrounded by tea I thought it would be interesting to try adding matcha into the oatmeal and see if that made it better. I think I may have done this in the past, but more with “sprinkling” the matcha on top and less with mixing it directly into the oatmeal? I’m not totally sure though – don’t quote me on that.
I was having peach oatmeal though, so I thought either a fruity matcha would work well or the vanilla matcha – and the first thing I saw was the sunset matcha which seemed to make sense in my head. I mean, it’s basically a strawberry matcha and strawberries and peaches go together, right? It actually did taste really nice as a pairing, I was just clearly a little heavy handed with how much matcha I added in (three perfect matcha spoons of it). Like, the strawberry notes were just so strong. I think two spoons would have been the perfect balance, actually!
But 10/10 in terms of concept. Would t-oatmeal again.
Friendly reminder that I do not numerically rate DAVIDsTEA blends as I’m currently employed there and it would be an obvious conflict of interest. Any blends you see with numerical ratings were rated prior to my employment there. These reviews are a reflection of my personal thoughts regarding the teas, and not the company’s.
Finished off with coconut agave, just like the last cup of this that I had. I did say I was going to finish this one off soon – and I managed to remember that goal and stick to it. This is only a temporary sipdown though; I’ll be restocking in the summer when I crave this tea more consistently. It’ll be easy to do given that I now live not more than a 30 minute commute from Camellia Sinensis’ store.
Flavors: Alcohol, Butter, Coconut, Creamy, Pineapple, Toffee
I took a sick day today because I woke up and not ten minutes later threw up all over my kitchen floor as I was making breakfast. No warning or funny feelings prior to the incident – just, sudden vomit. Sorry if that’s TMI.
Anyway; for the rest of the day I continued to feel pretty unwell and I did have another moment where I got sick – but at least I saw it coming and was able to get to the washroom. So, I didn’t do much in the way of tea drinking.
I add this earlier in the afternoon following a nap though; I woke up and for an hour or two everything felt alright. I seized the opportunity for tea. This was really nice; I think the choice to brew something up with a mild to medium roast was a good one; heavy roast would have been too harsh on my stomach, I feel. However this level of roast just felt warm, toasty, and comforting. Main notes were toasted/roasted walnuts and peach jam, with a sort of maple-y undertone and sweetness. Maybe a tiny hint of cinnamon, too? Or some other sweeter, soft spice.
This is just a consistently nice tea, IMO.
First experience trying anything from this company. Their description of the tea is weird. “Good for warming your cockles”!? What an odd statement to make…
Taste wise, this tastes kind of like a candy cane to me, but with a black liquorice heavy finishing note. I like liquorice a lot, actually, so I’m kind of down for a black licorice matcha – but I can totally see other people finding this profile absolutely repulsive. Though, as much as I’m into black liquorice I’m not totally sold on the idea of black licorice candy canes…
Also, hopefully this isn’t a trend with all this companies matchas, but it settles super quickly into this very nasty matcha sludge in the bottom of the bowl that I’m drinking it from. Which is gross.
I think what I’m saying is that I’m 50/50 on if I enjoy this or not? Also, I’m not quite sure if my cockles have been warmed – but at least I feel a little more caffeinated.
Drinking this Grandpa style currently, but I’m about ready to be done with it.
The smell of this one was quite nice out of the package; green but also very floral and sweet. Now that I’m drinking it, though, I think it’s leaning much more heavy towards those greener, grassier notes with the florals taking a bit more of a backseat. It’s a little astringent, and there’s something sharp and harsh about the finish to me. It’s not bad, but I remember heavily debating adding this into my last Silk Road order and ultimately I’m happy that I chose not to – I definitely wasn’t missing out on anything remarkable.
Finished this one off over my lunch break. The Tootsie Roll profile was out in FULL force. I shared it with a few coworkers, just to see if they also got the “Raspberry Tootsie Roll Pop” profile/taste from this similar to how I do. Of the three I shared with, one agreed that was an exact comparison and while the other two said they definitely felt like the tea had a chocolate sort of note to it, they didn’t think that was quite what the taste was. All three were shocked learning that there’s not any chocolate in the tea, though…
Goodbye funky little tea friend; you were a trip. I guess I’ll sort of miss you?
This tea was weird. Dry, the aroma from the tea reminded me of the chocolate rum balls that my mom makes around Christmas time; rich and sweet and delightfully boozy. Steeping up, I lost the rum notes and instead this smelled like chocolate and oatmeal – different, but still interesting and appealing. Now, drinking the steeped tea, I feel like this doesn’t have either rum or oatmeal notes: just the buttery, grassy flavour of guayusa and notes of cocoa. The cocoa feels very surface level though: no real depth, or richness.
Overall, I think this tea just doesn’t know what it wants to be? And so it sort of misses the mark in delivering a solid flavour profile. It’s not bad though, just not really great or necessarily well put together?
Tea Infused Salad Dressing! …part three?
This is one of two teas that kind of originally inspired this idea, the other being Spicy Pina Margarita. That’s because I really just did not like the tea on its own but found it unique enough to hold on to because I was convinced I could find something brilliant to do with it culinary-wise.
So, here’s the recipe that I used:
- 1/3 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of tea
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 2/3 Cup of Avocado Oil
- Black Pepper & Salt to Taste
- Mason Jar
I started by bringing the vinegar to a boil in a saucepan on the stovetop, then immediately removing it from the heat and adding in my tea and letting that “steep” in the hot vinegar until completely cold. Then I strained it into the mason jar using the cheesecloth, and added in my honey – shake that all up until it’s combined, then added in the oil slowly, shaking throughout that process until fully emulsified. Add in your spices/salt/pepper to taste – in this case I actually added lemon pepper instead of salt/pepper.
What I was going for here was definitely something with my tangyness to it; hence the decision to use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar. I needed some sweetness to balance all that acidity, so I did use honey instead of a different type of emulsifier (egg white, for example) but I stuck with plain honey so as to now introduce another flavour into the mix to wreck my vinegar/tea pairing. I used avocado oil for a similar reason; I obviously needed oil for the recipe but this is a kind that practically has no flavour, so it worked in regard to making sure the other flavours really came through. The tea itself has tomato, apple, ginger, chili, and pumpkin in it – so it’s already got some sweetness in addition to the savory/spicy elements. I wanted to really create something that was both savory and sweet; just like how a tomato can be on its own. I think this one turned out great! I don’t love it quite as much as I do the whisky dressing I made earlier in the day, but I think it’s still delicious and ultimately still tastes like the tea in addition to all of the other things in the recipe. Plus, it allowed me to find a use for a tea that I simply didn’t enjoy drinking. All the flavours come together really nicely!
The only thing that I think I might have done differently if I was recreating the recipe was add some fresh dill into the hot vinegar/tea mixture to steep in some aromatics as well. I think the dill would have been a nice compliment to all the other flavours going on, while highlighting the “Caeser” element of the tea in a different way.
C’est la vie.
EDIT: I forgot, I kind of took a picture of this dressing!
Tea Infused Salad Dressing!
I tend to hyper fixate on ideas/concepts occasionally, and the most recent example of this is tea infused salad dressings. The first one I tried out was Spicy Pina Margarita but I wasn’t super happy with the result so I did a lot more research, and consulted with a couple coworkers for ideas. Then, I was right back at it!
This was my second attempt, and here’s the recipe that I used:
- 1/3 Cup of Distilled White Vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of tea
- 1 clove of garlic (optional, but I did add it for this recipe)
- 2 tablespoons of buckwheat honey
- 2/3 Cup of Olive Oil
- Black Pepper & Salt to Taste
- Mason Jar
- Cheesecloth or some other form of straining device
Basically, you pour the vinegar into a small saucepan and bring it up to a boil. Then, immediately take it off the heat and add in the tea and a crushed clove of garlic. Let that “steep” into the vinegar until it’s completely cold. Then strain it into the mason jar. Add in the honey, shake together until blended. Then, slowly add in the olive oil and shake very vigorously until emulsified.
And bam! You’ve made salad dressing/vinaigrette! It was actually a really easy recipe to follow along with, and I’m super happy with how it turned out! I think the flavour of the tea is definitely quite noticeable, and it just works really well with everything else going on in the recipe – honey, garlic, and whiskey? I mean, that’s a perfect pairing as far as I’m concerned. You can also use any type of honey, vinegar, or oil if you want to slightly tweak the profile to best match whatever tea you’re doing. I went with white vinegar/olive oil because they’re basically the “plainest” options and I really wanted the focus here to be the taste of the tea. For the honey, I chose buckwheat honey to add more depth and richness to the flavour because I didn’t think whisky was something that should necessarily be super “light”. Plus, the molasses/nutty notes of the honey are also great pairings with that flavour.
Other things you could switch around are the spices you add during the “steeping” process, and instead of honey I could have also used agave or eggwhites as my emulsifier. I happen to love the taste of honey, and really lean towards sweeter dressings so that was the best option for me. I also own a lot of “weirder” honeys, which gives me more customization options. Also, you can up the acidity by doing things like adding lemon/lime juice too. Have fun and play with it! The key things are just that you need an acid (vinegar), oil, and emulsifier and you want your ratios to basically match what I outlined in my recipe above…
But yeah, a successful project that I will 100% be trying with other teas! And, for the record, I have now finished off this dressing in different salads because I liked it so much.