11399 Tasting Notes
Sipped a Western brewed mug of this on NYE – I think it was technically both my last tea of 2020 and first tea of 2021!? Which is sort of a weird thing to think about. My brain likes to find patterns and symbolism in things, but I’m not sure exactly what the significance of my last/first teas being the same on says other than I stayed up until the stroke of midnight and I should probably police my caffeine intake a little better…
It’s a nice tea though, and while it works brewed Western style I do think it shines more when brewed Gongfu. It was sweet with notes of honey, baker’s chocolate, French bread, and cinnamon – but also some more savory notes; wood, cumin and other more culinary spices (as opposed to warming spices). Perhaps just a bit of red fruit? I was honestly more fixated on the body of the cup and smooth and coating texture of the liquor than the flavours though. There was a particular comfort in it that was unexpected and it challenging to describe.
Welp, that’s a ginger tea.
This was a Christmas present from my lovely friend and colleague, Marika.
I can’t remember if I brought this up in a tasting note closer to Christmas, but she and her family actually drove to my apartment this Christmas for a quick socially distanced present drop off and ‘Merry Christmas’ exchange. We’re on a pretty strict lockdown here in Montreal and, because of the pandemic, I didn’t fly home for Christmas this year so I was spending Christmas alone for the first time in… years. So it was just an extra nice thing that she did to make the day feel that much less lonely.
Added bonus to the sweetness of all of that – this tea is actually from the store that her family owns! It’s almost shameful to admit, but prior to this tea the only teas I’ve had from what they carry are some avocado leaves – which really aren’t meant to be tea, but are just something that I enjoyed steeping as a tisane.
I’m normally not at all about ginger teas and I fully expected to not love this one because it is an INTENSE amount of veeerrryyy fresh and veeerrryyyy high quality ginger used in the blend. Like, when I open up the package of it and give it a smell the amount of ginger immediately makes my eyes still a little bit and I can’t help but sneeze a little. That said, it’s not half bad. If I actually liked the taste of straight ginger I would probably love it, but I don’t and so instead I feel more of a deep respect for the quality of the ingredients used and the level of freshness. It’s such a punch of spicy, tingly ginger that really opens up your sinuses in a profound way.
I should ask Marika what specifically the three types of ginger in the blend are – I can see large chunks of ginger and finer threads of it mixed throughout the black tea base but I’m not educated enough on ginger varieties to be able to identify all of the types at a glance. I would wager, however, that one of them is probably Galangal. The punch and intensity here sort of comes across in a way that I’ve almost exclusively experienced with Galangal – at least when it comes to Ginger…
My cravings this week for fruity, tropical and/or summer inspired tea blends is apparently not isolated to teas from DT, because I felt myself deeply “called” to revisit this tea…
I feel like my rating of 68 is maybe a little bit harsh. There’s really nothing wrong with this tea at all, and it makes for a pleasantly smooth and simple drink with lots of the black tea flavour coming through and complimenting a stripped back and approachable “Hawaiian Punch” profile. It’s a pretty good tea for the super simple ingredient list and, while it does fade to the back of mind quite often, at this moment I have no complaints.
Another tea that I drank while playing Among Us last night…
I definitely underbrewed this because I was focusing on trying to make the tea quickly so we could start a new round, and the result was a thinner cup that I’d have liked. However, the notes of banana, chocolate, and caramelized sugar were all still present even if they were a slight bit flat. It wasn’t a cup that lived up to its full potential, but it was still good.
Last night several of my instagram tea friends and I played Among Us for a few hours, so this was one of several teas I drank over the course of that gaming session. I had been craving this tea for a little while, and I was having some trouble finding the sample which is what prompted my big sample reorganization a few days ago.
While it was satisfying to have that craving quenched and while the tea was also very refreshing and pleasant tasting… it did seem like the blend was less flavourful than I had remembered it being? I suppose the change in preparation method could partially be to blame here – but the fruit notes just seemed mellower and less juicy. Notes of indistinct red fruit, pineapple, and floral rose – but not enough of them to hit the way that I reaaaallyyy wanted from them.
Maybe I’ll go back to brewing hot…
I had a pretty miserable day today since a persistent migraine rendered me all but useless for the mass amount of the day – even now the dull pressure and pain is eating away at my energy and enthusiasm. As such, I didn’t drink much tea today – but I did dig into my stash to pull out this tea for the Sipdown challenge. The “theme” was a geeky tea for National Science Fiction Day…
It’s not actually a sipdown in the sense that I still have pretty much a full bag of it to drink through – but it’s a tea I ordered in the summer and then never got around to trying so this was a good motivation to finally try it out.
It’s a lot nicer than I expected. One of the reasons that I hadn’t tried it was because the aroma of the dry leaf was so off putting to me – very sharp and almost sour, like coconut that had gone rancid. It was disconcerting, since it was a new tea. It doesn’t taste rancid now though – although there is a bit more of an acidic top note than what I’m used to in nutty/almond teas. It reminds me of roasted chicory, more than anything. Aside from that this is sweet, nutty and smooth with an earthiness from the pu’erh and a almond note that combines elements of roasted almonds and boozier Amaretto.
I think it would steep well with milk, so I’m noting that for the next mug.
I did a tea sample reorganize earlier in the week and, while doing that, I noticed that I only had a cup worth of this tea left – so I sipped it down earlier this week. It’s a nice lemon ginger profile; more lemon typically although I felt like there was a fair bit of ginger in this last cup too. Maybe some that had fallen to the bottom of the pouch? I like that I can taste the white tea just enough to justify it’s use, but it’s flavourful and soothing too.
I probably wouldn’t buy this again just because I think I’ve learned that I prefer that lemon ginger profile to be caffeine free, but this was a pretty nice tea overall and I enjoyed having it in my stash. It feels nice to sip it down though – it was probably one of the oldest white teas that I owned.
Sipped on these white tea “pearls” a few days ago while playing Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee! I skipped it when it first came out (the game, not the tea) so I decided that I’d finally give it a fair shake – and I’m enjoying it a lot!
In regard to the tea, to call this a pearl styled tea is definitely a bit of a misnomer; they’re definitely much more like a loosely rolled dragonball. I only used one for the session (in my 70ml gaiwan). This is a good tea to brew while I play though; the notes of straw and cream are a bit more flat/one dimensional but the tea handles my non-attentive & distracted brewing style very well. Long steep times aren’t a problem, and while the flavour isn’t exciting it’s not unpleasant either.
First session of the new year! It was a damn good one to kick things off with, but not really intentionally picked for any reason other than I was craving yancha.
So mineral and toasty in early infusions: dark mahogany, charred peanuts, tobacco, leather, & pine smoke. Then those flavours break, and the taste is like jammy, cooked down plum paste. Finally, the finish is fresh flowers – cherry blossom – and sweet plum and white peach juices. Such an evolution, and fucking immaculate. This is why I keep coming back to Old Ways Tea – the yancha they source is just mind blowing!!
Gongfu Sipdown (1286)!
A temporary sipdown – as I have a cake of this in transit currently from a tea order placed last year. This was my last dragonball from the dragonball sampler I picked up in the summer last year…
The sheng is so rounded and smooth tasting, with notes of creamed honey and fresh Spring flowers. I thought it was nice to finish off #teacember and 2020 in general with some sweeter teas; we needed some sweetness this year! I’m definitely brewing it very strongly this morning, so the astringency isn’t playing around with these later steeps – I need to remember to balance that with shorter steep times when the new cake arrives.