1333 Tasting Notes
I’m giving this one another shot today. It’s not in the pile of teas I’m supposed to be finishing off, I just wanted it, so it’s a semi-sinful indulgence for me.
My first encounter with it was the inevitable disappointment that comes after having had seriously impossibly I’m-not-kidding expectations of it from the start. Second I tried to recreate the cola aspect in a more authentic sort of way by making a strong concentrate of it, putting it in the fridge and then mixing it with ordinary unflavoured carbonated water. This did not go well.
After that I was a bit put off and wondering what to do with all the rest of it.
Today though I’m trying again, to see what I think now that I’m not expecting it to be a miracle in a cup. I have to say I’m still getting a sort of artificial like soapy sort of flavour, but I can ignore that. Underneath is the astringency of the black tea base, which is probably in some way partly my own fault. I wasn’t being very particular about steeping parameters. I can definitely find the cola and a touch of vanilla. The cherry, apart from in the aroma where it’s strong, is still escaping me.
Jillian sent me another couple of bags of this yummy yummy stuff. It seems fitting that I should have one of them this morning just as I stumble out of bed to find the winter olympics ceremony is on tv. I’m not sure if it’s a direct transmission or not. If it is, it must be seriously late in Vancouver… But hey, I turned it on just a few minutes before the danish delegation came in. How’s that for timing, eh? :)
Of course I did mess up the brewing of this. Yes, Angrboda can’t even brew a teabag! It was a minor incident involving me pulling the string off the bag and then managing to poke a whole in the bag with a fork when trying to fish it out of the cup. Oh well, I’m used to having leaves in my cup. Just now this size. And I can probably resteep it, but I’m not sure it would be a good idea under these circumstances.
I was a little worried about whether I would like this less now that it’s not christmas considering how it had initially reminded me of a liquid christmas cookie. I’m glad to report that even with christmas behind us and with a small teabag-mishap, it’s still yummy.
(Oh yeah, btw Jillian, your package arrived yesterday)
I’ve never tried had a green pu-erh before and I’m surprised at how large the leaves are.
Today’s cup isn’t very good for determining anything about colour. It looks a deep yellow, borderline orange, but it might be a bit off.
The aroma is rather sweet with a note of citrus fruits. It smells fresh. Not fresh as in ‘just off the bush’, but fresh as opposed to cloying. Fresh as in something that perks you up a bit. Airy. Not at all like regular pu-erh smells. I wouldn’t even suspect this was a pu-erh if I didn’t know it to be.
The flavour on the other hand completely blindsided me. Based on the aroma, this was NOT what I had expected. I thought I’d be getting something light and slightly sweet maybe with fruity hints. What I got was a strong green tea with some prickly notes on the side of the tongue and upon swallowing. But again, I wouldn’t have guessed on a blind test that this had ever been anywhere near pu-erh. Knowing, however, that it is a pu-erh, I can recognise the aftertaste as such. Here it is much much more pu-erh-y than in ANY of the other parameters.
Nothing But Tea recommends using boiling water, which strikes me as odd considering that this is based on a green tea rather than a black, but maybe the fermentation into pu-erh hardens the leaves to better withstand the higher temperature, I don’t know. I personally thought it best to let the water cool for a spell like I would with any other green tea. The steeping time was also based on NBT’s recommendation.
What, I wonder, is this supposed to taste like? Is it really supposed to be like a strong, badly brewed green tea? Say it ain’t so!
ETA: The wet leaves after steeping smell exactly like whiskas tinned cat food. Now I kind of wish I hadn’t tried smelling those…
Hey, my supermarket have new do-it-yourself check outs! I scanned all my stuff myself and paid and everything. Great fun! It takes remarkably little to entertain me, but that’s probably just because I’m not doing it 7½ hours every day five days a week.
I thought that called for some small amount of celebration, but since I’m on a strict mission to get through the pile of Teas To Be Finished Off, the dearly beloved pai mu tan is currently off limits. Luckily I had this caramel tea which I put in the pile not because it was almost out but more because I had completely forgotten I had it.
A rediscovery. It should do just fine. Using the steep.it site I’ve given it 4½ minutes. The label says 5-6 minutes but I thought 5 last night was a bit rough, so we’re going for a slightly weaker route today. It’s not as rich on the caramel and a little watery, so I’m not sure I like this weaker version better than the slightly rough five minutes steep.
Still though, based on how much I found I enjoyed it last night, although I didn’t post about it, I gave it a small nudge upwards on the rating.
This was without a doubt the worst cup of tea I’ve had in a long long time. It even surpassed Adagio’s white cucumber concoction in terms of vileness. And it probably wasn’t even the tea’s fault.
See, this is a backlog from this afternoon on the way home from work. I’ve got a 45-50 minutes train commute and sometimes I buy some sort of coffee drink to go for the trip. Today though, I was super-sleepy (through every fault of my own) so I thought it would be good with some caffeine on the trip. Coffee does indeed have plenty of caffeine, but cappucinos and cafe lattes also have lots of milk, and milk is not all that good at keeping people awake. So something without milk and with caffeine in it. I thought, “hey, this place has Numi teas! Why not give that a shot?” Of course they only had a smaller selection and not the chocolate pu-erh one, so I picked this one because it sounded nice with a vanilla tea.
Erm yeah. Staying awake. Decaf. NEVERMIND!
So that was the first mistake.
I get a to-go cup of water of a temperature that means business, but with my mitten on it was possible to hold the cup. I steeped and then removed the lid from the cup, so I could drink it and get the benefit of the aroma as well. And this is where is started to go wrong, Steepsterites.
The aroma was extremely fruity and sweetly berry-like. Vanilla was there as a hint and I think the thing that added the sweetness.
The tea itself was pretty weak in flavour, and what flavour that actually was there was largely cardboard-y and rooibos-y. Very much on the rooibos, actually, in spite of the bag wrapper not saying anything about it containing rooibos. In fact nowhere I look does it say anything about it containing rooibos so I can only conclude that it’s not supposed to be there.
There was no vanilla in the flavour at all. Not one bit. As a matter of fact there wasn’t even any black tea in the flavour either. Nothing. Not even a hint. All I could pick up was a watered down plain rooibos, which a) wasn’t what I wanted, b) I don’t even like that much and c) doesn’t exist in this place. In fact you could have blindfolded me and let me taste it and I would have said it was a rooibos and I probably wouldn’t even be
the slightest bit in doubt.
How in the name of all that is sweet and wholesome could this have gone so dreadfully dreadfully wrong? I wasn’t expecting perfection but I thought I’d at least be able to get a mediocre cup of tea. I think I know the answer to this.
I’ve had that happen before. A cardboard cup that stole all the flavour from an otherwise strong and oversteeped teabag. It was like drinking just hot water. I think this phenomenon was at fault here too. It stole most of the flavour and warped what was left of it into the rooibos-y stuff.
I’m not going to give this a rating due it the nature of the taste-thieving cup. Under other circumstances this might actually have been a lovely tea, but right now after having tried it, I still have no clue what it tastes like.
Let this be a lesson for you, Steepsterites. Cardboard to-go cups = Eeeeeeeevil! Beware!
I’m freezing! Also, I’ve followed Bethany’s example and gathered together all the teas that I only have a little left of and therefore needs to be finished off. I figured this was the closest one for getting warm what with all the spices in it.
Usually when I’ve had this I’ve done it the traditional way with Lena’s and Takgoti’s recipe, but I don’t have any milk so I went out on a limb and just brewed it like I would have any other ‘normal’ tea.
It’s been a good while since I’ve had any of this, but I definitely remember that I could have lived without the black pepper. For some reason, when taken plain like this it’s actually a lot smoother. Probably because I’m using less leaf this way, but it works. Pepper is diminished, although I could still cope without the note of it that’s left.
It’s still not something that I’m likely to be stocking up on, though.
Yay, I found the one I’d lost! I had two, brewed one and the other escaped and rolled off into obscurity. I even thought I saw which way it went but I couldn’t find it anywhere.
I figured it would show up eventually and dealt with the loss. Now I’ve found it hiding behind some tins in the cupboard. I don’t understand this because I definitely saw it rolling away. I’m sure I saw both of them rolling away. Now I’m in a funny sort of position where the one I found was actually the one I lost and the one I lost was the one I found.
It came at a perfect time though when I just needed a quick cup, but I have to admit that I’m not really capable of paying too much attention to it beyond ‘caffeine = gooooood’ at this moment.
I experienced a sudden craving. And to my delight (because I had given the last I had away in a swap) I had actually ordered another round of this in my forgotten 52teas order at the beginning of the year.
Lovely. Just a shame I haven’t got any milk. I’ve found that this is rather nice with a bit of milk.
Also, it is steeped to perfection with this awesome tea timer site that James Deville found.
I made a cup of this earlier and then forgot about it, so it’s all lukewarm and dull now.
As usual though, I had to test-taste it before tossing it and for a brief brief moment I thought I had actually managed to spot the peaches that JacquelineM found earlier in a different brand bi luo chun. I was all, “YAY!”
And then I realised that when I rinsed the pot out after the passion fruit from Adagio (unlogged) earlier I hadn’t done it properly and missed the pinch of leaves lodged in the spout. I’m pretty sure that’s where the sudden fruityness came from.
As lovely as this is when it’s warm, it’s rather dull when it’s not. So I think I’ll go make something else. I’ve quite lost the desire for this particular one right now.