1945 Tasting Notes
Sipdown no. 139 of the year 2014.
I just realized that until now, I’ve had no tea or coffee or anything to drink today except water (and a couple of glasses of wine with dinner). No wonder I have a headache. Caffeine withdrawal!
This blend isn’t helpful for caffeine withdrawal, but I am going to have to try to go to sleep soon. The work week is already looking scary and I’ve been staying up too late.
I continue to find this something that was pleasant enough while it lasted but unfortunately not the highest on my current list of preferences for herbals. If someone were to offer it to me I’d drink it, but I have learned enough about my chamomile preferences lately to know that I prefer sweeter chamomile without the intervention of other herbs intended to take away from the sweetness.
Steeping in the gaiwan brings out a bit more flavor, and this one doesn’t have the rather nasty dead plant taste that I’ve had from white peony before, but the flavor is still fairly elusive to me. I get something sort of darjeeling-y from this, but much lighter, like a pastel version of darjeeling.
I have yet to taste a white peony that really knocks my socks off and I’m starting to wonder whether as a genre, it just isn’t the tea for me unless it’s the base for a nicely done flavored white. I’m torn on how to rate this because it’s better than some other white peonies I’ve tried, but on an absolute scale it’s not as flavorful and enjoyable as some other teas I’ve rated in the 70s. So take that into consideration when interpreting the rating.
Sipdown no. 138 of the year 2014.
Woke up with a headache, so I started the day with coffee for the first time in a long time. Just this minor break in routine was enough to derail my tea drinking for the day. I had big plans for getting a number of things close to sipdown, but now they’ll have to wait.
In keeping with the theme of not following routine, I am drinking this now at about 7:30 at night. I have no fear of caffeine tonight because I have a lot of work to do.
This was a really delicious blend, so rich and full and malty. I will miss it.
On another note, last night I finished watching a re-watch of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip’s only season. I was trying to figure out why I get such a feel-good sense from watching Aaron Sorkin’s various series-es [what’s the plural of series?] and I realized that one of the reasons is because even when everything goes wrong for the characters they love their work. Something to think about.
Sipdown no. 137 of the year 2014. Not the only tea I drank today, but I’ve been trying to stay off the internet as much as possible today so I can get a lot of writing done on my day off. I’ve written about eight pages today, as well as revising twelve I’d written earlier to incorporate workshop comments, etc. Pretty good productivity considering yesterday I had doubts I’d get anything done at all. I still have to write the climax and the end but I have them in my head. The title is a problem, still. I like the story, though it’s an experimental in structure and tone and you never know how something like that is going to be received. Oh well, can’t worry about that now. Must finish.
I’ve been sipping this puppy down over the last few nights. I’d forgotten I had it. Then I remembered I had it but couldn’t find it. When I found it, I realized there wasn’t really that much left, nor did I love it, so I should add it to project immediate sipdown.
Then I went to write this note and realized I never wrote about this way back when I originally tried it. Probably because there’s not a lot to say about it.
It’s an herbal spicy chocolate blend that smells like weak chocolate and strong cardamom/ginger before steeping. After steeping I can smell that ersatz coffee chickory smell along with the weak chocolate and now weak cardamom/ginger and maybe some clove.
I don’t get a lot of flavor from it. It’s rather light weight all around. The flavor it does have is mostly chocolate and isn’t horrible, it’s just not enough to excite me or make me really look forward to drinking it. I drank it straight up, though it does have a chai-like profile, because there’s no true tea in it and I’m not moved to go to the trouble of making a stove-top effort for a tea-less concoction.
This sounded so much better than it turned out to taste. Ah well.
It seems I have a sample of this in both a decaf and a non-decaf version, and since it’s still fairly early in the day I thought I’d give the regular version a try and perhaps follow it up this evening with the de-caf just for fun.
In the packet, there’s more peach fragrance than ginger, and a bit of a toasty black tea fragrance underneath. After steeping, I smell mostly a sweet, malty, medium-light bodied tea that’s a really lovely color, almost a ruby red.
The flavor is interesting. The peach is the stronger flavor by far, but I can taste the ginger. The tea is a tad bitter which makes me think I steeped too long and I’ll cut back to three minutes next time, but it’s definitely not occluded by the fruit flavor. I’m intrigued to see how it tastes if it’s steeped for less time and also how the decaf version does.
But I think I kind of have to side with the BF on the thought that peach doesn’t really need ginger, and on balance I prefer a really good single fruit flavored black tea of the peachy variety.
Sipdown no. 136 of the year 2014. Whew. Since I started counting sipdowns I’ve managed to do at least one a day. I even have another one already lined up for tomorrow. I have some individual serving samples I can also use in a pinch, but I’m trying to get some of the bigger containers in a position to sip down on account of that’s where the real clutter problem lies.
This was my second tea of the day, and it turned into a cold tea experience because I spent the morning on my tax information collection project and I got stuck on the phone with the bank and the benefits person at work trying to figure out whether I had a documentation gap. During that time, this became very close to an iced tea.
The good news is that it’s actually quite good cold. I wouldn’t have thought that would be the case, but it is. It’s actually pretty refreshing, and though I wouldn’t ordinarily think of a coconut black as something to drink iced in summer, that idea is now firmly implanted in my mind.
The only downside is that the coolness doesn’t change the missing pie-ness. It’s a tasty coconut flavor, but I don’t get pie. (At first I thought maybe I did, but then I realized it was the macaroon I ate while drinking this. That wasn’t intentional, by the way. We had a big tray of macaroons leftover from Heritage Night at the kids’ school so I grabbed one without really thinking about the connection between it and what I was drinking.)
BTW, the tax info collection project went much smoother than anticipated. In fact, I’m ready to take the whole she-bang over to FedEx/Kinkos, make copies and ship them off to my accountant (who also happens to be my cousin). That means I have a vast stretch of not that many hours left until the kids get home to do other stuff. And tomorrow. Let’s not forget tomorrow, which was the cushion day I took off in case I found huge gaps in my tax records and had to try to get copies of stuff. I might have a day in which I get to pretend I’m actually a writer for a living.What a thought.
Sipdown no. 135 of the year 2014. It wasn’t the only thing I drank today, but it’s the only thing I’m recording because it’s a sipdown.
Today was one of the more brutal work days I’ve had in a while, probably made more so by the fact that I’m planning to take tomorrow and Friday off to work on gathering up my tax info and if I have time after that do some writing without having to snatch 15 minutes here and there. In any case, it was pretty much back to back stuff and I’m exhausted.
That accounts for the non-recording of my teas, and also for the non-reading and liking and commenting of notes. I will try to catch up but I might just have to jump in where I left off, and if so, apologies all around.
In any case, I’ve decided to bump this down just a bit. The more I drank it, the more the honeybush became one of the main flavor components, and it was a sort of a woody, cedar chippy one that distracted me from the cherry/pineapple/cake flavor of the blend.
So while I give it many points for nailing the flavor, I have to mark it down on the overall experience, because although I don’t mind honeybush having a bigger role than rooibos (as in general I prefer its flavor), this one was less of a sweet, mellow flavor base and more of a reedy, woody one.
Sipdown no. 134 of the year 2014.
Not something I’ll buy again unless I get talked into it by children, as there are so many other things I’d prefer to drink than plain red rooibos regardless of brand.
However, if you like plain red rooibos, you might like this. It has a distinct vanilla note, and it doesn’t have that pencil shaving thing going on that some rooibos does.
Since this one got a low rating from me, I decided to bring it to work. I figured it wouldn’t really matter how I steeped it. And I was right. It still has all the weirdness going on with the flavor that I mentioned in my original note, which is a shame because it smells incredibly good in dry form. The flavor isn’t bad, it’s just fairly heavy on the fruit (mostly an apply, orangey flavor—not something I’d expect from the name) and light on the toasted nut. And even lighter on the oolong, which I can’t really taste at all (not surprising given that there’s so much else in this mix).