3009 Tasting Notes
Breakfast tea – but only just opened so I am going to pick something else to be my sipdown challenge Earl Grey plus.
The bergamot in this is light and very well-behaved. I dislike bergamot on a Ceylon base – I find most Ceylon a bit lemony and I prefer my bergamot on a base that contrasts with it, as this ones does.
I read through the other notes and I have to agree that I would have pegged this more as a macaron flavor today than cupcake, although I think as it cools it began to lean in the cupcake direction.
Either way, it was a good tea and I enjoyed it!
As expected, the doc thought a biopsy was in order. Results next Monday when I go to get my stitch removed.
Making a second note on this one today to log the SIPDOWN! And I beat the best by date by six weeks! After a long day of driving (total of 4 1/2 hours round trip) to visit family, with the trip out having hard rain the whole way, I decided to unwind with the last of Decaf Paris and some M&Ms.
Tomorrow I have an appointment that is almost certainly going to involve a biopsy, possibly two – sus spot rapidly changing in the area where I had radiation eleven years ago – so tonight I am going to do what I want and eat what I want.
I felt a bit panicked about being out of so many Harney teas – this one, regular Paris, Apricot, Midsummer’s Peach, Decaf Ceylon. I almost rushed outside to tell Ashman WE HAVE TO PLACE AN ORDER IMMEDIATELY!!!! I reeled myself back in and realized I prefer Decaf Muscat to this, I have some decaf Carol left, I still have some Parker’s Blend left which is a great stand in for Paris, I have Celebration which is an apricot blend….so yeh, I’m good for now. I will get at least a few more sipdowns in and then make an order list after really examining what I love.
April Sipdown Prompt – a tea you give to tea newbies
All I have left is the decaf version of this, and to a tea newbie I would probably give the caf version. Also, this is a tea for the person who is coming to have tea and chat and maybe, just maybe get introduced to tea. I did actually use this about two months ago for a tea newbie who is now outfitted with all sorts of tea things.
If someone is truly interested in tea, I first pepper them with questions before their visit. What foods and drinks do they like? Which do they hate? Any allergies? (Pollen allergy folks can react to chamomile and such.) Then I choose a whole tea flight for them. And coffee drinkers get puerh, and that has only failed to be a favorite one time.
But for a casual visit with someone who says they occasionally drink tea and they really don’t want to “get into” tea, Paris is a great choice. It is Harney’s number two selling tea, right behind Hot Cinnamon Spice which has long held sway as number one. That one is too strong for me – I don’t even like Red Hots, but one question I ask tea newbies is whether they like Red Hots, and if they say yes and I happen to have some HCS on hand for the family members who love it, they get that one, too.
Paris is an Earl Grey family tea, with black currant and caramel flavors added. It is smooth and flavorful, and although I drink it plain it does take milk and sugar very well. It has an elegant feel and can even appeal to most people who dislike Earl Grey.
April 29 Prompt – National Sense of Smell Day: drink your most aromatic tea
Several of my teas could be tied with this one for aroma, especially if they were fresh, but this one does happen to be fresh and wow, that aroma packs a beautiful punch!
It knocked my socks off the first time I tried it. Some teas are all about that base (heh heh) but this is definitely all about the flavouring. This is sooo grape-y. Grape candy, grape Dimetapp (do they still make that or is this like gmathis’ Freakies cereal?)
What sets this apart from their Muscat tea, of which I have only had the decaf version, is the addition of sparkling wine flavor. When I have the two teas pretty close together I feel like Muscat is a substandard substitute for this one, but when I have Muscat on its own without having had this one recently, it is superb to me. When this runs out, I will almost certainly be buying some more decaf Muscat for evenings and maybe some for daytime tea.
It is nicely brisk, so I think you could add milk or sugar, especially sugar to amp up the grape candy aspect. I love it just as it is, though.
April Sipdown Prompt – your fanciest tea
I almost saved this one for tomorrow to fulfill “your most aromatic tea” but I actually have one or two equally aromatic and this one definitely feels like the fanciest. A gift from Superanna – of course.
Clouds and drizzle all day yesterday, and clouds, rain, and storms expected today and tonight. I went all out by having this with breakfast and lighting a candle I hoard – Charles Dickens by Paddywax. If a candle can be a good pairing, wow is that one ever perfect to go with this tea.
Smoky Assam is the first ingredient listed. In aroma and taste there is no smoke and no Assam flavor. What there IS, though, is wonderfully fruity oolong that gives you three really good solid steeps. In the steeper, I saw a whole cardamom pod float to the top. There is so much fruit in this that you would think it would take two scoops of the blend to make enough actual tea in the basket, but not so. Golden color shimmers from the lovely oolong base.
I finished my waffles and the bacon I share with Sam and went to pour another cup. About two ounces dribbles out of the pot. I have glugged this 21 ounces down without even realizing how much I was drinking.
Due to the ingredients, I have to stop hoarding it now and drink it. I refuse to commit the crime of letting it fade.
I debated with myself whether to try this tea today. This was the tea that was the catalyst for the swap between beerandbeancurd and myself.
I have tried only a few sheng puerh teas and most of those were not enjoyed. One from Wymm Tea stood out and was declared my favorite and one or two from Crimson Lotus have been very nice, but quite a few have been as fun as trying to drink nail polish remover, and the kids had one they called “murder tea”. So when I said I was jealous of beerandbeancurd’s experience with this tea, it was the experience I was jealous of – the peel myself off the floor tripping on tea experience.
The morning was cool but sunny and then clouds rolled in. Gray. Cozy in the house, or bleak, depending on where your head is. And after my first students had come and gone and then lunch, it hit me that I wanted to go ahead and try this tea. I only had one hour until my next students and the whole time I was setting my gong fu tray in the spare room I was telling myself, “You shouldn’t try this. You don’t have time. This is dumb.” But I did it anyway.
Three Stracciatelli truffles from Lindt because I usually do a little something special with gong fu and if it was murder tea I would need the sweet.
Didn’t rinse. Warmed the teaware and placed leaves in the warm gaiwan. Noted that the stiff, deep green leaves reminded me of the Purple Sencha I just finished from Postcard teas, a tea that turns a truly beautiful shade of purple that I couldn’t capture in a photo. Allowed the leaves to rest in the warm, damp gaiwan.
Sniffed gaiwan lid. JUNIPER AND ALCOHOL. Sniffed gaiwan. Less alcohol scent than lid, so the boozy smell must really rise on the steam. Mostly juniper. Forest. This is promising.
First steep – 30 seconds. Trees. Injured pine that fell in a storm and shattered and filled the air with its scent. Sap everywhere. Juniper. There is as much juniper taste in this as there was juniper aroma in the actual juniper tips tea beerandbeancurd also sent. That tea smelled strongly of juniper but the taste was milder. This is full on juniper.
Second steep – I don’t need the truffles but I am eating them anyway. Half a truffle, melting in my mouth while I mentally count out the next steep. This time 45 seconds. Again, trees. Now the cedar chest with the sweater Ashman never wears but won’t give away and the ten pairs of gloves he bought for just in case children come over and it snows (almost never) and their hands are cold. And the christening gown found in his mom’s house after she died, handmade. Who wore it? Who made it? It must be sixty to eighty years old, or more, might even have been hers. Digging around in the cedar chest to see what is there.
I don’t want to have just 45 more minutes. I want to sit here on the floor, and feel my soul, and look out the window, and sip the tea.
Third steep – boozier. Tongue and cheeks are tingling. Maybe I lost count? So good. Getting giddy. Losing track of time. I turn off the music at 1:59 especially to hear the chimes from the Catholic Church a half mile away and at 2:01 realize I didn’t hear them. I guess I was distracted. Music stays off.
Steep four – seriously, just read beerandbeancurd’s note. It isn’t an exaggeration. The flavors are spot on. Only for me add that there was a fleeting flash of high quality vanilla that came out of nowhere and surprised me.
I peeled myself off the floor. I went to the living room to prepare for the next students. I tried to use the burglar alarm remote to turn on the electric candle in the sconce on the wall and caught myself. Shook my head and grabbed the right remote off the piano. I feel like I downed a beer quickly. I feel like I am BUZZING and need to put forth a lot of effort to appear sober to these kids. I am, no doubt, more animated than usual. Teacher is having an especially extroverted day. (I am NOT an extrovert.)
About twenty minutes into the first lesson, I start to feel more normal. I have never had a tea high this strong. Derk gave me a Ruby 18 white that sent me to peaceful fields for a good couple of hours, so deeply peaceful. This one is giddy, tipsy, dizzy, giggly. But also, I might need a nap.
What a tea, and where can I get more?
Thank you, beerandbeancurd! Wow.
Beerandbeancurd generously sent me this tea! Thank you!
I have had quite a few sticky rice puerh teas but I don’t think I have ever had a sticky rice oolong. Today’s lunch was a big bowl of broccoli with hollandaise sauce, broccoli shared with Sam but not hollandaise.
It took me a few minutes to pick a tea to go with it. Digestive pain woke me at 3 because I drank a ridiculously large malted milkshake after supper, so I was trying to make a healthy and safe choice. I toyed with this one, sniffed the dry tea, felt guilty about depriving Ashman of the chance to try it and put it back, felt the pouch and realized there was enough for one small session for me today and plenty left over to share with him. So here we go.
As expected, leaves expanded mightily. This really really tastes like rice, which I was hoping for since lunch was veggie oriented. Nice pairing. I felt that the rice and oolong flavors were pretty equal but expected steep two to differ wildly with rice flavor subdued.
Not so, I think both flavors were overall the same in steeps two and three.
The oolong is not terribly roasty but also not super green and floral. A little nutty. I think it is a good choice to blend with the rice flavor, which I was surprised to find out years ago is an herb that just…smells exactly like cooked rice.
Thank you, beerandbeancurd!
This article tells the name of the herb and how they use it in puerh!
Breakfast tea! Opened my last pouch unless I dig around and find another. Served with a Dutch Baby because we found fresh strawberries yesterday and I had to use up my grocery store ones fast. Made strawberry syrup yesterday and then chopped some for topping the Dutch Baby today.
This is my absolute favorite strawberry tea from Lupicia with Merci Mille Fois running a close second, but MMF is as peachy as it is strawberry. This one healed my broken heart after the loss of Anna’s Blend from Teagschwendner.
I have a loooot of this tea and need to drink it because it is past the best by date. It is still so good, though. Maybe it is one of those oolongs that improves with age. Between getting it as a gift from Superanna who gave me some, tried it and wanted some of her own and ordered more, and then being gifted a large amount from Kawaii that I shared around, we have had a lot of this tea!
I almost made the milk oolong that beerandbeancurd sent but I want to try that one hot first, and this was served with “lunch” outside as Ashman works away on the garden preparations. Lunch was cheese and crackers served with Bonne Maman Cherry Preserves.
The cheeses were a new-to-us Gouda called Summer Fields, mozzarella, extra sharp cheddar, and (drum roll) the bread cheese that gmathis told me about! We finally found some and chose the bacon variety.
This was flash chilled in the Revolution tea shaker. Four batches total were had. So smooth up front with a bitter hint at the back of the swallow.
The three big jasmine vines have burst into bloom so I need to come up with another little plate of somethings and bring out a pot of hot jasmine tea before our caffeine cut off at 3.
It is so blasted hot. I have been working outside, watering tomatoes from the rain barrels, filling bird baths, hanging out clothes, etc. I absolutely could not bear the thought of lunch on the patio but then I came in and cooled off and decided that a cold salad and cold tea would be good out there after all. Must eat outside all we can before the mosquitoes show up in droves.
Last year, Verdant tea had a blog post and some emails about making flash steeped tea. I usually drink my cold tea (other than cold puerh) sweetened but I loved making a flash chilled shaker of really good leaf and drinking it plain. I decided that was the way to say goodbye to this elderly oolong I found at the bottom of a box. Best by date was 2019.
It was excellent. Nice foam from the shaking comes from natural saponins in the tea. The clear is clear and clean and beautiful, just looking at it is refreshing. Aroma is very floral and complex, taste is even more complex. Floral, nutty, musky seaweed, sweetness, then a little toasty – all swirl around in layers. We have made two big steeps so far and will possibly try another, but because of how we are drinking it we are using a bit more water than gong fu but less than Western steeping.
Age hasn’t hurt this tea at all. Good stuff.