911 Tasting Notes
I was just given a shock by running water. Sigh. Today has just been one of those days. I deserve an early tea break.
Takgoti was lovely enough to send this to me so I’m very excited I get to try it because I? Was totally not on the ball and ordered no Series 4. The dry leaf smells lovely – earthy but fresh. The leaves are pretty cute, too – short and brown but with fuzzy gold bits popping through everywhere. I kind of want to coo at them. (Please note, it is only just past noon but it has been a long day.)
The color of the tea matches the dark parts of my desk which the office supply place says is a cherry finish but it’s not really because if it was, part of it wouldn’t have peeled up when I got tape stuck to it. But anyway, the tea matches my desk nicely (though I imagine that it would react differently to tape). Oh and the smell is so nice. Rich and fuzzy and stout and sweet like figs and brown sugar.
Wow this tastes good. Sweet with a little coffee-like edge of sort-of-acidity. Not so much that it isn’t smooth (because it is), but just enough to make it energetic. It’s not quite chewy but definitely closer to chewy than it is to light-bodied thinness. I could see perhaps putting a splash of milk in it to make even richer but it’s sweet enough with the raisin/fig/brown sugar taste that I think adding sugar would be overkill (that’s not to say I still won’t give it a shot though).
This is a good tea for me today. Bracing enough to help me make it through the rest of the day but with an edge of sweetness to show that it is a nice tea and really just doing what is best for me by standing me up, dusting me off and sending me back into the fray. Good kitty.
ETA: 2nd steep @ 5mins. Oooh, smooth. The tiger is calm and purring as he sits beside me. Lovely. Very similar flavor as the first steep but without the not-quite-acidic edge to it.
The bergamot is fresh and juicy – it made my tastebuds do a little happy dance. Oddly enough, about half way through my mug it started reminded me of a chocolate orange. Not at all a bad thing but certainly unexpected. Added a little sugar and milk and this is a super EG breakfast tea. Mmm.
Okay, trying more Gunpowder… kind of. I used the whole sample even though I could have probably split it up between two cups. But I’m on a mission to go through some small tea amounts so really, I couldn’t have split this up. At all.
Smells sweet and wintergreen-y. I know it says to use boiling water, but no. Brewing at 175° I can smell the mint whoosh around so I’m just going to do the steep time on the longer end of the suggested range.
Okay, I’m trying to think of something to say about this and… I’ve got very little. It’s mint. With a little wet ash. And the more it cools, the less pleasant this experience is becoming. The mint tingle is nice but I think steeping the Gunpowder for 4 minutes in this kills it for me. Ick.
I’ve had the rest of this sample just sitting around and dangit! I need to get rid of some of my drips and drabs again (still). So off we go!
Second verse, pretty much same as the first. I kind of love Adagio’s Gunpowder but haven’t really found another one I’d consider buying in large(ish) quantity. This one is definitely smokier than Adagios. It’s making me think of wet cigarette ash. It’s a bit unpleasant at the beginning but I’m getting used to it. But yeah, not for me. I’m actually dropping the rating a bit because I’ve had a squidge more experience with Gunpowders now. Go me.
Today has not started out all that awesomely. Had issues getting up, kitties decided that the light timer in the bedroom didn’t really need to come on, ended up running late and then I went into the kitchen to make tea before I was (finally!) out the door and oh no! The Zojirushi was not plugged in! Augh! Either I forgot to plug it back in after refilling it last night or one of the cats had gotten on the counter and managed to unplug it. Either way, water for tea was not ready. So I boiled some. Which meant I was really running late but hey, I can’t be without tea.
I decided to try this one with a little sugar and milk since I haven’t yet. I used a teaspoon-ish of sugar and maybe a teaspoon and a half of milk for my 12oz. Something like that. And OMG, why didn’t I do this sooner? So good. Have you ever taken frozen strawberries, sprinkled them with sugar, poured a little milk over them and then eaten them with a spoon? That’s what this tea was like. But instead of regular strawberry, this was a tea strawberry. Tea-berry. Straw-tea? Strawbetea? Strea?
Anyway, it was a perfect blend of tea and strawberry dropped into a bowl, sprinkled with sugar, splashed with milk… and served at boiling. Okay, so not exactly like frozen strawberries with sugar and milk but that’s what it made me think of and it was so good. Fresh and tart but still sweet and dessert-y. The fresh berry taste was still there and kept this from being overwhelmingly sweet but the sugar and milk (okay, half and half) added a great dessert quality to the drink.
The tea didn’t make me show up to work any earlier or make traffic bend to my will or anything but I sure was in a better mood while dealing with all that and I was smiling when I showed up late to work. So go tea!
I really wanted some of this last night but had to delay. But now, I am only limited by what I have in my pantry! Which, sadly, is just the last cup of leaves. I have really enjoyed having this one around. Sweet, grassy, thick with zero astringency no matter how pungent I make it. Really a delicious cup.
I’ve had the black tea version of this and really enjoyed it. But this is the rooibos version. [insert dramatic music here] I’m a little nervous but mostly intrigued because the dry leaf smells awesome. Sort of perfume-y but in a good, vibrant but soft citrus-y way that makes me want to keep sniffing. It’s a little spicy, like a citrus-floral pepper. I can’t stop sniffing this. Every so often I get a hint of warm woody (but not sour) rooibos so I have hopes that this will be another rooibos that my brain allows me to enjoy.
Post-brewing, the citrus smell has turned into almost a feeling – a fresh tingle as I inhale over the cup. There is a little smell of woody rooibos, but not sour and it’s very mild and seems to blend with the spice smell/feel of the tea.
Sipping, this is pretty gentle. I made this a little thin on the leaf by accident so that might be some of it, but I think for the most part, it is just a gentle tea. Soft and relaxing. Citrus-y and light with a clean and woody taste seeming to anchor the light floral citrus. I’m not really tasting much of any spice just floral, almost perfume-y, citrus and light wood. The wood taste is actually quite nice – like smelling a board of pine that’s clean and sanded smooth – but not recently because it isn’t strong at all but maybe a few weeks ago. And since then it has been sitting in a cold shed outside, close to nature but all cleaned up. Or maybe I’m just projecting childhood memories of how my dad’s workshop would smell in winter when it was too cold to be out there even with the kerosene heater on. Like woodwork happened there once and would again. But getting back to the tea…
The flavors overall are very soft but not delicate. And even though it is light and floral and citrus-y, it manages to be a warm, cuddly tea – partially because of how the flavors combine and I think also partially because of the rooibos woody base. I don’t think this tea is for everyone – I imagine quite a few people would feel like they were drinking perfume. But I kind of like it. It’s basically a soft, floral Earl Grey but not the typical Lady Grey take on a floral EG.
My last sip was forgotten in my cup for a bit so it got pretty cool. I think that’s the reason why it was 90% rooibos. So I like this tea better warm when the flavors really show up and the rooibos is in the background, but even that last sip was pretty good. Noticeably rooibos with hints of floral citrus instead of the other way around. I think if the whole cup has tasted that way, it would have been too rooibos-y for me to enjoy but as it was, I quite like it.
::gasp:: Another rooibos I like! This has to be a sign of the Apocalypse.
Still recovering from yesterday’s migraine so while I have Maeda-en’s Sen-Cha Fukamushi Reserve sitting on my counter, crying out to be made, I need something softer. So I made a big cup of this up.
Making it up in a cup this large (and with an in cup filter, not in my tea pot) seems to have made the taste a tad murky. But it’s not bad at all. My cup got emptied very quickly so I’m not going to complain. Well, not about the taste or drinkability. Can I just take a moment to complain about the leaves?
There are stems in my leaves. Huge, two or three inch stems. And broken leaves. And they all look unshiny and unhappy. The leaves disappoint me each time I see them. But, the taste that comes out of those leaves? Pretty good. Very drinkable.
Overall, not a fancy tea but a good daily type tea. Shines a little more in a smaller cup.
Trying this again with sugar and milk just to see what happens. It’s a bit better – I’m getting spices and mint and richness, but I’m also getting a bit of a waxy white chocolate taste from before. Much less than the first (unadulterated) try though so that’s good and I can just about ignore it. It is a bit chai-like but the pu-erh adds something a little different that I haven’t gotten from a chai before (I haven’t busted out my Golden Moon pu-erh chai sample yet… maybe I’ll do that today).
The taste has more dimension now than it did with no additives so I’m not so ambivalent about it but I’m not totally in love with it or anything, in spite of the change. But I can now see the attraction it might have for other folks – earthy and rich in a pu-erh hay sort of way, plus spices and a little whoosh of mint. I’m upping my rating a tiny bit but it’s nothing I’m going to miss once it has left my pantry.
I’ll be honest. I’ve been avoiding this tea. Why? Because it is awesome. No really. I just don’t have a lot of this tea and it is just gorgeous, so I’ve tried to save it for when I can really appreciate it. Soft and earthy, it’s on the delicate side for a Yunnan. But it’s got such a great flavor. Sweet potato and brown sugar and fruit and dark honey-ish tastes swirl around on top of the gently earthy Yunnan base note. This is a tea that I have to make sure I have time to taste properly because there is so much wondefulness going on that I don’t want to miss it. I just want to sip it and stare at the wall, appreciating the flavors.