911 Tasting Notes
My last of this tea and I’m impatient for the water to cool so I’m using the opportunity to try this at a higher temperature. It seemed like a good tea for after the flavorful pasta that was lunch. The higher temperature brings out more of the lapsang souchong and makes the berry slide a bit into the background to where it is a strong note of sweetness instead of an overly berry note. I think I prefer it at this temperature, actually. Really quite nice. Still not quite where I need to make a purchase specifically for this tea, but if I’d toss it in my cart if there were other things I’d be getting.
Tweaking parameters to see about getting back to the stronger caramel flavor. Water from the Zojirushi at 208° into an empty pot, then poured in the leaf, left the lid off for most of the brew (honestly I just wandered away and forgot). Decanted, let it cool for a few minutes while I made the husband a big mug of PG Tips.
Now I’m sipping on it and it’s heavy and silky so I’m thinking this is good. I’m barely into the cup at all and getting burnt sugar. The smoky flavor is just a hint without the edge I sometimes get from it when brewed stronger.
Okay, half way through the cup now and this tastes like a silkier, slightly heavier version of the Lupicia’s English Caramel from yesterday. And the more I sip, the stronger the caramel taste becomes and the more in turns into a caramel chew.
The last third of the cup is filled with sweet caramel. So sweet and smooth and just awesome. It’s like a thin caramel sauce – silky, heavy, sweet, rich, sweet, caramel. I pretty much gulp the last third of my cup down because it is so delicious.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.
I was in the mood for a green, but an energetic tasting green or, since I was having trouble finding that, something new. And this is new! I can’t believe I haven’t tried this yet – teaplz sent it to me a bit ago but it got hidden behind other things and was only recently rediscovered.
Not overly familiar with a variety of Gunpowder teas but the tea smells salty, so I have a little fear. But on my first sip, I’m really nicely surprised. Yes, there is a bit of tingly salt lick taste at the very back but the overall is remarkably sweet. There’s a bit of smoky/toasty taste to it – it reminds me a bit of a boring genmaicha (not my addictive Ryokucha from Samovar, mind you) but a little more… grown up or mature. After Andrews & Dunham’s Caravan, Samovar’s Russian blend and a variety of Lapsang Souchong teas, I don’t know if I would really define this as truly smoky. Just roasty with an edge. Darkly toasted bread, perhaps. Sprinkled with grass sugar (work with me here) and then chased with a light touch from a salt lick.
So yeah, great cup! Very drinkable and enjoyable. A good green that is sturdy, not delicate. I could totally see myself ordering a couple of ounces of this (if only Adagio actually sold teas in 2oz containers…).
ETA: So I tried a second steep and not all that great. Not horrid but a bit too salt-lick for me. Pretty much the same experience I had with the non-horrific second steep of Rishi’s Jade Fire. There is a hint of that initial sweetness on the very first part of the sip but then it just turns into a big ole liquid salt block. First steep is a keeper, second steep is not worth the water. Dropping the score 1 point cause the second steep makes me grumpy.
Tea bag version. Smells really good. Very caramel-y and rich smelling. I poured the water into my cup and let it sit for however long it took me to refill the kettle and take the cup to my desk, then I put the bag in the cooled water. Not sure on the exact temperature so I’m guessing. I did realize though that I probably need to descale my electric kettle here at work. Yuck.
Anyway, decreasing the steep time and temp makes the tea less biting in this. It’s more of an accent on the caramel. It’s not quite caramel chew but close – more like unsweetened caramel chew blended 50/50 with tea. There is a burnt caramel aftertaste that is a little bitter but in a nice way. I could see this easily being a caramel and tea flavored chew.
Overall very enjoyable and supereasy with the whole tea bag thing – it works out very nicely for work (though every time I say ‘tea bag’ I think not so tea-related things… I blame my husband’s old fraternity). I might have to get more Lupicia bagged teas (ah, much better) for a work stash.
ETA: Second steep at 5:00 and it’s pretty light. The taste is still consistent with the first steep but it is much lighter in color and flavor. I was tempted to do it another minute but I’d rather have it light than bitter. But the first steep was really quite nice so I’ve upped the rating a bit. At a lower temp and shorter steep time, this is a tea I’d buy again.
Little mixed on this tea this morning. Used sugar and half and half. It had a nice taste to it with some cardboard-y texture to it but I was wanting it a little thicker – it’s fairly thin bodied even though most other teas that share similar tastes seem to be thicker bodied. The vanilla wasn’t so much vanilla as a vanilla bean musky sweet note. It wasn’t overly complex but it was nice. I just wish it would have been a little thicker and that decreased my enjoyment this morning. Apparently I wanted a chewy tea and this one wasn’t.
Mmm. Smells floral and almost lemony. Tastes rich and chewy and buttery. Today this is reminding me of some pouchongs I’ve had. Solid and thick and rich but not heavy. There’s a good, interesting flavor to this tea but it is also very drinkable. For me it seems to straddle the line between a good everyday tea and a more special occasion tea, ultimate tipping over to the everyday tea side.
I was feeling a little moody this morning when I selected this tea, so I thought I would have it with milk and sugar… which I don’t typically do with Darjeelings but I was feeling the need and I had given it to the husband that way once (when I was too sleepy to realize that I had grabbed Darjeeling and not his breakfast tea) and he enjoyed it so I figured it couldn’t be too bad.
It wasn’t. It was actually pretty good. Insanely nutty. Nuttier than I’ve ever noticed when having it straight. Perhaps because the half and half toned down the astringency, which I could feel poking out even with the not insubstantial amount of additives I put in. It wasn’t quite sweet enough to be a pecan nutty but it was a much stronger nutty taste than a walnut and after that I’ve pretty much exhausted my nut knowledge so I’m stuck with just ‘very nutty’. There was still some tartness to it – not really bitter but a tart, astringent, mouth-coating something – even with the milk and sugar, so I’m actually really happy with it.
I have enough tea for one, maybe two more mornings and I’m pretty sure I’ll be adding milk and sugar to it those remaining days.
I wanted something more to drink tonight but it is pretty late so it needed to be decaf. Fortunately, I’ve managed to amass quite a collection of herbal samples! This is my last of this one and while I’m pretty sure I won’t reorder, I have really enjoyed a full-on rooibos/honeybush base that doesn’t taste sour or off or just plain ole nasty. I don’t know if that speaks to the quality of rooibos that Samovar uses or their stellar blending ability (though perhaps both).
This is definitely woody but there is some nice spice and warmth to this that keeps it from being a flat, boring wood taste. Now that I’ve finally gotten used to the fact that this is rooibos but not evil, I seem to give different spices each time I take a sip. Ginger, cinnamon and cloves all pop up at the front of sips and I’m getting something almost citrusy at the end.
I don’t think I’ll ever be a huge fan of anything with this much rooibos but then I think it’s pretty surprising that I like this one as much as I do.
I’m down to one more cup of leaves after this one. I kind of wish I had more even though I would prefer a different berry flavor. But at the same time, I don’t think I actually want to buy any more. I need a company to offer something like this but maybe with strawberry or another berry and to also have lots of other teas I love so that I can throw this one in an order. Because it is worth being added to an order, but not quite worth making an order. If that makes sense.
Anyway, could have brewed it a little longer but I didn’t and it is still nice. Very fruity but with a nice smoky note in the background. I like this one because it is a smoky tea, but it is sweet and soft at the same time. Hmm, I wonder what would happen if I brewed Samovar’s Russian Breakfast blend the way I brew this one… That could be interesting.