911 Tasting Notes
Since I’m finding that I like tea with not-quite-boiling water, I’m trying to be a bit more careful at work. This time, I stopped the kettle right as the water started to boil, poured the water into my empty cup, then poured the water into my ingenuiTEA. It seems to have helped though I could probably go down temp-wise just a hint more. There is no bitterness to the Darjeeling so that’s good. And actually, as my cup cools this is back to being a smooth but bright, fairly well balanced, tea-tasting tea. Another few seconds before I poured the water over the leaves might have helped calm it more but it’s not necessary for me to enjoy this cup. So yep, water just cooled off from a boil is great for this tea.
I was in the mood for something stout and chewable. Okay, okay, I was in the mood for Thomas Sampson. But alas, I don’t have any and don’t plan to get more until next month. So I grabbed this one, added some sugar and some half and half (whole milk has seemed a little thin for me lately so I picked up some half and half at the store – mmm) and away we went.
Now my hands are shaking just a bit cause I made this a tad strong. Even with some sugar (a decent amount – about a tsp) and half and half, there was a hint of bitterness to this. Not so much bitter from overbrewing, but more like a nutty bitterness. So maybe I made it a little too strong or didn’t use enough additive. And it wasn’t quite the chewable, bake-y delight that is TS. But it had a good flavor, it was very bold, stout and gave me a good caffeine rush so it’ll do.
Ever since teaplz had this as her work tea a day or two ago, I’ve been tempted to torture myself try this one again. I thought I’d try using a little cooler water so I put the water into the pot and let it sit for a moment before putting the leaves in and I left the lid off while brewing.
With the horror that is the second steep of this, I’ve forgotten how much I enjoyed the first steep. Actually, I think this is better than the other time I’ve had it because I can get a hint of buttery, grassy sweetness. There is a little brine-like tingle left on my tongue but it isn’t really salty – more like a salt lick which, if anyone has ever licked one (yes, I have*) have a mineral taste that doesn’t burn like straight salt and is a little… almost sweeter. Or at least the pink ones I used to give my hamster do.
As the tea cools, more of the salt-lick/mineral taste is coming out, almost overpowering the sweet grassy green taste I had at the beginning of the cup. Almost but not quite. But the dry taste it leaves in my mouth is stronger and not that fun. I’m bumping up the rating a little bit because even with that mineral taste, the tea is nice. I’m still going to try a second steep, but I full anticipate burning salty horror.
*For the record, I don’t lick a lot of salt licks. But you know, I was curious.
ETA: Second Steep @ 2:00. The not-brine taste at the end is more tingly but as long as the tea is still pretty hot, it is okay. But the second it starts to cool, I start making faces as I sip.
I’m discovering that there is a difference between teas made at home and made at work. At home, I have my Zojirushi, usually set on 208° and I rarely reboil or even preheat the pot when making something that requires ‘boiling’ water. At work, I use a little quick boil kettle so things that call for boiling are actually made with boiling. I think I prefer teas typically made with water just under the boiling point. The only possible exception to that is Samovar’s Scarlet Sable – the flavors might pop a bit more made with fully boiling water (though I’ve only brewed it at home once to it is possible that other issues were in play).
For this particular tea, just a hair under boiling seems to make the tea feel a little richer and make it where the tea is an under-note to the chocolate. At a full boil, it seems that the tea flavor is just a hair stronger than the chocolate one and there is a little dryness hanging out at the end of the sip. Still a very delightful, grown-up chocolate drink though. Soon I want to try this with sugar and milk to see if that does delicious, decadent things to it.
Pungent and grassy. Probably could have gone lighter on the leaf or shorter on the steep time and it still would have been good (and maybe more universally appealing), but this is remarkably thick feeling and tasting without being bitter or even hinting at astringency so I’m pretty much in love.
Tea bag. Dry, it smells peachy and juicy with a little extra something that is coming from the oolong. Yeah, I know Lupicia says to use boiling water, but I can’t. So I didn’t. Brewed up, the peachy and the floral of the oolong seem more evenly balance with perhaps the floral being a little weightier. Taste-wise, this strikes me more as yellow peach than white. A little bolder in peachy taste. Very yummy peach. Matches well with the floral taste of the oolong to make something that tastes like it came right off the tree in the middle of summer. Mmm.
Trying this without milk to see if that’s what’s killed the taste the last two times I attempted to take it to work in my travel tumbler. And it is, some. The nutty taste is warmer and has more depth but it’s still pretty thin. I remember my first two cups being much better than this has been treating me now. Boo.
Haven’t been able to have near as much tea as I wanted today and now that I have time, for some reason I wanted this. Smells very lemony when dry and more tangerine + lemon when brewed up but the taste is pretty much lemongrass. The edge has been taken off by the osthmanthus and citrus, which are more of a feeling to me tonight than an actual taste. Not a delicate tea but fresh and I’m enjoying the citrus-ness.
Trying this the normal way this time. Wow, this brews up dark and thick and I might not be awake for something this strong without a little milk or something but we’ll see how it goes. The smell is very thick and rich. Smoky but sweet. And the more I smell it, the more I think I can handle it without milk to soften it.
The first sip is a lot milder than I anticipated. Very smooth and the taste just sort of slowly built as I swallowed and afterward. Sweet and smoky seem to seesaw back and forth. I can’t decide which one is more obvious but as it cools the fruity sweet seems to take the front taste position.
The initial taste is very smooth with a hint of sweet some sweet smoky. Not quite campfire smoky but not cigar smoky either. It’s more like a menthol tingle smoky. Finding some Icy Hot after a house fire? I have no clue and I’m going to stop trying now. Anyway, after I swallow, I feel myself exhaling smoky flavor and it fills my mouth. But it doesn’t have a real acrid edge to it or anything. The fruity sweetness takes care of that, I think.
After trying this the traditional way, drinking it now makes me really want to have toast with strawberry jam with it. This is definitely hearty enough to stand up to having with food. I imagine it would do well with milk and sugar too but there is enough sweetness that it doesn’t actually need sugar and milk might be overkill with how silky this feels anyway – or it might be decadent and yummy so I’ll probably still give it a shot!
This is a great morning tea but due to the smoothness of it, I could see it making me happy at any time of day. It’s stout and strong but not mean about it. It’s rather heavy so I think for me it is a great winter tea.
Really want my toast with jam now.