300 Tasting Notes
I have this from a gift set and had no plans for it, until today when I woke up feeling queasy and nothing sounded good to drink, except this. Its the only rooibos in the house and has ginger to boot. I tried this only once over the summer, decided it lacked body and moved on.
Yesterday when I was sampling someone commented that the didn’t like chai because it tastes like medicine. They didn’t try the sample, but the comment befuddled me, until this morning. I kinda get some sort of medicine from this, maybe honey and lemon cough drops? Ricola? Heh, I could see blending this with Swiss Vervaine Melange for a Ricola inspired tea and I’m not sure if its genius or disgusting.
Anywho, its fine that it reminds me a little of medicine, as that’s what I need right now. Before I started logging this I was reading about one of 52 Tea’s Lemon and Rooibos blends and I started tasting lemon in the cup, like really sweet lemon (it was just after taking a bite of pb&j. But yeah, definitely taste the lemongrass.
So in short, I am grateful for this tea this morning, but its nothing I would buy or pick off the tea wall as a free beverage at work. I will probably blend this with Maharaja Chai Oolong and Taj Masala Black at home. And I will probably blend this with Swiss Vervaine at work today or tomorrow and see what my cohorts reactions are (they always make odd dessert blends for others to evaluate, I just bring in higher quality straight tea for them to try).
This is such a well balanced cup, I get a bit of sweet cocoa from the Keemun, there’s a winey buzz from the Darjeeling, but mostly I get the high cider note from the Ceylon that unites the two. I don’t know where I get this cider Ceylon association, but I just finished my second steep and it was like a mulled cider, with just a bit of spice at the end. Going for a third! (Edit: didn’t translate well into a third, or a fourth, :shrug:)
I’m just enjoying my first steep of this and will edit note over several infusions today, but I just wanted to say how impressed I am with this. The first sip is light and sweet and has a sparkling mineral quality. There is also something smooth and savory going on, but its hard to pin point. I feel like I’m sipping on a glass of chardonnay, except I don’t think I like chardonnay or that this tastes anything like it, its more of an experience. Definitely silky, definitely something I could drink everyday. Wish I was sharing this with others. Ooo was that a hint of clove?
Second steep, much stronger and much more like what I’ve tried of pu-erh, which is very little. Mmm leather. I’ve been trying to discern other notes, but its all leather and that’s okay. It is also noticeably dryer than the first steep, but I tend not to like second steeps as much as first and all that come after (with the recent exception of Leadenhall). Brewed leaves did have that sweet, sweaty horse smell btw. Ah tiny bit of caramel and wood at the bottom of the cup.
Mmm getting the spice on the tongue and woodsy scent in the cup now. Something is reminding me of sandalwood and amber? Yes it is a little musty, but I’m also tasting mint and… lilac? Love the complexity.
Didn’t care much for the fourth or fifth steep last night, they were more barnyard and winey. Husband wanted a British blend after dinner, so I switched to that. I did a quick rinse and a bit longer steep this morning and it was quite nice, back to light and mineral with subtle undertones of everything else, wood, wine and leather. May try a few more this afternoon, but so far first and third were my favorites.
This smells like hot cider… Why does this smell like hot cider? It’s not just the cup either, the wet leaves in the tea maker smell uncannily like apple cider. Husband made a face and says it tastes floral, not so much but it had a sharpness early on that mellowed in the cup. It’s growing on me… Second steep with a quarter teaspoon of rock sugar, removes the one note I dislike and replaces it with light sweetness and it still smells of cider. I like this… it’s a Ceylon… and an Assam… and a Breakfast Tea… and I like it, my goodness what is going on with the world?
Drinking this and Leadenhall (an Assam & Ceylon) side by side and at first I definitely preferred this, smoother, less brisk, drinking back and forth definitely brings out the spice. I knew the husband would like this one better because of the Yunnan, even if he didn’t know. I insisted on adding a sample to our order and had to coerce him into trying a sip of each tonight (he’s so resistant to being educated). I suppose he just wants to enjoy a cuppa, which I understand and respect, just not quite enough to get him to play a guessing game first. Anywho it did end up being his preference of the two and he asked for a second steep, this time with milk and sugar. It’s good, but there’s something in the Leadenhall that I like.
I don’t believe I have tried this on its own since the first time I went through the tea wall at work. Normally I either pair this with Spice of Life or Black Dragon Pearls, though I also have an “oops blend” of Taj Masala. Anywho I am trying this today by itself with no additives, because I want to make room in my tins and I feel like reviewing something but brewing without ceremony (which rules out everything in my new Verdant order that arrived this morning and am omgs dying to get into but feel like I need people to share with!).
So three teaspoons in the perfect tea maker with 16 oz of water at 195F for three minutes yields a surprisingly rich, complex and sweet cup. I normally take my chai with honey or rock sugar but my gods this is really good on its own. I don’t necessarily taste the oolong here but the cinnamon, nutmeg and clove balance each other really well. I get the pepper and a hint of cardamom (but I think I scooped quite a few pods out of the top of the tin when I was making a custom blend). So yes very pleased, wish I had drank more of this on its own over the winter, but oh well. Edit: I got three very flavorful infusions out of this, did not attempt a fourth but I imagine quite a bit of flavor would still translate if not as strongly.
This tea is really wonderful for pairing my two favorite blends are with Teavana’s White Ayurvedic Chai and their Maharaja Chai Oolong. On its own it feels watered down, I feel it lacks body. Currently I am drinking it with a Coconut Chai Green Tea by Zhena’s Gypsy Tea (which is also on the lighter side and has promise for pairing). Their nice together for a cool spring after dinner tea, I’m looking for creative ways to use up my spice teas as most will be a year old when I want to drink them again in the fall. I didn’t sweeten this blend though I find Spice of Life usually benefits from a teaspoon of rock sugar. Anywho going to watch Immortals with the husband as the boy has fallen asleep against my arm.
This smells and tastes very familiar, though I’m pretty sure I’ve had nothing quite like it. I actually have never had a green spice tea. White, oolong, black, mate and rooibos sure, but not green. I think they probably work better in this coconut and ginger context, its light a zesty and spring like and I think some citrus would compliment this very well, perhaps I shall steep with some Wild Orange and maybe experiment with the packet of Fruta Bomba Green I got in a gift set (it has mango). I can’t see myself drinking many "chai"s until fall, the closest thing I drank last summer was Cha Yen Thai, so good iced.
But anywho, back to this tea, its quite perfumey and there’s something almost medicinal about it, but not in a bad way it’s quite light. Cardamon is with out a doubt the most predominant spice. I don’t necessary “taste” the coconut, but I feel the creaminess it lends. The ginger is nice and reminds me of the green bottles of organic Ginger Brew I used to love. As for the green tea base :shrug: doesn’t really come through, so can’t tell if it’s quality. I picked this up from the grocery store on a whim and because it had a nice tin. No regrets, its enjoyable, but I won’t rate as no one has before and that would skew things majorly, plus I’m not really in much of a ratings mood. But thanks to logging I have some fun plans for these bags, will post the Fruta Bomba blend when I make it.
I’ve been playing around with the steeping time and proportions of this tea in the last three days, to find something to write about, today has the best results, but I think I shall try two minutes as well. This cup started off unexpectedly sweet, followed by some veg, then some rocky acidity (like tasting the soil), finished with nuttiness (though not as chestnut as I remember it being over the summer). Deeper in the cup there is indeed a bit of butterynes which is a lovely surprise, oh the roof of my mouth… I love this feeling. I have not gotten a good second steep from this and have not attempted a third, but will keep working with it, as I have plenty in my Forbidden Kingdom Collection and access as work.
Yesterday I finally put my two weeks notice in at work, though it may be three weeks as my manager asked as she left for evening if it was okay that she had put me on the next schedule, I was just like well… if you need me… she said she may adjust it. I will miss the free tea, the discount and my co-workers. I will not miss trying to push tea by the pound in over priced tins and feeling pressured to stalk my guests, thank you very much! She said I was welcome to come back in the fall, um no thanks, but maybe, just maybe for the holidays.
Back logging from yesterday when I had a horrible migraine, that kept me in bed at my parents house, while they entertained my son, most of the day. When the husband came and rescue us, we came home and I brewed this. I have two supplies of this. One in the long green tin pictured above that I got on sale 75% off (all my customers bought one too because hello $7! The other is in the Forbidden Kingdom Collection, also on sale, which is the one I chose to open. There was .64 ounces in the tiny foil bag that I thought could not possibly pour into the small square tin. It is actually a lot of tea as some of the leaves are over 3 inches long.
I really did forget just how large they were, we tried it once at work over the summer when we had first gotten them in. Our barista made the brewing seem complicated and let them sit too long waiting for the leaves to dance. It didn’t result in a bitter brew, just a very bland one. But this tea is meant to be brewed in glass and is perfect in my glass infuser mug. I simply preheated, then poured the water against the wall of the mug and voila! Beautiful phoenix dancing! Though honestly it reminds me more of mermaids as the long green leaves move like kelp but either way, beautiful.
I steeped for 1 min, though next time I’ll try it for 2 as the reviewer above mentioned fruit notes I didn’t get. What I did get was sweet, very very sweet, only green tea I’ve had that was possibly sweeter was Fuji served at NoodleCat which I need to go back to both for the noodles and to get the name of the woman who locally supplies their tea. But yes, very sweet, but not much else going on, sure the brewed leaves smell vegetal, but there’s not a hint of it in the brewed cup. Subsequent steeps were mild as well. Still this was lovely to watch brew and to sip on and well worth the price.