87 Tasting Notes
Had to reach for this old friend again tonight. I meet the endocrinologist for the first time in the morning, and get my first dose of testosterone (intra-muscular injection, and I’m needle phobic! well, better get over it asap, i’ve got weekly IM injections from now til I’m dead. Worth it though!), so needless to say I’m SUPER anxious.
My heart is beating out of my chest, my hands are shaking so much I had to fill my cup barely halfway to prevent spilling it all over myself. I’m excited to finally be getting what I’ve wanted for so many years, but terrified that it’s going to turn friends and family against me.
Topped up my cup and the shaking is slowly calming down. It’s crazy how emotions can affect you physically, and so dramatically at that!
This is my “emergency kit” tea, the one I keep tucked away in my “emergency kit”, a box with a number of different things that I pull out when I’m having issues with depression, or anxiety.
Had a pretty nasty anxiety attack before bed, but calmed down enough to get into bed. Had some nightmares and woke up in hysterics, which then turned into a full blown panic attack. Running on auto pilot and in one quick motion I leaped out of bed, pressed the button on my kettle, pulled out a pre-filled sachet of tea, and tossed it into a cup, inhaling deeply while the water heated. Poured the hot water, took a sip, and instantly everything that had been on my mind melted away.
Still can’t quite calm down enough to sleep, but at least I can breathe again!
Had a killer craving for popcorn or pringles tonight, and normal genmaicha just didn’t seem toasty enough, and Lapsang/russian caravan wasn’t what I was looking for, so I figured it was a great time to try the pouch of genmai-houjicha I got a couple months ago.
I have to be in a very specific mood to be able to enjoy genmaicha or houjicha. I just have a hard time appreciating them for the lovely things they are!
I’m REALLY impressed with this one! I was expecting a crisper feel to the cup, but found myself swept up in a wonderful butteryness instead! It’s like drinking buttered toast, a bit more body than a normal genmaicha, but something different, that I can’t put my finger on, than a plain houjicha.
I really need to be in this sort of mood more often, so I can enjoy this on a more regular basis, but it really does take a very specific sort of mood for me to be able to enjoy both genmaicha and houjicha, and I feel a bit guilty for it!
I’m weird and prefer my blacks steeped at a lower temperature, for a longer time. Partly because I’m too impatient to wait for my cup to cool enough for me to drink, but also because a lower temperature lets me make a stronger cup with less astringency.
I will admit, I’m not usually one to reach for a straight Assam. I prefer Ceylon, so if I’m wanting a single-source I usually grab a Ceylon, but honestly, most of my straight blacks are blends (Irish Breakfast generally, which is funny since it’s largely an Assam blend, yet I never reach for a straight Assam!) or Lapsang Souchongs.
I got a sample of this from OMGsrsly back when we had our Victoria swap and tea crawl. I’ve been terrible at not going through all my goodies, partly due to not having the best access to my collection/kettle due to renos on the house (specifically my room/the stairs next to my door, blocking my only path into my room), so I’m finally catching up, bit by bit.
The leaf smells a bit malty, and somewhat stronger than the steeped liquor. The liquor is a really lovely deep red, richer in colour than my usual go-to Ceylon from Silk Road. But the liquor itself is actually quite mild. The richness is more of an aftertaste vs a kick in the teeth, which while extremely pleasant, is VERY different than my usual black picks.
I was expecting a bit more “oomph”, going by the scent of the leaf and the colour of the liquor, but I’m pleasantly surprised! It’s extremely smooth, despite the longish steep, rich, comforting, but not so bold that it leaves your mouth feeling dry.
I’ve been munching on banana chips while typing this, and the combination of flavours makes me feel like I’m eating banana bread! So decadent!
I think that after this, I’m going to need to give Assams more of a chance, and let my Ceylon addiction simmer down a bit. This turned out to be nothing like what I was expecting, and I’m pretty darn happy!
Okay, yes, I DEFINITELY need to do a Red Leaf order as soon as I have some spare cash! (ugh, horses in Victoria, why you so expensive?!?!)
Got a very generous sample from the lovely CrowKettle during our tea swap last weekend, but saved it until this weekend when my BFF came home for Easter/her birthday (it’s Monday but since she has to head back to school that afternoon, we had tea and then went out for a group dinner at Red Robin with some of her other friends to celebrate early) so that we could share it and celebrate. So I made us each a latte!
First of all, I have to rave about a nifty little tool that I found deep in the pantry when we were ripping everything apart to get ready for new flooring. I should start off by saying that I’ve had a Bodum frother wand for a while now, but have never loved the foam it creates – the bubbles are big and the foam “flops” way too quickly, making the latte sipping experience kind of blah. But I found another neat tool, also by Bodum, that we have apparently had for a long time (but it was hiding so I didn’t know about it, apparently), and it’s AMAZING! It’s specifically for frothing milk, but it’s a glass caraffe with a black line on it, that you add milk up to that line, put on the lid (that has a plunger and filter mesh similar to a french press, just without the “cup” around the bottom edge, and the mesh seems a bit finer than that of my Bodum french press), pump the heck out of the plunger, pop the lid off, zap it in the microwave for a minute, then take it out, pump again, and it creates this amazingly fine, dense foam. I LOVE it!!! After it’s foamed to the point I want, there’s still enough liquid to make 2 lattes, so I add a dash of sweetener, hit it with the frothing wand to mix it in nicely without killing the foam, and then top off my lattes.
But back to the matcha. I dished out the matcha into my bowl (enough for two lattes), added about 1/3 of the water I’d eventually be using, and whisked away with my little bamboo whisk. I used to just throw the water and matcha into a cup and use the bodum wand, or throw them in a mason jar with the lid on and shake it up, but the bamboo whisk really does create a nicer texture and is worth the extra cost and effort for anyone interested in matcha. I was skeptical, but for someone with texture aversions, it’s really worth the investment/extra minute of time and effort.
every so often I’d add a bit more water, whisk some more, and then added the last bit of water, hit it with the bodum wand (so I didn’t whisk it over the edge of the bowl) and then dished it out between the two cups. My friend added her preferred amount of sweetener (she opted for my vanilla syrup) while I went unsweet, topped it off with the milk and foam, and sat down to enjoy! Now, 24 hours later, my room STILL smells like caramel matcha, and I love it, haha!
This is the smoothest (texturally) matcha I’ve had! I really like that there’s an initial “oh my god CARAMEL!”, then “wow, what a lovely green tea!” followed by a “My breath still tastes like caramel!” haha! Translated: While it’s definitely quite obviously caramel flavoured, it’s not so strong that it completely masks the lovely flavour of the matcha itself.
I’m really eager to do a Red Leaf matcha order as soon as I have the spare cash to do it, because I can see some of the fruity flavours being really good in smoothies, and some of the other richer flavours (including the caramel) being great for curbing my horrible sweet tooth!
Thanks again CrowKettle!!!
I got a 25g sample tin of the loose version from a friend when she went to England last month, along with 2 other tins of Whittards Original and English Breakfast.
Normally not one to reach for a straight assam (usually go for a ceylon or lapsang if I want a straight black, or I’ll go for a straight blend like an irish breakfast), it’s taken me a few days to get around to trying this one, but I’m glad I did!
Another CTC style leaf, I was careful with steeping. I used the “french press” setting on my Breville multi-temp kettle, and used 1tsp instead of my usual 1.5tsp in my giant perfect mug from DAVIDs. I ended up going for a 5 minute first steep because I didn’t hear my timer go off at the 3:30 mark, so expected this to be a bit bitter, but I was pleasantly surprised!
This is a lovely malty cup, with an almost chocolatey undertone. Lighter than the Assam Banaspaty from DAVIDs (the only other straight assam I’ve had), and sweeter. With the Banaspaty I usually add a dash of palm sugar or maple syrup, but the Whittards is perfect on its own.
This lovely English gift has inspired me to look for a Brown Betty style teapot, but I want a rainbow one!!! I really like the shape and curves of the Brown Betty, and they come in so many sizes. So if anyone finds a 6-8 cup rainbow teapot with a similar curvy shape to the traditional Brown Betty, let me know!!!!
A friend just got back from a trip to England, and she brought me back some lovely tea. I got a sample pack of 3 tins with 25g each of Whittards English Breakfast, Assam, and this (Original Blend), A box of peppermint tea bags (a much sweeter peppermint than what I usually get, but lovely all the same), and a novel little set of tea bags with holders in the shape of characturized Royal Family (I believe containing basic black tea, I’m assuming so because I don’t see anything on the package, and I have yet to open it).
Having been “friend zoned” by a longtime love and then informed that another special person in my life is getting married (which came up very soon after she’d professed her love to me), all in the span of less than 12 hours, I’m feeling pretty broken hearted. So I figured I’d try one of my new teas in hopes of picking up the pieces.
As it’s a CTC style loose tea, I only used 1tsp of leaf in my 12ish oz cup, rather than the 1.5tsp I tend to use when it’s a whole leaf tea. I have a Breville multi-temp kettle, and tend to use the slightly cooler “french press” setting for my black teas, rather than rolling boiled water. I find the slightly lower temp brings out more of the sweetness of the leaf, and minimizes the astringency. That, and I can drink it sooner! haha
This really hits the spot. It’s bold, but still light enough to drink straight, the way I like it. The kenyan tea gives it a good robustness, but the Assam smooths it out and the Ceylon brings it all together with a light sweetness.
I did a short steep (about 1m30sec) the first time, worried I might make it too bitter, so I was able to get a second steep of equal length out of the leaf. I got a teeny bit of bitterness so added a pinch of palm sugar, and ohmygoodness, that hit the spot!
This is definitely what the doctor ordered on this drizzly, cold, blah day!
Tomorrow (Valentine’s day) marks the one year anniversary of me owning Java (Ceylon Star). Because I don’t know his actual birthday, I’m going to treat our anniversary as his birthday, so to celebrate, I’m making him a “birthday cake” mash out of a LOT of Birthday Cake rooibos, rolled oats, alfalfa pellets, “fibre max” (a horse feed comprised of beet pulp and soy hull pellets, which are then soaked before feeding to prevent choke), a little bit of sweet COB (molasses coated Corn/Oats/Barley), applesauce, and banana chips.
Happy Anniversary PonyPants! <3