545 Tasting Notes
Backlogging. Saturday afternoon. (The backlogging has been held up for not wanting to go to the kitchen and fetch this tea so I could enter it.)
Earth Fare (our regional, less-pricey, and better Whole Foods-type store) carries a small section of store brand bagged teas. Something like a black tea/English breakfast, Earl Grey, green tea, mint green tea, rooibos, faux-Sleepytime blend, and a couple of herbal blends. They were having a Buy One, Get One sale around the time I was last low on bagged teas/herbals, which I like to drink right before bed, so I picked up two of their herbal blends to try. This was one of them.
I have had a bag of the Red Wellness before and I had thought I’d entered it into Steepster and tealogged it. I remember that bag as being just minty, hence not having have another bad since then. I like minty teas but they are not something I’d reach for unless specifically wanting one.
This past Saturday afternoon, my tummy was a bit unsettled and I was wishing I had a minty green tea on hand when I remember this being purely minty and decided to give it a go. The tea is prolly lucky that I didn’t tealog it last time as I had a better experience with it this time.
The teabag smelled very pepperminty and the tea smelled less so. I do not remember the color for sure, but I am thinking lighter brown. At first I thought I tasted only minty again, which would have suited my purpose fine that day. As I continued to sip, I realized that mint was more muted than I remembered and thought I could taste a slight woodiness of the rooibos muting the mint. But I do not think I’d have drank this and thought rooibos, had I not known it was in there and been looking for it. I also found that, cooled slightly, I could taste the bit of the ginger mid to end sip. I think this contributed to my memory of this tea being strongly and only peppermint. The ginger had a powdered ginger quality.
I liked this tea better than I remember and will likely reach for it again sooner. I also think plain rooibos, mint, and ginger in some form might make a nice blend for those that make their own blends out of the basics at home.
I’m rating this tea a 53 (in the middle of decent, 50-60). It was enjoyable, but I’m not sure I’d ever crave it and go specifically to it. It’s more of a see-it-in-the-cupboard-and-decide-to-drink-it tea or a I-want-something-minty tea. It’s also bagged (and bagged teas, even really good ones, tend not to go much higher than around 60 in my ratings).
My Canton Tea Co Gold Award sampler arrived on Thursday so Friday morning I opened on the sole black tea to try. The Bai Lin Gong Fu has twisty, red-gold leaves and a strong, distinct scent. After reading the tealogs on it, I can see how others can pick out tomato in it. I steeped two teaspoons for two minutes at 176° F as recommended. The color of the resulting tea was very light for a black. The tea was weak, almost watery, but I could tell it would be a delightful tea when brewed stronger. Either I needed to use more leaf (the wiry leaves didn’t fill the space of the teaspoon well, which is why I suspect two were recommended) or steep longer.
2nd steep: 3 min.
I didn’t think I would get a drinkable second steep. I increased the steep time by a whole minute and fully expected to steep it longer once I checked and the tea was barely colored. Surprisingly, when I checked, the tea was much darker than I expected. I drank and this was what the first steep should have been, maybe a little over steeped even. Fuller, complexer, and definitely caramelly, this steep was meeting the expectations I had for this tea. It is also very different from the other plain black teas I’ve had so far.
3rd steep: 5 min.
Since the second steep was so dark, I thought I might as well try for a third, even if it ended up going down the sink. At first sip, I thought it would but as it cooled, I found it had enough flavor to be drinkable and enjoyed.
I think more leaf and different steep times will yield more even cups next time.
I am rating this tea a 85 (right in the middle of my great range, 80-90).
Backlogging. Tuesday morning.
I had a cup of plain black tea that morning which I did not resteep. I remembered which one it was until right after I did my tealog for the cold brew Wild Cherry Sencha and went to tealog it. I hadn’t written them down because I only had four teas to backlog and the last two I drank yesterday and today. But I’m fairly sure it was this Ceylon because I don’t remember it being any of the other blacks I regularly rotate through in the mornings.
Majorly backlogging. Last Saturday, same day as the previous tealog.
So I cold brewed this tea for 24 hours, took out the tea, and added more water to the same leaves. After another 24 hours, the tea was still very light so I left it for another day or two, keeping an eye on the color. I drank this second cold brew first because it clearly wasn’t going to get anymore color after several days and I wanted to get the tea out of the leaves.
Like my second cold brew of the Lemon Sencha, my second cold brew of the Wild Cherry Sencha tasted like cool, refreshing, lightly-flavored cherry green tea water. Even though these two second cold brews have tasted more like green tea-flavored water than iced green tea, in the immense heat down here they have been quite refreshing to drink.
2nd cold brew: 2.5-3 days.
Backlogging. Three days ago, late morning Saturday.
Overheated after the farmer’s market, I told myself if I took everything upstairs in two trips (extra exercise) instead of one (killing myself by weighing myself down with too much stuff), I could have a Strawberry Matcha lemonade and a quick cool down before I put all of the stuff away. Cool, refreshing, and thirst-quenching.
Backlogging. Morning, three days ago, the day after the previous tealog.
I tried the Earl Grey and Ceylon 1:1 ratio again that morning to see if I could get repeat results. I did! I also did a second steep this time, which was quite weak but drinkable. It would need a bit of fresh leaf from one or both teas to be truly drinkable regularly.
2nd steep: 7 min.
Backlogging. Yesterday morning.
From my experiments combining this Earl Grey with the Tiger, I firmed decided I like this Earl Grey blended with a plain black tea rather than on its own. It was quite good with the Tiger and I’ve no doubt I’ll drink them together again but I am also willing to explore other partners for it.
Today was my first attempt pairing it with A&D’s Ceylon and a very nice pairing it was. It may be a better match than the Tiger. I did a 1:1 ratio as a starting point and that worked just fine. I could taste the strong Earl Grey and I could taste the end taste of the Ceylon. The Ceylon also tampered the what-is-to-me overly strong bergamot of this Earl Grey. These teas did not create a smoothed blend as if they were meant to be one tea, rather it tastes like two teas that went quite well together or two teas layered nicely together, if that makes any sense. I did not try a resteep.
I’ve been using just a bit more leaves in my tea preparation in general recently and a bit less water in my standard sized mugs. I’ve noticed this seems to be improving the taste of the teas overall.