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Recent Tasting Notes
White2 Tea tea club – Emerald Buds (might be 2020?, unopened until recently)
Dry leaf – no smell that I can determine.
Cooler water, 1-2min, western.
Subtle, very light, little sweetness, thick, I’m getting a chocolate??? except not chocolate vibe off this. It’s weird. Creamy. Sort of dessert-y.
Flavors: Chocolate, Creamy, Sweet, Thick
My booster appointment was on the edge of Chinatown: fortuitous planning, I’d say.
After my shot, I thought I’d walk over to pick up my favourite Hong Kong-style milk tea and a few delicious things to eat on recovery day, just in case.
My usual HK tea place was a bit of a distance. My bag was heavy. By the time I had walked a few blocks, my arm was hurting.
We’re still in lockdown here. Still? Again? Our numbers are going up, so amongst other things, restaurants are closed— takeout and delivery only.
I wouldn’t be able to have my tea and breakfast inside anyway. Favourite HK style was still quite a hike. #2 favourite place was closed. #3 milk tea place was still a ways away.
Decided to stop into a bubble tea shop I’d been to before. Not HK-style but mainland China-style.
I ordered a milk tea hot. Would you like cheese? Huh?
The last time I was there they asked if I’d like the cheese topping on my tea and I had declined. It must be a thing. This time I thought well, why not.
It turns out the that the cheese is whipped cream with the slightest tang—maybe a bit of cream cheese added?
The milk tea was milky and mellow. More creamy now with the hint of whipped cream on top. No punch of strong black tea base. The surprise was the addition of a thinnish jelly that kind of slimed itself into sips through the fat straw. Not boba, but something like the gentle almond jelly you can sometimes have in Cantonese dim sum restaurants, usually accompanied with fruit cocktail.
Yeah, it was good. Unexpected composition but good. I’d have it again, more as a dessert rather than a caffeinated beverage.
Oh, and my tea was served to me in a lovely paper bag with a trio of what looked like white chocolate truffles. It turned out that they were sweet chewy rice balls. Not as chewy as mochi, but along the same lines.
Do you remember that conversation I had with the owner of the Thai restaurant I like about maybe serving hot tea since winter is coming?
My thinking was based on the fact that everything I’ve had in the small place has been excellent. Including their strong exquisite Thai iced tea. I was thinking that they might serve an equally excellent hot tea in the colder months.Yeah, well, I’m beginning to regret that conversation.
Last week’s Orange Pekoe was truly underwhelming. It was hot, I’ll give it that.
I had already had two super strong super wonderful Hong Kong style milk teas with my breakfast by the time I stopped in to pick up the chef’s special. I had no intention of having any more tea until I got home.
Placed my order, paid, sat down to wait. The owner came over.
I’d like to treat you to a cup of tea. What would you like?
We went through the options. So far, I knew that the Orange Pekoe was hopeless. Ok, jasmine green. And what brand is it? The kind in a big yellow box with red Chinese characters.
The sweet man brought over the steeped tea. I thanked him.
The tea— so lacklustre. The jasmine had a false note. The leaf tasted dusty and dull.
Such a sad cup.
These teabags were likely the cheapest option. I get that. But how much more of an investment would it have been to buy teabags that were just a bit more bearable? Delicious even?
I’m trying to come up with a diplomatic way of saying that the tea is not great. Maybe some things are better left unsaid.
My food came and off I went for the long long long cold wait for the bus. A good percentage of the drivers had been let go because they refused to get vaccinated against COVId-19. The transit commission had not anticipated the driver shortage.
Ugh. Just ugh.
The last time I visited my favourite Thai restaurant, I asked the owner about hot tea. They make a really good Thai iced tea with strong black tea, some sort of sweetener, and cream, but it’s getting cold now. I was thinking that it wouldn’t be that much of a bother to turn that wonder brew into a tasty hot tea. Maybe they’d need to invest in a large thermos or brewing vat or some such thing. The owner said he’d think about it.
So I stopped in yesterday for the daily special and there it was, a sweet little folded sign announcing hot tea. We have hot tea now, the owner said. I was already well caffeinated from the extra strong HK style milk tea I had just had, I told him I’ll get some next time. He looked disappointed.
As I was waiting for my takeaway order, I thought ok, let me try this new tea.
Of course, I did not need or want a cup of tea just then. I ended up with a round teabag covered in hot water in a paper cup with some cream and a bit of sugar. Very so-so it was. Maybe tetley’s, maybe president’s choice. I’ll ask him next time. Kind of weak and thin. And I cursed myself because I have mountains of good tea at home. Why am I paying for a so-so cup of tea in the world?
Got my order. The bus came and I scrambled to collect myself—bag, takeaway food, bus pass, mask, and this tea that I struggled to close. Don’t rush, the bus driver yelled through the opened doors. Don’t want you to spill your coffee—It’s not worth it.
Funny how one unexpected kindness can make the day so very much better.
Yesterday again I trundled down to Chinatown for my milk tea and dim sum after acupuncture.
This place is always an experience. I’m getting to know the regulars by sight.Clusters of male pensioners huddling over the paper. I wonder if they are selecting their horses for the races. Is horse-racing even on now these days?
An elderly man with a tray of tarts and buns and siu mai and tea in one hand, supporting himself on his cane with his other. He secures his table and trundles off to get some chili sauce for dipping.
Another man, middle-agesd, in scuffed clothes with dirty torn fingernails rants aloud in Cantonese to no one, perhaps to everyone.
A university-agedcouple settle at the table next to him during one of his pauses. They move next to me when he begins again.
We compare our dishes. My wonton noodle soup is not very good. ( I should know better than to get wonton noodle soup at a bakery.) Their cream cheese filled buns are tasty. The har gow is delicious. My tea is excellent.
We discuss food, the evolving city, popular culture, racism, mainland China, and how the Cantonese speaking Chinese built our Chinatowns and established a Chinese presence in Canada.
We part: they to their workshop and me to purchase a day book for the new year.
Every Friday after acupuncture, I ask myself if I should go to Chinatown for a Hong Kong style milk tea and the answer always seems to be yes. I am guessing that this pattern will continue for the next two weeks or so until my usual schedule is upended by the holiday season.
My trip is always full of small adventures.
It was a frigid Friday with the first wee bit of snow and a wicked wind. Still, the guy on the sidewalk at the main intersection of Chinatown was out there with his red drum kit pounding out mesmerizing rhythms to the shoppers, walkers, and vendors.
I stopped into a mall to take a look at a dim sum restaurant and its menu. Not my usual dim sum place, but maybe a change would be good when and if I am ready to dine in. This place is on the top floor overlooking the street action below: maybe that would be a nice view to enjoy with a meal.
A stranger engaged me as I was waiting for the lift. Why you no bring your husband for dim sum? Eat. EAT. My explanation got swallowed up by the wind as we reached street level.
My usual seat at the bakery was taken, so I sat near the matcha cake display case with my most excellent Hong Kong style milk tea and rice bowl. The tea was so good that I ended up having another. That one was a winner too.
Ah, I so look forward to my Fridays.
Yesterday morning, I had an acupuncture appointment early in the day. Awesome, as usual. Awesome, but always different.
Being out in the world already encourages me to do something else before I go home. Our public transit has a two-hour thing in any direction for one fare. I try to pack in whatever I can in that two-hour window (but inevitably, go over time and pay an extra fare). A Thai restaurant I like has fresh delicious chef’s specials every day and tofu vegetable rice rolls on Fridays. Off I went.
The sun was golden glorious, so I decided to stop off in Chinatown for my beloved HK style milk tea and, rather than taking the underground subway, take the long slow streetcar ride across town to the Thai place.
Tea was superb. gah!—this is becoming such a habit.
The streetcar took me through a small growing patch of Brazilian shops, bars, and markets. Interesting how the city is morphing.I thought of former Brazilian students who always complained how cold it was here. I remembered one student from Brazil who one October, when everyone was wearing jean jackets or hoodies, came to school in a metallic silver snow suit, stiff padded jacket and pants, and his every movement down the hall was a squeak-swish-squeak- swish as the plastic-like metallic fabric gripped itself with every step. I giggled to myself at this memory in the streetcar for several stops.
I have developed quite a fondness for HK style milk tea. I’ve had it from several places in town: extremely strong black tea and either evaporated milk or cream and brown sugar or some sort of sweetener. Apparently, some places use egg shells in the steeping or simmering of the tea.
Anyway, whatever the secret is, it is a feisty cup. That perfect balance of flavours—that’s key.
So I found myself again not too far away from Chinatown, or rather one of our Chinatowns, and decided to pay a visit to the HK style bakery where I had an amazing HK style milk tea a couple of weeks ago.
The ambiance is typical Chinatown bakery. Bright fluorescent lights flooding both the seating area and the glass covered sliding shelves with baked and steamed buns— savoury or sweet, spongey, flaky or slightly chewy. You take your tray and yellow plastic tongs and help yourself to the pastries, go to the counter and pay. While there, you can order steamed or fried dim sum or various rice bowls. Or an egg bacon sausage plate with toast. And your HK style milk tea.
I was there around noon, so I joined the retirees at the seating area. Every table was occupied: some with a gaggle of elderly men animatedly engaging with each other, some with elderly couples putting up with each other, and some with lone individuals, like me. Young people flitted in from work to get their lunch.
I sat with my tea and soaked up the moment. My tea was hot, milky, sweet. Strong. Borderline harsh. But delicious.
And me, I’m going to be up till Tuesday.
I drank this last year during Christmas time and never wrote about it… dang, I really messed up there. Someone put time and effort into providing a gift for me and I didn’t even respond :(
I’m sorry, I was probably really busy that week…. thanks though, I always appreciate when people put in effort to put a smile on others face; which you did for me an others :)
Thank you Stephanie for sharing this tea with me!
I finished off the last bit of it hot, and I have to say that while I had originally thought this would perform better cold I did ultimately enjoy the hot cuppa much better. I just found the flavours all balanced a little more nicely, and I could taste the mint substantially more than in the cold brew. It was smooth, velvety and creamy and definitely delivered a rich chocolate mint flavour so that’s a win in my book! As well, the earthy pu’erh is the perfect grounding base flavour.
TASTING NOTE 3500!!!
This tea comes from the uber thoughtful Stephanie who sent it out around Christmas time. I feel a little bad that I didn’t drink it around the holidays, but I did make sure it was drank in a form that was at least semi monumental!
While I still have enough of Steph’s sample to try this hot, I used the majority of it for my first tasting as a cold brew. Personally, I adore cold brewed chocolate and mint combos so I was pretty sure I’d like this cold brewed. I’ve never actually had grasshopper pie, but it looks and sounds delicious. My experience with the cold brew was that it was a largely earthy and chocolate flavour highlighted by a much lighter, refreshing mint finish that created a nice refreshing end sip.
A long, long time ago… in a tea mug far away. I got this while on snowy planet with fellow Resistance member Stephanie. It smells so nicely like chocolate and mint. When, I first brewed, there was more of cocoa scent. There are only mild notes of mint in the flavour. As it cools, I get more of a puer taste. Not sure how it compares to a grasshopper pie (hard to come by on this planet), but it’s pretty good.
May the Force be with you.
Flavors: Cacao, Chocolate, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Mint
I really loved the sample of jasmine green tea at the local bubble tea shop but at the time I needed something fortifying so I got a Taiwan Milk Tea. I decided to try making a homemade version, and I remembered this economical beauty from Teavivre and thought it would be the perfect base. I was right.
I made the tea strong, about double strength, added sugar, and let it cool. I added too much milk but we live and learn. Even with too much milk it was good, and when I get my proportions right it is going to be phenomenal.
I think I may reorder more of the base just for this purpose.
thank you stephanie and terri for sharing this one with me! Seriously, this is a great tea so total props on your first blending experiement. I’d say it was a total success! I really enjoyed this one..jsut a delicious malty, vanilla, sweet cup of YUM! of course now it’s gone and that’s sad…. so sad.
I’m lucky to have gotten some of this tea.
rich and delicious. The vanilla and saffron blend in perfectly with the golden monkey ad the keemun.
And I know you’re all jealous.
The aroma is amazing. The tea is outstanding.
I love the color, and the way the little threads of saffron just pop right out. Saffron adds an amazing little touch to it.
SO, lemon water isn’t tea, obviously, but doesn’t it have to be noted somehow or other wherever tea is revered? Like the sherbet served between the courses of a fine dinner, lemon water cleanses the palette in preparation for the next gourmet delight. Also, it keeps the dreaded caffeine eye twitch at bay.
I think this one from the teabox labeled ’Kim’s Homemade Chai’ is from KimLovesTea? Please correct me if I’m wrong! So I ‘added a tea’ for this one.
’Here’s Hoping’ traveling teabox Round #2 // Tea #19
Oh wow, nice job on this one, Kim! And thanks for including it in the teabox! This is very high up there on the nicest chais I have tried. The base is a CTC, but it isn’t as strong as I’d expect, maybe because there are a ton of spices here (and maybe also the two minute steep). Everything here is perfectly balanced! Very nice! The first couple of sips were surprisingly sweet. It’s up to my standards for spiciness, which is rare. I wouldn’t change anything about this one. Kim has proved with this blend: Why buy chai when you can make your own blend exactly how you want it to be? I’ve noticed JeweledThumb (next for the teabox) likes chai, so make sure you try this one!
Steep #1 // couple minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 min steep
Steep #2 // half mug – just boiled // 2-3 min steep