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Recent Tasting Notes
Somebody brought a canister to work and put it in the communal tea stash :)
Pretty sure it’s just Republic of Tea’s Pineapple Ginger https://steepster.com/teas/the-republic-of-tea/5311-pineapple-ginger that’s been store branded (same style canister, same round unbleached bags, same number of bags). EDIT: The canister does say made for Sprouts by Republic of Tea.
I had a cup this morning. It smells like a variety of pineapple that’s not common here in the US, dunno which though. Has a bright and tangy-sweet pineapple candy smell! The base green tea sucks. It’s fine to carry the somewhat cloying pineapple flavor but is kind of earthy-vegetal along with the classic (Republic of Tea’s Daily Green) Chinese commodity green tea toasty-buttery taste. Ginger is a nice non-spicy accent to break up that pineapple candy. Gets pineapple sour in the bottom of the cup. It’s good enough hot; need to try it cold and mid-summer :)
A coworker in the office had a cup with me and he was pretty stoked about it!
Flavors: Butter, Earthy, Ginger, Pineapple, Sour, Sweet, Warm Grass, Toasty, Tropical, Vegetal
“Communal tea stash”! It’s awesome that your workplace values tea! I’m also pleased to hear that you’re pursuing tea-farming in Sonoma, which I view as a nice counterpoint to the vinyarding. Some day I plan to make a tea trek to various USA tea gardens, such as in MS, SC, and any others I can find! For now the closest I’ve come to such was a depressingly lonely, preserved tea bush, waist-high and enclosed in a glass box, at the Field Museum in Chicago. But I love the idea of tea cultivation in unexpected places! I’m still enjoying a box of assamica grown in Colombia that I got from Harney last year!
Luckily it only takes a handful of tea appreciators at work to normalize my craziness :)
Thanks for the encouragement. I expect I will have to deal with some challenges including the price of land, dry summers and drought, fires and unknown pests of tea in this region. At least I’m in an adequate USDA hardiness zone. This region part of a recently designated AVA (American Viticultural Area) called the Petaluma Gap due to the unique geography of the region, in which the wind and fog blows NW from the Pacific coast, into the mountains and valleys then into the San Pablo Bay. This pattern supposedly produces certain characteristics in grapes. I’m hoping the combination of topography and cyclical fog and wind will harden and stunt the plants in a way that produces concentrated compounds in the bushes.
Sounds like you have some fun traveling aspirations! Don’t forget to stop by Fairhope Tea Plantation on the Gulf Cost of Alabama. Donnie grows primarily sinensis variety but he is very well educated and will run a well rehearsed and entertaining one-on-one script. He’ll also entertain more detailed discussion if you’re of the intensely curious sort. If you’d like, I can send you some samples of his teas which he normally only sells in person, just send me a message.
I, too, like to try (full-leaf) teas from unexpected locales. The countries that come to mind besides Columbia are Brazil, Wales, The Netherlands, Malawi, Tanzania, Iran, Georgia, Russia, Bhutan, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand! If they can do it, I can do it.
Good luck on your tea-growing endeavors! I’ll be doing a presentation and sampling session for US-grown teas for our Summer Reading program at the library this year.
You have some wonderful passions and great ideas, derk, and I wish you the best success! As a scientist, I appreciate that all the speculations and hypotheses in the World don’t amount to a hill of beans until you “do the experiment“. And you are doing the experiment—that earns great respect! (I am not sure why we denigrate beans.) Even if your Sonoma-grown plants don’t produce palatable tea, the knowledge gained will advance the ability of future cultivators to coax new and exciting taste & aromas from the species. We say in science that we stand on the shoulders of giants; future tea workers may benefit from your pioneering projects and consider YOU as a “giant”!
Seperately, is there a thread somewhere on Steepster that catalogues USA tea gardens? And as you point out, there are gardens in other countries that deserve to be recorded. Sounds like a task suited to a librarian…. (winks in the direction of Mastress Alita)
There isn’t one on Steepster that I know of, but I have found a map/list offsite that is pretty handy: https://www.killgreen.io/main/us-grown-tea