1127 Tasting Notes
Figured I make a note for milk preparation. I rarely add milk or sugar to tea but here, milk is needed to mitigate the harsh body effects of a pelletized Assam.
1Tbsp masala, 1 cup water, simmer for 5 or so minutes. Add 1/2 cup whole milk, bring back to a bare simmer for a few minutes. No sweetener.
Cardamom is very much the forward spice in this blend and it perfumes my mouth after the swallow. Ginger is next, providing more heat than taste. Black pepper tingle. Cinnamon and clove definitely take the backseat.
This is still the best masala chai I’ve had. Cardamom lovers will be happy with this one :)
Three years ago, gosh. I was at my aunt’s, on the second night of starting an anti-depressant medication. My brain – it felt like I was I was on acid. She keeps a drawer of at least 20 different bagged tisanes, and I remember packing 1 of each with me to take on my bus ride back to the city a few days later. I couldn’t handle caffeine while my system became tolerant to the first few weeks of the medication. After that round of anti-depressants, I vowed to never to take them again. I learned a lot during that period. TMI? I don’t care.
Bought a box for work, for the cold season. Brought a few bags home.
I’m a fan of turmeric, but this just tastes too savory for me. Like old curry powder, where the only thing that stands out is brothy, flat turmeric. It lacks the mellowed ginger-like spicy bite and earthy warmth of fresh, dried turmeric root. As stated in my note from three years ago, the vanilla is not enough. Cinnamon and cardamom, where are you? Rooibos and honeybush, you, too.
Numi teas, you’re not worth the price.
Piggybacking on CrowKettle’s recent Tame Impala selection:
Tame Impala – Let It Happen
headphones highly suggested
This stuff is awesome. Spiced, tart fruit punch with only 4 ingredients and no added flavors. The hibiscus is tart but not sour or biting. It also gives body. The amount of cinnamon is perfect and it creates a very aromatic tea. Rather floral-woody and soft, unlike cassia which is spicy-woody and sharp. Bonus – this stuff is cheap. A coworker came into my office today with the box in hand wanting to know where I got it. I sent him home with half the box :)
Flavors: Cinnamon, Fruit Punch, Hibiscus, Orange Zest, Tart
The Tie Luo Han tea I had came as part of a three-bag sampler, including Ban Tian Yao and Shui Jin Gui, with no descriptions for any of the teas. At the time (2018?), I don’t think any of the three had yet been offered by Old Ways Tea. Notes by other users for these three may not reflect the same teas I have.
At first, the aroma and flavor profile had me almost uninterested in continuing to brew. As the alkalinity faded by the end of my second cup, complex herbal-spice sensations revealed themselves while my body and mind became very relaxed.
In the mineral and rice-like sweetness reminiscent of a small stream with marshy banks, I could taste wet oak logs and wet yellow chrysanthemum. My mouth instantly tingled all over.
The tea had this unique quality that made me want to keep my mouth closed. I sat, and the complex herbal tastes materialized and shifted: the herb called chocolate mint, wintergreen, horehound, celery root, lettuce, spearmint, cucumber, anise, dill — but it didn’t taste green. The tea guided me through drawing a nature scene in my notebook that featured some of the sensations I was experiencing.
This Tie Luo Han’s nuanced structure and energy certainly speak of a very high quality tea, and I know nothing more about it.
Flavors: Anise, Brown Sugar, Celery, Charcoal, Chocolate, Chrysanthemum, Cucumber, Dill, Goji, Grass, Hazelnut, Lettuce, Medicinal, Mineral, Mint, Oak, Peanut, Raspberry, Rice, Roasted, Spearmint, Spicy, Spring Water, Tobacco, Vanilla, Wet Earth, Wet Moss, Wet Wood, Wood
A winter harvest bancha tea, heavily roasted. The leaves are large, broken, rustic in appearance with some leaves blackened, burnt even, while others remain olive green. Same goes for the stems which are included in higher proportion than any other Japanese tea I’ve had excluding kukicha.
The easiest way to describe the type of smokiness and other qualities of the tea is to make a comparison. If you could bottle the essence of charred summer squash or chayote and corn husk with stray blackened kernels all with their steaming, gentle nutty-vegetal sweetness, this tea would be it. The liquor is silky smooth and carries the smoke quality with a deft touch across the palate. The char aroma is strong but for me it does not overwhelm at all. I find it comforting, like bringing a part of summer with me into depths of fall.
A refined tea this is not, however I want to say that whoever grew and processed this tea absolutely knows what they are doing. It brews consistently every time with boiling water. It is a functional tea made by a skilled craftsman.
For the price, I can’t think of a cheaper, more reliable tea to drink as I hopefully transition out of a time frame that’s left me questioning my sanity. This tea is gently grounding and refreshing. I am very to grateful to have it at my table.
Flavors: Burnt, Corn Husk, Grilled Food, Nutty, Smoke, Smooth, Squash Blossom, Sweet, Tangy, Vegetal, Zucchini
It’s been a few weeks since I finished this free sample (thank you to Thés du Japon). I suppose this tea didn’t capture my attention as much as the sample of a sencha also from Hon.yama, Umegashima, that made it into the parcel – https://steepster.com/teas/thes-du-japon/98173-sencha-from-hon-dot-yama-umegashima-tomochi-yabukita-cultivar
I recall this evoking a sensation of the image of vibrant green oxalis growing in damp evergreen forest understory. Sweet, muddled in structure and taste, drying. Heavy in the stomach with a bit of turning, meaning food was needed beforehand.
Is it worth buying a bag to pay more attention to? Maybe if I want to explore Zairai, or indigenous, teas but not at this time. For my tastes, this tea needs to be experimented with.
Two years later, really? Dry chunks smell like sour cream chocolate cake. In the mouth, a lot of meaty mushroom on top of that smooth, oily-mineral-earthy-tobacco and leather today. Cold basement concrete. Little bit of dates. Maybe the ‘nutritional yeast’ I had previously described transformed into that mushroom. Two twenty second rinses because the once-rinsed chunks do have some leftover fishfunk that I didn’t mention in the previous note.
Caffeine-free grain and herbal Japanese tea produced in Taiwan. Ingredients: purified water, pearl barley, barley, habu tea leaf, malted barley, corn, vitamin C, brown rice, loquat leaf, black soybean, malted brown rice, shiitake mushroom, jujube, mulberry leaf, black rice, foxtail millet, Japanese millet (kibi), red bean
Tons of roasted barley-grainy-soybean flavor, some sweetness, some light tang probably from the Vitamin C, some mushroom earthiness to fills out the base tones. Overall, it tastes mostly like a roasted barley tea but with more complexity of flavor. Great cold refreshment.
Instead of being steamed like modern sencha, kama-iri cha is pan-fried.
Very robust taste and feeling in the mouth balanced by a dewy sweetness with a touch of astringency. Cooling evergreen forest and fresh medicinal bittersweet herbs layered over a thin, shifting matrix of roasted chestnut and boiled spinach, almost like the forward medicinal character passes through a sheer curtain weaved of pan-fired and vegetal tastes, picking up bits of those flavors as the tea moves through the mouth. There is also a brightness to the tea that I want to liken to citrus but it is not that. Bitterness persists in the back of the mouth; it is not necessarily penetrating, but it is certainly there, giving greater conviction to medicinal notions. The aftertaste shifts from this nature into something floral and vaguely fruity, reminiscent of sakura blossoms. Clean minerality is in the background and becomes evident after the swallow, when the mouth begins to water.
Despite having drank this tea maybe 5 times now, I still find the character elusive. I always feel like I’m on the edge of understanding, which keeps me coming back for more :) It feels like a mountain person, a pine forest hermit strengthened but somewhat burled by nature and who remains under cloak while gathering herbs for a concoction to be simmered over a small fire, in a clearing illuminated by the sun.
It was about dang time to stir up my taste buds and perceptions by exploring Japanese teas, which never really jived with me before. I had been in a tea appreciation slump for a while (several months? half a year?) and these teas from Thés du Japon are doing wonders for me right now.
Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Chestnut, Cream, Evergreen, Ginger, Herbs, Lemon, Medicinal, Mineral, Peach, Pineapple, Sakura, Spinach, Sweet, Thick
This tea deserves an abstract impressionistic painting to be made of itself.
I feel like I do not have adequate words, but I will try my best below.
At first notice, the tea is floral forward and upward. The light color of the liquor cloaks a vegetal quality that is round, robust, grounding, deep; neither meek nor overbearing but something that reminds me of a forgotten mossy forest path, providing a springy base to soften one’s step across earth, wood and wet rock. A mild fruity and buttery back-end is revealed on the upper palate once some bitterness in the tonsils and back of the throat subsides, while a simultaneously dewy-sweet and cooling aftertaste presents. The retronasal perfume carries throughout the session. At times, there is a playful brush of astringency in the full body; in other moments the astringency is more prominent, as a light squeeze on the arm would feel. A joy for me as a lover of structure, and most importantly, the way the tea feels in my body.
The generosity of Thés du Japon is much appreciated.