2201 Tasting Notes
This is the final one of my MBSC hibiscus fruit blends. Tonight I decided I would steep this one according to the directions in this recipe for agua de jamaica (without all the optional spices): http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/agua_de_jamaica_hibiscus_tea/
Except if it turned bad I didn’t want to waste a bunch of sugar on it, so I quartered the recipe. I also tasted the steeping blend at 5, 10, and 15 minutes, straining it out after 15 (instead of the 20 called for in the recipe) because I sensed that something (citrus peel?) was getting kind of bitter. I took my 1 cup of concentrated and cut it with another cup of cold water as called for, but that was even too sweet and syrupy for me. Cutting it in half again with cold water resulted in a sweet, tart and pretty tasty brew. It tastes mostly of hibiscus but also kind of berryish with a hint of citrus. I enjoyed this but I think I will just get some plain hibiscus to make agua de jamaica in the future.
I bought this tea quite a while ago, had a cup, decided that I disliked the tea base (which is prominent) and gave most of the tiny tin I have away. I always remembered that first experience and shied away from having it again, even though I have more recently had Tea Palace’s Organic Rose Grey and realized that I enjoy the tea base way more now.
Well today I finally decided to have another cup of this. Wow, what a difference two years makes. I really, really didn’t like the base on this one before. I rated it a 60, which is to say that I barely didn’t throw the cup down the drain (or maybe I did, I don’t remember). Now? Now it is smooth, malty deliciousness. I think this is a predominantly keemun base, and keemun seems to be growing on me. There are still times when I dislike it, but more and more keemun-base teas are tasty to me. The bergamot is light in this, which is one of the reasons I disliked it before, but now it doesn’t bother me so much. I mean, it makes it not optimal for an Earl Grey for me, but it’s still a tasty cup of tea. Tasty enough that I’m now somewhat reconsidering my plan to cold brew the last of it (although I’ll still probably do it). I would happily have another cup of this tea.
It just goes to show you how subjective ratings and tasting notes are. I mean, I disagree with myself from two years ago!
I may have mistakenly reviewed this tea under it’s organic version before, oh well. Thanks again to Angel and Teavivre for these samples.
Having drank the silver needle white tea yesterday, I decided to go ahead and try the bai mu dan today in comparison. I don’t know that I’ve ever really compared the flavor of two different white tea varietals, so this should be interesting. Right away the dry leaf still smells like hay, but I think greener hay. Perhaps even somewhat like dried grass clippings.
The real difference came the moment the water hit the leaf; the silver needle still smelled like hay, whereas this tea became greener smelling and more vegetal. After one minute this tea was already dark enough so I pulled the brew basket. It smells hay-ish, but also a bit like buttered vegetables and a bit of honey. The flavor is definitely more vegetal, with some cucumber notes along with the hay. A hint of florals, though I wouldn’t be able to pin down what type. Perhaps something odd like clover flowers. Slightly like salted butter, as well.
I would say that I much preferred the silver needles to the bai mu dan. This one was grassier and more vegetal, and reminded me more of some green teas. It’s also very lightly astringent at 1 minute, but that could be slight overleafing. Still, this is quite enjoyable and I do want to try this one also gongfu style eventually.
Sipdown, 155. Cold brew.
I actually have a little bit of this left, but I have no desire to drink the rest of it and it’s not really enough to swap. Cold brewed, this tea was overly perfumy and just really not my thing. Very very floral, and I like floral teas, but this was too much. Also I am spoiled by Den’s Sakura Sencha, which is better balanced and not quite as overly flavored as this one.
Drank this tea this morning while writing, and very much enjoyed it. It’s a very pleasant jasmine green with lovely jasmine flavor that is sweet and honeyed. I honestly didn’t pay too much attention to it, but every once in a while I would notice how sweet it was, and it was a very nice cup to drink. Always gotta have a jasmine green around, and this is quite a nice one.
I have to get to dissertation writing today, so this tasting note will have to be short. But I’ve already said plenty about how much I love this tea.
Malty, rich, honey-caramel; this is the black tea that made me love black teas. Before this tea, unflavored blacks were supremely uninteresting and untasty to me, but this changed that. For which I am very grateful!
Hmm, have I never reviewed this? It seems unlikely, but there are no reviews to be found by me so I guess not. In that case I apologize to Teavivre for taking so long to get around to reviewing this sample. As always, you are so generous!
I’ve never been really drawn to white tea. Partly I think because it reminds me strongly of hay, and while that is a pleasant olfactory memory, it is not necessarily one I want to drink (I feel this way about many puerhs as well). I usually enjoy a white tea fairly well but I never crave one.
This tea is so pretty, all downy and soft. Dry, it smells like fresh cut hay. Steeped it retains those hay notes, but also gains a sweet creamy smell. A bit of honey on whole-grain bread, perhaps. That seems to be the predominant flavor for me, and this tea is unexpectedly “chewy;” the texture is thick and the whole thing really reminds me of really good bread. Which is totally not what most others are getting, but there you go! I don’t really taste florals or melon, but I could be convince of roasted summer squash. It’s darker tasting than I expect a white tea to be, and richer. I’d be interested in brewing my other package in a gaiwan (if I had one, not sure if my little gongfu pot would be appropriate) just to see how the flavors differ. Even so, this is quite a lovely, toothsome white tea and I very much enjoyed this cup.
The only good thing about having a freezing cold, over-air conditioned office is that I get to enjoy hot tea year round. I am having the rest of this sample today, although it’s not quite as enjoyable this time around. Maybe I should have rinsed it (but the first time I didn’t and it was fine). But this time it is way earthier, and tastes a bit like drinking lightly orange-flavored dirt water. Hah. Well, sometimes that’s shu puerh, I guess. Maybe I will try a second steep and see if that one mellows out a bit.
ETA: Second steep much better, and more like the first time I had this tea. Nice sweet blood orange, slight woodiness from the puerh. A pleasant cup.
I made this one cold-brewed last night for lunch today. Cold brewing is one of the only ways I still enjoy flavored greens, but I’ve still been having issues with them being too strong or grassy after only 8 hours of steeping in the fridge. This time I tried cold brewing this tea with the same leaf:water ratio I would use for hot brewing, and leaving it for 8 hours.
At first this morning when I pulled it out I was unsure; the liquid was colored lightly on the bottom but was pretty much clear on top. However, pouring it into my bottle to take to work mixed everything up and resulted in a lovely yellow-green, non-cloudy liquid. It also seems to have worked well for the taste as well; this was light and refreshing, with a crisp green apple flavor that really suited the tea. No grassiness or bitterness. I think this will be my go-to for green teas (though with black I still prefer double the amount of leaf), and expect I will be drinking down a lot of the flavored greens I have this summer.
Sipdown, 157. Ah, back to my tea.
There was almost a tragedy this morning when my electic kettle wouldn’t turn on, but it turned out to be a blown socket and not the kettle. Whew. I decided to go ahead and finish this one up today. For some reason I decided to brew it at less than boiling, and I’m amazed at the difference it made. This is suuuper smooth like this, but it is making me realize that I miss the slight bite of the black tea. It brings everything together more when it is steeped at boiling, versus now the flavors seem kind of muddled and not as balanced. Ah well, lesson learned!