513 Tasting Notes
This was my first “real tea” that wasn’t an offering by David’s tea, so I was pretty excited to try it.
Despite a steeping mishap this morning (those always seem to occur, despite all my hopes and preparation), this made a pretty decent cup. Given that I don’t quite yet have the vocabulary to really describe tea, I have to say that it definitely tasted “black”, a bit woody, and appropriately strong. I added in a bit of sugar and milk, but this did not at all detract from the smoothness of the tea, and its very, very slight astringency actually lends itself to being a really good tea if you aren’t even in a “tea mood”.
But then I made it to take to work in my timolino and found that it wasn’t nearly as strong. I attribute this to the fact that there’s simply more water, plus I don’t like the timolino’s steeping basket nearly as much, as I don’t find my teas to be as flavourful in the travel mug—how do you guys prepare tea in your travel mug differently from the way you prepare in a cup? any recommendations for keeping the flavour strong? should I shake it a great deal to help things “circulate”?
In other (amazing amazing) news, I received my butiki order in the mail yesterday! I am over the moon about this, and can’t wait to try them!
Wow. Well hello there, chamomile tea disguised as delicious pistachio and cream. Wow wow wow.
You know, there’s being misled because the tea smells amazing in the package, even more amazing as it brews, and then the inevitable let-down as you take your sip of subtly flavoured water, and you hopefully swirl your tongue around your mouth, trying in vain to like the tea that you had such high hopes for.
This wasn’t even that.
I don’t even know what happened, to be perfectly honest. I actually followed the instructions for a change, and didn’t even add any milk or sugar as I typically do. I’d actually had this iced to go when I had my David’s tea episode the other night because they had like six iced pitchers that hadn’t been used and didn’t want to waste it. Cold, it tasted delicious: creamy even without milk, and very refreshing (I can imagine really liking it in the summer, actually). But hot? just wow. If you don’t like chamomile, stay far, far away—the base hits you hard in the face, and even a tea-idiot like me could pick that up. On the flip side, however, if you like chamomile, you’ll be wrapped in a robe made of chamomile, complete with an accompanying pair of chamomile slippers, and just for good measure, there’ll be a CD softly playing chamomile-flavoured music in the background (this tea will make you believe that such a thing exists).
So, here’s the plan. I’m not giving up yet, especially because I know there’s a flavour profile lurking in the depths of these leaves that I just need to coax out. So here’s the plan. I’m going to double up on leaves next time, and head over to my good ol’ buddy cream, and I’m hoping that’ll temper the chamomile down epically. I was muttering this exact plan to myself actually, and my fiance overheard me.
me: “Hmmm, I can fix this right up. If I just double up on leaves, add in a buttload of cream, that oughta temper the chamomile right down. Yup.” )(I followed that proclamation up with a self-satisfied grunt)
Him: “Darling, you’re not, like, renovating a bathroom! you sound as though you’re deciding which walls to knock down, how much dry wall to use, and which landscaping company you’ll be calling in next!”
So yes, it was quite the experience. Kind of a disappointing day in the world of tea, sadly.
Ok, round two with this tea wasn’t as good. The scent of it while it was steeping was sinfully deceptive; making me think I would taste all the spices I was smelling.
Again, I may have done my usual over-creaming, so that might have had something to do with the fact that I felt as though I was mostly just drinking lightly flavoured black tea—I dare say that the lat I had to go the other day was actually more impressive. But then again, I usually steep things wrong before I get them right, so there’s that.
David’s tea website suggests that I add in a spoonful of brown sugar. Do you guys think they are referring to ordinary brown sugar that you’d use for baking? Because that’s all the sugar I’ve got on me, although it does seem as though it’d be a wonderful addition to the tea.
Definitely not giving up on this tea!
In other news, we’re all moved into the new place. I don’t know about “settled” though, as the process of unpacking is kind of tedious, but in my opinion, it beats packing anyday. That, and you have pretty much forever to do it. I’ve unpacked my tea and tea accessories, as well as my work clothes and shoes, and so far, that’s good for now. Arden (my guide dog) probably hasn’t figured out that this is home yet, but I imagine that won’t be long in coming. It helps that i’m also familiar with the area myself, so I’m hoping he’ll pick up on my confidence when we’re out walking.
I’m sure pretty much everyone can relate to the stress of moving: there’s the inevitable packing, but even aside from that are all the decisions that go along with it. You hang on to clothing that you haven’t worn in years “just in case” (but somehow feel as though you “never have anything to wear”, don’t throw out other things because they have sentimental value but wonder if it’s time to let go anyway. Then there’s the logistical stuff of making sure you’ve got people to help you. And if you’re like me, the idea of squishing your life into boxes and suitcases is just so overwhelming, because I’m not naturally an organized and systematic person, even though I’d really like to be (and can force myself to be on occasion). The whole point of this story is that tonight my so and I were just really overwhelmed and irritable, and so I headed off to the sanctuary of David’s tea to sample their fall collection, because to escape into a tea universe is my idea of solving problems.
So to TT I went, and I had this tea is a lat with 2% milk and some agave. I’m always hesitant to come to conclusions based on actually having the tea to go, because I’m really picky and particular about how the flavour is brought out in my tea. I always find, for instance, that there’s too much water for the amount of tea, and that it’s often understeeped, but that’s also because I like my tea to have “in your face” flavour and for it to be quite bold. having said that…!
When I smelled this tea in the canister it was unbelievably delicious, and i’m not even a huge fan of everything pumpkin. i was astonished at the remarkable resemblance it had to a spongy, thick, and full-flavoured cake, complete with that toasty smell that just makes you imagine snuggling on a cold winter’s day.
And even relatively understeeped and over-watered (or milked as it was), this blew me away. It’s warming, spicy, sweet, and just seems to taste…complete. Does that make sense? I’m going to write additional notes on this when I make it myself (because I’ll be making it with sugar and cream) and I’ll let you know what I think. My fiance also loved the way it smelled, so I know I’ll be sharing this one. I got 25 g of this,, and expect I’ll go through it and likely go back for more.
So far, so good!
Oh, and randomly, a bit of an embarrassing note. So after getting my lat, i sat down to enjoy it while listening to a book on my IPhone (The Light between Oceans, in case you’re curious). Anyway, I got up to leave as the store was closing, and headed back to the counter to pay for my lat and the samples I was getting. I dug around in my purse, and for the life of me could not find my debit card. Such is the story of many women with multiple bags—your various payments methods end up all over the place, and so in spite all of the reassurances I was getting from the staff, I was on the phone to my fiance and pretty much begged/demanded that he jump into a cab immediately at once this instant so I could please for god’s sake pay for this tea, and they were like shutting down as we spoke! He made it there in record time and the day was saved, and we even got two free iced teas out of it (pistachio cream) because they just had a lot left over!
So, a pretty decent end to the day, I’d say.
Ok, so my faith in this tea has been at least temporarily restored. Somehow I did something right tonight and the tea really hit the spot: warm, vanillic comfort when I’m having anxiety about starting work. There’s nothing like sitting down with someone you love over a cup of tea, I think.
Oh, but I do have to say that my most recent experience with my cream of earl grey was rather tarnished by the fact that I had used bad cream! I only noticed it when I licked my finger after pouring the cream to tonight’s birthday cake tea, and quickly made another cup (thank god i hadn’t started brewing, or else I would have lost leaves). But yup, definitely a tea I think I’ll be happy to continue drinking and serving until it’s gone, and then the quest for a perfect strong vanilla tea continues.
Well, what can I say? This time, I steeped for four minutes, and added a dash of cream and a bit of sugar. I’m afraid I “under-creamed” though, because there was a wateriness to it that I just didn’t like. And I’m getting an astringency that I hadn’t previously gotten—you know, when I nearly emptied my container of cream into the mug.
So the conclusion, I think, is that I’ll likely finish up my sample of this, but won’t be repurchasing. I’m still in the market for a good cream of earl grey for sure, but my biggest issue with this one is its lack of forgiveness—steep it a second too long, a second too short, add just too much or too little cream and the cup is a goner (well, in my picky mouth at any rate).
I’m embracing my love of blacks, though, and so I am pleased to say that my Butiki order is winging its way towards me! I ordered:
Premium Taiwanese Assam
-Wild Taiwanese Mountain Black
-Caramel vanilla Assam
-maple pecan oolong
I’m hoping that although the cantaloupe cream is white, it won’t be too weak for my liking. The rave reviews on steepster suggest that I’ll fall head over feet for it though, so I’m really excited. I also got samples of their premium chai, the rose violet calendula oolong, and another assam that Stacy recommended (I actually got to place my order with her on the phone, as parts of paypal aren’t accessible for us blind folk-I felt as though i was talking to a celebrity and got all tongue-tied and said all sorts of awkward things haha).
Anyway, so there’s my update for today. I’m looking forward to this weekend; we have a friend coming from out of town to visit for another friend’s birthday party, and then I start my new job on Monday! (I’m terrified about that by the way, but at least I won’t be able to work myself up into a frenzy over it all weekend).
Totally unrelated, but there’s some…thing buzzing around my room, and I’ve yet to find a blind person to this date who doesn’t like, legitimately consider moving houses when they hear buzzing or flapping insects inside! I know they scare a lot of people, but I can’t even see where it is-I only hear it buzzing around, dangerously close to my head, and I’m pretty sure that in a few moments, I’ll feel justified in calling 911…aaaahhhhh!!
Let’s just hope it’s a fly. A fly. A fly! I’m hoping Arden (my guide dog) will make himself useful and catch it!
Ok, that’s enough from me today.
Today was one of those days that seemed to have “drink cream of earl grey” embossed on its cover. I woke up feeling crampy, fat, and generally ugly, so after gracefully bowing out of this evening’s work party (go introverts!), I brewed myself up a cup of this. Careful with the cream this time. It actually tasted pretty decent. Perhaps not restock-worthy quite yet, but I’m beginning to see that I may indeed find myself enjoying an EGC one day, even though it may not be this one.
I’ve also realized that there’s something wrong with my taste buds, because even my beloved vanilla orchid tasted kind of bland to me this morning. I tend to get canker sores in my mouth on the regular (gross? tmi? sorry LOL), and so perhaps some are lurking around under my tongue—but it does feel kind of sensitive in my mouth if that makes any sense. anyway, enough about my anatomy.
tldr: The CCG tasted better when I wasn’t like whoa with the cream, and my tongue is up to some funny business I’m not a fan of.