1353 Tasting Notes
Of such an enormous order I made recently there are surprisingly few new things for me to try. Only three new things and this is one of them. Of course there will possibly be two more things later on but those are not for me really.
So three new things and this is the only untried one left. Then I’ve got some untried stuff from the latest package from Wombatgirl and I think one or two untried ones from Auggy, although I’ve messed the latter up a bit, so I’d have to check there.
Anyway the aroma is very sencha-y here and it’s got a sweetly fruity additional note to it. It’s sort of bubble-gum-y and only slightly like rhubarb.
The flavour is very rhubarb-y though and also very sencha-y. I steeped a little too long so it’s quite strong, but it’s really very much like I had expected it to be. I really do like the combination of rhubarb and sencha. I think they suit each other nicely while still somehow managing to be very much in contrast with each other.
I don’t see this is a tea I’ll be drinking a lot but it’s definitely one I’m going to enjoy when I do have it. Very nice indeed.
Half the day is gone already! How did this happen?! (Might it have something to do with it turning 11 before I managed to get out of bed?)
So I’m Yunnan-ing today. It’s one of those days where I look at all the tins and unable to make a decision just grabs one at random. It was the first one of the lot that I looked at twice so I figured it was selection.
Hopefully this will provide some energy and give me a kick in the rear about NaNoWriMo. I’m currently about 7500 words behind my personal daily goal system which is rather annoying. But before you bring out the pep-talk and the cheerleading and the encouragement, I’ll just tell you all something, because you might not want to do the pep and cheer afterwards. I may be behind on the personal goal, but I’m still 12K ahead of the minimum to NaNo goal for this day, and set to reach 50K at record (for me) speed. Still want to cheer? Go ahead. :) smug
So is this an inspiring tea, then? Does it smell and taste like the tea that can zoom me through at least 5K today?
I’m surprised at how sweet it turned out today. It’s very much as if there’s sugar in it, which, as anybody who knows me just a little bit will know, is not the case, and certainly not on a first sip. Ever. It’s not the honey of an Assam and it’s not the caramel of a Keemun (which I have only nearly been able to find). This is more like just plain sugar, but a little smoother than refined sugar. It’s like, if you can imagine the sweetness of refined sugar but without the stickyness of it. I want to say it’s something more fruit-like than plain sugar, but I can’t seem to think of a fruit that comes close in flavour. I’m leaning a bit towards ripe pears here, but without it actually tasting like pear. It’s that kind of sweet.
It’s very difficult to identify it anyway, because on top of all that there’s a prickly layer of spicyness and if you focus really hard on the flavour to try and figure out where that sweetness comes from you end up with a mouthful of pepper prickly and not much else.
It’s funny, though, that a tea can be so pepper prickly on the tongue and at the same time as smooth as velvet. The two things just don’t seem to get along in the head, do they? But the thing is the prickly stays mainly on the tongue and isn’t noticed when swallowing, so combined with the lack of astringency to speak of, we have in fact at arrived something that is smooth in a prickly way. How fun is that! I think that’s awesome.
I used to consider golden yunnans to be of the smoky spectrum, and I was surprised when others consistently identified that note as pepper. The more I’m tasting it however the more I find myself moving into the pepper camp. I remember the first golden Yunnan I ever had. It was from Chaplon and I had not yet discovered the awesome appeal of smokies. I thought it tasted very smoky and I didn’t much like it at the time. Right now though I would dearly like to go back in time and try that one again because I really think that it would have been a hugely different experience for me today.
But is this inspiring? Yes, you know what, I think it is. I shall go get some words out now, and hope that my characters will behave themselves.
Not a good day. Girly nonsense, see. It is testament to how sorry I’ve been feeling for myself with all the aches and pains that comes with being a girl, that this is the tea I decided should see me through the day.
For those who aren’t aware of it, this is the more refined leaf grade of my much loved Tan Yang Te Ji, and it cost about twice as much too.
Seriously. Expensive. Leaf.
That’s how miserable I’ve been all day.
Add to that the fact that half of first steep and half of second steep both got cold while I was napping. I really have not been paying uber-much attention to it.
Auggy had some recently however and she wrote about the differences between the three first steeps and I’ve found today that I really agree with her a lot on that.
So you should go read her post. (And then follow her because she’s really nice)
I shall be having a fourth steep in the not too distant future and look forward to the aches and pains being gone tomorrow. I wonder what the fourth steep will be like?
Wombatgirl sent me some english caramel labeled stuff with no brand on it, and since she once posted about this I’m assuming it’s the right one.
It smelled very nice and caramelly. I lost patience with the bag the leaves were in and used the lot, so it’s a super-super-super-flash steeping. It still smells very nice after steeping, very sweet and very fat smelling.
I’m not really going to write a novel about this. Wombatgirl wasn’t impressed with it, as she would have liked the flavouring to be stronger, and I have to say I agree with her. From the aroma of it I was really expecting something very rich in flavour here. But then I get this tea with a little caramel on it. How very and surprisingly french!
(Some of you will understand what I mean when I say the flavouring is french. A while ago I was on a Kusmi roll and more or less at the same time others were exploring some other french brands such as Mariages Freres and that other one that I can’t remember how to spell. D. Freres. Anyway some of us agreed that it seemed to be typical for french brands that flavoured teas very rather subtle. And that’s what I mean with french.)
Where was I? Oh yes, the flavouring is french. But the aroma is so rich! Much more than in my beloved Caramel from Kusmi (I should get more of that), and that throws me off. In Kusmi, I expect the subtle frenchness. In this… I think I thought I’d get a sweets replacement out of this.
Yes, I like it, but it’s not what I was expecting. And when it comes to french subtlety… No, I prefer Kusmi.
Another one from Wombatgirl and one I’ve been curious about since first I took it out of the box. Wombatgirl sent me a nice little tin with the sample in it, which is definitely air-tight. And child-proof. And very nearly Ang-proof as well, so prying it open resulted in a little spillage (and some air turning blue).
What we’ve got here are some flakes of something that I’m guessing are cacao bean shells or husks or something. I feel we’re kind of stretching the term ‘herbal tea’ with this one. I mean I know that the definition of a herbal herbs and plants steeped and prepared as a tea, without it actually being tea. And I know that cacao beans are also plant parts so it’s still covered by that definition.
But at the same time, aren’t we really more like moving into hot chocolate territory with this one? I’m posting about it because it’s already on the site. If it hadn’t been, I don’t think I would have added it and just sent Wombatgirl a pm about what I thought of it instead.
It tastes like a cup of cocoa too. Slightly bitter though for the absence of sugar. I’m reminded of that sort of hot cocoa where you’ve got a powdered mix and put hot water on it. This tastes a bit like that made with only about 20% of the proper amount of powder. If I were to add a little sugar (and I shall try this once there’s better room in the cup for stirring) it would come really close to a cup of thin, watery hot cocoa. If you make this really really strong and add sugar and milk, I’d wager you were nearly there.
If what you’re looking for is an actual herbal tea that tastes like cocoa, then this is a very good bet for it. I bet it’s also really great for mixing in with other things, adding a little flavour to an otherwise slightly dull tea.
This is pretty good for what it is. But I’d really rather have some real hot cocoa.
NaNo isn’t going so well today. Oh the words are coming but my characters have suddenly come over all religious-like. I HATE it when people get religious at me in real life, and I CERTAINLY don’t want a bunch of born-again christians in my story, but apparently writing certain things will have repercussions.
So I’m taking another break while trying to sort out how to get around that one without the whole thing turning into some something so un-me it’s ridiculous.
This combined with a serious craving for sweets which started with the first cup of the white temple tea… So fight fire with fire. Or something.
This one is also bought based on Rijje liking it and I ended up taking it because even if I didn’t like it, send to her, good home, and so on and so forth.
There aren’t any fruit chunks in it, but there are some nice purple flowers and it’s scented with melons and bananas. If you know this you can easily identify the aroma of the dry leaves as a mixture of these to fruits. If you don’t know this, it’s probably a bit more tricky. The jury is still out on whether or not it smells good or if it’s just horribly sickly cloying.
It does make me want to eat a banana, though.
After steeping it smells hugely of bananas! And not much else, really. This is 100% Bananaland. Thankfully the flavour is a little more controlled. Like with the white temple, the nuttyness of the white tea is coming through wonderfully and then the whole thing is wrapped around with banana flavour. It tastes exactly like I imagined it would.
The funny thing is I’m not getting bananas and melons at the same time here. At first it’s bananas but then as I’m about to swallow it morphs and it’s only melons. Isn’t that odd?
You could probably steep this a few times easily, but it’s really very much a one-cup deal. One is enough. More than that and it would start to taste really horrible, I think.
Once again I’m going to put myself pretty close to Rijje’s score and keep it myself.
Now, my little NaNo characters. Shape up or ship out! rolls up sleeves and cracks knuckles
This one is from my latest A C Perch’s order which I received yesterday. Yes, the one with the enormous box. I’ve been eyeing it for a while because Rijje posted about it and it being a favourite of hers, and although I must admit to there being some sceptism mixed in with the fascination here, I decided to just go ahead and try it out. I’d probably do that sooner or later anyway, so why not just get it over with? And then I decided that if I didn’t like it, it wouldn’t really be such a bad thing anyway, because I could always ship it off to Greenland where I knew it would get a good home.
This being settled, I felt much better about making the order, and now it’s time to see if the white tropical explosion from 52teas is just a freak incident or if I actually really do enjoy tropical white blends as much as I think I do.
The leaves definitely smell strongly tropical. It’s more like sniffing at the contents of a snack bag of dried fruit than it is sniffing at tea leaves. Making a difference from the 52teas blend, this one doesn’t have coconut in it, which I take as a good sign as coconut in tea is very touch and go for me. Sometimes I think it works. Most of the time it just gets cloying. The pineapple is really strong here, as are the strawberries, and again, as I saw with the raspberry oolong, there are generous amounts of fruit chunks in here, and they’re big too.
After steeping the aroma is more or less the same but without that harshness that dried fruit can have. It smells warm and soft and very fruity, and it’s got an honey-golden colour in the cup. It doesn’t actually remind me that much of the aforementioned white explosion anymore, though, apart from both of them being white blends with tropical fruit. And based on the same type white I think if memory serves me right.
I’m surprised at the level of astringency here. It’s not super-astringent to the point where it becomes unpleasant, just nicely so. Initially I get the flavour of the white tea and not much of the fruit. The characteristic note of walnuts is coming through loud and clear. Then there’s a sweet pang of tropical fruit behind it and mostly on the swallow. If I keep it in my mouth a little longer before swallowing the tropical flavours really expand in the mouth and come out in a sweet fruity pleasantness. At this point is rather like the white explosion again, only a bit less explode-y and without the coconut. This is the more subdued version, the calmer, less impatiently enthusiastic variation of the tropical white.
I can’t get the tropical explosion again although I love it, unless Frank decides to make a new batch, but right now that’s not quite as big a catastrophe as before, because this is most definitely a very worthy substitute. Perhaps even a little better for the lack of the coconut.
Sorry, Rijje. I’m keeping this one, but thank you very much for the inspiration to try it. :)
In spite of receiving an ENORMOUS box from A C Perch’s yesterday, and I do mean humongously huge, I’m taking a step back to the selection Auggy sent me. Something for the morning, you know.
The aroma of this is not so raisin-y as I have come almost demand from an Assam to my tastes. There are traces of raisin but that’s really it. Instead it’s leaning much more towards that cardboard-y smell that have been discussed before. Can’t find any honey notes either.
This makes me sad. :( I wan’t this to be awesome because I’ve seen people say it is, but now I wonder if maybe it’s not my sort of awesome.
It’s very strong. Really something that scratches all the way down and for someone who likes their tea to be able to stand up straight without the aid of a cup, this would definitely be something to look at. For me it’s just a wee bit on the strong side, and I get a more overdone impression from it rather than something merely strong and full in flavour.
Still can’t find raisins in it. Still can’t find honey. Can find lots of cardboard and a whiff of a slightly acidic flavour, a bit akin to the lemony flavour that you find in coffee. I wish I had some milk because I think this is a tea that would really benefit from it.
It’s a good tea. But I’m glad it’s not my Perfect Assam. You know what with being unable to get it again and all.
Guess what I’ve got again.
And I must have got it from a new batch this time because previously when I’ve bought it, I’ve received oolong leaves with whole black currants and chunks of raspberry in it.
This time, chunks of raspberry? Try WHOLE raspberries. And not just one or two that got through the raspberry-chunking-machine unscathed. No, there are many of them. Many many raspberries.
(It’s so hard to not fish them out and eat them!)
Still as nommy as ever. Om nom nom.
I’ve never had a New Zealander before! I didn’t even know they had a tea production to start with, and even less that it was a tea production with export. Interesting. I got this one from Wombatgirl and I have enough leaves for this pot and another one later on.
I was just in the mood for an oolong, actually, so it was kind of lucky that I just happened to spot this tin in the forest of tins that lives on my kitchen table. I have actually completely dispensed with the idea of a ‘tea cupboard’ and just moved all the tins to the kitchen table. I might as well, since they migrate there anyway. That means I’ve cleared a small cupboard which now holds three retired pots and a gaiwan, thus solving some serious space issues on my various kitchen surfaces. A little rearranging made space for four other retired pots in a different cupboard, so the pots I have out now are the ones I actually use. The rest are hidden behind glass cupboard doors looking nice and decorative. Yay me and my organising skills!
Anyway, these leaves are dark green and rolled into semi-loose little pellets, so they look more or less like your would expect any typical green oolong to look. It’s got a nice yellow-ish colour in the cup and the aroma is also unmistakably green oolong. It’s got that touch of earthyness and a strong note of cooked green vegetables. For me it’s broccoli boiled just so in lightly salted water with a little bit of butter in it.
Lots of flavour here. Again it tastes like a green oolong should taste, with a slightly rough green tea flavour combined with the earthyness of begun oxidation. The green part of the flavour is remarkably hard to pin down though. I’m thinking sort of like a cross between Long Jing and Sencha, if you can imagine that. The strong vegetative flavour of both but without the side note of cat-breath and salt water.
It’s been way too long since the last time I had a green oolong that wasn’t scented so how it holds up to the traditional ones, I can’t be quite sure. But right now I think this tastes like it shouldn’t have too many problems in a competition.
So yes. New Zealand has a tea production. And they’re good at it too.