52 Tasting Notes
I wasn’t in the mood for anything challenging this morning, so I grabbed a sachet and made a mindless brew. With that said, I’m absolutely stunned by how much I like this.
Keeping the brew time short mellows out the assam and lets the crisp, lively notes of the bergamot come to the surface. There’s layers of citrus and that quintessential Earl Grey that just lightly coat the mouth with each sip, leaving you warmed up and ready to tackle the endless piles of computer work that accumulated over the holidays. Or, uh, was that just me?
And speaking of computers, just dumped a solid half-cup of this brew onto my laptop. Let’s hope it’s compatible with Windows 10?
Accidentally over-steeped, but it definitely didn’t seem to harm this tea.
This may be my first time with pu erh…it has a mildly fishy smell in the bag, layered under the strong hazelnut notes, but when brewed it opens up into something dank and deep. I’m still not sure if this is an enjoyable tea, per se, but it is one that is very interesting to drink through.
I’ll withhold my numerical opinion until I’ve had a few more cups.
I’ll admit I was incredibly ignorant of the tea-making history of Laos, but this beautiful black from Rakkasan has been an eye-opener in more ways than one.
This tea is woodsy, full-bodied and has an incredibly smooth mouthfeel. It’s reminiscent of an Irish Breakfast tea without that astringent bite at the end and there are notes that remind me of decomposing late-autumn leaves and something that makes me think of mushrooms (though it’s certainly not any flavor in particular).
This feels like a tea you should sip while leafing through a leather-bound book…probably while studying for law school or med school or something equally stressful and prone to creating good in the world.
(and on a personal note it’s heartening to hear that the company “imports solely from carefully selected estates in post-conflict countries as a way to promote peace and economic growth.”)
This tea confuses me – first, this is yet another coconut blend that the universe keeps throwing at me, much to my chagrin…and it really doesn’t taste like apples. Perhaps I’m spoiled because I was raised on orchard-grown (real, naturally ripened) apples, but from this I’m mostly getting a spice aroma and a rooibos backend.
I gave it a solid 6 min steep, but I’m thinking I might need to push it closer to 10 to pull some of the more “apple pie” flavors out of the mix. Personally I’m not sure where those flavors might be hiding in the lackluster cup I’m currently holding…but I’ll withhold my disgruntlement until I’ve had a chance to give it a more intense steep.
For now, though, it’s a thin (not unappealing, but not apple pie) brew with a bit of pepper on the backend and the faintest hints of a mulled flavor on the front. If I huff it like I’m trying to get high off the fumes I can barely pick up some apple in the aroma but…yeah, I’m not super excited about this one.
Idly sipped through this while watching anime on Hulu while flat on my back in bed, as you do.
It’s…flowery. Mild, but with a woodsy back-note. Drying on the finish.
Not something I particularly enjoyed, to be honest. I’ll try it again in the future to see if I like it better under different circumstances. I tossed my post-brew leaves in for an overnight steep to see if it’s any better cold, so we’ll see how that goes.
Cold brew was more woodsy, the floral became more perfume-y and it stayed fairly bland. Not a bad tea, but not one I’d be excited about trying again.
This is an incredibly fruity, sweet-smelling tea in the tin – I’m not a huge fan of coconut, as a rule (I have a tendency to pick up blends where it’s gone rancid) – and the scent holds up incredibly well through steeping.
Since this was a black/green mix I steeped it toward the green end of the spectrum – shorter and cooler than usual – but I’m considering using the leftover leaves to try for a day-long cold brew to see if I can coerce some more of the fruit flavors out of the blend.
With the hot steep, though, the black-green base is mellow and there’s a soft fruitiness that fills the mouth and lingers after each sip. I wish my identification of fruit was more complex…I know there’s supposed to be guava, but I really can’t tell anything else.
There’s a bit of astringency as it cools, but nothing terrible. Not sure this’d be a daily drinker, I’m going to see how it comes out as a cold brew before making any final decisions.
So lately coffee has been on my no list – too harsh to drink without my stomach complaining – but since this is heralded as an almost-perfect replacement I had to give it a try (and receiving a pouch of it as a gift didn’t hurt matters, either).
Dry it smells almost cloyingly sweet, you can see some petals intermixed and it makes for a lovely little view, if you’re into tiny dark balls instead of luxuriant leaves. My one complaint is that the dry mix is terribly dusty and I actually spent some time shaking it over the sink once it was in the strainer to try to de-powder it.
It brews up beautifully dark, pitch-black and with a scent that’s in the same suburb as coffee…but definitely not close neighbors. The taste is familiar in a way I can’t place – dark like coffee, but with the emphasis landing on a roasted flavor instead of acidity.
It reminds me of the waffles at Waffle House when they’re just slightly overcooked; an almost-malted sweetness overtop a flavor that’s within walking distance of burnt.
If I didn’t know that this wasn’t coffee I’d be inclined to believe that someone had just made a thin pot of it and let it sit for a minute – and I say that in the most flattering way. I doubt this will be a daily drinker for me, but it was a good experience and it’ll do well to fill that gap when the coffee cravings hit.
It’s apparently the season for me to get completely swamped with teas – my orders from Adagio, Teavivre and Liquid Proust (the 2019 Sheng Olympiad) came in…and then I received gifts from DAVIDsTEA, Bird & Blend, Harney & Sons AND the Mystery Teabox just arrived a couple days ago. I’m in a bit over my head, honestly. :o
Before diving into the Mystery Tea Box – because it’s going to be an all-day event – I took a moment to brew up one of my favorites. I adore genmai cha in almost every variation I can get my hands on and this basic blend is no different.
I always err on the site of a very light steep and can usually get around 3 good cups out of a scoop. The liquid brews up light gold with mild green hints, transitioning to a deeper amber in later cups.
Adagio uses a quality green as their base, it seems, as the grassy/vegetal notes come through cleanly without any astringent notes. The rice is what makes this a comforting cup for me – something about that toasted note really fills the mouth and reminds me of warm bread.
As it cools it does go a little flat and metallic – might be the tea, might be my water – but generally I’m not letting them sit around to that point, anyway. :)
Accidentally oversteeped this one a bit – got distracted finishing up my “chai” review from last night – and I’m hoping it doesn’t bring in too many tannic notes due to the assam.
This definitely has the smoke I was lacking in my last cup. The assam/ceylon provides a bit of body in behind the lapsang souchong so that it fills your mouth and leaves the smoke as a lingering flavor at the back of your palate.
It’s like it took my breakfast tea and waved it over a peat fire to warm it up…I’m really into this. I can’t help but think a little milk might help to balance it, so in the name of science, I’m going to go experiment.
I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out, but milk really does something to this tea that I find quite pleasant – it mellows it out further so you can pick up the rounded notes of the black teas without dulling down the smoky bits at the end.
This…may not be a daily drinker, but it might’ve just earned a place in my cabinet.
Smoke. Smoke and a flat kind of black tea behind it.
I feel as though this one really dropped the ball on being a chai – because when I think of chai I’m in line with the hearty masala chai that some brands offer, all spice and lingering warmth – and instead gave me a moderately insipid lapsang souchong mix that neither delighted my palate nor enlivened my senses.
So this, for me, was not a winner. I was able to drink most of the cup, but don’t really feel any need to make another one.