921 Tasting Notes
Happy Labor Day everyone, I hope you are having a fantastic holiday weekend. I am not doing anything special, well Ben has off from work today so we might play some Magic, but other than that it is just a day without mail. I know one exciting thing I will be doing today, cooking! Making sure Ben has lunch for the week, it will be a grand event.
Today’s tea is another hong cha from Yunnan Sourcing, Big Snow Mountain of Mengku Black Tea * Spring 2016 in my ongoing quest to go all Pokemon with all the red teas. You know, there are a lot of tea blogs out there, and several of them are very single focused, usually on Puerh but also several on Greens and Oolongs, if I am not careful I could easily become a blog dedicated to the world of reds, so I have to limit myself a little…only a little though. So, first with the sniffing, and what good sniffing it is! It is both light and rich, not one of those red teas that smacks you in the face with a bar of chocolate and pile of malt, this is subtle caramel peanut brittle, gentle malt, subtle mineral notes, and a bit of a fresh woodsy quality, like someone snapped an oak twig next to my nose, but one that has gone dry rather than being green. Recently dry, not soggy and rotting.
Oh hey! A peppery red! It seems like the last couple of year’s Dian Hongs have been lacking in the pepper department, so it is nice to run into one with that note. Alongside the pepper is a stronger note of malt, some sweet molasses, and a nice undertone of peanuts. The aroma of the first steep is lovely, very ‘Dian Hong’ with notes of toasted peanuts, malt, molasses, and sweet caramel. I was a little surprised I could not detect any yammy goodness, but not all teas have the orange tuber as a note.
Well hello mouthfeel! This one is not so much smooth as it is slippery, like thinned down okra and that is super fun, it is like a slip and slide in my mouth but with tea! It starts with this smooth slippery quality, but by the time I have swallowed it the texture turns to a more familiar thickness. The taste is delightfully sweet, starting with honey and caramel and moving to malt and sweet potatoes with a finish of peanuts and a touch of very distant roses.
The second steep brings in a fascinating change, distant notes of patchouli and myrrh in the aroma along with the sweet caramel and molasses, I love when tea gets that resinous quality (though technically patchouli is leafy, but shh.) The slippery quality of the first steep is replaced by thick smoothness that sticks around the full steep. The taste has a tangy woody cocoa shell quality that blends really well with a sweet potato and molasses middle. The finish is gentle resinous myrrh and a lingering aftertaste of caramel coated peanuts, yum!
Did I go for a steep three? You betcha, I also went for a steep nine but I won’t bore you all with the details in the middle. This tea does not really change a lot between steep two and the inevitable finish, but this is not a bad thing since when it reaches its stride the stride tastes lovely. I really liked how it could be a solid daily drinker or a special occasion tea and plan on adding more to my collection.
For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/09/yunnan-sourcing-big-snow-mountain-of.html
So, I spent the last two days playing Ark like a mad woman. Turns out the big reveal was an expansion pack, one that was a desert world with dragons and giant bugs. Basically it is like Dune, Mad Max, and Dragons of Tarkir (the MTG obsession runs deep) three of my favorite things, Scorched Earth has been amazing so far. Granted I really should have used the $20 it cost to buy some needed clothes, but eh, gaming is more important than leggings.
Today’s tea is one of Liquid Proust Teas’ experimental concoctions, Home Roasted Jin Xuan Oolong and Brazilian Coffee. He took some Jin Xuan and some green Brazilian coffee and roasted them up, going for a tea that is not roasted as much as the other types of Taiwanese Oolongs and for a light coffee. Since LP is not a fan of coffee he asked a local coffee fan who recommended the Brazilian, personally I would have gone with an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe to bring out that sweetness…what? I used to be a manager at a coffee shop, once upon a time I was equally obsessed with the beans as I was the leaf, but it turns out tea is easier on my insides so I only rarely indulge. Anywho, the aroma of this tea is kinda odd, with notes of toasted grains, pine trees, very gently roasted coffee, burnt wood, and a distant note of cigarettes. The blend of coffee and smokes reminds me a bit of an old diner that no longer allows smoking but did years ago and the smell still lingers, but someone brought in a roasted oolong for good measure! It is hitting that nostalgia factor for me for sure.
So how does one brew coffee tea, gongfu of course! After steeping the beans and leaves the aroma of the leaves loses any of that diner aroma to be replaced with nuttiness, toasted grains, pie crust, and an underlying creamy sweetness. The liquid has a blend of toasted nuts, specifically hazelnut and peanuts, with a bit of toast and vanilla cake. It is sweet and nutty with just a slight bit of roast.
The taste of this tea is fun! It tastes a lot like a creme brulee coffee latte, the creaminess of the lightly roasted Jin Xuan blend with the gentle nutty and burnt sugar notes of the coffee. It is light, not very strong in the coffee department, the roasted Jin Xuan being the dominant tasting note. The finish is light and creamy with a lingering nuttiness of peanuts.
Hilariously I only got two steeps from this tea, and not because there was anything wrong with it. See I gave up coffee because it irritates my guts, but also because it is heavy in caffeine…and when I get hit by a strong dose of caffeine I pass out asleep. Give me a soda and within an hour I am snoozing, too many Matcha lattes and I am out, 18 steeps of shou and it is time for bed…you get the idea, I have a paradoxical reaction to caffeine. I thought since it was a blend I would be safe, but no, halfway through this steep I fell asleep in my desk chair, Ben found me drooling onto my keyboard!! What I got from this steep before I fell asleep was pleasant creamy sweetness and a bit of hazelnut and toasted grains, it is sweet and mild, and I guess great to drink before sleep if you are me! Now I am hoping for a blend of a charcoal roasted Dong Ding and a Sumatra Mandheling, that would be epic…and sleep inducing!
For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/09/liquid-proust-teas-home-roasted-jin.html
I am sitting in a very big ball of anticipation, ready to explode at any minute…because ARK!! Oh yeah, it is update day! My update is busily downloading and I am waiting for the big surprise, they will be streaming some massive announcement from PAX West in about 30 minutes (maybe the update will be done by then, it is a big one) and I am very excited to see what it is. The ‘mysterious mysteries’ teasers for the past couple of months all lead towards a desert biome, and the loading screen is what looks like dragon eggs, so yeah I am super excited.
Today’s tea is Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company’s Farmer Changs Green Oolong, their fluffy Baozhong which is the greenest of the Oolongs, with its subtle oxidation. I love Baozhong, but often get stuck with ones that are uninspiring so I tend to overlook it for more traditional Oolongs, but when I find one that is good I get practically giddy! Before I get into the smell, just look at those fluffy emerald leaves, no amount of photography could do these beauties justice and I apologize, take my word for it though they are luminous. So, the aroma, it has a slight chestnut sweetness, which might be a first for a Baozhong, me likes! There is also a potent burst of lilacs and hyacinths, distant orchids, and the most wonderful herbaceous sage and fresh oregano note. I was really liking the tea until the herbaceous notes kicked in, then it was love! Fingers crossed that sticks around through the steeping!
Steeping the leaves, the aroma after the first steep, well there is a little bit of fresh spinach, some mellow sweet chestnuts…oh yea, and a small explosion flowers, it is like summer burst out of my gaiwan and become a sentient cloud wafting around the tea desk. There are notes of peony, lilacs, hyacinth, orchids, and a tiny bit of apple blossom. Luckily the herbaceous notes of oregano and sage survived after the cloud of flower dissipated a bit. The liquid is very sweet, with notes of lily, lilacs, peony, and hyacinth with a tiny touch of spinach and fresh oregano at the finish. I am loving those herbaceous notes, it kinda makes me want to pair this tea with a salad or something.
The first steep is light in both taste and mouth, a delicate airy mouthfeel which goes well with the light first impression. The tasting notes present are gentle hyacinth and lilac with an undertone of orchid, like one that has just opened and not really turned into a floral explosion yet. Towards the middle a lettuce and cucumber note pop up with a lingering chestnut and lilac aftertaste.
Where the first steep was light, buds just beginning to open in the morning, this steep was a heady afternoon hothouse! Holy wow, I feel like I was hit by a wave of flowers, it makes for some comical mental images, just removing the lid of the gaiwan and swoosh flower wave! The taste is wonderful, for all its heady floral notes it is not perfumed, it is like drinking flower nectar…I have become a hummingbird. Lilacs, peony, hyacinth and finally orchid dance throughout the entire sipping experience with bursts of oregano blossoms, fresh sage and cucumber adding a depth to the flowery notes. The aftertaste is honeysuckle, it came out of nowhere and I am ok with that.
One thing that really surprised me with this tea is how thoroughly and quickly it got me tea drunk, I was pleasantly loopy by the third steep and getting a bit poetic in my notebook (and no, I am not sharing my tea drunk poetry or handwriting, both are awful.) I will however share that this tea is still delightful! The flowery notes have calmed down a little, or the spinach, cucumber, sage, and oregano notes became stronger…not really sure, but it really works! At the time of writing this I can safely say this is my favorite Baozhong to date!
For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/09/beautiful-taiwan-tea-company-farmer.html
I was looking at the statistics of my blog and realized that once again I was oblivious to a milestone! I totally derped over a week ago when I missed my three year blog anniversary, and four days ago I derped and missed my 900th post. That is a lot, and considering I have notebooks filled with notes that have not made it onto the blog yet (or ever in the case of some teas and companies going away) I really do drink a lot of tea and have a lot to say about it, in perspective you can say that yes I am obsessed. Also, speaking of the blog, starting tomorrow posts will be going up every other day, I am excited to see how this new schedule will affect things!
You know one of my favorite things about reviewing Darjeeling teas? Knowing the name of the estate they come from so I can google the region and ogle pretty pictures, really this region of India is so gorgeous. Today’s tea is one of those, Teabox’s Upper Namring Exotic Spring Black Tea, this estate is both old and big, so big it is split into upper and lower, and then split into three gardens, with Upper Namring being the highest. The leaves are quite pretty, marbled greens, silvery fuzz, and golden tones, they look like sunlight through summer leaves. The aroma is delicate, notes of coriander and delicate distant flowers mix with fresh green grapes and a bit of raw rice blend with a subtle honey sweetness.
I decided to be a weirdo and brew this tea pseudo gongfu style and use my clay pot dedicated to first flush Darjeeling since the poor thing was gathering dust. After steeping, wow, the leaves really woke up! Very sweet scuppernong and honey aroma blend with a bit of arugula and nasturtium flowers giving it a peppery zing. The liquid has sweet scuppernongs and delicate distant nasturtiums with a bit of lettuce and coriander, blending green and sweet fairly well.
The first steep starts sweet, but has a slight briskness to it that keeps the sweetness from becoming too cloying and thick. The first note that popped up was sweet white grapes, they have a bit of tanginess making them more like table grapes than my beloved scuppernongs. Next is a blend of coriander, lemon blossom, and a crisp lettuce note. For the finish it is herbaceous coriander and a touch of sweet starchiness and distant flowers that linger into the aftertaste.
The second steep is much lighter in both aroma and taste, the aroma being mostly distant lettuce and sweet grapes. The taste is so sweet, no briskness to be found, just dense honey thick grape juice with a hint of lettuce at the finish. This is definitely the type of Darjeeling I would recommend to someone who likes their tea sweet, or is new to the fine world of first flush, it needs a little bit of a gentle hand with temperature, but will result in a wonderfully sweet steeping session.
For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/08/teabox-upper-namring-exotic-spring.html
Usually I tend to make my little introductory paragraphs to the day’s rambling about me (I am not called the Black Mana Princess just because the MTG deck I play, my personality runs heavy into the black as well) but since yesterday’s blog post the news has been filled with a lot of stuff. Of course there is the tragic news of comedic legend Gene Wilder’s passing, whose life I honored by watching Young Frankenstein before bed…that movie has been my favorite since I was tiny. The science world was not quiet either, with Astronomers finding an inexplicable signal (hello alien overlords, I hope they are Turians) and it being declared we are in a new Epoch, goodbye Holocene hello Anthropocene. In typical geological time we have been theorized to be in this Epoch since the 50s, and it is both incredibly fascinating and more than a little terrifying, we humans are a powerful force. It is safe to say the subject of the Antrhopocene will be debated over many cups of tea with Ben in the future.
Today I am looking at a green tea from Green Tea Guru, it was only inevitable with their name that I look at at least one of their green tea offerings! 2016 Qing Zhen Premium Green Tea is a Yunnan green made from the Assamica leaves, harvested in Simao this past spring. From the first sniff of these long leaves I could tell this was not a tea for those who like their greens really sweet, this is a savory brothy leaf. It is slightly meaty and smoky, along with notes of grilled zucchini, asparagus, and eggplant with a slight peanut finish.
This tea smells like food! Looks like delicate wet pine needles but smells like sauteed mushrooms and tofu, asparagus, grilled eggplant and zucchini, and a light finish of chestnuts and peanuts. I feel like I could use it as a soup base! The liquid has a slight chestnut sweetness to it, but mostly it is savory like the wet leaves, with notes of asparagus, eggplant, zucchini, and specifically enoki mushrooms. The aroma is fairly light, with a touch of mineral as well.
Well, that took me a bit by surprise! I was expecting the first steep to be very savory, but it is pretty much devoid of savory qualities. Honey drizzled sesame seeds dance with sweet snap peas and a tiny crisp quality of raw bell pepper. It is not hugely nuanced for the first steep but it is really surprisingly sweet, as it cools a bit it gets a bit of a savory enoki quality at the finish and a touch of water chestnuts in the aftertaste.
The second steep is more what I was expecting from this tea, hello vegetable broth! Blending a gentle start of sesame seeds and snap pea with a robust asparagus, sauteed mushrooms, eggplants, and broccoli in the middle. The finish is a gentle blend of vegetal notes that really do remind me of soup, with a long savory almost meaty quality that lingers in the mouth for a while. I believe this tea totally counts as my daily need for veggies right?
And with this steep the fade begins, it is a problem with most green teas, they never have much longevity mimicking spring’s fleeting nature I suppose. For steep three both the sweet and savory blend perfectly, starting with the same sweetness as the first steep, snap peas and honey sesame seeds which quickly give away to milder savory note of broccoli and eggplant with a finish of zucchini and a touch of bell pepper. This is a tasty tea, especially if you are a fan of teas that flip flop around sweet and savory, I know I do, it is like an adventure!
For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/08/green-tea-guru-2016-qing-zhen-premium.html
It is Monday morning, my weekend was boring and nothing exciting has happened yet so this introduction is short and lame…on to tea!
Once in a while I run into a tea that really makes me go ‘ooooh’ when reading the description, Yunnan Sourcing’s Wild Tree Purple Moonlight White Tea from Jinggu * Spring 2016 was definitely such a tea. It is no secret that I adore purple teas, and not just because it gives me the excuse to shout ANTHOCYANIN at the top of my lungs whenever I drink it. The extra anthocyanin seems to add a unique quality to the purple teas I have enjoyed, especially some of the purple hong chas, so mixing my love of purple with my almost maniacal love of Moonlight, yeah, I needed this so badly. First off, these leaves are so fluffy and so pretty, practically a rainbow of colors, they are magical. The aroma is pretty heavenly, notes of melon, lettuce, hay, cucumbers, muscadine grapes, plums, sage, and an underlying earthy note that is really hard to pin down. It is sweet and rich while also being light and airy, I am intrigued by its complexity.
Gaiwan time! Decided to use my bat gaiwan set, for nostalgia, plus the dark colors of the leaves compliment the blue quite well. The aroma of the leaves is wow, notes of melon and lettuce dance with cucumber, muscadines, apricots, plums, and a distant note of pepper. It is sweet and pretty intense! The aroma of the liquid is also pretty intense and very sweet, notes of plum and cherry dance with lettuce and cucumber and the distinct note of dandelion pollen. I feel like I am sinking while sniffing it, the aroma has a weight, like purple tendrils pulling me down into sleep.
Well, this tea is magical, that is all I have to say, review done….ok not really. Though this tea is pretty magical, I am amazed how it manages to be both immensely light and refreshing while also being dark and heavy. It is honey drenched lettuce, cucumber crowded plums, buttery muscadines, and a finish of myrrh and distant spice. This is a peculiar tea of notes that I would not usually combine working well together.
The aroma of the second steep is a wonderful combination of muscadines, lettuce, zucchini and myrrh with an underlying honey quality. So this steep is heavy and not as sweet as the first, but with a lingering spice and fruit note that sticks around forever. The start is a bit crisp with notes of honey and grapes with a slight cumber quality. Then the richness of this steep really settles in, buttery lettuce and bok choy with a thick stewed plum quality, though without the usual sweetness associated with the fruit. It is fascinating to have it taste like plum without the sweet, it is unique and I am still loving it.
For the third steep the aroma is still pretty sweet and also crisp, blending grapes and zucchini with lettuce and honey. It still has a gentle resinous myrrh note and also a slight woodiness, specifically sweet fruit wood. This steep is like a combination of the first and second, being immensely sweet and fruity while also being buttery and very rich. The cooked plum note is joined by apricots and it is very nectar sweet, combining with a middle of crisp lettuce and cucumbers, and melon and gentle spiced finish that lingers. Ah, this tea, pity it is already sold out because I want lots more!
For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/08/yunnan-sourcing-wild-tree-purple.html
So, someone who has messed with the Xbone recently did a dumb. Turns out my screen is fine, it was just plugged into the wrong port! I am not sure if it was Ben or myself that did such a daft thing, but it was certainly me that unplugged and replugged it into the same port a couple times while trying to troubleshoot it, it wasn’t until I was plugging in my USB charger that I realized the mistake. All that sad flailing earlier in the week was for naught, though I certainly wouldn’t complain about getting a nicer and larger screen!
Today I am looking at Keemun Imperial Gongfu Black Tea from MeiMei Fine Teas, and before I get into the tea I have a bit of a story. About a week before the tea arrived I was talking with Ben about tweaking the recipe on Ravnican Caravan, the blend I developed for his birthday. I told him I was thinking of removing the Shui Xian and adding Keemun instead, since adding a bit of fruity sweet would add more balance to the tea, and there was already enough char/smoke from the Lapsang. He agreed this was a good idea, but was concerned by the apparently very hilarious expression I had on my face. Asking what was wrong, with shock, I told him ‘I haven’t had a Keemun in over two years!’ It was like I had forgotten that tea existed, which is tragic since I used to LOVE it, this was something that needed rectifying, and MeiMei Fine Teas came to my rescue! The aroma of the delicate leaves is wonderful, very sweet with notes of raspberries, plums, cherries, and apricot mix with delicate distant floral, and the distinct malt/yam blend that lets me know this is a hong cha. I had no problem getting lost sniffing this tea, oh Keemun I have missed you!!
Into the green shibo the leaves go for a steeping and wow, that aroma is something else! Very fruity sweet notes of raspberries, plums, and cherries with underlying notes of squash flowers, wildflowers, and rich yams and peanuts. There is a lot going on in the wet leaves and it took several sniffs to process all the layers. The liquid smells sweet, though not quite as strongly as the wet leaves, instead it is more rich with its notes of yams, peanuts, squash, squash blossoms, and a finish of dark cherries. It also has a tiny hint of an aroma similar to red wine, specifically cherries cooked in red wine, which adds to the richness.
So the first steep starts out a bit brisk…wait…no it doesn’t. It switches to smooth so quickly that I thought I imagined it, but no, it is there. The taste starts with fruity sweetness, blending cherries and lighter apricot with a touch of plums. Then it moves to a floral and earthy (only slightly) blend of acorn squash, squash blossoms, and poplar tree flowers. The finish is a smooth blend of plums and malt with a lingering gentle yamminess that gives a slight starchy quality to the end.
That tiny bit of briskness that popped up in the first steep has totally vanished, replaced by a smooth mouthfeel and a distinct brightness, it feels like light in my mouth, no heaviness but not airy, just light and bright and putting me in a pleasantly cheerful mood. Honestly it is impossible to be in a bad mood while drinking this beauty, with sweet notes of red wine stewed plums and cherries, squash blossoms and poplar flowers, and a yammy peanut finish, it is both well balanced and tasty.
This steep is still quite fruity and sweet, strong notes of those cherries and plums stewed in red wine, with an added slice of apricot. However in the middle the flowery notes are all but gone, a bit of polar remains, but mostly there is rich malt and intensely starchy yams with a gentle peanut finish. I am so sorry Keemun, I will never forget you again. Luckily for me this tea had longevity, so I got more steeps out of it, though that has not stopped me from almost finishing my sample already!
For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/08/meimei-fine-teas-keemun-imperial-gongfu.html
The weather has been so awesome the last couple days, I have been loving it! Previously this week it has been cool, mostly sunny, but cool…perfect windows open days. Yesterday the fun started, first with a bit of drizzles then intermittent storms, and then wow, last night was a storm party! Granted it was when I was trying to sleep, and I am pretty sure a tree up the road was lightninged into oblivion meaning very loud booms, but I don’t care. I will lose sleep anytime to storms! In fact it just finished another storm about half an hour ago, with more promised during the rest of the week, this makes me giddy!!
Today I am taking a look at White2Tea’s 2016 A&P, a Dianhong they included with the July teaclub (along with some killer sweet balls) which is conveniently also for sale in their shop for when I inevitably run out and need more. It is how I am with the deliriously tasty reds, they are addictive and I always need another fix, ALWAYS. Honestly I am tempted to get another cake to just put away for aging, since it was made from Lincang Puerh materials and sun-dried leaving it a bit raw meaning it should improve with a few years age on it.
Except for a few exceptions I love most my reds with a little age on them, usually I find any harsh notes will mellow out after a year or two…assuming they last that long around me. So after admiring this lovely dark cake in its pristine form I hacked a bit off for closer examination, with my nose.
Well hello there you chocolaty cake of goodness, it smells like the batter for the rich triple chocolate molasses cake I make when I am desperately craving chocolate, very sweet and thickly chocolate. There are also undertones of cooked plum, sandalwood, myrrh, and malt. Fun fact, when I first opened this bad boy up it smelled lightly of cocoa, a few weeks later the cocoa increased, and now in the middle of August when I am writing this it smells like a blasted cake! I think in a year it will gain sentience as the embodiment of chocolate, it is the only explanation.
So after a first steep the aroma is nothing short of oomph, it is a little bit malty and a touch nutty, but the strongest notes by far are sweet cocoa and woody sandalwood. The combination of this tea’s notes are mouthwatering, sandalwood is a great love of mine, like on a primal level…is this tea trying to seduce me? The liquid once free from its leafy restraints blend notes of creamy milk chocolate, peanuts, sandalwood, molasses, and caramelized brown sugar…it is like all the parts of a really tasty candy but separate, and with sandalwood. Yum.
So I make a show saying that I am not a social person which is why most my teaing is done in the privacy of my tea lair, but really I think it is because the noises that good tea elicit out of me are just not sociable, and I don’t like holding back! I have this same problem with food. This tea had that effect on me for sure, from the first sip I was dancing in my chair and making all sorts of happy noises. Starting with a thick mouth (this is a theme that will stick around) it is sweet, like the most perfect ripe cherry and plum exploding in my mouth with a fantastic chocolate shrapnel to the face. Then for the finish it is like someone gave me just the caramelized sugar top of a creme brulee, the aftertaste of brown sugar lingers for a while.
The aroma of the second steep ramps up, stronger cocoa, more intense molasses, juicy plum and brown sugar dance with sandalwood for one outstanding thing to sniff. It is still thick as all get out, like almost fruit nectar thick but blissfully without the sticky, super creamy and dense. It starts with overly ripe bordering on cooked plums with malt and molasses, building slowly until the midtaste is chocolate. Starting with milk chocolate and moving to dark, never getting to bittersweet. The finish is a blend of pine sap, myrrh, and sandalwood, cutting down the sweet ever so slightly but adding a richness that is almost blinding.
Surprisingly my mind is not mush by this point, it feels like it is almost at the point, sensory overload for sure! This steep does not change much from the second, it pretty much stays at status quo until steep five where it starts fading away into chocolate, plums and molasses until nothing is left several steeps later. This tea has longevity, aging potential, and it almost turned me into a gibbering mess (I needed time to process before I could get this written, it was like a chocolate tea Eldrazi…the MTG card no one knew they wanted) so yeah, if you have the money I say give this one a get. I plan on attempting to leave my cake alone for at least a few months to see how it changes.
For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/08/white2tea-2016-a-tea-review.html
Ugh! Technical difficulties!! I was feeling a bit off today and decided I wanted to spend my day playing some Ark, but it seems my electronics have other plans. I turn on my Xbone and my screen didn’t turn on, so I fiddle with the cables and connections and nope, the screen (which is old and has been on its last legs for a while) finally has died. This is so sad, the new Ark update is supposed to come out on the first but I doubt I will have a new screen by then, what a bummer.
But, of course, where there is sadness there is always tea to brush away whatever has put me in a foul mood. Today’s tea is from Bitterleaf Teas, their Giant White 2015 Jing Gu Moonlight White Tea, ah Moonlight, one of my favorite types of tea. I have given it the nickname Drow tea, since it is dark leaves with beautiful silver trichomes, much like a Drow…because I am such a dork, but I don’t care, Drow are awesome and so is this tea. After I get done oohing and aahing over the beautiful fluffy leaves I give them a good sniff, and the first thing I notice is the iconic aroma of tomato leaves. I am not sure why Moonlight almost always smells like tomato leaves to me, along with rich honey, freshly cut hay, woodruff, sage, and a bit of distant grapes. It is mellow and sweet, a bit more herbaceous than usual, which I really enjoy.
Into my dedicated to Moonlight teapot the leaves go for a steep. Well hello complex wet leaves! Notes of sugar cane, marshmallow, peaches, lettuce, and dried tomato dance out of the pot with the steam. The leaves smell crisp and sweet, managing to be refreshing while also retaining a dessert like sweetness. The liquid is very light, like a just ripe peach (not cut, just sitting there, taunting you with its sweetness, but it is too pretty to eat yet…this has happened to me too many times) wildflowers, honey, and a touch of butterhead lettuce adding a touch of crispness at the finish.
This tea starts pretty light, with gentle notes of hay and delicate lettuce at the start and a powerful burst of perfectly ripe peach at the middle. The finish is delicate sugar cane and distant note of hazelnuts. It is very sweet and wonderfully light, a good start that had me craving more.
Steep two’s aroma has the wildflowers and honey along with gentle lettuce and peaches, but now it also has a meringue sweetness that really has me wondering what a peach meringue pie would taste like. It starts with a thick sweetness, like warm honey drizzled apricots and peaches with a side of juicy sugarcane. In the middle of the steep it gets a distinct woodruff and sage quality that blends amazingly with the fruity quality and makes the transition into lettuce and celery pretty seamless. The aftertaste is a long lingering sweet and light sugar cane, delicious stuff.
Now what sets this Moonlight apart from many others I have tried? Well it is sweet, it still has that crisp lettuce quality of a fresh Moonlight, oh yeah…it lasts forever! I am not sure I have run into one that lasts as many steeps, and usually this style of tea can get quite a few steeps in before it fades away. As the steeps carry on the notes of peach and apricot increase and the crisp lettuce notes start to take a backseat until they eventually fade, though the herbaceous notes stick around for a bit longer. As the tea starts to fade all that is left is wonderful honey and distant wildflowers.
For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/08/bitterleaf-teas-giant-white-2015-jing.html
Well, I think I have my fill of No Man’s Sky let’s plays, after many days of watching them. I will probably feel different if I ever get to play it, but from what I can tell it seems like a bit of a let down. I was under the impression it was going to be focused mainly on exploration, that grinding for resources was secondary and that there was not going to be a plot…well, either I was wrong or the advertisement was misleading. Having seen a player reach the conclusion of the ‘plot’ well, I am glad I was never invested in the story because wow, it is anticlimactic!! In a way I am glad I do not have the right system to play it.
Today I am looking at another tea from Adagio Teas, their Formosa Bai Hao. You may know this tea by its other more famous name, Oriental Beauty, though there is a bit of a movement to change that name to one of many other names, since OB is deemed by many to be culturally insensitive. I will probably always call it OB, not a shortening, but like Bob without the ‘b’ mainly because it makes me think of Magic character Ob Nixillis, because that name is hilarious. This tea, other than a very slight name similarity has nothing in common with Ob Nixillis, because he is a jerk and this is a tea, teas can’t be jerks. Well, that got rambling quick, let is go straight into the aroma before I get side-tracked again! The aroma of the leaves is very light, I really had to shove my nose in them to get much, though the notes that were present were quite pleasant. Autumn leaves blend with distant grapes and light honey. It smells autumnal and mildly sweet.
Only one thing to do since sniffing isn’t giving me much, time to brew it up! Once steeped the leaves liven up a bit, notes of apples and grapes blend with squash and autumn leaves, I swear OB is always autumnal to me, like the best parts of autumn distilled into tea. The aroma of the liquid is a fruity blend of crisp apples, juicy pears, a bit of honey, and a touch of grapes. It is very sweet and nectar like.
The first steep is really quite light, in both taste and texture, it is almost airy in its lightness. It blends notes of light and slightly crisp apples with sweet pears and very gentle grapes at the start. Around the middle the fruit takes on a baked quality being reminiscent of fruit pie with a slight crust quality. The aftertaste is sweet like warmed wildflower honey, though it does not linger over long.
For the second steep the aroma is a fruity blend of apples, pears, and a touch of distant citrus, it is light and sweet, again reminding me of fruit nectar. The taste is much like the first steep, but with a bit more oomph. Notes of apples and pears dance with grapes and gentle wildflower honey and autumn leaves. It has a slightly citrus note that pops up towards the finish and lingers for a short while in the aftertaste. Sadly there really wasn’t much to steep three, it was greatly faded by that point. This tea did not really wow me, there was nothing wrong with it, just nothing jumped out and grabbed me as being spectacular.
For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/08/adagio-teas-formosa-bai-hao-tea-review.html