60 Tasting Notes
So, lately I have been thinking about making a Philippino tea. Our company name is a Tagalog word and it seems weird that we haven’t come up with a Philippino inspired tea yet. I decided on coming up with a dessert tea based on the Philippino dessert Palitao. Palitao is a vegan and gluten-free dessert that is essentially a boiled rice cake that is chewy and warm and is then dredged through coconut, toasted sesame seeds, and sugar. It’s freaking pretty delicious. I spent a day at my in-laws and I cooked a batch of them with my mother-in-law and father-in-law. Since I can’t have sugar, I made mine sugar-free though I did sneak a bite of a sugar one just so I knew what it tastes like. Here’s a pic of our creation: http://instagram.com/p/dnswvelfIi/# . The tea will mostly be just a brown sugar, coconut, and toasted sesame flavored tea though it will not have any sugar added. I’m very excited about this. We will also be doing a blog with the recipe to make these treats at home. It’s super easy to make and so delicious. Also, we are very close to having our limited edition Carrot Cake tea complete. Excited about that one too. It’s very fall-y.
I’m very happy with how The Black Lotus blend turned out. I tried about 20 different combinations looking for the very best English Breakfast blend, something that would completely obliterate our previous English Breakfast and something that would stand out among other EBs. Once I was down to the final 5, I let my mother-in-law choose. She works with me a lot and helps out and is a big tea fan. She chose this blend. I said to her, that’s the most expensive one, are you sure that’s the one you like best. She replied “it tastes expensive, I want this one”. So, this is the one we went with. I really love this, I wouldn’t exactly say that it tastes like other typical English Breakfasts. I’ve noticed that most are pretty citrusy or astringent, but this one is very malty and smooth. Both the Premium Taiwanese Assam and the Congou Keemun add that lovely malt to it. I prefer drinking this cooled. There is a lot going on and you can taste all the notes at a warmer temp. I can taste the earthiness, the chocolate, raisins, almonds, as well as a gentle citrus and lingering floral, mainly jasmine. There is a wonderful sweetness too. It works really well and I have been drinking it quite a bit. The directions we set are strictly for drinking it plain, however, it does work well with additions if the leaf requirements are upped a little bit.
Also, this tea is 29% off now until the end of September.
Today I have been thinking about which teas I want to axe. We have a number of new flavors I would like to test out. Whether they will work out, I’m not sure but I do have a large number of ideas that I would like to start on. Three of my favorite ideas are an Irish Cream Cheesecake, Espresso Stout Beer Tea and Champagne with Rose Cream. I think those will be hard to pull off but I can’t wait to try. The top contenders to be axed are the Raspberry Truffle, Strawberry Oolong, and the Mint Oolong. Also, I’ve just been thinking about trying out a Pumpkin Milkshake tea and seeing how it compares to our current Pumpkin Crème Brulee.
On to the tea at hand. I love love love me some Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black and this harvest is fantastic! Leafhoppers are magical creatures! I truly believe this tea needs to be tried in a gongfu session to be really appreciated as that is how I’m getting the most flavor out of it. I have been doing about 7 steeps with this tea with my gaiwan. Here’s a pic of the wet leaves in my cute little red 50ml gaiwan: http://instagram.com/p/dQPsaGFfKn/. From this session, I’m getting heavier honey notes that linger and evolve into powdered sugar notes. Additionally, there are some bready notes with cinnamon and sweet potato. Occasional plum notes peak through the maltiness. This tea is weighty and produces a lovely complex cup of tea. I just absolutely love it! :)
I’ve been thinking a bit out my background lately. Growing up, I’ve had no real culture other than typical American food from the box with no real traditions and I’ve just felt as though I was lacking tradition or culture. I’ve always been somewhat jealous of my husband who has a very large family and extensive traditions. When I was very young, my Polish grandmother used to make all these Polish foods from scratch. I’ve always wanted to learn more about that. Pretty young, I lost all of my grandparents so it’s really just been my parents, one brother, a few cousins, 3 aunts, and 2 uncles. All in all a pretty small family. I didn’t even really know my background only very vaguely, which became quite obvious recently after talking with a Polish guy when he mentioned that I didn’t look all that Polish and I didn’t really know much about my background otherwise. I’ve been on a search to find out more about myself. Turns out I’m 37.5% of both Polish and Ukraine, though some of that Ukraine is actually Mongolian. Also, I am 12.5% of both Native American and German. I’m planning on really trying to track my family tree and learn about some traditions. I suppose as I’m getting older, I think where I come from is getting more important. Well, on to the tea.
Today is day 2 of my raging migraine, so please pardon my tasting notes as they may be inaccurate due to the headache. I love this dragon well. I particularly like to do what I call reverse brewing. I have this glass tumbler that you can click this steel strainer into place. I like to put the tea leaves under the strainer to watch the leaves expand and brew especially since they look so gorgeous. The strainer keeps the leaves from getting in my mouth and I just add more water when it starts to turn bitter. I love to do this with my green teas. This tea is sweet and strongly nutty and buttery with some steamed vegetable notes. I’m finding the nutty notes to be similar to brazil nuts today and the steamed veggie notes to be mostly artichoke. A hint of floral can also be detected. It’s perfect for my mood right now. A solid sweet green tea that is more buttery and nutty than anything else. This is a beautiful mellow cup of tea.
As it gets closer to the expected arrival date, I get a little more bold about having more of my tiny half ounce stash of this tea. I so needed some today since I am putting in a 16 hour work day. This tea is deliciously honey. The notes are intense but the pastry notes balance it from being too sweet. This tea lingers long after the sip. Not that I want this summer to hurry up already but I can’t wait for our order to come in. I purchased a kilo just for myself for the year so I won’t need to be hoarding it.
We just posted this Oriental Beauty on our website. It’s the first of 6 teas that we will be putting up tonight. I did the official tasting yesterday and today I’m getting some different notes, though that may be because I just had a huge amount of bruschetta. In addition to the honey and funnel cake notes, I’m also getting some lightly cooling mint, mushroom, and mineral notes. I love this Oriental Beauty. It took us a while to pick out just the right one and I think I might be partial to this one because it somewhat reminds me of our Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black that has been out of stock for a few months now. Ever since this one has arrived, I have been drinking it nonstop. I tend to go heavy on the leaf and even use boiling water. I prefer a slight astringency for this one.
I love this tea! Ever since it has arrived, it’s the only tea I drink. First Flush Darjeelings tend to be on the caffeinated side and this one is no exception. I feel a bit more alert after drinking this tea. It tastes so very fresh, since it was harvested earlier this month. Today I went pretty heavy on the leaves. I like this a bit on the heavy side with more astringency. The first thing I’m noticing today is maltiness followed by sweet almond and juicy peach notes. Those notes give way to strong jasmine notes. The jasmine is so strong that it almost tastes like a scented tea though the jasmine notes do not last long before hay and woody notes appear. There is a fantastic lingering sweetness. With the heavier leafing, I’m not tasting the lemon notes or the blackberry notes that I had previously tasted. Still, I enjoy this very heavily leafed. This year we added two additional 2013 first flush Darjeelings. This was my favorite of all the Darjeelings I tasted and that was quite a few. We also added another Darjeeling but I wanted something that would be less sweet than this and that’s why we also went with the Thurbo Estate. Both are phenomenal teas.
This is day 3 of my raw food cleanse. From time to time, I like to follow a raw diet to cleanse my body. This time around, I haven’t really been overly hungry (yet) but today is a real low. I’m feeling very exhausted, weak, and am unable to focus. This will pass since I’ve felt this before in the detox phase but I was hoping to get the ‘community’ page of our website done tonight and that is not looking real promising right now. During my raw diet, I allow one cheat of one tea a day. Today I opted for the Hattialli Golden Lion Assam. This is a real special second flush. It reminds me very much of a Yunnan. I love the maltiness of this tea and the oaky and peppery notes. Right now I’m also getting an almost burned chocolate note as well as some apricot and floral notes. I’m very glad I chose this as my reward tea. Hopefully, it will help me focus a bit.
I’m a big fan of aged oolongs and this tea in particular is a really special tea. 22 years ago seems like such a long time. I looked through some of my old photo books to see what I was like 22 years ago and I couldn’t find anything from 1991. There are an explosion of photos from 1993, when I started high school, but I can’t find anything from after I was a baby up until 1993.
This tea was stored for 22 years, every few years the tea is roasted. It is because of this process that aged oolongs are rare. They don’t command a price worth storing the tea that long and re-roasting it occasionally. I’ve heard some speculation that aging oolongs in Taiwan could die out.
This tea makes me happy. It is so delicious and buttery. I definitely recommend gongfu brewing but even western style, it is still very rich and creamy. Roasted chestnuts and tree bark are the first notes that hit my tongue followed instantly by creamy butter notes that linger long after the sip. I’m almost getting a very very light minty end note. There are also some pleasant mineral notes. After about 2 decades, mineral notes start to appear in aged oolongs. This is a tea that I end up drinking so fast because I am enjoying it so much. Yum, what a nice treat!
Just finished making a large batch of Grapefruit Dragon. Working with that tea can be challenging. The scent is so overpowering that I can literally taste the grapefruit and it tingles my tongue. So, I decided I needed a smooth and mellow tea. This is one of my reward teas. The honey is just so delicious and creamy. Yums! This is reminding me that I need to work on a honeysuckle blend.
Just added this to our website. I always like to drink the teas while I write the descriptions for our website, even though I have already written full tasting notes. It gets me in the mood to write about the tea.
I love this oolong. Our Anxi Tie Guan Yin and this one are my 2 favorite oolongs. I definitely recommend this to any oolong fanatics. This is a winter harvest and the leaves were plucked just a couple months ago, so it is very fresh. The leaves are very sturdy. Here is a picture after the 3rd infusion: http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i446/butikiteas/3rdinfusionleavesdayuling_zpsb70e1a64.jpg. That’s from my mini glass pot that I use for gongfu sessions. I love being able to see the leaves brew. This is just such an interesting tea. Here’s a short breakdown of the infusions I’ve done so far:
1st infusion: Very floral, notes of orchids and lilac mingle with bosc pear followed by light spearmint notes. Buttery. Light spinach notes.
2nd infusion: very very vegetal.
3rd infusion: vegetal but fading.
4th infusion: The floral notes are back and even stronger now! The spearmint notes are also pretty strong and lingers long after the sip. Nice sweetness and deliciously buttery. This was one of my favorite infusions this session.
5th infusion: Floral, vegetal with strong spearmint notes. Delicious!
This tea has a few more infusions left, but I need a break at the moment.
I strongly recommend giving this one a try but also recommend taking some time to spend with it.