513 Tasting Notes
Another tea sample that i acquired at Saturday’s tea meet, this one via the lovely sil.
I read her tasting note about it and saw that she wasn’t getting as much flavour as she wanted with a shorter steep, so I opted for a full five minutes, because the smell of this tea is divine. You can smell the vanilla and caramel, and something about it just smells so high quality for lack of a better term. To the point where it’s verging on something else, although i can’t quite put my finger on it. Candied pralines, maybe? Anyway, it definitely smells like a French bakery. Unfortunately, the scent doesn’t really persevere into the flavour, or rather it’s much more delicate and significantly muted. That said, it was still a delightfully delicious cup, and I have plans to finish off the sample in a larger mug. French teas can be quite overwhelmable in my experience, so sometimes they do require a bit of tinkering.
I don’t really like grapefruit, or grapefruit juice (why am I starting off my tasting notes by saying that I pretty much never expect to like things? hmmm). Anyway, I read the rave reviews for this tea, and also suspected that grapefruit and bergamot would pair really well together, as they are both quite crisp flavours. That said, it’s possible that they could have been too contradictory, but I somehow doubted it. Anyway, omgsrsly picked up some of this for me and brought it to the meet on Saturday. I decided that it would probably be a nice, kick in the pants tea, and when I woke up this morning and it was dark out and I felt as though it was the middle of the night and I would have offered up my soul to the devil to get some more sleep, I knew it might fit the bill.
Brewed up a tsp of leaf in 8 oz. of water, and added in my normal amount of milk and sugar. I have been halving the amount of sugar in my tea lately for some inexplicable reason, but I figured I’d go with the full amount as I’d read about how tart the grapefruit can be here, and combined with the bergamot, I knew I’d be in for a mouthful. Anyway, steeped it for four minutes, and it was delicious. The grapefruit and bergamot work amazingly well together, and I wouldn’t really say one drastically out shown the other. I couldn’t get too much of the base, but I’m not surprised, as it’s quite strongly flavoured. The tea (as with most teas I drink) tasted better as it cooled, and the milk made it taste oh so creamy. I can see myself reaching for this tea for a variety of reasons: in the winter when I need a brisk pick-me-up in the mornings; as a comfort tea to cozy up to with a good book; as a spring tea to awaken my senses. It is a fairly straight-forward tea with little in the way of nuance or surprises, and that’s just fine by me. I will have absolutely no trouble finishing off this bag, and depending on how often I reach for it, it may become a staple. Too early to say yet, though.
So we brewed up a giant mug of this at sil’s place yesterday so that she, omgsrsly, kitenna, indigabloom and I could try it without committing to an entire cup. And I do believe this was courtesy of indigobloom, so thank you!
I do not really like lemon-flavoured things, and I’m a person who typically adds things to my tea. I’m also not even entirely sure I know how hogicha is different from other green teas, so I had my reservations when I began to sip it. But I was surprised at how much I liked it. The lemon wasn’t overwhelming which I instantly liked, but there was enough flavor to make me really think I would enjoy a cup of this without additions. I really hope this is reblended, because I’ll certainly be getting myself some if that’s the case.
It was so very lovely to meet up with people I’d been talking to for years. Everyone got along so well, and I only wish more of you were actually there. I can’t wait to do it again!
Also, everyone needs to know that in another lifetime, sil actually worked as an independent living skills specialist for blind people! I’ve recently purchased a bonavida variable temp kettle, and because Mr. Keychange is blind as well, when it arrived at my house, we kind of opened it and just marveled at how short and fat and cute it was, and how neat the spout looks. So I hauled it over to sil’s place, and we practiced memorizing
how many times buttons needed to be pressed, how to change things up, etc. But the real kicker was when we practiced pouring. We started with cold water so I could get used to the motions, but then sil was like “we’ve gotta up this game, biatch, i’ma fill this bitch up with water that we’ll boil now.” and off she went. Pretty soon, there was a kettle, each part of which was hotter than hell sitting in front of me. But we worked out a way to line it up and test to see if it was lined up properly, and then I began to pour. And holy mother of god it worked. Sil was great at policing my left hand, which wanted to creep up to feel the spout. She was like “uh uh uh! get that hand out of there! you won’t be able to use it when the kettle’s boiling hot!”. So very clever! Anyway, everyone just needed to know that. some people are just so naturally good at striking a balance between sensitivity and expectations of your potential and skill, and it’s just so wonderful to see. The vast majority of people I meet have wonderful intentions and want to be helpful, but few are that intuitive.
Can’t wait to see all of you guys again!
Backlog, as I had this yesterday morning.
I was part of simple loose leaf’s monthly subscription program for a few months last year, but then the tea sort of just started piling up and I felt overwhelmed. But the idea of a milk oolong has always entrigued me, mostly because I like my drinks to be milky, so I thought I’d give it a shot yesterday. The dry leaf smells “milky”, although it’s underpinned by what I imagine to be the hallmark roasted sort of nutty oolong smell. I brewed this for three minutes, which I think was on the longer end of the steeping instructions. The resulting brew retained the smell of the dry leaf, and it was even more intense if that’s possible. Tasting better and better as it cooled, I felt as though I was drinking a cup of hot, slightly nutty and deeply creamy milk, and I actually think it would go into the category of a comfort tea for me.
Now I want to try more amazing milk oolongs, because I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to get this exact one again. Any suggestions? I wasn’t a fan of the one from davids tea, if I remember correctly.
And thanks weet f*** it’s Friday.
Teavivre has some good milk oolongs, both flavored and unflavored. I also just had a great tea that I suspect is a milk oolong, but I don’t know what it is. The package is only in kanji. :(
Oh, is Mandala still around? and charoma, darn those teas we can’t identify! Oh well, it was there for a season, I guess.
I have some from a few companies, including the now defunct Teaopia (I stocked up when it was on sale as they closed). I also have some Osthmanthus oolong from Bird Pick which is a nice milk oolong. Let me know if you want me to send either your way.
For high quality (but expensive) straight Jin Xuan oolong, there’s Tea Ave: http://teaave.com/collections/all/products/alishan-jin-xuan-oolong?variant=1165569747
For an affordable, more sweet/milky oolong (I’m pretty sure it is actually scented) I recommend this one from Tealux: http://www.tealux.ca/jin_xuan_tea_taiwan_milk_oolong
You know when you wake up feeling hormonal and fragile, and then you brew up a tea you’ve never had before, and suddenly so much is resting on how it turns out? When I opened this bag, my nose was pleasantly assaulted with a blast of straight up cinnamon bun. I smelled the frosting that hints at cream cheese, I smelled the cinnamon bun itself, the thick, sweet bread, and for heaven’s sake, it even almost managed to smell warm. So despite myself, my expectations were kind of set.
I brewed this for five minutes, added in some cream and rock sugar, and got to sniffing. The brew retained much of the smell of the dry leaf, which is both promising and dangerous. But the first sip cemented it all: it was hot, it tasted thick (thanks to the cream which, dare I say, I might even be able to back off of), it tasted sticky and gooey and cinnamony, and I felt so cozy and happy as I drank it with my hashbrown breakfast and read “the dust that falls from dreams”. I think I’ll love this tea even more in the winter. I’m just imagining it in a timolino or carry mug (actually, it’s the new curve travel mug I am lusting after so hard). I’m imagining opening the lid after coming in from the cold, and burying my nose in cinnamon-bun-scented steam. Omg. Tea, I am back.
I know I know, same tea different morning. But I’m still trying to iron out some kinks in my tea-drinking experience.
This tea, again, was quite good. but there was still something wrong with the t. It tasted flat, or perhaps even as if the base tea had changed, although I have a theory. For the longest time, I was using my keurig to dispense water into my tea mug, and I was filling the keurig’s water reservoir with tap water. Then, we got one of those culligan water coolers for our house, and I began using the Culligan water to fill up the keurig. This was when I was drinking coffee, for which it is just fine. but any time I used the hot water tap on the Culligan cooler to make myself tea, the teal would always, without any exceptions, come out tasting weird. It’s strange, because cold, the Culligan water is delicious, although it’s a “thicker” water if that makes sense. It is not like spring water, which has a much thinner mouth feel. And I know I sound ridiculous, but the kind of water I use to make my tea seems to absolutely make a difference. So next up, I’m going to experiment with tap water tea and see what happens, although I’ll have to wait for the Keurig to run through the water it already has first in order to get there.
So let’s keep our fingers crossed that I’m right!
Do you guys notice a difference in the taste of your tea depending on what water you use also? I keep trying to tell myself it’s all in my head, but it kind of isn’t.
When I lived away from home for school, there were teas I wouldn’t bother taking with me because I knew they didn’t pair as well with the water there.
Ok, whew. I’m so glad it isn’t all in my head. Because I was noticing it with tea after tea, and I was like “seriously? five teas?” here’s hoping changing the water will fix it!
when I was in Florida, there was one tea in particular, I can’t recall what now, that tasted amazing but really odd here in Mississauga. I think it was the difference of hard vs soft water
It’s definitely not in your head. Water quality has been documented to make a difference. If you start with bad water, you’re going to have bad tea. I’ve especially run into this problem at work. I royally screwed up two cups of tea last week. The first time I tried heating water in a paper cup in the microwave. The cup started to burn so it made the water taste burnt. Then I tried using the hot water tap, but the water was really metallic-tasting. Total fail.
Ok guys, this is much, much better.
For those of you who don’t yet know, east indies is dellaterra’s supplier, and given that dt has sort of been a bit on again off again regarding how open for business they are, I figured I’d go straight to the source (thanks to marzipan, who alerted us). I kind of, um, bought 117 dollars worth of tea from them, so to say I went a bit overboard isn’t an exaggeration. But the customer service there was fantastic, although if you live in Canada, please insist that they don’t ship to you via UPS because I got slammed with a hefty border tax at my door. Not fun at all. It kind of made me have unreasonably high expectations for the tea because hello, if I’m paying a million dollars, this tea had better make me fly.
Anyway, I’m happy to report that this tea is as delicious as I remember it being. unfortunately, I was a little too heavy-handed with the cream, so the flavours were kind of muted, and I suspected my water could have been a smigeon hotter than it was, but this cup was verily bursting with potential. I have always preferred this tea to davids tea’s pumpkin chai, because I find this tea to have more flavor overall, and I can also taste the black base more. And so, even though this tea has not yet reached its maximum potential, I can taste it there, lingering underneath my brewing mistakes. Pretty exciting stuff, guys. Pretty exciting stuff.
Ok, so now it’s off to Costco with a good friend, and then tonight we’re making fajitas!
Ok so I’m not really going to beat around the bush here, because I had this tea yesterday and so I’ve had enough time to really think about it. Not that I even needed time.
I do not like this tea. It does not smell of lilacs, nor does it taste of them. At all. Like not even a little bit. It tastes just like black tea, and it was easily overwhelmed by my milk and sugar, although you would not have guessed that by the strong, virging on tanic smell of the leaves as it brewed. I’m a little hartbroken. Because I have like two oz left. I’m meeting a bunch of fellow steepsterites next Saturday, and I intend on bringing this tea to see if the problem is me, the tea, the description, or all three. Don’t get me wrong—it isn’t hideous or anything like that. it’s just not even close to being a lilac-flavoured tea. And I know, I know. Try brewing it this way. That way. More water. Less water. More leaf. Try brewing it further above sea level. But like, it isn’t even close, not even in the neighborhood of what I was hoping for, so I’m kind of tea-devastated.
Awwww – I know you’ve been hunting for flowery teas. So sad that this one totally missed for you. :((