185 Tasting Notes
I took advantage of Frank offering free White Teas to place another order from 52teas, and it came today, which I might add is a darn quick turnaround time, seeing as I placed the order… Wednesday evening? Less than a week ago, assuredly, and anytime an online order gets to me within a week, I’m a happy camper.
Something about Frank’s flavor combinations instill this slight madness in me, where even things I’d normally shy away from just seem like they should be amazing. Case in point: Cherry flavoring. I’m not a huge cherry flavoring fan, for the most part. It’s like my least favorite pie in the world. But something about the Cherry Cheesecake Genmaicha just rang out to me. It probably has to do with the fact that I absolutely LOVE genmaicha, and I think Frank is the only person in the world that flavors it.
The dry leaf, in the pouch, gives off a really strong cherry scent with just a hint of creaminess, almost like a cherry bubblegum. Yeah, definitely cherry bubblegum. I don’t smell the green tea base, which is a vast improvement over the somewhat seaweed-y taste of the dry leaf of my normal genmaicha (not that the seaweed flavor exists in the brew, but something about it smells that way to me… go fig).
The liquid color brews to the same translucent elixir-of-life green that I expect from genmaicha, and always makes me happy. Though, I was expecting a reddish color due to the cherry flavoring. The smell is less overpoweringly cherry, and the creamy, vanilla smell is a little more powerful, and it is delightful!
The taste? I don’t know if it can even be described, it is just absolutely perfection. The fruitiness of the cherry with a creaminess that just seems to melt over the toasted rice taste. It is magical. I can taste the green tea, far more than I can smell it, but I’m fairly certain my mouth is dismissing it as an illusion. It can taste it, my tongue knows that it is there, but it just having far too much fun with the other flavors to pay it much mind.
It also tastes much… lighter? than my other genmaicha. I am very, very pleased with this. So pleased, in fact, that after tasting the first sip (and making some sort of comment on its incredible tastiness), I went quick like a bunny to open up 52teas.com and see if there was anymore. Which, of course, there wasn’t. Ah well, looks like this will be a once in a lifetime enjoyment.
So yeah, this is really good. I would recommend you get some… but that would just be mean ;)
Nummy nummy. With the hot weather approaching, Missy is on an iced tea making kick, and this is one of the teas that got the frozen treatment.
I’ve had a fairly large number of iced chai in my life, and this is the first I’ve ever had without milk. It was an interesting experience to have a non-milked iced chai. Good, quite pleasant actually. Seems like it might be missing a little bit though, I think I really am going to miss the creaminess of a chai latte if I decide to drink this less adulterated (not like I can’t just pour it from the pitcher into a glass of milk, after all).
I’m fairly sure this is going to be one of the teas that we keep on hand pretty much at all times. Good hot, good iced, extremely reasonably priced. All around a clear winner.
So now we’re getting around to drinking this as I believe God (or at least Tropical Tea Co) intended it to be drank: Iced, and loaded with a pound of sugar.
Actually, that may not be entirely true. We made this one a little strong. Okay, a lot strong. This is super strong iced tea. Not overdone, not bitter, but probably a few too many scoops. We ordered a package of about 25 ‘index card sized’ bags to make iced tea with over the summer, and tossed three of them, filled with four scoops of tea each, into this pot.
The tea itself turned out good, but a little stronger than I think I like iced tea to be. Tone it down just a teensy bit, and it will be perfect.
I’m tempted to lower the rating on this, but I might decide on that later. Everything is subjective, but my breadth of tea knowledge has increased a bit since I rated this. While this tea is very, very good… it doesn’t quite have the complexity of say Teavivre’s Bailin Gong Fu. It’s a little bit earthier, more of that “hay” flavor that Sandy was mentioning. Not as creamy, not as malty. I might need to get more of that Bailin and try it iced. Although by that point, it might just BE beer!
I gave my good friend Oolong a bit of a bum rap before, and am much happier with him today than I was last week. I even put up a new picture of him to celebrate (the old picture was pretty lame, it was dark, it was unfocused, and it was a bunch of dry leaves on a paper towel).
While we were goofing off at an Asian Market last week, I bought myself a new ceramic mug with infuser and cover/base thingy. I have a soft spot in my heart for designs which are black, red, and Asian. I’m not sure why, but this fit the bill, and it was $5, so I wasn’t going to complain. (Curious what it’s like? Slightly different aesthetics, but the exact same design as Shang Tea’s Kung Fu cup, here http://www.shangtea.com/Kung-Fu-Tea-Cup). I’m going to officially refer to this as Kung Fu brewing.
I also completely disregarded what the guy from Mad Hat told me, which was to use less tea than I thought I should. After watching how people use a gaiwan, I’m considering this fairly un-sound advice. In my kung fu cup, which holds maybe around 10 oz of water in addition to the infuser, I use two ‘perfect teaspoons’, and this comes out GREAT.
The flavor of the tea at first is very mellow, with a lightly vegetal flavor, reminiscent of a fairly weak green tea. After a few seconds, the flavor starts to take on this sweet fruitiness that reminds me a lot of juniper (or at least of Tanqueray). It was a little bit surprising to me, and a little bit odd. If I rolled the tea over my tongue, the juniper flavor became a lot more prominent.
Steep #2 gave a very similar performance. With steep #3, the fruitiness tasted a little less like juniper and a little more like apricot. Steep #4 was just as good as steep #3, and if it weren’t for a lack of time, I probably could have kept steeping this tea all day. I tasted no degradation in flavor between steeps 1 and 4.
I can’t decide whether I like this tea. It’s interesting, it feels almost entertaining. In a way, it’s a bit of a one trick pony… but it’s a cup of tea, and it’s doing a trick. What more could you ask for? I’m not sure I’ll actually purchase this tea again. It’s very good, and it went a long way to renewing my hope that I’ll find a ‘green’ oolong that will be enjoyable. But… it’s more of an eye-opener than a keeper, if that makes any sense.
A pirate, a zombie, and a starship captain walk into a bar…
I ordered this tea set off of ThinkGeek.com for two reasons: First off the tins looked awesome. Second, we haven’t actually put in an order with Adagio yet, and this seemed like a good way to get to sample some of their teas. Maybe they wouldn’t have been the first teas we tried, but still. It’s a two-birds-with-one-stone kind of deal.
Let me say one thing, to any other potential geeks out there that must order these for the awesome tins… these tins are tiny. I mean small. They say they are an ounce each. This is possibly true, but man it doesn’t look like it. They’re about 1.5″ × 1.5″ × 2.5″. To put it a different way, you can almost hide two behind a credit card. They’re cute, but the size really makes them of limited use if you brew tea in any sort of significant quantity. Missy and I brew tea in a 40 oz pitcher, so one of these almost makes three pots. Besides, where can you buy tea an ounce at a time (and would it be worth it)?
And so far, the tea is good!
As a basic chai, this is a fairly strong contender. The clove and the cinnamon really balance out quite well, with neither taking too dominant of a role over the other (which I personally consider to be a feat!). Beyond that, the lightly malty flavor of the tea itself shines through, smoothed out with just a hint of cardamom peeking out at the end. I get a little bit of a spicy aftertaste, just barely barely ginger.
While I really do think the balance between the clove and cinnamon is perfectly done in this blend, the cardamom and ginger really feel under-utilized. It is possible that I’m asking too much here. If those aren’t your favorite flavors, this could be a perfect chai. But for me, I want something just a little bit more fitting for a permanent selection.
So, not quite my cup of tea. But it could be your cup of tea! Definitely my tin of tea though.
Well then, back to your regularly scheduled tea tastings!
If there are two things I love in this world, it’s vanilla and cinnamon. Granted, there are a lot more than two things I love in this world, but there’s no saying based around that happy little circumstance, now is there? Chances are, if you put vanilla and cinnamon in a tea, I’m going to enjoy it. Or at least finish it.
Anyway, how does it taste? The vanilla is the predominant flavor, adding a smooth creaminess to the somewhat subdued black tea base. I think it’s a ceylon, and nothing in the tea flavor itself would make me guess otherwise. Its a smooth drink. very mellow. There’s a hint of cinnamon, but not enough to really disturb the placidity of the vanilla/ceylon mix. It’s almost like an after thought. I honestly smell the cinnamon much more than I taste it.
But there’s a weird flavor in here that’s offputting, as well. It’s a… dusty kind of flavor, which makes the astringency of the tea stand out a bit more (I find more Tropical Tea Co (TTC) teas to be fairly astringent). I think what is throwing me off is the marigold petals that they toss into any number of their blends to try and… I’m not sure. Make it prettier? I don’t know what marigold is supposed to taste like in tea, but I’m finding very few of the TTC teas that have the marigold petals in them are really enjoyable to me. Even if it’s vanilla and cinnamon, which I would otherwise believe could do no wrong.
Like I said, I don’t really know that its the marigold. I just know the marigold being there is weird, and the flavor is weird where it shouldn’t be… so I make some sort of crazy association in my head. Whether it belongs there or not, it’s there, and it’s comfortable.
All in all it’s not terrible. It doesn’t make me want to dispose of it in a fire. I’ll finish it, but I am fairly certain I would enjoy any random tea company’s vanilla cinnamon offerings more.
This rating has double digits, simply for the fact that we may have nuked this tea in a terrible, disgraceful manner, and under duress it changed its flavor in a way to punish us with horrors that our tastebuds have never previously imagined.
Or, it could just be really, really bad. This cup is at least really, really bad.
Missy brewed this for herself, and came upstairs with the weirdest little tone in her voice when she asked me to try it. I almost couldn’t swallow it, except not doing so just meant I’d have to taste it longer.
Then, being the horrible, horrible parents that we are… we asked our daughter to try it. She bolted to the bathroom sink to spit it out. I haven’t seen her move that fast in weeks. That might make this a sports drink.
We went kicking around a local asian supermarket today in search of a gaiwan (no luck) and any other random gems we could find. So we picked out a couple of things to try.
I have to say, the price of this jasmine green is really the only reason I picked it up. 150g for sub-$3, in a neat little blue tin. The tin probably isn’t airtight, and I don’t exactly have the faculties (or patience, really) to test that… but the seal is pretty darn impressive.
This tea is exactly what I expect from a Chinese restaurant, which, well, is because this is probably the exact tea I get from a Chinese restaurant. A light floral flavor, the green tea barely coming in at the end of the flavor, a mild but noticeable astringency. Compared to the Jasmine Pearls I have from Mad Hat, the flavor of this tea (particularly the Jasmine flavor) is much more subdued.
They had four different Jasmine teas by Fujian tea, one in a yellow square tin as pictured, one in a red square tin, the blue cylindrical tin that I bought, and then a green cylindrical tin. No differentiation other than a serial number up top that might mean something (mine is 2063). Well, and all of the writing that I don’t understand may mean something too, but I just assume it says Jasmine Tea in Chinese :).
I might keep this around. The quality definitely isn’t that of the pearls from Mad Hat (and I’m eventually going to want to try the pearls from Teavivre), but man… at this price… SO CHEAP. IT IS SO INSANELY CHEAP. Sorry, had to get that out.
Long story short, effective yesterday, I began referring to Honeybush as ‘wallaby’ at work. I’m not normally a wallaby fan, but something about this combination of flavors really, really made me want to take the plunge on my first order at 52teas. Plus, there was an offer of a free spoon. Mine is yellow, and awesome in its yellowness. They totally look like you’d buy them in a lot of 500 from Oriental Trading Company or something like that.
Interestingly enough, both the aroma from the bag, and the brewed tisane invoke the exact same flavor to me. It totally tastes like bubblegum. I was a little surprised when the taste first came over my tongue, and it took me a second to sort of… separate the wallaby from the other flavor. Then my mind sort of ‘clicked’ on bubblegum… bubblegum with a slightly buttery after flavor, followed by the lingering taste of the wallaby itself.
As the tea cools, the orange flavor seems to come out a little more for me… and it starts tasting like… well, orange bubblegum. I really have no answer for this one. I actually like the flavor, it is definitely interesting. Of all the wallaby I’ve drank, this would be the one that comes the closest to deserving a permanent spot in my cupboard (well above the vanilla wallaby that the womenfolk of the house are fond of). But something about the lingering taste that it leaves in my mouth (not this one in particular, the wallaby genre as a whole) just doesn’t appeal to me.
This was my first order from 52teas (though Azzrian beat them to the punch with my Mayan Chocolate Chai sample). I have to say, I’m impressed with the quality of both of the items I ordered, as well as the previous sample. I can’t say I’ll order this particular blend again, but I’m definitely liking what I get as a customer.