1994 Tasting Notes

60

I’ve been experimenting with this tea over the past week because I felt sure I was missing something. Like I’ve said before, I don’t “get” white tea and I keep trying to get it.

I decided to try this with hotter water and see what that did. There seems to be a division of opinion between whether to use low water temperature or hot water temperature with white tea. My first shot was low, so I tried boiling at 3 minutes yesterday. The flavor from that endeavor was marginally better than the 0 flavor I got from the original steep.

Today, I tried boiling at 7 minutes. In other words, I treated this as an herbal. This is the most successful steep yet. Today’s steep has a mildly nutty flavor a little like water chestnut or macadamia.

But the most successful of all has been the cold brew. On the strength of the cold brew alone, I’m upping the rating from 20 to mid-range. The cold brew is actually flavorful — definitely nutty but also arboreal, and a sweet aftertaste.

I wish I could figure out how to make the hot tea taste like the cold brew. I’ll continue to experiment. I have a ton of this, so a lot of room to play.

Meanwhile, No. 2’s assessment of the cold brew is “it tastes like leaves, like every other tea you ask me to try.”

LuckyMe

Have you tried aging your white tea? I’ve found that it can often be bland when fresh, but becomes more flavorful after it’s rested for a while.

__Morgana__

This tea isn’t new; I’ve had it for a while and just opened it the other day. So I’m not sure whether that means it is aged or not. I’ll keep that in mind, though. I have some white teas I opened a while back and haven’t finished. Maybe they’ll taste better now.

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60

Since I wasn’t able to find an untried plain black tea this morning with anything approaching ease, I decided to switch gears and do a plain white tea instead.

I’ve never really understood white tea. I love the concept of it, and I think I’d like the tea itself if I could ever get it to steep in a way that brought out its flavor. But I’ve tried a gazillion different ways, and no matter what I do the best I can get out of it is a sort of dew drop flavor for the silver needle variety and a planty, almost weak black tea flavor out of the white peony variety. Neither of which makes it worth my valuable tea tasting time.

This one falls into the former category. It’s a visually pretty tea with a pungent earthy smell in the newly opened packet. I steeped according to package a directions, and it came out so colorless that the only way I could tell I’d steeped it was the heat.

It smells like nothing so much as hot water, too. After draining the cup, I can smell something very subtley sweet, but wow is it barely there.

My impression of the flavor is pretty much the same. I can’t really taste anything — anything!

I’m concluding that I should drink up all my white tea and then give up on it. I’m sure it will be a mutually beneficial parting as this poor tea is probably everything a person with the gene that can taste white tea could want — but it does absolutely nothing for me. I might as well drink plain hot water.

I’ll probably try it cold brewed and see if that does anything interesting. I might also try it steeping hotter and longer just for laughs. But absent a miracle, I think this is one that’ s lovely fluffy leaves are taking up way too much room in my house for what it provides to me in return.

Flavors: Earth, Sweet

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 17 OZ / 500 ML
Bluegreen

I feel exactly like you about white teas but I have not given up hope yet.

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78
drank Cream Earl Grey by TeaFrog
1994 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 65 of 2018 (no. 421 total).

I tried it cold, too. It was ok, but the cold brew didn’t bring out its best.

Much better as a hot tea, which is how I finished up the last bit today.

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78

Sipdown no. 64 of 2018 (no. 420 total).

As it was the lowest rated black tea in my cupboard, it went into a cold brew mix — there wasn’t enough of it alone to make a full pitcher so I combined it with the last of the Richmond Park Blend from Upton and Snickerdoodle from Leland.

The cold brew is quite weird, and not the parting note this tea deserved.

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78

Sipdown no. 63 of 2018 (no. 419 total). Sample tin.

A very tiny bit left in the tin (1.5 spoons full) so I dumped it into a mix for cold steeping along with the Tea Table Keemun Hoa Ya A and some Leland Tea Snickerdoodle to see what that would do.

It’s a truly odd black iced tea, neither fish nor fowl and not as strong as I would have expected.

But I have nothing of interest to add to my original note on this one.

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85

I had forgotten, when I cracked this open and steeped it for my first morning tea today, that this wasn’t a straight black blend. Surprise!

The first hint should have been the smell of the dry leaf in the bag (I bought a huge one because they were out of the small ones and I haven’t met a Harney tea I couldn’t drink). There’s definitely a strong citrus zest smell from the bag, along with a bit of a stone fruit aroma. Bergamot and stone fruit right there in my nose first thing was the first hint.

After steeping, some more interesting aromas came to the fore. The very dark berry aroma, the cocoa aroma, the bready aroma (which combined with the cocoa made me think of croissants) and some bergamot and honey. The tea is a medium coperry-red with a slight haze to the liquor.

It tastes about like its smell. Perhaps a bit more on the berry side than anything else, which is fortunate as if it had been more to the bergamot side most of the other flavor might have been lost.

A very tasty tea to accompany the news coverage of the Royal Wedding.

Flavors: Bergamot, Berry, Bread, Citrus Zest, Cocoa, Honey, Stonefruit

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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78

Sipdown no. 62 of 2018 (no. 418 total).

This was the lowest rated black tea in my cupboard with enough to cold brew, so I left it in the fridge for just short of 24 hours.

It makes a tasty if not entirely remarkable black tea. It has a weird saltiness to it that makes it interesting — a little like the saltiness of salted caramel but with a different flavor profile.

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69

Sipdown no. 61 of 2018 (no. 417 total).

It made an okay cold brew, but it was better hot. So after a couple of cold brew pitchers it went back into the Saturday hot tea rotation.

I like the idea better than the tea. If it had lived up to its name, it would have been awesome.

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83

Since I said goodbye to a flavored green this week, I thought I should apply the law of conservation and crack open a new one.

As I’ve said, I’m a huge jasmine green fan. I also quite like rose teas, done right. So I found the prospect of this one exciting.

Not surprisingly, the scent in the tin is the generic S&V scent — a sort of perfume/lotion floral without clear borders and not really unique to this tea. The steeped tea produces a light golden yellow liquor that smells mostly of jasmine.

It’s in the flavor that it becomes clear this isn’t a straight jasmine. Rose teas often produce a sort of aromatic presence that seems to come from an essential oil, and I get that here, though just a bit. It really is just a kiss of rose, so points for accurate naming.

The underlying tea is not discernible to me as a separate flavor, but that’s ok. This is an enjoyable switch up on a straight jasmine green.

Flavors: Jasmine, Rose

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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85

I think I ordered this way back when based upon the reviews here. I’m just now opening my packet.

Ordinarily I might have passed on something containing white chocolate. I read an article about white chocolate once that put me off of it. It’s been a while and I don’t remember it all, but the thrust was that white chocolate, unlike chocolate, doesn’t have any sort of quality and purity standards so people can sell pretty much anything as white chocolate. Also, isn’t it basically just cocoa butter without the bean, which is the part that really gives that rich, chocolatey flavor?

So if not for the notes here, I would likely have passed.

In the packet, the mix has a minty aroma, which is weird because there’s no mint in this. I suspect it’s the coconut in combination with the other flavors that is leading the charge there.

After steeping, I mostly get caramel and a hint of something chocolatey in the aroma. Not much in the way of coconut, which is surprising given that coconut usually dominates any mix it touches. For such a highly flavored mixture, the tea is remarkably clear. It looks pretty much like the Keemun I just had, down to the redness in the color.

It’s a tasty flavored tea — in this cup I get mostly the caramel and white chocolate as identifiable flavors. The coconut is definitely there, mostly in the front of the sip and the aftertaste. So good for The Tea Table for being able to put together a blend with coconut and other things where the coconut doesn’t shove everything else to the side.

The flavors are nicely balanced and work well together. I do find myself wondering whether this would have been that much better with chocolate instead of white chocolate.

Of course, it could just have been that I had less coconut in the spoons I used today than I might in the future. Time will tell.

Flavors: Caramel, Coconut, White Chocolate

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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Bio

I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tastes developed they became less appealing — I still enjoy nicely done blends. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. I used to hate hibiscus, but I’ve turned that corner. Licorice, not so much.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 Excellent; first rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Very good; will likely buy more

70-79 Good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Okay; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it.

My current process for tea note generation is described in my note on this tea: https://steepster.com/teas/mariage-freres/6990-the-des-impressionnistes

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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