911 Tasting Notes
I wanted another cup of tea but didn’t really want to resteep the Ceylon King so I pulled this one out. I’ll probably have a steep or two of this and switch to something non-black for the rest of the day. I actually had to go rinse my mouth out after the first steep because I was getting some taste of bitterness from the Ceylon still. But once I’m all rinsed out, this tea is back to the yummy sweet and lightly earthy taste I know and enjoy. Not getting much peppery out of it except at the very end of a sip, there’s a slight prickly warmth left on my tongue. A nice fallback plan of a black tea.
ETA: The husband is having some too and I’m not sure if he has before so I asked him what he thought. His response: “At first I think fish and then melon.” Weird!
The dry leaves smell a bit like fruit-intensive trail mix. Not like juicy, fresh fruit, but like dried/preserved fruit, but with a little bready or cookie-like back note.
Pouring the tea into cups, there seemed to be a nutty smell going on but as it cools in my cup a becomes a bit more ‘default tea’-like but with notes of dried fruit. Also, there’s a whiff of dryness that brings to mind wine. Not that this smells like wine but there is a dry feeling to the smell that seems similar.
Taste-wise, it’s… not all that special. It’s smooth with a touch of odd astringency. I say odd because it feels simultaneously dry and sweetly wet. Ultimately the dry astringency wins over the sweet and ends up as the final taste/feel left in my mouth after a swallow. Slurping seems to increase and mix the astringency and wetness, making it wetly bitter, like off nuts from the holiday nut bowl.
Ultimately that wet bitterness makes me unhappy so I’m not a big fan of this tea. It’s not horrible but it’s not good and there’s no special taste in the tea to counteract the end wet bitterness. I’ll have to try it with milk to see if that gets rid of the bitterness because I think without the bitterness, it might be okay if still plain. A ringing endorsement, I know.
Gave the husband a cup too and he thought that it wasn’t up to the standard of some of the previous Ceylons he’s had but he thought it was pretty good. When I asked for more detail, he said that he honestly didn’t remember that much about it even though he had just finished the last swallow less than two minutes before. So yeah, not an overly special tea. That’s too bad.
My first tea of 2010. Go me. No specific reason for having this one. Just because I can.
This smells nice. Fresh, citrus-y, lavender-y and a little… sweetly spicy (probably the lavender again?). The taste doesn’t quite come across to me as rich as the smell. The lavender is more pronounced and the citrus not quite as juicy as I’d like. There is a little tingle left on the tip of my tongue that matches up to the sweet spicy smell. I do enjoy that.
The overall taste is smooth and a little sweet but a nice, warming finish. I might have enjoyed this brewed longer for a more robust taste, though. But I think the lavender will always hold it back just a little for me. Don’t get me wrong, I like lavender EGs, but I think they do best to gentle a not-so-good EG. Have a bad EG? It’s gross. Have a bad EG with lavender? Suddenly it is much better.
I think I would have liked to see what Golden Moon could have done with a straight EG. But at the same time, the few sips of EG I had at the London Tea Room (stolen from the husband) were really what I wanted in an EG. Strong bergamot with a juicy, fresh taste. And this one just seems a little pale in comparison to the memory of that one. That being said, this is a pretty good EG. If I had a tin of this, I don’t think I’d have any problems drinking it up. But it’s not the fresh-squeezed-EG taste that I’m really wanting.
I did have enough for the husband to have his own cup. He is a fan, he says. He also compared it to the EG he had at the London Tea Room (which was Rishi) but says this one is sweeter and has a hint less citrus. That’s probably because of the softening factor of the lavender. Anyway, I think he’d be happy if we had a tin of this laying around.
I had a nap earlier, which means my brain is pretty worthless right now. Decided to have some of my GM samples in the ever popular endeavor of cleaning out my tea pantry so I can order some tea.
This smells pretty. Sweet. Nectar-y maybe? Not floral, but sweet and not really fruity but maybe not… thick enough to be nectar. Faint honey? Something. Eh. It smells good.
Brewing, it smells a little musty, dry and sweet. Not bad. Not concerning. Seems nice. It’s very light in my cup and I can’t really get much smell from it. But sipping it is quite nice. Sweet with a little of the musty taste that I smelled when in the pot. As it cools, the sweet musty taste turns mostly just sweet with maybe a hint of hay or something… . No briny taste, no real vegetal taste. Just delicate sweetness and flavor. This makes me think of a sweeter version of Rishi’s Snow Buds. But softer and less like a green (which is ironic because this is considered a green and Snow Buds is considered a white but there you go).
Anyway, good stuff. Like it a lot. Sweet, delicate, gentle but flavorful. I’m a fan.
Got to leave work early today – yay! It’s cold and raining (thankfully not snowing) so I thought this afternoon would be a great time to put on my snow leopard fleece pants, put a heating pad on my stomach and have some tea. I pulled out my GM sampler and another basket (that I’ve dubbed the takgoti sampler) intending to leaf through the lovely teas and eventually settle on one. But this one was right on top, hand raise, screaming “PICK ME! PICK ME!”
So I did.
The dry leaves smell like barbecue sauce – the good stuff that I loved when I could still eat the darn stuff. While steeping, a meatier flavor comes up. Like smoked brisket. Once it has brewed up, though, I get more of a we-just-sprayed-down-the-campfire-before-bed smell. That’s a little… worrying. But I shall continue!
Okay, who cares about the smell. Because the taste is lovely. Not quiet as sweet at GM’s but smoother and mellower. More of a smoked tea than a smoky tea taste. Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a pale, light flavored tea! It’s just that the smoke flavor is embedded into the tea. Like when you put a ham in the smoker for about 6 hours or more. The smoke taste isn’t overwhelming, but it’s in every square inch of taste.
Last night with the Marco Polo, the whole slurping and inhaling with the tea behind my teeth thing was really interesting so I thought I’d try it again. And holy monkeys. As soon as I stop inhaling to close my mouth and swallow, it’s like a big ole mouthful of smoke. But it’s not bad – I kind of like it! I think because it really really tastes like the smell of my dad smoking a brisket.
This one is bolder than GM’s, I think. Also, it’s not as sweet. This is much smoother than ROT’s though (which I don’t find to be overly difficult). It’s kind of a toss up for me between this one and GM’s. This one has a very true-to-life taste which I really appreciate (so for those of you that want to drink something that tastes like smoked brisket…) and an overall heartier taste. GM’s is sweeter with a good taste and a nice development but not quite as beautifully rounded in taste. I think this one might be the better tea, but I think that the added sweetness to GM’s make that one the favored tea for me personally.
takgoti was trying to pressure me into buying a new wallet but when I stood strong, she settled for forcing me to try this tea. ahem Right.
She did send this tea to me though so yay for takgoti! And I can’t stop sniffing this because it smells so. Freakin. Good. Creamy and red-fruity and sweet and rich. Before I knew what it was, I couldn’t quite figure out if it was cherry or strawberry or grenadine that I was smelling – just something red-fruity and creamy. Once I found out what it was, I only learned that it was most likely none of those. But it still smells similar. So I’m having some in my strawberry cup in honor of the unnamed red fruits in this tea.
As I poured hot water over the leaf, I was able to fully identify what it smelled like to me. Strawberry syrup. No, no, not strawberry syrup. Strawberry topping. On a cheesecake. The husband is a cheesecake master and he has made some homemade topping before for one of his vanilla cheesecakes. That’s what this smells like. It makes my mouth water.
There’s no way the taste can match the smell. No way. So I’m a little scared to take my first sip, not wanting to be disappointed… And I’m actually not disappointed! This is different from the smell – it doesn’t have the strong creamy, rich vanilla note. But the berry note is spot on. Sort of like eating the strawberry cheesecake and then having a bite that is just one of the strawberries from the topping with no cheesecake or significant amount of syrup. It’s not as sweet or as decadent as the previous bites (or in this case, the smell) but it’s still really good and yummy.
The berry flavoring is very smooth and natural tasting. No nasty aftertaste here. And it leaves a bit of fresh-berry-ish-tart on the roof of my mouth after a swallow. Part of me wonders how this would be with a little sugar or milk and another part of me is scared that it would be way too rich. But that’s not to say that this tea needs to be sweeter. Because it’s got a good berry-style sweet thing going on that I would hate to mess with. It’s got a nice body to it – not a light, thin feeling tea. Not super-thick for me, but respectable.
And my cup is empty. That was fast. I might have been a bit enthusiastic in my sipping. But what can I say? This tea is good!
ETA: Second steep @5:30. The flavor is lighter but remarkably consistent with the first steep. Maybe a little cleaner tasting? But not by much. Still very nicely fruity. And zero bitterness so I imagine it could go even longer without oversteeping.
#2: And just because I was curious, third steep @ 9mins. Okay, the flavor is fairly weak now but surprisingly true to the first steep still with still no bitterness. I think a 4th steep might be pushing it a bit (unless I steeped it for 20mins or something).
Actually bumping up the rating of this tea just a wee bit today. I took this one with me on my morning commute, so I added about a quarter teaspoon of sugar and half a teaspoon of milk (for 12oz) just to keep off any potential bitterness that might develop from sitting in an insulated mug for half an hour. I honestly don’t think it needed even those minor additions because there was no hint of ick or even real astringency even on my last sip. This tea held up really well as a tumbler tea and I appreciate that.
As Kat suggested a bit ago, I took my tumbler lid off about half way through. It didn’t cause a significant change to the tea, but enough of one that I enjoyed it more lid-less. There was an almost tart fruity scent to it that taste-wise came across as a similar-to-Darjeeling brightness with the lid off and that made the tea a little more interesting. I’m thinking that’s what the previously tasted spiciness changes into with a little milk. I still got an enjoyable clean cardboard taste – I’m becoming quite fond of that taste.
This isn’t exactly a special tea or anything, but it’s a pretty good one. More of an “I don’t know what to have so I’ll have this one” tea instead of an “ooh, this looks good and I’m kind of craving it” tea. But it’s good (and necessary) for me to have some good, solid teas I can fall back on when nothing seems to spark my interest and for that reason, I could see this one becoming something I want to keep on hand.
And honestly, I find the brewing interesting. It brews up disturbingly dark but it’s fun to watch the little tea grounds run around in my pot. I still think of post-horked cat food when I see the wet leaves though.
Half milk, half water, some sugar, some tea. Not quite boiling. As it first started warming up, it smelled like a cross between Chinese food and some unknown holiday dessert that I can’t place. As it gets closer to boiling I’m getting more dessert and less Chinese food (which is probably good but the former was intriguing). I also think I dropped something on the stove because I also smell a little burning. Oops. Hmm, I think that dessert-like taste is like a Christmas cookie. Cinnamon-y and sugar-cookie-bake-y.
Doesn’t taste cookie-like though. Or if it does, I want some of those cookies. I wish I could pick out all the tastes, but I can’t. But it’s warm and spicy and sweet from something that isn’t just my added sugar. And I can’t stop drinking it. This is insanely addictive.
I’m getting really tired of this white… stuff falling from the sky. I don’t do winter. The weather outside, however, is the epitome of winter. I am not pleased.
To protest, I’m having this tea. I’ll admit, I wanted to try this tea just because it was grown in Hawaii. Not only am I a sucker for anything orange, I’m a sucker for Hawaii. I thought it’d probably be a little roastier than what I’d prefer based on a quick glance at the description, but eh. It was grown in Hawaii so I’ll try it anyway just to say I have. And then I smelled the dry leaf.
Ooooh. Ooooh, nice. I have recently come to the realization that pouchongs / baozhongs are probably my favorite type of tea. And that’s what this smells like. But… bolder. Darker. More… Hawaiian. I have a feeling I will like this one.
Smelling it while it is brewing, it continues to smell richer and darker. Pouring it into the cup, I get the fresh, green smell of pouchong overlaid with something dark and warm, exotic and almost spicy. The tea color is a clear, light, yellow-green that really is quite lovely.
Oh this is good. Much darker tasting than an actual pouchong. Warm and sweet, it seems to have an almost candied ginger hint in the tail and there’s a fresh taste left in my mouth after I swallow.
Ugh, I put a lotion sampler on and it smells like chicken sausage and it’s interfering with my tea! I keep trying to delve deeper and end up ‘finding’ the chicken sausage! AUGH! I’ve washed the lotion off (or tried to) but now I just smell like soapy chicken sausage.
Chicken sausage being excluded for the moment, this tea reminds me of Tao of Tea’s Neela. Which is weird because I didn’t like Neela at all but I like this. The Neela tasted a bit raw and rough. This has a similar taste but tweaked just enough where it comes across as fresh and clean. There is a similar smoothness and lightness of flavor but it works in this tea because of the lovely little things going on under that thin, clear surface. Ginger and honey and some darker fruity something or other (and chicken sausage… sigh).
I will admit, I’m drinking this pretty slowly because I can’t just swallow it. I have to slowly move it around in my mouth, taste it fully. There’s just so much going on but at the same time, the notes are delicate. As it cools, the base taste of the tea reminds me more and more of a pouchong but more flavors seem to pop up. This is really lovely and I’d like it even if it weren’t Hawaiian.
I reserve the right to increase this rating when I no longer smell like chicken sausage.
ETA: The second steep is much less chicken sausage and the flavor that was hinting around before, coming out in a few different way, has finally moved to the forefront. When we were in Maui, there were all these thick, almost rubbery, pine cone looking, colorful flowers all over the place. I want to say they were called soap plants or shampoo blossoms or something like that because of the nectar the oozed out when they were squeezed. Anyway, that is the flavor I’m getting.
This is a tea that benefits from being a little cooler so the flavors pop a bit more. But with a little sugar, I think this is a yummy dessert tea. Yes, it gives me a bit of a funky aftertaste, but I think that’s countered by the fact that it has sprinkles. Sprinkles, people.
Which is good because sprinkles make me happy and it is supposed to snow again today which makes me very sad. So I must focus on the sprinkles.