513 Tasting Notes
Want to know a neat little trick I’m about to do? It’s pretty fantastic. I’m nearly at the bottom of this tin; there’s enough left for one more serving. So I’m going to finish that up right quick, and then head on to David’s tea tomorrow to get a tin of blue lagoon! Because like so many people have accurately pointed out, it’s the summer version of this blend, and I adore it. But that’s not the tea we’re talking about, are we?
I can’t remember who’s idea it was to throw in a dash of maple syrup into this tea, but that person is a genius (sil? Roswell?). I couldn’t outright taste the maple syrup to the point where it was cloying or anything, but it gave the tea a distinctly maple after-sip and it was just such an excellent combination. I really need to try maple syrup in more of my teas.
Ok guys. Wednesday. And tomorrow is Friday eve and then it’s Friday. We can do this!
Oh, I’m also thinking of getting the carry travel mug from DT. Do you guys have any opinions on it?
Sample sipdown! It feels really good to have even one less little baggy floating around my kitchen, although there are about a million still left and another million or so on the way, so I take it all with a grain of salt.
My cup this morning was still quite tasty, although there was something a bit overwhelming about it. Partway through the cup I began to feel really hot, and maybe that affected my desire to finish it. It tasted exactly the same as it did yesterday—rich, nutty, buttery—but somehow didn’t hit the spot in the same way. I’m glad I’ve got a bit more coming my way so I can really test the waters, but am also glad I haven’t gone out and purchased a huge quantity of it.
Caught up on sleep last night, which will hopefully propel me through yet another workday.
Thanks again, VariaTea, for sending this to me!
Well, this was my first actual experiment with a cold brew! I was inspired when I saw that roswell strange cold-brewed this tea successfully, and so followed her steeping parameters: 4 tsp in about 25 oz of water in my mason jar (yeaaaahhh mason jar!) and in the fridge for about four and a half hours.
And I’m pretty sure it was a success. Largely, this tastes like a cold version of the hot version, as scientific and verbose as that sounds LOL. When I say I’m pretty sure it was a success, it’s because I wonder if I don’t like the flavour of melon as much in a cold drink? I don’t know. I like it but I don’t love it, but it’s a perfectly fine cold brew, if that makes sense. at the very least, I’ve been sipping away at a delicious tea here at work all day, and I also feel encouraged to try cold-steeping other teas now! (I’m especially excited to try cold-steeping blue lagoon from David’s tea).
What are your favourite cold brews?
I woke with a start that only the truly anxiety-ridden are familiar with, and checked the clock only to learn that it was 4:00 AM. There are times when you wake with a start but can nevertheless calm yourself down until you fall asleep again, and then there are others when you know that any efforts to stave off your anxiety and actually get back to sleep will be fruitless. Sadly, this night fell into the latter category. Not to worry though, as I quickly slipped out of bed and headed to play on the computer in the living room. What on earth did people do with their anxiety in the middle of the night before the internet?
And what better cure for needless anxiety than a steaming mug of tea and settling down with a cozy book. And I really picked a most cozy and delicious tea to accompany me! This very generous sample comes to me from the extremely kind-hearted VariaTea, who sneakily rummaged around on my wishlist and sent me like all of it. This tea was wonderful!
The people who rave on and on about the aroma of the dry leaf aren’t kidding: it smells like a baker’s kitchen, nutty and sweet. I don’t know that I would identify the nutty smell as almond right away, or perhaps it is—and it isn’t of the marzipan dessert variety. I steeped this up for four minutes with milk and sugar, and the sip was thick, buttery, and nutty, with a hint of sweet breadiness. I’ve had brioche before (although it was from Cora’s, and I can’t attest to its quality, necessarily, and I imagine French chefs would scoff), and actually found it a bit underwhelming as a bread, but again, it was at Cora’s so there’s that. But this tea was excellent, and manages to feel simultaneously decadent and mainstream, so that I could easily imagine having it as a breakfast tea. The flavours work very harmoniously with the base, and this tea will indeed remain on my wishlist. It’s one of those thick, buttery teas that makes you want to slide your tongue around the roof of your mouth to lap up all the buttery cream. Mmm.
This sample came to me via the wonderful and ever so thoughtful JustJames, who is so much more than just anything (I’ve said that before, I know, but it’s still true).
I decided to have this tea this morning because another steepsterite wanted to potentially send me some in a swap, and I had to figure out if I actually liked it enough to acquire more. I did enjoy the cup, although I did find it quite thin, even at a four-minute steep. In fairness, I wrecked the first sample because I used a huge mug and the water wasn’t close enough to the top to really soak the leaves sufficiently, but I did follow it up with another properly brewed cup. Don’t get me wrong—this tea does indeed taste of caramel and vanilla—but, I don’t know, there’s an underlying sharpness (which is not to be confused at all with bitterness or astringency—it’s more, I don’t know, it’s more something that I find to be present in all of NP’s teas). But I’m so so happy to have tried this, JustJames. Thank you so so much!
Of course it’s the case that this tea is no longer available and I made the creamiest, most delicious cup of it I’ve pretty much ever had. It was a most delightful cup of creamed white chocolate and peppermint milk. I still have the rest of the tin to get through, and it’s not a tea I reach for as often as I should given how much I like it when I do have it, but still: there’s something about approaching an eventual sip down knowing that you perhaps won’t be able to restock this tea again. ever.
In other news, Mr. Keychange and I, along with a few family members, went and looked at wedding venues today! I intended on drinking much more tea than I did, but that’s also because I woke up like twenty minutes before our wedding planner arrived to whisk us off. But we’ve chosen our venue, and have reserved a date! so so excited!
Oh, and i’m a complete tool and sent sil the timolino without the steeping basket in it! the poor girl was ridiculously polite and didn’t even say anything about it, when all at once it struck me last night while I was in bed. Definitely an ‘oh shit’ moment. Anyway, rectifying that one, obviously. LOL
No, not for me. The scent wafting up from the bag was a combination of mint and melon, with a bit of cucumber. Definitely a very fresh scent, and it certainly conjures up images of sitting on a sun-drenched patio with a drink that has a paper umbrella. Sadly, the actual brew doesn’t follow through. perhaps it’s trying to be too many things, but I found that the mint (which definitely smells suspiciously of toothpaste) battled with the cucumber for first place, and there was some sort of drying effect, and then maybe a hint of melon but god knows what I was tasting by the time I was through with the sip.
Will I finish the sample bag? probably not. Life’s too short to drink tea I don’t love.
This was my second go around with this tea, and I had it with a bagel and cream cheese this morning. This cup was pretty similar to the first cup I had, which is always nice for the sake of consistency. And I still maintain that it’s an excellent breakfast tea that has a nice heft to it, is malty, but still manages to be refreshing, with the most delightful hint of astringency—if it can even be called that. I feel as though astringency conjures up something negative, something akin to bitterness or too much in the way of tannins, but I don’t mean that at all. There’s just a refreshing burst at the tail end of each sip and it prevents the tea from ever feeling too “heavy” even though it’s definitely full-bodied. definitely a win for Harney!!
I have a few things to say right off the bat.
1. The French really know how to do their teas. One of the things I appreciate so much about Mariage frères is the fact that you need not have a highly developed, snobby, or sophisticated palate to enjoy their tea. It is true that some French teas are flavoured more delicately than others, although I would still say that on the whole, most flavours are quite prominent, and if the flavouring is delicate, it still manages to have a refined sort of elegance or smoothness that is undeniable, even to a barbarian of a tea drinker.
2. This is a very, very good tea. It’s a back log because I had it after work yesterday (and then followed it up with, um, quite a bit of wine), so I’m going based on memory. I’ve actually had this tea (along with a few other MF teas) sitting around in my cupboard since September, because a friend went to England and very kindly braved Selfridges in order to procure me my tea. I was packaging some up to send off to Courtney and decided that I really need not put it off any longer.
3. This tea tastes like sweet, spiced almonds. Not candied, necessarily, because I certainly was not picking up on any sort of marzipan or amaretto-type dessert, and I wouldn’t even call this a dessert tea. And oh my god does the spiced almond pair so effortlessly with the base. what an exquisite tea. And a good thing, given that you can’t get it in quantities smaller than 100 g (at least not at Selfridges).
And omg. It paired so unbelievably well with my frosted banana pudding sugar cookie. Thanks, roswell strange, for introducing me to this very delicious (and incredibly simple!) recipe.
My stomach still isn’t feeling entirely back to normal yet, and I also woke up for no reason at about 4:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep. Actually, that’s a lie: there is a reason. yesterday morning, I woke up feeling incredibly weak and exhausted, and knew I wasn’t going to make it into work. I ended up sleeping until about 4:00 in the afternoon, at which point I forced my zombie-like body to at least sit up. There are those people who, even in the absence of any sort of structure that requires them to be up at a certain time, will nevertheless maintain a fairly consistent and conventional sleep schedule—they may sleep and wake a bit later than the average business shift workers, but still sleep at night and are awake during the day. I, on the other hand, will revert to god knows what in the absence of structure. I think it’s due to a condition called “delayed sleep phase”, where you actually do sleep for a normal number of hours, but it’ll always be later than those in your time zone (and unfortunately this condition isn’t just corrected by, like, taking off to England, so I sadly can’t use that as an excuse). Anyway, sorry. You didn’t come here to read about my poor sleep habits.
I knew I wanted a lighter tea this morning, and that a black tea might feel too harsh on my stomach. This cup was a bit varied for me. Some sips brought me right back to the creamy wonderland of cantaloupe goodness I remembered, while others left something to be desired. There’s also the fact that this tea is more delicately flavoured, so won’t necessarily hit you over the head with intensity, and sometimes it takes a few sips to really recognize that and appreciate the nuances. But appreciate them I did. I’m dangerously close to a sip down on this one, but am probably due for a Butiki order soon anyway.