Posts Tagged ‘Aftertaste’
Tea Company: Tea Forte (website)
Ingredients: organic Indian Assam black tea, natural orange flavor, natural bergamot flavor, organic cornflower blossoms
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Steep for 3-5 minutes, 208degF
From the moment at which I remove the pyramid infuser from its cardboard cover, I know there is something different about this Earl Grey. The smell of bergamot is not very strong. In fact, it is hardly present at all. Popping the infuser into my Tea Forte Cafe Cup, I fill the cup with just boiled water and let it steep for four minutes…a happy medium in the 3-5 minute range that was given by Tea Forte’s website!
The tea being now prepared, I take a whiff of the steeping, once again surprised by the smell. It is spicy with a bit of a fruity smell. Intrigued, I go on to try this cup of tea, sip by sip. My first sip is possibly the most astringent Earl Grey I have ever tasted! The bergamot is finally hinted at in the aftertaste, but the tea itself is so incredibly astringent that I wonder if I mistimed this tea. I ditch this cup and prepare to steep a new one.
This second cup I steep for only two and a half minutes. I know this is less than what was suggested, but I figure it is better to be safe. This second cup still smells exactly the first one, which worries me slightly, but I forge onward with this tasting! Still astringent, even after such a short steep time. But it is not as bad as the first cup was. The bergamot flavor is very fake and overdone, which is a bit of a turn-off, considering that this is supposed to be Earl Grey, not cologne.
If hunting for a cup of Earl Grey, this is not the tea to which to turn. I recommend trying a different brand. Sorry, Tea Forte, but this tea needs to go back to the mixing room. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would give it a 45/100.
You can purchase the Earl Grey directly from the Tea Forte website.
Tea Company: Canton Tea Co. (website)
Ingredients: Pu-erh tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Use the gongfu style. A small teapot (or small amount of water) with 3-4 g of tea and hot water: 95°C (203°F) infused for just 20 secs. Reinfuse at least 6 times.
The chance to try this tea is something very special. Unfortunately, despite how special it was, I am not honestly sure which of Canton Tea Co’ Pu’erhs this tea is. “Canton Beeng Cha” is all that the label says, and from my limited knowledge of Chinese, I know that a “Beeng” or bing is a round cake of pu’erh. “Cha” is merely “tea.” That being said, I can be sure that this is a pu’erh!
I begin this session of tea by bringing some water to a boil, after which I rise my gaiwan, small pot, and teacup to preheat them. It is pretty amazing how much of a difference preheating ones teaware can make on the taste of the tea that follows. Next, I measure out about one teaspoon of this tea into my gaiwan. I typically use more than this for gong fu brewing (quick and multiple infusions), which is what the directions on the label seem to imply, but for now we will merely follow along. I perform a quick rinse of the leaves with hot water to “open” them.
The dry leaves have a very vegetal aroma, suggesting a raw pu’erh. Yet there is an underlying smokiness and clear, fresh smell to them as well. The first 20 second infusion is performed. The wet leaves smell more malty now, yet still slightly vegetal. Much to my surprise, the tea brews a very pale green. This is very interesting, and not at all what I was expecting. This first infusion carries a very thin flavor. It is clear and fresh, with a smooth, vegetal aftertaste. As per the instructions, I go ahead and resteep the leaves, figuring that it will be different in the second infusion.
Mmm, this tea really kicks it in gear with the second infusion. The vegetal pu’erh flavor floods the taste buds. It is incredibly smooth and just slides over the tongue. I am truly impressed. I put it through several more steepings, and this tea just keeps on impressing. Normally, I prefer cooked pu’erhs to raw pu’erhs, but with a tea like this, I can hardly afford to be biased. I would give this tea an 87/100 on my personal enjoyment scale.
You can purchase the 2010 Xing Hai Raw Beeng Cha directly from the Canton Tea Co. website.
Tea Company: TeaFrog (website)
Ingredients: Rooibos, Pineapple Bits, Dried Coconut, Rose Blossoms
Vendor Suggested Preparation: One heaping teaspoon per cup. Steep 5 min in boiling water.
As the attention-deficient progeny of Depression-era parents, I tend to want to be chintzy on the amount of dry leaf I allot to a cup, and far too impatient to wait six…whole…minutes for my tea. As an exercise in liberality (tea-wise) and self-control (timewise), I made myself give my test cup the full measure. And, boy, was it worth the wait!
The bits of flower and flavor in my sample were small rather than chunky.. The scent of the dry roobos-and-goodie mix is light, but once it was steeped the coconut sweetness was strong and very pleasant. Pineapple presence was a little hard to detect; it was more of a light aftertaste rather than a leading flavor. (May have just been the sample; with tiny packs, sometimes it’s a little difficult to scoop up a uniform bundle of ingredients.)
I opted not to mess with milk. This is plenty thick, a little opaque, and perfectly sweet on its own. But a splash certainly wouldn’t hurt this creamy, island-y dessert in a cup.
You can purchase the Tahiti Cream directly from the TeaFrog website.
Tea Company: Canton Tea Co. (website)
Ingredients: Puerh tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Use the gongfu style. A small teapot (or small amount of water) with 3-4 g of tea and hot water: 95°C (203°F) infused for just 20 secs. Reinfuse at least 6 times
Descriptions of this pu’erh say it is to be sweet and mellow. The dry cake is very spicy and sweet with a touch of smokiness. Flaking off several pieces of the larger cake into a gaiwan and prepared to rinse the leaves. The now-wet leaves carry less of a smoky smell than before. My first steeping is for thirty seconds. This infusion is sweet, spicy, and only carries the slightest of smoke-tinged aroma. My first taste is mellow, bold, and has only the slightest of rough edges. The slight smokiness does not in any way detract from the flavour. That same flavour is not overly vegetal. This cooked pu’erh really has mellowed in the twelve years since it was harvested.
The second 30-second infusion is no less smooth and mellow. This pu’erh has been a pure joy to drink so far. The second infusion tastes just like the first, except the aftertaste is a bit woodier. Not a rough woodiness, but the woody flavour is just a bit more intense.
As the infusions continue, the flavours do become more bold as the water puts the tea through its paces. This tea is faintly reminiscent of a lapsang souchong at times, because of the smokiness. After a total of six infusions, the steepings starts to weaken. I am a big fan of this tea and give it an 87/100 on my personal enjoyment scale.
You can purchase the 1999 Yi Wu Cooked Brick directly from the Canton Tea Co. website.
Tea Company: 52teas (website)
Ingredients: Honeybush with real freeze dried strawberries, organic vanilla bean bits, cinnamon and all natural flavors including strawberry, vanilla and hints of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon
Vendor Suggested Preparation: One teaspoon per 8oz cup, steep 4-10 mins in boiling (212 deg F) water.
Honeybush teas are not in the same league with Rooibos teas. Honeybush is sweeter and milder and IMO Better than Rooibos teas. With honeybush you do not get that woodsy after taste that is so dominant with Rooibos teas. I know what you are thinking: Why is she going about the difference between Rooibos and Honeybush teas? Because not everyone has experienced the wonderfulness of Honeybush. And because most people lump the two together as close cousins. I am here to tell you that they are distant cousins who rarely talk! This tea is my all time favorite caffeine free tea. The Honeybush is mild and pleasant to your taste buds and then you taste the strawberries! Oh my, it is like eating strawberries ripened on the vine with a hint of an aftertaste of crust. Now, you can have your pie and drink it too!
If you like strawberries, you owe it to yourself to pay 52 Teas a visit. 52 Teas in case you don’t know is a tea tasters sensation. Frank blends up a new blend each week. These newbie teas are in liminted quantities. Some of his more popular teas make it into his permanent collection. Strawberry Honeybush Tea is one tea that is on the permanent list and for good reason…it is so darn good that you have to reorder frequently! Luckily shipping to the USA is free.
You can purchase the Strawberry Pie Honeybush directly from the 52teas website.