Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fruit Flavored Tea

Brittiny posted this on her blog, My Steeped IdentiTEA, yesterday, and I'm reposting it here 'cause it also expresses my feelings towards tea that doesn't taste like tea. And its just fucking funny.

George Carlin on Fruit-flavored Teas:

I would like to talk to you about fruit-flavored teas. These would be teas that are flavored like fruit. Fruit-flavored teas. You need to understand that. These are not fruits. They’re teas. But they taste like fruit. All right? They have names like strawberry kiwi, lemon berry, orange mango, wild cherry, blackberry and cranberry. They taste like fruit. And they sound like fruits, too, don’t they? They’re not. They’re teas. Fruit-flavored teas. And frankly, I don’t understand this.

Personally, I’ve always been of a mind that if you’re looking for fruit flavor, if you’re genuinely interested in something that tastes like fruit, and you find yourself in the tea section, you’re probably in the wrong aisle. My advice is, if it’s fruit flavor you’re after, play if safe, go ahead and get some fruit. I have found in my experience that fruit almost always turns out to be reliable source of fruit flavor.

Another good place you may wish to look for fruit flavor would be in fruit juice. Fruit juice is made by squeezing the juice out of the fruit. Apparently, the juice that runs out of the fruit has fruit flavor. Perhaps that’s why they call if fruit juice. It doesn’t taste like tea. For tea taste, you would need to get some tea.

So let’s sum this up: If it’s fruit flavor you want, you can’t go wrong with fruit. Or, as I’ve pointed out, fruit juice. Don’t be ordering tea. Tea has tea flavor. It’s not like fruit. It’s more like tea. If you want tea, I say order tea. That’s a different experience. It’s known as “having tea.”

Have you noticed, by the way, there are no tea-flavored fruits? Take a clue from nature.

Brittany, reading that made my whole night better, so thanks for sharing it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hawaiian Black Tea

Onomea Tea Co. is a small and growing "boutique tea estate" in Hawaii. As I recall, their selection includes white, black, oolong, and steamed or pan-fired green tea. One can not yet purchase the tea from their website, but I hope that changes soon, as I would like some more.

It's a black tea, and the leaves smell like black tea. The aroma is a bit generic, ubiquitous, but the leaves are beautiful, like a marriage between yancha and dian hong.

I used three grams four 4 minutes, but I would recommend using more leaf, as much as five grams. In fact I think this tea yearns for gong fu for the best results.

The liquor is a honey brown, like a pale ale.

It has a malty, brisk mouthfeel paired with a thinner body, similar to a ceylon. Honey notes, a subtle sweetness, and no astringency again bring to mind dian hong. The over all flavor has similarities to bai hao oolong. It was much better than I expected. It has the potential of being one of my few favorite black teas.

An afternoon with a book, some coffee, and a walk in the park has left me feeling more relaxed, more centered, than I've been in weeks.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Shikoku Awacha

This tea was given to me, so I don't know much about it other than it is a sencha from Shikoku, the smallest of the four main islands of Japan. I presume this tea comes from an area formerly known as Awa, now part of the Tokushima Prefecture.

It has a strong aroma, spicy, cilantro and tomatoes come to mind. The leaves are coarse and thick, with bits of twigs.

It tastes like asamushi, light with subtle hints of karigane, a faint sweet finish, and a whisper of astringency. Yet it has a hearty mouth feel. I like it.

Use lots of leaf. Good for 2-3 infusions.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My Favorite Oolong

I almost never buy the same tea twice, aside from one or two exceptions, staples. Even with the best tea, I simply file away its awesomeness for later and move on. This is particularly true with oolong.

But I can't stop drinking the Signature Roasted TGY from Just4Tea. After finishing the initial sample June sent me last December, I've purchased it twice, and soon I will place my third order. This TGY hits the spot for me and has become my favorite oolong; I drink it more days than not.

It's high roasted but not over powering. Similar to yancha, lots of chocolate, but with fruity nuances that bring a subtle complexity. Very smooth, not sour, and only astringent if poorly prepared.

Sometimes I'll brew it using a larger kyusu, which will yield a few delightful but simple infusions, good for meals and casual drinking. Other times I'll gong fu it with a much smaller yixing. I can get a half dozen or more infusions. These tend to be sweeter with more fruit.

Tea Nerd and Bears have also reviewed this tea, among many others.