Friday, March 25, 2011

Those Wild Orange Russians

This is a towered gate in the town of Bacharach, Germany. It was used both for fortification and the storage of wine before shipment on the Rhine River.

A sunny good morning to you all! The snow is melting, the trees have shaken off their white covering and we had a really fun tea tasting yesterday. The lilac and jasmine teas were well received, but I don't think the Pu-erh and Lapsang Souchong were a great hit, other than from interest's sake. I am not surprised. The latter two generally evoke strong feelings of like or dislike, with little middle ground. For myself, I am still edging myself into liking Pu-erh, certainly not enough to be able to tell one from another or the quality of each. I like the little tuochas I got from Life In Teacup, but I don't know that that means much.

All of the teas we had I have reported on previously, but one was a surprise. This was the Jasmine Golden Yunnan. It somehow wasn't quite as mind-bogglingly superb yesterday as it was when I tried it before. I don't know if that was because it was made in a larger pot or if it was somehow diluted as part of a group. It was still very good, but I am going to have to have some more and see what's what. Such a great hardship!

Yesterday I got some tea from the American Tea Room, about which I've heard good things. Plus, they also sent me a large free sample of their new Nirvana Tea and 10% of my purchase money will go to help Japan. I am going to try their Romanov Tea, a Russian blend, as you can imagine from the name, with a trace of smoke and blood orange. They call it "a true Russian delight". It certainly smells wonderful - very rich orange. I did not pick up any smoke aroma. The leaves are quite small and a mix of brown and black. We'll see once it is brewed. It is also organic and the base tea is a Chinese black, but they don't say which one. I am following instructions and brewing it at about 195 degrees for 4 minutes. It is a very deep amber and now that it has brewed more smoke and less orange is coming out in the scent.

As always, the proof is in the tasting. I do indeed like this tea. This just the barest trace of smoke, which I don't think most people would catch and there is a pronounced orange flavor. It is woven so well into the total blend, that it seems as though you could not seperate the tea from the orange and have two good independent tastes. That tiny bit of smoke, or earthiness really grounds the whole thing. It takes cream well, which is all I ever use.

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