59 Tasting Notes
Last week’s tea of the week!
Now that I’m feeling comfortable with finally getting caught up after numerous delays – I also feel comfortable in sitting back and enjoying a cup of tea and writing about it! The delays over the last two months have been crazy – but as I’ve said – I’ve learned that anything that can happen will most likely happen and really, there’s just not a lot you can do about it – no way of even foreseeing some of those things that happen to delay things – so the key is just learning how to roll with the punches I suppose.
On to this tea! I do love it! Rocky Road ice cream is my favorite and has been my favorite since I was a kid. I occasionally find a ‘new’ favorite that surpasses my craving for Rocky Road – like Cherry Garcia or Praline Pecan – but Rocky Road holds that special place in my heart. So when I saw in the archives some years ago that Frank had actually created a Rocky Road blend once upon a time – I asked him to reblend it. He never did.
So I decided that I would take it upon myself to recreate it and when I did, I did some searching for the tea here on Steepster only to come up empty handed – it was never entered into the database here so it’s as if it never actually existed. So I’m reclaiming the blend for myself.
The base is really nice – it’s Yunnan and Assamica teas blended with Laoshan teas from Verdant. Together, these teas create a pleasantly rich and remarkably smooth flavor that carries the notes of chocolate, nut and marshmallow well.
As I mentioned on my blog post for this blend – http://52teas.com/blog/tea-of-the-week-for-february-6-2017-rocky-road-black-tea/ – the first time I tasted it, I thought something was a bit off. Not because it wasn’t delicious because it was – it took me a while to determine what the problem with it was and I realized that this doesn’t have the texture of Rocky Road ice cream (because it is, as I’ve said before – a tea and therefore shouldn’t have the texture of a ice cream laden with nuts and marshmallows) and while I absolutely love the flavor of Rocky Road Ice Cream, I also love the texture: cool, creamy chocolate ice cream with chunks of crunchy nuts and pillow-y marshmallows. And this tea doesn’t have the crunchy, chunky nuts or the soft, fluffy marshmallows to bite into – but it does have the flavor of those things as well as a smooth, creamy chocolate-y taste.
This was the tea of the week for January 2 – yep, I’m a little behind this month! This tea starts with a blend of black teas – a golden Yunnan and an Assamica tea from the Jingmai Mountains. I really like this combination of teas so expect to see it in future blends from me. It’s rich and hearty and flavorful.
To that base, I added a bunch of freeze-dried blueberries, organic vanilla beans and bourbon essence (don’t worry, it’s non-alcoholic!) for a flavor that is reminiscent of the jam that inspired it (this jam: https://thej.am/products/youre-my-boy-blue-berry-bourbon-jam ) It’s a little less ‘boozy’ than I remember the jam tasting – the bourbon here is more of a subtle hint that is softened by the creamy notes of vanilla and the sweetness of the blueberry.
This is really good! It exceeded my expectations – and my expectations were high!
On the 12th Day of Christmas – MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! Or if Christmas isn’t your thing – Happy Holidays and I hope that it’s been a wonderful season for you and yours!
This tea is a little bit of a twist to the Bananas Foster tea although I must tell you that it wasn’t intended that way – when I came up with this tea idea, I wasn’t thinking “Bananas Foster” as much as I was thinking, “hey, I’ve got some amazing Charcoal Baked TieGuanYin in stock right now and I’m wondering how amazing that would taste with banana and marshmallow.” Actually, I think I may have come up with this idea when I was blending the Banana Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha – because I really loved the combination of banana and marshmallow. So that may have been the nucleus – the seed – that grew into this amazing tea.
To the combination of banana and marshmallow, I added some cinnamon because it’s a Winter’s Treat, after all and cinnamon seems to go with all things winter-ish. And then I added a splash of Buttered Rum essence because – well, do we really ever need a reason to add buttered rum?
This is really good. Really, really good!
On the 11th Day of Christmas – I guess I don’t need to say that this is a classic favorite. When it’s not in stock, I’m asked when it will be in stock again. I’ve made a few marshmallow-y genmaicha blends since my first reblend of this tea, but this one always seems to be the resounding favorite.
And I guess I get it – because I’m rather fond of this tea too. The flavor combination is just right with this – where it tastes so much like liquefied marshmallow treat in a cup of green tea. Just the right amount of toasted rice and just the right amount of marshmallow. YUM! I’m glad that this one got reblended for the 12 Teas of Christmas box!
HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVE – EVERYONE! Thank you for all the support you’ve shown us throughout the year. We are so thankful – we could not be doing what we do without all of you!
On the 10th Day of Christmas – I’m still amazed that it’s already the 10th day!
This was one of the more popular teas on the poll. I did take a few LiberTEAS with this blend and changed the recipe a little bit. First of all and probably the most obvious of changes is the change to the base since I’ve made it pretty clear that i’m using different sources for my teas. I used a blend of Fujian, Assam and Laoshan black teas to create the base of this blend. Second, I used essence of wintergreen rather than peppermint or spearmint because – I just happen to like wintergreen and hey, the word “wintergreen” seems to work with the idea of a “White Christmas” better, doesn’t it. OK, now I’m just making stuff up.
Third, for the minty leaves, I used more spearmint than peppermint. I personally prefer peppermint – I like that zingy flavor of the peppermint! – but for this particular blend, I wanted the softer, smoother flavor of the spearmint rather than the invigorating zing from the peppermint so that the black teas in the base – particularly the hint of cacao flavor in those black teas – to be noticed and not overwhelmed by the peppermint.
I think that the marshmallow root works better with spearmint than peppermint for the same reasons that I mentioned above. Peppermint is one of those herbs that can just dominate a tea so I wanted to go light on the peppermint so it wouldn’t throw off the balance of this blend and I think it worked.
On the 9th Day of Christmas – I’m not surprised that this tea was voted in as one of the teas for this box but I certainly was happy! Coconut Cream Pie was one of my favorites from Frank’s era and I was happy to be able to have it in my pantry again – if only for a little while!
I did stray a little bit from the original recipe because, first, I use different black teas. Second, I decided that the blend needed vanilla beans in it because – why not? I mean, really? What isn’t better with a little vanilla? I also added some calendula petals for some visual interest.
This is so yummy! Rich and sweet and coconut-y! The black tea base is strong (it would make a great breakfast tea and who wouldn’t want some coconut cream pie for breakfast?)
On the 8th Day of Christmas – today’s tea is one of the four original blends and: Oh wow! I don’t remember LOVING this as much when I first tested the tea as I’m loving it now. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had much of a chance to sit down with a cuppa all day until now and I’m appreciating and savoring the moment? Maybe it’s just because it brewed up absolutely perfect this time around.
This is really good – a nice balance between butter rum, sweetness and warmth from the spices. The smooth, creamy flavor from the Chinese Sencha enhances the buttery flavor from the butter rum.
On the 7th Day of Christmas – This tea was in very big demand to be reblended! The recipe is incredibly simple (especially for a 52Teas blend) so I stuck to it although there may be those that detect differences here from the original, if for no other reason than I utilize a different supplier. I like the Assam I use better than what was used in the original blend – I hope you guys do too!
A beautifully rich, malty Assam blended with Marshmallow root – fluffy and sweet and deliciously marshmallow-y. This would be a great morning blend and as I type this – it’s technically morning (12:16 am) but I’m a night owl anyway so if tea caffeine doesn’t affect you and keep you awake all night, then it’s perfectly fine to be sipping at 12:16 am. If you try to avoid caffeine (tea or otherwise) later at night, you should probably stick to the earlier hours for this because it has some gusto to it!
On the 6th Day of Christmas – This tea is also our Tea of the Week!
I decided to go latte with this cuppa and I’m oh-so-happy that I did. It’s so good. I’ve made a few chai blends since I’ve been doing the 52Teas thing, and I’m thinking that this one might be my favorite thus far.
As I’ve said in my tasting notes on my blog – http://52teas.com/blog/on-the-6th-day-of-christmas-and-our-tea-of-the-week/ – my inspiration behind this blend is a holiday card photo – you know the one – it’s a woodsy area covered in snow and in the middle of the scene is a little cabin with smoke wafting out of the chimney. What kind of tea would I want if I were tucked inside that cabin? Chai of course! And as I’m snuggled up by the warmth of the fire, I might roast a marshmallow or two (or three or four!)
So this tea is created around that idea – a chai tea with the flavor of toasted marshmallow mingling amid the warm ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom and black pepper. There’s some (just a pinch!) of Lapsang Souchong to represent the smell of smoky pine and the charred taste from the roasted marshmallows.
This is really good straight up – I recommend adding a little bit of sugar (I prefer raw sugar) or honey to bring out the flavor of the spices. A splash of milk to make it a latte will add an irresistible creaminess to the cup.
On the 5th Day of Christmas – I gotta tell you, I really wasn’t expecting this tea to do as well in the poll as it did. I mean – I really like this tea (a lot more than I remember liking it from the original batch) but maybe because it’s not quite as – unusual? – as say a pancake breakfast tea, I really didn’t expect it to be one of the winners of the poll.
But I’m glad it was because I love this reblend. This reblend definitely has a bit more coconut than I remember from the original blend – but I love how the coconut melds with the pudding notes. The black tea is robust and flavorful and there’s a lovely banana note.