471 Tasting Notes
This is one of those blends that I’m a little frightened of. I mean there’s just so much STUFF in it! Sprinkles, freeze-dried ice cream bits, I didn’t know what to think. Sounds like too much going on, but it has decent reviews so I was pleased to get a sample from Nicole. I’ll try any tea once! Except for maybe that bug butt tea from a while back.
This… actually tastes like cake! I cold brewed it and was surprised to smell the delicious scent of baked goods wafting up at me. It doesn’t remind me of Della Terra’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake though, which is the cakiest blend I have tried. This one is more… cake in a box cake. Not that there’s anything wrong with cake from a box! It just doesn’t have that rich brown sugar butteriness I was hoping for.
I get why people read Neapolitan from this—I don’t get much in the way of chocolate, but there’s definitely vanilla and a hint of strawberry. Perhaps from the freeze dried ice cream? There’s also, um, stuff floating in my glass that I find a bit unnerving. Like when there’s a shaft of light and you see all the dust motes: first it’s pretty and then you have an “oh my god am I breathing that stuff?!” moment. I had that with this tea: there’s little “cake motes” from the sprinkles and whatnot that freaked me out for a minute there!
All in all a pretty unique and adventurous blend. Not something I’d reach for on a regular basis, but I was happy to try it! I guess now I have to hunt down the other DT cake teas and compare them…
Vanilla is probably one of the most basic tea flavors, but surprisingly I’ve tried almost no vanilla teas! In fact, my first was Della Terra’s Cafe Vanilla in the 12 days of Christmas swap. I don’t know why I’ve kind of avoided vanilla, maybe because it’s just so basic I always get drawn to fancier and more exotic blends. But sometimes you want a cup of simple comfort!
Dry, this tea smells so scrumptious. Like baking! There are big chunks of vanilla pod in there which is a good sign, along with some almond slivers. Steeped it tastes, unsurprisingly, like vanilla bean ice cream. The vanilla is light though, not overpowering in fact I expected it to be a lot stronger. There’s a nice toasty, nutty flavor from the almonds and it makes me think of sugar cookies for some reason while I sip this. The black base comes through nicely, I think this would be an excellent evening blend! Thanks to The Persimmon Tree for this sample.
Thanks to Kasumi for this sample! Lavender teas often blend together for me: I’ve tried so many that it’s hard to tell one from the other. But this one definitely stands out from the pack, mostly because of the lovely sencha base. Often sencha blends will use a lower-grade sencha since the flavor will be partially masked, but the sencha in this is divine! Grassy and creamy, with a slightly salty-seaweed-y undertone that’s a pleasant contrast to the floral lavender. Yum!
This was one of the many teas in my happy bag from Lupicia—not exactly a tea I was dying to try but hey, you can never have enough genmaicha! I’ve tried quite a few but only one other with matcha, Den’s Extra Green which is, to date, my favorite genmaicha.
Probably the best thing about this tea is the nuclear green color. Green tea + matcha looks like toxic goop! But, you know, in an appetizing way. The base isn’t as pleasantly grassy and sweet as Den’s version, in fact the green flavor is pretty much overrun by the nuttiness of the popped rice. Wow, is it ever strong! Not in a bad way, it’s just extra toasty. The matcha adds some thickness but I’m not sure if there’s a substantial taste from it—at least, I’m not getting any brothy, vegetal buttery notes like I do in Den’s. Not to say that this isn’t a good tea, I’m just holding it up to a pretty fantastic blend.
You know, I’ve been thinking about mixing my own matcha + genmaicha with KaiMatcha, imagine how tasty THAT would be… maybe with Den’s Houji genmaicha? Hmm… time for an experiment, I think.
Ahh, Earl Grey Cream, one of my absolute favorite teas. I’ve been thinking about that thread—the “if you could only drink one tea for the rest of your life, what would it be?” one… and EGC might be it for me. That or a nice brisk assam, or bao zhong. Okay so I could never choose one, BUT Earl Grey Cremes are near the very top of the list. I have tried a ton of them, but mysteriously this one slipped through my fingers even though I have tasted a ton from The Persimmon Tree. So how does it stack up against the myriad of other EGCs?
Well, it’s impossible to go wrong here really. Earl Grey + Vanilla? This one, though, is one of the creamiest I’ve had. Well, not creamy, but vanilla-y. Often the flavor comes out as just plain cream, but here it’s distinctly nice vanilla—not boring vanilla extract, but actual whole bean vanilla. It’s very complex and gives the tea an almost pudding-like dimension with milk and sugar (which I used on my first steep). Rich, decadent, very dessert-like. Towards the end of the cup I’m reminded of a vanilla cupcake with lemon zest in the batter, or I guess bergamot zest if that’s a thing you could actually bake with.
While the bergamot isn’t in the forefront in the first steep, it comes out loud and strong in the second one and the vanilla smooths out even more. It’s less prominent, but still distinctly an EGC—just with more bergamot than most, which is good because many go light on the bergamot and super heavy on the cream. Here I think they’re nicely balanced, and I definitely have enough to try my favorite EGC method, cold brewing! Thanks to The Persimmon Tree for this sample, it’s divine!
Ahh, lychee. When I was little my parents used to get me little canned lychees from one of the many Asian grocery stores in NYC and I’d suck them down like candy. I’ve grown very fond of the taste, to the point where I’ll buy anything lychee flavored—of all the things I’ve tried, I think lychee ramune is my favorite though. Fizzy lychee, mmm. Of course this means I’ve tried quite a few lychee teas, though most of them tend to be straight lychee or add a floral element (like rose or jasmine) even though lychee is quite floral on its own. So I was intrigued by this blend—lychee peach?
I have a totally bizarre relationship with peach anything. I hate artificial peach flavoring, but when it comes to either real peach goodies or naturally peach flavored things I am totally convinced I’ll hate them… even though, every time, I really enjoy them! I don’t know why, my brain is just stuck on “you hate peach!” Which is blatantly not true, since there are about 10 peach teas in my cupboard. And oh man, I dream of blueberry peach pie. What a combo! Hint hint, someone needs to make a blueberry peach pie tea. With pie flavor included.
At first sip this blend is reminiscent of a lychee congou—strong(ish) black base, fresh and bright lychee flavor that fades into floral notes that fill your mouth. It’s not as heavily floral as other lychee teas I’ve tried, which is probably great for most people since I know quite a few who are not fans of floral blends. Then, at the very end, the peach comes in—subtly fruity, not full on “hey there I’m a peach tea!” There are definite apricot notes, and it’s more… summery-tasting than straight-up peach. It’s got a real juicy quality! Definitely one of my favorite lychee blends that I’ve tried, thanks to The Persimmon Tree for the opportunity to taste this gem!
I am a ginger hound. Gingerale, ginger beer, ginger tea, ginger candy, ginger anything, I’ll eat/drink it! Not just for the flavor (which I adore) but I have an as-of-yet undiagnosed stomach condition that makes me nauseous annoyingly frequently and ginger is the one thing that always helps. I have a ton of ginger teas, but the nausea usually hits late at night so I am always looking for a good, solid ginger herbal to add to my cupboard. Right now my go-to is Twinnings Lemon Ginger (yes, bagged, I know!) because it’s very potent, but sometimes I want a more mild blend. Enter The Persimmon Tree’s French Lemon Ginger!
This tea seems to have pretty low ratings, but I guess it’s one of those love it or hate it blends (as ginger teas often are!). It’s mild and smooth, the ginger is not at all overpowering even after an 8-minute steep. I’d even say it was subtle, without the spicy heat ginger sometimes packs. The lemon comes not from lemon rind but from lemongrass and verbena so it’s not punchy citrus but mellow and tame: this is like a toned-down version of those in-your-face herbal blends. Nothing overwhelms, you can even taste some sweet woody notes from the honeybush. A very pleasant tummy-soothing night blend if you’re a fan of ginger! Thanks to The Persimmon Tree for this lovely sample.
Passion fruit is one of those flavors that I adore, but no one else in my family likes so I rarely get anything flavored with it. It also doesn’t seem that common in teas, oddly enough—I guess it’s one of those fruity flavors that’s hard to capture? So of course when I saw this blend I had to try it!
Dry this blend is divine, and very strongly floral (which I love). Passion fruit already has a hint of floral, and the jasmine amps it up a lot. I cold brewed this even though it is the middle of January—it’s so warm in my apartment that with the heaters off and fans on I am still walking around in a tank top. In New York. I really need some iced tea! And is this ever a refreshing one. Heavily floral but not perfumey, and the passion fruit and jasmine are perfectly balanced. I think jasmine can easily overpower other ingredients but it’s used lightly here so the passion fruit still shines. I swear there’s a hint of pear in here too, perhaps from the base? Which is a black/green blend but tastes mostly like a green to me.
It’s also naturally quite sweet, honey-like almost—not artificial or cloying. Definitely more complex than I was expecting! Thanks to The Persimmon Tree for this sample.
Is this really a Teavana blend with no tasting notes? How strange! I got this in a swap with Chuckieroy, apparently almost all the teas I requested were pineapple-based and I didn’t even notice it until now. I guess I’m on a pineapple kick? Honestly, I wanted to try this one because of the name and the little heart confetti. So cute!
Wow, this is pina colada in a cup. Strong pineapple and coconut notes that (for once!) don’t overpower the green base. It’s got some nice grassy notes along with a strong nuttiness that I find intriguing. Apparently it contains peanuts, though I swear there were none in the spoonful I brewed. And yet, the nuttiness is here! Not identifiable as an particular nut thankfully, it just adds a dimension of richness. And while there’s added sugar (from the heart candies) it’s not a sweet blend at all surprisingly. Much nicer than I was expecting! I could definitely see this being a go-t tea in the hot summer months.
It’s a cold, rainy night in NY and I am craving a cup of something rich and warming. Something like… cake! As luck would have it I just got a sample of this tea from Chuckieroy, what perfect timing. This tea smells just divine, not just pineapple-y but very much like cake. Often cake blends fail to deliver on that aspect, but I had high hopes for this one since Della Terra seems to excel at dessert blends.
Oh my GOODNESS. This tastes just like cake! The pineapple is strong but tempered by brown sugar and a rich, creamy quality. It’s so buttery and, well, cake-y! Definitely the most cake-like tea I’ve tasted, this so lives up to its name and I will be adding this to my permanent stash for sure. Thanks so much for letting me try this one, Chuckieroy!