471 Tasting Notes
While waiting for tea to steep earlier this evening (er… last night more accurately, I suppose!) I noticed that these pearls were still sitting in my gaiwan, waiting to unfold all the way. I was in the mood for an iced floral tea so I thought why not brew up a cupful and stick it in the fridge!
I ended up using 5 steeps of this in a small glass, which I popped into the fridge and pulled out a few hours later. Delicious iced! And most surprisingly, that makes 9 steeps in total that I got out of these. Nine! And given how strong the iced tea was I’m pretty sure there were several more in there (though alas, I threw out my leaves already).
Perhaps most surprising is the fact that while the first 4 steeps were lighter on the jasmine it got more dominant as I went along. I can definitely see myself picking up a tin of these in the future, I mean you really can’t beat 9 steeps that are still strong on the jasmine! Upping the rating a bit~
I was watching Iron Chef the other night and the secret ingredient was… tamarind! I got so excited, I turned to the bf and said “I made a tamarind tea!” I’m pretty proud that he didn’t roll his eyes, since he lives with me and obviously knows all about Tamarind Pop because I talk about it constantly. What can I say, I’m addicted!
Since then I’ve made this three times: twice hot, once iced. I gave two ounces to my dad and he thinks this is best cold, and I do agree (he’s become a cold brewing snob, it’s pretty adorable) but honestly it’s perfection to me either way!
This is the cup I made for the bf! He adores cinnamon teas, as does my dad. It seems to be a trait in the men in my life—for example, I think Smaug is probably both of their favorite teas. I like cinnamon in moderation, but strong cinnamon teas aren’t usually my thing, but I grabbed some of this one from the Traveling Tea Box (B) for my boys!
This is…. holy cow, strong cinnamon! Tongue-numbing, mouth-tingling cinnamon. Hot and spicy cinnamon! The orange is a nice background for it, but oh man is this a strongly flavored tea. But if cinnamon is your thing, this is the tea for you!
I am having a tea-obsessed day. I just made 4 different cups at the same time: two hot (one for me, one for the boy), started a quick cold brew, and did a hot gaiwan steep that I stuck in the fridge to drink cold later. Just one of those tea days! But with gross almost-snow-not-quite-rain weather it’s the perfect time for tea.
I have been wanting a baklava tea from the moment I really got into loose leaf. Honey, rose, nuts, bakey goodness. Mmm! In fact, I’ve been saving up to get a custom blend of it. Now… well, let’s just say this tea has fulfilled my needs even though nowhere does it say it’s a baklava blend. I got a very generous sample (if it’s over an ounce can you even call it a sample?!) of this in my second Steep City order and it was love and first sniff, but I’ve been waiting for the right time to try it. Tonight’s the night!
This tea is just… uhnf. Honey, soft floral notes from the rose, a deep nuttiness from the walnut and almond, a strong black base that adds delicious bakey noes. Of course I added honey just to make it extra pastry-like, but that signature flavor was there even before. I am in love with this tea! Another winner from Steep City, I am already planning my 3rd order…
EDIT: Second steep with rock sugar and a tiny splash of cream is divine! A lot more flavor than I was expecting.
I am one tea closer on my quest to try all the Earl Grey Creams. I got a sample of this from Marcel Duchamp, thanks a bunch!
This is STRONG for an EGC. The bergamot is really assertive, but I like a good in your face earl grey so I don’t mind it. Usually the cream tempers the citrus aspect, but this is one of the less creamy earl grey creams that I’ve tried. There’s a hint of vanilla, but this is kind f a reverse of the usual EGC: in most the vanilla/cream is in the forefront followed by bergamot. Here there’s bergamot first and then a whiff of cream!
It’s not bad by any means, it’s a nice change of pace from my usual EG cuppa. I’ll admit that I turn to EG blends far more often than straight EG: cream, smokey, mint, jasmine, rose, lavender, lady grey… but rarely just a straight Earl. This almost fits that profile, really I wouldn’t know it was a cream blend if the label didn’t say so! I got two ounces of their standard EG for Christmas that I have not tried yet, perhaps it’s time for a taste test to see how it compares to this one!
I committed a tea crime with these beautiful pearls! I was preparing a tea package for one of my friends who is just getting into the wide world of loose leaf—I split a good chunk of my Ovation order with her, and I wanted to include some samples of other brands as well. She loves jasmine so I thought I just had to put in some pearls—my little sample packet of this was lying on the table next to the box and I thought perfect! But I had not tried them yet and that won’t do, so I put a cupful in the nearest thing I could find—my gaiwan.
Later that night I really wanted jasmine and was dead tired and didn’t feel like switching to my Ingenuitea which still needed a rinsing out, so I just brewed them up in the gaiwan! But I was not feeling like sitting around trying all the different steeps so I brewed them up 4 times and dumped it all in the same mug. Without tasting the differences! I know, horrifying. But it worked out pretty well!
After 4 steeps these pearls had not fully unfurled so I am saving them for a few more steeps later. This is a really light and sweet jasmine tea, the floral elements aren’t at all soapy and in fact they are very soft, not in-your-face jasmine at all (though that might be because of the steeping method?). This reminds me of the tea you get after a meal of really good Chinese food—fancy restaurant kind, not takeout, where they serve wonderful jasmine blends at the end (that are properly brewed—I have had some very bitter restaurant teas). Sweet green to just perfectly cap off a meal!
I am on a quest to make the perfect bedtime tea. One thing almost all nighttime blends are missing is a creamy factor, which makes sense since they are herbals 90% of the time. And the rooibos ones I can’t drink, so that is not an option! So I’ve decided to just do it myself.
This time: 52te’s Lemon Dreams and Harney & Sons Vanilla Comoro (which is decaf). I did the ratios about half and half: the results were tasty, but the lemon/chamomile/honeybush overpowered the black/vanilla combo. I’m thinking maybe 3 parts vanilla to 2 parts lemon dreams next time.
Though my ideal blend would be mixed myself: chamomile, lemon peel, cinnamon bark and vanilla comoro (since, you know, it’s a bit in the pain in the butt to blend my own decaf vanilla!). Maybe with a little lavender… I really need to make a Mountain Rose Herbs order!
Now this one I know is from Kallieboo! I get so excited to find new matcha flavors in swaps, I’ve tried a large chunk of Red Leaf’s offerings but there are so many I just haven’t gotten around to ordering or sampling. This is one of them! Mostly because I am a dark chocolate girl: I like it so dark and deep it’s barely sweet, 85% cocoa and up please! So white chocolate, which is not even real chocolate, is not my thing. The exception is those Godiva white chocolate raspberry starfish. Yum!
I was a bit wary of this but made up a latte because hey, it’s matcha! I love matcha! The flavor is very interesting: it doesn’t really scream white chocolate to me, which is good because it tastes very fake to my tastebuds (white chocolate, not the tea!). It’s really creamy though, with a thick mouthfeel: thicker than a usual latte, even with all the milk. I think this one would be great for mixing, just to give a creamy sweet boost to other flavors. I am thinking of trying it out with fruity blends, maybe with mango or coconut? OR BOTH and make a pina colada-type tea… with pineapple! Is it a tea sin to mix 4 matchas together? Guess I’ll find out…
I got a bag of this one in a swap and I feel terrible because I don’t remember who it was from! Usually I can tell from the handwriting but obviously there’s none on a teabag. I’m thinking… Kallieboo? Anyway, I don’t have that much experience with mate so I am always happy to try more!
no-tea related rambling below!
The name of this tea brought back so many memories. I majored in cultural anthropology in college, and a book about the Guayaki Indians was the first ethnography I read in my very first anthro class. My college required two courses in the social sciences as part of the core: I took sociology and hated it (but anthro and socio people notoriously don’t get along haha), and decided to give an intro anthropology class a shot for my second.
Looking back, that was the book that got me hooked. It dealt with incredibly complex and decisive topics that often wouldn’t even be touched upon even in a college class: homosexuality in native groups, coming-of-age rituals that involve mutilation, and endocannibalism. I knew anthropology was the major for me when it could get me to see something as foreign and “scary” as cannibalism as a beautiful process. In case you think I’m crazy endocannibalism is not eating random people, but usually includes death rituals in the tribe where a passed member is eaten so they live on forever. In their society, no person is truly dead: they live on forever in the bodies of their friends and family. Kind of beautiful, and very strange.
Anyway, I ended up digging up a lot of my old books because of this tea and flipping through them. I miss my old classes so much! I honestly have half a mind to contact some of my old professors and ask them for reading lists for their classes haha.
And now, the tea! Though really, there’s not much to say about this one. It is nice, though unfortunately the top fell off of my honey while I was squeezing a little in so there is WAY too much and it kind of just tastes like honey. The cherry and orange are present but in the background, a very mildly flavored blend.
And the mate… well, I’m still not sure how I feel about mate. It tends to taste like hay to me (unless it is of the roasted variety). Which is funny, because I love guayusa because it tastes like the forest. But hay… not really sure how I feel about this. I need to expand my mate education!
Today is one of those days with a very long to do list but no energy to get anything done. Sigh. I have come down with some sort of bug that I am going to blame NJ transit for, I always get sick whenever I am on those trains. My #1 task for the day is prepping swap packages which are long overdue but I’m feeling like perhaps that is not the best idea when I’m ill. Can tea carry germs? I’m thinking of getting the bf to measure out samples for me if worse comes to worse!
Anyway, the tea! This is one of the blends I got with the $70 voucher, which cost a mere $35 and included free shipping. I have only tried one of their blends before (which of course I forgot to log!) and though they have middling reviews how was I supposed to pass up an opportunity to save that much money?! Compulsive tea spending much?
I’ll admit that I bought this because of the name, plus it’s a variation of my beloved Earl Grey that I have never tried. I really was not prepared for it to be so good! The number one thing they should mention that is nowhere on the ingredients list is that this is clearly and Earl Grey Creme. Yes, a green EGC! I’ve tried black and white EGSc but this marks my first green. There is a very strong cream/vanilla note that is so deliciously cozy, but unlike its black cousin (err black tea cousin) it’s light rather than heavy.
The rhubarb is subtle, adding a bit of tang that blends well with the bergamot. Then there’s a soft, barely-there floral aspect from the rose. Like a little rose kiss at the end of the sip! This is a pretty fantastic EG and it might even make it into my EG staples.