1155 Tasting Notes
I happened across this one in one of those odds and ends shop that sell all sorts of small things relatively cheaply. I don’t really like shopping in there much, because although they have lots of fun things to look at, the shop is laid out so that you follow a path all the way from the door to the till and if you later discover you want to go back and look at something again, it can be difficult getting back there, because the path is fairly narrow. If there are many people in the shop, you can forget about it. Easier to just go through and go in again. Not really something that makes for a pleasant shopping experience in my book.
I knew they had a selection of Celestial Seasonings as well, but I thought it was much the same as everywhere else that has CS these days. It’s a relatively new brand in Denmark, it’s only been available here for a few years and compared to you Americans we’ve only got a fraction of the available flavours. Obviously this was not one I thought I’d see here at all, but there was one box, so I took it. I remember the name of this one from Steepster, and I remember people have been raving madly about one of these Christmas-y flavours. Couldn’t remember which one, so having checked the ingredients for known dislikes (none) I took the box on the off chance that it might be this one.
It has a funny creamy smell. I can smell vanilla and orange, and it’s a creamy-thick smell. It reminds me strongly of something I know I know, but I can’t think what it might be. Husband had the same sort of reaction when he tried it. Smelled familiar to him but he couldn’t think what it was.
I gather it’s the milk thistle that makes it feel like warm milk. I can also detect orange and vanilla quite clearly in the flavour, but apart from that it tastes very much like coconut to me. I’m surprised actually that there doesn’t appear to be coconut in it at all. Is that the flavour of thistle, then? Coconut-y?
It’s pleasant enough, but not really something I would get in much of a state over. In a large mug I find it a little cloying towards the bottom. I think this one box will be enough.
I’ll have to dare another visit to that shop though, and have a closer look at their CS selection, because clearly it must be MUCH larger than I’ve seen anywhere else. I’ve become fairly interested in it lately what with Husband having taught me this ’ cup of herbal while reading in bed’ habit. I never cared about it before at all. Funny how things can change. Perhaps they even have that Sleepytime Vanilla. Wouldn’t that be typical now that MissB is sending me a few boxes?
As this is a queued post, it has been a while now since MissB provided me with a good supply of Sleepytime Vanilla. I am halfway through my third box of those…
Sheherazade shared a couple of bags of this with me, and my immediate thought was that it came from Cameroon! That was a new one, I didn’t even know they grew tea there. (Truth be told, I’m barely certain where Cameroon even is apart from Africa. I think the West coast, in that corner there…) Turns out that this wasn’t actually from Africa at all. It’s so called because it’s grown in a place called the Cameron Highlands and that is in Malaysia. Still a new one, then! I don’t think I’ve had tea from Malaysia before. I did think it was strange that it said Kuala Lumpur on the bag if it came from Cameroon. While I may not be entirely up on African geography, I do know that Kuala Lumpur is not in Africa.
Now, let’s see. I am a bit concerned about the whole ‘highlands’ part. As we know, I’m not super fond of high grown teas, and this does indeed have that grassy, slightly spicy aroma to it.
It tastes grassy and a bit flower-y as well, but to my pleasant surprise it appears to be entirely or almost entirely without that sour aftertaste that puts me off in Darjeelings especially. There isn’t really all that much else to this. It’s a bit of a one-note tea.
Not super impressive, but not awful either. Interestingly I happened to see this brand in a grocery shop recently. Not our usual shop, but the posh one in town that has a lot of specialty products.
This is a fairly old one that I received ages ago from Autumn Hearth I believe the name was. I have made a note of it, but she modified her name later on and now appears to not be around anymore.
I’m not certain about these recommendations. I’ve been told 30 seconds steeping and I’ve previously heard that with this type of green it’s important to brew the first steep rather coolly, so I went for the lowest setting on my kettle which was 60°C. I’m just not sure that’s warm enough and/or long enough. I mean, I know I’m used to black tea which is tastes far stronger than the average green, but even so. This tastes rather thin on these parameters. It doesn’t have a detectable aroma at all and the flavour is mostly a juicy, veg-y splash in some otherwise fairly lukewarm water. Husband thought it was rather nice, but I thought it was mostly just a cup of warm water.
Not impressed at this point, I decided to go for a second steep and make the water 70°C this time and I gave it 45 seconds. This time it has an aroma, although it’s not a very strong one. It smells like vegetable water, sort of, and with that ‘fat’ note that I associate with green tea. I can’t really explain that one, it just smells fat to me. If a smell could have a shape, that’s what it would be. It has also picked up a smidge of astringency right on the first sip, but other than that it’s still mainly a cup of warm water. That veg-y note is coming through after a while though. It’s a sort of building up note, and it takes half a small cup to get it in any noticable way. It’s mostly right as I swallow and as an aftertaste.
Hm. I don’t dare make the water any warmer, because I think it will probably definitely go all bitter if I do, and I don’t dare make the steeping time longer either for the same reason, so I think I’ve reached a dead end here.
I shan’t rate this because I honestly don’t know how to rate warm water… Honestly, I think the leaf was just too old.
Posting queue appears to be growing explosively at the moment, so I’m going to do daily posts for a while. Blame the second round of the EU TTB! (But also a number of moments involving certain indiscretions made on certain webshops… Had to admit to having been a very bad dog last night.)
This came out of the EU travelling teabox (round 1), and I can’t actually remember if I took all of it or not. I think it’s possible that I did. I initially only took half, but then I can’t remember if I pinched the rest when I discovered I hadn’t taken enough to be able to close the box.
Anyway, the leaves smell absolutely wonderfully sweet, custardy, caramel-y vanilla. Very promising! After steeping it still smells wonderful, but this time it’s more vanilla-vanilla, rather than custard-y caramel-y vanilla.
The flavour, however, isn’t quite the smooth and soft vanilla-y flavour that I would have wished. I mean, it does taste like vanilla, very much so especially on the aftertaste, but there’s a certain harshness to it as well, which I think has to do with the base. I think the best base for my perfect vanilla is something that is smooth and full-flavoured, but doesn’t try to dominate the vanilla. I think this one does. I think it’s a little too strong for the flavouring. I shall have to try it with a shorter steep, I think, and then see what I think.
The level of vanilla is great, but the base doesn’t seem to want to play nicely with it.
This one I got out of the EU Travelling Teabox (round 1). At first I wasn’t even planning to try it at all, but then two things happened.
1. I found myself rather forced to take some more stuff out, because I couldn’t tetris everything into the box and close the lid.
2. Scheherazade shared a couple of bags of surprisingly pleasant (well, it surprised me) chai with me, so I thought why not?
The more I thought about this one, the more appealing I thought it was. Nuts, you know. :)
I’m trying it tonight while I’m home alone and rather need something warming. I haven’t quite reached the point where I can only stand peppermint herbals yet, but let me put it this way. In the last 48 hours I’ve watched 23 episodes of As Time Goes By. I think that speaks volumes about my current health, really. I’ll be taking season four with me to bed as soon as I’m finished writing this.
I don’t usually like milk in my tea, in fact I tend to generally be of the opinion that milk and/or sweetener is just ruining the cup (especially the sweetener, blech!), but I’ve come to understand that I really do need it there in a chai. Otherwise it seems unfinished, somehow. Even so, I’ve got a few mouthfuls of this in a second cup without milk, so that I can taste it unadulterated.
I’ll start with the non-milk version. As it was the dregs of the pot, it’s gone a bit bitter. It smells very cinnamon-y but it doesn’t have an overwhelming cinnamon taste. Mind you, I can’t taste any nuts either but that might be the dregs-y situation’s fault. If it hadn’t gone so bitter, it does taste like it would be really rather nice.
As for the milked cup, I fulled the mug about a quarter up with milk and nuked it. I am too damn lazy for saucepans when it’s such a relatively small amount of milk we’re talking about. Then I poured the finished tea into that, and this does smell quite nutty. And milky. It only lacks chocolate and it would smell like hot nutella. I can detect the cinnamon as well, but it’s even more discreet here than without the milk.
It’s not at all bitter with the warm milk in. It’s very sweet, actually. Partly I think because of the nuts, and partly because of the milk. (Seriously, next time you have a glass of milk, pay attention to it. It really does have a sweet taste to it) The spices are very low here, as is the base tea, so I pretty much feel like I’m drinking warm nutty milk.
Which, actually, is really rather nice. For all the lack of base tea and spices, I strongly suspect that I would notice them NOT being there, so I don’t think they’re completely invisible. They’re just… background noise. Rounding everything out. As the cup cools the spices come in to play more, but still mainly as an aftertaste.
I’m glad my tetris-inabilities forced me to pilfer this one. It’s really very pleasant. Perhaps I can learn to enjoy chai. It’s just a question of finding the correct chai.
This is a tea that Scheherazade shared with me. I have never heard of anything by the name of Yuzu before, so I had to look it up. Initially I thought it was the name of the type of green tea, but it turns out that it’s the fruit it’s flavoured with. Further investigation reveals that it’s a kind of citrus fruit that grows in East Asia. It looks like a mandarin and supposedly tastes like a mix of grapefruit, mandarin and lemon. So I’m left to expect something that can somehow manage to be sweet, bitter and tart at the same time. How is that going to work?
Citrus-y conundrums aside, I tend to find that green tea and citrus go quite well together, so I’m rather looking forward to tasting it now.
It does actually manage to smell like all those three citrus fruits mentioned earlier all at once. Imagine a triangle with grapefruit, lemon and mandarin at the corners. Right there in the middle of the triangle. That’s what it smells like. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible. Now, the danger of lemon-y things is that they might wind up smelling a bit like washing up liquid, but I don’t think this one does. It smells rather like a fruit I would like to taste.
There’s a good deal of bitterness in the flavour. It’s not oversteeping-bitter or too-warm-water-bitter, it’s more like grapefruit-bitter. Like when you get a bit of the peel as well as the fruit. Apart from that the flavour isn’t really reminding me all that much of grapefruit, mandarin or lemon, although it is decidedly citrus-y. More sort of bergamot-ish to me. Like a bergamot that has been tarted up a bit with some lemon. It does go really well with the green tea though.
Hmmm… I’m not sure what I think of this. It seems to be rather refreshing, but I’m not sure I can drink very much of it without getting a bit tired of that bitter note.
Jenier order arrived today. I’d forgotten they did that, but when the very first thing I see when I open the box is a small envelope with my name on it and containing a little hand-written ‘hope you enjoy, thanks for your order’ card, I get a happy! Also, I bought another 50g pouch of their golden monkey, but the actual pouch weighs 120g. They did the same thing last time when I also bought a supposedly 50g pouch of golden monkey. I’m definitely not complaining, but… they must have really poor scales in Scotland.
This is an older one I found in my Haven’t Yet Posted About Box (which needs a better name) and it was Sil who shared it with me.
I don’t know anything at all about this oolong, so I had to look it up. Apparently it’s had leafhoppers. Isn’t that the same thing that happens to Oriental Beauty? I’m not too keen on OB these days, actually, but there can be several other factors involved with that. It would be silly to expect immediate dislike just because they have leafhoppers in common. It could be loads of other things that make OB not really appeal to me.
This one looks darker than OB. Has it been roasted a little bit? It smells like it has. It also smells extraordinarily like peaches! And a little nutty as well, but mostly peach or some similar stone fruit.
Okay, this is already seeming much better than OB! Isn’t it strange how the more conscious you are to NOT compare with a specific other kind of tea, the more you find it impossible to avoid it?
At first when I sip I get a borderline sharp bitterness. Perhaps I oversteeped it just a little bit? This note turns into a sort of coal-y thing on the aftertaste, like burnt toast where it has been attempted to scrape the worst of the burn away. This, for me, is the top note.
Underneath that it’s gone all fruity. Again I’m reminded mostly of peaches or similar, but I’m not really getting this honey note that the description mentions. Perhaps that’s the note that is coming out as peaches for me.
The bottom note is very fleeting. It’s only sort of there if you squint, but if I really pay attention I can find a whiff of something nutty there. Just for a moment before the other notes completely takes over. I can’t find it on every sip no matter how closely I pay attention, but every once in a while, there it is. I’m thinking of a relatively sweet-flavoured nut like almond or hazelnut. I associate those with a modicum of sweetness. (Walnut is more sort of tree-like for me and not sweet at all. I’m not sufficiently familiar with other types of nuts to be able to categorise them. I’m not much of a nut-eater really. I’m merely a nut. :p )
This is rather nice, and not like OB at all. That just goes to prove that it’s not the leafhopper effect that makes OB less interesting for me.
Hurrah! My second Tea Palace order arrived today, containing four new black teas none of which are already in the database. Typical. I’ll add them… later. Also, Steam now have a family sharing feature which gives me access to all the games that Husband has bought and vice versa, meaning that I have today discovered Terraria. Four hours have gone into that particular time-sink already… So let us celebrate with another post from the queue, and what better way to celebrate the arrival of a TP order than by posting about the last tea from the first TP order?
My last tea from the TP order.
This one is… It smells strongly of peppermint. What was I thinking??? Is it possible that I was simply seduced by all the pretty blue flowers? Yes, yes it is. It has Yunnan tea, peppermint and these blue flowers and that’s it. So what in the world possessed me to put the sample tin in my basket? Granted I’ve been more inclined to think favourably of a peppermint tea lately than I was just a year ago, but even so. It’s hardly a must-have sort of thing for me.
Oh well, perhaps I’ll be wiser once I’ve tasted it. As mentioned the aroma is very sweet and minty and the blend has pretty blue flowers. I’m not picking any note up from the base of it, though.
The taste comes across as an anonymous black tea with a lot of peppermint at first. It’s really very sweet with the mint here, and I’m only vaguely getting Yunnan-y hints from the base. The sense of the smell of hay and earth and ‘thickness’. But not the actual smell or taste of it.
Call me strange, but this is actually a sizable plus in my book.
I still can’t imagine why I bought this in the first place, but obviously I should trust my instincts in these matters.
(I checked the order confirmation and I did order it. It’s not another mistaken inclusion like the hong mao feng/mao feng confusion)
Oooh I did an Ang™ on this one. Veeeeeery full cup. Yay surface tension. My small china pot fits these mugs exactly and knowing this, sometimes I become rather more focused on emptying the pot than the fullness of the mug. Resulting in… well, you can guess.
Anyway, here’s another one from my recent Tea Palace order, and it’s one that I’ve been looking forward to trying. The name of it rather appeals to me for some reason that I can’t really explain. Also the description says it has notes of caramel, and we all know what the c-word does to me.
It doesn’t say anything about where in China this was grown, but it smells like it may have been Yunnan. Which means that the both of the unflavoured black teas I bought from TP come from my least favourite tea-producing part of China. I wonder if I should be concerned about this? It does smell Yunnan-y, though with the strong aroma and the prominent hay-like notes. It smells very malty as well, which isn’t something that I can remember if it’s a characteristic of Yunnan as well, but my subconscious says ‘yes, that’s Yunnan.’
I may actually have to write to Tea Palace and have this cleared up…
Ooh this is quite full flavoured, but not the mouthful of hay that I was beginning to expect. It is indeed quite sweet, and I can see where they get there caramel notes from. Personally I think they’re more malty than caramel, but it’s still that same sort of ‘family’.
It’s the sort of dark, full flavour where I would expect to find a lot of grain-y notes, but there aren’t really too many of those. It’s just all… smooth and slippery. Rather earthy, actually. As it cools it starts to remind me very much of a quite mild pu-erh, reinforcing my Yunnan theory further. I am 99% certain it’s a Yunnan tea, this.
It’s quite nice, but rather more of a mouthful than I had anticipated. I think the sample tin is enough for me, as I suspect this is going to be a special occasions sort of tea for when serious flavour and pick me up is needed.
Husband loves lemon flavoured things, so this one was a combination of something he loves (lemons) and something I love (berries). His lemon fixation has sort of rubbed off on me and I frequently find myself going for a lemon-y option if one is presented to me. So I nabbed this one out of the EU travelling teabox.
Unfortunately, though, he only found the combination pleasant but not awesome. Oh well. I tried, though.
Personally I found it really nice. I used to have a lemon tea and black currant tea, both from AC Perchs that I would mix half and half. I thought it was pretty awesome, but I tended to be the only person to think so. This blend is rather in the same sort of vein, so I’m feeling a little bit vindicated right now. It’s not just me!
As mentioned, I’ve enjoyed this cup. I find the berry and the lemon in a pleasant balance with the base, and it leaves a sort of veeeery slightly astringent feeling on the tongue, just like when one has been eating something with lemon juice on it. Considering that this is a lemon-y tea, I consider that a really great touch.
Apart from this, I’m afraid I haven’t been paying too much attention to it, as it got caught up in writing the moving notice for our current landlord, trying to work out what we could expect to have to pay for a painter to whack a fresh coat of paint on the walls after we’ve moved (the alternative is doing it ourselves, and as I’ve never painted a wall in my life… I’d rather start my painting career on something that is mine you know) and general house-excitement.