1268 Tasting Notes
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.
Funny that this should be next in the queue, when I’ve been drinking another Irish Breakfast blend today. It feels a bit full cicle-y
This is another take from the EU travelling teabox, one I didn’t really have to think too hard about before pinching. I rather like breakfast blends, but I never seem to actually buy them for some reason. I think it’s because, in the actual ordering situation, I either get too focused on interesting flavours or on unblended teas, and if they have a breakfast blend at all, then I don’t even look for it.
But I do like a good breakfast blend, so perhaps it’s something I should start paying more attention to. They are so varied, because many companies make their own unique blend that for them is breakfast-y, so it’s not a tried-on-tried-them-all sort of thing at all.
My perfect breakfast blend is actually quite easy to find. In fact I can go out tomorrow and pick up a box from the supermarket. You see, I grew up on Pickwick tea bags when having tea, and their English breakfast blend have a distinct note of honey to it. At least it did 15 years ago, who knows what sort of shenanigans their product development people have been up to in that time? I rather enjoyed that honey note, so that’s what I want in a breakfast blend.
Irish breakfast or English breakfast, though… I can take either. I’ve never really been able to put my finger on exactly what’s supposed to be the difference here, so one is as good as the other for me.
This one smells vaguely grassy and quite malty-sweet. There’s a fair bit of grain in here as well. I find this bode well for the possibility of that honey note.
Unfortunately it doesn’t taste like honey at all. At first, when I sipped, I thought ‘oh no, grass! Darjeeling!’ but then the malty notes came in and sort of took over. Those Darj-y notes aren’t actually so bad after all, so now I don’t think it’s in there at all. It lacks the prickly spicyness of Darj, fortunately. Maybe some other high-grown tea. It really is a quite sweet tea, this one. Under that, forming the body, there is a bit of grain and a whole lot of general Assam-ness with malt and a whiff of raisin. This is robust, strong and lightly astringent in the aftertaste.
This is quite nice. It’s not the sort of tea that I would want to drink all day, but it works well for the first cup of the day. Which this actually is, actually. Evidence to this can be found in how the leaves were initially given a short rinse in cold water because I forgot to boil it first and then had to pour it back in the kettle. Yay for strainers… I hope it’s not going to be one of the those days.
Husband found it pleasant too. He said it was a good breakfast tea and better than most English breakfast blends he’s tried (which likely came out of a bag, mind you) which were often much too (and here he made a funny face). And this one wasn’t.
PS. Lightly astringent turns into quite astringent if you drink this while eating yoghurt, apparently. So don’t do that.
From the queue. (I’ve upped the posting frequency from the queue because it seems to be growing faster than I’m posting at the moment… 25 pages and counting.)
Bleurgh… Husband is not home tonight so I’m fending for myself dinner-wise. Husband is vegetarian, and I am one on most days for the main reason that I can’t possibly be bothered to cook two separate meals for two people when whatever he’s having is just as good as anything meaty. However, on the occasions when we go out, have take out or I’m feeding myself, I usually fall into the meat trap. It’s possible that I over-do it a bit. Bottomline is, I enjoy the food while eating, but afterwards always feel far too full in the entirely wrong way. Full on meat feels very different from full on a vegetarian fare. To top it all off I also had half a glass of red wine, unusually for me but it’s one of these very posh wines. The sort of that comes in a box with a tap on it, you know. So I’m very very full and kind of sleepy. Hence, bleurgh… In short, my tummy is right now a rabbit of negative euphoria. ( sigh I shall miss Cabin Pressure)
I am in need of something light and restoratative. Green and fruity? Yes. Time for another Try from the EU Travelling Teabox, now winding its way towards Italy.
I’m not generally a green tea person, but I took some of this one because… I don’t need to go into this again, do I? Berry, attraction, done deal.
It definitely smells like blueberry. Actually it just smells blue all round. I’m getting a very clear sky blue. There’s a sweetness to it as well which is not all berry but reminds me of vanilla. There isn’t actually vanilla in it at all as far as I can see, so that might just be my personal vanilla obsession, but that is nevertheless what I’m reminded of.
At first, when I sip, I just get the green tea. It tastes fresh and vegetative, but not in the sort of fat, thick, almost salty way that some greens, particularly dragonwell for me, have a tendency to. This tastes more spring-like and crisp. Then, after a split second, the blueberry comes in. It’s a very clear blueberry flavour, here. Very sweet and a little creamy. Again, it’s as if it has been mixed with a little vanilla. The blueberry flavour sort of builds up as I sip, so that it’s as if the flavouring becomes stronger and stronger.
This is really a very good tea. It’s the sort of thing that makes me wish green blends caught my attention more often. I’m glad I got to try some of this one, although I do wish I’d pinched all of it now. This is a brilliant tea!
This is also from my recent Tea Palace order. I have to admit that while I am very attracted to berry flavoured things, I may or may not have purchased this one primarily for the tin. Look at the picture! Isn’t that just lovely? The other tins from Tea Palace or purple. Attractive as well, but this one is just lovely. (I think Husband finds it (the tin) fairly awful, but then again, he’s not a girl so what does he know?)
The tea itself, I’m pleased to report is also rather lovely. It smells strongly of berries, strawberries especially, both in the leaf and after steeping. It has that juicy note that reminds me of warm strawberry jam.
The flavour is the same as well. Strongly berry-ed and juicy, but not only strawberry here. I can pick up a hint of raspberry as well, but not really any black currant. Still it’s primarily a strawberry tea, which one might have guessed from the tin.
I find it aptly named. I can’t help feeling slightly posh when I drink it. Very lovely, this.
This was an EU Travelling Teabox Try.
There’s no two ways of saying this. It smells like soap. Not even perfumed soap, just soap soap. No hints of vanilla or of rooibos. Only soap. It smells exactly like the way accidentally getting a little shampoo in your mouth in the shower tastes.
It tastes like rooibos and not too much like soap. There’s a little bit of that sensation hanging in the nostrils after sipping, but I expect that’s because of how closely related to taste the sense of smell is. The vanilla flavouring is not very strong and mainly shows up as an aftertaste. Unfortunately that’s where it gets mixed in with that shampoo in the mouth feeling, so all in all, this is actually not very pleasant.
I can’t seem to get rid of that feeling of shampoo in my sinuses.
Originally I had intended this to be a Take and take all of it, but having tasted it, I thought better of it and put it back in the box. Demoted.
A vanilla flavoured blend that I’m scoring low. Of all things! O.o I’m very disappointed.
I should point out that this post is from the queue, if you can’t work that out based on the references to NaNoWriMo, which takes place in November. This should also give you an idea of exactly HOW LONG the queue is.
This is WAAAAAY old! It’s actually the last tea from last year’s advent calendar. Not even the reblend that goes up for sale afterwards. The actual little envelope from the actual calendar. It’s been languishing for ages here in the box because I was under the mistaken impression that it was a green base, and I’ve just rarely felt like a green tea at all.
And then of course it started getting really old and I got a bit embarrased that I still hadn’t got around to it yet, so…
This is me, owning up. I still have this sample from the advent calendar of 2012.
Well, actually I don’t have it anymore as I’ve, at the time of posting this, drunk it. You know what I mean though.
I’ve been on holiday this week, but Husband haven’t. I always take a week’s holiday in November. Originally it was for the sake of NaNoWriMo, but I haven’t really been doing that this year. I didn’t really feel like it and didn’t have any ideas, so I’m going through a month now of chronic guilt, because this is the first time in I believe nearly 10 years where I haven’t even tried, so it’s sort of second nature to me by now that I ought to do it. Obviously not enough that I’m actually getting anything done, but even so.
Anyway, I’ve been on holiday, so I’ve really been making a crack at the box of things not yet tried and written about. All the words of fiction that I haven’t written? Yeah, those are now tea posts. My word doc of posts ready to, well, post is now 18 pages long and has 10+K words in it. At least two thirds of those were written this week.
Therefore, finally owning up to still not having drunk this sample.
The stupid thing is that I actually expect to rather like it.
It has a black base, which I like. It has marshmallow root, which I like. It has peppermint, which is something I’ve warmed to considerably in my tea over the last year or so.
I also remember that there was a sample in the advent calendar which was very similiar to this, only it had spearmint instead of peppermint, and I didn’t much like the spearmint. I theorised at the time that if it had been peppermint, I’d have enjoyed it a lot more. Or something to that effect. I can’t really recall what that tea was called, so I can’t go and look it up.
Anyway, this smells very peppermint-y, so at least we know age hasn’t deadened it completely. I can also pick up the marshmallow root under the mint, but it smells very much like those candy canes. Stripes and everything. But also, I’m afraid, a little bit like mouthwash. Base tea? Not so much, really.
Oh, peppermint. Lots of it. One sip and my mouth has gone all minty. Sweet too, again I can pick up the marshmallow root quite clearly. These two really work well together, totally creating the illusion of minty sweeties, and not at all mouthwash-y.
I can feel the base tea underneath that, but it’s really mostly there to provide some body for the other two flavours. I’m not sure exactly what the base is, but it seems to be very forgiving and none the worse for
Yes, this is indeed quite nice. Had I actually tried it at the proper time I’m not sure it would have been ’I’ll-risk-customs-fees!‘-nice, but I’m definitely enjoying this cup.
I believe the hypothesis RE spearmint versus peppermint is proven.
This + freshly baked scones with a variety of marmalade, honey and lemon curd.
In all my humblest modesty; OM NOM NOM NOM!!!
(No clotted cream, though. I know of one place only where I can buy that here and I wasn’t about to retrace my steps. Research has shown me that it’s supposedly super-easy to make your own but it’s an overnight sort of job. Requires more preparation than my spontaneous cravings)
Another from my recent TP order.
I expect if I told you that I had made an order and NOT bought any of this, half of you would probably have been ready to call an ambulance for me or something.
And I must say, it smells heavenly! All sweet and vanilla-y and awesome. It doesn’t have the punch and strong caramel-y notes that my favourite from Fru P does, but it’s still pretty good. Mind you, I think the Fru P blend is a wee bit on the pungent side aroma-wise, so if I end up having a cup that tastes like Fru P’s and smells like this one does, then there it is. The Perfect Vanilla Black.
Hm. It’s quite a harsh flavour just at first. I’m not certain exactly how vanilla can be harsh at all, but that was my immediate thought when I tried to think of a word to describe it. Then after that very initial harshness it blooms into full on vanilla. Again it’s not as strongly flavoured as Fru P, though, so I’m afraid it’s not really coming up to Perfect standard.
Still quite good though, and it gets more vanilla-y when slurped and when it cools a bit. It has quite a caramel-y aftertaste to it as well.
It’s lovely, this, absolutely lovely, but I still prefer Fru P, which is probably best as I can get that in town.