1327 Tasting Notes
And for December 12th we have… jasmine. Jasmine?! PERCH’S, YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! December of 2014 will forever be known as the Month of Meh! If you want a detailed tour of my dislikes, then look no further than this Christmas calendar. All I need now is for hibiscus to show up. If it does, I might actually just refuse to drink it.
I get that there’s a certain risk involved when buying a tea calendar like this that not everything will be to your liking, but this is just ridiculous. We are halfway through and so far there has been one (ONE!) tea that I really liked, one that was at least interesting sounding, one that was acceptable and the rest have been at varying stages between meh and blegh.
I’ve had this one before when it was sent to me as a free sample. Didn’t like it then, don’t like it now. I don’t like jasmine because it’s so very very very floral. I find it’s like drinking perfume. Some people find it sweet and I can sort of see that, but it’s not a kind of sweetness that I enjoy.
Just Say No.
Good morning Steepsterites.
I don’t usually have tea in the morning because I rarely feel like I really have the time, but I’ve come one behind on the Christmas calendar and since the 11th was a day of known like (!!!) I thought I’d catch up a bit.
Look, it’s my favourite ever type! Hurray! At last something nice! At last something interesting! At last something I might actually go and buy! This ought to have been the 24th box, really. They’re going to have a hard time topping this.
Anyway, it’s not the smoothest I’ve ever had, a bit rough around the edges and with a touch pseudo-smokyness. Lots of grain and malty notes though, and a bit of cocoa as well.
I haven’t seen them have this type before at all. There was a Panyong with Paklum blended in, which is some sort of white tea, apparently, that I’ve never heard of anywhere else. Why they would do such a thing is beyond me, but this one as far as I can tell from the satchet wrappers is just the black tea.
Well. We knew it had to come, didn’t we? Yes, another flipping Christmas blend. I’m going to be heartily sick of Christmas blends before this calendar is used up! This time on a black base, the very most traditional kind of Christmas blends. Why is this not in the 24th box??? Seems the logical place to put it. Now I have no clue what that one is going to be.
Anyway, we are having this one tonight, although it was the tea of the 10th, because we didn’t have one yesterday and I have decided that in order to stop me from letting unfavoured samples languish forever, these must be had in the order they were opened. And so, if I want to move on to the infinitely more interesting tea of the 11th, which I do, then I must drink this first.
Really, we’re talking about variations on a theme with this one. Spices and orange. We’ve had that on a white base and on a green base so far already and now also a black one. I’m fully expecting a rooibos based Christmas blend to appear as well. Perhaps even an oolong one.
I can’t really detect the orange much in this but I could see the pieces in the blend. I’m mostly getting a load of generic spice and with a side-note of something borderline soapy. The soapy note is also to do with the spice and I know I should know what causes it, but I can’t think of what it could be right now. It’s one of those things, right on the tip of my tongue.
I know the spice blends and whatnots in all three of these Christmas blends so far have been different, but they just haven’t been different enough. They all seem the same-ish to me, but on different bases. So not impressed with this one either.
I still have a couple of posts in my notebook which will be typed up… eventually. So those will appear out of order, but posting in the right order, I’ve decided, is less important than drinking in the right order.
Day 9 in my Christmas calendar and another miss for me.
We’ve had Husband’s parents over for the weekend, so I haven’t had access to my computer. Therefore, expect some backlogging. I thought about queueing again, but decided not to. Not with the Christmas calendar, anyway.
So far I’ve been less than keen on the offerings of this calendar and I can only hope that things will improve somewhat. Today’s (well, yesterday’s) Darjeeling did therefore not really come as a surprise so much as a ‘well, that’s overwith, then.’
It came in satchets and I’ve had one before which I manage to utterly ruin, so this one was new-ish to me. I don’t much care for Darjeeling and this one was another in the long line of why. Too grassy, too spicy, too… too high-grown, really. I made it at 80°C, because a lower temperature lessens the things about it that I find a bit unpleasant. Sadly it doesn’t remove them.
I wasn’t paying too much attention while drinking it, but I did drink all of it and I didn’t screw up my face at any point and wonder why I was bothering, so I think we can conclude that it was relatively drinkable. It’s also funny how knowing that this is the only cup there is of it factors in. If I knew I had another load of cups to get through, I’d have been a lot less accepting of it, but as it was I found it tolerable. Still not keen, though.
I shall be writing up the missed days and posting them as I finish. Might take me a couple of days though. Oooh! I can throw in, though, that December 7th wasn’t actually a tea, but a small packet with two ginger biscuits. As I don’t care for ginger (another miss) I gave them both to Husband, who informed me that they were quite nice and went well with the cup of tea we were having at the time. Can’t remember which tea that was, though. It’s also entirely possible that I was the only one having tea at that point and the others were having coffee.
Another Christmas tea? I know it’s a Christmas calendar and all, but come on! Are we going to have to go through Christmas blends on every single bloody base imaginable? In that event this Christmas calendar was rather a waste of money for me, because I don’t generally care much for Christmas blends in general. Too many spices. And as I feel like I’ve mentioned a hundred thousand times all ready since opening the first box of this calendar, I do not care for spices in my drinks. In food, yes. In baked goods, yes. But I do not wish to drink them.
I really do hope that it will turn out they’ve taken advantage of this concept to showcase some of all the nice non-Christmas-y things they’ve got, but so far we’ve had two Christmas blends and a chai in the space of four days, and while I know chai isn’t actually a Christmas blend as such, it’s still a spiced tea which uses a lot of spices commonly associated with Christmas, so it’s close e-bloody-nough.
Anyway, this one has rose petals in it, and it smells like it has been very heavily spiced. In fact it rather… stinks. Well, sorry, but it does. Based on the smell alone, I am not keen. It smells very ginger-y and clove-y too, which isn’t helping any either. Not so much a problem with the cloves as it’s a problem with the ginger. I don’t care for ginger. Which is part of what brought on the above frustrated mini-rant.
I am drinking a cup of ginger-y, clove-y, cinnamon-y, cardamum-y, vaguely orange-y water. There may be green tea in here somewhere, but it’s thoroughly drowned in spices. I don’t even know which spices are in here apart from ginger. I know that must be there, due to the unpleasant burn in my mouth. The rest? No idea. The above is a list of fairly random guesses, because this is spiced to the point where I can just say ‘spicy’ but that’s it. Generic spice and ginger. Can’t say I’m finding this particularly enjoyable. I suppose it’s drinkable, but I find I just don’t want to.
The only upside to this is, at least I shouldn’t encounter it in the calendar again…
December 3rd in my Christmas calendar. I’ve had this one before, but once again it was a bit of a meh choice, although tons better than the first two.
I love vanilla and I’ve learned to like a flavoured rooibos now and then, but I just don’t think rooibos is a very good base for vanilla flavouring, really. Vanilla rooiboses that aren’t just vaguely disappointing are few and far between. There was even one once which was outright vile and tasted like when you accidentally get shampoo in your mouth in the shower. Ick.
This one is on the better end of the scale though. The rooibos isn’t too pencil-shaving-y and the vanilla is heavy but soft and reminds me of custard. Funnily enough, the custard is also something I thought when I posted about it the first time some years ago. Must be true, then.
Back then I gave it 79 points, but I’ve knocked that down some today. Better end of the scale, yes, but not sure I think it’s that high up anymore.
Not sure if this is the one I won in my advent calendar today, but I expect so.
Less than thrilled with the prospect of a chai. It’s not really one of those things that I buy. Or want. Ever. Well, occasionally I’ll dabble a bit, but that’s honestly as far as it goes. I’m just not keen on spicy tea and could happily live without it. I’ve written previously about the traumatic introduction to chai I had as a child via hippie-ish scout leaders who didn’t want to serve boring old unhealthy hot chocolate to children age 8-12 or so who would really much much rather have had a cup of hot chocolate. I know I would. I shan’t repeat the whole thing again, but I can probably find the post if anybody wants me to.
So this one is… oh well. At least it was two satchets rather than a loose sample, so one for me and one for Husband and it’s gone and dealt with.
This one is actually fairly inoffensive. It’s fairly cinnamon-y but seems otherwise pretty mild on the spices which is totally fine with me given as how I mentioned I don’t really want spices in my teacup.
Still, though. I drink it because it’s there, but I can’t say it’s giving me much in the way of pleasure.
Polar opposite experience from the one I had when I stopped into Starbucks on my way home to try that honey almond hot chocolate they have. That one blew my mind. Easily the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. I’ll be having more of that, let me tell you! Are these Christmas specials the same for where you are, or do they adjust the selection to suit the locals? I know we don’t have all the same choices that you get in the regular menu. (There is only one Starbucks in this city, and it’s the second biggest town in the country, so we’re fairly new territory for the chain here. I expect this is probably the reason for the somewhat smaller selection. It’s only been open about a year, I think.)
Merry Christmas! It’s the 1st of December! I’ve opened all my calendars, and we had bit of Christmas fun at work around lunch time. We ordered sandwiches and played a gift game. Do you know this game in your parts of the world? Everybody brings two small presents which are placed in the middle of the table. Then you take turns rolling a die and if you get a six you can choose a present. When all the presents have been claimed from the middle of the table, you set a timer to an unknown amount of minutes and continue the game until the timer dings, only this time when you get a six you steal a present from one of the others. When the game ends you’ve won the presents in front of you. For extra action we used four dice, so there were two cups going round and if you got a double six, hey, steal two presents! If you don’t know this game, I recommend you try it. It’s lots of fun. I won a box of small glass baubles, a bag of boiled sweets and a really ugly but festive Christmas brooch with LED lights in it which I intend to wear on my uniform for the rest of the month.
I nearly forgot to open the most important of my Christmas calendars, the one I bought from AC Perchs. It’s their first year selling a Christmas calendar and they’ve done a smashing job with it design-wise. Obviously, I can’t yet comment on the contents. :)
Today’s tea smells like one of those oranges which has been stuck full of cloves. Also cinnamon. I have to say, I’m not finding that a very good start. I don’t much care for Christmas blends in general (too chai-y) and I’m not finding the smell of this one very attractive. Except maybe the orange bits.
To my surprise, the flavour is very orange-y and not as overwhelmingly spicy as feared. It still tastes like cloves and cinnamon too but not at all in an unbearable amount. The white base comes through on the aftertaste and yes, it does unfortunately have the cucumber-y, courgette-y flavour that I must admit I don’t much care for. I do like to eat both cucumbers and courgettes, but I don’t particularly wish to drink them, thanks.
I wasn’t expecting to like this much when I opened it, but I find it’s actually okay.
I’ve been very keen on nut-flavoured blacks in recent months, so when we ordered from MF, this seemed an obvious choice. I don’t know what kind of nut is in here, but one of them is definitely almond. That marcipan-y note is impossible to miss. Then I expect one of the others is likely hazelnut and the last one probably walnut. Those seem the most likely choices anyway, as they’re so common I reckon any other type of nut would probably be mentioned in more detail. If the French version of the description offers more detail on this, feel free to inform me.
The leaves smell very sweet and almond-y. Husband thought it was quite Christmas-y and I agree with that, because marcipan is closely connected with Christmas in this country. You can have it all year, but I’d wager 50% of the average Dane’s yearly marcipan consumption happens around Christmas. After steeping it smells more hazelnutty and walnutty which fits nicely with my guess of other nuts in this.
The flavour is more sort generally nuts. There’s a sweet hint of marcipan to it, but mostly it’s just generic nut. It doesn’t bother me, though, that I can’t tell the different nuts apart and identify them separately because they come together in a rather well-rounded whole which also suits the base quite nicely. It feels like they’ve used a fairly strong base for this and that’s a good choice, I think. Nut flavoured teas tend to get rather sweet on their own, so a strong base balances it out a bit more.
I’m quite happy with this one. I have to say I find that something of a relief, really, since earlier this year I tried a number of French brand teas which others had found to be the best thing ever and I kept getting a little disappointed by them. I mean they were nice enough, but not all that. It’s good to know that there are still lovely French teas out there for me as well. I used to be very keen on the subtlety of the French blends in general. It’s like French brands blend and flavour to a particular style. My tastes must have changed a bit since then.
I’m in bad need of some house keeping on my Steepster account. My cupboard is so inaccurate at the moment, it’s ridiculous.
Now, yesterday something happened. Try not to envy me too much, Steepsterites, but what happened was that I realised how little flavoured black we had at the moment. Only four kinds! I told Husband and here’s what he said.
“You slacker! You’ve not been pulling your weight around here much, have you?”
Yes, Steepsterites. I actually have a husband who will scold me (mildly) for NOT having ordered enough tea! Like I said, try not to envy me too much. :D
So we discussed requests a bit. Husband wanted more of the Orange Puerh from Nothing But Tea and also something red fruity because he had become quite fond of the Queen of Berries from Tea Palace. Okay, so first stop Nothing But Tea.
They’ve completely redesigned their webshop so it’s much easier to navigate. Hallelujah! It actually happened to me more than once that I came out of that shop thinking I’d placed an order only to discover later that I hadn’t actually. Don’t know how that happened, but it did. This time the order process seemed more straight-forward and they had a number of interesting things, so I chose the 100g pouch of orange puerh and a number of 10g samples. And then, and THEN! I was given one shipping option from the UK to Denmark and it was a whopping £26!!!!!! For a £14.45 order! O.O Steepsterites, I just about keeled over. Lucky me I have English family, so that order has now gone on my Christmas list instead. I’ve also sent them an email asking if that can really be true, because if it is, I just can’t afford to shop there any longer.
That being out of the question, next stop Tea Palace. Turns out their website returned a 404 error and was otherwise non-existant. Cue panic! Had they closed? I hadn’t heard anything and I’d had a newsletter from them in September which didn’t mention any such thing. A bit of snooping around revealed that they had taken their site down last weekend ‘for improvements’ whatever that means and I can only conclude it still wasn’t ready for re-launch.
So goodbye orange puerh and so long queen of berries…
I turned instead towards the Frenchies, and made a small order with Mariage Freres. I was at a point here where I was more than half expecting something to go horribly wrong, so now we’ll just have to wait and see if it ever turns up. I found their website difficult to navigate and ended up asking Husband what his French was like as even with the English version of the site all the tea names were still in French. The fairly simple fruit flavoured ones was easy enough as he knew some of those words and with the four red fruits one even I could make an educated guess. Horrid site to use, though. I wonder if it’s any better if one speaks French…
So now we’re waiting for that.
In the meantime I’m having a cup of this oolong. It’s the first time I’ve tasted it and I bought it because I was looking for darkish, roast-y oolongs at the time. The description said it was nutty and sweet, which are two things that I approve of, and a reviewer on the site said they thought it tasted like pears. I approve of that as well, so while shopping anyway, I got some.
It has a sweet and nutty aroma, definitely. At first when it was warmest, I thought it smelled a little like honey, but this has gone away as the cup has cooled a bit. The flavour is super-nutty too and only moderately sweet, which I suspect is a good thing or it could have gone cloying. I also agree with the person who said pears. Not as strongly as they seemed to have found them, but more of an aftertaste sort of thing along with a wood-y note.
It’s quite nice this.