1323 Tasting Notes
I think this was the one that Fleurdelily sent me.
Initially I had a little happy when I saw this, because I like berries in general in tea. I just had the one bag and that turned out to be lucky because when I went to make it, I had not seen that it has hibiscus in it.
I cannot abide hibiscus. It tastes like blood. All metallic and sour. Ew.
At first I had a small suspicion when I poured water on it, and it immediately started bleeding a strong, bright red colour. However, while this is a tell-tale hibiscus sign, I have learned that it’s not the only ingredient to do that.
Not until now when I came to post did I see the truth of the matter.
And even if I hadn’t, I would have found out by the aroma. Let’s just say that this does not smell like any raspberry I am willing to eat. It’s all sour and ugh. Luna the Cat appears to agree. This aroma does not give me very high hopes for the flavour.
No, indeed not. It doesn’t taste like a raspberry I am willing to eat either. It doesn’t taste like raspberry at all! It’s just all sour and hibiscus-y. I can’t drink this without making a face, and trust me, I have tried my very best here.
Which leads me to a bit of a rant, frankly. American blends with berries seem to be loaded with hibiscus nine times out of ten. I have even seen people here on Steepster marvel at the fact that berry-flavoured blends without hibiscus even exist. What’s with all the hibiscus, people? It does not taste like berries! Berries are not sour by definition and not all berries taste the same, so if you take the trouble to actually use berry flavouring alongside the hibiscus, why do you insist on making it taste uniformly tart with hibiscus? Do you even have tongues to taste with?
It is possible to make something berry flavoured without letting it even stand next to a hibiscus flower. As far as I can tell this is largely an American phenomenon (do-doo-dodo-do), and I have never ever seen a European fruit or berry blend that contained hibiscus, while still claiming to be a plain fruit blend. Ever. Never ever ever.
Now I realise that this is a raspberry herbal and that implies that there are different sorts of things in it that aren’t tea. Raspberry leaves and raspberry flavouring, this I expected. But rosehip and hibiscus, just to make it red and tart, oh so very tart indeed, this I don’t understand. Does raspberry not taste sufficiently like raspberry on its own?
So chalk this down as a massive disappointment from someone who has been curious about raspberry leaf for sometime and believed she was going to try it at last. I don’t need to try hibiscus. I know what that tastes like.
I’m sorry, Fleurdelily but this one was just not for me at all. To be frank, even if I had seen that it contained hibiscus, I would probably have tried it out anyway because you never know when something otherwise unpleasant suddenly shows up in just the right combination. I had that experience with rooibos that was sent to me and it completely turned my opinion of rooibos upside-down. Just ask Cteresa. I suppose I’m vaguely hoping that the same thing might happen with hibiscus, but I’m not really super-optimistic about it.
When one woman’s ick is another woman’s nom, it’s awesome that we can share. fleurdelily didn’t care for this one, and although it’s far from my Perfect Vanilla Black, I can guarantee that it will get legs to walk on in this house. :)
Return parcel will follow. Eventually. Please be patient with me…
Fleurdelily sent me a couple of these bags, and also some strawberry ones of the same brand. I’m mentioning those here as well because the packaging of these bags is amazingly attractive. All colourful and with large drawings of the fruits in question. The sort of packaging that says ‘you KNOW I will taste good, because I look so good!’ From the moment I took them out of the box, I was looking forward to trying them.
That happens very rarely for me when I see bagged tea!
I’m having the peach and passionfruit now, and I must say that peach is a funny thing for me. I like peaches to eat and peach-flavoured things in general, but have always avoided it in tea because it is very much a hit and miss flavour for me. I never know what I’ll get with peaches in tea, and there doesn’t seem to exist a middle of the road for me.
Apart from the packaging, I must admit I wasn’t expecting much from a bagged tea in the peach-flavour-liking department, but perhaps it’s the addition of the passionfruit that does it here, because this one is actually quite pleasant. (Could also depend on what sort of base is used, I guess)
I think it has passionflowers as well as passionfruit actually, because there is a fairly floral taste to it, which prevents the peach from getting that nearly cloying flavour that I dislike in peach tea. Ironic really, because I don’t normally care much for floral teas either.
This one tastes quite warm and autumn-y, which is a surprise because I always connect tropical flavours with summer, but there is a sort of spicy note in here which may be the floral aspect or something else entirely that just says autumn. It fits the current grey and wet weather rather nicely.
I’m pleased with this.
I finally got around to this one, and it’s just as well, because it’s taking up a lot of space on my desk. I’ve taken to keeping the teas I haven’t posted about yet on my desk next to the computer so that they don’t disappear in the collection or end up like the four red fruits black from Le Palais des Thes which we’ve gone through 200 grams of and I never actually posted about it. I thought I already had!
So yes. New system. This system keeps them in full view at all times, and encourages me to get to them faster so that I can get my desk back!
This one is from the Verdant order I made some time ago and had been standing there un-opened, taking up a lot of space. I usually have pretty good experiences with Dancong and tend to find them very similar to Da Hong Pao, but somehow more me.
I suspect this is one I’ll be drinking throughout the day today. It’s wednesday, which means I’m off work (oh I luuuuurrrrve working part time!) and I’ve got a to-do list the length of my leg. Well, nearly. Two pages anyway, with half the usual margins and slightly smaller font size. 116 items. Many of them are tiny things that will take maybe five minutes but which I’ll forget to do otherwise so that’s why it’s so long. This approach worked out awesomely for me last week with nearly 80% completion and Husband commenting on the all-round tidyness of the house when he came home, so I’m repeating the success. So here we go. A tea that can be repeated easily throughout the day.
To that end I started out with twice my normal amount of leaf and half my normal steeping time, and the result is something that smells remarkably like honey. And milk, somehow. Or at least sort of creamy. The aroma isn’t very strong, so that’s all I can pick up at this point.
It tastes like Dancong. That’s my first thought when I tasted it. Tastes like Dancong. Um, right. I should sincerely hope it would! O.o And also like oolong. (Duh, brain. Pull yourself together with the associations, please!) That sort of dark, slightly woodsy and kind of humid oolong-y taste that all oolongs must have. If they don’t, it’s a serious flaw for me.
I also like my darker type oolongs to have a sort of caramel-y note. Not outright caramel flavoured, because for some reason I can’t actually imagine that would work, but a natural swet and creamy note that invokes caramel. This is not a requirement in the same way that the oolongness is, but I do prefer it.
Third, it must not be too floral in flavour, and this is where Dancong and Da Hong Pao part ways for me. Da Hong Pao has a tendency to be more floral for me than Dancong. This is not always so, but it seems to be a tendency.
This one has the oolongness and the honey-y, caramel-y creaminess and none of the floralness that I could find. The flavour is somewhat delicate though, and I suspect I could actually easily have left my steeping time at my usual two minutes, even though I had used more leaf. I didn’t really take the volume of the leaf properly into account when I thought I doubled it, so I suspect that I actually used close to my normal amount although it looked like a lot.
Mind you, this is very nice, but do hope that I can bring some forcefulness out in the flavour in the next steeps.
The second steep is back to my normal steeping time. The flavour is the same as the first steep, only stronger this time. All the notes are there and in the same amounts compared to each other. They’re just less delicate now. This is what I hoped would happen.
I’ll take a break with it now and leave the computer before this hospital e-learning course drives me completely batty! It’s mandatory and involves watching a little film which I have now restarted more times than I can count because it just won’t play right. I officially give up! throws up hands
This one came from Auggy and one of the last ones I’ve got left untried from her massive parcel.
I’ve only had milk oolong a few times before and have never quite been certain what to make of it. I’ve liked it, but I have never fallen head over heels for it like so many other people seem to have. Two, I think I’ve tried, and mind you, I have not even the first clue about whether either of those two were actually flavoured with steamed milk (I think that’s how it’s done?) or with the milky note naturally occuring and I don’t know which this one is either. It’s possible that the difference between these two types may mean a rather large difference in the head over heels department.
This one tastes primarily green oolong-y. At first when I just made it, there was lots of milky aroma and the first few sips had lots of it in the flavour as well.
Now that it has sat here and cooled slightly and developed a bit, the milky note has been pushed rather to the back. It is now there in the aftertaste and peeking out here and there in the actual sip, but not really able to get a word in edgewise.
So what I’ve got left seems like it could have been almost any sort of green oolong, just not counting the aftertaste. Somewhat vegetal and slightly sharp, it reminds me of dark, leafy greens, and with a very strong oolong-y wood-y touch to it.
Because I know it’s a milk oolong, I can pick up on the milk in the aftertaste and in between here and there, but if I hadn’t known anything about that, I wouldn’t have been able to guess. And do you know what? I almost think I prefer it that way. Milk oolong in general sounds like something that I might find a bit cloying if overdone and I definitely like this one better than the first one I ever had. I remember that one primarily because both the smell and the flavour of it gave me associations of warm yoghurt. (I’m fairly certain that one had been made with the steamed milk, actually)
It’s been too long since I’ve had a regular green oolong, so I can’t actually tell if I like this better than green oolong in general or the other way around. I’ll have to have a regular soon, but right now I’m finding this one rather enjoyable and not at all what I had thought I would get.
Dear foreigners! Have you ever had elderberry soup or is that a German and Scandinavian thing only? When I saw that I could by dried elderberries to use as a tisane, elderberry soup was the first thing that popped into my head. Elderberry soup is a treat for dessert in autumn, I think. Piping hot, and possibly with a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream. Clearly then I had to try this.
That combined with the fact that I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen elderberries (or elderflowers for that matter) in conjunktion with tea or tisanes. I don’t know why it’s so rare.
So obviously I had to try this. I really very much had to try it.
I went in to ask Husband if he also wanted to try a cup and he gave me a thumbs up sign before I had the chance to tell him what it even was. So we shall see where that bit of bravery will take him. Or foolhardyness, possibly. We shall see.
The berries are just berries. No leaves, no additives, no nothing. Just berries. They smell a bit like dried cranberries, actually, but then again elderberries do have that same sort of tartness to them.
After having been steeped, the aroma is elderberry soup alright, although it’s obviously not as viscous as the soup. It’s not quite as violently purple either which I have to admit came as a slight disappointment to me. Half the fun of elderberry soup is eating something with that colour.
The flavour is much milder than the soup too. I admit I was a bit worried, because if it was as strong as in the soup, it might get to be a bit much pretty quickly. I like the soup as an occasional treat, as mentioned, but I can only eat so much of it at the time before it gets to be too much.
I don’t think there’s any danger of that with this tisane. It’s quite mild and pleasant. Fruity, slightly tart and kind of semi-earthy in flavour.
You know, I really don’t understand why this berry doesn’t get used in flavouring tea! To me a strong flavoured berry like this seems totally obvious to flavour things with. With the amount of flavouring that comes out of these dried berries alone, however, it should be totally easy to make my own. Any otherwise dull tea should be spruced up considerably but adding a spoonful of these to the leaf. Elderberry soup usually has apple in it as well, so an apple flavoured tea without probably be awesome to use as well.
I’m not sure I would buy these again, just to drink them on their own like this, but I could totally see myself buying a small stock to experiment with mixing in other teas.
Husband, bizarrely, thinks it tastes like tomato soup. I don’t know, Steepsterites… Tomatoes??? O.o I can’t even!
This is my third green tea in, oh, about a week I think! It all started that day when I suddenly had this green tea craving. It’s a whole little phase with me, I think. I wonder how long it’s going to continue, because it’s a peculiar time of year to develop such a phase.
Still, I don’t mind. I would like to be more of a green tea drinker, but it’s just more than reasonably difficult to find any that can truly compete with my love for the black tea types.
But, here is another one! This one I got as a sample from Chaplon with my recent order and I initially chose it because I thought it was an Indian green tea flavoured with lemon. I didn’t actually bother with reading the description until now, because it turns out that it’s a blend of Sencha and Chun Mee flavoured with lemon oil from a variety of lemon called Indian Lemon.
Aha. Learn every day and all that jazz.
The dry leaf smelled mostly lemon juice-y and after brewing there is something along the lemon note which must be the base tea. It’s just coming across as sort of spicy. Kind of pepper-y, bizarre as that may sound. There are also the more standard sort of green tea notes, the vegetal leafyness, but mostly it’s lemon and this funny sort of spicy sub-note.
The flavour is not as fresh and perky as I had expected. It doesn’t give me that sort of ‘Ooooh refreshment!’ spike of tartness and summer that lemon normally gives me. I think this is caused by the blended base. Had the base been a single tea, it would have been a sharper flavour, I think. As it’s a blend of two on their own already pretty flavourful teas, the base has become far broader and has much more presence. It seems to cover many more flavour points than any single tea of each type could, and somehow manages not to make a mess of it. And stretched over this whole thing, is a fairly strong lemon.
And it is a strong lemon. This lemon reminds of those really cheap Earl Greys, where the bergamot has been stretched with lemon flavour. It’s actually very close that same flavour, only here it’s much better than in something pretending to be Earl Grey exactly because it’s not claiming to be an Earl Grey.
As a flavoured green tea, this is very nice, and I suspect Husband might enjoy this one. I have used half my sample for this cup and will make sure to share the other half with him.
As something to take care of these green tea cravings, however, it’s not really working. It just seems like an entirely different beast than a clean, single-type green tea.
Damn and blast! My post disappeared! That stuff never happens to me. That’ll teach me not to write in a different place and copy/paste like I normally do.
Anyway, the gist of it is the following,
-My nose and tastebuds are still broken. Or re-broken, as they worked briefly.
-I am touching base with familiar favourites and reacquainting myself.
-Still have a cold to some degree, but do not feel otherwise ill, so it’s tolerable.
-I am getting ready for NaNoWriMo, and would like to hear from the people going by Butchcraft and Nephele on nanowrimo.org so that they can tell me who they are, as they don’t appear to have ever been added to my inter-site spreadsheet and I’m sure I must know them from somewhere. So if they see this, could they please contact me?