1191 Tasting Notes
We spent the weekend in Copenhagen and this is what they had in the breakfast buffet. (There were a number of other Clipper bags as well, but one of them I couldn’t work out what was and the others I didn’t think were very suitable for breakfast.)
It contained Assam and Ceylon and the Assam shone clearly through, with the Ceylon tempering that astringency that usually gives me Assam-trouble.
I wouldn’t say it was anything particularly special or earth-moving, but it wasn’t horrible either. It was perfectly adequate for breakfast in a situation where I wasn’t about to start waxing poetic about it anyway. A tea to drink without having to have an opinion on it.
The dry leaf of this one smells rather disturbingly like apricot flavoured yoghurt. And not just any old yoghurt either. An apricot Petite Danone. That’s what it smells like. (Do you have those over on the other side of the Atlantic? They’re like yoghurt-y desserts marketed for children so they contain more sugar than fruit and they come in tiiiiny little cups that somehow still manages to cost more than a whole carton of normal fruit yoghurt.)
After steeping thankfully it’s more real fruit and it has completely lost that weird yoghurt-y note. The tea base comes through as well and had it not been for the fact that they say it’s Chinese, I would have guessed it might be a Ceylon, because there seems to be a rather prominent sort of malty note to it. After careful smelling and consideration I have come to believe that this malty note is actually my own nose playing tricks on me and masquerading the actual fruit flavouring in this way, making it seem a lot more subtle than it really is. It’s like magic!
The flavour finally puts the whole Petite Danone issue to rest. Nothing even remotely like it here. This is an example of a well balanced fruit flavouring. It’s clearly fruity and it’s strong enough to be recognisable, but there is still a very clear note of actual tea shining through. It’s a fairly non-descript tea flavour here, but it’s there. It feels like drinking an even mix of the two, which gives the impression that the apricot manages to be both strong and rather subtle all at the same time. Like magic!
I’m coming to the conclusion that apricot and black tea are two of those flavours that just fit like puzzle pieces. They seem to compliment each other so nicely.
All in all, a quite good fruity black, although it certainly didn’t send my socks into orbit or anything like that. It was just good and enjoyable and will do well as a sort of every-day fruit tea, I think, which means we can save some of the really really good ones for a little longer. Sometimes we just need something that is merely good in order to fully appreciate the awesome.
I can’t believe I bought a 100 grams of, let’s face it, fannings! I mean, I knew it was CTC and I was sceptical about that, but as I was buying the Tanzania (again) and I have this budding fascination with the African continent’s tea offerings, I couldn’t not get it. This and the Tanzania are the only African blacks they’ve got. I do wish they would look into getting a better Kenya because the fact that this one is CTC makes it seem rather pedestrian compared to just about everything else they’ve got. I can’t say for sure if it really is, but it’s the only CTC I can recall having seen from them ever.
So, uncharacteristically I opted for using a filter bag with this one. There is no way that my otherwise wonderful strainers would have a chance against this sort of leaf size. Or lack of leaf size. I also used only 3/4 of my usual number of teaspoons of leaf.
And it was a good thing I did because I ALSO forgot to set the timer, so when I came back to get it I had to test-taste a mouthful in order to find out if it was necessary to make a new pot. To my vast surprise, it was fine. A CTC steeped for at least 5 minutes unattended and it’s fine. Shocking! I was going to do it at 3…
But then when I really start tasting the cup, I discover why it didn’t go wrong. There’s nothing here TO go wrong. This is just about the dullest, blandest tea I’ve ever met. In spite of the tiny leaf size, there is very little aroma or flavour here to speak of. A bit of astringency on the end of the flavour, but anything else you have to search for. And the more you keep the tea in your mouth to try and find other flavours in it, the more you only find the astringency.
The aroma at least has a hint of something woodsy and slightly malty. It’s just a shame that so little of it comes across in flavour.
Perhaps I should not have been so cautious with the leaf amount, CTC or not. I’ll have to experiment some more with that, I guess, although it is very much against my better judgment to not be cautious with CTC leaf amounts. This cup more resembles something that usually comes in cheap teabags with a generic blend name, rather than something from a shop selling supposedly quality leaves. You know, the sort of blend where they have something proper to give the majority of the flavour and then stuff it with something cheap and filling to keep the price down and pretend it’s still lovely. This here then would be the something cheap and filling.
I really do hope I can find a way to improve this (a lot) because right now I’m so disappointed. If nothing else it’ll work as a morning tea when I don’t want to do an awful lot of thinking.
I have received a MASSIVE Perch’s order this morning. Mainly we’ve got fruity teas here as well as stocking up on some black. The all-important Lapsang, the Tanzania I liked, and to try their Kenya. Anyway, I let the boyfriend pick out the first one to try and he chose this one.
I rather like cranberries and cranberry flavoured things, so it has been one I’ve been meaning to buy for a while. Especially after I’ve had their Late Summer blend (which I also bought this time), which is a heavenly mix of cranberry and vanilla. This, though, is plain cranberry.
The aroma is tart and heavy on the cranberry. There can be no doubt in anybody’s mind that this is a flavoured tea and that it’s flavoured with cranberry. Sligthly tart and thickly sweet underneath, with tendrils of the base tea sort of reaching through and reminding me that it’s not hot cordial we’re drinking here. It’s all in all a wonderful aroma and it gives me high hopes for the flavour. I can tell already know that we’re going to find ourselves on the higher end of the scale here.
I can report, thought, that Luna the Cat seems to think it’s rather stinky. Them kitties, what do they know? I have yet to find a tea they don’t think smells repulsive.
Oh yes, this is nice. At first I get primarily the base tea which definitely tastes Ceylon-y and some subtle cranberry flavouring. I’m almost positive this is a Ceylon base. It’s slightly astringent and a bit malty, which I believe accounts for the sugary aspect in the aroma.
So at first I thought it was rather subtly flavoured and how odd that was when the aroma was so heavy. But then I swallowed and there it was. Lots and lots and lots of cranberry, which somehow manages to not be too tart. I’m reminded of the cranberry sauce from Christmas, actually.
When it cools a bit the flavour develops more and covers the entire flavour experience more evenly, a soft layer of fruity berry over the flavour of the base tea and more uniform experience than the first sips of the cup.
Given the fact that I’ve enjoyed the Late Summer blend so much, I was actually a bit concerned if I might find this one a bit wanting with not having the vanilla aspect in it as well, but I’ve discovered to my relief that it stands on its own very nicely indeed. I am very pleased with this choice.
Good evening Steepsterites.
This is our after dinner tea on this last evening of 2011, and I am attempting replicate the mysterious circumstances that led to such an ultra yummy cup last time we had it.
It seems fitting to end the old year on one of the most favourite of favourites, and I am already plotting which tea we shall see the new year in with tomorrow morning.
There are 2 hours and 15 minutes until 2012 here in Denmark, so this shall be my last post this year. There is a fair bit of fireworks going on here already, which bodes well for the display at midnight. As I moved from the town center to a smaller village, we were not sure how much there would be. We never buy our own, but prefer to look at other people’s displays instead. The cats, on this their first NYE, are aware of the noise but seem to be taking it in stride.
Happy New Year, Steepster, and if you are lighting fireworks later, don’t forget to protect your eyes and fingers.
Sometimes you brew a cup of tea exactly the same way that you always do, and the stars align just so, and the outcome is extra-nommy.
This happened with this tea this afternoon for no apparent reason. I think it must have something to do with moon phases, karma and the magnetic field of the earth. Maybe cloud formations and whether or not there’s a bird sitting on the roof as well. It certainly can’t have anything to do with the brewing parameters because they were unchanged.
So I was sipping quietly in my room and thinking, “cor, what a good cup today!” when in ticks a message from the other half thanking me for extra nommy tea today. Two souls, one thought, it seems. (And yes, we do occasionally MSN each other from opposite sides of a wall in the same house. It’s easier than shouting when you don’t know if the other person is wearing headphones. Also, less noisy.)
And if you post 12 posts in one go, I have discovered that you get to wake up to a bajillion notifications! GOOOOOOSH! O.o
First, allow me to apologise for the power-spam! Because we were travelling to England for Christmas, I did not drink these teas on the actually appointed days, but some days in advance. I could have posted some of them before leaving, but for the sake keeping things easy (for me), I opted not to split them up in the middle like that. Also, that would have involved a certain risk of me having accidentally posted the wrong tea way too early and spoiled everybody unintentionally.
What a very Christmas-y flavour! (In Denmark, Santa’s favourite food is rice porridge with cinnamon-sugar and a lump of butter on top. Is milk and cookies his steady diet in America, or is that just a delivery rounds snack? Do inform, please.) It’s now nearly ten days since I actually had this, and am just now typing up my notes in preparation for posting, so you’ll have to excuse me if it’s a bit list-ish and dull to read.
The dry leaf struck me as mostly cocoa-y, but vaguely cookie-y, but there was a funny side note of something weirdly wood-y. After steeping, I got more cookie from it, but I couldn’t find the milk. I wondered if this would actually have benefitted from having been served with a little milk in, but it was too late then, as I had already got rid of the last milk in the fridge in preparation for travelling.
This next bit is a bit dodgy. I took my notes in some sort of weird impromptu wannabe shorthand, and erm… if I want to use shorthand, I should try to develop it a bit more systematically. I am however deciphering to the best of my abilities. (Utilising some of my more acceptable handwriting would help a lot too!)
Anyway, if I’m understeanding myself correctly here, I found the flavour to be quite cookie-like and faintly chocolate-y as well as somewhat nutty, which ties in nicely with it being a cookie. However, if I tried to get too deep into the flavour and really pick it apart, everything I found seemed like something one might naturally encounter in a good quality black, especially a Chinese one. This makes it seem rather more like an enhanced black rather than an actually flavoured one.
This impression wanes somewhat as the cup cools a bit more, because this is where the milk is finally coming out to play. It feels a bit like drinking a milk oolong, only instead of oolong it’s a black. Quite weird, really.
I liked this tea and found it rather enjoyable, although I didn’t really feel like it was getting the whole milk and cookies flavouring all the way across. The idea was certainly there, but I didn’t find it to be obvious, really.
I’m not putting a numerical rating on this one, because I didn’t jot down a scale area when I actually had it, and I’m not sure trying to deduce one based only on partly illegible notes and a vague memory is really a very good idea.
Here’s another one I would have been shocked had it not been in here. (Actually, as this is the second to last, and I understand the last is a new one, there is at least one other that I’m a bit surprised wasn’t included.) I count it a bit like the pancake one. I like them, but I expect I’ll probably prefer them in solid form.
To my surprise, I found the leaves in dry form smelled a lot like mulled wine. I think it must be some of the spices in this stuff that does it, probably also the nature of the honeybush, but I was not expecting it to be so mulled wine-y. (Here’s a Christmas blend idea for next year. Mulled wine, maybe with orange also. And it should probably be on a (are you sitting down? Better sit down for this) honeybush base, I think.)
After steeping, it’s less mulled wine and much more cinnamon-y and baked goods-y. I really like the smell of this. It seems very close to the real deal, to the point where I can even imagine approximately how moist the roll in question would be.
The flavour is very close as well to a real cinnamon roll, but the honeybush adds a little extra tangy note to it which seems to stick out a bit. I wasn’t expecting that note at all, and it feels a bit like it’s trying to detach itself from the rest of the flavour and run the other way. Once I get a little more used to it being there, it doesn’t seem to be as glaring, as if that slightly tangy note gives up the escape attempt and falls neatly in line with the others.
I remember some others mentioned even being able to find notes of icing in this, but I haven’t managed that. The closest I get is the idea of icing, but then that’s fine with me.
Basically I’m enjoying this one a LOT more than I thought I would. And it’s not even a tea base. I’m shocked at myself, Steepsterites. Shocked!
This is another one I was hoping would be in the box. Caramel! Vanilla! Those are words to get me interested in many things indeed. But then the chai bit… I’m not a chai fan. Actually I’m beginning to wonder if it’s starting to look like I don’t like anything at all. I do like plenty of stuff, I swear! It just seems like I have a tendency to dislike many things that others like.
So yeah, chai. Not a huge fan of that, but due to the whole caramel or vanilla business, I was dithering about giving it a go anyway. As is quite normal for me, by the time I decided I was brave enough, it was gone.
Second chance, though. Now to see if I’m missing out hugely or if I had a lucky escape.
The leaves were teensy tiny. The pot will be easy to clean out because most of them landed in the strainer anyway and can be tipped straight in the bin.
As it is a chai, I thought it would be suitable to serve it with milk, and because it was harder than expected to pour equal amounts of milk in the two cups (sharing this with the boyfriend), it turned into rather a lot of milk. Since it’s chai, though, and these often seem to get steeped in warm milk, I didn’t think it mattered.
It smells sweet, but spicy. Very ginger-y to my nose. We’ve been around the ginger-issue before, haven’t we? Apart from some generic sweetness, I can’t really tell whether it’s caramel or vanilla or both or neither. It’s just sweet and it’s not sugar.
Due to the milk, it’s quite lukewarm, and I have to say that the primary flavour I’m getting here is that prickly ginger again. Oh and milk. It may be because I used too much milk and it got too cold really, but I can’t really find much of other flavours. A bit of cinnamon at the bottom maybe, but I’m unable to spot anything else.
As chais go, though, I’ve definitely had worse. I don’t find it super-spicy-offensive, apart from the ginger, which I could have lived without, but it’s drinkable. I wonder if the fact that I can’t find very many spice flavours in it is actually to my advantage.
Yeah, now that I’ve tried it, it’s probably for the best that I took so long to gather up the courage.
Oh dear. I don’t like ginger… It has even been decided long ago that I probably shouldn’t even bother trying ginger ale. There have been a few teas in the box that I didn’t much like, but this is the first one where I’ve thought from the start that I didn’t think I would like it. I’ve been sceptical of some others, yes, but haven’t expected something outright unpleasant. But here we go, then. In for a penny, in for a pound and all that.
It smells ginger-y, but also sweeter than I had expected. Not as stabby on the nose. I suspect that’s the white tea shining through.
Okay, not more procrastinating. Here we go.
Yes, it’s ginger-y and not really very pleasant for me, but it could have been a lot worse. Just like with the aroma, it feels a bit mellowed out by the white tea. Or the ale-y bit, I don’t know.
Still though. Ginger. I’ll just stop here, I think, because ginger. Sorry. It’s just… Ginger.