1319 Tasting Notes
Queued post, written September 13th 2014
Gosh, I’m having trouble spelling. Nearly put the title of this entry in my queue as ‘vinalla’ and the date as ‘Spetember’. It must be the smell of this tea messing with my faculties. It’s the only flavoured tea I got from my order from Jing Tea, but come on, I couldn’t not get it. I’m glad I did too, considering how universally pleased I’ve been with everything I’ve tried from them so far. I’ve had the Keemun I ordered several times too, I just haven’t been able to write about it. Cup keeps going empty, you see. Anyway, vanilla.
It smells like a bakery. Sweet breads and cakes and frosting. It’s otherworldly good!
The leaves have a strong vanilla aroma to them, thick, creamy and with a smidge of something cocoa-y even. I had to go and take a sniff at my favourite vanilla black from Fru P for comparison, and they are very similar. This one smells stronger, though, and has that whiff of cocoa. I suspect that might have something to do with a difference in the base. I don’t actually know what the base is in either of these but it smells like it’s not the same.
After brewing it still smells strongly vanilla-y. Or rather, it smells like vanilla pods rather than vanilla as such. The smell when you slice open a fresh (or as fresh as they can be in a supermarket) vanilla pod, that’s what I’m getting here. I can actually even imagine said pod quite clearly, how leathery it looks but surprisingly soft and pliable when felt.
The vanilla flavour is almost entirely in the aftertaste and it’s quite strong and mouth-coating there. In the actual sip, I’m getting that cocoa note and a great deal of grain. I’m getting a lot of the base here and the flavouring as more of a side-dish than the main course.
I quite like that. It’s that feeling that I’m drinking tea that I prefer in flavoured teas. I’m not actually getting much of that in my favourite vanilla black from Fru P, which is a little out of the ordinary, but in this one I am. In spite of the fact that this feels more strongly flavoured than the Fru P one. Again, I think it comes down to a difference in the base. This one, I think must be Chinese. I suspect Fru P’s is made on either a Ceylon or a blend.
Fru P’s vanilla black is my favourite vanilla black based partly on it tasting good but also on convenience. It’s so easy for me to get because it’s a local shop. Therefore it’s very very hard to beat, favourite-wise. This one, while very good indeed, can’t take that favourite spot because it’s simply not convenient enough for me to get it. If it was something I could pop in and get a pouch of on my way home from work, then we could talk about it.
Queued post, written September 10th 2014
I have become increasingly interested in Taiwanese black teas lately, so when I was finally allowed to place an order a sample of this went into the basket without a second thought. Muscovado sugar, baked fruits and eucalyptus, the description says. Eucalyptus?!? Give it here! In Denmark you can get these little eucalyptus flavoured winegums. Not a super-popular type of sweetie, but I think they’re lovely, and a bag will last a long time too.
The company description seems very accurate on the aroma. Baked fruit and some kind of dark sugar? Yes, absolutely. It reminds me of some kind of crumble. The eucalyptus is less obvious, but I am getting a note which makes me think, “yes, that must be it. Why have I never thought of that before?” It’s a familiar note. I’ve just never made the eucalyptus connection with it, and that’s odd because that association just clicks.
It’s the same with the flavour. The caramel-y sugar note is very strong and it’s followed by a note of baked apples. I’m almost expecting a spoonful of custard to go with this here apple crumble that isn’t actually there.
But how does eucalyptus fit in? It’s not really something I imagine that goes well with fruity desserts and that sort of thing, but… it fits. It adds oomph and adds a bit of finish. It lifts the cup from being a mild little dessert tea to something rather more powerful which is very suitable for first cup of the day. It’s a strong and flavourful tea and I’m very happy with this.
I feel even more motivated to embark on a torrid love affair with Taiwanese blacks now.
(Oh, and for the record, in spite of what this post might imply, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to attempt to enhance an actual apple crumble with eucalyptus or similar…)
Queued post, written August 29th 2014
This one is the very evidence of my greed of purchase when I finally bought tea after having forbidden myself to do so until the box of things not yet tried was empty. I already knew it existed. It has been in the back of my mind since someone, I don’t recall who, shared a peach and thyme flavoured tea with me, so I’ve known for a good eight months now that I would buy it eventually and probably sooner rather than later. So when given the opportunity, I immediately took a caddy. It comes in these wooden caddies that are very attractive looking (see the tea photo), but for actual tea storage when the plastic bag inside is opened, fairly useless. I try not to rip the plastic bag, but if that happens, I have to tin it. I then proceeded to the till with my loot and saw NUTE sample satchets. Without thinking, bought two satchets as well. Of the same tea. And only realised this afterwards.
Well. Yes. As I said, greed.
It smells lovely. Thyme and berry in equal parts. Thyme a little more obvious, though, because it’s a fairly unusual flavour in tea. It’s on a green base, which I imagine will work well with the raspberry. I can’t remember what kind of base the aforementioned peach and thyme tea was on, so I don’t know how the thyme will behave.
Oh, it’s quite thyme-y and with a background of raspberry. There’s a long aftertaste of thyme. The raspberry and the base tea are sort of in the middle of a thyme sandwich. First thyme, then raspberry and green and finally the thyme aftertaste. This may sound like a strange combination, but it’s actually really nice. Really, really nice.
I’m not generally too interested in green tea, because it’s not really substantial enough for me. Thyme has a strong and distinctive flavour, and I find it adds a lot of substance to the green tea. It makes it stronger, if you know what I mean.
I’m glad I got a whole caddy of this.
Queued post, written August 26th 2014
I am a sucker for anything caramel or toffee or fudge flavoured. I’ve seen this brand before, but only in a sort of dual-tin sort of deal. You buy a pack with two tins containing something that is different but sort of matching the same theme. In a way. If you know what I mean. Every single set I have seen has had one tea I would very much like to try and one tea I found it doubtful I would like. And with 75g of each? Just say no.
But now they had this toffee flavoured one, and NOT in a dual tin thing!
It has little bits of toffee in it, which taste lovely and fudge-y. I tasted a few before I made the tea and I found it very promising. In general this tin has been smelling absolutely wonderful and tempting on my desk.
I gave the pot a good stir with a spoon before I poured it, just to make sure that all those little now melted toffee bits were evenly distributed, and again, it smells faboo. Caramel-y and a bit nutty. Just the way I like it.
The flavour was not in any way disappointing. For a long time Kusmi’s caramel was my ideal caramel flavoured black, but recently I’ve not been entirely satisfied with that one. Now I think this one might take its place as my favourite caramel-type black. It’s all rich and lovely, but still not so much that I don’t feel like I’m drinking tea.
I enjoyed this while spending a little time in the Steepster Chatzy room, so I wasn’t paying super-much attention to it, apart from what you see here, but I still know enough to give it this score. It’s really lovely.
Queued post, written August 21st 2014
Hurray, I can now start in on my Bad Dog teas. We are pretending that I actually didn’t buy them until just now. In which case I’m totally allowed and not a Bad Dog at all.
Husband was quite keen to try this one, as he had developed a bit of a fascination with all things rhubarb lately. We shall be growing some in the garden. Just imagine that. A rhubarb crumble made with super-fresh rhubarb that grew in your own garden! Gosh, stop me, I’m drooling.
For a long time now I have consequently made flavoured black tea with less than boiling water. I find that if the water is around 90°C or so, as opposed to 100°C, flavourings tend to present themselves better. It always makes me pleased to see when a company recommends less than boiling for a flavoured black. These people say 95°C, but my kettle doesn’t do that, so I chose 90°C instead. To be honest, the temperature in a kettle is never 100% accurate at all times anyway, which is why it amuses me a little when someone is unwilling to accept a kettle that can’t give you 1°C increments. (There was an annoying person on Steepster a few years ago who refused to accept less than one degree increments. She was… well, let’s be honest, I rather considered her my best enemy. Always good for an eyeroll. No need to name names though. Those who knew her may know who I mean. Those who didn’t, well, they don’t really need to, do they?) There will always be +/- one or two degrees to whichever temperature you ask it to make. It really doesn’t matter.
This is also flavoured with strawberry which becomes apparent when tasting the tea. It really tastes more like strawberry than rhubarb. There’s a bit of tartness to it, suggesting rhubarb, but it’s strawberry, mostly.
The base is Assam which… Hmmm… It’s nice, but a bit peculiar in combination with the flavouring. It’s like it clashes a little bit. It’s possible that this might grow on me though, and it’s quite a pleasant tea to drink otherwise, as the rating shows, but it’s not all that it could be. It’s not really rhubarb for crying out loud. Certainly and sadly not my favourite red fruit, favourite strawberry nor favourite rhubarb.
If it does grow on me, I might adjust the rating further upwards. For right now, I’m happy with an 80.
Queued post, written August 21st 2014
And thus, Steepsterites, I Emptied That Box!
Huzzah! I am now allowed to buy new stuff again. Point me in the direction of the nearest Dancong, please.
This last boxed item was one that Auggy sent to me, and she did so this spring, so it’s not even several years old, unlike some of the other things in the box. Right now it only contains my Bad Dog purchase from the other day. Ha!
Anyway, it’s the second of two matchas that Auggy sent to me. The first one was ginger flavoured (same brand) but didn’t taste all that much like ginger and quite a lot like just drinking super-strong sencha. Mind you, I’m not complaining about it not tasting like ginger.
This one is rather the same. Super-strong sencha, but not really much in the way of flavouring detected. I’ve had yuzu flavoured tea before, so I have a tentative grasp on what it’s supposed to taste like. It’s a kind of citrus fruit, which in itself should give a hunch. I’m just not really getting anything. There is a wee bit of a citrus note on the aftertaste, but not overwhelmingly so.
I don’t think my stance on matcha has really changed at all by trying these two. It remains the same. Matcha? Wasted on me. Sorry. I just can’t see the attraction. I’d much rather have a cup of flavoured actual normal sencha. Eating tea leaves doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest.
Queued post, written August 20th 2014
This one was shared with me by Courtney. I have actually had this stuff before, although from a different vendor, and I wasn’t exactly impressed. Watered down cocoa, it turns out, is not something I find pleasant.
I considered trying it as a mixer this time, but I didn’t really have anything that I thought it would mix well with.
I considered steeping it in milk and heating the lot on the hob, but that would take is into something more appropriately posted to ‘cocoaster.com’ if such a thing exists. Or ‘Chocster.com’.
Then I decided to just try and squeeze all the cocoa out of it that I could in one feel swoop and see if I couldn’t take it beyond the watered down hot not-really-chocolate stage.
Courtney had written steeping recommendations on the bag, and I threw caution to the wind and pretty much ignored them. The entire sample went in. All of it. The lot. Well, okay, I didn’t completely ignore them, because I adhered to the time and temperature.
No, it doesn’t work.
Oh, it tastes like chocolate all right, so if this floats your boat, by all means hurry out and get some. Chocolate does float my boat as well, but only if I get the whole experience. The richness. The thickness. The creamyness. And again, I am left with chocolate flavoured water.
I get the flavour. I don’t get all the other things that I associate with chocolate and it just leaves me wanting.
Queued post, written August 20th 2014
This one came from the Fru P Christmas calendar that I had. It’s the last one of those teas that I haven’t had yet, and we used the rest of the leaf today. The weather has gone from heat wave-y to downright autumnal over the last few weeks, so it was appropriate.
I’ve shared some of it with MissB earlier and she was very pleased with it, so that stopped me being too scared of it. I like chai now and then, but it’s never something I would seek out and it’s extremely rare that I want to drink any. I don’t find it unpleasant. It’s just not very me. Maybe scared was an inaccurate word to use. Perhaps it would be better to say that MissB’s enjoying it made me less disinterested.
It is indeed a well balanced cup. I can easily pick up spices but none of them stand out in particular. It’s more of an ensemble performance, everything blending in neatly.
It’s quite sweet, and I’m getting a sort of impression that there might be a little bit of licorice root in there. Not very much, though. Not enough to get that tell-tale licorice root feeling at the back of the throat, but just enough to make it sweet.
It was quite nice.
Two more teas to go before I’ve emptied the box!!!
Well. I say ‘emptied’. Two more teas to go before I can start in on what I added to the box the other day because I was a Bad Dog. We had Husband’s Sister visiting for a long weekend, and took her into Skanderborg because she wanted to buy a souvenir and we wanted to buy some more plates and Husband didn’t want to drive in Århus when Skanderborg was closer and had the same sort of shops. While there, Husband suggested that we pop round to that chocolate shop we found last time we were in Skanderborg. They have NUTE tea. You may recall I wrote about one of those some months ago. Came in a very attractive but hopelessly useless wooden caddy.
“I’m not yet allowed to buy anything,” says I.
“Come on, you’re on holiday,” says Husband.
SEE?! Not my fault!
Came out with two NUTE caddies and another tin and six NUTE sample satchets. It all went a bit wrong. Especially since I went into a sort of feeding frenzy state where I didn’t realise until much later that two of the sample satchets were the same tea I also bought a caddy of.
“I can’t tempt you with some of our handmade chocolates?” says Shop Lady.
“It doesn’t exist!!!” says I, somewhat desperately.
Yes. It all went a bit wrong.
Queued post, written August 19th 2014
MissB shared this one with me, although I’m afraid it’s not going to be something for me, really. It has spearmint in it, which I tend to find rather too toothpaste-y and also jasmine which I plainly just don’t like. So… But I shall try to keep an open mind!
I have to say, I don’t find it a very nice smell. It reminds me mostly of soap, which I believe must be because of the floral element. I’m not keen on flowers on my tea, and to be honest, I’m generally not keen on flower-smells in general. Not even actual flowers. Sometimes people around me can go ‘ooooh doens’t that smell lovely?!’ and I’ll sit quietly to myself thinking it stinks to high heaven. Geraniums fall into that category for me. We have some outside and they are forbidden entry to the house on account of reeking. Blech and blech again, says I!
So flower perfume? Frequently not going to score many points with me.
After a bit the flower perfume and soapy associations go away though and it smells more minty. Primarily spearmint, unfortunately, but I can also pick up the green tea and the rooibos underneath.
To my relief, I can’t actually taste the jasmine much. There is a bit of it around the edges that I don’t much like, but it’s not bad. There is a great deal of mint, particularly spearmint, but that was to be expected with a name like that.
Apart from that I can pick up the green and rooibos again, and also a bit of cinnamon, particularly on the aftertaste. Rose and rosehip seems pretty much absent, but that doesn’t bother me.
I’m getting a slightly messy feeling from this. Mint, floral and cinnamon. Not things I would have thought to put together. The combination strikes me as a bit odd. I could have taken mint and floral on their own (logically, I probably wouldn’t have liked it) or mint and cinnamon on their own. I could even imagine floral and cinnamon on their own. But all three together? It seems a little bit of a jumble to me.
It’s far more drinkable than I had anticipated, but I won’t cry over the fact that I can’t have it again.
Queued post, written August 6th 2014
Another one from the Yet To Try box, which is getting very very close to empty now! Not counting this one there are now only four things left in it. I am quite pleased with this achievement because it was full to bursting when I started and it’s not actually a small box.
It’s another Frenchie. The name is French. All the information in the database is in French. I haven’t the faintest idea what this is supposed to be, but I gather from Anna’s post about it that I should expect something with cherry and almond on a green tea base. Very well, that sounds pleasant, actually. It was Anna who shared it with me as well.
It’s very very easy to find the cherry here. It smells almost exactly like the steam from the pot did the day I tried making cherry cordial with our own cherries. I just made a small amount to see if we liked it, so we got maybe two glasses each. And we liked it. A lot. I don’t care what kind of fancy-schmancy cordial you all can get in your various supermarkets around the world, I can promise you without a shadow of a doubt that it can not, I repeat it can not beat home made stuff. Not the last time I’ve made cordial, let me tell you! And it was stupidly easy as well. Anyway, home made cordial boiling away on the hob, that’s what it smells like. This is a very auspicious start indeed.
After a little bit of cooling and sniffing, the almond comes out as well, and I’m now getting a more marcipan-y smell than cherry smell. Thick and sweet. I have a large roll of marcipan for baking purposes in the kitchen and this tea is making me want to go and bite it. I shall excert some self control though.
The flavour is strongly almond, but with a fruity note of cherry to it. I think almond is the primary note, but the cherry note is fairly large as well. It’s just more of a side-dish note than the almond is. Like how you would say, “for dinner I had a grilled fish with some potatoes,” but you wouldn’t say, “for dinner I had boiled potatoes with some fish,” because that evokes a strange idea of what you dinner was like. In the aftertaste, however, the cherry is the star and it’s a long note too.
The thing about flavoured tea is I greatly enjoy a flavoured tea, but I don’t want it to be so strongly flavoured (in most things) that I lose the feeling of drinking tea. I want tea with flavouring, not flavouring with tea. I’m actually a little uncertain about where this particular tea falls on that scale, but I think that must be due to me not really drinking very much green tea in general, so the base doesn’t stand out to me super much. I’m willing to give it the benefit of doubt on this point.
It’s quite a pleasant tea and I’m very much enjoying this cup, but I’m not sure it would really hold my interest in the long run what with it being green. I like green well enough, I just don’t find it as good as my blacks, so I’m not very good at drinking it. In spite of the fact that I think cherry and green tea are two flavours that suit each other very well indeed, I’d be more inclined towards a black base blend of this. (And here, that brioche blend from American Tea Room springs to mind, actually.)