1112 Tasting Notes
Cteresa knows my unquenchable thirst for vanilla flavoured things, so she kindly shared some of this with me. I must get an MF order together one of these days. That shop is well within my reach, they have a number of things I would like to try (and one or two that I would like to own) and yet I never seem to get around to it. It will happen eventually. Just… not quite yet, because of Reasons.
You may remember that I had a long hunt for the perfect vanilla flavoured black and finally found it in a newly opened local shop, therefore this tea will be held up in comparison to that shining beacon of vanilla-y exquisiteness. Not because I want to do that, but because I sincerely doubt that I can avoid it.
All this in spite of the fact that cteresa warned me explicitly that I would most likely find it quite different from most ‘standard’ vanilla flavoured teas. I am taking that into account; I merely don’t believe that I can help it. Because that’s just how my brain works.
A-NY-WAY, when I first opened the bag I didn’t even have to sniff the leaves. The most amazing aroma of vanilla came right up at me. It smelled like sweeties! Always a good quality with a dessert flavoured tea. It does after steeping as well. It quite simply smells perfect. Full marks so far! On aroma, this is a serious contender for being perfection in a vanilla cup. (Fru P still has the advantage, mind, of being available locally without any sort of mail order fuss and such. That’s pretty hard to beat.)
I see now why cteresa said I might find it a little different. It is a little different. I mean, it’s still vanilla-y and sweetie-like, but there’s something else too. It’s like… vanilla that has grown up. No, that’s not what I mean, really. It’s like… vanilla for grown ups. No, that’s not quite right either. It’s like, there’s something else in here. Something just veeeery borderline floral. Not floral-floral, but sort of smelling vaguely like something that might once have seen some flowers.
Gosh, this is unbelievably difficult to describe! Let’s just skip it and go back to the comparison approach.
Now. My perfect vanilla tea has a fairly strong flavouring. It is sweet and creamy and has a funny sort of note to it that reminds me of the actual vanilla pod. The shiny black leathery way it looks and the way it feels when you touch it. This last note, the podness, is actually the most important of the three.
This black orchid is fairly strongly flavoured with recognisable vanilla, so check.
It’s very sweet and gives a creamy sort of impression when I swallow, so check, although I like the creamyness to be a little bit heavier, detectable in the entire sip and not just the swallow.
The podness, though. The podness is quite an abstract sort of thing to search for, really. It’s either there or it isn’t, and I have to say that in this tea, it… isn’t. Fail. But there’s something else, though. There’s that thing that I have such difficulty explaining what is. The non-floral floral-ness of vanilla for adults. Well, it’s new. I’m not sure I wouldn’t still prefer podness, though. Podness in combination with this would have been fanfreakingtastic!
This is an extremely good vanilla black for anybody who likes vanilla flavoured teas. But it’s not perfect.
In other news, childish soul alert: Neopets.com is eating my life. I played this for a couple of years nearly ten years ago and a couple of weeks ago decided to try it again. No clue what the details of the old account was anymore. Or even the username. Or even the email I’d used. I had a green kougra though, but I’ve forgotten what the name was. I have a blue Kau now which is painted baby (random event) called Semi-Skimmed. And I’m having GREAT FUN!
This one was sent to me by Auggy along with a bunch of other different EGs, one of which I have to admit, we already had. No matter though. I must also admit that out of all the flavours with which to flavour tea, bergamot is among my least favourite. I don’t dislike it as such. I just don’t find it very interesting. So, I suspect Auggy is going to try and convert me. Taste Twins, after all. Very well, I trust her, so I will step up to the challenge.
I was drinking this cup while cooking, and that is not the best sort of environment to go into a lot of detail about individual notes and aromas and what have yous, so this will be quite superficial.
One of my problems with EG is the fact that bergamot often strikes me as a floral kind of flavour. All dusty and grey, like an attic nobody has bothered to look into for a few decades. If the tea is very heavily flavoured with bergamot, this is the sort of impression I get of it. Like licking a dusty shelf. It reminds me of a time when I helped clean an attic such as the above described and even though we were all wearing protective suits over our clothes and masks to protect our lungs and all that, it still felt like the dust got in absolutely every where. This was where I learned what dust tastes like. It tastes… dusty. So, naturally, I tend to not like a heavily bergamot flavoured tea.
This particular version, however, is quite mild. It’s only slightly dusty and floral, but I can still clearly tell the bergamot is there. In a line-up, I defintiely think I would be able to pick out the EG if this was the one representing the flavour.
It has a certain creamy feel to it too, all thick and milky. I find that this happens frequently with EGs even if they haven’t had any other flavouring added to enhance it. I suspect it might be a quality of bergamot in general. Heavily flavoured EGs tend to lose that for me, so for me that creamy feeling is very much a plus. If I am to drink an EG, I want it to feel like this. This is very pleasant (for an EG).
In other news, I think it may be a sign that I’ve been listening to too much Cabin Pressure, when I heard Douglas’ voice dictating parts of my post to me as I write… (Also, sometimes, Arthur. Brilliant!)
Another one of Yogi’s that I was lured into. The lime mint went so well, so I felt brave. I’ve been eyeing this at the shop for a while because I wondered if it might offer a little bit of help with Certain Female Issues, henceforth referred to as TMI.
I’m giving it a go. It’s not like there are a hundred bags in the box, so I should get through it quickly enough if I stick at it, and I have to stick at it, otherwise I can’t tell if it’s working, can I? Well, I’ve experimented somewhat with it now and discovered that I can drink a small cup but not a whole mug.
This stuff has ginger in it. Ridiculous amounts of ginger. One cup of this and my mouth feels like someone made a fire in there. I have also discovered that it needs drinking fast, because the more it cools the stronger the ginger tastes and the more difficult it gets to drink it. So a weak-ish brew in a small cup and drunk fast.
Good thing I didn’t buy this because I thought it would taste awesome, isn’t it?
As for how it worked with TMI, well, it… sort of did and didn’t. Okay, I don’t know if that was the tea or not, but the point of it all is that I had the same issues, only some of them behaved a little differently. Mostly they seemed a tiny bit milder. Or at least easier to shift with paracetamol. Or rather, possible to shift. That might not be the wonder cure I was hoping for but it was enough that I’m willing to try this out a little further. I need more time to see if there was a difference here or not.
But this stuff will never ever be a comfort drink. Bleh.I realise that this was probably not the exact right blend for this particular experiment, but it was what was available and so as close as I could come. Given the right foulness of the ginger in this, I might in the future see if I can find something closer to the mark in one of the health food shops that are available to me. I’m thinking either the moon cycle one or some raspberry leaf. (I know I can definitely get the latter, as I have seen it before, but I’ve heard that’s right foul tasting as well. When it comes to TMI, we just can’t win, can we?)
Now some time later, I’ve given up on this. There is just TOO MUCH ginger in it. I found I could drink maybe half a cup if it had only just had two or three dips of the bag in it and wasn’t allowed to cool off in any significant way. Obviously that’s not the way its meant to be drunk and other herbs and things in it couldn’t come to their right when I was trying to temper the ginger. I just couldn’t get that much ginger through my throat! Blech! As for TMI, well, we’ll just try something else. Or live with how it usually is. I’ve managed that for 20 years already, I’m sure I can manage it for 35 more.
Husband gave it a shot and as he is more tolerant of ginger than I am, is making a valiant attempt at it. Therefore this is now only referred to as Manly Man Tea of Manliness! He too is having doubts as to whether he can finish it of, though. I’ve told him to just bin it if he doesn’t want to drink it.
I bought this mostly because I needed an easy and convenient bedtime tea for when I don’t feel like messing about with rooibos. Lately I’ve been using peppermint bags, cheap brand, but I actually bought those for those occasions when one needs something medicinals. Husband seems to enjoy his chamomile at bedtime though, so I’m trying to follow his lead here.
So, I’ve been eyeing the brand for a while, but never bought any before. The ingredients list is soooo long, and that scares me a bit. Plus it contains confirmed dislikes such as ginger.
This one seemed the most inoffensive of the choices on the day in question, so I decided to give it a go.
To my relief, it’s not actually that bad. It’s very lemon-y and lime-y, and although the ingredients list is as long as my arm (nearly), I can’t really taste any of the other things in it. Peculiarly, Husband, who normally enjoys almost anything that just smells remotely of lemon and is also fond of mojito, didn’t care for this one at all. Me, I find it okay. It’s hardly a revelation in a cup, but it’s quite tolerable.
Here is an EG that came from Auggy. Who lives in the US. This is relevant because Whittard of Chelsea is an English brand, so they sent European tea to America where she bought it and then sent some back to me in Europe. Detour-tea!
I remember when she wrote the email telling me that this year’s care package (I’ve noticed it’s been almost exactly a year since we last exchanged boxes) would be largely EG themed that she had some comments on this particular one, but I’ll be damned if I can remember now what they were. After I have had a cup, I’ll look it up, but right now I will treat those comments as I do other people’s posts in general on any given tea that I’m writing about. Ignore them and check afterwards whether anybody agrees with me.
The leaves of this one smell rather strongly of bergamot, and it’s bergamot and not just generic sort of citrus. There’s almost a slightly smoky aspect to it as well underneath the bergamot which makes me wonder what the base could possibly be. Another thing I’ll have to see if I can look up afterwards.
After steeping the bergamot seems much milder and the kind of smoky note much stronger. It even seems to have a sort of fruity-sweet sort of quality to it. How peculiar! I associate fruity-sweet in combination with smokiness with LS only, and this is most definitely not LS. I should be able to tell if it were, I rather think.
The bergamot is not really particularly mild in the flavour, but it’s not really strong either. It’s rather perfectly in-between. Obvious, but not overwhelming. It somehow manages to be dusty, floral and semi-smoky all at the same time, which is actually kind of weird. It’s okay, though. It’s quite drinkable. EG will never be a preferred flavour for me, but it’s not impossible that I’m warming to it a little bit.
Husband was quite pleased with this one. He found it greatly enjoyable, but did comment that it comes in direct comparison with a Lipton EG he had at work earlier in the day (against his better judgment) which he had found rather unsatisfactory. Fortunately for him, Auggy provided me with a large-ish amount of it, (in a tin which I’m actually quite certain was sent to her by me last year. Seems very familiar. I think I got it from ssajami originally, so it really is quite a travelling little tin. The stories it could tell!) and it’s something we could easily stock up on should he decide he wanted more of it. It’s just a question of remembering the next time we go to the UK as they have a shop in Cambridge and it’s not uncommon to take a day trip there to do a bit of shopping.
Now, the first part of this review is a few days old, and it’s not actually its turn to be posted yet, really, but I’m bringing it forward anyway because we had it again this afternoon. With a cream tea. That I made. Yes. Well, obviously, I didn’t make the clotted cream myself and I didn’t make the gooseberry jam myself (I bought them myself though!), but I did make the scones and the biscuits and the tea and laid the table. I bought the jam and cream at the newly opened AC Perch’s shop here in Århus and the scones recipe was from the AC Perchs 175 years Jubilee book. They were very easy to make and Husband said they were excellent. If anybody is interested, I’ll translate the recipe and put it in the comments.
Unlike the first time I had this tea where I thought it was okay but not really super-spectacular, THIS is where it really came to its right. It matched the scones and cream and jam perfectly, and felt very much like a luxury item. I honestly don’t think this would have worked as well with any other tea than an EG.
Of course, I had Husband take a photo before we dug in. We are ever so full now (and the biscuits actually all went straight back in the tin.)
So the new AC Perchs shop opened on Friday! YAAAAY! I stopped in there on my way home from work this afternoon. Work. Yes. Nose to the grindstone once again. I want more summer holiday as I was not finished with it thank you very much. Anyway. I was rather looking forward to this shop opening as it’s one of my favourite places to shop online even though I have to get at least 100 grams of each item. I was hoping with a real shop where they would measure it out on scales for me, I could get less at a time, and maybe have a sample of whichever tea I might be interested in but not certain I would care about.
Well. Tough bloody luck. I was told I could still only get a minimum of 100 grams. And yeah, I could get samples, there were a basket of pre-packed ones to choose from, which at a glance of course turned out to be the same ones as they offer online.
I’m having a really hard time wrapping my head around the logic of this, and I have to say I’m now feeling rather disappointed.
So, having spent a few minutes scouting out all the things I’d have liked to get samples of, I was forced to control myself with one certainty (vanilla, which I would probably have got in that amount anyway, as self lurves vanilla black and even if it was Awesome, it’d definitely get used) and one new one which is this one.
It smells like marcipan and sweeties both before and after steeping. I reckon this would be pretty good around Christmas as it reminds me strongly of Christmas marcipan confectionary.
I’m expecting a marcipan-y taste as well now. Creamy and sweet and sort of thick-ish. I’m fearing that it’ll turn out to be a lot more sort of raw almond-y, which like other nuts, can be slightly astringent in flavour. For me, anyway. (This is why I don’t much care for hazelnuts on their own. Feels like chewing wood)
Strangely enough, it’s sort of a middle-y thing between the two. It’s definitely thickish and creamy and somewhat sweet, but it’s not particularly marcipan-y. It strikes me as rather more nutty than marcipan-y, but doesn’t have the astringency that I was afraid of.
I had to have a few sips before I could come to any conclusion on this, but I think I’ve decided that I rather like it as it is, BUT that, like vanilla, it will probably be excellent as a ‘mixer’ with other flavoured teas as well. I want to try it with my hazelnut brittle!
Came home from England a few days ago where we, among other things, spent a day in London, visited family and took the fast lane down the stairs. Again. I was told my undignified descent was marked by a certain amount of resignation, because having done it before, I know that once you slip, there’s no way you’re stopping before you reach the bottom. Fortunately for me the steps are carpeted, so in spite of a spectacular bruise to my rear, it wasn’t particularly painful. This visit was then followed up by a visit to the bank with regard of finding out whether or not they would be willing to let us borrow a LOT of money, which they were. Then this morning I finally remembered that I’ve actually got a handful of these pre-written posts and I ought to post one. And tomorrow it’s back to the grindstone.
Another one from Auggy. The leaf of this tea smells funny. It’s heavily chocolate-y and kind of… I want to say jam, really. Chocolate and jam. The steeped tea smells more keemun-y. Heavy, thick and grainy. Very much like Danish rye bread (which, people who have never been to a Scandinavian country, is not what you understand as rye bread I don’t think. It’s dark, dark brown, very grainy and eaten in thin slices.) and still with a strong note of something… jam-y. Rye bread with jam. A peculiar (but rather good, don’t tell my mother) combination.
So the aroma is just awesome. The flavour, however, is a little more controlled. I’m still getting all the same notes, but they don’t feel as full and heavy. There’s also a smidge of something nearly smoky in here, which may or may not turn totally floral when swallowing. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.
This one is nice. I like it. It went well with breakfast.
I had to give this a good nudge upwards, because I’ve been drinking it a lot lately, and every time I have it, it seems to be growing on me. It’s gone from something that was vaguely disappointing to something that tastes quite home-y and safe, sort of. It’s rather inspiring me to explore more nut-flavoured teas.
I used to have it rated at 75 points, so up it goes.
Next to my computer I have a cardboard box with all the teas that I haven’t posted about yet. That is to ensure that nothing gets truly forgotten without at least a post. Auggy’s care-package was so large that it made me think I needed a bigger box. And then I did a reality check and realised that it’s not the fact that the box is too small that’s the problem. It’s the fact that I’m not always very good at emptying it.
This one also came from Auggy. I could have sworn I had had it before, but apparently this is not the case. I can’t seem to find any posts about it at any rate. I’ve had the spring harvest before, and I remember this because it was sent to me by someone who told me that the spring harvest was WAY BETTER than whatever it was I had had before which apparently wasn’t autumn harvest.
This one smelled all vegetal and spinach-y. I’m not very experienced with green tea, so I can’t do much in the way of flavour analyses here, but it reminded me of sencha. Somehow it just sort of felt like it wanted to be Japanese. This is very difficult to explain why, so just try to suspend disbelief here and accept that it just felt Japanese.
The flavour was almost exactly the same as the aroma. Again, vegetal, spinach-y and a funny wannabe-Japanese vibe.
And that’s all I can think of to say, really. I’m not sufficiently used to green tea to go any further than that (although it seems to me that I once was?) but it was an enjoyable cup