1281 Tasting Notes
Queued post, written April 23rd 2014
I’ve learned, relatively recently, that a ‘monks blend’ is often something that involves vanilla and grenadine. Well. Isn’t that really all the justification I need to nab this one out of the EU TTB round 2?
Vanilla and a relatively tart sort of fruit seems to generally be a winner for me. There is the fabled Late Summer blend from AC Perchs which has vanilla and cranberry, for example, and the very idea of vanilla and grenadine in tea (who am I kidding? In anything! ) holds a great appeal to me.
This one smells both tart and sweet. I can easily tell that there is vanilla in it and the grenadine is equally clear and easy to detect. I can’t pick up anything of the base, though, which is a shame.
Gosh, this stuff! This is very similar to the aforementioned late summer blend, actually! It’s just grenadine instead of cranberry, and to be entirely honest with you I don’t think there is that big a difference between those two things to begin with.
I’m tasting primarily pomegranate-y grenadine. The vanilla smooths everything out and adds sweetness before the pomegranate comes again in spades on the swallow. I should have liked to have a little more vanilla in this, but it’s very good already as it is. It’s weird with flavours, really. In almost anything flavoured I want to be able to taste the base as well as the flavour. Except vanilla. There is always room for more vanilla.
I was skimming other people’s posts about this one, and came across one written by Anna. She didn’t like this blend very much but she wrote that she thought it would probably be something for me. I laughed when I saw. How right you are, Anna. How right you are.
Queued post, written April 23rd 2014
I enjoy a cup of puerh now and then, but it’s not something I really drink very large amounts of. It’s not really the same way as with green tea and similar where I have to be in the mood for it. I think it has to do with the effort involved. Drinking pu-erh tea is a commitment to drink the same tea for a long time, and I just don’t always have that sort of attention span. I get bored. I want something else.
Even so, I took some of this out of the EU TTB round 1, and have been waiting for a good time to have it. Last time Husband had a puerh he didn’t much like it, so I’m not going to bother giving him this one when we have so many others that he enjoys much more. Therefore, drinking it on a Wednesday is the way forward.
For once in my life I actually did a quick rinse. This seems to be the primary advice given to people who like puerh but find it a little harsh. I’ve never had that problem myself, so I’ve never bothered. I did today though for reasons that… Well, for no particular reason actually. Call it an experiment.
It smells like mushrooms and cinnamon. I’m a bit puzzled by the latter. I wasn’t expecting that. I wonder if it might be a result of residue on my strainer… Not impossible, but it has brewed a number of non-cinnamon-y things since it’s been in contact with cinnamon, and none of those had cinnamon notes in them that should or shouldn’t be there, so I’m leaning towards the belief that this tea actually smells like cinnamon.
The flavour is a bit thin, but again there’s a lot of cinnamon notes in it. I’m not getting too much in the way of mushrooms until the aftertaste, and I can’t immediately spot any stronger earthy flavours. There’s no feeling of farm animals to this. I say farm animals because the first time I had a puerh it invoked strong memories of my great-grandparents’ and the farm they had when I was little. It shaped the whole puerh experience for me. I want this note in my cup. I want this association.
I don’t know where those farm animals have gone here. I wonder if the rinse step stole them from me. If that is the case this will be the first and last time I ever bother with a rinse. I want my farm animals back.
That said though, it is an enjoyable cup. Remarkably cinnamon-y and quite sweet with an aftertaste of mushrooms and broth.
When I first posted about this, Hello.Kiki suggested trying it as a cold brew. I thought that sounded like a good idea, so I did.
It works very well as such! It’s very elderflower-y and sweet, reminding me of elderflower cordial. Give it at least 48 hours, though. I tried a little yesterday and it’s definitely better today.
I’ve found that rooibos blends haven’t generally worked so well as a cold brew for me, because they tended to be mostly rooibos-y and not very much of whatever it was flavoured with. Now I think maybe it’s just because it requires far longer in the fridge before drinking than I thought.
Queued post, written April 20th 2014
Here’s a tea that MissB shared with me. I used the whole sample in one go and shared it with Husband. He found it very pleasant indeed, but he’s biased when it comes to lemons. :)
At first when I poured water on it, the liquid was very green. Almost as green as a kiwi! I picked the pot up (glass) and went to show it to Husband, and although it was still quite green then, it had yellowed some so he didn’t see the full effect. I’ve noticed green teas often do this. They’ll be actually green when you pour water on but then they turn yellow or golden in colour. It’s still fun while they’re bright green though. :)
I’m afraid I rather quaffed it while looking at pictures of dresses. My mother in law turns 60 later this year and would like to make her party 50s themed. I’ve been searching high and low for a rockabilly dress which doesn’t cost a fortune and which it sounds like fits. I think I’ve found one, so I’m very much looking forward to it arriving. I don’t want a pencil skirt. Rockabilly complete with petticoat or nothing! Anyway, this was rather a distraction from tasting the tea properly.
I’ll try to write what I recall then. I assumed it would be bergamotty what with it being called something with ‘Earl’ and there did seem to be a little bit of it, but not very much. Just as a sort of background thing adding depth and a hint of a floral note to the lemon. The lemon was at the forefront and it was a fresh, fruity sort of lemon rather than a sour one. In fact I’ve still got a lemon-y sensation at the very tip of my tongue.
It was really very nice.
Queued post, written April 20th 2014
Four red fruits! This is a flavour that I am quite partial to, but for some reason rarely buy. This is a sample that Courtney shared with me.
This one smells strongly like cherries. Unlike many of my co-Steepsterites, I was never as a child subjected to fruit-flavoured medicines. The only time I ever had any illness that required antibiotics as a child I was an infant and therefore don’t rightly remember. It was probably given intravenously then anyway. Other than that, the closest I come was some cough medicine that my father once bought. It was the sort where you put a tablet in a glas of water and it goes psssh-pssssh-psssssh and disolves. Supposedly it was supposed to taste like raspberry, but it was not like any raspberry I’d ever come across then or since. It didn’t really taste like anything other than medicine and it didn’t help the cough much either. Other cough medicines were usually strongly licorice flavoured because they contained licorice extract, but that hasn’t stopped me from eating licorice with great relish.
So for me, a strong note of cherry is not a turn-off and it’s difficult for me to imagine how it could be for anybody. I mean I can understand why it is. But I can’t imagine it.
I feel like I’m picking up some raspberry and strawberry in there as well, but it’s muted by the cherry. There’s a feeling of something a little tart as well, which fits with red currant. A 4RF where I can smell all four fruits! This bodes very well indeed.
The flavour is very close to the aroma. Primarily cherry, with the other three under the surface, but still without masking the base completely. I can even pick up some grain-y notes from it under the flavouring.
This is very good and very well balanced. I like that the emphasis is on the cherry as opposed to the raspberry and strawberry, because usually in these blends the cherry is the flavour I have the most difficulties picking up. The red currant is not very easy to find, though, but I think that’s for the best. If it was stronger, the tea would have been very tart.
Queued post, written April 20th 2014
I think Husband is broken. I’ve been giving him the choice between the JW samples three times now, and he still hasn’t chosen the lapsang souchong. Is this the act of Cornflakes-man, I ask you? This is very disturbing. Do you think it might be bodysnatchers? O.O
Now, this one I would, had circumstances (ie shipping fees and my bank account) been different, have got a full tin of without even blinking. But, there were other choices that I also wanted a full tin of, both of which were new to me and with infinite potential for being Interesting, so I had to make do with a sample. Okay. I can live with that.
This is one of those kinds of tea where I know for certain sure that I’ll like it without having to have to sample it first. The very name of it alone is worth the first 80 points on the Steepster scale. It’s not a type which has to prove itself to me first, like an Assam or a Ceylon does.
There is a creamy sort of quality to the aroma of this one. I haven’t added anything to the cup, I never do, but it smells like there might have been a drop of cream in there somewhere. Apart from that it’s got that grain-y note that I love, but I’m not picking up too much in the way of cocoa notes.
Once upon a time I had a Bai Lin. The first one I ever had, and it tasted like mandarins. Therefore this is a note I always look for, but have never found again. Well, that’s not true, it may have been there in others, but never to the same extent. For this reason my ideal BL tastes like mandarins.
This one is grainy and cocoa-y and it has a sort of springy freshness to it. It’s a bit giddy, a bit bouncy. JW calls it elegant and sophisticated, but for me there’s a childish glee in it that doesn’t really equate ‘elegant and sophisticated’ at all.
It does not, however, deliver on the mandarins. Oh well. Perhaps I’m chasing shadows. It’s very enjoyable all the same.
I’m skipping the queue with this one because this is a really old bag that Fleurdelily shared with me in 2012. Yes, 2012. It’s that old! It’s been languishing in a tin of quite forgotten teabags of the same age and that’s what I’ve been drinking today.
This is the one that has handled it the worst. There’s pretty much nothing left, but there’s just enough flavour to provide a fairly pleasant cup of hot water.
On the other hand, it gives me an opportunity to impart a green tea related thing that happened to me yesterday. At work we have this coffee/hot chocolate vending machine that we can use for free. It can also dispense hot water so they’ve put up a selection of usually around five to seven different boxes of tea bags. Several of these boxes seem to be variety packs so the amount of choice is quite good. Only… Primarily, it’s Pickwick, and Pickwick is on par with Lipton. Well, it’s free and it’s a super common brand and most people aren’t as into this stuff as we are on Steepster. (No, really. Most people don’t care. It’s true!) It’s our cleaning assistants who look after it, and yesterday one of them was doing the daily cleaning/re-fill of it. She had just taken the foil off a green tea variety pack when I happened to walk past. So she thrust it right under my nose.
“Here, smell this! Doesn’t that smell lovely?” says she.
(recoils a bit) “I think it smells cheap…” says I. I swear it just popped out of my mouth. Had I had a moment to think I’d have just said yes and judged silently.
“Cheap?! You’re not serious! They cost over 20 kr each these boxes!” exclaims she.
“Yeah, that’s cheap,” says I in another spontaneous moment and hurried on before we could get into a discussion about it.
What I really ought to have said was that it smelled ridiculously expensive, because while the tea itself did smell quite cheap and paper-y, she’s right that it is hugely expensive when it comes to the actual amount of actual tea in a box.
I will also blame my unintended honesty on the fact that the box she put under my nose was a variety pack of floral scented green teas, and I don’t much care for floral stuff under the best of circumstances. Actually I don’t even much like the smell of perfume or even some flowers. There’s a particular one that I’ve told Husband in banned from the house on account of it being stinky. I can’t remember what it’s called, but I can recognise it on
sight stink. Luckily for me he thinks he knows which one I mean and is fine with it. For people who like flower smells it’s probably lovely. I think it reeks to high heaven because the scent of it is so very strong.
If only she hadn’t thrust that box under my particular sniffer!
Queued post, written April 18th 2014. I just decided this morning that today would be a green tea day. Seems fitting that the next post in the queue is also a green tea. Queue is only 15 pages long these days, btw!
And another one bites the dust. First time I’ve had it, but I’ve given some of it away so I actually used the rest of it now.
After the oddness that were the Northern Wilds, I rather fancied something different. Something completely different. Green was the answer and this was the first one I found.
It smells kind of citrus-y. A little like lemon-water. Other than that I’m not getting much in the way of scent.
The flavour is completely different from the aroma. I almost came to expect something really mild with a bit of lemon twang, and instead something bit my tongue. There is the lemon, but it’s more pithy than juicy, and this is then followed by something I can best describe as default green. Sort of vegetal but without me being able to really say what sort of greenery I think it is.
I find myself actually rather enjoying this. Imagine that. A Darjeeling that doesn’t have me nose-wrinkling even a little bit. How surprisingly nice!
Queued post, written April 18th 2014
This is chosen primarily because I keep finding it in the box and having no idea what it is. So now I’m going to try it and get it out of that box for good. Bonnie shared it with me, and when I say ‘shared’ I mean seemingly ‘sent me the rest of her sample pouch.’
I am uncertain about this blend. It has a number of things in it that I don’t even know what are, some things that are okay and some that are decidedly meh. And it rather… smells. Husband says it smells like Pears soap, but I don’t know what that smells like. I’ll give him the soapy association, though.
Things do not get better after steeping. Husband has changed his stance to ‘minty bath soap’ which… I’ll leave it up to you to tell me if this is better or not. Sceptical cat is sceptical.
I’m not sure what I think of this. It’s definitely minty and there’s something else that gives me a strong dark chocolate association. (To my relief it doesn’t actually taste like soap) As it cools a bit, though, it just becomes more and more minty. There is supposed to be oolong in here somewhere but you could have fooled me.
We found this somewhat drinkable, but not otherwise to our tastes.
Queued post, written April 18th 2014
I tried this in a cold brew, because I don’t really care for these blends that are made up of only dried fruit. I find them often rather sour and frequently somewhat bland-ish. Generally I’ve had the best experiences with them in cold brews, so that was what I went for.
Lots of the blend in a couple of filter bags in a jug over a couple of days, and the result was… a really thin vaguely apple-juicy concoction. I tried it hot as well, and that was pretty much the same story.
Unbelievably dull. I might as well have been drinking water, it just didn’t work at all. I’m not certain what to do with the rest of the bag now. It may very well find itself relocated. To the bin. As it came from the christmas calendar I have no qualms at all doing this. I didn’t pick it myself and there is a great deal of it.
A world of meh.