1151 Tasting Notes
Today I received an envelope full of yummy things from Scheherazade and I decided to start with this one. It wasn’t one of the ones I asked about but when I’m reading the description I’m rather wondering why I didn’t.
I’m fairly attracted to apple flavoured teas as it is, but this one has apple AND caramel, and I think it’s a well established fact that I’m very attracted to caramel-y teas. I’ve had great results just mixing Kusmi’s apple and caramel flavoured teas for myself before. (That reminds me, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a tin of Kusmi’s lovely caramel.) I really don’t know why this didn’t catch my eye.
The leaves smell lovely. I can definitely smell the caramel and also something which I’d probably say was just generally fruity. Really, it smells rather like a sweetie shop. After steeping the fruity note smells definitely apple-y. It’s all tart and fresh. The caramel seems to be more in the background, all mellowed out and sweet.
I’m really excited about tasting this now!
Whoa! This stuff is fantastic on an epic scale!
First I get some fresh and slightly tart apple that actually tastes like apple. After that the sweetness from the caramel comes in along with what I assume is the strawberry leaf. It’s sort of fruity-sweet and reminds me of summer. Apple tea has always been an autumnal flavour to me so I can only describe this on the whole as a bit of Indian summer in a cup.
It tastes enormously rich and yet at the same time the flavourings aren’t actually that strong. They’re easily discernable but they’re nowhere near the point where your tastebuds are completely drowned in flavour. That’s the balance I like the very best in my flavoured teas.
I’ve never heard about this company before, but I’ll be making a note of it. I had a brief look at their site and spotted at least three things right away that I definitely want to try. Shipping to Denmark seems acceptable as well. What an awesome discovery and what an excellent choice Scheherazade made for me! :D
I’ve tried this type of oolong twice before, both from TeaSpring and with a couple of years in between. The first time I thought it was wonderful so a few years later I bought it again and was faced with abject disappointment, because I really didn’t care for it any more. I believe I ended up giving the rest of it away. Recently(ish) this type of oolong had a lot of enthusiastic reviews on Steepster, in many cases this one from Teavivre in particular, so as I was putting in an order anyway, I figured I would try a sample of it. Even better, because my order reaching the price that it did, my sample was free. Ha! Win.
The leaves have a peculiar aroma because they don’t smell like an oolong at all. They smell like a black tea. I can’t actually pick much out in the way of notes, other than that high-grown-ish tobacco-y one, which was rather far from what I’d expected to find in an oolong. Try as I might I couldn’t actually find any of the notes I normally associate with oolong at all.
After steeping it’s more oolong-y and slightly floral and wooden. It’s less perplexing now and even has a faint note of fruit somewhere in there. Something peach-y, I think, but I might be influenced by the fact that I remember at one point reading about this particular type of oolong being characterised by having a note of peach. So I might be picking up some peach.
The flavour is very floral, which is a little unfortunate because I don’t much care for floral. It often comes off as a bit soapy or perfume-y to me. Oh well. Looks like the second time was I tried this type of oolong was not a fluke. Neither, mind you, do I think my first go with it was, but it was during a time where I also greatly enjoyed Darjeeling. My tastes simply changed in between the first and second time. And clearly they haven’t changed back yet. When I start drinking Darj by the liter, I’ll know to try this type of oolong again as well.
Anyway, apart from the floral notes, there’s definitely a note of fruit now, and it’s not something I’m imagining this time. It’s definitely there and it’s quite strong once you get through all the flowers. Again, I’m thinking a juicy peach. There are also some notes of wood and a slight hint of grass.
Well, the floral aspect rather put me off, so I’m glad I just got me a test sample. For someone who enjoys high grown teas, I imagine this would be excellent. For me… Well, I prefer something darker and earthy.
I need to renew the supply of this.
I’m having the very last from the tin in the shape of liquid comfort, as Husband committed the ultimate betrayal: He forced me to go to the dentist. Haven’t been in years and years and I was scared out of my wits while there. (Yoga breathing turned out to be unexpectedly helpful with that. Dentist gave me lots of praise for that. Handy tip, Steepsterites!) However, I only had one hole that needed fixing though (more praise from Dentist that this was all after some 10-ish years or so), and I opted to get that overwith straight away rather than go through all the nervous tension again in a couple of weeks. So, numb face. Rinsing was almost impossible when I couldn’t fully control half my upper lip. Miracle I didn’t spill down myself.
My face is almost woken up now, so I can have my reward. And the choice is obvious, really, isn’t it?
Remind me to stop in at Fru P tomorrow on the way home. (I would have done the other day when AC Perchs once again let me down, as I was badly in need of some comfort. Fru P is a really sweet lady. I remember liking her immediately when she first opened. She lets me buy 50g and I expect she would let me have a sample as well, as I seem to recall having heard her offer that to someone else. Shame I’ve been a bit meh on most of the other teas I’ve bought there, though. Oh well, lots still to try!
Have acquired a tiny little stress-related tic in my left eyelid. It’s tiny, but it’s driving me up the wall. Don’t feel particularly stressed, but there’s always a certain constant level of stress these days because of Reasons. I don’t dare tell you about that yet. Mustn’t jinx it.
Having this again this afternoon. This time I took care to only use about two thirds of the leaf I used last time, and it yielded a much better result. The creme note came out very clearly, the coconut note was about the same as before, and I quite clearly got some elderflower notes as well. Best of all, that courgette-y aftertaste of the white tea in the blend was much diminished.
This felt like rather a larger change then these sorts of adjustments usually result in, so I’m giving it a few more points.
I got a reply from an AC Perchs representative on my Facebook whining, saying that it was strange because they had had a chat with all employees about the 50g sampling possibility, so I really ought to have been able to get only 50g. Next time I go, if I don’t just go back to using the webshop, I’ll make sure to be able to bloody well show them this reply. But honestly, with the two experiences I’ve had so far, I’m mostly inclined to just go back to the webshop from the comfort of my own home and eat the shipping fee. If they refuse to sell me less than 100g either way, that’s just the most attractive option, to be honest.
Anyway, here’s one I fell over in the supermarket recently, when I had gone to do my shopping somewhere else than usual just so that I could look at some different things. I do that sometimes. I figured I would take a leaf out of Auggy’s book and give the stuff a chance. It’s part of a whole range of stuff that promotes things from this part of Africa. You can get chocolate and ice cream too for example. I thought it would fit in right well with Project Africa.
Remember Project Africa? I’ve only done one other tea on it so far, but it’s not forgotten. Here’s a second one! ‘Tanzania’ was all I had to go on origin-wise with this one, so I had to try and do a little research on the matter. I then discovered (very easily actually) that it’s from the Luponde Estate, which apparently was the first one to grew fairtrade organic tea in Tanzania. Now, why do they not write this on the packet? If you are buying a product from a range specifically designed to bring more African goods to the consumers, why would you not want to share this information with them? It’s relevant stuff! Anyway, further research tells me that the estate is in Southern Tanzania, in the Livingstonia Mountains and they grow tea at about 2100 meters above the surface of the sea. So a high grown tea.
I had the hardest time finding the whereabouts of this place on the map though. It helped a lot once I found out that the Livingstonia Mountains are also called the Livingstone Mountains are also called Kipengere Range are also called Poroto Mountains are also called Kinga Mountains. WHEW! A dear child has many names! While I haven’t managed to locate the actual estate on the map, I have made a qualified guess, I think. Take it with a grain of salt.
Unfortunately for me this stuff smells decidedly high grown too. Oh plock! I know what that stuff can be like so I carefully timed it and am hoping I didn’t miss the window in which it won’t put chest hairs on your tongue. This is one of my problems with high grown teas. Soooo finicky! Grassy and spicy notes in the aroma, that smells high grown to me. There’s something leather-y about it too underneath.
Well, I didn’t miss the aforementioned window. Good! It’s still quite a grassy sort of flavour though, and not really the down-to-earth grainy sort of thing I prefer. For what I paid for it and where I bought it though, it’s surprisingly good. I really must get over some of this snobbery and explore further what is available to me (that doesn’t say pickwick on it, mind. Or lipton. Been there, done that. I don’t care how loose that stuff is, it’s still not worth it)
That said, I don’t really care for the flavour of it. High-grown. Very. Sour and grassy and just not substantial enough for my tastes. This disappoints me a little becuase I’ve had a tea from Tanzania before, I think from AC Perch’s but I’d have to check, which was just awesome and I’m afraid I rather expected more along those lines. This is entirely too darj-y and I just don’t get darjeelings.
I’m afraid this tin has to end up on the Consider This First shelf for getting rid of quicker. That’s the danger zone. Things that are old and need to be drunk up or things that aren’t very nice and would otherwise hang around forever. Things on this shelf are never more than two steps away from the bin.
Once again the new Perch’s shop has let me down. Some of you may recall having heard me complain about how the girl in the shop the first time I was there told me that the minimum amount was still 100g. I was so disappointed and decided to whine about it on their facebook page. A representative of the company then told me on Facebook that I would be welcome to buy less than 100g at almost the same time as a former colleague of mine replied to my message saying that she had had no trouble buying less than 100g of something the day before in the same shop. Today I was then told by a different person in the shop minimum 100g again. She didn’t seem very interested in what I had been told on Facebook previously, so I had to get the full 100g again. I didn’t have my phone on me, so I couldn’t show it to her anyway. I reckon it’s no use making a fuss about it in the shop. If two different people have told me this, then that’s likely what they’ve been told by their boss and they wouldn’t be allowed to let me have my way either way. So I have whined about it on Facebook again, requested a clear answer as to who’s right or wrong and if I should be allowed to buy less than 100g at the time, then could this please be communicated out to the personel? So now we’ll just have to see what happens next.
Otherwise I’ll just continue shopping via their website in the comfort of my own home where I don’t have to squint to read the squiggly old-fashioned text on rather shiny brass-coloured tins. I have an awfully difficult time seeing it. I’ve loved this shop. I would like to continue to love this shop. Right now they’re not really making that very easy for me.
This is a new blend from AC Perchs, and when I first saw it announced on their facebook page I thought it would be flavoured with mandarins, as in the little citrus fruits that look like miniature oranges. Turns out it isn’t. (It’s not flavoured with Chinese imperial civil servants either) It’s even more interesting because it has coconut, creme and elderflower. The coconut and creme, I can take it or leave it, but I love things that are elderflower-flavoured. Elderflower cordial is one of the best things to ever come into existance.
It’s not truly a green base, though, because it has white tea blended in as well. I can taste this as well by the courgette-y, walnut-y aftertaste. I haven’t been too keen on white teas lately, which I’m about to be somewhat challenged on. The other one I got to day is a white base… Oh well! This one does have that courgette-y aspect that is part of why I don’t much care for white, but it’s fairly subdued and only on the aftertaste, so it’s not really a big deal in a blend like this.
I’m also getting the coconut on the aftertaste, but not in large amounts. It mixes in well with the notes and almost manages to hide among them while in a peculiar way still being quite strong. It’s like strong and subtle simultaneously. How does that work?
The coconut is particularly clear on the actual sip, though, and the creme is also showing up there. The creme is more a feeling rather than a flavour really. I quite like that. I once had a cream flavoured tea and it seemed to me to be a waste of both tea and flavouring because I could have achieved the exact same result with a simple plain black tea and adding a smidge of cream myself. In this blend, however, I’m not getting that feeling, so that’s the ideal creme-ness for me.
The elderflower is a lot more difficult to pin down. I can’t really take a sip and say ‘that note there is elderflower’. It’s more sort of all over the place, a diffuse sort of elderflower-y cloud permeating through everything else. I should have liked this note to be a little clearer, but then again, I really like elderflower.
Husband says he really enjoyed this one. He says it reminds him of something but he couldn’t think what it was.
I think I may have over-leafed a little bit on this cup though, so it might be possible to bring this note out better. I also suspect that this is a blend that would perform rather well as a cold brew. I must remember to try this as well. It really does need a little more experimentation. For that reason, the rating might change in the future. I’m quite pleased with it right now, though.
This is the last one from my Jenier order that I haven’t tried before. I’m not sure why I couldn’t seem to get around to it. I tend to be quite attracted to something which has the word ‘dream’ in it for some reason, and I can’t actually put a finger on why. I suppose it just speaks to my imagination somehow. This one was further attractive by having mallow flowers in it and ‘a strong hint of blackberry’ as the site description says.
Mallow flowers plus berry flavouring tends to go down well with me. Booberry from 52teas was a shiny example of this being a good combination. The bad thing about it, though, is that it rather tends to make the leaves smell strongly of cheap synthetic bubblegum. Oh well, I can deal with that. Especially since this is not the prevalent aroma after brewing. It’s much more fruity here and blackberry-ish but not so mallow-y. I can smell the black teas as well. A blend of Assam and Ceylon, and the Assam stands out the most, probably adding the high notes while leaving the Ceylon to supply some body, I think. There’s also some kind of Chinese green in here, but that doesn’t seem to want to come out to play.
Because of the inclusion of green tea, I decided to brew at 70°C, even though Jenier categorises it as a black tea blend. I don’t know how much green is in here. It might be just a smidge, in which case the cautious temperature might not have been necessary, because I can’t really spot any obviously green leaves in the blend either. I’ll have to try it again later at 90°C and see what sort of difference that makes. Remind me to actually do this.
The flavour is very nice. The black tea is coming out surprisingly strongly in spite of the low temperature. I was not expecting that at all, so I had a bit of a “hey, what’s going on here?!!” moment at the first sip.
The blackberry is indeed a strong hint. It’s not as all-out fruity as something that would have been straight on blackberry flavoured, but there’s definitely berry flavouring in here. It’s obvious but a bit more subtle, if you understand the distinction I’m trying to make here. This is also the case with the mallow flowers. These two flavours work in perfect unison for a sweet fruity tea, but with a LOT of black tea body. I suspect this is where the green tea comes in. I wonder if it’s the green tea that, while undetectable itself, really carries the flavours here.
I expect this is a tea that is going to go quickly. It’s very enjoyable indeed! Definitely my favourite of all the flavoured ones I got from Jenier. I might get this again.
Only one other person on Steepster has posted about this tea and our experiences couldn’t be more different. Isn’t it funny how these things can go?
You guys! There’s a new Development after the set back earlier. It’s a completely unexpected and rather scary Development, and we’ve had to email some grown-ups for guidance on the issue. I’m still not going to tell you what it is, because I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’ll tell you what it isn’t. It’s not a bad thing and we’re not spawning (which imo would be a bad thing)
Auggy shared this one with me. I’m always interested in a blend from these guys, but rarely buy it myself. It’s not shipping fees or other geographical restrictions holding me back here. It’s the fact that their tins are usually an awful lot of tea. This is a really stupid reason, actually, and I will tell you why. It’s about 100g to a tin if I recall correctly. Sometimes 200g. I have shopped at places regularly for years where I had to get at least 100g because that was just the way that particular shop worked for it to be worth it for them to ship it. So what’s the difference between taking a chance on 100g from Shop A or taking a chance on 100g from Shop B? I don’t know. You tell me. I told you it was a stupid reason.
There’s something else in it too, though. The couple of times I have shopped there, I’ve had to do it by email order and paypal the money directly, because their order form couldn’t deal with my address or my card, I forget which. It was rather a hassle. I don’t know of these things have been changed or fixed in the meantime, though. They might have. It’s been years. All it takes is going there to check which I don’t ever seem to get around to doing. Yeah, stupid reason. Told you so.
Luckily for me, I have an Auggy who generously shares a sample with me because she knows I like this stuff.
The dry leaf smells like… tea leaves. I’m suddenly finding myself in a peculiar situation where I’m sniffing it and I can easily discern all these notes. I just seem to have lost the ability to associate them with anything. Any other day I could have easily hammered out a description, but right now I’m suddenly uncertain about everything my nose is telling me. I’ve lost all my words! This does not bode well for this post as a whole, but I’ll do my best.
There’s something in here that smells a bit spicy and maybe tobacco-y, I think. Perhaps some kind of low grown Ceylon? Ooh, I like those. I hope it is. What else? I’m thinking something high grown as well. I want to say Darjeeling, because for some reason my brain really wants to detect some of that, even though my nose keeps telling it that it can’t find the slightest whiff of any such thing. There’s something grainy and sligthly smoky though, which makes me think of Keemun. Or perhaps Assam? With a sort of malty kind of note?
I’m so confused!
It’s not going any better for me when it comes to the flavour. It’s a very good cup of tea, and it tastes like… tea. I still think there’s some Ceylon in here, low or possibly middle grown. My brain is finally coming around to the lack of Darj-y notes, and I remain uncertain about whether I think it’s Assam-y or Keemun-y or perhaps a bit of both.
I give up. It’s a very good cup, I just can’t describe it.
In my last post I mentioned Reasons. Well, having just suffered a disappointing setback to do with Reasons, I’m comforting myself with the last of this leaf and reminding myself that there are other fish in the sea and the battle may be lost but the war is not over and it’s not over until the fat lady sings and to get back in the saddle and whichever other cliches you can think of. But BOOOO! at the world in general. shakes fist
It’s the last of the leaf, and I’ve suddenly realised something. There’s a berry-y note in here and it’s pretty strong. How did I not notice this before. Or maybe more cherry than berry really (lookit me rhyme!). If I had never had this before now, I would have thought it was fruit flavoured along with the vanilla. I don’t really understand how it isn’t.
Everybody who has some of this tea, go and make a cup now and see if you think I’m right or just crazy.
(Should I point out that Reasons are a good thing, or is that obvious?)
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!