472 Tasting Notes
Thank you to Yunomi for this sample.
I’m often not a huge fan of roasty teas – some are good, but far too often for me the roastiness dominates all the other flavours, and the teas lack nuance.
I was worried about that with this tea, until the end of the first sip. It starts off very roasty tasting, with a slight char note, but then there’s a burst of vegetal tang, and some lovely caramel and cream sweetness. The roastiness almost has a barley quality to it.
This is definitely one of the more complex and enjoyable houjichas I’ve tried. There’s lots going on to prevent it from being one dimensional.
I made a latte with the second steep of my leaves which was delicious – very autumny, like being outdoors amongst the dry, fallen leaves.
The dry leaf is brown and very broken – my sample contained some larger pieces but also lots of fanning sized bits. Dry it smells much like it does steeped – charred and roasty.
Flavors: Caramel, Char, Creamy, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Sweet, Tangy, Vegetal
This came as a bonus sample with the sampler pack I ordered. This tea isn’t on their site yet, and the note said they were still working on it, so I’m not sure if I have the final version or not.
This is supposed to have chopped vanilla beans in it, but I couldn’t see anything but tea leaf in the dry blend. The dry leaf has a faintly vanilla-ish note, but not as much as I was expecting.
I steeped one teaspoon for three and a half minutes in 93C water. The liquor is a dark brown.
Again with things not being as expected – if I blind taste tested this, I would never have guessed it’s a vanilla black. There’s some of that vanilla creaminess in the background, which contributes to the thick, smooth mouthfeel, but the dominant notes on my palate are dark chocolate and mint! The mint is fairly subtle, but impossible to ignore, and the dark chocolate is right in your face. I’ve had teas with pieces of chocolate and mint leaves that were less chocolate-mint than this. The sip starts with mint, followed by sweet maltiness and then the dark chocolate makes a really rich appearance toward the end, with the mint reappearing in the finish.
So if I was looking for a straight up vanilla black, I might be disappointed, but setting aside expectations of what this could have tasted like, I’m really impressed with the flavour. I feel like this would make a killer latte.
I think this also might be one of the first teas I’ve had with chocolate notes, where I’m not guessing that maybe it’s chocolate. There is no question about the chocolate flavour in this.
Flavors: Creamy, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Mint, Sweet, Vanilla
Oh my, this is delicious. If you like really bold and very malty, this is it.
This tea doesn’t appear anywhere in Cornelia Bean’s site or even the samples that are out for smelling, but I expressed interest in Yunnan Golden Rain and malty blacks in general, and this was suggested. It’s a house blend that’s the daily cup for the family that owns Cornelia Bean.
This is a blend of Assam CTC and whole leaf Dian Hong. I was a bit afraid that the CTC would steep up much faster than the Dian Hong, but they assured me that they is a nice cup, and they were right.
I did a three minute steep, which I think is the upper limit of what you’d want to do, unless you plan to add lots of milk and sugar. Three minutes yielded a thick, bold cup with lots of flavour and just a bit of bitterness and astringency.
The liquor is dark brown and smells of baked bread, sweet potato and malt. So much malt. The sip is malty and slightly bitter, and then towards the end, there’s a burst of creamy sweetness that is very mouthfilling. Sweet potato lingers on the finish.
This is a perfect breakfast tea. Lots of flavour, lots of caffeine (I’m assuming – it feels like there is), thick and mouth filling. I’m enjoying this straight, but I also will try it with milk and sugar at some point.
I’m also very tempted to make up a cup of Irish Breakfast to compare, since that’s my usual go to tea if I need something really bold.
Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Bitter, Malt, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Thick
I had some other tea yesterday, but I am circling back around to these leaves again. Now on their fourth steep.
Some astringentness creeps out, and the smoke is more muted but with a bit of a harsher edge to it. The floral notes of the oolong have also mellowed into a more tangy vegetal note.
I think this is my last steep of these leaves, but I’m tempted to make a fresh cup. Which is weird, because I almost never want to resteep leaves even once, but I feel like I could just keep drinking this all day.
Bumping up my rating a bit, because I think I need this one in my cupboard – I can’t stop drinking it.
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Smoke, Tangy, Vegetal
This is another Cornelia Bean tisane that I’m not sure why they called it “chai”. It definitely has some chai spices in it, but it’s really quite light and doesn’t say chai to me. It is, however, delicious.
The dominant smell of the dry leaf is ginger, lots of really sweet ginger, with some cinnamon, cardamom, and I want to say raisin (pretty sure there’s no raisin in this.)
Taste wise, it’s quite light. Up front is ginger and lemongrass, and then the coconut, cinnamon, cardamom and clove pop up. This is quite naturally sweet. It has a slightly cookie-ish quality to it – more in the smell than the taste.
Super easy to drink and a really enjoyable combination of flavours.
Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Clove, Coconut, Cookie, Ginger, Lemongrass, Raisins, Sweet
My Tippy’s Tea sampler pack came today. I slept in, had an odd morning and I’m prepping for a big event that I’m organizing and speaking at tonight, so I needed something a bit bold.
The dry leaf is a mix of rolled oolong and twists of black tea. It smells primarily of smoke.
Steeped, the liquor is brown and smells really intensely smokey, grassy and floral. Amazing! The flavours are very similar, with a bit of creaminess and malt as well. Full bodied but very smooth.
This is a really well balanced blend. I can taste each of the ingredients, but they complement each other really wonderfully. One of the best takes on Russian Caravan I’ve had.
Edit: Second cup is even more orchid floral with the smoke slightly muted. Mmmm!
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Grass, Malt, Orchid, Smoke
Sampled in store.
I think we all had the opportunity to sample about a thousand different but similar pumpkin teas this fall, and I kind of had my fill. I rolled my eyes a bit at seeing another pumpkin tea in the holiday line up, but it both looked and smelled different from any of the others I’ve had, and it is.
I’m not sure why this is called a chai, because it’s almost all fruit and is pretty light on spices. The dry tisane smelled slightly fruity and sweet, but mellow, and a bit squash-like.
Steeped this was a gorgeous bright pink – thankfully from beet, not hibiscus! Flavour-wise, this is light and fruity and unlike any other pumpkin tea I’ve had. A bit sweet, a hint tart, and with a really lovely earthy note from the pumpkin and beets.
I didn’t pick any up because I’m just not allowed, but if I wasn’t on tea buying hiatus I would definitely pick some up.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Earth, Fruity, Pumpkin, Sweet, Tart
Wow, I don’t know if my tastebuds have changed or if there’s just something magic about all these senchas I’ve been trying, but this one also tastes and smells strongly of honey. No complaints, I’m absolutely loving it, I’ve just rarely encountered strong honey notes in teas, and this is three senchas in a row.
In addition to the honey, this also has some strong umami and grass notes, with a noticeable but pleasant bit of bitterness.
The second steep is more bitter and earthy, with less sweetness.
Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Honey, Umami
I had this while out and about this morning, and it was not what I was expecting.
I’ve been a little bit obsessed with Yunnan blacks lately so I figured I’d give this a try, but the flavour reminded me more of a shou pu-erh than a Yunnan black. Thick, with almost a licorice note to it.
It’s quite decent but not what I was craving or anticipating from the name.