9 Tasting Notes

75
drank Chai Kit by Verdant Tea
9 tasting notes

I like this chai. It’s neither too weak nor too strong. It’s a good comfort drink.

However, I don’t feel like the exotic ingredients added to the spice blend such as saffron really come through. It’s not that big of a deal, but Spanish saffron is very expensive, so I’m not sure if it’s worth the investment.

It’s also a bit annoying that the ingredients come packaged in non-resealable bags that make way too much chai for one person. Single serving bags would have been better, as I understand the purpose of this kit is to make it more convenient to prepare. In the future I will probably buy some Laoshan Black and the spice mix separately.

Finally, there was a bit of confusion about the preparation, since the printed instructions in the box differed from those on the website. I ended up going with the printed version. They were quite a bit different with the proportions, so I wonder what is best.

I have only tried this chai with cow milk so far, but almond milk might be worth trying. Either way it’s a solid choice that would make a good gift or introduction to this drink.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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75

I felt that the flavours didn’t come through as much as I wanted. After adding some fresh mandarin peel and a pinch of maple sugar it was very nice. The peppercorns add an interesting spice to the blend without being overwhelming. This was my first taste of Handmade Tea and it’s a good one, all things considered.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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82

Red rooibos blended with vanilla and raspberry sounds like a tasty evening treat. I got this from a sampler set/gift box from Camellia Sinensis.

Dry, the vanilla and raspberry aromas are quite distinct and overwhelm the rooibos, which finally comes through harmoniously while steeping. The finished cup is a very appealing blend of scents of the honey-like sweetness of rooibos, vanilla and a fruity accent.

The taste of the cup is similar, if a little weaker than anticipated: sweet, fruity, decadent and relaxing. The next time I make this, I will likely add more leaves. Regardless, it is rare that I feel a sweet tea (or “tea”) doesn’t need any sweetener, but this one is perfect.

One last note: while the Camellia Sinensis English website calls this blend “Strawberry & Vanilla Rooibos”, its description, as well as its original French name (“Le chaperon rouge (Rooibos framboise & vanille”) points towards a raspberry flavour, not strawberry. This is an error on their end, but I decided to copy their translation regardless.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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86

This tea has intrigued me ever since I first saw it. It’s a black tea from Japan, which is unheard of as far as I’m concerned.

Nadeshiko smells like dried fruit. Raisins, dates, figs perhaps. Dry or submerged in boiling water, this is the dominant aroma. The scent of roasted cereal appears as the leaves brew.

The resulting liquor is a deep, dark red. It tastes familiar to Japanese green tea drinkers, with the cereal aroma coming out quite strongly, while the fruit smell remains in the background, mildly astringent, and as an aftertaste. Comforting and subtle, this is well worth trying, and easy to drink at any time of the day.

Nadeshiko is hard to compare with other teas, as its taste is closest to that of black tea, but it is produced more similarly to pu’erh. It is classified as a “rosé tea” by its distributor.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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82
drank Kashmir Tchai by Kusmi Tea
9 tasting notes

I prepared this two ways: with boiling water like an average black tea, and with milk and brown sugar like regular masala chai. Both ways ended up making good tea. This blend is on the mellow side, so it lends itself well to a normal tea infusion. It doesn’t seem to contain peppercorn, but the laurel and cardamom make for a spicy yet pleasant and somehow relaxing taste.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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75

The taste of this tea is a little weak, but regardless it is relaxing, perfect on a lonely afternoon. The jasmine comes through quite well, giving it a floral and somewhat sweet smell and taste.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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82
drank Earl Grey by Kusmi Tea
9 tasting notes

While it’s true that this Earl Grey is light on bergamot, it certainly doesn’t make it a bad blend. It’s my favourite Earl Grey, as it is a good easy to drink and light blend for tea time (with biscuits or cakes), but it retains the typical flavour of an Earl Grey. Other Earl Grey blends that I have tried tend to have too much bergamot oil, which tastes soapy or artificial.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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95

This is my first genmaicha, and it has quickly become one of my very favourite teas. It’s delicious at any time of the day, and it’s not picky with water temperature.

There is a faint vegetal aroma coming from the package. After scooping a couple of teaspoons and rinsing the leaves with hot water, the nutty, sweet smell of the toasted rice comes through, masking the grassy notes of the tea leaves.

The recommended steeping instructions on Camellia Sinensis’ website were a temperature of 90°C for 3-4 minutes. This resulted in a light, sweet brew that was relaxing and easy to drink, and retained the heavy aroma of the rice. Another set of instructions I tried came from the Nihoncha Instructor Association, which recommends a short steeping time with boiling water. Following these guidelines the tea came out stronger, but not bitter. Both methods taste great, and the better one should come down to personal preference.

I have no other genmaicha to which to compare this one, but it’s one of my favourite discoveries.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

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