124 Tasting Notes
This is another sample that Fusion Teas generously sent to me :)
My fiance came over last night and specifically requested a tea session. I first let hi, try the Jumpy Monkey tea I had that he was interested in. He liked it so much I sent it home with him.
Next I decided to brew up a pot of the Caramel Chai pu-erh. The scent of the leaves is wonderful – deep, earthy, salted caramel-y, umami awesomeness.
Brewed up, it was much smoother than the spicy scent would have you expect. I definitely tasted all the chai spices, but they weren’t overpowering. I didn’t end up tasting too much of the caramel in the final tea, and the pu-erh was also backgrounded as well, but I liked that – I wasn’t in the mood for an overwhelming pu-erh last night.
My fiance really liked it and we finished the pot together. It’s a nice tea to warm up with on a cool night at the beginning of fall.
Initially, I was a little scared off by the flavor. The ad copy says that it uses natural vanilla flavouring, but to me this smelled kind of artificial (but I think I’m over-sensitive to this kind of thing). I don’t doubt that it’s natural, I just don’t care for the mix, scent-wise.
Brewed up, the liquor is gorgeous. I love the deep red-gold burnt umber of rooibos. Just seeing that is an instant comfort that I associate with being tugged under to sleep.
The scent brewed is much better – the two scents meld and become toasty bringing the best of each out.
The flavour is oddly fruity with an apple undertone (note to self: try blending up an apple rooibos. Rooibos always seems kind of like apples to me – anyone else have this association?).
I’m getting vanilla here only at the finish, at which point it lingers. Super tea snob that I think I’ve become, I have to say that I don’t care for it. It still tastes unnatural to me, more like a vanilla syrup than anything else. I think that I really for the most part don’t care too much for adagio’s teas.
As a decent tea to sip before bed (yes, at 2:30 AM), it’s perfect as something to put me to sleep. (I still like the flavors of rooibos by itself best).
I have a super sore throat today, so I figured I’d try something soothing sounding. The samples that Thomas from Fusion Teas generously sent along arrived today :) So, I brewed up a pot of the Apple Pear Tulsi. The leaves smell like a warm spiced apple pie, not too spicy – I’m really sensitive to cinnamon and this definitely isn’t too powerful in the mix.
Brewed, this smells wonderful – like I’ve just come into a dark wood lined hallway from the rain. It smells wet or damp, but in a nice spicy way, like an autumn night storm, and unused mysterious rooms.
Apple! A really nice apple flavor, not fake tasting at all. Nice and fall-like with earthy undertones. There is a slight slight hint of a minty flavor. The rooibos flavor is seriously backgrounded, which I actually like – it supports the other flavors rather than competing with them. Apple is the most prominent flavor, and the other kind of dance around it. Nice and relaxing tea.
ETA: I added some honey to this to help my throat and I actually like how it changed the flavors (not usually a honey in beverages fan). It brought the fruit flavors more to the front and made the pear flavor (which is a phantom flavor created by the apple and pineapple, there is no actual pear listed) come out much clearer.
First off, the leaves smell incredible. This is the greenest, freshest smelling black tea I’ve come across! There is so much life in the leaves. There is a huge hit of sweet dark black licorice here.
I know I won’t get through many steepings tonight, so I’m doing this western style. 3 Minutes/steeping.
First steeping: The color of the leaves and the liquor is incredible – a gorgeous copper oxide toned rusty hue. Scent – This is overwhelming – powdery, like Italian lemon cookies with carmalized sugar tones and – oh! Baking chocolate. And a hint of something like apple blossoms. Taste – Totally blown away. It tastes like powdery dark chocolate. Nutty, carob-y, with a toasted finish. This is so neat – it’s completely unlike any tea I’ve ever tried before. The talk about a coffee substitute for tea could lead here for an interesting discussion. Really unique. Some other time (not this time! Not the first time!) I want to try adding a splash of milk to see how my “tea as coffee” theory works in practice.
Second infusion: Scent – More chocolate, less licorice. A little more toasted, a little milky. Flavor – Slightly more bitter, a touch of astringency at the finish. It actually really works with the chocolate flavors. As a description of the chocolate flavor, it is so full it’s hard to believe that there isn’t actual bitter chocolate added. There’s a little bit of a berry flavor too.
Third infusion: Okay, I totally wimped out here and bowed to the tyranny of taking more ibuprofen on an empty stomach than I really should and drank the third steeping with milk. It was surprisingly good. The milk definitely covered some of the flavors, but it made for a really comforting and bracing drink. This is really too nice to add milk to but… I could definitely see grabbing this as my morning tea, milk and all.
And for the fourth steeping, well… I’m way too tired and so I’m donating the fourth steeping to a soak for my broken finger.
I used up three green tea bags I needed to get rid of, added pan-away essential oil for anti-microbial effects, rosemary, tea tree, frankincense, and eucalyptus. I made a tea of these and then threw it in the freezer to chill. Soaking my finger in this really brought down the swelling and helped a little with the pain. Yay! I’m adding the leaves and the long concentrated final steeping of the Laoshan Black (around 6 minutes with minimal water) for tomorrow.
Amazing. And if that one word isn’t enough, I’ve outlined my entire tasting experience with this tea below. Seriously though – Amazing.
The leaves smell incredible. They are so fresh smelling, with some creamy overtones and some sweet hay notes.
For the first steeping I did around 4 seconds (after the initial rinse). The flavors are very smooth. OMG this is lingering on my tongue. This has serious body that comes out in the finish. There is a light jasmine flavor that gives way to a carmel aftertaste. It is the caramel flavor that lingers buttery afterwards. There is a hint of some kind of vegetal sweetness at the back of my throat. And this is the first steeping? Woohoo!
Finally! A really nice tea :) This is so exactly what I have been looking for.
For the second steeping I did another 3-4 seconds.
Wow! The liquor smells absolutely incredible. It is just sweet, buttery, toasty… it literally smells like buttered toast in my cup. But there is that fresh greenish scent on top of that that keeps it from being cloying or overbearing. I’ve been chasing down a tea that is like an oolong I had years ago. This tea is the kind of tea I’ve been looking for. This infusion is even thicker and toastier than the first.
Flavorwise, this is even more buttery with some seriously vegetal notes coming out. They blend together like fiddleheads in butter. Seriously good pairing. There is a slight salt note too under here, I think related to the buttery flavor.
Third infusion: scent – even greener and more buttery. flavor – a little more flowery. the butter flavor toned down and the overall taste got smoother and subtler. This infusion is more like the first than the second. There is an interesting spicy flavor here, an almost earthy pepperiness.
Fourth infusion: I brewed this one for 7 seconds. Scent – more creamy, less buttery. Flavor – more floral, nice creamy aftertaste (literally – I’m tasting cream here!)
Fifth infusion: I increased steeping to around 13 seconds. Scent – a drier toasty scent, slight caramel notes. Flavor – a little fruity, like frozen peaches. Slightly warm woodiness.
Sixth infusion: 20 seconds. Scent – buttery and woody. Flavor – Caramel, woodiness, and cedar notes. Darker, woodier, like a wet forest, toasty and creamy. Salty/sweet aftertaste.
Seventh infusion: 25 seconds. Scent – very lightly floral and sweet. Flavor – It’s funny, I’m really just getting straight up cream this time. No real other notes. Just a nutty creamy taste.
Eighth infusion: 35 seconds (I went by color here). Scent – Yay, the smooth buttery scent is back. Green and buttery, with that brussels sprout with butter kind of note. Taste – the fruit flavors are starting to come out – it’s kind of like popping an entire rambutan in my mouth. There is the sweetness of the fruit flavor mixed with some astringency of the outer shell/rind. Interesting…
Ninth infusion: 52 seconds. Scent – Buttery, vegetal, slightly woodsy. Flavor – I’m getting much woodier flavors at this point. There is a hint of sweetness that comes out at the end – almost salty and sweet at the same time. This is a completely different tea than the first five or so steepings but it is good in its own right. I like the finish of nuts and cream.
Tenth infusion: 1:05 Scent – Buttery and floral this time, like candied violets. Sugary almost. Flavor – Floral, nearly minty, and of course, buttery. The floral taste is really purple and zingy. Violets, I think.
Eleventh infusion: 1:25 Scent – Buttery with walnuts. Taste – Walnuts again. There’s some astringency feeling here that contributes to that. Walnut infused unsalted butter on toast. That’s this steeping. Oddly specific? Yes. Totally accurate? Yes.
Twelfth infusion: 1:50 Scent – Buttery creamy walnuts. Slight slight hint of blossoms.
I’m thinking of the Ezra Pound poem, In a Station of the Metro – “The apparition of these faces in the crowd / Petals on a wet, black bough.”
That would be the scent profile – wet blossoms on dark rain infused wood of a walnut tree with a hint at the creamy nutty flavor of the walnuts themselves. Flavor – Nutty. Walnuts. Bark. It tastes just like it smells. Perfect. Modernist tea. I am totally in “The Burial of the Dead” mode now, picturing the rain pouring down (lit geek note: I am one of the few who will argue that the rain actually comes in The Wasteland. Therefore, for me, my rain association is valid). Back to tea.
Thirteenth infusion: 2:15 Scent – very faint. Again, rather nutty/buttery. Taste – this last steeping just has a nice subtly warmth to it – a nuttiness. This one is less astringent than the last, so it’s still reminding me of rain and trees, but now it’s a much more “garden” like experience. Not so much bark flavor/feel as a smooth sweet taste.
Wow. Really, that’s all I have to say. This tea was incredible. It was the most amazing way to relax after a frankly awful day. My broken finger still isn’t anywhere near healed and I got my pupils fantastically dilated (the doctor said he had never seen anyone’s pupils go like mine did) and got nauseous taking my pain medication on an empty stomach. Woohoo! Awesome day! Anyway, taking the time to sit an experience this tea was just wonderful. I learned that tea can still be fantastic and I’m just extremely picky about the tea I like. It was really disheartening drinking teas that were fine, I couldn’t complain about them, but they weren’t the tea I was looking for. I’m so happy to have found this tea and excited about the other teas that just arrived from Verdant Tea, waiting in the cupboard.
It smells very spicy and cinnamon-y and tastes that way too. There is far too much cinnamon for my (cinnamon hating) tastes. The mouthfeel is surprisingly light as well, versus how dark the tea is. Of course, I just finished a cup of coffee, so take this with a grain of salt. If you like cinnamon, then you’re ahead of me in liking this tea.
Not bad otherwise, just too much of a kick for me,
This has a super strong scent – I’m guessing it’s the bergamot? Upfront info: I’m trying to give Earl Grey, a tea I’ve never loved, a second chance.
To me this just tastes like rooibos though. Really nice red rooibos. I’m woefully uneducated on earl gray, I just know it’s never been my favorite (back from bagged tea days), so I’m not sensitive to bergamot, but I’m not tasting it.
A really nice cup of rooibos tea though! But then, I’m a red rooibos nut :)
Oooh cinnamon scent – in a good way.
Taste-wise, this is a really nice savory type tea. And black pepper! I’m in love. Black pepper flavors in wine are what I especially seek out. In a tea? Perfect. And the cinnamon which was close to too much in the scent is just the smallest note of heat in the flavor. I avoided this tea for a while, afraid of the spices – I’m sorry I waited so long now. This is a great mid-morning tea,
This is super balanced, energizing and relaxing at the same time.
So, I didn’t get to taste this infusion, but this tea absolutely saved me today.
I crushed my finger in the automatic car window today and broke the bone. Serious serious pain. Also, gross alert, I know this is a tea review website, not a med school bandage review site or something.
So, my crushed bleeding finger is looking awful, I’m screaming and my sister gets me back in the car and hurries to the ER. Without really thinking about it (again, serious pain), I unscrew the lid to the travel mug that I was cold steeping this tea loose in and stick my hand in.
I kid you not, the tea seriously helped. The cold was soothing and there were so many leaves in there it made a kind of herbal leaf layer around my hand that soothed it as best as one could hope.
I’ve got a splint now and actual medical painkillers for the break and all, but for the first few hours of terrible? It was all Silver Needle, babe. This is my new favorite tea.
If only I had gotten to drink it :( No way I could do that after having it open with my fingers in it in a hospital.
Long story short – Silver Needle and I are now bffs.