521 Tasting Notes
I’m disappointed in Microsoft Office. I downloaded a trial on my new laptop and then bought a license a couple days later. Once my trial expired, it asked for the product key which then it wouldn’t accept. After an annoying conversation with a Microsoft customer service rep whose native language isn’t English, I finally got my answer. I have to remove the software from my computer (uninstall it and then reinstall it) all because it won’t accept the product key code. Are you serious? This is such a stupid solution. And of course, it took several hours to get all this sorted out and then another hour to do it. I’m so annoyed. But FINALLY it’s done and I can get back to blogging.
ON TO THE TEA!
Thanks to JustJames for this sample! The first infusion is subtle and tastes like an unflavored tea. Although it claims to be an oolong, it actually reminds me of a Darjeeling. The base doesn’t have a whole lot of flavor though. It’s rather lackluster and doesn’t strike me as particularly oolong-y. There are slight hints of woody elements and…I want to say roasted, but it’s not really a roasty-toasty kind of flavor either. I’m at a loss to describe this one.
The second infusion is no longer flavorful and seems just to be a cup of warm water and a mere whisper of what it used to be. I definitely am not getting chestnut or nut of any kind in either infusion. It has a flavor, but it’s very subtle and…I can’t describe it as delicious. It’s just…there, kind of like how nearly everything has a flavor but that doesn’t mean everything is edible.
Overall, this tea is unremarkable. It’s not something that I would probably seek out again in the future. Wow, sorry for my rather harsh criticism. I fear my bad experience with Office has tainted my view of the tea. I think I need a hug.
Every time I drink this tea, something keeps me from writing a note about it. The phone rings, I’m late for a meeting, I enjoy the tea so much that I simply forget to log it. It’s always something. Well, I’m going to make time today because THIS IS MY 500TH NOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The dry leaf aroma is warm. Yes, warm. It smells inviting. The brewed tea aroma is a whole host of notes: woods, campfire, moss, bark. Cedar is the most prominent note. The flavor? Intoxicating. There’s a lovely spicy undertone that’s pronounced without being overtly spicy. It’s definitely not chai-like. It’s…unique, for lack of a better word. I love this tea to death. It is always delicious, comforting, and nuanced. Yunnan must be a magical fairytale land to produce such sweet nectar. Subsequent infusion for 3 minutes is just as enjoyable as the first cup. It’s hard to imagine growing tired of this tea. Who knew cedar wood could be so delicious?
I was glancing over the Verdant Tea website, but sadly this tea has been sold out for some time. I clicked on “Learn More” and found this beautiful passage: “How to Taste Tea. If you can put yourself in the right frame of mind, quiet the chatter of the everyday, and immerse yourself in the sensory experience of brewing and tasting a cup of tea, even a mediocre tea will be beautiful.” Wow. Isn’t that insightful? It’s so true and eloquently stated. I try to do this when I drink tea. I can’t properly reflect and blog unless I turn off the TV and block outside distractions. But I must say that this particular tea is far from mediocre. It is stellar, and I shall relish every last drop.
Wow, the brewed tea aroma is really interesting. It’s unlike anything else I’ve tried. I’ve been making a lot of smoothies lately with my Vitamix (a present from my stepmother that I absolutely adore), and I swear this tea smells exactly like a fresh, ripe banana! Wow, but the taste??! OMG! It’s insane! I thought for sure that I would detest this, seeing as how I generally despise banana-flavored teas. Don’t ask me why. Bananas in a smoothie? Totally fine. Bananas in tea? Yuck, gag, cough, sputter. It doesn’t make logical sense, but then again, I’m human. I don’t have to. :P I’m in quite a mood today, so please forgive my weirdness. Actually, I guess I’m always weird so today is just an abnormally high level of weirdness. Okay, long digression. Back to the tea!
This tastes amazing. I don’t know what this base is, but it is divine! Smooth, flavorful, maybe a hint of malt, but mostly smooth cocoa, bread-y deliciousness! Then the real, authentic, true, ripe banana flavor comes in and mixes with some other element. Floral butter? If that’s a thing, then yes, this tea tastes like cocoa banana bread with floral butter spread. Mmmm! If that doesn’t make your mouth water, then I don’t know what will. There’s also a hint of something almost spicy, like catching a whiff of the spice cabinet without actually tasting anything definitively.
Seeing as how I wasn’t expecting to like this tea at all, I’m that much more impressed that I like it sans additions. This tea is lively and aromatic all by itself. No additives required. As the cup cools, the end of the sip leans toward the bitter end of the spectrum without quite reaching it, so I definitely recommend a 3-minute steeping time. Anything more and I think it may reach full bitterness (without milk to calm it anyway).
Now I’m kicking myself for sitting on this sample from JustJames for so long. I really must thank you, sir, for being such a kind tea sharer. And Stacy!! You are a tea blending magician! I don’t know how you made this, but it is magic in a cup. The added flavorings are so subtle yet impactful. They blend with the base so perfectly that I can’t tell where the flavorings stop and the base begins. Well done, Stacy, well done. I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to try this. Thank you, JustJames!! This tea really lifted my spirits today.
Not counting the tea I reviewed last week, I have 21 different flavors of SBT teas in my cupboard. I’d better get drinking! Thank God it’s finally warm enough to enjoy iced tea. The dry leaf aroma is divine. Very lime-y in a fresh, authentic way. It even smells creamy, mmm!
My husband stole a sip while he poured me a cup and said, “It’s good, but it’s too buttery for my tastes.” Well, good! All the more for me then! The nerve of him to steal a sip without asking anyway. :P I’m perfectly happy to lay claim to this entire pitcher all by myself because this is super yummy!
Although my husband described it as buttery, I’m not sure I agree. I find it creamy, smooth, luscious, and delicious! It’s equally lime and cheesecake to me. The black base here is not bitter at all, and the flavoring is much more authentic tasting than the lime in the Cherry Limeade SBT. I love this one so much more.
The base is about even strength with the added flavorings, which is especially nice. I added some agave and it complements the cup perfectly! This is exactly my kind of tea. Yummm! I need to pick up some more of this. I think this is the most cheesecake I’ve gotten out of any 52teas blend to date. It’s not tangy, but it is creamy and delicious. I call it a success!
The dry leaf aroma is potent. Phew! It certainly smells lime-y, although it’s also quite chemically and strong. The undiluted brewed tea aroma is…unappetizing. It just smells weird to me. Not like cherry or lime at all. Just a very strong black tea scent that borders on smoky. The diluted tea aroma is more like what I expected, although I’m still a little wary of that inexplicable harshness from the base.
Okay, so I seriously overleafed this tea. It says to brew it in 2 cups of water and then add 6 more cups. I only added 4.5 and I barely added any ice. So why does it taste so diluted? I’m getting mostly black tea with a tiny hint of cherry lime flavoring. The base tastes different from the other SBT black teas I’ve had, and the aftertaste turns bitter. Did Frank change to a different base from the original line of SBT teas released about 2-3 years ago?
This particular tea came in the fourth package design I’ve seen. I’m not sure what’s with the frequent packaging changes, although this last version does provide a lot of great, helpful information. I like the detailed steeping instructions and the alternate coldbrewing instructions. And this tea is organic?? Hmm, I didn’t know that. I guess that means it is a different base then because I don’t remember the first line of SBT teas being organic.
The more I sip it, the more I think I like it. But I have to say that it is mostly black tea with only a hint of lime. Perhaps there’s some cherry in here too but it’s definitely the quietest of the flavors. Maybe this would have been better if I coldbrewed it? I’d be interested to hear what others think of this because maybe I’m being over critical or I just botched the preparation somehow.
All in all, I feel that I have to give it a low (-ish) rating since it is not as expected and overall isn’t that yummy. I know Frank can do better than this. A few of the SBT flavors have blown my mind. (I’m looking at you, Pink Lemonade.) But this one is not spectacular.
I got this during the recent reblend in February. I have a feeling this is going to be an amazing one. There are tons of large, whole chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and tiny cocoa bits mixed amongst the dry leaf. Ahhh!! So excited!
The dry leaf aroma is cocoa. The brewed tea aroma is…black tea. I took a sip and it surprisingly just tastes like a sweet black tea with a non-descript base. It’s not malty or assertive. It’s yummy. But it’s very plain. I’m not getting chocolate or peanut butter. :(
Okay, so maybe it does taste like chocolate. And I did pretty much chug it down. It’s delicious! Just not chocolate peanut butter cups. I made this on another occasion and steeped it for 3 minutes instead of 2.5. It was much better and much chocolatier this way. Still no peanut butter though.
Oh well. I guess I won’t be getting peanut butter from this or the Peanut Butter Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha. That’s really a shame. Peanut butter tea just sounds amazing, but alas, I’m still on the search for it. This is a good chocolate tea though. Very enjoyable if that’s all you expect from it. Since I expected more, I’m going to dock it a few points.
I bought this tea on my mini-moon in NYC and the matching Sablés au Thé on the actual honeymoon à Paris. I’ve been meaning to sit down and enjoy these two together for a while now. I finally decided enough is enough; no more waiting! Today is the day to try them.
The tea is strawberry, rhubarb, vanilla, cream, and flowers. The tea biscuits are butter, vanilla, and that something extra special from the Marco Polo tea infusion. They taste a lot like Scottish shortbread, except better! Way better. Much more flavorful. Leave it to the French to make delicious tea and cookies.
Why did I wait so long to enjoy you, oh glorious tea? This is exactly what I needed after an extremely stressful day. Sometimes I wonder why I’m alive. At least I have tea. Perhaps I can find refuge in several more cups.
The dry leaf aroma is slightly chemically, just like the Strawberry Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha. But just like that one, I’m not overly concerned because I expect it to dissipate soon. Besides that, the aroma is toasted rice and peanut-y goodness. Yum!
With the first sip, I literally thought, “WHOA!” This is very flavorful! I’d like to say it’s as close to liquid peanut butter as tea can get, but I have to agree with Awkward Soul that this is more peanut than peanut butter. Regardless, this is truly delicious! The roasty toastiness of the genmaicha is a perfect base for the nuttiness of the peanuts. (Yes, I know peanuts are actually legumes; but for now, I’m going to call them nuts). There’s even a little saltiness that really amps up the yumminess!
This is an interesting blend. If I’m being 100% honest, I’d say this doesn’t taste like marshmallow treats or peanut butter, which is fairly odd since I definitely tasted marshmallow treats in Frank’s other iterations. The most apt description of this one is peanut genmaicha. Even if it doesn’t entirely live up to everything its name promises, I can definitely recommend this blend to anyone who enjoys genmaicha because on that front, it is super yummy!
The dry leaf aroma is pretty weird. Maybe it’s the lemongrass? I don’t know. But if someone gave it to me in a blind smell test, I wouldn’t guess that it’s tea. I’d probably guess disinfectant. Yikes! Luckily, the brewed tea aroma is a lot more palatable and recognizable as tea. It actually smells quite lovely now.
Mmmm, this is yummy! Chamomile and citrus both come across immediately in the aroma and taste. But then the aftertaste creeps in and that strange disinfectant quality returns. What is that? It’s ruining what would otherwise be a very lovely cuppa indeed.
The more I sip, the more tolerable it is. I was so curious I actually went to the Mighty Leaf website to read the ingredient list. I was just thinking, “You know, a bit of mint in this and it would be even better!” when lo and behold, this already has spearmint in it! Maybe that’s the weirdness in this cup. I’m not usually a spearmint fan. But at the same time, this odd taste seems foreign. I know what spearmint tastes like. This is…something different. Something unknown.
Oh well, I give up. Whatever it is, this isn’t my favorite chamomile citrus nighttime blend. Tea Forte’s Chamomile Citron wins that prize. I don’t think I’ll seek this one out again, but I probably wouldn’t turn my nose up at it either if it was offered to me. All in all, it’s just okay. Although any time I use the word “tolerable” to describe a tea, it makes me wonder why I’m drinking it. Tea should be more than tolerable.
Ewwww, I am not a red rooibos fan. This is medicinal and gross. I’m sure if you like rooibos, this is probably just fine. But this is not my tea at all. Blech. Under 10 and down the drain it goes. :/
And with that, I’ve finished the Tea Forte sampler from my dad before it expired! He only gave it to me two years ago. ;) I got to try a lot of different teas, and I feel confident that I know what my favorite is. And the winner is…drumroll please…a tie between Black Currant and Chamomile Citron! Those were my definite favorites by far. And I have to say, all the teas held up very well considering how long they were shelved. Thumbs up for Tea Forte’s sampler pack!