226 Tasting Notes
Another tea sent to me by the lovely and benevolent Sarsonator! Apparently she doesn’t much care for this one. It looks like a mix of various stuff. There are huge pieces of something that resembles bark, is this what carob looks like? It seems to be mostly dried orange peel with some wild rice, elderberries, and spices mixed in. It smells quite similar to Elder Grove by Whispering Pines, probably because of the cinnamon. I steeped 1.5-2 teaspoons for 5 minutes.
Wow! Brewed, this smells exactly like hot, gooey cinnamon rolls with orange glaze on top. Yummmmm. I must say, I don’t understand how anyone could not like this tea! It tastes like a combination of cinnamon rolls and apple pie! Somewhat similar to Elder Grove but with pastry notes and orange included. This is super delicious! Sarsonator, you crazy! ;)
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Cream, Orange, Pastries, Sweet, Vanilla
GA! GA! OH LA LA!
…sorry. I was really excited for this blend, and I love Sarsonator forever for sending me a sample! I had to add this tea to the database, so I guess no one else on here has tried it yet? Hooray pressure! ;)
So, this is a genmaicha with some unconventional ingredients. I’ve had the base tea on its own and enjoyed it, I remember it being a smooth and creamy light green tea. This tea has two types of toasted rice – jasmine and Minnesota wild. There are also lovely golden flower petals for color, and juniper berries (I assume they’re dried, but they still have their plump fresh appearance). I didn’t see any vanilla bean pieces in mine, but supposedly they’re in there. The dry scent is toasted grains with a very light vegetal note in the background.
Brewed, the aroma is a basic genmaicha – green tea (albeit a mild green tea) and lovely toasted rice. Have I mentioned I love genmaicha? Sipping this tea, I get the impression of a traditional genmaicha done very well. The base tea is exceptionally smooth and creamy, its main vegetal note would be butternut squash. As I near the end of the sip, it becomes creamy vanilla almond or soy milk. Mmm… The toasted rice adds that lovely nutty flavor, and goes perfectly with the creamy soy and light oat notes of the base tea. I would have enjoyed a tad bit more vanilla, as I only really find it near the end of the sip. But I digress! I honestly am unsure what juniper berries taste like, but I would assume similar to pine? Either way, I don’t get any of that here. Same with the saffron.
Overall, I actually really like this tea. I would consider it more of a traditional genmaicha, but exceptionally smooth and creamy. Delicious! :)
Edit: I forgot to mention that this blend was created for Lady Gaga, in case anyone was confused by the beginning of the note… Lol.
Flavors: Butter, Butternut Squash, Creamy, Nutty, Oats, Smooth, Toasted Rice, Vanilla, Vegetal
Yay, another Butiki sample from Sarsonator! I’ve become very curious about oxidized oolongs since trying the Eastern Beauty from Green Terrace, and anything from Butiki is sure to be good. :D The leaves look very similar to the Eastern Beauty – they’re very dark brown/purple with some silvery spots. They seem so fragile, and are very lightweight. I found that this tea has almost no dry scent, just a little bit of hay and autumn leaves. I followed the instructions on Butiki’s website: 2 teaspoons at 195 degrees for 4 minutes.
The brewed aroma is very floral, which surprised me! There’s also some fruity sweetness, and a strong honey note. This actually tastes quite different from the Eastern Beauty that I had before. It’s much more floral, which is not generally my favorite note, but it’s not terrible here. There’s a fruit taste which I would identify as tart but sweet plums along with a deeper raisin-like flavor. The background is all autumn leaves and hay, with a richness that reminds me of molasses. And obviously there’s that honeyed sweetness (this is a leafhopper tea, after all), but honestly I was expecting it to be stronger based on the aroma.
Very good, both similar and different from the one I had previously tried! Thanks Sars!
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Floral, Hay, Honey, Molasses, Plums, Raisins
Hooray, I got my swap from Sarsonator! I’ve been (im)patiently awaiting the arrival of Lady Gaga (aka Minnesota Blend). However, I don’t believe that she has tried it yet herself, so I’m not going to make it right this second, even though I want to! I’m actually really happy this came today, because now I get to try this tea and Oriental Beauty before tomorrow’s sale so I’ll know whether I need to order them or not. Hooray for excellent timing! :)
Anyway, this tea smells amazing! Very sweet and strong coconut and banana scents, and I definitely get some cookie or pie crust too. It’s like coconut cream pie combined with that amazing banana pudding concoction that has the whipped cream and the vanilla wafer cookies!
And, of course, it tastes fantastic! I definitely still get the coconut cream pie and banana pudding mash-up dessert. There’s a cookie element here, and a little bit of toffee. The coconut flavor kind of reminds me of those chewy coconut candies that have the pink, white, and brown stripes (sorry, I have no idea what they’re called, but they’re little cubes and they’re individually wrapped). I wouldn’t call it the most “authentic” coconut, since real coconuts are much milder and not sweet, but I think it works perfectly in this blend. The banana is the same way – it’s definitely more of a banana candy flavor (reminds me of banana-flavored chews or taffy) but I love it! It’s lovely banana-coconut candy tea with toffee chip cookies and whipped cream over the top! I had mine with a bit of sugar but I bet this would be amazing with milk as well. :)
Edit: Psssst, here’s a picture of the candies! http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7b/Sundaes-Neopolitan-Coconut-Candies.jpg
Flavors: banana, Candy, Coconut, Cookie, Cream, Toffee
This sample came from Nicole. Visually, it looks like a generic semi-tippy Yunnan, though the leaves are a bit more broken than I would like. The leaves are mostly dark, maybe with 30% golden tips. Dry, it smells pretty sweet and malty. I did my usual 3 minute brew.
The brewed aroma is earthy with malt or dark bread notes, raisins, and honey. The taste is quite similar. There’s a definitely earthy quality, but I don’t get mineral or smoke with it. Definitely a lot of malt here, but I wouldn’t describe it as bread. I also get a dark dried fruit flavor, which makes me think of raisins combined with the richness of molasses. There’s isn’t a ton of sweetness, however. There’s just a little hint of an herbaceous spice note that I’ve found in several other dark Yunnan and Fujian teas. I would describe this as being between the “dark” Yunnans (earth/mineral/smoke) and the “middling” Yunnans (mostly bread/honey/dried fruit). This tea is okay, but not something that I would purchase. I tend to love the middling to light (pastry/honey/stonefruit) Yunnans the most though. :)
Flavors: Earth, Herbaceous, Malt, Molasses, Raisins
Another Persimmon Tree tea. Honestly, I didn’t realize that this is a green oolong. The leaves are quite dark and they’re not rolled up, just long and twisty. I was quite surprised when I took the brewing basket out of my cup and saw how pale the infusion was! The dry leaf didn’t necessarily smell green, just sweet and vanilla-esque with some butter rum notes. Oh well, onward and upward! :P
This is actually quite tasty, even though I don’t generally enjoy greener oolongs. The vanilla and cream is quite strong, and there’s a definite buttery quality than approaches butter rum or butterscotch when combined with the other two flavors. I do notice a slight green grassy or vegetal quality lingering in the background, but it’s not too noticeable and I don’t mind it at all. There’s also a touch of floral (of course) and a slight fruit aftertaste, either from the “mandarin” or naturally from the oolong base. Speaking of mandarin, I don’t really taste citrus in this blend, but I feel it doesn’t necessarily need it with the richness of the other flavors. Quite good overall! :)
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Grass, Vanilla, Vegetal
Pass the Stash TTB 2.0
My last tea to try from the box! Another offering from David’s.
This basically tastes like hibiscus orangeade… There’s not really much else to be said about it. I suppose it would be refreshing iced, but I really hate it when fruit teas have hibiscus – it overpowers so easily, and it’s so tart…
Boo hiss, David’s!
Flavors: Hibiscus, Lemon, Orange
Oops, I’ve been neglecting my Persimmon Tree samples! I still have a couple that I haven’t tried yet, and I’ve had them since the July 4th sale. Now that I’m done with the TTB, I can get back to focusing on sipdowns! It doesn’t specify the type of white tea, but I’m going to guess shou mei based on the appearance. There are some flower petals mixed in for color. It smells nice and coconutty! :)
The brewed tea smells grassier than I would like… I generally like white teas less when they have that leaf/grass quality about them. The coconut flavor is quite good, and it’s actually strong enough! I was expecting much less from this tea after trying their Butterscotch, but this is actually quite a nice and light coconut tea. I would like this even better if the base tea were more hay-like and less grassy, but you can’t have everything you want! Overall, a lovely tea if you like coconut. :)
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Coconut, Cream, Grass, Hay, Sweet
This was the one Fauchon tea that I personally bought from my local TJ Maxx (the only other flavor they had was Earl Grey), though I do have two other flavors on the way from people nice enough to sell them to me! There are pieces of apple and rose petals mixed in with the tea leaves. The smell is very encouraging – sweet and apple-y with a floral note. Yum! I steeped for 5 minutes.
The brewed tea doesn’t have much of an aroma – it smells like a sweet black tea with a little wisp of fruit and floral. Thankfully, the flavor is definitely present in the taste! It’s not a crisp, fresh apple flavor, it’s definitely closer to a cooked apple. The rose is nice and light, and I can’t say that I would immediately identify it as rose if I didn’t know better. It’s definitely more of an accent than a flavor. The black tea base is mellow and smooth, even after 5 minutes. It has a bit of a baked goods flavor that makes me think of apple pie, but without the spices. Maybe more of an apple tart with a little bit of honey over the top! Very tasty! I’m getting a little bit of astringency, but not enough to be unpleasant or to deter me from enjoying this.
Flavors: Apple, Floral, Malt, Pastries, Sweet
Pass the Stash TTB 2.0
So far, I haven’t been terribly impressed with 52teas, but I figured I’d give this one a chance since I love both mango and vanilla. No fruit chunks or anything in here, just black tea and flavoring. It smells nice enough, vaguely fruity and vanilla-y. I steeped for 4 minutes.
Honestly, I’m fairly disappointed with this tea. The base itself is okay, although there’s a tiny bit of bitterness and some astringency, and I don’t feel like 4 minutes is oversteeping. I definitely get vanilla and cream out of it, but where’s the mango? There’s a vague fruity flavor in here, but it’s so mild compared to the other flavors and the base that I can barely taste it. Some sort of peaches and cream comparison maybe, but it’s way in the background.
I’m not sure if maybe the sample of this tea has lost some of its potency or what, because I saw that a lot of other reviewers mentioned juicy mango flavor. It is in a resealable bag, so I guess that could be the case. Either way, I’m not going to assign this a rating because I feel it would be unfair if I did get an older sample of it.
Flavors: Cream, Fruity, Vanilla