711 Tasting Notes
Time for another David’s winter tea! This one is super chunky, with whole golden raisins and big pieces of apple. It smells very creamy and vanilla-esque, but I can smell apple as well. Looking into the pouch, it didn’t look like enough for two cups to me, so I decided to use the whole 10 grams (somewhere between 2 and 3 teaspoons I think) and made a 12 ounce mug. I have to say, this tea made me quite cranky before I had even tasted it… For some reason, I didn’t realize that there’s chamomile in here, and made the mistake of steeping it in my usual brew basket. Of course, now there are a bunch of teeny chamomile pollen pieces stuck all over the inside of the mesh (chamomile seems to be the Finum brew basket’s sole weakness). Harumph.
Honestly, I’m not finding this tea all that flavorful… Perhaps I should have only made a 10 ounce mug with the sample (which is really quite sad). I can taste vanilla and some creaminess, and there also seems to be some kind of sweetening element here (which I don’t see listed). I can barely taste the apple, mostly just at the end of the sip. Overall, it’s fairly meh for me.
Off-topic, the boyfriend and I are going to his sister’s for Thanksgiving. Her husband has to work and she has a 3-year-old along with a new baby (about 10 weeks I think by now?) so we’re going on Wednesday to help her with all the cooking and such. I volunteered to bring the pies, so I’ve been perusing the web for interesting recipes! Here are the ones I decided upon!
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/09/french-silk-pie-step-by-step/ (adding amaretto and using an amaretti cookie crust!)
So excited! I’ll be making them tomorrow. :D
Flavors: Apple, Creamy, Sweet, Vanilla
This was one of the smaller samples I got in the Bluebird Tea Co. group order. It’s not something I would have chosen on my own, though I do like strawberry and chocolate. The rose, on the other hand, is not one of my favorites, so hopefully it’s not overly strong in this blend. There are cute heart-shaped sprinkles mixed in with the tea, dried strawberry, rose petals, and pieces of crushed cacao shell. Dry scent is sweet and creamy chocolate with strawberry.
I actually quite like this, even though I can taste the rose involved. It blends quite nicely with the strawberry, and together they are almost like one cohesive flavor. The chocolate is definitely present, though it’s darker and more bitter than I expected. It’s a nice counterpoint to the sweeter, fruitier strawberry/rose. This one would definitely be delicious with milk and sugar added.
Flavors: Bitter, Dark Chocolate, Rose, Strawberry
Yay, another one from the Bluebird Tea Co. group order! Honestly I don’t even remember what flavors this tea is supposed to contain, heh. Just poking around in the dry leaf, I see some dried apples and a few of those lame caramel cubes, along with possibly cinnamon bark and some decorative red flower petals. It smells deliciously caramel appley!
Yum, I quite like this one! There’s just a little bit of smoky character (I assume from some lapsang) and it goes very nicely with the burnt sugar, toffee, and sweet apple flavors. I’m also getting some mellow wood and malt notes from the base tea. Perhaps there’s a little hint of cinnamon here as well. Overall, yums! I’m really liking Bluebird so far.
Edit: Forgot to mention that this was the inaugural run for my new Christmas mug from Target! http://instagram.com/p/vwF4hrGgPI/
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Cinnamon, Malt, Red Apple, Smoke, Toffee, Wood
Another tea from the Bluebird order! This one was definitely a total wildcard on my part, as I have such little experience with maté and absolutely none with chicory. But for some reason I kept going back to it, so I figured I might as well get some and try it out. I know chicory is often used as a sort of substitute for coffee, so I figured it would mostly likely be roasted and possibly somewhat bitter. I will say, my 25 grams of this tea has one tiny piece of freeze-dried raspberry in it. So, either the packet of this tea didn’t have ample raspberries or someone else got all of them when it was divided up. I’m hoping this doesn’t have a ton of impact on the flavor… Another thing, the ingredients lists only roasted maté, but mine appears to be a mix of both green and roasted (unless the crumbled green leaf is something else). Dry, it smells very much like sniffing a giant roasted nut of some kind, possibly cashew.
I admit it, I actually made this twice. The first time I steeped it for 5 minutes and it was super bitter. I figured I should give it another chance before writing any kind of note (although the directions did say 4+ minutes). This time I stuck to 4 minutes, and thankfully it’s not quite as bitter (although it still has bitterness to it). I’m assuming the bitter quality is just a part of the chicory and I’m not still brewing it incorrectly…
Overall, the taste is also similar to roasted nuts, and definitely a creamy and fleshy nut like a cashew or macadamia. There is a fair amount of bitter (possibly from both the cacao and the chicory) but it doesn’t overpower too badly. I must say, I don’t really taste chocolate at all here. I do, however, taste a strong roasted flavor from both the maté and the chicory, and it’s very nice and slightly reminiscent of coffee. I definitely don’t taste any raspberry at all, or anything close to a fruit taste.
This is definitely an odd one, and I may experiment with even shorter steep times to bring the bitter quality down even further. It would definitely take milk well, though I don’t generally add milk to my teas.
Edit: I forgot to mention that there’s a certain umami quality to this tea that makes it seem very broth-like. It almost reminds me of miso soup! (in a good way :D)
Flavors: Bitter, Broth, Coffee, Creamy, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Umami
Yay, I got my portion of the Bluebird group order! Thanks again to QueenOfTarts for organizing the whole thing. I ended up with ten different teas, which sounds like a lot, but the sizes range from 10 to 35 grams so it’s actually not a ton of tea. I’m feeling very pleased with my purchases for the price I paid! All of my lovely new teas are now safe and secure in various small tins that I had sitting empty.
I couldn’t decide which tea I was most excited for, but I ended up choosing this one (partially because of the cute snowflake sprinkles!). I must say, you can tell that all of these teas are blended in-house, mostly because of the range of ingredients included. For instance, this one has large pieces of dried orange peel and cloves, which are more expected, but then it also has a smattering of pine needles! Dry scent is a sweet combination of almond extract, orange, and clove.
Ooh the steeped tea smells fantastic – very sweet and cakey. And it tastes delicious, too! Definitely very cakey with strong almond flavor, a light kiss of orange, and a nice warming undertone of clove. I didn’t even realize there’s stevia in this tea, as you can’t taste it really. There’s a very slight sweet aftertaste if you sit there and think about it, similar to a very mild licorice root. I love it! Very happy to have picked up 35 grams.
Flavors: Almond, Cake, Clove, Orange, Sweet
This is a non-winter/holiday tea that I was curious about, and Roswell was kind enough to send me a sample out of her own stash. I don’t have much experience with maté, but anything roasted appeals to me and the other flavors involved sounded so yummy that I wanted to try it anyway.
The tea itself is definitely quite chunky. There are lots of big pieces, like sliced almonds, cacao shells, dried raspberries, etc. The maté kind of resembles a darker roasted kukicha in some places, while in others it’s more fragmented and reminds me of fish food. Dry smell is amazingly raspberry and roasty.
Wow, I have to say, I really really like this tea. The raspberry flavor is strong and yummy and sweet, like raspberry jam. I can definitely taste the chocolate, and it melds wonderfully with the roasted and nutty flavors. Overall, it’s just yum, and so comforting. I can’t comment on the energy effect yet, but we shall see if I’m bouncing off the walls in a little bit. Delicious!
Flavors: Almond, Chocolate, Coffee, Jam, Raspberry, Roasted, Sweet
Just chuggin’ along on the David’s winter tea train! Thanks again to miss Roswell Strange for providing me with 10g samples of all of these teas. I have to say, the notes that I’ve seen regarding this tea have made me rather scared to try it, as they’ve pretty much all been negative. Oh well, onward!
Now, on the pouch, this claims to be a rooibos blend. However, as far as I can tell, there is zero rooibos in my sample. So either there’s so little included that it’s pointless, or whoever measured out this sample didn’t bother to stir it first, leaving me with all of the food ingredients which tend to rise to the top as the rooibos sinks. Oh well! Dry scent is like a very heavily spiced apple cider.
Wow, I’m actually very surprised by this tea. I don’t hate it at all. Thankfully, I can’t taste the chili, which was the ingredient that really worried me (I do not enjoy spicy foods). The hibiscus is present but in a complementary way instead of being overpowering. I really enjoy the star anise in this blend, as most blends with licorice only include the root and there’s no actual licorice-esque flavor. Speaking of licorice root, I can taste that sweetness at the end of the sip, but it’s actually balanced rather well by the tart.
Overall, I’m surprised to somewhat like this one. There’s a lot going on, but it ends up tasting like a simultaneously spiced, tart, and sweet mulled apple cider.
Flavors: Anise, Apple, Hibiscus, Licorice, Spices, Sweet, Tart
Yay, another of my new David’s samples! I love eggnog, so I was pretty excited when I saw this is one of the holiday teas. When I opened the bag, I was shocked by how many white chocolate chips are in this blend! The picture is indeed accurate in that respect. The dry smell is quintessential eggnog. I admit that I made sure to stir a spoon around in my brew basket when the tea was done steeping, just to try to get all of that white chocolate to dissolve into the tea a bit.
I’m actually pretty underwhelmed by this tea. It comes off as quite bland to me. Yes, there is a strong nutmeg presence here, which is appropriate for eggnog. Other than that, all I really get out of this tea is creaminess. I feel like it’s unfair for me to expect more from this tea, as eggnog is so much about the thick and luscious texture, which can’t be replicated here. Overall, it’s just ho-hum.
Flavors: Cream, Nutmeg
Yay, my David’s winter/holiday samples from Roswell Strange are here! I can’t thank her enough for being such a sweetheart and sending me all of these 10g samples from her local store. Love you, Roswell!
This is one of those teas that just makes you smile when you peek in the pouch. It has these cheerful little candy cane sprinkles and their red color mixed with the green of the crushed peppermint is very festive indeed! Plus it smells very yummy, sweet vanilla and peppermint combined remind me of peppermint bark.
The tea itself tastes pretty good. I must say, it’s not as amazing as the smell because there’s only a touch of sweetness from the melted sprinkles. However, the flavors are still yummy together, and I can taste the vanilla (though I could use more!). Overall, it’s a perfectly nice little peppermint black tea with a touch of vanilla. Would definitely make a fantastic latte!
Flavors: Artificial, Peppermint, Vanilla
I feel like writing lazy tasting notes today! :D This sample came from the lovely Dexter.
This tea is a bit too earthy for me, as I tend to prefer the lighter Yunnan teas. It does have some nice flavors going on, though! I can taste a bit of dark, syrupy raisin and there are caramelized sugar undertones going on, though not a lot of sweetness. The main flavors are earth and wood, which are not my favorites. Perhaps a teeny touch of some sort of herb near the end?
Thanks, Dexter! I appreciate the chance to try these teas even if I don’t love all of them. :)
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Earth, Herbs, Malt, Raisins, Wood