827 Tasting Notes
Today I received my first-ever Amoda subscription box! The box itself was quite cute – stamped with their logo on the front and their name along the sides. (You can see it here: http://amodatea.com/) My teas were wrapped in tissue paper with was sealed with logo sticker. There was a very nice glossy info sheet just explaining their general concept, and also a companion sheet for the teas describing their flavors. Also included were a few disposable filter bags and a chai-flavored marshmallow. Very well-packaged and snazzy overall. This is a rooibos tea with apple, orange, and spices. I can see big chunks of fruit and some rose petals mixed in with the rooibos itself. Dry scent is kind of bubblegum-esque with a spicy edge.
I can definitely smell the clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg in the steeped it, with just a little bit of sweet apple aroma. Hm… It also tastes like bubblegum a little bit, which is not appetizing. I can definitely taste the clove over everything else. Next strongest are the cinnamon and apple flavors. I can’t drink this without thinking bubblegum… :/
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Clove, Orange, Sweet
Dammann Frères Advent Calendar – December 17th
I admit, I’m always a tiny bit disappointed inside when it’s a green tea inside the little door. I generally prefer a black or even white tea as a base for flavoring. That being said, the green teas in this calendar so far have been fine, I’ve even liked some of them. :P Inside this sachet are large green leaves and pieces of dried strawberry. Dry scent is delicious strawberry and cream with vanilla!
Mm, the steeped tea smells like whipped cream and strawberries. The taste is actually a bit heavy on the base tea, which is a bit grassy. There’s a little bit of tart strawberry, but mostly I taste a lovely creamy vanilla flavor, which unfortunately does not go well with the grassy base. There’s a weird tart aftertaste as well that comes off as a bit artificial. I need to try the black version of this one!
Flavors: Artificial, Cream, Grass, Strawberry, Tart, Vanilla
This is the last of the samples I bought from the local The Whistling Kettle location. I think I chose this one because I like white teas and the leaf smells very nice. I don’t really know anything about this tea other than that it’s Chinese. The leaves are somewhat twisty, and a combination of silver and darker grey/green colors. The dry scent is reminding me of something extremely specific, and I’m annoyed that I can’t place it. It’s somewhat close to dried apricot, but it also has a sweet hay quality to it.
Steeped, it smells creamy with strong hay and a touch of savory smoke. I think I oversteeped this a tad, but that’s okay. It’s not straight-up bitter, but it’s developing a slight bitter edge. It has a nice deep hay flavor, and there’s actually a bit of muscatel here. There’s definitely dried fruit, perhaps a combination of prune and apricot. There’s a slight floral characteristic as well. This almost reminds me of Darjeeling a bit, which is odd for a white tea.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Dried Fruit, Floral, Hay, Muscatel
This is the next-oldest untried sample from my cupboard! This was actually a free sample from Bird Pick, thanks guys! I must say, I’m quite surprised that all these giant leaves are intact inside the little resealable pouch – I fully expected them to be at least somewhat broken. They’re long and flat (almost like they’ve been ironed) and they kind of remind me of kelp or something. Dry scent is mildly vegetal and grassy with a lot of sweetness. I didn’t really know how much to use, so I just put a bunch of leaves in my basket and then added one more for good measure. :P
The steeped tea is very pale in color, and smells mild and creamy with sweet vegetal notes. Hmm… this is not what I expected. It actually tastes like a Japanese green to me. It’s quite savory with strong seaweed notes. It does have a creamy and nutty taste, but in a savory way. The aftertaste is somewhat grassy but light and refreshing. Not what I expected, but not bad! Next time, I would use more leaf, as it was just a tiny bit on the weak side.
Flavors: Grass, Nutty, Seaweed, Umami
Dammann Frères Advent Calendar – December 16th
Woo, back to Christmas teas! I have to say, the first things I think of when I see a tea with “Provence” in the name are lavender and ick. The description for this one doesn’t actually mention lavender, and I didn’t see any inside my sachet either, so hopefully I’m safe. Dry scent is figgy and sweet, yum!
Mm, the steeped tea smells like figs and strawberry jam… Yummy. It totally tastes like some kind of fig & strawberry jam combo. I think the honey and fig and so intertwined that I can’t tell them apart, since fig is kind of a syrupy sweet fruit. There’s a little bit of an earthy quality to the base tea, especially in the beginning of the sip. Thank goodness, no lavender! :D
Flavors: Earth, Fig, Jam, Strawberry, Sweet
Teeny Tiny TTB Round 2
This is it, the very last one. I enjoy chamomile and some bedtime blends, so I pulled this sample out of the box to try later. I’ve seen Zhena’s teas before at TJ Maxx and wondered whether they were any good or not, I guess it’s time to find out! I can’t really see what’s inside the bags (they’re the round style, like Republic of Tea) but I can tell there’s chamomile for sure. Dry scent is chamomile with a touch of mint and some sweetness. After looking at the description, I think it was the coconut I was smelling. Once I poured the water over, I could see that there’s green rooibos in there as well. I used two bags for my 10-ounce cup.
The steeped tea has a pleasant herbal scent, and I can definitely smell the chamomile as well as the mint and a bit of coconut. Yum, I actually quite like this. It certainly has a very herbal flavor, there’s something in here that’s reminding me of dill perhaps? The mint and coconut work nicely in balancing that herbal taste with some sweetness. Nothing overpowers anything else, making this a nicely balanced sleepytime blend. Nice.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Coconut, Hay, Herbs, Mint, Sweet
Teeny Tiny TTB Round 2
Even though the box is on its merry way to the next person in line, I still have this and one more tea to try (they were single servings so I just kept them to try later). I really like the idea of a mint chocolate rooibos, but this is actually the first one I’ve tried. Mighty Leaf has pretty cool sachets, the actual sachet part is made of the usual silky plastic material, but the edges are actually sewn with thread and so is the string. Interesting! Okay, so I took one whiff of this and thought why would anyone use spearmint in a mint chocolate tea…? Weird.
The steeped tea smells like spearmint gum, I don’t really smell any chocolate. I definitely don’t taste any chocolate either… It just tastes like rooibos and spearmint gum had a lovechild. Nope, not cool. It’s not undrinkable, but it’s pretty meh.
Flavors: Spearmint, Wood
Ooh, another Crio Brü cacao beverage! This sample came from Sil, and she was kind enough to send me two servings worth. I’m going to try the first serving with the traditional method of using plain water for steeping. I think I may try vanilla soy milk for the second. Dry, the powder smells sweet and chocolaty with some vanilla notes. I steeped it for 10 minutes in a brew basket.
These are always a bit too bitter for me plain, so I added a bit of raw sugar and a splash of soy milk to my cup. I can definitely taste the caramelized nut flavor listed in the description, and perhaps a tiny bit of vanilla? I’m definitely not getting cherry. Otherwise, it’s a lovely rich and thick cup of cocoa love. Can’t wait to try this with the soy milk. :)
Flavors: Cocoa, Nuts, Vanilla
Another one from my cupboard. I purchased this at Target because I remembered liking it a couple of years ago, and it was the only holiday tea they had that I was at all interested in. The bag smells quite good, it’s an interesting choice to put orange in a sugar cookie tea, but I approve since I like orange. Otherwise, it smells very sweet and sugar cookie-ish.
Uh… The steeped tea smells like scrambled eggs to me. Yes, I can also smell the sweet cookie notes, but the egg part is extremely distracting. The taste is actually much better, and it doesn’t really taste like scrambled eggs. However, I’m unsure why it tastes like coconut? Seems odd for a sugar cookie. I can taste a little bit of orange, and it’s a nice accent to the cookie flavor. It did come out a bit weak, so next time I think I would use two tea bags per cup.
Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Cookie, Orange, Sweet, Vanilla
Back to trying everything in my cupboard! Since it’s getting to be later in the evening (8 PM here) I’m going to skip a few and try only teas with low or no caffeine. This one is part houjicha, which is supposedly low in caffeine, and part rooibos, so I think I’m safe. This is actually a free sample from Bird Pick (they’ll send you a few free samples if you email them). It appears to be mostly houjicha. Dry scent is somewhat sweet and caramel-y and reminds me of richly sweet dried fruits like figs, dates, and prunes.
The steeped tea has a strong roasted aroma, though I can still smell a bit of that richly sweet smell (somewhat like molasses). The taste is pretty straightforward – roasted/autumn leafy from the houjicha mixed with the woody flavor of the red rooibos. I can’t really taste the caramel much until the very end, where it manifests as a sort of boozy fig flavor. I wish there was more of that throughout the sip. Overall, pretty tasty but could be improved.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Dates, Fig, Molasses, Roasted, Rum, Sweet, Wood