543 Tasting Notes
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
Pass the Stash TTB 2.0
Another from David’s! I love melon, especially honeydew, so this sounded delicious. It smells very strongly of cucumber and melon, and very sweet. There are definitely big chunks of something, it’s hard for me to tell what kind of fruit it is. I brewed for 5 minutes.
It smells very minty! Thankfully, the mint is much milder in the actual taste. It’s a lovely honeydew and cucumber medley with a little touch of spearmint as an accent. Very nice and refreshing, I’m sure this would be amazing iced! I’m not really sure why they chose black tea as the base, as I can’t taste it and I feel like green or white would make more sense considering the flavors. But that’s okay, this is quite tasty as is! :)
Flavors: Cucumber, Honeydew, Spearmint, Sweet
Pass the Stash TTB 2.0
Holy cow, be careful that you don’t overleaf this tea! I took my first sip and literally almost ralphed. HAH! I used about a teaspoon and a half, but there was a giant slice of dried orange in there that may have been the culprit. So I added more water to bring it closer to 10 ounces before I drank any more. BLEGH. XD
I totally get the wine reference in this tea! Which is not something I expected. There’s definitely a bit of a winey taste there in the background. And the hibiscus and licorice root don’t really bother me in this blend, because the tart orange is strong enough to hold its own. This is, overall, a rather tart blend, so I added some sugar. It’s very fruity, I can taste the strawberry, the apple, and the orange. I don’t necessarily get raspberry, but the hibiscus is somewhat similar to tart raspberry, so that’s probably why. The licorice is not noticeable, thank goodness!
I will say, there is a certain bubblegum element to this that I do not enjoy. And overall, it tastes quite artificial… I don’t understand why flavoring is needed when there are giant pieces of fruit in here… Just seems excessive, and it hurts the blend overall. It’s not terrible, but the artificiality keeps it from being good.
Flavors: Apple, Artificial, Fruity, Hibiscus, Orange, Red Wine, Strawberry, Tart
I bought this tea on a whim while I was at a local healthy grocery store. My boyfriend and I had to go to the DMV so I could register my car in NY and the DMV is in the mall (?!). The aforementioned grocery store is also in the mall (?!) so I stopped in to have a look at their tea selection as we were leaving. I don’t have any experience with Republic of Tea but I love blueberry and I recently finished the other blueberry tea I’d had. Blueberry and black tea is my favorite combination, as herbal blends are usually super tart and rooibos blends don’t have enough body. So I picked out this one to try! I opened the tin in the car and the smell was very encouragingly blueberry. :D
The instructions note that one teabag is intended for 6 ounces of water. Umm…what? Does that seem odd to anyone else? So I ended up using two bags and brewing a larger cup than I generally do. The tin recommends 3-5 minutes so I decided to try 3 first. I added a bit of sugar, as I generally do for flavored teas.
This tea is pretty good! The blueberry and the tea are roughly equal in strength, both are tasted at all times. I’m unsure what kind of tea the base is, the tin makes no mention of it and their website lists several countries for “Country of Origin”. India is one of them, and seems the most likely of the bunch. Anyway! The base itself is somewhat malty and there’s a pleasant, mild woody quality to it. The blueberry is somewhat of a “jammy” variety – deep and rich rather than tart and juicy. And I like it very much! There’s a bit of creaminess in here that reminds me of vanilla, although it’s not listed as a flavor. The one complaint I have about this is that when I was drinking it straight, I found it quite astringent. I added some milk (which I never do) and it really helped to tone that down. So this one is definitely best enjoyed with milk and sugar from what I can tell!
I will definitely try it with some other parameters to see if I can somehow eliminate that astringency. Luckily I have many bags to experiment with! Overall, this is a lovely and convenient blueberry black tea!
Flavors: Astringent, Blueberry, Jam, Malt, Vanilla, Wood