972 Tasting Notes
Cookies was sweet enough to send me a sample of this one. I generally find flavored green teas disappointing, so they’re not something I normally go for, but I really love citrus so I figured I’d give this one a try. The leaves themselves are somewhat broken, and they look like sencha. There are also a few pieces of dried citrus peel mixed in. This smells amazing! Very strong and true grapefruit aroma but it’s tempered with a bit of sweetness to take the edge off.
Mm, the steeped tea smells just as good as the dry – a mix of sour, sweet, and bright. Yum, I actually really like this one. The grapefruit flavor is not as strong as I would think based on the aroma. It’s more muted and it blends very nicely with the sencha base, adding a touch of acidity and bright flavor. Very refreshing, this would be amazing with mint added too! :)
Flavors: Citrus, Grapefruit, Seaweed, Smooth, Spinach
This was the free sample sachet that was included with my Lupicia order, which is awesome because I’ve been wanting to try it. The tea inside is a dark chocolate brown and the leaf is fairly broken. Apparently there are cocoa nibs mixed in, but I didn’t inspect it close enough to see any. Dry, it smells just like chocolate syrup. I used one sachet for 8 ounces of water.
Once steeped, it still has a strong chocolatey aroma, but now it’s more like chocolate pudding than syrup. To be honest, this tea is less chocolatey than I expected. The chocolate that’s there is definitely completely unsweetened cocoa powder or baking chocolate. I can actually taste the base tea a lot, and it has nice raisin notes along with malt and some wood taste. A touch of sugar would probably help to bring out the chocolate for me, but I’m trying not to add sugar these days. Overall, it’s good but I wouldn’t really consider it a chocolate tea.
Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Malt, Raisins, Wood
This one came from NayLynn! I’m not a huge fan of gingerbread, but I do like it, and I’m always tempted by any tea that claims to be a cookie or cake. I guess I’m just a dessert kind of gal! This tea is a mix of small, very dark leaves with little chunks of dried ginger root and cinnamon bark, and a few whole cloves. Dry, it definitely smells sweet and similar to gingerbread.
Mm, this tea has a very comforting aroma. There’s a lot of ginger and clove smell, but it’s also somewhat sweet from the cinnamon and possibly vanilla? My cup is pretty mild in flavor, but that was what I intended by steeping for only 3 minutes. I find chai to be overpowering if I try to drink it plain after steeping longer. This definitely reminds me of gingerbread without the sweetness. I’m not a ginger lover, but the ginger here is mellow and just spicy enough to remind me of the holidays. I bet this would be fantastic with cream and sugar. :)
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Cookie, Ginger, Spicy, Vanilla
A sample from cookies. I enjoyed the black dragon pearls I tried from TeaVivre, so I was very interested in trying them from another company. These pearls look very similar to the other ones, they’re about 1/2 to 2/3 inch in diameter with a little bit of variation in size. Color is dark chocolate brown with some lighter tan streaks. I didn’t get a whole lot of scent from them, maybe a little bit of malt and some sweetness. I used four pearls in my eight ounces of water.
Once steeped, the tea smells somewhat sweet and raisiny with molasses and cocoa notes, and a touch of earthiness. Hm, I agree with Stephanie that this tea is a bit ho-hum. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s not making my skirt fly up either. There’s a definite earthy baseline here, and there’s also some raisin and molasses influence, but not enough to make it terribly interesting. Overall, it’s inoffensive, but not something I would purchase.
Flavors: Earth, Malt, Molasses, Raisins, Wood
This one most likely won’t be a repurchase for me. I do enjoy it while it’s hot, but there’s a certain floral note here, and if I let it cool just a little too long, it takes over and renders the cup nearly undrinkable as it becomes soapy extremely quickly. Obviously this is entirely my preference, as I tend to not enjoy floral teas. So farewell, Ailaoshan, it was nice to meet you!
And on to the third and final buckwheat tea! This one actually came straight from the generous folks over at Bird Pick. If you didn’t know, they offer 3 free samples for free (http://birdpick.com/faqs/#A7). Visually, this tea looks different from the others. It’s obviously broken-up buckwheat, but the texture is more like shards and almost reminds me of sanding sugar. The scent is different as well… actually it kind of reminds me of Play-Doh. Heh. We shall see!
Thankfully, the steeped tea does not smell like Play-Doh. In fact, it has that same roasted peanut aroma as the other teas, perhaps with a touch of sunflower seed shell. This one is definitely different from the other two I’ve tried. The flavor is nutty, but it’s rougher and it reminds me of sunflower seed shells. Not as much of a fan of this one unfortunately (at least, compared to the others).
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Grain, Peanut, Roasted nuts, Toasted
I figured since I tried one buckwheat tea, I might as well try the other samples I have as well! This one also came from Dexter. Visually, it looks quite different. While the H&S version was coarsely crushed, this one is whole pieces of buckwheat, and they look like smaller versions of shelled sunflower seeds to me. I could detect a touch of roasty scent from the dry grain, but not much.
The steeped tea smells exactly like roasted peanuts, or perhaps peanut butter, with salt included. The aroma is a bit more buttery than the other tea. The flavor here is a touch milder, which makes sense to me since because the buckwheat is whole, there’s less surface area and less of the inside exposed to the water. Perhaps this one should be steeped a little longer than the crushed version. Anyhow, the flavor is very roasted peanut, and there’s a bit of that toasted wheat cereal taste as well. Overall, very similar! I couldn’t tell you which I prefer…
Flavors: Grain, Peanut, Roasted nuts, Sweet, Toasted
This one came from Dexter. I’ve found myself very interested in this and other similar soba cha teas for a while now, but this is the first time I’ve actually tried one. Dexter was sweet enough to send me a sample of this one and the Yunnan Sourcing version. The kernels (?) are a warm medium tan in color and only a couple millimeters in diameter. I didn’t get much of a smell from the dry grains.
As soon as I poured the water, I could smell roasted peanuts. Yum… The steeped tea itself also smells like roasted nuts or a toasted grain cereal. This is delicious! It’s hard for me to describe it because it reminds me of something specific, but I can’t think of what it is… I’ll just say it’s quite roasty but not in a strong way like mugicha, it’s more mellow and nutty. It tastes somewhat similar to that “Honey Smacks” puffed wheat cereal that I had as a kid. There’s the same lingering sweetness that I noticed in my mugicha earlier. Yummy!
Flavors: Grain, Peanut, Roasted nuts, Sweet, Toasted
Stephanie was kind enough to send me a bag of this one. I promptly cut the cold-steep tea bag open and put it in a ziploc because I really like this kind of tea hot. This barley is crushed up and texture is fairly coarse. It smells strongly roasted and similar to coffee, similar to the other barley teas I’ve tried. I used about a teaspoon and a half for 10 ounces of water.
Mm, this is tasty. It has the rich roasted flavor of coffee without being as strong and overpowering as straight coffee is. And there’s no bitterness at all, which is lovely. There’s a clear, light sweetness that lingers with the roast in the aftertaste. Yum, very good, and I’ll definitely try a little cold-brewed as well.
Flavors: Coffee, Roasted, Sweet
My boyfriend and I went by our local small market again today to pick up sandwiches for lunch. I also picked up a tin of this tea and a few single serving packets of fancy hot chocolate (amaretti cookie and crème brûlée flavors among others!). I’ve found that I really enjoy Republic of Tea’s rooibos and herbal teas, so I figured this one was worth a try. I was very pleasantly surprised by the mellowness of the scent when I opened the canister – I half expected it to smell like cinnamon candy tea. Instead, I can actually smell the rooibos tea as well as the cinnamon and vanilla. I used two bags in about 11 ounces of water.
Once steeped, the cinnamon is a tad bit stronger, but thankfully not overwhelming. Hm… This one is a bit off. There’s barely any cinnamon or vanilla flavor, and the base tea tastes quite odd. It’s not woody like I normally find rooibos, and it has a taste that’s almost like wet rags (ick). Definitely a no for me. :(