Thanks to LiberTEAS for sharing a whole bunch of awesome teas with me a while ago that I am only now getting around to trying. I apologize for the delay in my tasting notes, but today is going to be a tasting extravaganza!! I have so many new things to try, and I can’t wait to get started!
First up, Ecuadorian Guayusa! This is supposed to be extremely caffeinated, so it’s my first cup of the day. I’m trying it without additions first. The aroma is earthy and a little bit woodsy. The liquor is very very dark. I’m slightly intimidated. Hmm, the taste is interesting. It reminds me of an earthier version of a Ceylon-based English Breakfast. I wasn’t anticipating making that comparison!
Okay, second sip is with a dash of skim milk added, which made the cup turn a sickly shade of grey green. That’s an unexpected and not entirely appetizing color…Anyway, it tastes smoother now although it was smooth to start with. But the earthiness is definitely still present. Third sip is with a small amount of Truvia added. There’s the sweetness I was missing. I usually drink black tea with milk and sugar, but I wasn’t sure if you could prepare Guayusa that way.
It’s not bad. The earthiness is just something that would take some getting used to. I keep imagining damp leaves being scraped off the forest floor and then used to make tea. And really, that’s not a fair comparison to make with this tea. It doesn’t taste dirty or gritty or anything, so why I keep forming that mental image, I have no idea.
There’s no bitterness or astringency at all. But there really must be a wallop of caffeine in here because 10 minutes after drinking the first cup, I got a splitting headache! Oof! I’m going to need some Advil to help make this go away. Wow, maybe it’s unrelated…It’s hard to think that one cup of tea could give me a headache like this, especially because I’m not usually sensitive to caffeine. Nonetheless, I wanted to mention it.
I know a lot of people compare this to puer, and I have to say I don’t find many similarities. It brews up dark and has a distinctive, unique flavor. But it doesn’t taste anything like puer in my opinion. It’s much milder and not fishy or muddy or, for lack of a better word, gross. (Sorry puer lovers.) But it’s a pro in my book that this is nothing like puer. :)
I also think I would enjoy this more if it were flavored. I’m still getting an earthy Ceylon quality from this, but it’s also not as enjoyable to me as a cup of Ceylon. I bet flavored Guayusa would be a completely different experience! But I’m also grateful that I got to try this unflavored version so that I know exactly what Guayusa tastes like. Thanks again to LiberTEAS for introducing a completely new tea to me!