1283 Tasting Notes
October 2022 Blend
I’m drinking so much licorice today. Ahhhhhhh
This tea pops. It has abrasive, earthy notes like anise, licorice, and clove – but also contains delicate floral and vanilla flavours. It’s also vaguely tart-sweet with raspberries. I can’t think of any tea that’s quite like this, although I’m familiar with 52teas’ take on vanilla and raspberry flavouring (love both).
I overleafed this last cup, so I added milk to my first steep, and managed a robust second steep. It was a good way to finish the pouch.
Flavors: Anise, Berry, Brisk, Cloves, Earthy, Floral, Licorice, Malt, Raspberry, Root Beer, Spices, Sweet, Tart, Vanilla
Mariage Frères Advent Calendar 2022 – Day 5
It’s like I summoned the Blue Pea-Flower Ghost of Christmas Past by uttering its name yesterday…
This particular oolong seems to work better than the “In Love” teas included in last year’s advent. Buttery (possibly light roasted) oolong is an excellent build for silky caramel, which in turn is a surprisingly good build for licorice (the dominant flavour by far; licorice haters beware).
The caramel component reminds me favourably of Oolong Caramel au Beurre Salé by Dammann Frères – a good tea in my book. When the buttery caramel mixes with the licorice it puts me in mind of one of my favourite ice cream flavours, Tiger Tail, in all of its licorice-butterscotch glory – sans orange (but add rose – which is a subtlety that strangely works here). A few more things that come to mind are Greek Ouzo candies and South Asian candied fennel Mukhwas. This tea would make an excellent sweet palate cleanser at the end of a rich meal.
I actually dig this one (and I’m extremely surprised to type that). The dark blackish-blue colour even works with the licorice flavouring.
Flavors: Butter, Butterscotch, Caramel, Floral, Licorice, Milky, Mineral, Molasses, Rose, Smooth, Vegetal
Mariage Frères Advent Calendar 2022 – Day 4
The name of this tea screams “Freddie Mercury,” at least in my mind, but I think the sleepy profile of lush rose, cool mint, and tangy hibiscus (because all roses need thorns) pairs best with the dreamy haze of Beach House. The atmosphere is “crisp flower garden meets the fuzz of spring showers” – and it’s so laid back.
My biggest issue is that the white tea base is mostly choked by the more prolific plant varieties (every gardener knows that once mint escapes the pot it’s game over). However, as the cup cools, there’s a vague but pleasant creaminess, mixed with lemon-sweetness; it’s lovely but fleeting.
Also, the tea is pink (Edit: nowhere does the label name hibiscus as an ingredient but.. that taste and that colour). I will gladly take hibby pink over the blue pea-flower wave of last year’s advent. This year, MF’s advent art depicts rainbow hibbys arranged in a peace sign wreath – so I knew the flower was bound to show up at some point. It’s alright.
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Hibiscus, Lemon, Mint, Rose, Sweet, Tangy, Tart
Dammann Frères Advent Calendar 2022 – Day 4
Oof! This was also in last year’s advent, but this year I’m getting some of that bubblegum note that Cameron B. mentions. I think it’s because the orange essential oil is so strong and bright; it’s an excellent orange flavour but it tips this tea into fruitier territory than I’m used to seeing in gingerbread. I do find there’s something “bread-like” about the tea though (and a splash of vanilla) – if not “cookie-like” as I would expect.
The medley of spices provide the cup with warm and woody tones; it’s a low, burning simmer of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves that contrasts nicely with the high, zesty notes of citrus peel, ginger, and pine. It’s a cozy, round cup so I’ll keep my original rating in 70’s .
Flavors: Bread, Bubblegum, Cinnamon, Clove, Fruity, Ginger, Nutmeg, Orange, Orange Zest, Pine, Spices, Vanilla, Woody
Mariage Frères Advent Calendar 2022 – Day 3
Today seems to be fruit-themed in advent-land (to distract from the frigid weather, maybe?). I love dragonfruit and enjoyed the couple of Colombian MF teas I’ve tried so far, so I’m actually excited to see this one pop up!
Dragonfruit is a mildly-sweet cactus fruit, not unlike a watered down kiwi or pear, with soft floral hues. It’s tricky to find a tea base that won’t overshadow such a delicate profile, but this gentle, grassy-sweet Colombian green appears to manage just fine. A pleasant astringent dryness builds over the course of the cup, which transports me to somewhere warmer that I’d rather be.
I could see some finding this tea insipid – but it puts me in mind of what I dub “spa teas” (ex – those refreshing but subtle melon and cucumber-inclined profiles). I like it (disclaimer: I also like Glacéau Vitamin Water Mega C) and think it would make a good cold brew.
Steep Count: 2
Flavors: Aloe, Astringent, Cactus, Floral, Fruity, Grassy, Kiwi, Pear, Smooth, Tangy, Tropical Fruit
October 2022 Reblend
I’ve never tried the black tea version of “boo-berry” (or knew that it existed until recently), so this was a cool addition to last month’s sub box.
The blueberry flavouring is an interesting juxtaposition of “fresh” and “candied” – a farmer’s blueberry pastry liberally covered in powdered sugar vs airy blue cotton candy (both are good). Imho, the tea blend’s emphasis on blueberry flavouring, the malty base, and the earthy-soft qualities of the marshmallow root all give Boo-Berry more dimensions than actual cotton candy. However, both vividly evoke a day at the carnival fair – and that’s all I want.
Flavors: Berries, Blueberry, Candy, Cotton Candy, Dark Bittersweet, Earthy, Malt, Marshmallow, Powdered Sugar, Tart
September 2022 Blend
Here’s another amazing tea I finished off mid-October that I didn’t want to let go quietly into the good night (the empty packet still smells amazing and fills me with tea-envy). Probably shouldn’t have waited until “Adventaggedon” season to catch up with my sipdowns and 52teas’ subs, but here we are!I enjoy Anne’s Pancake Breakfast Tea and Vanilla Black tea blend staples but, for me, this slightly tops them because it’s two in one! All that creamy vanilla, syrupy maple, and gooey caramel goodness in one cup – resonating perfectly with all the fall vibes (and it was still 100% fall when I annihilated my sample pouch; I hate how tiny samples are sometimes).
Flavors: Caramel, Caramelized Sugar, Creamy, Malt, Maple Syrup, Smooth, Vanilla
September 2022 Blend
I finished this off ages ago but it feels wrong to not make a note for a tea I enjoyed so much.
The combination of coconut and butterscotch flavouring is sublime. It gives that pear a creamy-sweet edge, that makes me think “baked”, and highlights the natural notes of the nilgiri base. I’m surprised to see that it’s still available in the store, so brb…
Flavors: Butterscotch, Caramelized Sugar, Coconut, Cream, Fruity, Malt, Pear, Smooth, Sweet
Dammann Frères Advent Calendar 2022 – Day 3
Mom: “Are you keeping track of all my favourites? You can put the list on the windowsill.”
My mom became instantly smitten with the tea satchet’s aroma – a dominant blood orange note over a layer of summer fruit salad. I understand why; it would make an excellent fruit jelly.
We tried it with and without milk, and it does well in both – depending on the drinker’s preference. The cherry and strawberry flavours pop in particular for me, but there are still hints of sweet citrus and canned peaches. I don’t like it as much as my mom (her rating: 5/5), but it’s a lovely tea. It also pairs well with both mincemeat tarts and Japanese cheesecake.
Flavors: Blood Orange, Cherry, Citrus, Creamy, Fruit Punch, Fruity, Peach, Red Fruits, Smooth, Strawberry, Sweet, Woody
Dammann Frères Advent Calendar 2022 – Day 2
Even with milk, the velvety butter and almond notes peak through to create the illusion of a festive marzipan orange dessert. It’s decadent, but not cloying or heavy (yes, I get brioche).
My mother, who is once again partaking in this advent journey, loves it too (her rating: 5/5), and even enabled me to buy more (“it’s not so expensive to get this shipped from France?” Dangerous).
Flavors: Almond, Bread, Butter, Cake, Citrus, Honey, Orange, Sweet