154 Tasting Notes
5:20am on my first day of christmas break, sitting in front of an open window…enjoying the temperature difference between inside and outside when the wind blows….really, is there anything better than winter?? The fragrance of this mug of tea keeps meeting my nose at random moments, and even before I’ve taken a sip I know exactly what to expect. The fujian notes lead the way into winter this morning, with deep velvety cocoa, dark molasses and a slight cannabis note….followed by the yam and apricot, baked grain and raisin of the Dian Hong. I’m thinking that what I pick up in some teas as cannabis others think as rye, but either way, this is a whole cup of warmth for this winter morning, when the holiday lays in wait and savoring every moment is the one thing you want to do. What do I have planned for my holiday? Selective hibernation, quiet contemplation of long shadows and mindfulness. It all begins, very deliciously here, with this cup.
ps. I used to get samples with my orders from Whispering Pines but haven’t gotten any in my last 3 orders….anyone else?
Flavors: Apricot, Cannabis, Cocoa, Molasses, Raisins, Yams
Another stop on my quest for the best chocolate tea. I’ve not had Peet’s before, but this came as a solid recommendation from someone who had worked at the place as “the best tea Peets ever created”. It’s not currently available, but I dodgily (not a word, i know) purchased a tin on ebay. (I’ve drank the cup and I’m not dead, which is a good sign in this day and age!) This tea has both cacao nibs and shells…the shells combating the slightly sour taste that comes with cacao nibs. The base tea in Red Cloud is from Hunan China, which is I think what makes this tea work as well as it does. Canton’s Chocolate tea is assam/chinese and is steeped for only 3 minutes. This tea, because it can be steeped longer (gotta love Chinese teas!) imparts more of the chocolate flavor from the shells and nibs…which is good/bad….good, because there’s more natural chocolate flavor…bad because it overwhelms the vanilla and you kind of lose it in the mix. All that said, this is a brilliant alternative to cocoa during the winter months, and I will be looking at Peets website a bit more often now….
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Tea, Vanilla
I’ve been craving hot chocolate recently, but remembered I had this in my cabinet and steeped up a good tablespoon in 12 oz of water. The base for Canton’s Chocolate tea is Feng Qing and Assam blended with Peruvian cocoa nibs and organic Madagascar vanilla. They call for a 2 minute steep, which gave a medium brown liquor and an understated cocoa flavor. This is a good tea, but I wanted it to be better than it is. The cocoa is certainly unsweetened, and even after I added a touch of honey, it stayed “unsweetened” tasting in the mug. The tea itself was identifiable as Feng Qing and Assam and gave a bit of astringency to the mouthfeel. Hmmmmm…..I was expecting something more rich and vibrant, but the flavor profile kind of just sat in the middle of the mug, like a little goldfish deciding if it was going to live or give up the ghost…..
I love Canton Breakfast Tea. I think it’s one of the best breakfast blends out there, but I doubt I will reorder this one.I am now officially taking suggestions for chocolate teas (with no fruit) with black tea base.
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Vanilla
Another flavored tea?? Yeah, I’m apparently on a roll with these today. For whatever reason, after I rode this morning I decided a cup of dessert tea might be nice. I’d gotten this in my BF order as an afterthought to qualify for free shipping. I’m rather glad I did. There is certainly a gentle tart/sweet apricot in this tea, a creaminess from the white chocolate, and a hint of nuts…. it’s not pronounced, but it’s there… almonds perhaps? In any case, together with a touch of milk and spot of honey, this is exactly what I was looking for in my cup for this moment. Pastry without most of the calories. Interestingly enough, looking at the leaves after the steep, there are some greenish ones interspersed with the brown as well as what looks like CTC….so I’m not quite sure what the base is for this tea, but it suits the flavor well.
Flavors: Apricot, Creamy, Nutty
I don’t usually drink flavored black teas… I am a purist, unless it comes to chai and a few from Lupicia, and in those cases, I’m a bit of an easy woman. I got this sample from some generous soul out there prior to my unexpected surgery, and can’t remember for the life of me who it was…but whoever that is, thank you for sharing! I pulled this from my box of samples today because I’ve been jonesing for Lupicia’s Decaf Carol every evening (hot, delicious Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries anyone?) so here it is in my cup on a Sunday morning.
My aversion to most flavored teas is that they make me burp the flavor long after the tea is gone….they also taste fake, and usually hide cheapo tea underneath. But THIS is FANCY tea! Obviously the fancy french have been flavoring teas for quite some time, because this is different…
The base of this tea is smooth and balanced for a flavored tea….a bit brisk for my liking, but I have a low tolerance level for astringency. The 4 fruits are not overpowering nor cloying. They are well balanced with the tea. They are also not too sweet, thanks to the red currant.
If this was served at a restaurant or bakery, I would happily have another cup. Will I search it out online to purchase a tin? Not yet. In my tea journey I am still enjoying the terrain and company of unflavored black teas. But a sojourn here and there for the unexpected is always welcome.
This tea has been sitting in my cabinet for about 3 months now, overlooked and forlorn until today. Today is a glorious day. I had been debating about how much North Winds from Whispering Pines to purchase on Cyber Monday…..then….well, then I had this tea. This, for me today, is a game-changer tea. Whereas North Winds is a blend of 2 of my most craved teas (Yunnan and Fujian black, I believe), THIS tea holds all that is magical and wonderful in the above blend but does so in a much more organic way, as the flavors come together PERFECTLY, without blending…just as nature intended. The Yunnan is represented by notes of yam, cocoa, apricot….. the Fujian black is represented by the caramelized sugar, raisin… and amidst these are the honeyed malt….. Crikey, this is a wonderful tea. If North Winds holds you in rapture, make sure you try this tea…..it’s truly amazing what nature can do.
Flavors: Apricot, Cocoa, Honey, Malt, Oak wood, Raisins, Yams
I’m supposed to be hoarding this tea because it’s one of my highest rated teas AND the YS website says you can keep it and it gets better with age. I am failing. This tea is the fall/winter version of YS gorgeous golden yunnans. It is a beautiful yunnan with a sweater on. The toasty notes make me toasty inside. Chilly mornings beckon for this tea. And I caved this morning…. nom.
When reading other reviews for this mug, I was quite surprised that everyone loved it! Perhaps I have been spoiled by my Zojirushi without even knowing it. The Timolino has the convenience of the tea basket, but there are no holes in the bottom, which makes no sense…it is difficult to remove when the tea is hot, as your fingers get burned when removing the basket when the steeping time has been reached. I also found that the tea cooled to lukewarm within 4 hours…even with boiling water used as a prep to heat up the Timolino. My Zojirushi has burned my mouth at 2pm when I’ve made the tea at 5:30am…. there is no lock to make sure the lid doesn’t unscrew either…. Now is it attractive? Heck yeah! Especially in the David’s Tea teal. Is is functional? Absolutely. Does it work? Yup! Is having the tea basket better for the environment than the wee little throw-away filters I use in my Zojirushi? Yes. Will I use the Timolino? Yes…for the days when my tea is drunk before 9am. I will review the Zojirushi soon…. no tea enthusiast should be without one…
I had hopes for this Irish blend….especially after tasting What-Cha’s English blend and finding it quite lovely and complex. Dry, this leaf is intriguing, with it’s deep dark assam leaves mixed with twisty ceylon and the green touches from the Nepal tea that create this blend. The smell from the cup….well, this is not your typical Irish Breakfast tea. There is beautiful deep malt and cocoa as bottom notes that are joined by mid notes of a green wood spiciness and a lingering apricot top note that gives this tea a long malty sweet finish. The true beauty of this blend’s finish is held in the buoyant briskness that the ceylon brings. There is a touch of astringency to the cup, but it is just enough to make you look forward to the next sip. Which is hard not to do. If you are a black blend drinker, give this one a try. It is a captivating alternative to what you’re used to.
Flavors: Apricot, Cocoa, Green Wood, Malt
One of the amazing and frustrating things about being on Steepster is how quickly your tea tastes change. Amazing because it’s a wonderful educational process, frustrating because you go and buy tea you “love” at the time but then your tastes change and you have a big 8 oz tin of a “simpler time” tea in your tea cabinet that stares at you longingly every time you reach for a new fancy sample. Well, today I reached for my first love, Malachi McCormick by Harney. I made 2 big old mugs, one for my husband, one for me and I just took that first sip. Oh Malachi, why did I forsake ye??? Ye is still so NOM!!! Somehow, (probably with years of experience :) ) Harney did actually create a delicious, down to earth breakfast blend to stand the test of the ages. There is something about how the malty assam blends with the earthy (but not too earthy) keemun that builds this tea into a big old cup of brown joy. Lovely body, great mouthfeel and incredibly low on astringency…. what more can a girl ask for? Suddenly that 8 oz tin sitting in my cupboard doesn’t look like it’s just sitting there taking up space anymore…it looks like a well-loved piece of comfy clothing that had been forgotten but is again found. It’s already a good day.
What’s your “comfy clothing” tea?
Flavors: Earth, Malt