905 Tasting Notes
Strange VariaTEA TTB #38
Still working through some random “one cup left” samples from the TTB that I threw into my desk drawer at work. This one is…odd. While steeping, my office mate remarked that it smelled like the holidays! And it does…the cinnamon aroma is STRONG. But despite the scent, I barely taste the cinnamon. Honestly, I barely taste much of anything. It’s very smooth and slightly earthy with just a hint of that cinnamon coming through and maybe a bit of nuttiness. I don’t really pick up on the strawberry at all. It went down easy and certainly wasn’t unpleasant to drink, but I was expecting a lot more flavor based on the scent and the number of flavored teas included.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Earthy, Nutty
Funny how one’s opinion of a tea can change over time! I think the first time I had this one, I was looking for the herbal equivalent of a traditional masala chai and was disappointed that this wasn’t that. But now I’m a big fan of this spicy, nutty blend which packs a punch in the flavor department without any caffeine. I’ve also found this to be a reliable first tea for people who think they don’t like tea…with milk and sugar, they almost always like this one!
Flavors: Almond, Cardamom, Cinnamon
Within the last year or two, my local tea shop Fava Tea Company has introduced what they call “TEAsers”…little sample packets of enough tea for 2-3 cups which they sell for $2.50 each. I’m loving this as a way to try out blends I’m curious about but not ready to buy 2-4oz of without tasting first!
This was one of the samples I picked up this weekend and I think I’ll be going back for more. The package recommended a 9-minute steep, but I got distracted and gave it more like 11 or 12 minutes. I was so pleased to find that the resulting brew had a distinct peanut butter flavor! Not sure I picked up on much chocolate, but there was a hint of sweetness that did remind me of a peanut butter cookie. And no unpleasant medicinal notes coming through from the rooibos base! I drank it straight, but I’m thinking it would make a really great latte.
Flavors: Butter, Cookie, Peanut, Sweet
I LOVE caramel-flavored teas and am so-so about most chocolate blends, but I ordered pretty much everything that sounded somewhat interesting in T2’s big clearance sale, so here we are. I’m somewhat disappointed that I don’t get much caramel flavor from this blend. However, the brownie flavor is spot-on: rich and fudgy! I especially enjoy it with milk and would like to try it as a latte.
Flavors: Chocolate, Sweet
Strange VariaTEA TTB #37
This was another tea that had just a spoonful left, so I snagged it to take to work. The description of “juicy peach twisted with a hint of sage” was enticing…but my experience was the exact opposite! It’s more of a sage green tea with a hint of peach. Pleasant enough, but not quite what I was hoping for.
Flavors: Peach, Sage
I love a mildly smoky tea. Most Lapsang Souchong is too aggressive for my tastes (makes me feel like I steeped straight-up charcoal!) but blends that have Lapsang in them are often some of my favorite teas (e.g. Churchill from The London Tea Room). So, long story short, I took a gamble and ordered 4oz of this one from Market Spice without ever sampling it first. Thankfully, the gamble paid off! This is the perfect balance of malty Assam and smoke with a nice smooth finish. I foresee this being one of my go-tos this winter!
Flavors: Malt, Smoke, Smooth
Not sure what vanilla has to do with Melbourne, but this is a very nice vanilla black tea! It’s more of a natural vanilla bean type flavor than the more common extra-sweet artificial vanilla. The base tea is also rich and malty and brings a bit of cocoa flavor to the table. Unlike most breakfast blends, I find it smooth enough to drink straight…though honestly, I still prefer it with a splash of milk to really bring out that creamy vanilla flavor. I have found that this one, like many of T2’s black tea blends, can over-steep very easily! Sticking to a 3-minute steep for Western-style seems to give it to me at its best.
Flavors: Cocoa, Vanilla
Strange VariaTEA TTB #36
I pulled a bag of this out of the TTB to sample later and finally got around to it at work this week. I don’t have a temperature-controlled kettle at the office, so the water may have been too hot (though I did let it cool for at least 20 minutes after boiling). Not sure I would have loved this even if I’d brewed it with more care, though. It didn’t have much of a scent and the flavor was also fairly nondescript…a little grassy, a little fruity, but nothing that specifically screams “pomegranate”. Drinkable but forgettable!
Flavors: Fruity, Grass
Strange VariaTEA TTB #35
There was just a cup or two left of this one, so I grabbed it out of the TTB to sample later. Honestly not sure what this has to do with Thanksgiving, but it mostly tastes of vanilla and maybe a bit of red fruit flavor. I’m finding it a bit astringent and thinking I’d try it with milk next time.
Flavors: Astringent, Red Fruits, Vanilla
Fava offers a LOT of different “breakfast” blends and I’ve slowly been sampling all of them. In my personal opinion, this would would have been better labeled as an Earl Grey, as the bergamot flavor and aroma is quite strong. But the vanilla and currant flavors come through as well, elevating the blend to something a bit more special than a standard Earl Grey. I find it a bit too brisk and assertive black, but quite enjoyable with a splash of milk!
Flavors: Bergamot, Black Currant, Brisk, Vanilla