1659 Tasting Notes
The company I purchased this tea from was sadly short-lived but I’m not too surprised – we’re more of a Tim Hortons coffee-type city than anything resembling cultured. They did have some interesting blends while they were active though, among them several flavoured pu’erh blends.
The pu’erh base in this one is fairly mild and gentle with a nice, rich peaty flavour. As you might guess from the title mint is the main flavour component but the vanilla gives the tea a creamy sweetness and the cinnamon gives it a hint of warm spice. It all works very nicely together and it makes me wish I’d thought to grab more of the company’s flavoured pu’erhs while I had the chance.
This tea reminds me somewhat of Adagio’s Thai Chai with its mix of coconut and lemongrass. This one is obviously lighter with its white tea base and it has more of a herbal undertone to it thanks, I’m guessing, to the lemon myrtle and ginger root. The ginger is subtle which is rare for such a strong-flavoured ingredient and I like the creamy coconut flavours that actually remind me quite closely of coconut milk.
So I doubled the amount of tea I used and upped the steeping time and while it is an improvement, I’m still rather disappointed with this tea. It’s quite sweet which may be due to all the sugar on the dried fruits which I could see being a problem for people with dietary restrictions – it tastes as though I added a teaspoon or more of honey or sugar to my cup(!) The flavour is still rather weak though I am getting some general fruity notes mixed with a bit of spice, but nothing that I would call distinctly fig-like in flavour. Meh, it’s quite disappointing overall.
I’ve had this (sealed) tin for a year or two, but when I first opened it the smell was as strong as if it had been blended yesterday. The black leaves appear to be almost be oiled – I’m not sure if that’s the oil of bergamot or if that’s their natural appearance.
The bergamot is strong in both scent and flavour almost to the point of being unpleasantly pungent when I tried drinking the tea without milk. With the addition of milk it’s much better, but the bergamot is still a bit strong for my preferences. It brings to mind Adagio’s Earl Grey Bravo though this is a bit smoother and more refined than that one. I seem to be having difficulty finding jut the right earl grey – most of the ones I’ve tries either go too light on the bergamot or add too much.
I received this sample in a trade I think, or a traveling teabox because I certainly don’t remember ever buying anything from this company before. I may have to change that though if all their teas are as tasty as this one. The pu-erh base is fantastic giving the tea rich, earthy notes that also manage to be slightly sweet. It goes well with the nutty coconut flavours and though I’m not getting hazelnut exactly there’s a distinct flavour of tree nuts somewhere in there. 10/10 would recommend.
Frank always comes up with such interesting and innovative tea blends – for instance I’ve certainly never seen a lemon-flavoured chai put out by any other tea company! It certainly is lemony and the chai spices make a good counterpoint to the sour citrus. I’m not really getting the ‘meringue’ part though as the marshmallow root just doesn’t really come through and there’s not very much sweetness. However this is without anything added to the tea – I’ll experiment with adding milk and sweetener to see if that changes things. I’ve found that milk in particular can radically alter the flavours of some black teas.
This is one of the teas that the bookstore I work at stocks without fail, so I decided to do some ‘research’ so I could make good recommendations to the customers (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). ;)
I’ve always found that Harney & Sons manages to straddle the line between putting out a high quality product but at the same time still being affordable and accessible even for those not well-versed in tea knowledge. This tea is good example – it’s refined with the sweet caramel and creamy vanilla flavours but at the same time the hint of tangy bergamot is familiar (just about everyone has tried earl grey at some point in their lives). I could see this tea becoming a staple in my cupboard.