1511 Tasting Notes
First of all, let me say that I love the smell of the dry leaves – they’re like butterscotch but the brandy has a distinct scent all of its own. The tea brews up smooth and sweet and I can taste the brandy in the flavour – the lack of which was the main beef I had with the Brandied Apricot Honeybush by the way. There’s a rich, cakey note that makes this blend very decadent and dessert-like.
This chai reminds me strongly of how Starbuck’s chai used to taste before they got all cheap are started using that wussy, sugary syrup instead. It’s a big, bold chai with a nice, well-balanced mix of spices. I love the light ginger notes that are woven through it as many chais just go with the basic cardamom/cinnamon/cloves and leave it at that. I’m going to have to try this as a traditional-style latté next time.
It’s a damp, cold and foggy day so I’m just as glad to be curled up inside with my laptop and a mug of tea. There’s something about this tea that makes it suited to a crappy day like this. The dark oolong base is slightly toasty but has a smooth finish which goes well with the sweetness of the caramel. I do wish that the caramel was a touch stronger though, as it comes across more as a suggestion than a fact.
I opened the pouch of tea and and took a whiff and ended up inhaling a bunch of cayenne pepper. Five minutes of pain, swearing and a red, runny nose later I have a steaming mug full of the offending beverage. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, eat your enemies with your breakfast cereal, etc.
The flavour is less chocolatey than I expected, there’s a hint of cocoa but the tea mostly has this toasted, bread-like flavour. Then the bite of cayenne pepper hits you at the end, though it’s not as spicy as I’d feared. I’ll have to do a longer steep next time to see if I can get more chocolate out of this blend.
Er…so this was supposed to smell and taste like wine? …Okay then. While it steeped it smelled more like cinnamon syrup and the flavour comes across mostly as cinnamon-flavoured black tea. There’s a sweet, slightly grapey undertone that comes out more as the tea cools, but I was expecting something a bit more wine-like to be honest.
Christmas teas were half-off the last time I was at the Blue Teapot store in Vancouver, so I picked up this seasonal blend. It has a very smooth white tea base with a surprisingly nutty flavour and it’s not even the least bit vegetal in flavour like many Bai Mu Dans can be. The fruity apple flavours are subtle but they work so well with the base that there’s also a dessert-like quality to this blend. I’m not picking up much in the way of pepper though I don’t think the tea is really ‘missing’ it. Very yummy.
Another little sample I’m using up. I’ve always found it interesting how teas can naturally take on flavour like sweet cream or lilac flowers without any flavouring being added at all.
The first steep at 1.5 minutes had the initial flavour of a typical green oolong – slightly sweet and floral but there’s also a fresh, fruit-like juiciness that doesn’t quite come across as a citrus tangyness but hints at something like it.
The second steep (2.5 mins) turned the liquor a bright yellow shade. It was less floral but there was more a citrus taste and the tea as a whole had a fuller body and more rounded flavour.
The third steep (3.5 mins) was a bit lighter in colour and flavour but the bergamot flavours seemed like they were a bit stronger.
I could go on longer but it’s late and I don’t need a bunch of caffeine in my system keeping me awake. This was a fun tea and an interesting deviation from a traditional green oolong.