1858 Tasting Notes
This came my way via the previous round of the GCTTB. I haven’t had a chance to try any Steven Smith Teamaker teas though like most I’ve drank teas from his other brands, Tazo and Stash. The brewing instructions on the package made me giggle: “Steep 5 minutes while pondering the Earl’s affair with the Duchess of Devonshire.” Alright then. ;)
It’s a fairly standard earl grey though the base is most robust than most, in any event it’s quite enjoyable with milk, but I wouldn’t consider it to be anything remarkable. It’s more the sort of tea that would be a cupboard staple for anyone who wanted a good, basic earl grey.
RIP Steven Smith
This was another sample that came with my DT order. The dry leaves smelled quite nice but unfortunately the brew itself was horribly bitter. I had to dump in a ton of milk and honey to make even remotely palatable and even then it was mediocre at best. According to other people’s reviews they’ve had better luck cold-brewing this blend – but honestly? I dislike it it so much that I don’t want to go to the effort.
I don’t order online much from Davids Tea as I have a store that’s a ten-minute walk from my house. But the store was sold out of the gift item I wanted to get for my mom for Mother’s Day so I turned to their online store (which conveniently had a free shipping offer).
This blend was one of the free samples that came with my package. The smell was mouth-watering – I love anything pina-colada and the strawberry was an added bonus. Unfortunately as soon as I added water I saw the tell-tale red bloom of hibiscus. When I took a ship of the hot tea my worst fears were confirmed as pretty much all I could taste was the tart, metallic, almost blood-like flavour of hibiscus. Bleh.
I was tempted to dump it down the drain at that point, but since it had smelled so good, I decided to see what I could do to improve the flavour before giving up. So I stirred in about a teaspoonful of honey and low and behold it actually made the tea taste far better. I could actually taste the strawberry and pineapple even though the hibiscus tang was still present. Then I stuck my half-finished cup in the fridge overnight – and the next morning it was even better and actually rather enjoyable. It tasted like a tart, fruity pina-colada with a distinct strawberry undertone.
So obviously iced and sweetened is the only way to go with this tea. I don’t think I’d buy a large quantity of it, but I might try buying one of those pitcher packs which are specifically for iced tea. I could still do with less hibiscus over all, but in the end I still liked it.
I took this tea with milk this morning as an experiment and I found the results to be pretty enjoyable. In my last note I said this tea was also more like a Darjeeling than an Assam – but this time the robustness of the Assam is much more evident and it holds up well to the milk. It tames some of the wine/brandy flavours and I can taste the apple a bit more clearly.
i’m not a big fan of red rooibos teas generally, but I’ve found that it usually goes very nicely with apple flavours. There’s plenty of that in this tea along with some sweet, cinnamony notes. It’s very warm, and comforting tea that’s reminiscent of stewed apples or maybe apple pie filling.
Sipdown. I don’t normally add milk to anything other than black teas, but I discovered that a splash of skim really brought out the vanilla flavours nicely. And as a bonus there was no sweetener needed but the maple flavours achieved the same effect.
Bleh, it’s wet and miserable outside today so I treated myself to a chai latté. This is apparently David Rio’s default mix and it’s quite nice, I had it will 2 oz boiling water and about 6 oz hot skim milk that I’d given a bit of a froth. The downside of using skim is that it doesn’t stay foamy for very long due to the lower fat content, but that means I just have to be quick about enjoying my latté, right? ;)
There’s a good , well-balanced mix of spices and it gives this mix a pleasent warmth. It’s maybe a bit sweeter than I care for but most mixes are I’ve found (I’m the person who always has her sbux drinks half-sweet). It’s a nice mix to have on hand for days when you don’t want to fiddle with making chai the old-school way.
Usually when I think of Moroccan or North African-style tea I envision something that’s pretty much straight green tea and mint with a sugar cube or lump of rock sugar. I certainly get the cool freshness of the mint though the green tea is a bit harder to find in the flavour profile. The spices add an interesting flare to the blend, the one I notice the most is the fennel and licorice root which gives the tea a sweet aftertaste. Not bad, I like this take on an old classic.
I missed out on the Honeydew Maté when it made its brief reappearance, so I decided that this tea might be the next best thing. The salesperson joked that she was disappointed that the blend wasn’t called ‘Melon Degeneres’ but I think ‘Honey I Dew’ is pretty cute as well.
I love melon flavours, particularly honeydew, so I was really looking forward to this tea. The flavour of the hot tea was very much sweet honeydew and cantaloupe melon, though it could easily be a herbal for all the difference the white tea base made in the taste.
I started off really enjoying it but interestingly as the tea cooled off the flavours started to get a little bit strange. The melon became more artifical and the tea left a bit of an odd aftertaste in my mouth. Usually I like fruit tea more as they cool off and I was thinking that this one would be good iced – but the opposite seems to be true of this blend.