1812 Tasting Notes
I brewed up a cup with the last of my sample, sweetened it with a bit of homemade simple syrup, and stuck it in the fridge overnight. The end result was delicious – somewhat reminiscent of commercial (sweet) iced tea but without all the sugar and with more flavour depth. The lemon flavour really comes to the fore nicely and it’s quite natural-tasting and refreshing without making the tea sour. Iced really is the way to go for this tea.
This sample came out of the Great Canadian Travelling Teabox (thanks Christina!) but I think I might have some tucked away in my cupboard as well.
I’m generally not a big fan of DT’s pu’erh base but in this instance it really works well with the flavours in this blend. The earthy notes compliment the chocolate giving it a bittersweet dark chocolate flavour with just a hint of orange. It would be nice if the orange flavour were a bit stronger and tangier, but I’m such a chocolate lover that I don’t mind too much. Probably my favorite DT pu’erh.
When I saw how red my tea turned my first though was that it contained the dreaded hibiscus. Fortunately the colour was from the beetroot pieces instead. Out of the three tea in the sampler it was the smell of this one that really drew like some delicious freshly-baked almond confectionery. It starts off sweetly nutty with a bit of a spice undertone, but then it trails off into something tangy and slightly sour which I’m not sure I care for. I’m going to see if sweetener improves matters.
I work in receiving at the bookstore, unpacking stock and shelving/displaying it. I could smell these Tealish teas as soon as I opened the box they were so fragrant and I knew right away I would have to buy them. Thankfully some of them at least come in a sample pack and I quickly set one aside because I knew these were going to be snapped up quickly. Tealish is a new brand for our store as we usually just stock Harney & Sons and Tea Forte. Now I like H&S as much as the next person, but it’s good to see some Canadian brands get in on the action too.
I’m not a huge rooibos fan but this is such a tasty tea. It has the fresh tang of lemon but it’s sweet as well like lemon candies – or lemon meringue pie, the sort that’s made properly with lots of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and a dollops of lightly-toasted meringue on top.
While Butiki Teas has some fascinating flavours, many of their plain teas caught my eye as well. It’s rare that you find a company that’s good at doing both flavoured and unflavoured blends (along with a few single-source teas). But then Butiki Teas is a rarity in and of itself. ;)
This turned out to be a lighter blend than I expected, given the keemun and assam, but it definitively has some fruity and citrus notes and while flavourful it’s mild enough to be drunk without any milk. The citrus notes are at the start but what follows on their heels are toasted malty notes that I recognize having tried Butiki’s assam before. The tea finished off with faint bitter cocoa flavours one might get from a keemun.
This is a very well-balanced tea and a great late-morning cuppa.
I was never a big fan of licorice – in fact I downright loathed it as a kid. Time (and good tea) has eased my dislike considerably but it’s still not my favourite flavouring. As it turns out, this tea has it in spades. In the blend’s defense there aren’t any artificial licorice flavours used, instead the licorice was achieved with star anise. Star anise, while very licorice-y, has a unique flavour all of its own and none of the (sometimes overwhelming) sweetness that usually comes along with adding licorice root to teas. It complements the white tea base well and it isn’t horribly strong or anything. I personally wouldn’t buy it, but if you enjoy licorice flavours then this may well be the tea for you.
Pumpkin is a hard flavour to get right and there’s only a few teas that manage it – most just cover up the flavour (or lack thereof) with spices. And while there is a bit of spice present (there was a huge chunk of cinnamon bark in this scoop) the blender was smart enough to let the other flavours do the talking and only making the spices strong enough to accent them. This is such a smooth, creamy tea, the only thing that’s missing is the sweetness of the cream brulée – a bit of it is there as the tea cools but it could be more prominent. I think I’ll add some honey next time to see what that does.
I was quite surprised to see these strange-looking little puffy bits in the tea when the shop assistant showed it too me – as it turns out they’re popped amaranth seeds which I can’t say I’ve ever had in a tea before. I’m not sure what they added – maybe they help hold the flavour? Unfortunately they soften in the water and leave a bit of a mess in my strainer.
Flavour-wise they really did a good job with this blend – I’ve found that many mango teas (and to a lesser extent fruit teas in general) smell nice but are rather lacking in the flavour department. This manages to be the exception – I think it might be helped by the tiny little bits of mango that are blended in and the result is the flavour is nice and fruity and distinctly mango with just the right amount of sweetness.