1601 Tasting Notes
I know the person who owns this company and I often see her at the farmers market in town. A couple weeks ago, when she noticed me eying up this tea, she was nice enough to give me a sample for free.
The scent of the dry tea makes me think of nut brittle, sort of nutty and toffee-like – but when I added the water it changed to something like apple cinnamon (odd since there’s no apple in this blend, but that may be the rooibos). The flavour is mostly cinnamon-flavoured rooibos, though there’s a smooth undertone of vanilla that keep it from tasting too woody. There’s a bit of almond flavour if you tilt your head and squint, but more would be nice.
Not a bad tea at all – red rooibos isn’t really my thing so I wouldn’t shell out the money for a whole tin, but it’s nice enough for drinking in the evenings before bedtime (possibly with a cookie for dessert).
I’ve never tried a Vietnamese tea before, although apparently there’s a fairly big tea industry in the country – it’s just that little of it seems to get imported to N. America. The tea is loosely rolled into balls – or maybe a more accurate description is lumps. Dry they have a fresh green scent but as they steep the tea takes on the floral scent I’m familiar with in green oolongs. The tea is gently lilac flavoured though most tung ting have a roasted or baked undertone while this one has what I would call a mineral taste instead. I wouldn’t consider this the best tung ting I’ve ever had, but it’s certainly decent quality-wise.
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.