1884 Tasting Notes
Another old sample dug out from my tea cupboard. I’ve never tried a Hawaiian oolong before this – in fact I never knew Hawaii grew any tea at all. The fist steep (at 4 min) is rich and full bodied. It’s lightly sweet and slightly fruity with a hint of warm spiciness that reminds me a bit of ginger.
Subsequent steepings were lighter and a bit more woodsy/evergreen-tasting, but they still kept a hint of sweetness. It’s a unique and complex tea that I really enjoyed. Sadly my sample was only one cup’s worth and since Chi of Tea isn’t in operation anymore I’ll have to see if I can track down other sources.
This tea comes courtesy of the Victoria Tea Festival – a tea store based in Coquitlam called Dream Tea Boutique (http://dreamteaboutique.com/) imports Forsman teas (which is apparently a Finnish? tea company). I haven’t seen Forsman teas for sale anywhere else in the country which is a shame since they have a nice selection of both flavoured and unflavoured tea.
The black tea base they use is a smooth, light Ceylon that compliments the fruity flavours without being weak. The cantaloup flavours are nice and not too strong or artificial and I can taste a hint of the dried pineapple in there too. I bet this would be lovely iced.
I absolutely loved Frank’s Strawberry Zabaglione so when this was offered up as a reblend awhile back I pounced on it as fast as I could.
The smell of the tea reminds me of blueberry shortcake – very sweet, fruity and dessert-ish. The flavour is distinctly blueberry but there’s something more to it as well – there are sweet, almost creamy notes that make me think of vanilla. Like the strawberry version I bet this tea is great with milk, but I wanted to try it plain first to get a proper sense of the flavours.
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.