1709 Tasting Notes
I’ve decided to try and compare all the ‘breakfast’ teas in my sampler today. English breakfast has become the almost stereotypical ordinary tea. However that doesn’t mean it can’t also bee a good tea.
This one has that classic rich, reddish colour and toasty aroma and flavour along with a solid, middling robustness. I can taste hints of malt and maybe just the barest trace of muscatel astringency from the darjeeling. I enjoyed it plain as well as with milk and a touch of honey. This is the sort of tea the world runs on.
I think this came to me in a travelling Teabox – but I can’t recall which one. The tea appears to be mostly rose petals but I can spot some white tea leaves and lavender flowers in the mix too. Individually I love the scents of all the ingredients involved – but blended together the end result is rather odd and somehow reminds me a bit of dill pickles. Thankfully it doesn’t also taste like dill pickles so we’re all good. ;) The white tea get s a bit lost in the middle of the other ingredients – sweet rose, soothing lavender and cool mint, but the ingredients combine surprisingly well together.
I got a sample packet of this tea from the GCTT and it had enough in it for two cups of tea. It was surprisingly smooth and non-astringent for a Darjeeling while still holding that typical muscatel flavour and a bit of a woodsy undertone. It’s a much less finicky tea than a 1st flush Darjeeling (which I can certainly appreciate) while still being complex enough to be interesting.
It was the smell of this tea that made me buy it – it was like a freshly-squeezed glass of orange juice. The flavour is a bit less on the orangy side but it mingles with sweet, fruity notes. I noticed an odd, slightly smokey aftertaste, which comes from the maté I think which throws me off a little bit. But in general it’s a bright, refreshing tea that isn’t overly tart like many citrus teas are.
A small baggie of this came to me courtesy of the Great Canadian Travelling Teabox. It was great because I’ve tried a few of Red Leaf Tea’s matchas before but with shipping they’re a bit pricy for my budget so I don’t get the opportunity to try all the flavours I want.
This marks the first time ever making my own matcha latté. I got a milk frother for Christmas this year and I was eager to put it to use. This one was very much trial and error and uber unprofessional – I started with about 2 of those bamboo scoops of matcha sifted and whisked into an oz or so of 75ºC water. Then I added 8 oz of skim milk, heated in the microwave and frothed. The flavour wasn’t quite strong enough so I added another scoop and a half (-ish) of matcha and a drizzle of agave nectar. The end result wasn’t half bad – not coffee-shop quality by a long shot – but certainly drinkable. I found that I mostly got raspberry flavour from the matcha and very little chocolate, but that might be the barista’s fault. ;)
So how do the rest of you make your DYI lattés?
Unfortunately technical issues kept me from picking up more of this tea when Butiki was doing their clearance sale. I’d only bought the half-ounce bag the first time around and was hoping to add to my stock. Such is life I guess. And it’s not like I needed to spend any more money on tea this year what with my big trip to the States planned for mid-Feb.
The smell of the dry tea is quite nice, nutmeg and creamy without being artificially strong. As the tea brewed it took on the scent of the green tea base which was quite savory – almost like a soup broth. There’s just the right amount of flavouring to give the tea that distinct rich, lightly spiced flavour. It starts off sweet but the umami notes of the base sneak in a little bit at the end unfortunately. The base is very smooth but the savory notes are maybe a touch to strong. Still a very nice blend and like many of Butiki’s teas I’ll miss it when I run out.
If I didn’t know better I might have mistaken this for a Chinese black tea as the flavour was more reminiscent of a Yunnan with those distinctive tobacco-like notes and hints of bitter cocoa. But when the tea cools off a bit the slightly sweet, malty side of the tea becomes apparent. It’s not nearly as malty as some Assams that I’ve tried but it isn’t as harsh either and can easily be drank without milk. It’s a nice tea but personally I think I prefer Butiki’s Taiwanese Assam to this one.
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.