1879 Tasting Notes
I feel a bit bad for saying this since this is an award winning tea and a lot of people seem to love it, but I’m rather underwhelmed by this chai. For a company that specializes in chai I’d expect something a bit more edgy and a bit more flavourful. This isn’t bad mind you, but it comes across as a bit bland and ordinary. I thought Tea Desire’s Masala chai was better.
I purchased this tea through Ten Thousand Villages – an organization that supports fair trade products from groups of artisans all over the world (http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/). This tea bags came packed in this cute little embroidered green silk purse which I just love.
The flavour is surprisingly light and pleasant for a bagged green tea. It’s a combination of vegetal notes and fruity muscatel notes like you might get from a nice Darjeeling. The lemon isn’t too overpowering and it compliments the tea very nicely.
There’s nothing more soothing than a nice cup of chai on a chilly autumn day when you have a report to write up for class. This tea has that sort of comfortable familiarity when I drink it – it isn’t anything unusual or extraordinary but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good cup of tea. The spices are nicely balanced, though the cardamom stands out a little bit – which I enjoy. I could see myself stocking this as a staple in my cupboard.
My 52Teas order just came in today and this tea was first on my list to try. It smelled very dessert-like and I was glad that Frank included lots of little apricot chunks in the mix. The tea tasted quite nice but it needed more booze – I couldn’t taste any brandy flavouring which is a shame for something that is the first word of this tea’s name. Otherwise I quite liked it – it had a sweet cakey flavour mixed with fruity apricot notes both of which blended well with the honeybush base. It’s enjoyable even if the lack of brandy was a bit of a let down.
Taking on another sample from the depths of my cupboard. This one has a wonderful sweet, honey-like scent, particularly the dry leaves. However I found the flavour to be a bit disappointing. Perhaps I just need to steep it longer, but it strikes me as bland and weak, especially compared to other Keemuns I’ve tried liked Adagio’s Anhui Keemun and Granville Island Tea Co’s Keemun Grade 1. There are some honey notes tacked on to the end of each sip but it’s altogether too light and weak.
Brr, yesterday it was a balmy 25C degrees outside and today it not even breaking 15C – it’s like Mother Nature said, “Enough summer for you!” and flipped a switch. So right now I’m curled up on the couch wrapped in a blanket and the hot mug of tea I’m drinking is very much appreciated.
This tea smells very much like I’d expect a Formosa oolong to – with a strong roasted, bakey scent. The flavour of the first steep (1 min) is quite unexpected however; yes there are some of those bakey notes but this tea is lighter and sweeter than I expected with some lovely fruity notes.
The second steep at 35 sec was richer and more rounded. This time I could taste some bakey notes in the flavour as well as a smooth honey-and-fruit finish. It also doesn’t cross the line of becoming too sweet like some green oolongs do (like certain Ali Shans for instance).
I’m really liking this oolong as it seems to combine some of the best qualities of a typical Formosa oolong with those of a Chinese Wuyi oolong with great results.
My chawan has been sitting in my cupboard looking dreadfully neglected as I haven’t used it to make matcha since last winter, I think. Lately the only time I’ve had matcha is in coffee shop latés and added into fruit smoothies (which is yummy BTW). But since everyone is raving about Red Leaf Tea’s matcha blends I decided that now would be a good occasion to take out my matcha stuff and find out if there’s something to all this fuss. ;)
For the record, this is a basic grade matcha with a ‘delicate’ level of flavour – I figured I’d start off slow. I was glad for the little brochure that came with my order that had basic instruction on how to make matcha as it’s something I rarely do and it’s a pain to have to refer back to the internets.
Just the smell of the matcha powder was delicious – creamy and sweet, it was almost a shock to taste the grassy matcha when I licked a bit of powder from my finger. I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I added a bit of agave nectar to sweeten things up a bit. The matcha base tasted much like I’d expect matcha to taste – I don’t drink enough to have much of a discerning palate yet, but it seemed decent to me. The Bavarian cream flavour was a real treat – rich vanilla cream flavours that reminded me of Tim Horton’s Boston Cream (or is it Vancouver Cream, now?) donuts. It’s subtle, so I think the next matcha I try I’ll go with a stronger flavouring option, but it’s still quite clear to my tastebuds what this tea is supposed to taste like. I’d love to see if I can make my own matcha latés with this one as I bet it would be phenomenal mixed with steamed milk.