1845 Tasting Notes
The smell of the dry blend is rich and vanilla-y with a nutty undertone. It turned a bit more herbal as the tea steeped and the colour was super dark – like a cup of black dark-roast coffee, I guess.
The first sip was shockingly bitter but after that inital mouthful the flavour improved. I almost never drink coffee (because it makes me hideously ill) but I imagine that it’s meant to taste similar to it – I know that chickory root was used as a coffee substitute when the latter was too expensive or scarse (such as the infamous Ersatz coffee). It’s maybe a bit strong for my tastes, but I’m tempted to try it with milk and/or honey next time. Colour me intrigued. :D
I think this tea came out of the Travelling Teabox and it’s been sitting in my cupboard for a fair while. It’s clearly labeled as comming from SBS Teas but I can’t seem to find it anywhere on their website, although given the length of time I’ve been hanging on to this blend I guess that isn’t too surprising.
The tea itself is rather underwelming, mildly floral – mostly jasmine and only a hint or orange, but mostly there was just a generic tea flavour. It’s not terrible – the floral notes aren’t too perfumy, but it doesn’t wow me. I’ll probably trade off this one.
Normally I don’t drink Chinese blacks with milk apart from the occaisional keemun. Yunnans, which this tea resembles a bit, in particular don’t work well with additives I’ve found. None the less I decided to experiment this morning and added a splash of skim milk, which to my surprised worked out quite well. It really brought out those faint cocoa notes and gave the whole thing a nice, smooth finish.
I’ve seen this tea in the store before but I always gave a it pass thinking that it was just another fruit tea that used a bunch of hibiscus to replicate the tart fruit flavours of the pomegranate. It wasn’t until I got a few bags of this tea in a swap that I was proven wrong. Firstly when I added the water there was no tell-tale bleed of red – the tea stayed a soft, pale-golden hue the entire time it steeped.
The flavour is lightly sweet and fruity – I wouldn’t say it’s quite real pomegrante, but it’s a heck of a lot closer than the hibiscus blends usually are. It’s still quite a natural-tasting tea, delicate and subtle. It would be lovely iced, I think.
Woah, smells like bacon! This Russian Caravan is maybe a bit more smoked than what I generally like. Rather than using the usual Chinese black teas they seem to have gone with the more conventional (and cheaper?) Indian black teas. And you can tell as the tea has more bitterness and astringency than what I’m used to tasting in most Russian Caravan blends. Meh.
The problem with rationing tea is that no matter how much you want to save it eventually you have to drink or else it goes stale on you. This is the dilema I face with my teas from SpecialTeas; some of them, like this one, are very good, high quality teas with nothing to replace them with when they’re gone (Teavana doesn’t count – I refuse to buy from them). But I guess all good things have to come to an end sooner or later.
I’m drinking this tea with milk today and, while I think I prefer it plain ultimately, it’s fine this way as well. With some teas the milk will drown out the flavour but in this case I can still pick out the delicious citrus and cocoa notes.
This blend smelled very orangy when I opened the pouch and it was more of a sweet mandrin orange scent than your more tart navel oranges, I found. At first the orange flavour wasn’t readily apparent in the tea, though equally the woody rooibos flavour wasn’t as strong as I’d feared. There’s an strange flavour that I couldn’t identify that came across as being a bit bread-like or maybe nutty – it was odd, though not unpleasent, just not very orange-like. However as the tea cooled off the orange flavour made a re-appearance and interestingly the tea also became sweet, depite me not adding any honey or other sweetener to it.
It’s not a bad tea, but I don’t think they quite hit the mark with the flavouring.
The tea gives off a roasted aroma both in the canister and while it steeps. The recommended steeping time was longer than what I’d normally give a green(ish) oolong on the first round and it produced a fairly dark-coloured cup of tea. Despite the dark colour though the first steep was light-tasting to the point of being bland.
The second steeping @ 6 min was a bit better, and I could taste some lightly sweet flowery notes at the beginning of each sip, but even so it lacks the vivid flavours I’d expect from a Tie Guan Yin oolong. Perhaps I’m just spoiled by better teas. ;)