384 Tasting Notes
ONCE upon a time i had a very bad experience with a rishi chocolate chai. some of you may remember…. i was distinctly cross. quick recap: no chocolate, impossible methodology for a disabled person to follow through with, wound up all over my kitchen, my wife wound up cleaning it up and i was ticked!
i took a day. was still cross. took another…. still cross because i resented my stress relieving practice getting in my face about having this illness. by hook or by crook i decided i’d waited long enough and called rishi HQ.
ME: may i speak with a manager please.
Service rep: may i ask what this is regarding?
me: i have a serious gripe about one of your products and as a rule i prefer to dish out temper on management who are paid to take it.
silence. tick. tick. tock.
service rep: i think i know the person who can best assist you, sir, one moment please.
i broke it down for the manager fairly, i think. the good and the bad. she was truly appalled at how much trouble had come from the recommended method, and further distressed that there was genuinely no chocolate to be seen or tasted in my tea (once she determined i wasn’t looking for refined chocolate and was accustomed to cacao nibs). this woman really listened, genuinely. and while i saved her name somewhere in microsoft word, it’s eluding at this exact moment, she is worth her weight in gold to rishi.
the manager sent me two huge bags of tea in apology; their original chai (which we problem solved a method that would work for me… see? gold=weight) and she picked up on one of my favourite aspects of their failed chocolate chai: huge chunks of vanilla bean and millions of vanilla seeds. the manager inquired as to whether i might like to try their vanilla black.
this tea is as purist as butiki’s lychee oolong. very simple and exactly what it says. fat chunks of vanilla bean and black tea. simple. very purist, absolutely lovely.
smooth black base, warm, strong, genuine vanilla presence. the vanilla lends an air of sweetness so not much is needed in terms of sweetener. a dot of cream turns it into the undoing of starbucks everywhere! lol.
very nice. quite lovely. i plan to experiment with a hot steep and then a cold overnight. i have no doubt it will be brilliant.
rishi… you are forgiven. don’t ever let that customer service manager go— she represents your interests well.
thank you so much to my far-more-organized-than-i swap buddy, yyz, for this one.
yyz was unbelievably detailed in her labelling of the tea samples she sent me. she notes on this particular one that it was purchased in a polish grocery store. i have one of those not too far from me… i may have to stop by!
this tea was great! quince is a rare thing to find in north american teas. a cross between pear, cirus with an almost aloe like texture. this tea had lovely big chunks of quince in it. i grew up with quince jelly, so for me it wasn’t odd. the candied pineapple was a perfect opposite to the quince.
honestly, i can’t think of a better alternative base than this nice light green! quite excellent! thank you yyz. nas zdrowie =0)
when was the last time you had a cup of ‘wow’? i mean on here, although we’re polite about it, we’re all fortunate enough to be afforded the luxury to be tea snobs (or connoisseurs if you’re more comfortable=0). so many companies send out ‘wow’ samples…. how do you measure after such skilled generosity?
for me this is WOW.
LiberTEAS drew my attention to the fact that they offered a sampler. that worked well for me seeing as i had just gone through my ‘rishi chocolate chai’ fiasco and i was not prepared to invest a ton without trying some first.
chico’s a california company, free trade, fresh made, highly spoken of by LiberTEAS. i love chai… never had it fresh =0)…. i was intrigued. the brilliant LiberTEAS even included a link for me!
the sampler included an original mix, a chocolate, a mate and a rooiboos. aw! rooiboos…. i wrote a letter. the tea blender, sarah replied promptly: ‘no problem. we can offer you another sample as your fourth.’ perfect!
as asked i made a note during checkout to remind sarah of our conversation and hit the ‘pay now’ button. …. …….. ………. ‘confirm payment’ WHAT???? THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS FOR SHIPPING FROM CALIFORNIA TO BC? um, no. i politely said so.
again i got a very polite and prompt reply from a now concerned sarah. ‘WHAT? it is NOT supposed to be doing that!!!!’ of course it all wound up fine after a bit of fiddling, and i got my rooiboos free sampler with a surprise strainer included which perfectly fits the top of my mug! sarah! thank you so much!
customer service 5/5. on to the chai.
fresh makes all the difference apparently. it makes very good sense of course, but never having had it how could i know? lots of heat from the spice, a well rounded, comforting punch.
i used 7grams for 1.5 cups of water. water brought to a boil and then dropped to a simmer at which point i added the chai and let it roil for a conservative 10 minutes (they recommend anywhere from 5-30 minutes lol). i thought i’d start conservatively!
OMG…. LiberTEAS… i owe you. this is spice cake, this is spicy enough to give me an endophin rush but not so spicy that i have to sacrifice dignity by fanning my tongue. decadent, fresh, no hint of off-the-shelf spices. beautifully balanced. with cream added it reminds me of the spiced cream i make in the summertime with a lot more punch….
i absolutely see why sarah and chico are award winners. if i had more and (arguably) if i were a nicer guy i’d share to prove my point, but i don’t ….. and i’m rather in love so in this instance i’m not feeling abundantly nice! lol.
by FAR the best chai i’ve ever had. i will definitely order more… just have to figure out which one!
every new tea vendor brings with them a new romance. sometimes it takes awhile for a meeting of the minds…. this blend represents that compromise between fauchon and i. we’ve had a touch and go seduction, me often wondering if i was a bit mad because everyone loved fauchon and i was just kindof… there. however, no longer.
mint, maybe rosemary essence? mallow root or something soft like it. the blend itself had little tufts in it, like snow, bits of lightness.
very light, very fresh, an overall elixir no defined winter punch screaming ‘spearming’, ‘peppermint’, ‘white chocolate’, an overall picture of winter skaters on the rideau canal, shivering forms at the top of the tour eiffel…
what’s this is see behind my review page… this is a white tea? i had hoped this would happen, but was losing hope.
i am very impressed.
was this one just me? to me this was HORRIBLE! but i will concede that i haven’t been at my best lately =0( i’ve been on a drug for my illness for 13 years and i’m coming off it finally…. my neurotransmitters feel like they’re being dragged across a grater.
this blend and i work not.
interesting…. american tea room, what exactly are you doing? if i don’t miss my mark ifjuly is in a sassy mood and is deliberately choosing provocative samples to send my way, lol!!!
first, this did NOT look like an oolong to me…. green curls made me think think of another sinensis. second, it smelled very much like bakery coconut. meh. we would see.
what this blend is is GREEN!??!!!! a lightly roasted tasting green-esque tea, NOT a bakery coconut (the smell was lying) more like a green/fresh coconut! light but nutty. not overpowering…. the coconut has a round taste as opposed to the stabbing sharpness that any green fruit has the potential to have.
there is an indefinable floral that is very mild. as it cools, the coconut itself takes on the toasted flavour.
hmmmmm….. american tea room and ifjuly being sassy in a tree!!!
don’t know if i’d buy, but it caught my attention!
hey, WOW! first off, thanks to ifjuly for the ninja tea delivery today! it was totally unexpected and wound up being very funny…. ifjuly, in an effort to protect the tea from the elements and ghastly weather, taped everything up to a point where my wrecked hand just wouldn’t do it, lmao!!! i wound up shredding the packaging because i wanted to know what was in there!!!!
the brilliant ifjuly taught me something new about my personal preferences (not something easily fit inside a parcel!) apricot in a tea is fine by me, but peach tends to come off as annoying! NOTE TO SELF!!!!!
the dry blend is bright and colourful. it has a lovely deep smell of dry stewed apricots. i’ve never had saffron, so i can’t say how it affects the blend, but there is an element in this tea that is unfamiliar but not unpleasant.
light, sweet, smooth, deeply apricot….. i haven’t had an abundance of good experiences with american tea room— this improves my opinion!!
thank you so much, ifjuly!
this came to me thanks to ifjuly. much thanks!
i don’t get notes of cranberry or of almond, though i do get some tones of strawberry and an element of cream (but not like the donut, lol). smells fruitier than it tastes, but still tastes quite decadent…. would i buy it myself? in the shadow of fruits d’alsace and the black lotus and any other number drop kick blends i’ve had lately (many but not all from europe) no. however, still makes a very nice cup and if i were in ifjuly’s living room i wouldn’t say ‘no’.