425 Tasting Notes
This tea has got to be about 8 years old. I purchased it on an ill-fated trip to Montreal that ended with food poisoning and years of aversion to maple-flavored everything (I’m over that aversion now, thankfully). The tea’s still pretty tasty! I never drank it much because it’s one of those black teas that makes my stomach hurt, but it has a nice muscatel flavor to it. It’s rather drying but not unpleasantly so. I have never tried real ice wine so I don’t know if the tea tastes anything like its actual namesake. No rating because seriously, this tea is olllld.
Stacy sent this to me as a sample, so it must be at least 6 months old. It’s still really good; it must have been fantastic fresh. The dry leaves are dark, long and tight, almost twig-looking. As they unfurl over multiple steeps, the leaves show themselves to be full, dark, and medium-sized. This tastes and smells almost like a black tea. The robust flavor is full of roasted, almost cocoa notes. There is a slightly drying but not unpleasant afterfeel.
After looking at the description, I think I can detect the almond, jasmine, and malt notes, but that might be imaginary. The fourth steep suddenly comes out blazing with glorious honey notes – now I know why the later steeps of the maple pecan oolong are the best! It’s the base tea shining through and complementing what’s left of the flavoring. The fifth steep is even sweeter. The sixth steep is light and sweet. A lot of that roasted, dry aspect is gone. I ultimately got eight solid steeps out of this tea Western-style. Steeps 1-6 were at about 180F, steeps 7 and 8 were about 190F. The first steep was 4 minutes long. I didn’t time subsequent steeps but they were generally between 4 and 8 minutes long. I suspect the leaf would have lasted even longer brewed gong fu style.
Score one for bagged teas! This is quite lovely. The brew smells nutty, malty… almost chocolate-y. It tastes like cashews, chicory, and malt, with just a hint of vanilla at the end of the sip. Adding rice milk brings out a roasted nut flavor and strengthens the vanilla flavor at the end of the sip.
This has sarsaparilla in it. I didn’t know what that was so I had to look it up. After reading that it’s used in old-fashioned root beer, I suddenly began tasting root beer in this tea. It now seems super obvious and dominant right down to that tingly root beer after-taste. I’m super skeptical of the timing here though. It’s impossible to tell how much my sense of taste is being influenced by knowing what the ingredient is. It might just be that knowing the ingredient gave me the ability to more precisely name what I was already tasting. Or the taste might have built, or changed, as I got further into the cup and the brew cooled. I love how there are so many factors that go into this one sense, and any one of them can lead the tastebuds in a different direction. Usually I have this experience more with straight unflavored teas but it’s interesting in a flavored tea too.
Thanks to EmilyGee for the sample!
I usually don’t like my teas to taste too much like juice. After all, if I wanted juice I would just drink juice. This blend is rather an exception to that rule. It tastes like mango nectar. Sweet, juicy, and on point. Yet I quite like it. Maybe because it’s an herbal? Then again Butiki’s Mango Lassi was also an herbal that tasted like mango juice and I never entirely got on board with it. I would have to do a side-by-side comparison to figure out why one works for me and the other doesn’t. Maybe it’s just that my tastes and preferences are changing. Alas, I ran out of Mango Lassi months ago and now I’m out of this blend too. Sipdown!
My new favorite complement to Thai food is ginger tea. This tangy root certainly fits the bill. I picked this up during *MissB*’s stash sale a while back. It stands up to spicy food without overwhelming or contradicting it. A touch of honey mellows it out nicely. It also resteeps very well. The second steep is still flavorful but smoother and sweeter than the first.
I also enjoyed this blended with dried lemongrass, orange peel, and mint. Ginger + citrus = yay, and the mint accentuates the crisp, fresh aftertaste of the ginger. The lemongrass came from my friend’s backyard, which I think is just super cool. I have no green thumb whatsoever. I tried to grow cat grass a few years ago and it molded, which I didn’t even realize was a thing that can happen. Add my lack of natural talent to the fact that I live in an apartment with no outdoor space, and suddenly other people’s gardening ability just seems miraculous. Also tasty and rewarding. Yay for friends who are happy to share!
Cold brewed at a shmancy training session where they plied us with delicious food and drinks. Frickin delicious. The peach note is prominent, sweet, and juicy. This reminds me very strongly of Simple Loose Leaf’s Sweet Peach White Tea, to the point where I wonder if these companies sourced the blend from the same manufacturer. I loved that tea so I am glad to have found something similar.
Thanks for sending me some of this, EmilyGee!
As others have noted, this blend definitely needs no sweetener. It tastes just like hot apple juice – maybe a little thinner than actual juice. I really want it to have some cinnamon in the blend. It doesn’t quite seem like cider without cinnamon. So I made another cup with fresh leaf and half of a crushed up cinnamon stick. Alas, it still wasn’t quite enough. This is a sipdown but I’ll try for a full cinnamon stick if I ever have this again.
This was an impulse pick for my Frequent Steeper reward. The dry blend just smells so tasty. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and sweetness. I could swear there’s even a hint of vanilla, though that’s not an ingredient here.
The brew is sweet pumpkin spice with a hint of creaminess at the end. It doesn’t really taste like cheesecake, though adding rice milk gets it a little closer to its name. I also recommend brewing this with a cinnamon stick in the mug. S’yummy.
Thanks to EmilyGee for sending me some of this! I’m fond of chai but can’t have much black tea, so herbal chais are always interesting. This one turns out to be rather meh. It’s just way too much clove, even with rice milk added. It’s drinkable but not something that I would seek out. Glad I got to try it though!