496 Tasting Notes
You may have noticed (or not) that my reviews have been quite sparse over the past two months or so. That is because I came back from vacation and was immediately informed that my request for a transfer had been approved and they wanted me ASAP. Well, when you have a full case load and have to write transfer memos for all of those cases, on top of actually doing your job and remaining responsible for the transfers until the day you leave (literally), ASAP is exactly two months if you work late and weekends. I had to pack up my office in such a hurry that I ended up packing all of my office teas. I won’t see them again until my stuff gets delivered to the new office – next week if I am lucky. So when I didn’t want any of my purse teas, I resorted to bumming tea off my new officemate. I was in the mood for something spicy, so this one piqued my interest.
Alas, this tea is blegh! It just smells and tastes like black pepper with a clove backdrop. Awful. Simply… awful. Perhaps it would be better with milk and honey, but I expect a chai to at least be drinkable even without those things. I did manage to down it because I desperately needed caffeine, but it wasn’t exactly a pleasant experience. I sure hope my stuff arrives soon…
There are currently 31 pages of tasting notes for this tea. I had to manually go through them in order to find my own previous note. There has got to be a better way to do this. Hear me, oh Steepster overlords!
So. This tea. I got a sample from teamore last year. I was not particularly impressed then. However, I apparently liked it well enough that I went and bought ½ oz when Davids brought it back this year.
This tea is better than I remember. I had it in my travel mug during a few busy mornings, so I am a bit fuzzy on details. I do remember it being pumpkiny, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, slightly creamy and nicely balanced with cinnamon and clove. For a few weeks there I was pairing this in the morning with H&S Pumpkin Spice in the evenings. This was a nice fall tea that was good while it lasted. I won’t restock now, but I will probably pick up another ½ oz next fall.
Bumping the rating.
I tried this one three times at slightly different brewing parameters. It’s hard to get this to taste right, but the trick seems to be low temp and short steep time (approx. 165f for 1 minute or less). If not steeped just so, it ends up tasting like burnt rice and the burnt note lingers. The marshmallow comes out more as a mallowy texture at the end of the sip than any actual flavor. When steeped exactly right, this does taste like rice cereal treats. It’s actually nicer hot than iced, even when done right. I would rate this an 80 for flavor, but the blend loses points for being so fickle.
I’m not in the mood for a narrative, but I haven’t posted a tasting note in a while so… here’s a tasting note. My impressions of this tea seem to differ wildly from those of other reviewers.
The dry leaf smells all pumpkin spicy. The most dominant scent is nutmeg. So. Much. Nutmeg. It’s not bad, just… strong.
Speaking of strong, the scent of clove wafts out of the mug and smacks you in the face about three seconds after the water hits the leaf. By contrast, the flavor is actually quite well balanced. The pumpkin leads, strong but not artificial, followed by cinnamon and clove. Not really getting any nutmeg taste though. The cinnamon lingers long after the sip, along with a hint of sweetness. It’s very similar to the after-taste of HS’s Hot Cinnamon Spice. Not sure how I feel about that. It’s a bit…much.
Overall, the actual sip is nice and well-balanced, but the scent and aftertaste are a bit too strong and one-note for my liking. I’ll just add it to the collection in my office drawer.
This comes to me courtesy of Angel at Teavivre. I made a pot last night to go with our break-fast meal. It was tasty enough. We didn’t finish off the second steep so I just put it in the fridge.
Whoa. This makes a good iced tea. The strawberry flavor really pops without tasting artificial. It’s a bit late in the year for me to be figuring this out, but better late than never. Bumping the rating a bit.
See previous note for details on the hot brew.
Stacy sent a sample of this with my last order. Thanks!
The dry leaf is just… peaceful. The leaves are a blend of white and faded green, mingled with delicate flecks of blue, pink, and white. The smell is floral and coconutty. Is that a hint of lemon? Nice.
This brews up a lovely pale gold. The scent is still floral and coconutty, but there’s a solid vanilla note that comes to the fore. The flavor is tropical. It’s a bit heavier on the coconut than I personally like. It’s oh-so-slightly fruity, but hard to pin down the exact fruit. Citrus? Mango? It’s leaving a slight film on my tongue that isn’t exactly enjoyable. Otherwise, this is quite pleasant. I got a nice second steep out of it, with the same scent, texture, and flavor profile.
Overall, this tea is very “chilling on the beach at an island resort”. It also goes well with fancy marzipan!
Right off the bat, the dry “leaf” smells like fruit roll-ups if there was a mango version. It looks more like a dried fruit medley than an herbal tea. The ingredients list includes sugar AND marigold. I prefer my tea blends unsweetened and marigold always clogs up my steepers. So this tea has a lot going against it before I’ve even added water.
The brew is yellow. Not golden or delicate or dark or bright, just… yellow. It tastes like watered-down juice, which is about what I expected. Not bad, but not tea. If I want juice, I’ll drink juice. These blends are rather confounding – since they have sugar, they’re not exactly a healthy alternative to juice. Nor are they tea-like. So… what’s the point? I genuinely want to know. What’s the appeal of a fruity, sugary herbal blend over watered-down juice?
This does make a good “tea”-pop. Once the brew cooled, I added chilled seltzer in a 2-to-1 ratio. The result was similar to Izze Sparkling Juice Soda. So I guess this is useful for making knock-off Izze at home, slightly cheaper than store-bought.
Low score for being pre-sweetened and tasting more like juice than anything else. Score adjusted upwards for making a good “tea”-pop.
Thanks to DavidsTea for the sample!
Eep! Things are a bit busy right now and I haven’t had much time for Steepster. I miss y’all though! Here’s another one of my backlogs from when I went on vacation.
August 30, 2014
I’m so happy to have this on hand again! I bought two boxes to bring home, but I couldn’t wait. I just had to open it up and have a cup. This is my happy tea. So creamy and soothing. Gently lemony. Perfect as a dessert tea or just a desert oasis when things get hectic. I’d love to have this in my regular rotation.
backlog, written August 25, 2014
Nothing quite like a rocket siren to wake you up first thing in the morning. Time for some caffeine to make up for the lack of sleep.
This one is interesting. The strawberry flavor is right up front in the sip, quickly and smoothly transitioning into the flavor of the solid quality base tea. It reminds me of a high mountain Taiwanese oolong: light and sweet with a smooth mouthfeel and lingering lightly menthol aftertaste. Looking at the product page, I see that this oolong was produced in Fuding City, Fujian Province, China. It is a mountainous area though, so at least I got that part kinda right!
I also see that this is a particularly low caffeine tea. Morning fail. On the up side, I can totally see this as a refreshing post-dinner brew. Or an iced tea.
Thanks to Angel at Teavivre for the samples!
Wow! Go on vacation for a few weeks and you miss a lot around here.
Well, I’m back and glad of it. I wrote up a few notes while I was away, which I’ll be posting over the next week or so. Right now, though, I want to write a note for this tea. Firstly, because this is a sipdown. Secondly, because this was a good start to a chilly day. And finally, because this last cup tasted more like the original pumpkin milkshake that I love: creamy and pumpkin-y. I assume that’s due to the extra flavored bits that always seem to end up at the bottom of a bag or tin. I enjoyed this tea, but I’m not sad to see it go. Here’s hoping the original Pumpkin Milkshake comes back one day.