486 Tasting Notes
My stomach started growling during dinner. No pain, just… strange noises. I hoped some pu’erh might silence the grumbling. I wanted something easy to drink and settled on this blend, which came to me courtesy of Starfevre almost two years ago. It’s definitely easy drinking. Sweet and floral. The first cup stopped the weird stomach noises, but they started up again when the cup was done. Time for more! This seems to be fairly low in caffeine. I’m pretty caffeine-sensitive but I’m actually getting sleepy. This is just so smooth and sweet… it tastes more like an oolong than any pu I’ve had yet. The leaf easily yielded three solid steeps. The third steep was earthier than the first two but still mild, sweet, and floral. Thanks Starfevre!
Another blend I tried at the Coffee & Tea Festival. The flavor was just almond cookie goodness. Alas, there’s a bit too much hibiscus in here. It really lingers on the palate, too. Blegh. I probably would have bought a small quantity of this blend anyway, but they only had it in 1-lb tins. I’m not about to buy a pound of any tea!
Sampled at the NYC Coffee & Tea Festival. DavidsTea had one of the better giveaways – coupons for free cups of tea in-store! I also checked out their newest travel mugs. The design is nice, but there’s a lot of plastic and it isn’t dishwasher-safe. For over $30, it didn’t seem worth it.
This blend is nice. The flavor is pleasant and dead on. Which is good, because I couldn’t really make out the base tea at all. This would probably be good iced.
I tried these pearls at the NYC Coffee & Tea Festival. They smelled fantastic. Just perfectly jasmine. The scent reminded me of Ten Ren’s jasmine tea, which is still my favorite. Unfortunately, the flavor didn’t live up to the scent. It just wasn’t right somehow. At the time, I thought the tea was artificially flavored. Apparently this is actually a traditionally made jasmine tea, so I don’t know what the problem was. Definitely not a purchase though.
This was my favorite of the Ajiri teas that I tried at the Coffee & Tea Festival. The mango doesn’t taste at all artificial. The slight sweetness of the mango flavor works to highlight the maltiness of the base tea. I’m not even supposed to drink black teas but I want to drink this one. Lots.
Flavors: Malt, Mango
I tried several Ajiri teas at the NYC Coffee & Tea Festival this year. This was one of them. I initially expected that I would end up choosing this blend, but it turned out to be my least favorite. The ginger flavor clearly comes from real ginger in the blend. It’s strong, but not overwhelming. The malty base tea holds its own. However, the flavors of the ginger and base tea just didn’t quite mesh for me. Ginger good. Base tea good. But they just didn’t play together at all. It’s like the flavor of each was hanging out in its own corner and refusing to interact. Possibly a shorter or longer steep time would fix this. Maybe I’ll get a box next year to play around with!
Flavors: Ginger, Malt
This year’s NYC Coffee & Tea Festival was a bit disappointing, though I still managed to spend more than I did last year. The old venue was nicer – more centrally located and with fewer temperature control issues. They were giving out free (empty) totes this year but ran out before I even got there. In general, there were a lot fewer freebies than in previous years. When they’re charging $25 per ticket just to get in without a gift bag, one hopes for some perks. I used a discount code, but that was still $15 for the privilege of spending more money. I did sample a whole bunch of teas in the process. Some were better than others. I took notes. Now I’m going to share them with you :-) Prepare to have your dashboards flooded, folks!
Ajiri Tea does truly admirable work. They employ locals in the area where their teas are produced to make the labels for their boxes and donate profits to pay school fees for orphans. I like supporting socially useful companies, so I always make a point of buying something from Ajiri when I see them exhibiting. This year I tried several of their teas before settling on the mango-flavored black.
I sampled the lemon-flavored tea first. Apparently it’s award-winning. I liked it. The lemon flavor was very natural tasting, neither too sweet nor too tart, but more lemongrass than lemon. This was a very smooth blend. However, the lemoniness kind of drowned out the usually hearty base tea. Tasty, but not my top choice out of their offerings.
Tried this Western style for a change. 85c, first steep 1 minute, second steep ~ 2 minutes. I find the flavor is much stronger this way. It’s still honey up front, but a sweet sort of savoriness quickly follows. The brew is definitely heftier this way than gong fu style. It actually reminds me of camellia blossom tea. Not at all what I expected. Tasty, though. Thanks to KiwiDelight for sending this to me and Tea Ave for sending it to her!