501 Tasting Notes
My Lupicia happy bag included a tin of this blend. Inside are about 6 pyramid sachets. I have been drinking this at work, so I never got an exact count. However, I decided to take the last sachet home so I could focus on it enough to write up a proper note.
The dry leaf smells strongly of vanilla and candy-like strawberry. There are some white specks in the blend that look like coconut. I’m really frustrated that I can’t find an ingredient list online. Minus 2 points for still having this tea on their website but not clearly listing ingredients!
I normally make this in my travel mug using hot water from the office filter. So figure about 14 oz of water per teabag in approx. 180F water (that’s a total ballpark guess, I just know that it’s too hot to drink right away but not actually boiling). Tonight I am preparing this tea properly. One teabag in a 12 oz mug of boiling water. I ended up oversteeping because my timer crapped out on me. The leaf ended up soaking for about 4 minutes.
This brews up a nice dark orange, almost brown. There’s a little bit of oily film on top that I never noticed before. It smells absolutely gorgeous. Like strawberries and cream. Very soothing and desserty. The flavor is definitely more savory now than it is when I make it at work. There’s more body and an almost mushroomy aspect. The sweet strawberry and vanilla flavors come in later in the sip. The strawberry is candy-like and lingers long after the sip ends.
Lupicia suggests having this with milk. I added some rice milk when I was about halfway through the mug. So. Good. Just liquid strawberry candy with a lovely vanilla back. I pretty much gulped it down after adding the rice milk. I got a good second steep out of the leaf and added rice milk right away. Totally the way to go.
This falls into the category of teas that I’m quite glad to have tried, enjoyed while they lasted, but just wasn’t wowed enough by to actively seek them out again. The candiness is just a bit much.
Flavors: Candy, Strawberry, Vanilla
Noooope. I yoinked a bag of this from my office mate just to try it. I hated the caffeinated version of this tea but somehow thought the decaf option might taste better. I was wrong. Even rice milk can’t salvage this mess. Who puts black pepper in a chai anyway? That’s all I can taste here. Down the sink it goes, even though that means wasting what used to be perfectly good rice milk until this tea tainted it.
Flavors: Black Pepper
This is very unimpressive. I was hoping it could be a substitute for my beloved Butiki Flowery Pineapple Oolong. But where that tea tastes juicy and natural, this one is slightly drying and tastes more like pineapple candy than actual pineapple. I’m very glad to have tried this blend but the search for a quality pineapple oolong goes on. Thanks for the sample EmilyGee!
This still has a very distinctive flavor. Grassy and haylike with a refreshingly minty aftertaste and a hint of sweetness as it cools. I strongly suggest leaving the bag in while drinking. Sipdown, since the rest is going out in a swap. If I ever get to the point of having a manageable cupboard and only stocking teas I really enjoy, I hope to keep this one in the rotation.
Flavors: Grass, Hay, Mint
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!