34 Tasting Notes
When I saw Ajiri’s booth at the Coffee and Tea Festival, I had to stop by, being curious about African teas. I talked to the older daughter of the family who owns the small farm and company. It was a relaxed, lovely and informative conversation: we talked about the company itself, about how they bought the farm and started their business, and about the tea they produce and African tea in general. Ajiri, Swahili for employment, hires Kenyan middle-aged/older woman, who hand-craft beautiful pictures of indigenous Kenyan scenery on the boxes and fashion strings with two colorful beads that tie the bags containing the tea.
I gladly bought a box of their loose leaf tea – a CTC black – which I sampled twice. The flavor was too unique to pass up, as was one of their boxes. The tea is distinctively African, and to my surprise, it’s not as bitter as other African black teas I’ve tried. It’s light-bodied, and the bitterness disappears after swallowing! The best part: I can appreciate a cup of this without milk and/or sugar! When I brewed some at home, I did so with an infuser in an 8 oz mug, rather than the Kenyan method given on the box. The color of the liquor is beautiful, a scarlet. Then, when there were only a few more sips left, golden sun.
If you’re looking to introduce yourself to African teas, this one might be good try!
I found a surprise sample in my package! Thanks to Della Terra Teas for sending it even though I placed my order a couple days before the promotion. So I had ordered a mate tea, and somehow some of the mate got stuck to the back and the bottom of the packet. (shrug)
The dry leaf is colorful – a combination of pinks, orange, blue and yellow because of the hibiscus, jelly beans (!), and apple and strawberry bits. I can smell the jelly beans, which busted its way out of the packet as soon as I opened it. The liquor has the usual stunning color of hibiscus, which initially dominates the flavor and then subsides so that the strawberry and jelly bean take over. It’s tart, but not as much as pure hibiscus tea (mostly likely because the kind I have is in tea bag form and this one is full leaf). Overall, this tea is sweet and slightly sugary. If you like hibiscus, or at least tolerate it, it’s pretty good.
Since this tea is pretty much Shamrocks and Shenanigans, but with candy cane pieces, I’m keeping this review short. This is one of my favorite dessert teas. It tastes so good! The addition of the candy cane creates a nice aftertaste, and adds color to the dry leaf as well.
Thanks to Stephanie for sending me a sample! First off, I love the name; it’s what had me interested in the tea initially. The dry leaf is very pretty: the amaranth, while gorgeous by itself, creates a wonderful color contrast with the silver needles, which also look lovely. The aroma smells of watermelon bubblegum. That was a bit nostalgic – I haven’t had that flavor since I was a kid! The liquor, a pale golden yellow, is light-bodied. I thought the watermelon flavor would overpower the silver needles, but to my surprise I could taste both. I can’t say anything about the quality of the silver needles since my experience with white tea has yet to come into being, but the watermelon compliments them very nicely and stays in the mouth long after my swallowing despite that it’s not too strong.
What a wonderful tea, all around! I’m glad I got to try it.
Teavana now sells this tea. I had to buy two more ounces after I saw they put it back on the website months after they removed it (also, free shipping!).
The dry leaf looks pretty: the rooibos is browned because of the chocolate, of which there are tiny pieces, and there are rather large pieces of banana walnut. The aroma smells strongly of banana and chocolate. Even though I can tell that some flavoring was added, I love it! This is one tea I love smelling from the tin every time I brew a cup. The liquor is dark red. The flavor is medium-bodied. I can’t taste the rooibos (or the nuts, come to think of it); the chocolate and banana notes overshadow the base, but this is OK by me. In general, I love the combination of banana and chocolate. This is a delicious chocolate-banana tea. Perfect for dessert.
Many thank to Teajo Teas for sending me a generous sample! Because this is my first pure Indian tea, my tasting skills are unrefined in regards to this type of tea. This was a novel, yet difficult experience.
The dry leaves’ aroma is strong and sweet, slightly fruity. The liquor is a dark reddish brown. The flavor – full-bodied and bold – brought me back to the English blended black teas (naturally) that I often drink for breakfast. Alone, it slightly tasted bitter. I’m sure that this flavor evokes more than just this, but, again, I’m going over my head with this one. After a few sips I cautiously added half a teaspoon of sugar and a couple small splashes of milk. The flavor was now similar to the aroma, having a gentle fruitiness. BACKLOGGED It wasn’t grapes that the tea evoked; rather, it was apricots. Yum!
This is a nicely tasting tea. Perfect for mid-morning, like now!
When I first opened the bag and smelled the tea, Wow! Strong chocolate and mint. This is another tea I love for the aroma, it’s so delicious. Also appealing is the dry tea: the chocolate chips, forest green mint leaves, and the little candy shamrocks. To be honest, I bought this tea because of the picture. I took a good gamble in the end! The aroma of the steeped tea is similar to that of the leaves. The liquor – dark reddish brown – oh my gosh it’s so good. The mint and vanilla wonderfully complements the chocolate, which is not (of course) artificial tasting. This chocolate-mint tea is yummy!
Thanks to Stephanie for sending me a sample!
The leaves (dry and wet) smelled of banana and a bit of chocolate – like banana dipped in melted chocolate. Surprisingly, the flavor of the liquor was bitter, and the banana was weaker than I anticipated. Even when I brewed another first infusion with a lower steeping time (about a minute less) the tea was still bitter. The second infusion tasted better: I let the leaves steep for a bit longer than the recommended alloted time for the first infusion (for compensation), and the flavor was less bitter and the banana and chocolate stood out more. Even then it was only alright at best.
I had high expectations because I love banana/chocolate teas, but this one isn’t for me unfortunately.
Everything about this tea is great! I’ll start with the appearance of the leaves. They are most beautiful when dry – the pink of little sakura blossoms accentuates the dark sencha. The aroma of the dry leaf consists of cherry blossoms with a hint of sencha, which stands out more when the leaves are wet. The liquor is a clear, bright green. Concerning flavor, the bitterness of the sencha hits the taste buds, but after sitting in the mouth for a couple seconds, the tea begins to taste of sakura and a full-bodied balance between the two ingredients is well-established. After swallowing, the sakura lingers for a while.
This is one of those teas I could drink all day long and not grow tired of, and, like other good senchas, it makes me happy.
I tried to find instructions on how to brew this tea on Della Terra’s website, and I think they discontinued it since it wasn’t there anymore. Probably the best idea…
Now, the dry leaves look very pretty: black tea leaves, chocolate bit, red sprinkles, shiny pink sprinkles, and silver orbs. With the way the aroma smelled and the flavor tasted, the tea – well – resembles lapsang souchong. I expected it to smell and taste like their other chocolate teas, but it instead smells and tastes like smoked black tea. Bizarre. Totally bizarre. Either that or my taste buds are out of whack.
ETA: Been procrastinating on editing this note. A while back I was browsing Della Terra’s website and noticed they were selling this tea until they officially ran out. In the ingredients list, they listed not black tea – like they did on the label – but lapsang souchong. (smacks forehead) Doggone it, I tasted smokiness when I first tried the tea and couldn’t…just couldn’t! >_< I wasn’t able check the website when I bought the tea to make sure what base was used. My credibility as a tea taster just went back down to level zero.
Anyway, now that I know why it tastes smokey, I’m more forgiving. Professor Grey needs to be steeped for 60 seconds, 90 seconds at the most – otherwise the lapsang overpowers the chocolate. Still can’t taste the bergamot. It’s decent.