853 Tasting Notes
The back story: So we are moving locations at work. Closing down the current location and moving to a brand new building. The owners didn’t want to have a lot of down time so there has been a lot of packing of things while everyone continues to work full hours and full duties. It was a ridiculous mess, and things were packed up that were needed and then unpacked and then lost, etc. Lots of stress. So the day before the last day at the old location, the tea kettle was packed up. Blasphemy. But alas, I am a type A tea drinker. So I brought my little hot shot water heater to work the next day. So I get to work. Heat up my water. Get my tea out. My strainer is GONE. GONE I tell you. It was packed up. Who would go into my stuff and pack up the strainer and not the tea? My boss, that’s who. And guess what else. The “random tea bag drawer” is empty :( I had to wait 2 hours for the closest drug store to open to go and buy a bagged tea.
The tea story: I picked this one up based on the fact it was the least scarey for a bagged tea, who wouldn’t like black with vanilla. The box is hilarious. It is supposedly “High Tea”, the French side reads “Haute Societhe”. I actually laughed when I read that. Then I googled the definition of Haute just to make sure I was understanding this right. Haute – fashionably elegant; high class. The box also makes a big deal of this fancy new tea bag string system. A Haute tea string system – cue eye roll.
The scent tea immediately is a turn off for me. All I can think of is why does this black tea smell like rooibos. Then it eventually comes to me that I at one time bought Tetley Madagascar Vanilla rooibos tea and it was disgusting and it smelled exactly like this tea. Its the vanilla. But I suck it up because its tea, and its all I have.
The rant story: This tea bag string system is a joke. It is the kind of string that is all embedded inside the tea bag and you have to pull it out to extend the string. There are two strings. So I pull the strings and it immediately rips the bag open. Whatevs, I have like 20 of the sachets I will prolly never drink again. And the whole idea about this awesome new string system is you can pull the two strings in opposite directions when you are done with the tea and it will squeeze the tea bag out so you get every last drop of flavour. Really Tetley?!? Who squeezes the tea bag? Not me anyway. You simply pull it out of the water, let it drip, then fling it into the garbage hoping you don’t drip on the floor. I obviously did not watch the video on their website about how to use this new tea string system. I guess I am not Haute enough.
Back to the tea story: The tea is what I expected. I already knew I wouldn’t like the tea based on the vanilla smell. The black tea was ok. Not bitter which was nice. Moderately strong based on the crushed up tea dust in the bag. Tasted mostly like an orange pekoe. The vanilla to me is bitter and sweet at the same time and it actually does not taste like vanilla at all. There is only “natural flavours” listed on the ingredients and not actually vanilla so who knows what it really it. It was ok. I guess I am not into Haute vanilla. It gave me my tea fix. I will definitely make sure the tea situation at the new place is much improved.
Haute, so haute.
So when I was travelling through Italy the coffee, ie. the espresso, was super amazing. And I have no idea why. I like coffee but not as much as tea. It was pointed out to me that the location/experience can have lots to do with the perception of how good food or drink are.
So today is a super foggy day. One of those fogs where you are immediately wet when you go outside but it isn’t raining. So I decided I wanted to go for a walk around the lake. Those days are going to start getting few and far between with winter coming soon. Usually we are deep in winter by this time of year but for some reason we are experiencing a really nice fall. So I am going to enjoy it as much as I can. The walking path was almost deserted, which was nice. Leaves are still falling off of the trees and there are still ducks and geese hanging out. The air was crisp and fresh and I didn’t feel the cold until I got back inside.
I was cold and wet when I got home. So I brewed up something I have posted on.
I used 3/4 tsp of this assam, 3/4 tsp of lapsang souchong, 4 dried rose buds and a few slices of fresh ginger.
It was so delicious. Better than it has ever been. The assam gave depth, boldness and thickness to the tea. And it cut down a bit on the strong smokey, sometimes bitter, flavour of the lapsang. The lapsang had a great balance of smokeyness to it. The rose always mellows the flavours and blends them together, giving just the slightest floral flavour profile. I like using rose buds because it eliminates the chemical flavour of rose scented tea. The ginger added the right amount of spice. The ginger flavours made the smokey of the lapsang really pop. Like that first wood fire of the winter, that scent you get when you first start in the fire in the chimney. It could have been the brand of teas I used. But it may have just been the experience :)
I was getting to the end of my tin of matcha and I wanted to wash it out before I re-filled it again. So I used up what was left to make a matcha latte.
I did about 2 tsp matcha and 1 tsp sugar in 8 oz hot frothed 2% milk. I had a bit of a ginger root hanging around and starting to get old so I added a few slices of fresh ginger.
The latte turned out good. Smooth and sweet. My only complaint is I think the ginger root is enhancing a seaweed flavour in the matcha as I usually do not get that flavour with this matcha, either hot or cold.
The tin is now washed and will dry out for a few days before I refill it again.
So I did something I NEVER do. And I feel guilty, but not really.
I added milk to this tea.
I know most of you are thinking that adding milk is not really a mortal sin. But it kinda is for me. I drink almost all of my tea straight. Except for cold shaken matcha where I add a little bit of sugar. Chai only has milk if it is steeped in milk. And so on.
So I brewed this up this morning and there just wasn’t that magic that was there the first time. There was really not much citrus, there was no creaminess, and definitely no sparkle. It was still good enough to drink but it was not amazing like I remembered it to be.
So mostly because I was too lazy to carry the old tea leaves to the garbage I made a second steep, which is also unusual for me………what is up with me today?!?
And I added some milk…
It was definitely creamier with the milk. Still not much citrus. Better this steep then the first one. Not sure what I did to it for the first steep. Maybe the water was too hot, or too cool, who knows. Just an off tea day today I guess…
This was my favourite sample for A Quarter to Tea.
It smells like almonds, nuts, cinnamon and cloves. It reminds me of like a heavy spice cake.
The tea liquor is quite thick. It is also creamy. There are definitely notes of cake and bread. The black tea base is very smooth. No astringency at all. There are flavours of cinnamon and clove but they are not overpowering. I would have almost liked the clove to be a bit stronger. There is a strong nutty flavour to the tea. I am getting just the slightest hint of apple which works really well with the blend. It’s just enough, but not too much.
This tea really reminds me of Christmas/winter flavours, but I would totally drink it all the time.
This is my second free sample from A Quarter to Tea.
Unfortunately there was some scent contamination as this tea in dry form just smells like currants and almonds due to the other samples I also asked for.
I used the whole sample for one cup as the pieces were so large. There were large pieces of dried apple as well as some blueberries in my sample but I do not recall any cherries.
I obviously didn’t do this tea any favours by brewing it hot. I would guess that it would be a better cold brew but I tried hot anyway. Initially hot it tasted ok. It tasted more so like dry champagne that had lost all of the carbonation with a bit of slightly bitter white tea. No fruity flavour. As it cooled there was a bit more of an apple flavour. Like a non-sweet apple cider. It still retained the flat champagne flavour. I did not get much fruit other than hints of apple but that may be due to my sample. The bitterness from the white tea faded as it cooled. There was no taste contamination despite the smell.
I would say it was definitely better as it cooled. It tasted a bit more like a mimosa with not so much citrus in it. I think it would have been better with some kind of sweetener like maybe some honey, but I didn’t have anything at work to add in. But I can definitely see where the sangria part comes in.
I was super excited to get my Quater to Tea samples in the mail yesterday when I got home from work.
As everyone in my life knows, I am a slave to the Earl, so this is the first one I had to try.
The dry tea is small, broken pieces of black tea but there are some currants in it, even for the small sample that I received. There is enough in the sample package for two servings of tea.
The dry tea smells very strongly of artificial cherry candy flavour. Similar to black cherry nibs. The brewed tea does not smell artificial. It is a sweet black currant smell.
This is one of those teas that has a magic timeframe in which to drink it. It is not that it is finicky. But there is very little taste when it is really hot, there is a great taste for that moment it cools a bit, then once it starts to cool a lot it morphs into a bit of artificial tasting. It is also a little metallic tasting as it cools with a bit of an astringent tang. It loses the bergamot flavour and the currant flavour profile be comes quite strong.
While this tea is in its magic moment, there are sweet black and red currant flavours. The bergamot almost tastes like candy. The bergamot and currant flavours blend well together. This blend is quite sweet on its own. The black tea base is moderately bold. It hides underneath the currant flavours. It is smooth and the liquor feels thick. There is initially no bitterness or astringency.
This one is definitely not a traditional Earl Grey as I would say the currant flavours are the dominant flavour. It is still pretty good though. This would probably be a good tea for those bergamot-haters out there (cough, cough…Sil).
Thanks to A Quarter to Tea for the free samples.
Please note – I have never drank this tea, and it is not a review really, so just skip this note if that bothers you.
However reading the description of this tea, I am sure I would like it. Mmmmmm, bergamot.
Today is election day in Canada!
So everyone remember to go out and vote!
It doesn’t matter who you vote for, just go and vote!
Now I want to try this tea :(
But I did go and vote :)
Snazzy marketing, I am in.
I am a sucker for visually pleasing tea packaging. Bright colours on the box, I will buy the tea.
This tea is billed to be a citrus black tea. On opening the package there is a strong citrus scent, orange and grapefruit. The dry tea itself is also very visually pleasing. It is black tea with bright blue cornflowers, straw coloured cornflowers and burgundy petals/leaves. The colours of the tea kind of mimic the colours on the packaging. I am getting quite excited to try this tea.
The black tea is bold, slightly malty. It smells roasty but does not taste roasty. There is a very strong citrus flavour. It is hard to distinguish what type of citrus, does citrus flavoured chewing gum count as a flavour, because that is what it tastes like. Citrus-y and tart. There is definitely a blackberry leaf type flavour. The tea is bold but it is also very smooth. Minimal aftertaste.
I quite like this one. It might be the snazzy colours biasing my opinion, but this is a good one.
Today is Canadian Thanksgiving. Today (and every day) I am thankful to live in a country and society where I am free to be a woman, to be able to freely practise my religion, and to be safe. I am also very thankful for great friends and family. And also for tea. And internet :)
Happy Turkey day to everyone!
I found this by surprise at Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris. Which BTW, everyone should go and see. It is a really small museum of impressionist and post-impressionist modern art. It is quite expensive to get in, compared to the not too much you get to look at, 9 euros. But, it houses Monet’s Waterlillies (AKA Nympheas). They are absolutely amazing to just sit and gaze at. Even if you are not an impressionist fan, I am not, but these are just a beautiful art peices.
Anyway, there is a little café/gift shop and they sell this tea! I totally stumbled on it by accident. I can’t find any history on this tea on any of the Nina’s Paris websites, US or EU, but it appears that this tea would have been created specifically for these paintings. As any one that has followed me for a while, you all know I am a big lover of Nina’s Paris. I was kind of disappointed I did not know about it before, this is something I totally would have picked up from Nina’s. It feels like it is this secret tea that only a select few know about. Kind of like Fete de Versailles (which is super delish).
Anyway, enough gushing and moving on to the tea. The ingredients list Sri Lankan black tea, apricot flavours and cornflowers.
The tea smells strongly of black tea with apricot perfume/scent. The tea brews up dark red-brown. It has the same apricot perfume/scent. The tea tastes like a moderate to strong bold black tea. There is a flavour of apricot. It is initially quite natural tasting but then if does fade into a bit of artificial flavour. It is also quite strong. The corn flowers make the tea taste quite thick but they are also quite strong in flavour. But I am wondering if that is just due to what got scooped up to brew.
I rarely do a second steep but I was too lazy to do a “new” steep, so I re-steeped this one. The second steep is actually better the first. The flavours just all blend together better.
I quite like apricot teas and have been on a quest to find the best black tea with apricot. Many of them come off just so artificial, or bitter, or the flavour doesn’t blend well with the tea. I think this blend does a good job.
This is a good blend. Not my absolute Nina’s favourite but I am still quite happy to have found it and to have tried it. Totally makes me feel like I am a member of the secret tea blend society :P