511 Tasting Notes
1.5 TB for 500mL water, no milk or sweetener.
I file this one under ‘Cup of Tea That Could Save Your Life.’
Dry leaves smell like sunshine and malt and a very faint whiff of smoke. Long leaves, like Yunnan black needles, that unfurl beautifully.
A slight pinch more tea prevents bitterness after a longer steep and makes for a heavier body, too. Malty, slightly astringent but never murky.
Deliciously strong without tearing the skin off your mouth or the enamel off your teeth. Not bitter. Quite fortifying. Verging on Orwell territory again: a cup of tea that can make me feel braver, wiser and more optmistic.
2 TB in a gourd, 125 mL water, no sweetener or milk, drunk through a bombilla.
Okay, I think I’ve found the balance. Not so much banana-ness this way. And it kicks with caffeine, or mateine, or whatever’s in yerba mate. Not my go-to mate, but an intense and lovely treat. Quite sweet on its own. Delicious scents of malt, chocolate and pipe smoke. Weird, but I like it.
1.5 TB for 500mL water, no milk or sweetener.
So I followed guidelines this time. A mere six-minute steep. Much less apple-peel flavour and scent, a but more nuttiness. Mostly almond, though … not marzipanish sweet, but definitely sweet.
I really don’t like the colour, though I’m happy it comes from beetroot and not from the dreaded hibiscus.
Much better steeped cautiously. Not sure if I’ll order this one again, but it’s a tasty alternative to my must-be-rationed Super Chocolate.
1 rounded TB for 500mL water, plus half a pack of stevia, no milk.
Ah, my beloved (precioussssss) Super Chocolate, in all your apple-y, sweet-sharp and smooth if elusive cocoa goodness … the green rooibos base must be packed with antio-oxes or vitality-mins or somethin … because I’ve been feeling like crap the last few days, and several big servings of Super Chocolate seems to be reviving me. I feel, if not better, at least more refreshed after drinking some.
1 heaping TB for 500mL water, no milk or sweetener.
Rough time waking up this morning. My yerba mate tisance disappointed, and the caffeine monkey on my back started to jabber. So, a little pot of English Breakfast standing by, but first: this strange hybrid elixir.
If you’re in the mood for straight black tea, don’t drink this.
If you need a good smack upside the head and feel bold, drink this.
This morning’s brew is chewy, sweet, smooth, dark and mysterious, and just a tiny bit chicory-bitter on the aftertaste. The coffee beans feed my caffeine monkey, and the China black tea smooths everything out. I still need a good hit of Assam, but that wll follow.
As I’ve said before, a strange fusion drink, hardly a regular or go-to for me, but always satisfying.
1 TB for 500mL water, 1 packet stevia, no milk
Not as keen on this one brewed as a tisane. Thin-bodied compared to my gourd-n-bombilla brew, and I definitely wrecked this cup by sweetening it.
I got more of that banana-ish flavour, which does not agree with me. Gonna try this once more in the gourd.
1 TB for 450 mL water, biggish splash of 2% milk.
Cayenne leads, but ginger at once smooths and sharpens the edges. Tasting some cocoa on the aftertaste, almost a comforting ‘There, there.’ Not tasting much Assam tea, but I expect I’d miss it were this blend made with a China black. All this sauciness needs a bold tea to stand up to it. Ahh, there’s the Assam, again, on the aftertaste, once the cayenne turns to sparkledust and evaporates. Very hot chai. I added the milk as a precaution; very glad I did. LOVE THIS/.
2 TB in a mate gourd (maybe 125 mL of water) half a packet of stevia, no milk.
Innnnnnnn-tense. I love roasted mate drunk with groud and bombilla: very rich and concentrated. Roasted mate with malt and cocoa: YUM. Definitely for slow sipping. Some bitterness, some — oddly enough — distant banana flavour, and some distant mint/green/vegetal flavour that I normally only detect on green mate. Some pipe toboacco scent, too. Yum to the E. Can’t wait to try this brewed as a tisane to compare. Maybe tomorrow. Not sure my body can handle much more mateine/caffeine right now.
1 rounded TB for 450 mL water, 1/2 packet stevia, no milk.
A bit o’ heat! Yessssss, this is what I’m looking for in anything labelled ‘chai’. The cloves and citrus oil make the very pungent cinnamon stand out all the more. The red rooibos gets a bit lost, but that’s okay. While Cinnamon Rooibos Chai is caffeine-free, it’s still quite stimulating — the scent alone can knock you silly, in a good way — and yes, it does help concentration. Sharp and sweet with some pleasant heat. Perhaps quite sweet enough on its own without my added stevia, but I find a stevia or sugar coaxes out spice-heat. (Not so much the artificial sweeteners; they just dominate the cup with their chem lab mace and chain.) I may blend this one with some ginger rooibos and then spontaneously combust.
1 TB for 500mL water, no milk or sweetener.
I brewed the Pure Chai today expecting it to pack no heat; I really miss any spicekick i this blend, as I noted before.
So today I just expected a pleasant, slightly sweet cinnamon black tea.
And if that’s what you want, David’s Pure Chai is lovely. It’s an Indian black tea base, with CTC leaves I think (they’re very small_ and great big chunks of cinnamon sticks. plus whole cloves. Neither spice nor tea dominates.
I still want to try this simmered on the stovetop, perhaps with some ginger tea tossed in.
Today, I’ll settle for upping the rating.