55 Tasting Notes
I opened up the package and dumped about a teaspoon of “pearls” into my jar to cold brew. They unfurled into pretty leaves eventually and when I drank some, it tasted like…well, like green tea with jasmine.
Yeah, I’m not feeling very poetic today. I like jasmine tea. I liked this ok. I can’t think of much else to say. It was a bit astringent but not in an unpleasant way. It wasn’t bitter. It wasn’t a sublime journey to nirvana. It was neither objectionable nor amazing. It was jasmine tea. Good enough, smart enough, and dog gone it, I was ok with it.
Another sample from my big sis, Harplady. This smelled good, like berries and spice and vanilla and maybe something floral and sweet. I was optimistic as I poured hot water into the cup. Unfortunately, following a brief and intense topnote, the scent of the brew subsided to simply tea with a bit of berry overtone. The end product was a slightly astringent green tea with a bit of fruitiness. Not much though, it tasted mostly of tea and watery tea at that. Nothing to write home about.
Oh well, there were two or three bags left, enough to make a nice jar of summery cold brew. I put all of them in a quart jar and let it steep overnight. The brew was darker and stronger and not particularly objectionable, but was still very ho hum forgettable. Generally pretty much what I’ve come to expect from this pricy, overhyped brand. Yet another variety I don’t plan to stock up on. Thanks big sis, for saving me a small fortune.
Dear Verdant Tea,
I know you are experts at what you do and have all manner of precise equipment for measuring your product in grams. However, this uncultured buffoon uses measuring spoons and has better things to do than go to your website to look up “detailed instructions,” I really think it would be better to put the more mainstream measures for average folk on the package and direct the more dedicated connoisseurs to your website for the specialized information, rather than torment poor common slobs like myself with the sort of fru fru methods meant for gourmet kitchens and mad scientist labs.
— Rant over.
“To hell with it,” I muttered and measured a tablespoon into a quart mason jar, filled said jar with water and stuck it in the fridge.
My first observation upon tasting this tea some hours later is that pouring this through a sieve is insufficient to filter out all the little bits of herb. It really needs to be strained through a coffee filter. Fortunately, I keep those around.
The resulting brew tasted wild and weedy but oddly savory as well. Kind of basil-y and mint-y. It was certainly a change from the sweet floral and fruit blends I’m used to and most unusual.
Maybe too unusual. I like basil in a number of foods but not so sure I like it in my teacup. Maybe I’m just not thinking outside the box very well…or maybe this just isn’t that great. It’s not bad….It’s just not that good. I have one more measure left and will likely have a sip down in the near future. I’ll drink it, mostly because it’s there and I don’t like to waste things. Can’t get very excited about this one though. I’m just not feeling the love.
Of course, it’s a Spa Blend, which suggests it’s therapeutic in some way. I don’t guess medicine is supposed to be tasty. But it’s probably good for you. Hey, let’s get Mikey to try it…
I like to shop at The Savoy Tea Co, taking advantage of their sample jars to choose teas by scent. This one smelled really good—like roses and strawberries. I brought it home and cold brewed it, putting the standard measure in a mason jar of cold water and leaving it in the fridge for 24 hours.
With the summer heating up, I’ve been doing a lot of cold brewing. I never much cared for sun tea—it always tastes rancid to me after moldering in the heat for a few hours— whereas cold brewed tea diffuses nicely and the flavors stay clean and fresh. This time of year I keep three mason jars of cold brews in my fridge, tisane or fruit water, black or green tea, and coffee, all cold brewed and ready to drink at a moment’s notice.
So today, the selection of tea was none other than Love Song. It tasted pretty much like it smelled, like Strawberries and Roses. There was a hint of the background tea but nothing bitter or astringent—It actually had a very smooth mouth feel. I didn‘t add any cream or sugar but didn‘t miss them either, it was quite good. In fact, I decided to have a second cup.
Mmmmm Strawberries and roses…Perhaps a little overbalanced on the strawberry side. I reflected that this could do with more rose flavor, just to make it fair. Shortly afterwards, I felt like a numbskull when I consulted the package and learned that there were no strawberries at all. Ah well, I‘ve heard roses and strawberries are related. It is also possible I was fooled by the passion fruit and apple flavoring. Or maybe I was just having olfactory hallucinations.
Either way, I like this tea and look forward to brewing up some more soon. It’s a nice refreshing drink for a summer day.
Well, this tea certainly smelled good while steeping in the cup. Turned a nice bright red too. It tasted pleasant and tart The orange and cranberry flavors came through, actually tasting pretty genuine. I was pleasantly surprised.
The surprise was because when I say it smelled good, I mean Kool Aid-y good. Real fruity. My inner adult is highly suspicious of fruity teas that might be artificial. Her body is a temple and doesn’t need phoney fruit flavers, so she was rather relieved to find there appeared to be some actual fruit in this blend.
Unfortunately, the kid in me was jumping up and down and shouting that I forgot to put sugar in the Koolaid. So I sweetened it near the end and my inner child was delighted. Now it tasted similar to Koolaid fruit punch, my old favorite. This was nice, but not really what I look for in a tea. I generally prefer teas that have a nice strong flavor that stands on it’s own. Now that I know this stuff is so much better with sugar, I’ll never be satisfied to have it without the addition.
Still, it was a nice change of pace. It‘s probably great for kids, or for anyone with a sweet tooth they’re willing to indulge, but it’s not really my cup of tea. Unless my inner child has the upper hand.
This smelled pretty good in the package and looked interesting with little yellow shreds or thin petals (Chrysanthemum perhaps?) and orange bits of what might be dried peach amid the stems and shreds of black. I put a teaspoon in my strainer and gave it a try. When water was applied, it smelled like …um…tea? I’m not much of a tea connoisseur but it had kind of a greenish scent from the leaves—like green vegetables.
When I strained out the liquid, it didn’t smell so green, but it didn’t smell particularly peachy either, or even terribly appetizing. I briefly considered dumping it out and then dismissed the notion, opting to wait for it to cool and find out how it actually tasted. This was a sample from my big sis, Terri Harplady, so I felt obligated to see the experiment through.
No sir, I didn’t like it. Blah blah bland. A few days later I learned that Terri prefers a tablespoon per cup and my previous conservative attempt hadn’t done it justice. I resolved to try again with a stronger brew, though I really wasn’t liking the flavor base of this.
Attempt #2 This time I used a full tablespoon for my standard three minute steep. Once again, it smelled like green vegetables, but the surface of the tea looked…scummy. It tasted like the water left when I cook vegetables, with a slight astringency from the tea, so I pulled out the stops and sweetened it.
Ok, there was the peach, just a hint of it, as well as an undertone of vanilla beneath a kind of funky, gamy vegetable flavor I guessed to be the oolong. I concluded there IS something there, but I don’t have much use for a tea that needs sweetener to be appreciated.
My big sis said she preferred it iced. I decided it was worth a try.
Attempt #3 This time I tried a cold brew. Sometimes a batch of tea brewed slowly in a jar of cold water in the refrigerator will turn out infinitely better. Not this time. No sir, I didn’t like it. Fortunately, I used the last of it up in this attempt.
There’s something in the base of this tea that disagrees with me. Tastes differ, and I don’t doubt that someone else is giving this variety a shining review. I gave it a fair shake but must sadly conclude this is not my cup of tea.
I have a kind of fascination with the idea of matching rooibos up with different flavors. It’s as if I’m watching a favorite bachelor dating various women and laying bets as to which one he’ll marry. This combination looked interesting so I decided to give it a try.
It smelled good during it’s five minute steep, though my big sis’s observation that rooibos tends to crumble into tiny fragments and find it’s way out of the tea strainer and into the cup was sadly evident. I really ought to pour this stuff through a coffee filter but I’m too lazy. Oh well, ce la vie…
This blend is rather nice, actually. The lavender goes well with the rooibos and the additional coconut flavor rounds it out and gives it a little something. There’s a hint of caramelized flavor as well, as if the coconut were toasted. I’m pretty sure this one would be lovely with cream or coconut milk and sugar, but it stands alone quite nicely. I’ll look forward to more of this in the future.
But next time I brew this, I’ll be using a darn coffee filter.
I was very curious about this tea as it is the favorite of my sister’s main squeeze. He seems like an intelligent fellow, so I imagined it would be pretty good. I was not disappointed when I smelled the raw product. My nose informed me immediately that this was the good stuff.
It smelled less wonderful after a three minute steep, less perfume-y and more…I don’t know…tea-ey? A vague hint of lemon or bergamot. That should have made it MORE perfume-y but somehow didn’t . Somewhere between the package and the hot water it seemed to have lost it’s feminine qualities and taken on a more masculine note. There was something in the way of an underlying scent, a kind of smokiness, that gave it a more manly quality. This made its appeal to the other gender understandable.
I found myself not really disliking the tea. I was just a little disappointed though, as the topnote left me expecting something more floral and perfume-y. The same thing happened when I tried Lapsang Saochang. These smoky teas, they sneak up on you.
Of course, that’s what I get when I’m trying unknown samples. When you have no labels from which to read ingredients and descriptions and are too lazy to go online and look them up for yourself, you’re bound to run into a few surprises.
This is from a sample box from my big sis, Terri Harplady. Our tastes are not always the same, but appear to coincide concerning this one. Like her, I’ll drink this when I’m in the mood and probably share it with my man. I suspect he will like it better. It’s ok, just not my favorite cup of tea.
Drinking this today, cold brewed from the fridge with nothing added. It is just awesome this way. I liked it well enough warm, but cold…well, it looks like I’ve found a new favorite. No temptation to add anything. It is pleasant, refreshing, just wonderful.
Unless you hate cardamom. Not a problem for me. I love cardamom, oranges, spices, everything in it. MMMMMM.
My big sis, Terri Harp Lady sent this to me. I was quite curious about it as she is a huge fan.
Dry it was made up of little black curly pieces with occasional light brown strands. It smelled good, kind of generic perfumey, perhaps due to being stored with so many other teas. When water was applied it unfurled into long dark strands and smelled…toasty. I like my toast a little well done and so found this rather appealing.
Harplady often refers to this brew as “chocolaty,” a description I find unsettling and intriguing at the same time. I’m sensitive to the stimulant in chocolate. Since it’s become the trendy health food, it keeps turning up everywhere including teas, so when I see a reference to chocolate or cocoa in a tea review, I’m immediately on guard, wary that I might have to avoid the stuff.
On the other hand, I miss the taste of chocolate and anything that might safely approximate it’s flavor is certainly interesting. Once assured there was no actual chocolate in this tea, I was quite curious to try it.I didn’t detect a bit of “chocolate” in this. Nor coffee for that matter, but rather the very element coffee and chocolate have in common, a roasted flavor. It reminds me of Celestial Seasonings Roasterama, the barley and roasted herb coffee substitute we both grew up with, which my sis has admitted a fondness for.
There’s something so homey about roasted flavors. Who doesn’t love a roasted turkey for Thanksgiving, roasted veggies on a winters night, roasted marshmallows at a campout. One of my fondest holiday memories is singing with my big sis about chestnuts roasting on an open fire. So I can understand why she is so fond of this particular brew.
I rather like it too. No chocolaty flavor I can detect, but it is a lovely and comforting cup on a cold day. (MMMMM Toasty!!!)