58 Tasting Notes
I’ve finally gotten a clue. When cold brewing a quart of anything Rooibos, I don’t waste any time with a regular tea sieve. Nope, I pour the whole thing through a paper coffee filter to get all the little bits out. It’s the surest way to avoid them.
This tea came in a sample box from my big sister. It sure has a mouth watering name, doesn’t it? Brandied Apricot Upside Down Cake. MMMMMM. I’m a sucker for a good name and always willing to try a new rooibos blend.
It’s August and there’s nothing like a cold drink on a hot day. I guzzled through half the first batch before remembering that “Oh yeah, I meant to write a review for this one!” It took some time before I was ready to settle down to the business of taking notes.
My first impression was that while I could tell there was something more here than mere rooibos, the apricot and brandy in this were kind of subtle. I’m not much for subtle. I like assertive, in your face flavors that don’t need cream and sugar to “bring them out.” Once in awhile, though, I’m strongly tempted to indulge. In this case, I wanted to sample it hot with cream and sugar and was pretty sure it would be awesome. Unfortunately, I had already finished the quart.
What with the heat and my own distractions, it seemed I really had only barely gotten to sample it, so I made a new batch. (You know a tea is good when it merits further investigation.) Then I got side tracked and it had a good long time to brew in the fridge while I was involved in other pursuits. Fortunately, the nice thing about Rooibos blends is they usually get better the longer they brew. This one continued to mellow, even after I had poured it through a coffee filter and discarded the herbs. The first cup of the second batch I drank cold and without any additions, yet I was already getting a pleasant underlying perfume that I hadn’t noticed before and realized I was starting to really dig this combination. I warmed and added sugar to the second cup, and it was quite good, with the apricot, vanilla, and brandy flavors coming forward a bit more, but that last cup, which I had cold with nothing added was the very best. Either the flavors had peaked or I had learned what to look for and how to appreciate it. It seemed to me very mellow and satisfying, even with nothing added.
In conclusion, this is a good cold brew if given a nice long steeping, but probably would be even better as a hot tea to keep me warm in the wintertime. I could get used to this stuff. Unfortunately, the sample is all used up. Ah well, the joys of life are ever ephemeral. Thank you, Terri Harpwriter, for this lovely sample.
Are you kidding me? Rose petals, Chamomile, Spearmint, Lavender flowers…and you’re gonna call it Lemonade?
Well, the first ingredient is Lemon myrtle and it does taste kind of lemony. The pleasant flowery herbal flavors have been overlaid by the first ingredient, something I’ve never tried before. I don’t see any artificial flavors listed so it must be the lemon myrtle—I swear it tastes exactly like cheap powdered lemonade mix. Part of me is a little insulted and outraged (who dumped the Countrytime lemonade mix in my herbal tea?) but another part of me is kind of fascinated. (Does Lemon myrtle really tastes like Wyler’s? Who knew?!!
The kid in me thinks this is great. The adult in me grumbles that this is ridiculous. I actually make rose lemonade in the summertime and this is not the same animal. It does have rose and lemon flavors, however, so I can’t gripe too much about the name, and drinking stuff that reminds me of my Kool-Aid days can be fun. I cold brewed it and found that unlike the drink mixes I grew up with, this stuff is fine without sugar.
This whimsical bit of herbal amusement came in a sample box from my big sis, Terri Harplady. It’s probably not something I would go out of my way to buy but was a fun change of pace. Thanks Sis, for sending this airy fairy sample my way.
I like a good Peach Tea and so at my last trip to Savoy Tea Co, I caught a whiff of this and added it to my purchases. It smells very nice in the package. To me, that is often a good sign. This being the hottest part of summer, I am mostly making cold brewed teas, so when I finally opened this recently, I measured a tablespoon into a quart jar of water and left it in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Cold brew can take a variable amount of time. Some of them are fine in a few hours. Others are best left to steep overnight. I let this one sit, oh, maybe two to four hours and found it disappointingly weak, so I left it to rest in the fridge for a day or so. I would like to imply here that there was method to my madness, but the truth was, I just didn’t want to drink it after finding it so watery and unassertive, so I avoided it.
When finally the hour came in which I could think of no other excuse, I poured myself a cup and found it had turned to ambrosia. Seriously, it was very very good. No need for cream or sugar or anything. I really liked it.
I don’t know how this will be hot, and I will definitely plan for a LONG brewing next time. It’s possible too that this is one of those teas that brew up better if you exceed the recommended quantity. I will say, though, that when this has a good 24 hours or more to cold brew, it’s really lovely.
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.