51 Tasting Notes
Steepster just crashed on me and deleted my note D:
Unfortunately, I think that this is another tea which has fallen victim to my damp new flat. It’s not as damaged as the last sample, though, and I think the ‘spirit’ of the tea is still present, and there’s no yucky smokiness. I am hoping to pick some more of this up before Butiki closes to try it in its full glory.
Brewing, I can actually smell the cream, which is pretty amazing since even purely cream flavoured tea hasn’t been able to do this in the past. Flavour-wide, the cream is more present in mouthfeel, but the overall flavour is reminiscent of the eggnog I made last Christmas, so perhaps that’s due to the cream. The nutmeg is more present in flavour than smell, although it does definitely smell spicy. The base is prominent, but not overpowering. Stacy does a great job with pairing bases with flavours – it sort of sits alongside the nutmeg in a complimentary way. The cup was a little weak owing to the damp, but still very pleasant.
I have tried this tea so many times, always in single serving sachets, and never gotten around to reviewing it for reasons unknown. Now that I have an official sipdown box, and have put it in my kitchen right next to the kettle, I am far more inclined to go for the teas I need to get rid of over the favourites I seem to keep going back to. This was right on the top, and as it was my final serving (I don’t plan on buying more), I guess the time has come to review it!
I actually drank this a couple of days ago, so the note will probably not be too detailed. It wasn’t really that complex to begin with, though, so I don’t think it will be too affected.
Each time I try this tea, I convince myself that this time I will be able to taste the chocolate, and each time, I am wrong. I have tried different steeping times, different amounts of water, different additives and even used two bags on one occassion. I have had it prepared in-store and I still couldn’t taste any chocolate! The Tea Pigs black tea base is fairly pleasant, with little astringency, so I can drink the cup easily enough. It smells sweet when brewing, and actually reminds me of cocoa butter rather than cocoa itself. The taste also reminds me of cocoa butter, perhaps a little more vanilla than chocolate. I have found it to taste pretty similar no matter how I drink it, and the additives don’t really seem to alter the flavour much. A pretty average tea, disappointing if you are expecting chocolatey chocolate.
I have a long way to go…
EDIT: I’ve just realised that this is my 50th tasting note! Wooo! If only it were a more positive one ):
When I heard that Butiki were closing down, I got ridiculously sad and had to brew up a cup of this tea. Partly because it’s a Butiki tea, and partly because it sounded like it would be really comforting. I received this as a sample a while back in a mystery box from Janelle, and have left it in the little zip-loc bag it came in. Sadly, I think that this has affected the flavour of the tea inside. My new flat is damp and still smells a little smoky from the previous tenants, and I think the smoke may have permeated the tea as there is definitely a hint of tobacco, which is not good. A lot of my teas have a sort of damp ‘feel’ through the packet, if that makes any sense, and I am pretty worried that I might have ruined them all. I’m thinking I’ll have to move them into an airtight container with a lid.
Anyway, as for this tea, it smelled like a plain Assam with a sort of sweet hint when it was brewing, and I had hopes that it would be alright. On drinking it, I picked up the smoke straight away, which really disappointed me, but once I get past it I can definitely taste caramel in the background. The tea’s fairly weak, and I used a lot of leaf, so I think this may be another effect of the damp. My score for this tea reflects more on my poor storage than on the tea itself, so I would take this rating with a pinch of salt, and hopefully I can try some properly in the future! I am definitely placing a Butiki order before they close for good.
I’m reviewing again!
This makes me happy.
So for many many reasons I haven’t been on steepster for a while, and when I have been on it’s just been for a quick check, as I haven’t had time to write anything up, or even drink that much tea for that matter! I’ve just started my final year of university (eek!) so I am basically living off coffee at the moment.
Since I moved house, I haven’t been able to brew as much loose leaf, and as a result, my passion has kind of died down a bit. I am trying desperately to get it back, and I so miss being in love with tea. I am participating in a couple of swaps soon, and will definitely make time to drink tea as I’m reading my endless list of books for uni, so hopefully it shouldn’t be too long before I’m back on the horse.
This tea is pretty basic, but just what I need to soothe me as I’m coming down with a bit of a cold (and my tastebuds are going anyway, so no use wasting my best tea at the moment!). As it goes, it’s not bad. If I ever run out of Rington’s (my preferred English breakfast blend), this is what I’d get to tide myself over.
Last cup of the night, and although it’s caffeine free, I think this one may be a bit too fruity to use as my bedtime drink in the future. I also can’t imagine cold brewing this (although I’ll probably have to try now. I’ve mentioned that) so it’ll probably wait around in my drawer for a few months until the colder weather kicks in again.
I bought this as part of Bluebird’s pick-n-mix sample selection, as there were four teas I really wanted to try and I had an extra space to fill. So overall, I wasn’t getting my hopes up too high for this one, although it was still pretty high on my list of Bluebird’s teas to try. My flatmate Sam moved out today (it’s the end of the school year and he’s moving to Amsterdam on a placement soon) and his girlfriend Amy, another flatmate, wasn’t feeling too great so I obviously took the opportunity to use tea as a means of settling her stomach. After rifling through my drawers, she picked several teas out to try including this one, which I brewed for after our supper of freshly baked cookies. If she hadn’t picked it out, there’s a chance this could have sat in my drawer untouched for a couple of months.
The dry mix smells beautiful, and looks it too. Bluebird are great because their teas not only taste great, but look great too and the huge chunks of ingredients make them just gorgeous to look at. I say it every time I have a Bluebird tea, but I really do marvel at how pretty they are. I brewed it in my ingenuiTEA and it was pretty cool to see all the bits floating around and expanding.
In the time it’s taken me to type the note up so far, my tea has gone cold but I don’t think the flavours have changed much. It is, however, as I had suspected, better warm. The bright red colour when brewed made me wary that the tea may be overpoweringly hibiscus-y, but it’s actually a pretty mellow tartness just chilling with the other flavours rather than overpowering them. There’s something weird about this blend which I just can’t place, but I’m pretty sure I like it. In fact, I’m sure I like it, I’m just not sure I can place the flavour or could explain why. Pineapple and coconut are always a winner together in my opinion, although I was interested to see what I thought of this tea since coconut is generally a favourite flavour of mine in tea, whereas I’m yet to find a pineapple tea which I can drink happily – or I was until this, anyway. The flavours are immediately present and reminiscent of a piña colada, but the lemongrass is also prominent and adds an interesting extra dimension. This element kind of reminds me of fragrant Thai rice, and I suppose the reason it works so well could be that the coconut goes with both pineapple and lemongrass flavours effortlessly. I imagine it might be quite an odd combination without the coconut. The hibiscus keeps it tart (I added a sugar, although I shouldn’t really) and the rose petals add a wonderfully floral aftertaste. I am constantly amazed by the skill some tea blenders show, and Bluebird are no exception. This blend is truly inspired, and one of the more intriguing blends I have had the pleasure of trying.
EDIT: As it cools, I have just noticed, there is a kind of honey sweetness on the finish of the sip. Paired with the lemongrass, which remains throughout the sip, this oddly enough reminds me of those lemon flavoured throat sweets with the honey inside that you suck when you have a cold. Not in a bad way, though, it’s not particularly medicinal. It’s more like what those throat sweets would taste like if they were actual sweets, instead.
It is officially my birthday! This is the least excited I have ever been about it, I have been 20 for 20 minutes, and I am already missing being a teenager ): life seems so much bigger and scarier at 20. Oh well, in reality I’m only a day older. At least I get to have birthday tea!
I got this tea as a single serving from my first ever swap with Hapatite, and it’s probably its time. I drank this to get a sipdown, and because I wanted a relaxing herbal as it’s pretty late. I was a little wary about it, as the main focus is ginger and it is one of my most hated flavours. Reading through the ingredients, though, I was a bit more hopeful as there are a lot of other ingredients in it too, which I was hoping would dampen the ginger down a little. The bag smelled mainly of peppermint, which made me even more hopeful. The sachet it came in actually smells of that vapor rub stuff you use to clear your nose when you have a cold, which is not really something I want to be drinking…
Brewing, the ginger takes over, followed by the licorice root and a bit of mint coming through after that. I expected the taste to be pretty similar, but it’s actually not, which is kinda confusing as you’re drinking it. The ginger is definitely less prominent than expected, which is great for me but would probably disappoint a ginger fan who chose it for this reason. I found the predominant flavour was the pepper, which surprised me as it was the last on the ingredients list and I assumed it would be more of a ‘hint’. The ginger adds a nice heat to it, without being so strong a flavour that I can’t enjoy the cup. There is a little liquorice aftertaste and sweetness, and the peppermint rounds the whole thing out pretty nicely. On a whole, I’m glad to have tried it, but it’s not one of my favourites.
Bedtime drink late on tonight. We went out for my flatmate Sam’s birthday party and joint leaving party tonight, so I’m up pretty late and drinking tea (: taking heels off is the best feeling in the world.
This is a nice, soothing cup, but I have to say I’m not enjoying it as much as I usually do. For some reason it’s reminding me of liquorice – the black gummy kind, which I am not a fan of. Maybe I just got an odd proportion of bits in my spoonful? Added a touch of skimmed milk and the liquorice has toned down a lot, with the nice caramel note more pronounced on the finish.
So I drank this partially because it’s a sample and will be an easy sipdown for my mission, but mostly because I’ve read on a few people’s notes that Mr. Harney has passed away sadly. It’s not much, but a little token of respect. I’ve only just recently started exploring Harney & Sons teas more, and only own a few of their blends, but each one I’ve tried so far has been lovely. I really enjoyed this tea, too, which is truly a testament to how good Harney’s teas really are, as I have vanilla listed on my flavour dislikes. So rest in peace, Mr Harney, and thanks for sharing your teas with the world.
This came in my recent parcel from MissB, and I was curious to try it to see if I can in fact like vanilla flavoured tea (turns out I can!) Although it was a sample and I had only two cups worth, I wasn’t planning on drinking this any time soon. I have some older small samples I was planning on sipping down first. After I heard the sad news, though, I went rootling around my (far too messy) draw for some Harney’s blends and this was the first one I came across. I quite fancied a dessert tea and I couldn’t be bothered to look thorough for another one, as it took quite a while to find this in the first place. It was hanging out with my caffeinated samples, so I was surprised to read that it was decaf. As it turns out, this was perfect as I’d just finished a huge mug of coffee (Starbucks microground Colombian – genius) and didn’t really fancy the jitters. I will have to remember to switch it to my 6pm onwards draw, though.
As I’ve already said and mentioned in previous reviews, I came to the shock conclusion around four months ago that as a flavour in its own right, I am not vanilla’s biggest fan. Because of this, I wasn’t the most excited I could have been to try this tea. This lack of excitement continued right up until the moment I took my second sip. The packet smelled sweet and vanilla-ish, much as expected, and the tea brewed up smelling of Ceylon with a sweet hint. I added a level teaspoon of sugar (for the first time in a while) and a splash of skimmed milk, as I wanted a desserty treat, and the small sip I tried black was too astringent for my liking. After the additions, the whole cup brightened up, and was actually quite lovely. It wasn’t necessarily the strong, almost chemical vanilla flavour I am used to, but instead a more mellow and somewhat creamy and more rounded vanilla which reminded me both of birthday cake and sugared almonds. These two have a common element so I’d hazard a guess that what it most reminded me was of icing, although I swear there is some spongey cakiness in there somewhere, too. Despite how it sounds, it was not at all cloying or sickly – the black tea base actually shines and works as a part of the blend rather than just something for the other flavours to use. Does that make sense? I don’t know. It was delicious though, and whilst my views on vanilla still haven’t changed that much, and I still wouldn’t reach for it every day, it’s nice to know that I can still appreciate a really good vanilla blend.
I’m not quite a vanilla convert, but I will enjoy every last drop of my remaining sample. Thanks for the opportunity to try this, Bonny!
This is my first tasting note in such a long time! It says my last tasting note was two months ago, but I don’t think it’s been quite that long as I’ve edited a couple of blank notes since then. Anyway, I am determined to start writing up my notes again since I’ve really missed you guys! Plus I have a tonne of sip downs to power through now and hopefully this will encourage me!
New things – Not a lot has changed, but I am trying to be a lot healthier than I used to care about, and that means I am trying to drink a lot of my tea without any additives, so the majority of my tasting notes won’t have multiple descriptions of how the teas taste with different things added to them any more. I still blabber on a lot, but my workload is going to be pretty ridiculous for the foreseeable future as I’m going into my final year of university in September and I am determined to get everything done with plenty of time to spare, as my timekeeping has been pretty shocking for the past couple of years. It’s time to buckle down! This means a lot of my notes will probably be pretty short, as I plan to write up at least one note a day like I used to (although I’m not sure how long this will last) but will have less time to concentrate on the teas and will maybe only have one or two cups a day as opposed to the five or six I used to have. This means I’ll likely not have a lot of time to spend writing up the review, and if I do I might not have payed enough attention to what I was drinking to talk about it in great detail. Thirdly, and lastly, my tea collection has expanded exponentially recently, and I now have tea spilling out of every nook and cranny in my flat. I have more than I can keep track of, and definitely can’t afford to buy more, and so have set myself a challenge to reduce my stash to less than 100 teas before I even think about buying more. My cupboard is currently on 243 teas, so a lot of my reviews will (hopefully!) have a counter (sipdown x/144) at the bottom tracking my progress. This counter will probably go up a few times, as I have very little willpower and will possibly cave. Also, I take part in the Hapa-tite tea swap every month so that will contribute too, although it’ll help my sipdowns along nicely too. It’s also my 20th birthday on Tuesday (goodbye teenage years!) so there’s a slight chance I might be getting more tea then, too. I will adjust the counter accordingly if this happens. I know a lot of you will probably not care about any of the stuff I just blabbed on about as per usual, but I like to write it down anyway, even if it’s just for myself. It’s kinda like talking to yourself, but less frowned upon if you get caught. I might start adding little anecdotes about my life, too, as I’m finding this pretty therapeutic and I don’t have a diary as such. I apologise in advance to anyone that doesn’t like anecdotes or personal stories! I promise it’ll mostly be about the tea. That was long. Yeesh, I’m sorry guys.
Anyway, on to the tea! I received a couple of sachets of this in a parcel from MissB recently which she sent ages ago but only just arrived – probably held up at customs. The parcel was totally amazing, just like the lovely lady herself, so thanks MissB! Frank has gone to bed early tonight as he’s playing basketball tomorrow, so I pinched his iPad and thought I’d have a nice little nightcap in bed. This was the most appealing-sounding herbal in a handful I grabbed to drink over the next few days, and it’ll do nicely. Upon opening the sachet, I have high hopes for a citrusy treat – the packet and bag mainly smell sweet with an orange undertone. When I poured in the water, the liquid went an orangey colour and the smell of oranges became VERY prominent. Not overpoweringly so, just enough to get me excited about the citrus aspect of the tea. I left the bag in, however, as the instructions stated to leave it to steep for four or five minutes. I kept stopping writing my prior comments to sniff the orangey goodness, and weirdly it all of a sudden stopped – around four minutes into steeping, the zingy orange smell dissipated and was replaced with the overwhelming scent of liquorice. No matter how deeply I inhale or how hard I think about it, I just can’t find that orange scent anywhere! It’s completely vanished! As soon as I realised this I figured it was done steeping and removed the bag (getting a sweet shot at the waste paper basket from deep. I was so made to be a baller). I hope it hasn’t done too much damage, as I really fancy a citrusy tea right now.
As I’ve gone on for so long the tea is pretty much luke warm now, so I can’t tell if the flavours have changed much as it’s cooled. My first sip is – liquorice. Pure liquorice. Darn it, I really wanted that citrus too. It actually does come out a bit in the aftertaste, along with a peppery note which could be from the fennel, perhaps? I’m not convinced, though, ‘cause if my memory serves me correctly fennel tastes pretty much of aniseed. Which probably explains why the liquorice flavour is so strong – it’s a double whammy! The odd back of the throat sweetness from liquorice root is there too, this is definitely one for the sweet toothed. The orange flavour is coming out more the more I drink it, perhaps my tongue just needed to adjust to the anise before it found the more subtle flavours. It’s actually really nice as it is, with the orange as the less dominant flavour. It’s soothing and almost festive in a way which strong citrus flavours just aren’t. Probably a good thing, too, as I’m about to go to bed. I just got a hint of chocolate, and I’m not sure where from because none of the ingredients even hint at chocolate-type flavours, but I got pretty excited because Terry’s chocolate oranges are one of my most favouritest things on this planet and my ultimate weakness. I’ve tried several chocolate orange teas, which have ranged from nothing like a chocolate orange to simply foul, and oddly enough, this tea is actually the closest I’ve found without even trying! How strange. I’m happy to find that it’s not just a one-off, either, as subsequent mouthfuls have had the same hint in them. The tea is completely cold now, and still as good as it was hot. I think I might even like to try this iced, if I had more of it. As it is I have one bag remaining, and will try steeping it for a minute or so less in the hopes of coaxing out less of the liquorice and more of the orange.
It’s just occurred to me that this is the first tasting note for this particular tea on Steepster, so anyone drinking this in the future will likely read my babble nonsense. Oops.
EDIT: After looking at the ingredients properly, I’ve discovered that the peppery note I was picking up on was probably not from the fennel after all – it was more likely from the pepper.
This was a pretty sad (and unexpected) sipdown, for a couple of reasons. Firstly because this tea is It. It is definitively the best tea I have ever drank, and will ever drink. Secondly, and more importantly, because I had been saving the last cup for a while, and that time came when my partner was in need of a comfort drink. This is not going to be a particularly long tasting note, as I’m getting sad again just writing it and will properly review the tea another time (I have since bought a big bag full). A couple of weeks ago, when I first attempted to write this tasting note, we received the sad news that my partner’s cat Eddie was injured after being attacked. It was very sudden as we had seen him only a few days beforehand, and he was doing well. This was followed the next day by the news that he had had to be put down. My partner was devastated and I was pretty upset too, and so I used the last of this tea to drown his sorrows. It was an awful day and I am sorry to have to write this.
On a happier note, this tea is seriously delicious. Like, seriously. Cara is magic.
Sorry if I bummed anyone out, I’m kind of hoping nobody will read this as it’s an old tasting note.