139 Tasting Notes
From the EU TTB.
I’ve been staying in Sheffield with Frank for a few days so I haven’t been able to go through the TTB, but this is what I grabbed when I got back. I don’t have much to say about it, except that the bergamot flavouring is pretty nice, and the base goes with it well. You all know what an earl grey tastes like. This is that. It’s definitely an easy-going earl grey though, which I appreciate. The base is robust and holds up well against the flavouring, which is citrusy and not overly strong to the point of being medicinal like some Earl Greys can be. Not exactly a unique cup of tea, but a good Earl Grey nonetheless.
From the EUTTB
After the complexity of the last tea I was kinda exhausted and a little tea drunk, so I’m having this one as it’s a fairly straightforward tea I don’t have to think too much about. I wasn’t expecting much, as I’m usually not the biggest fan of chocolate flavouring in teas, but this one I could tell from the scent was going to be better, and I’m pleased to report that it is! It’s still not the most chocolatey thing I’ve ever tasted, but it’s a whole lot better than the majority of chocolate teas. It actually smells like chocolate, which surprised me, but once brewing the Ceylon takes over. It doesn’t smell overly strong, and I was surprised by how bitter it went after only 3 minutes of brewing. Not my favourite black tea base, but once I added a splash of milk and just over half a teaspoon of vanilla sugar the bitterness was no longer detectable. Just what I wanted, really – something I can happily drink without having to think much about it.
I have never tried yabao before, so was excited to try it when I saw it in the box. This is such an interesting tea! The dry leaf is incredibly beautiful. It is made up of large, delicate looking buds and is probably one of the most beautiful teas I’ve come across. The scent of the dry leaf is complex, and surprised me. For such a delicate looking leaf it has a powerful scent! It starts off woodsy with a dominant pine aroma, with an earthy and surprisingly floral base. It has a hint of sweetness to the scent, too, and some spiciness comes out the more you inhale. In truth, there was a note I couldn’t quite identify, and I inhaled deeply several times to try to figure out what it was before I realised that I was just inhaling it because it smelled amazing. If they made this into a perfume, I swear I’d wear it.
Brewing, the scent is not so divine. It loses a lot of its complexity, keeping the base earthy hay and pine notes, which become a lot more pronounced. It actually smells similar to a burnt white tea, by which I mean it smells.similar to white teas I’ve brewed in the past at too high a temperature and ruined them. I actually panicked and thought I’d have to add some cold water when I first started to steep it, but KittyLovesTea has Included a generous sample in the box so I left it as it was, thinking I’d try again if I was wrong.
I’m glad I left it, because the liquor after steeping western style for two minutes was super pale and had very little flavour. I put the buds back in to steep for a further minute, which helped a lot. The liquor is now a pale creamy colour, perhaps just a touch lighter in appearance than most white teas I’ve tried. The flavour is also more pronounced, though still very delicate and I think it could take a longer brew. The subtlety of the flavour was surprising, based on how fragrant the dry leaf was, but nonetheless it is still very pleasant to drink. It has light hay notes followed by a slight smokiness I didn’t expect at all. I can also detect some delicate floral flavours – sometimes it’s as if it’s flavoured with Jasmine, and it is definitely a touch on the sweet side. No real spiciness that I detected in the scent is present in the flavour, but it finishes with a lingering vegetal, almost green bean-like note, though unlike a vegetal green tea, which is actually very pleasant. There are still some notes which I can’t quite place, and I would like to know more about this tea, so I have a feeling that this may end up being one I keep a hold of.
From the EU TTB.
This one I actually really enjoyed! I was in the mood for a good old cuppa with milk and sugar, so this seemed like a good choice. I’m used to adagio’s blacks being pretty strong and turning astringent quickly, so the additions would probably help the tea rather than hurt it. My aunty came round with my cousins to drop off a book unexpectedly, so I ended up oversteeping it for a good 10 minutes. As it turns out, though, it wasn’t too bad. Only slightly astringent plain, and perfectly fine after I added the milk and sugar. It was a really nice cup of strong, malty black tea with just a slight hint of a citrus note. Very pleasant as an afternoon drink, but I probably won’t keep it as I already have some similar teas in my collection.
Sample from the EU TTB
This one’s not for me. I usually really enjoy ginseng so was drawn to this one, but it’s nothing like I expected. The scent of the dry leaf is woodsy and thick, but even so it took me aback by how earthy and leathery this smells once steeped. Unfortunately the flavours are very similar – leathery, earthy and slightly smoky and vegetal in the aftertaste. I can’t detect the ginseng, and whilst I feel this would be an attractive tea for those who enjoy pu’erhs and more woodsy, earthy teas in general, it’s just not something I personally would usually choose. It is definitely an interesting tea, and quite complex, but not particularly enjoyable for myself.
I’m really surprised I haven’t logged this one already! I should really be working through the EU TTB teas before going back to my own, but there’s a lot of unflavoured teas in that box and everyone’s talking about Doctor Who because it starts on Saturday and drinking Doctor Who teas and I wanted it okay? Maybe I shouldn’t be drinking tea this close to bedtime, but it’s half rooibos which in my mind makes it practically caffeine free. The description says you can take it to bed but it might keep you up all night, which is pretty accurate. Despite having caffeine, it’s very relaxing and definitely a good drink to have in bed while I read a bit and catch up on steepster before I go to sleep. It’s smooth and silky and seductive and a good fit for the captain, I think. I left the tea brewing and went to get changed. When I came back, the whole kitchen and utility room were filled with the delicious intoxicating chocolate scent. Because of this, and because it’s bedtime, I added half a spoon of homemade vanilla sugar and a splash of skimmed milk, and it became quite decadent. It was good on its own too, with a dark chocolate taste dominating, and the base teas working well together. The black base masks the moodiness of the rooibos, and the rooibos masks the usual bitterness of the adagio black tea base. With the additions the almond comes through a little better, though the dominant flavour is still the chocolate, which is more of a milk chocolate flavour now. It’s a fairly robust cup of tea considering that it’s half rooibos. I’ve just reached the bottom of my cup and would quite like another. If it weren’t 1:30am I would probably have one. I’m getting excited for the new series now!
Tea number two from the EU TTB Round 4!
Now this is Autumnal! Although a little more mellow than I had hoped (the tasting notes on the packaging does say that it’s mellow) it’s a beautiful TGY with cocoa and oatmeal biscuity notes. So relaxing for this kind of day. The aroma of the tea brewing is woodsy and a little smoky, so I was surprised that that didn’t come through in the tea. I love roasted oolongs, but haven’t yet tried as many as I would have liked to. I don’t think I’ve had a single one I didn’t like! The oolong balls are still furled up pretty tight after a 3 minute steep, so I think I’ll be trying a second steep of this one. The experiment continues!
My first try from the EU TTB Round 4!
This one sounded interesting, but I didn’t get anything that smelled like plum from the dry leaf. The liquor once brewed also had no plum scent, which was disappointing, but had I been expecting an unflavoured black tea I would have said the scent was pleasant. I initially planned to have this with milk and sugar, because the weather is awful and I wanted an autumn warmer, but we were out of sugar so I ended up drinking it plain. There’s no way I’m going to the shops in this weather! I’m actually glad I did, because it’s a really nice subtly flavour which I think would have been overwhelmed by the addition of milk and sugar. It’s a delicate malty tea which I don’t think would hold up too well to milk, and an even more delicate whisper of plum aftertaste. It pairs with the tea base really well, and is a nice delicate cup of tea on the whole, but maybe not what I was looking for this afternoon. Maybe I’d enjoy it more on a nicer day. I’ve got plenty of other teas to be getting on with (the box is stuffed!) but this one might come out again towards the end of my time with the ttb.
This was one of my Christmas presents from Frank last year, and it’s in a beautiful tin. It is usually more of a festive drink, and I have had it often, but I broke it out this afternoon as I’m working and it’s stressing my out. This is a really comforting drink, a nice robust black with some really nice flavouring – the leaf is really pretty too, with chunks of rind and safflower making it look extra festive. I don’t know whether it’s because of the tea itself that I find it comforting and relaxing, or because it reminds me of Christmas and Frank, but either way it’s doing the trick right now.
I wish this work would go away ):
An oldie but a goodie. This tea is still one of my favourites. Now that I’m beginning to appreciate the base teas too rather than just the flavouring, it does kinda bug me that I can’t appreciate this tea without adding milk. It would be gorgeous paired with a really nice black tea, maybe something like a laoshan. However, it’s not that much of an annoyance as I am from the UK and was brought up on strong black tea with lots of milk. In this respect, it is like a traditional English tea with a twist, and I love it for that. Finishing up my small bag was made easier by the knowledge that I have accumulated 151 adagio points (love their points system, btw) and now have £15 worth of free tea to claim! Yay. This will certainly be making its way into that order, but it is a while off as my no buy continues. Will I ever make it?