47 Tasting Notes
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.
I received this is this month’s Hapa-tite tea swap from my paired swap-buddy KittyLovesTea thanks Kayleigh! I actually received the package probably a week ago, and have tried several of the teas included but have been too busy to review any. I also have to send mine off (sorry, Kayleigh) which should be done today. I mentioned in my last post that life is kinda hectic at the moment, and annoyingly it still is. I have to write 2000 words by Monday, and then another 2000 by the next day, as I totally forgot I’m going away for a week and won’t be back until the essay deadline! So yeah, panic mode. I’m making a little time to write this up, though, because A) I wanted to thank Kayleigh for my package (which was totally amazing – so many wishlist teas I can now tick off!! Thank you!!) and B) as it was a sipdown which I actually had yesterday, and I don’t want to leave it so long I forget what it was like.
When opening the package, this really intrigued me, as I’ve never seen anything like it before. For some reason I had it in my head that it would be sort of sour, or salty almost, so I decided to have it as my wake-up tea. This turned out to be a complete misjudgement, as the tea is in fact thick, with a little touch of sweetness, and very very buttery. A little too rich for my not-quite-awake-yet stomach, but my tastebuds sure did appreciate it. The dry mix smells sweet, which should have been my first clue, and the liquor, which I expected to come out a dark brown (I seriously have no idea where I got any of this from) actually came out at a creamy light browny yellow – pretty much like a standard British cuppa with a lot of milk added. I drank this plain, and it was sweet enough as is to not need sugar, and so thick that I think adding milk to it would be as bizarre a thing to do as adding it to a green tea.
Other than what I’ve already said, I can’t seem to find the words to explain the taste. It is so very unlike anything I’ve had before that the only thing which I can find to say is that it’s buttery, which goes without saying! The other flavours and notes are new to me, and I am very glad to have had the chance to try such an unusual yet tasty tea. Who knows – perhaps at some point in time I may find myself purchasing some of this. If I came across it in a shop, I would definitely be more likely to pick some up now I know what it’s like.
A very enjoyable, if surprising, cup. Thanks again, KittyLovesTea!
I will write a proper tasting note for this one from my swap with variaTEA when I can do it justice. For now, it was poor and totally my fault as I fudged it up.
It smelled very strongly of apples in the packet, with a creamy hint which I suppose came from the vanilla. Almost like Adagio/Cara’s Ten blend (Doctor Who) only without the coconut. Brewed, the peachiness came through more than the apples and it smelled very juicy. HOWEVER I got distracted and alas, totally forgot about it for over half an hour, with the leaves still steeping in the cup in my little brew basket. I was so annoyed with myself when I remembered, as I was so looking forward to this!! It also turns out I underleafed, so the flavour was weak as well as bitter. I am planning on using the rest of the sample to very carefully prepare a cup exactly as it should be, as I want to enjoy it as it should be enjoyed.
Although it was bitter, I didn’t have to dump the cup – I added a teaspoon of sugar which mellowed it out a little, and was able to enjoy the fruity flavours in the aftertaste, after each bitter sip. The bitterness was just bearable enough, thankfully! Near the end of the cup, I added a touch of almond milk, out of curiousity, which didn’t turn out anywhere near as good as it sounded in my head. It kind of curdled a little, and the flavours seemed to remain separate in my mouth, too – first bitterness, followed by fruits, followed by a faint almond hint which ruined the overall aftertaste in my opinion. I think it would be good without sugar, too, but wasn’t able to tell this time due to the bitterness. My rating reflects the way I drank it with sugar before adding the almond milk as it was the most enjoyable, but I am sure the rating will increase massively when I manage to brew it properly without breaking it.
I am so angry with myself for overbrewing. I may have to find a way to acquire more (read: place a Nina’s order) as punishment. Yep. That’s what I’ll do.
I have not posted a tasting note for TEN DAYS! :O
I am so ashamed. I apologize profusely, even though I’m sure most of you don’t care. Life has been just crazy lately (and will continue to be for the next month or so) and I just haven’t been able to find the time for Steepster, which is so sad. I have been drinking a lot of teas, I just haven’t had time to blog about it what with uni work and all, followed by my internet giving up on me for like 4 days (which was hell) followed by yet more uni work which I am now panicking about! I am definitely going to make an effort to post on Steepster if and when I get any free time, though, as I’ve missed it so much! Plus I really don’t want to lose touch with what’s going on.
Anyway, to the tea.
I received this a few days back in a package from VariaTEA which contained the Celestial Seasonings tea she so kindly sent me, as well as a bunch of samples, of which this was one. I meant to come on here and thank her right away, but as I said, life got in the way. The whole package smelled of apples and cinnamon, so I searched for the source (this) which smelled so heavenly I had to brew it up. It reminded me of an apple pie slice, and brewed smells exactly like apple strudel. I had high hopes for it, but still didn’t believe that the taste could live up to the smell. I am pleased to report, however, that it did, and has earned its place amongst my absolute favourite teas. I wish I had more of this, as the sample was only enough for two cups, but I’m sure I can use this as an excuse to place an order with Della Terra in the future!
Sweet enough to not need any additives – I added half a teaspoon of sugar after a few mouthfuls and regretted it. Definitely best plain. This tea is delicate and juicy and ridiculously tasty, with the spices and sweetness perfectly matching with the apple flavour so much that I would basically kill for a slice of hot apple strudel right now. I bet this would be great iced in the summer, and may have to try that if I manage to get my hands on any more of it.
So so yummy.
This is my first time trying a genmaicha, and I am very much looking forward to trying and comparing Kittylovestea ’s genmaicha from the Traveling Tea Box when it gets to me! (:
At first, I did not care for this at all. It both smelled and tasted exactly like a toasted rice cereal (I can’t think why…) from my childhood, which I absolutely hated. The smell was bugging me because it reminded me so much of something that I couldn’t place, and as soon as I first sipped it I figured it out. Blech. Only the reason I didn’t like the cereal was that it was just toasted rice, with no additional flavours and no sweetness. It was just so bland. This tea is different, though – grassy, deep green tea flavour with the toasted rice background adding a lovely warmth to it, and an almost floral aftertaste which I can detect, too. I don’t think it was the flavour of the toasted rice in itself that I didn’t like, because I like it just fine in this.
If anything, I would have preferred a little more green tea, as it wasn’t too strong a flavour and in the bag, there was roughly a 50/50 split between tea and rice.
Overall, I enjoyed this as a pleasant lunchtime tea, although I could tell it was rice rather than corn, and wouldn’t market it as ‘popcorn’ tea as I think it is a little misleading, and doesn’t actually taste much like popcorn. It grew on me throughout the cup, and by the end I was wishing I had a couple more bags. I can’t wait for the TTB to try the version Kitty has made!