204 Tasting Notes
English Breakfast is hitting the spot this morning. I added a touch of whole milk, but it is still a classic morning cup that I am quite enjoying. I would actually say that this is one of my favorites from H &S along with some of their other stronger straight blacks. With a good malty base, this is mild and flavorful that stays true to itself with age and is forgiving to steep when barely awake. Nothing magical, but sometimes all one needs is a good straight English Breakfast. Bumping the rating up a bit as I did not fully appreciate this one for what it is until this morning.
In other news, I’m taking my Great Dane to his doggie cardiologist today. Nervous about what will be said as his medicine keeps having to be increased. He has lost weight, but he is still in good spirits and is getting around okay. He is the best dog and I know he will break my heart before too long, but I’d be grateful for another good month or three, you know?
Sadly, I think this one is losing some of its “oomph” with age. It is somewhere between 6mo-1yr old, but it just doesn’t have the richness of flavor from the chocolate and coconut that it used to. I still have a few oz left so I am going to start making iced tea with it and see how it turns out cold brewed. It isn’t bad by any means, just not as delicious as it was when I first opened the tin.
Flavors: Cocoa, Coconut
Still needed something for a vanilla-ish fix so I went with an old favorite. The sweet caramel note is lovely and although I forgot to set the timer and oversteeped this baby pretty significantly, it still managed to be pleasing, if a touch overdone. I usually go with 3 min or so today was 5-6+ (my bad!)? Happy Saturday!
Flavors: Caramel, Malt, Sweet, Vanilla
Sipdown, but a lovely one. As strange as it sounds, today I am getting a faint leathery note with the honeyed sweet potatotes and malt. This is one of those teas that always comes out a little bit different each time I steep it, but always makes for an enjoyable cup. TGIF!
Flavors: Honey, Leather, Malt, Sweet Potatoes
Dry: Short black tea leaves. The overwhelming smell from the tin is of too sweet, almost “powdery” (and sadly fake smelling) dessert instead of extract or even a creamy vanilla custard. I was hoping for luscious, complex nommy vanilla, but this is not the case. I really love some H & S teas, but at times it seems like some of the flavored teas are questionable when some of their straight teas are fantastic.
Steeped: Dark brown clear liquor. The fragrance of the brewed tea is less artificial than the dry leaf straight from the tin, but still too sweet for a straight vanilla. It is almost like they were going for vanilla, had trouble, and ended up with a questionable bakery item. The Harney description mentions simple vanilla, but also baking sugar cookies. Not trying to be overly picky here, but sugar cookies don’t usually smell like straight vanilla too much- but they are super sweet like this blend smells.
Taste: Not loving how this turned out. Not vanilla and the base doesn’t lend to a very notable sip so it can’t be saved by being really awesome tea even if the flavoring is meh. This could have been marketed for children’s tea with the overly sweet sugary/bakery thing it has going on. I made it a second time blended with English Breakfast by H&S and it was much more pleasant. Definitely not a repurchase for me though either way.
Flavors: Artificial, Powdered sugar
I overindulged yesterday because I was starting day one of my staycation. :) I feel like The Blerch from The Oatmeal if any of you are familiar with it, lol. I am trying to get myself motivated to exercise today after a work meeting (didn’t anyone ever tell work that I am on vacation?!). Anyhoo, this gem stood out in the cupboard because of the lovely spearmint note. I really enjoyed it when I had it before and I am this time, too. I overleafed and steeped it a lot longer though- almost 2 full minutes at 205 to see what it would turn into. In hindsight, this tea evolves better with short steeps to my palate. It is still pleasant, but the spearmint tends to overpower everything else to where I am getting a vaguely sweet and chamomile-y instead of a chocolate-chamomile-spiced-spearmint. I still like this tea a lot though and it was just what I needed this morning. Have a great Thursday!
I can’t believe I’ve never officially reviewed this one. I know I’ve mentioned it plenty, usually in comparison to other pumpkin teas. This is sadly a sipdown, but I will be buying more for sure this upcoming cool season.
Dry: Attractive short black tea leaves with pumpkin candies, orange dried pieces (dried pumpkin or orange peels?) and smells deliciously warm, spiced, sweet, and pumpkin-y all in one. To me this is one of the quintessential autumn teas.
Steeped: Dark brown liquor with a slight cloudiness, presumably from the sprinkles dissolving. Smells like Fall in my cup! Love it!
Taste: I know there is a controversy every Fall over pumpkin teas and which is best, but this is my personal favorite. It is not too spicy, not too sweet, and to me is very pumpkin-y without being overwhelmingly squash. I normally don’t love candies in my tea, but the pumpkin sprinkles are cute and season-appropriate. My only regret is that I didn’t buy 200g worth at the time. I killed 50g and could have easily had more to last the year. I like with or without milk, sweetened or unsweetened, and even iced. Love this tea! :)
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Pumpkin, Spices, Sugar, Sweet, Vanilla
Oh, this is just delicious tea. How can it be so complex and lovely? Dark chocolate, malt, bready, something toasty, even honeyed. Smooth, full-bodied, perfect. These tea leaves are magical. I’ve had plenty of desserts with less flavor nuances and even though the liquor is still relatively light, the flavor and aroma is a morning meal.
I steeped it for longer today than I normally do and my love only deepens. I was doing 30-60 second steeps previously and this time I went for a full 2 minutes and change initially Western style. Love! I have been slowly rationing this and am will need much more next time so I can enjoy it more often.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Dark Chocolate, Honey, Malt, Roasted Barley, Toasted Rice
It has been a while since I found this one in the cupboard. Turns out, it is aging really nicely! Sweet creamy vanilla with a green and lightly floral oolong. Lovely both served hot initially, then cold later on. Really blossoms as the temperature changes. Also, quite perfect for this gorgeous Thursday we are having. Who ever heard of a 60 degree breezy July morning in Georgia? Not this girl!
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Green, Vanilla