356 Tasting Notes
Oh…sweet…jeebus…on an everlovin’ pogostick!
I needed this tea desperately today. I was really disappointed with the other GM samples I’d tried so far, and then came this – this nectar. Ah, sweet bliss!
The smell of the dry leaves was carmeliscious and I couldn’t wait to get this puppy goin’. After steeping I poured it and then spontaneously smelled the pot. Wow – I’m not gonna do that again – it smelled of funky veggie (sorry that I can’t be more specific on that one). I’m guessing that that’s what oolongs must generally smell like (I have yet to try out a straight-up oolong – something that I hope to rectify soon). I then tried smelling the aroma of the cup and I was somewhat surprised when I couldn’t smell a thing. I think that the smell of the pot was such a shock to the system that it took a little bit of time for it to “reset.”
Ah, and then the cup of happiness. I love creme brulee and here it is in tea form! The caramel aroma that I eventually smelled drifting up from my cup was divine. ::sigh:: I have steeped this puppy three times now, and each time the cup evolves: the caramel fades into the background and almond seems to step up to the palate. Yes, this is the first “will buy again” from the GM sampler. TGs
Edit: After finally having a straight oolong I can confirm that the smell in the pot is indeed oolong. Which I now know to be a great thing!
To paraphrase Patton Oswalt: this is a failure tea in a sadness cup. This is the first time that a tea has upset me – I got over it after a few minutes, but man, I wasn’t in a happy place for those few minutes.
I’m thinking “Yippee! I adore jasmine and I’ve been dying to try a pearled tea!” I even found the teapot my mom gave me when I started on my tea journey (a glass Bodum) so that I could watch the agonized tea leaves (wait, what?). Not impressed with the show. I only enjoyed it once I started adding sound effects in my mind of screaming leaves or tiny little “enhs.” I sniffed the sample pouch and thought, “oh, this should be lovely!”
And then I poured it.
Two wafts of a smell hit me as I poured and I was rather shocked. I had a moment of bewilderment where I thought that maybe I had grabbed the Vanilla Jasmine instead. I double-checked the bag: nope, it definitely was pearls.
Then I sniffed and that smell that I thought was vanilla was there. I sipped and oh lordy, the disappointment. Within a few sips I was able to nail what that smell/taste was that bothered me (because I was only getting the tiniest hint of jasmine): it’s a freaking half-eaten Tootsie Roll Pop. You know that point where most of the lolipop is gone (I’m thinking grape) and you’re almost transitioned to the Tootsie Roll? Yeah, that’s it. I hate Tootsie Rolls and I hate their “Pop” brethren.
I gave it a second chance with another steep and it mellowed quite a bit to where I’m tasting more tea, but once something has been smelled it cannot be unsmelled.
Ultimately, Tootsie Roll Pop lovers should rejoice and think about trying a sample of this tea. GA
So I finished off this sample and have a few more thoughts on it: I’m not going to change my rating, but if there was a way to indicate a fluctuation of feeling about a tea, then this tea would float between the uncertain face and the smiley face.
I think I finally nailed the scent-association for me after I stuck my nose into the empty sample bag: green jolly ranchers. The taste itself was if Jolly Ranchers had a sugar-free version of pear (and then watered that taste down). I think that there will be an ideal black/fruit tea for me out there, but that this isn’t it.
Mmmm…flowers. ::drools a la Homer Simpson::
This was my 2nd GM sample and I was super-excited about trying this one. I’ve only had Stash’s White Rose and I wanted something to compare it to. So when I say things like “a lot more than WR” that’s the tea I’m using for comparison.
So, I popped open the packet and the smell was a nice bouquet of roses. It was a lot less cloying than WR (but it’s also a tiny sample packet, so perhaps a larger qty. would affect the smell’s impact).
First sip: yummers! I think that black tea is so much more well-suited to being “rose-afied.” The rose smell and taste couldn’t violate this tea as much as the poor WR. Yes, it’s rose-heavy, but what can I say? I likes me a cup of frou-frou. Really no complaints on this cup and will most likely get myself some to keep on hand for my ultra-girlie days. I still feel like I have yet to find my dream rose tea.
Second Steep: I sorta forgot to set the timer, so I’m unsure of how long this steeped. When I realized my error I guessed that it had been about 2 minutes, so I set the timer for two minutes. The first couple of sips I really noticed the tea more so than the entire first cup. But as it it cooled ::Ethel Merman impersonation:: Everything’s Comin’ Up Roooooses! NE
I must confess that I was becoming jealous of all the posts today that mentioned their GM sampler had arrived. Then I went out on an errand and came home and saw the package in my entryway. I let out an earth-shattering “squee” that sent my cat tearing across the room for cover. But I digress and would like to post my tasting note and then re-digress so anyone who wants the review can read it up front and then ignore the rest of my rambling.
This was the first tea I chose out of the 31 even though so many called out to me. I have never tried a black/fruit tea combo (oops – just realized that I’ve had decaf apricot ::facepalm::) and this one just sounded happy. I’m also hoping to expand my understanding of black teas. I’m generally not a fan of many of the black teas I’ve had – I’m turned off by their astringent bite. I popped open the bag and holy schnikees! It was pear. It was uber-pear. It was pear that shouted “I will suck your soul!” Underneath that there was a bit of musky-polleny smell.
I steeped that sucker and held off eating (I was really hungry) just to try this without distraction. I found it utterly yummy. I’m not a fan of pear and I’m not a fan of honey. Who knew that this blend would do a dance of happiness in my mouth? I drank the whole cup without eating since I was enjoying it so much. Afterward I did get a dryness to my mouth, but that doesn’t bother my noob palate – not yet. I’ll try more teas, but so far this is on my shortlist for my next GM order. And I’m dying to try this one iced. TG
Okay – so now I wanna have a moment to express my utter joy with tea. I’m a HUGE lover of books, but I can’t recall squeeling over a new book’s release. In the short time I’ve been discovering tea (with loose leaf being a mind-blowing new experience), I have fallen in love with the drink/experience. I love tea. I love the process. I am a tea-aholic and that brings me joy. I’ll find myself running my hands over the tea pots as the tea steeps and that makes me happy. I wish I had better words to express how much tea has rocked my world and I’m so very grateful that there’s Steepster. I’ve gained so much insight and pleasure from reading others’ thoughts. Happy, happy, joy, joy!
That is all :)
Edit: Okay, so not quite all. After my second steep I think I was coming down from my first ever “tea high” – like a runner’s high only yummier. There was something odd about this tea that I couldn’t put my finger on, so I read through more tasting notes and takgoti nailed it: “strawberry runts and banana boat suntan lotion.” And after reading others I thought that there must be a better fruit tea out there – so I bumped down my rating a bit. I still like this tea, but I’m more uncertain about reordering. The TG stays for now since at that time I definitely was euphoric, but not due to this tea alone. I shall try this one more time in a saner frame of mind and possibly readjust the rating one more time.
I’ve had this several times now and every time I’ve had it I think the word “unusual.” I think that tonight I finally tipped over the edge into not really liking this.
I’ve only had one other experience with a rooibos that someone served me, and as I recall I spent most of the time thinking “unusual” and “there is no problem so great that it cannot be solved by a cup of bush tea.” It just piqued my interest in exploring this tea more. I found rooibos intriguing and I loves me some caramel, so I thought that this would be an ideal tea for me. Um…not so much.
I know that I read someone’s review here on Steepster where they opened the can and thought “wood chips” and then “chippies!” Ever since reading that I think the same thing when I look at my sample tin of this (and my honeybush sample as well). So, thank you to the Steepsterite who coined that term – it really makes me happy.
I think that what tipped it tonight into the “not like” category is that I finally put my finger on what I feel this is like. It’s what I’d imagine damp cardboard dusted with fake caramel would taste like. It’s not the best description, but that’s the closest I’ve got. And I really don’t like how much of the tiney pieces end up floating around in my cup even though I have a nice strainer.
Ultimately, I will finish off my sample, but I don’t plan on exploring more rooibos since I really prefer my honeybush chippies! M