1388 Tasting Notes
I’ve just started my last bag of PTA, and I’ll be really sad to see it go. All the more reason to enjoy every single cup, though! Today my cup is very malty, with strong raisin notes and just a touch of honey-like sweetness. Simple, but brilliant, and the best way to start Saturday that I can think of!
Another old favourite, and another of the “Frank” reblends as opposed to Anne’s current version. I have to say, this one smells gorgeous. As soon as I opened the pouch, I was pretty much overwhelmed with the scent of blueberry, and once brewed it’s stronger still. Sweet, sugary, blueberry! I’ve always been fairly conservative with my brew time on this one, given that it has a gunpowder green base, so I went for 2 minutes in water cooled to 175 degrees.
To taste, it’s totally delicious. I wasn’t expecting it to resemble the original so much, but it does and it’s wonderful. The main flavour is sweet, slightly tart blueberry. It’s pretty natural-tasting, not chemically or artificial. Underlying that is a sugariness that does remind me of cotton candy, and helps to take the blueberry to new heights. What this really puts me in mind of is those blueberry slushies you can get at the cinema! A true sweet treat, without the calories! The green tea is surprisingly absent, and I can’t actually taste it at all. I don’t mind that so much.
Drinking this one today reminded me how much I like this blend, and blueberry in general when it’s done well. I’ll not neglect this one so long next time!
Another of my older 52 Teas blends. I liked this one as soon as I tried it in the 12 Teas of Christmas sampler a few years back, and I had to take the opportunity to pick up a pouch of the reblend. Just to clarify, this is a “Frank” reblend, rather than the current “Anne” version.
I like this one mostly because it uses spearmint, which is woefully underrepresented in both green and herbal teas, and in the mint tea world generally. As someone who prefers spearmint to peppermint, that makes me sad. It’s even better here because it’s paired with marshmallow, which is another flavour I enjoy in tea. I never used to be much of a green tea fan, but this was one of the blends that originally helped to change my mind.
This reblend is pretty true to form. It’s quite strongly minty, with the sweet yet still refreshing and cooling spearmint front and centre. After the initial hit of mint comes the more delicate sweetness of the marshmallow root. It adds a deliciously desserty vibe, and contributes another layer of sweetness. Underlying both is the green tea, but it’s barely there and adds just a hint of grassy vegetal flavour. I love the name of this one. It’s very evocative, and it sort of does seem fitting in terms of the flavours. I can just imagine the coolness and the scent of the grass and the trees, with a hint of mist in the air…Very atmospheric!
I was prepared for this reblend to not quite meet my expectations, but in actual fact I’m not at all disappointed. It’s still a great blend, even after all this time. One of my favourite flavoured green teas!
Another of my older 52 Teas blends, but one I’ve been looking forward to a lot. Today is turning out to be a pretty horrible day for various reasons, so I figured I deserved a treat. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and it’s pretty impressive even dry. The scent is great – sweet and caramelly, and there are huge chunks of dried apple scattered amongst the Fuijan oolong base. I gave the leaf approximately 2.5 minutes in water cooled to 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown – rather like caramel, in fact!
To taste, I’m really enjoying this one. I’m not usually a fan of roasted oolong in general, but I’m more than happy to make an exception here. I suspect that’s largely because it’s overpowered by the flavouring, and is only really discernable in terms of a mild honey and wood flavour in the background. There’s none of the metallic notes that I’m so leery of. The caramel flavour is the strongest, and it’s beautifully sweet and a touch creamy. It’s also perfectly paired with the apple, which is softer but still identifiable. The apple adds just the tiniest hint of sharpness, which really takes this one away from merely “sweet” and into genuine “caramel apple” territory. It’s pretty spot on in terms of flavour!
I know I’m going to enjoy finishing off this pouch. It’s a treat in tea form.
Okay, I totally chose this one for the name! It was a free sample with my last Teavivre order, and because I liked the name and am still looking for a decent fruit tea, I thought I’d give it a try. The dry leaf is reasonably encouraging, except that it contains a huge hibiscus leaf. I like to look at hibiscus – it’s a pretty thing, for sure – I just don’t want it in my tea. There are decent sized chunks of pineapple, papaya and apple, though, and a few dried black grapes. The scent to me is very much of blueberry, but there’s no blueberry here as far as I can see…it’s suppose to be a pineapple/papaya “tropical” blend. I guess we’ll see…
I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium orangey-red, and the initial flavour is sadly mostly hibiscus/rosehip tartness. There is a pretty good tropical flavour underlying, but it’s a bit overpowered to really make much of an impression. It’s more papaya than pineapple, a little peppery and less sweet than I was expecting.
On the whole, I’m not really struck. Fruit teas without hibiscus are definitely more my thing, but there are so few that are readily available in the UK. I would really like a David’s Tea here sometimes! I wondered for a moment whether this might have been better cold brewed, but still – hibiscus.
This one is better now it’s been open a few days. The odd alcoholic tang has dissipated, and it’s possible to taste the chocolate/mint combination to full effect. I’d say the mint is stronger than the chocolate here (and the chocolate is definitely milk), but it’s still a deliciously creamy, flavourful cup. I’m going to enjoy my pouch of this one!
A sample from Miss B! Looking at the ingredients in this one, I wasn’t really expecting it to taste of root beer, per se. It kind of does, though! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it approximately 4 minutes in boiling water. The scent is almost right – sweet and creamy, with an underlying almost medicinal tang, but the initial sip is heavily “herbal”. It seems to take a moment for the different flavours to pull together, and initially the predominant notes are aniseed, star anise and liquorice root. Somehow, they all eventually coalesce to create a pretty convincing “root beer” effect, although it has to be said mostly in the aftertaste. I’m particularly enjoying the deep, dark molasses-like flavour in combination with black liquorice, and the tiny hit of vanilla that this one presents. Not my favourite herbal, but well worth a try!
A sample from Miss B! I’ve enjoyed my T2 samples so far, and I’m hoping this one is going to be another hit. They seem to do dessert teas really well, and chocolate is a classic in that respect. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk. Brewed, this one certainly smells good – rich, chocolatey, and reminiscent of a cup of hot chocolate!
To taste, it’s almost as good. There’s a reasonably strong chocolatey flavour coming through, although it reminds me more of cocoa than actual chocolate. It’s definitely on the sweeter side, too – milk chocolate rather than dark. It’s a little thin tasting, which is to be expected given that it’s not actually chocolate, but I can’t help but think that a different base tea might have helped with that a little. I can see why Keemun, because it can have chocolate notes of its own, but I’m not really picking those up much here. In addition to the cocoa/milk chocolate flavour, there’s also a nuttiness that’s really rather pleasant. The more I drink, the more I’m reminded of nutella – and that’s no bad thing!
I’m enjoying this one. It’s not the most chocolatey tea I’ve ever tasted, but it’s one of the more flavour accurate in terms of having no weird chemical/artificial weirdness kicking around. This makes for a very pleasant dessert tea, with its creamy chocolate nuttiness and intrinsic sweetness. Great stuff!
A sample from Miss B! Continuing the sweet theme this morning, I decided Creme Brulee was the only way to go after Terrific Toffee. What else could compete? I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk, mostly for fairness of comparison. It’s not so dark that I couldn’t drink it without.
To taste, this one is (if that’s possible) even sweeter than Terrific Toffee. It has strong vanilla custard vibes, with just a hint of caramel, and a rounded nuttiness that helps to bring the whole thing together. It is rather like a creme brulee in terms of taste, but it’s walking a fine line for me in terms of sweetness and sickly sweetness. It’s a truly excellent dessert tea, though, and a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth. So many flavoured teas promise things they don’t deliver, but this one is a rare exception. Delicious, sweet, creamy creme brulee in a cup!
I drank this one a couple of times over the weekend. Now that I’ve finished off my flavoured Butiki blends, I’ve pulled out the straights and started working on those. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I defied the recommendation and added a splash of milk, simply because that’s how I prefer my tea first thing. It’s plenty strong enough to stand up to a dash of milk, anyway, so no harm done.
I found this one to be a pretty unique breakfast blend. I usually expect blends containing assam to be predominantly sweet and malty – it’s a characteristic that just seems to dominate. Not so here, which is really no bad thing – it’s refreshing to taste something a little different! Shiva’s Breakfast starts out a little sweet and chocolatey, but it has a strong citrus flavour in the mid-sip which is also a little bitter in the way of grapefruit or bergamot. The end of the sip reveals the flavour of what I can only describe as green wood – a little sappy and chlorophyll like, with slight floral hints.
I think this tea really makes the most of its component blends. They work together very well, with the strongest characteristic of each contributing something to the whole. No one tea or flavour dominates, so it’s actually a pretty complex taste experience – certainly different from an “ordinary” breakfast blend! I’ll probably save this one a little simply because it’s so unique – I’m not sure where I’ll find another tea like this one I’m finished with my bag.