1677 Tasting Notes
Today’s work cold brew. This one had been in my desk drawer for a while, and while I’ve enjoyed drinking it hot this past winter, I feel like I’m done with that method of preparation now. My last cup was a little underwhelming, with less of the cranberry I’ve come to expect. Probably it’s getting a little old.
Anyway, cold brewing gave it a new lease of life, and also used up the last of the leaf, so a win either way. I used 2 tbsp of leaf in 2 litres of cold water, and it overnighted in the fridge for around 10 hours. This morning’s result is a pale-ish straw colour, which completely belies the fact that it has tons of flavour. I’m getting lots of cranberry again, and there’s an underlying juicy sweetness that reminds me a lot of pineapple (which I’m sure I’ve never tasted much in this blend before). It helps to cut some of the tartness/sourness from the cranberry, anyway. The green tea base is very subtle and smooth, with no bitterness or astringency (which is always my biggest worry when I cold brew green tea overnight).
I’m really pleased with how this one worked out, and it seems like a fitting way to say goodbye to a thoroughly lovely blend.
A sample from Miss B! After reading a couple of tasting notes, I went for a lot of leaf and a short brew time – 2.5 tsp for around 2 minutes, in boiling water. No additions. From looking at the leaf, I get the impression that this is a fairly unusual blend – citrus flavours and coconut with traditional chai spices.
To taste, though, it’s actually better than I expected. There’s an initial brightness from the citrus (orange, mandarin?) that bursts across my palate in a way that’s both sweet and slightly sharp/sour in the way only citrus can be. The mid-sip reveals some creamy coconut, which ushers in a semi-tropical vibe that’s acutally borne out really nicely in the spices which come into play towards the end of the sip.
I did wonder whether the spices would overpower the citrus flavour, but they’re actually reasonably subtle. You know they’re there when they emerge – I can pick out cardamon and pepper for sure, plus the warmth of ginger. Somehow, though, they work with the citrus/coconut combination, rather than against it. The overall feeling is of a tropical-style chai blend – the only thing I have to compare it to is Thai Chai, which generally contains coconut, but it’s not quite the same animal. The citrus here is (obviously) the really unique thing.
I’m enjoying this as a summer chai. I’d try it iced if I had enough leaf, but I think I probably don’t. Really, I’m just pleased that it doesn’t taste as odd as it sounds initially, plus it made for a good mid-morning cup.
A sample from Miss B I’m almost through the box of samples she sent me now – there was so much in it I thought I’d never find the bottom! I didn’t read any reviews or the description before I brewed this one up, and surprisingly I came out pretty close to the mark with my initial thoughts. In the tsp I used, I could see coconut shreds, slivers of almond, and a coffee bean amongst the black tea base. I gave it approximately 3.5 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk.
To taste, I’m getting coffee and chocolate in the initial sip – very reminiscent of a mocha, although not as intense. There’s a nuttiness in the mid-sip, and a rich smoothness that could just about be caramel. The base is fairly robust and deliciously malty, so even though the coffee flavour is fairly prominent, you never forget that you’re actually drinking tea. When it comes to coffee-flavoured tea, that’s the way I like it.
I’m enjoying this one. It’s definitely different, and it’s making for a good wake-up cup. I’ve tried maybe one or two coffee-flavoured teas before, but this is definitely my favourite so far. It’s not too overpowering, it’s still decidedly tea, and the nutty-chocolate flavours work really well. I’d buy more of this one.
I feel like I never log this one, and it’s not because I’m not drinking it (because evidently I am…) Anyway, I’ve made a point of adding a note for it today, mostly because it’s so perfect for a hot day and I had to share that. I love spearmint at the best of times, but its cooling sweetness is just the thing when only a hot drink will do, and it’s also nearly 30 degrees out.
I’ve not tried this one iced or cold brewed yet, because I’m a little bit afraid of the gunpowder base going astringent or bitter on me. I can imagine it working really well, though…if I get it right!
Sipdown! Used the last of my leaf in another cold brew, partly because I’m enjoying it and partly so that I can finally say goodbye to this one. It’s been good – particularly cold – but I feel like I’ve moved on from Adagio so I’ll not be repurchasing. There are other, equally good (or better) peach/apricot teas out there, but I’ve enjoyed this one while it lasted.
This morning I had a hankering to try this cold, so I whisked 1/4 tsp into a shot glass of cold milk, as a kind of mini-milkshake trial. It’s good – I can taste the bubblegum pretty clearly, followed by the creaminess of the milk. It’s much like a latte, really, only cold, and a little more intense because of the volumes involved. The aftertaste is especially good – bubblegum is such an artificial flavour, but I was definitely in the mood for it today and I LOVE it! Thanks again to Roswell Strange for sharing this with me.
A sample from Roswell Strange. This has to be one of the oddest combinations ever? I mean, mate, black, herbal…? Surely it’s hardly herbal if it’s got both mate and black tea in it, neither of which are renowned for their caffeine free-ness. I can get behind the idea of mate and black, though, and caramel works well with darker teas as a flavour, so…maybe?I have another question. What’s monk fruit? Please don’t say fruit eaten by monks. I could google, but the people at work would think I’m odd. Or odder than they already think I am, anyway. Maybe that’s one for later.
I gave the bag 3 minutes in boiling water, and it’s brewed up to a medium golden-brown, no additions. The initial taste is very heavy on the mate – quite earthy and pungent with a burnt coffee-like aftertaste. There’s also something smoky, although I can’t pinpoint exactly what. Maybe the mate? The monk fruit? Ha. I didn’t get much caramel initially, but as the cup cools I can begin to taste it. It’s a little on the artificial side, but not too badly, and there is a hint of salt. The salt actually works really well with the savoury flavour of the mate and the smoke – somehow it helps to bring everything together. Then with the underlying richness of the caramel, it actually makes for a pretty decent cup. I’m not even sure how it is that earth, coffee, smoke, salt and caramel taste good together, but they kind of do so there you go. My befuddled morning brain can’t make any more sense of things than that.
Sipdown! This will be a fond farewell, because I love it so much and it’s really difficult to get hold of David’s in the UK. I’ve had three cups from the sample so kindly provided by Roswell Strange, though, and I’ve resteeped each one once, so six cups in all. That should be enough to keep me going until next time I manage to get hold of some!
It’s not goodbye, but until we meet again. I hope.
Cold brewed this one again in an effort to finally finish the tin. I’m not there yet, but we’re making good progress! I’ll probably continue with this one over the next few days until it’s finally gone, because I enjoy it so much more cold than I did hot. It’s got good peach/apricot flavour, and a deliciously refreshing white base, and it’s been in my cupboard for far too long…
Finishing off my last tuocha today, and it’s going to be an unexpectedly sad goodbye. This was one of the first pu-erhs I tried, and although we had a few false starts I’ve come to enjoy this one really quite a lot. I’ve logged this one in detail before, so this time I’m just going to say that I’ll be resteeping it probably all day, and that I love its earthy compost flavour.
This makes a really good introductory/gateway pu-erh. It’s not too strong (as long as you don’t steep it too long to begin with…), and it has a fairly gentle, accessible flavour profile. I enjoy it most on a cold winter day, but I’m trying to get my cupboard under control and I don’t want a lone tuocha hanging around for another 5 or 6 months. I may repurchase – one day.