1657 Tasting Notes
I must be on a roll with 52 Teas at the moment, because I’ve had some truly amazing cups of this one in the last couple of days. I helped out our enquiries team yesterday afternoon, so I wasn’t paying close attention when I prepared this cup – it was a couple of minutes grabbed between calls. I know I used 1 tsp of leaf, and no milk or sugar, and I’m pretty sure it got less brew time than normal because I was in a hurry. Maybe 2 minutes tops? The candy floss flavour was light and almost fluffy tasting…very sweet and crystalline but not in any way artificial. The black tea base was fairly unobtrusive, and not at all astringent. The biggest struggle I’ve had with this one has been the fight between artificial sweetness and astringency, but here I somehow managed to avoid both.
I’ve also had a couple of cups with milk this week that were also seriously good, but I can’t remember anything now about how I prepared them. Middling brew time, 1 tsp leaf? So vague. Why is it that I only manage brilliance when I’m not concentrating?
This morning’s cup of this one is really good, unexpectedly because I kind of threw it together without paying a great deal of attention as soon as I got to work. I think I underleafed at least a little, and added no milk or sugar. It got a reasonably long brew time – maybe 4 minutes? I went downstairs and back up before I returned to the kitchen, so probably at least that long. All I really know for sure is that the water was boiling.
Anyway, it’s great and now I’m kicking myself because I don’t really know how to recreate it. It’s so, so buttery with just an undertone of chicory and black liquorice. Delicious! If only ever cup of this was as good…
So I’ll admit straight off that I fully didn’t expect this one to work. I mean, there’s so much going on in the name, how could it? I was actually kind of wrong, in the best possible way. This one got the usual SBT treatment (3 minutes in 1/4 litre of boiling water, topped up to 2 litres with cold and into the fridge overnight). The initial flavour is pumpkin pie, with both the spices and a buttery pie crust note present and correct. The mid-sip contributes some chocolate, and it’s odd how well it resembles the chocolate sauce you can buy specifically for ice cream, kind of semi-artificial but wonderfully right when contrasted with cold, sweet ice cream. Vanilla ice cream, specifically, and that’s what I get right at the end of the sip – delicate vanilla notes, which contribute a smooth creaminess and somehow bring everything together. I don’t think I got crepe, but I can forgive that because it’s so spot-on otherwise.
Did I just drink pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce?
Yes I did.
This is the last of the Twinings Indulgence blends I picked up pretty much on a whim. I’d pretty much ruled out Twinings green blends a long time back, but the idea behind these, and favourable things friends had said about them, made me reconsider. I’m glad I did, because these are pretty amazing. I gave this bag 2 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees.
Straight off, Salted Caramel reminds me a lot of the Fudge Melts blend I tried last week (I think…), only with less vanilla. I wasn’t all that keen on Fudge Melts – it sounded great, but it was kind of cloying and over-sweet in a sickly sort of way. Salted Caramel, fortunately, isn’t like that. The initial taste is sweet, rich, soft caramel, but there’s a distinctive saltiness that keeps the sweetness at a manageable level. My head tells me I’d prefer this as a black tea, but I can’t actually taste the green tea at all so I think that’s just my own bias towards black tea rather than a substantial observation.
On the whole, I’ve been pretty impressed with how flavour accurate these blends are, and there are a few that I’d happily drink again (and maybe actively seek out once my cupboard is under control again). Salted Caramel is no exception, so if you’re looking for an accessible, strongly-flavoured caramel dessert tea this would be a good place to start. Yum!
I thought for a moment that I’d started doing something wrong with these, after last week’s Candy Cane experience, but then I read a few of the other reviews and it turns out this one just doesn’t have a lot of flavour. It’s good to know I’m not the only one! This one got the usual SBT treatment (3 minutes in 1/4 litre of boiling water, topped up to 2 litres with cold water, and into the fridge overnight).
To taste, it’s lightly creamy, but I’m hardly getting any almond flavour at all – just the tiniest smidgen of nuttiness, and mostly in the aftertaste. The black tea base is smooth and refreshing, as always, so it’s pleasant to drink, but I was hoping for more flavour. Not loads – because almonds can be quite strong and overpowering and I’m not a huge marzipan fan, but a little more than I’m getting. Having said that, actual almond milk is a fairly mild thing, so maybe I’m being unfair. I’ll enjoy sipping on this one, nonetheless.
I’d pretty much ruled out Twinings once I started drinking loose leaf tea, but I’d heard people say good things about this one (and the Indulgence range in general) so I finally caved in and bought a few to try. I wasn’t expecting a lot, so it was a complete surprise to find that these are actually…really good.
Caramelised Apple is the fourth I’ve tried from the range, and it’s probably my favourite so far. The initial flavour is very much caramel, but it tastes to me like the hard, transparent caramel you’d find on a fairground candy apple, rather than the softer opaque stuff. That probably only makes sense to me, but I know what I mean. The apple comes out mostly towards the end of the sip, and quite well in the aftertaste. It’s a slightly sharp, green apple flavour, and pretty true to life. The clean sharpness cuts through some of the caramel flavour, and it’s a brilliant combination just as it is in reality. It’s not artificial at all, to my tastes, and neither is it overdone or overpowering in terms of sweetness. I like this one a lot, and I don’t often say that about bagged tea.
A sample from Roswell Strange, who kindly agreed to help me expand my flavoured matcha horizons. This is the second I’ve tried of the samples she sent me, and since it’s a little cold this morning it seemed like a pretty appropriate “warm up” flavour when I arrived at work. I made it up as a latte – 1/4 tsp of leaf whisked into about an inch of water, then topped up with hot milk.
The flavour is pretty good. It seemed very sweet and buttery initially, which reminded me very much of pie crust. The cinnamon emerged second, and added nicely to that effect. The apple is a little more fleeting, but there’s definitely something in the mid-sip that reminds me a lot of apple pie filling, although shop-bought rather than homemade. There’s something just a little artificial about it. The apple is sweet and floury rather than sharp and crisp, which is the opposite of my preference, but it works with the pie/baked goods theme here, and is tolerable in that respect.
I feel like I got on pretty well with this one, and I’m looking forward to experimenting a bit with preparation methods and suchlike. Thanks again to Roswell Strange for the opportunity to try this one.
Today’s work iced tea. I prepared it the usual way, giving the bag 3 minutes in 1/4 litre of boiling water, topped up to 2 litres with cold and into the fridge overnight. I love anything candy cane related, so I was pretty excited to try this one! While it was brewing, I could really smell vanilla and mint, and the tiny taste I took was pretty good. A little artificial in the way of peppermint extract, maybe, but good. This morning I’m wondering whether it’s too cold, because I can’t really taste much of anything at all. There’s a very faint mint flavour, and it’s lightly sweet/creamy, but that’s really all. If anything, the bulk of the flavour seems to be in the aftertaste, but that’s not saying much because there’s not much flavour to be found.
I’d probably say that I’d stored this one too long if I hadn’t taken a tiny sip last night and found plenty of flavour. I’m going to let it warm up a little in case that improves things, but otherwise I’m at a loss to know what happened with this one. It was candy cane, and now it’s no more than just barely. Hmm.
ETA: It’s a little improved as it gets warmer, but not as much as I’d hoped. I’m going to give this one a rating of 60, because it tasted okay last night, and it still does except that it’s significantly fainter than I recall.
A sample from Roswell Strange! I’ve been curious about this flavour for a while, since I quite like bubblegum but don’t get along much with it in actuality thanks to an old jaw injury. I’m also pretty sure I could smell this one as soon as I opened the envelope of samples she sent me, and since it was so sweet, fruity, and delicious, it was an obvious first choice to try.
I made this up as a latte, following my usual method (1/4 tsp matcha, whisked into about an 1.5 inches of water with an aerolatte, topped off with hot milk). This is the delicate level of flavour, but the initial sip has the intense flavour of bubblegum. It’s actually a difficult flavour to describe, probably because the real thing is mostly artificial to begin with. It’s sweet, which goes without saying, and then there’s a candy fruitiness that reminds me very much of Juicy Fruit (and also Lush’s Snow Fairy shower gel, minus the soapiness). The flavour lingers well into the aftertaste. I can taste very little of the actual matcha – just a touch of grass that pokes out towards the end of the sip, and a hint of saltiness.
I’m actually thinking I might like to try this one iced, which I’ve not attempted with matcha before, so I’ll need to work out how to do that. My overall on this one, though? Pretty delicious. It’s an unusual flavour, and fun on a hot day. Thanks again to Roswell Strange for sharing this one with me!