445 Tasting Notes
A sample from Queen of Tarts. I’ve only had one peach flavoured tea before, I think, and that was Adagio’s peach oolong. I wasn’t overkeen on the flavouring in that one, because it seemed hugely artificial, but it did make me reconsider oolongs. Anyway, this tea is much better on the peach flavouring front, I think. It tastes sweet and delicate, much like an actual peach, and the black tea base remains firmly in the background. I’m not 100% sure whether the flavouring is wholly natural, and it was maybe a touch too sweet for me this morning, but I’m looking forward to trying it again another time. As flavoured blacks go, this is a pretty good one!
Sipdown! Finished this off last night after I arrived home from a day in Southwold. I think I always appreciate good tea more than usual after a long car journey, but this was probably one of the best tasting cups I’ve had in a while. It’ll be sadly missed.
My last two darjeeling samples from 2012 have been languishing in my stash for a while now, so I dug them out last night and brought them to work. Immediately upon tasting, I can say that this is my favourite of the three first flushes. It’s far, far peachier in both scent and taste. It’s just somehow really juicy, and tastes almost as if it’s been mixed with actual peach juice. It hasn’t, but I’d really think that if I didn’t know better.
The leaves of this one are evidently very young, and a high proportion of them are a very pale creamy green. There are also a lot of downy tips, as you’d expect from a white tea. Probably that’s why this seems more like a white tea than anything to me, and probably that’s also why I like it so much. White tea is a favourite of mine.
Anyway, surprisingly enough, the liquor is actually darker than the other two Twinings first flush darjeelings I tried, even though the leaves are paler. It’s a golden amber, which somehow made me think it would be quite strong and astringent, but it’s not at all. It is stronger in taste, by which I mean peachiness, than the other two, but on the scale of tea strength, it’s actually still very light and delicate. It just seems to have a more definite and decided flavour, which is no bad thing at all. It’s initially very peachy, then there’s a more generic sweetness, and then something slightly caramelly comes out in the aftertaste. A wonderful, wonderful tea. There won’t be any problem finishing this sample, that’s for sure!
Had another of these last night, probably the second or third cup from my sample bag. I’m still finding this one of the most enjoyable chocolate rooibos blends I’ve tried, and I really like the freshness the mint adds here. I’ve got a good few cups to go yet, but this is one I’d definitely repurchase. The balance of flavours is almost perfect, and the rooibos isn’t at all overpowering. Yummy stuff.
My headache last night turned into a full blown migraine, and by the time I got home I was craving something chocolatey and comforting quite badly. A cup of this hit the spot, along with some of my normal pain killers. I think this is one of those teas that I’m going to notice more about each time I drink it. Unless it was just my imagination, I think the tea base itself has something a little chocolatey about it. I added a splash of milk about half way through the cup, just to compare, and I think that definitely helped the highlight the creaminess of the marshmallow. An intriguing tea, and one I know I’m going to look forward to drinking time and time again!
This is a tea I’ve definitely got better at brewing as time has gone on. The first time I tried it, I could taste mostly the tea base, and the berry only really emerged in the aftertaste. These days, I can make a cup of this and know that the berry flavouring will the main feature. I think it’s probably partly trial and error, and having found the amount of leaf and the brew time that suit my tastes. Part of it might be that it’s been open a while now, and maybe it’s benefitted from being aired a little.
I’ve only got a couple of cups worth of this left now, so it’ll soon be a sipdown. It’s a tea I’ve thourghly enjoyed, though, and one of the best berry flavoured blacks I’ve tried in a while.
I last drank this long enough ago that I don’t actually remember it at all. High time for another try, then! As this is the last of the Yumchaa reds in my stash for now (except Red Christmas, but I’m saving that for…Christmas), I’ve moved it to my tea drawer at work. I usually go for teas I don’t need milk with at work, as I don’t trust our old and ancient fridge. As I’m so cold today, perhaps this is just what I’m looking for.
Brewed, it smells spicy and hibiscussy, and for some reason it’s made me think of mulled wine. I guess it was a good choice after all, in that it feels like winter has suddenly returned. The taste is similar. I can detect the hibiscus (what is it doing here anyway?), but it is thankfully quite subtle. I can also taste cinnamon, and something like caramel. The kiwi plonks itself down right in the middle of the sip. I remember thinking last time I tried this that it really was like an adventure for the taste buds. This tea brings together all sorts of random ingredients and somehow makes them work. It’s not like any other tea I’ve ever tried, and, surprisingly enough, it’s nice. For all that, though, it’s not memorable. I’ve never drawn a complete blank on a tea I’ve tasted previously before, and yet I did here. Maybe the ingredients are too diverse? Maybe I just haven’t tried it enough compared so some others? I’m not really sure at the moment. It’s definitely a nice, welcome drink on a day like today, though. One I’ll have to try and get to know better over the coming weeks and months.
Today’s iced tea choice for work. I probably made a mistake with this today, as it’s not actually all that warm. It’s so stuffy in our office usually, I think I’ve just fallen into the habit of assuming I’ll be too hot. I haven’t taken my hoodie off yet, though, so it’s definitely on the cool side.
It doesn’t really matter, though. I don’t have any actual ice, so this is really just chilled tea. It’s convenient, because it means I don’t have to keep getting up and going to the kettle, which is at the other end of the office. It’s while I’m on these jaunts that someone inevitably comes in to reception, and I miss them. Still, it’s monday, I need caffiene, and I don’t care whether it’s hot or cold.
I’m a Lime Jello Salad fan, so this is another of Frank’s SBTs that I was eager to try. The first thing I can say is that I still prefer the green version. I miss the marshmallow in this, and the sweetness that perfectly balanced the tang of the lime. This is definitely limey, though, and it pairs so well with the black base. The smell of this both dry and brewed reminds me of actual Lime Jello, which I suppose is the point. It’s kind of sour and tangy, and it makes me think of summer. The taste is similar, with the Lime Jello peeking out from under the black tea and adding a fruity, zesty tang to each sip.
I forgot my sugar again, so I can’t experiment (when will I learn?), but I think my enjoyment of this would be hightened if it was a little sweeter. It’s lovely and refreshing and palatable as is, but I am looking for just a little more sweetness than it has naturally. While this probably isn’t my personal favourite of the SBTs, it’s certainly another good one. If I’d known it was this easy to make iced tea, I would have been doing it for years. Another excellent creation!
Tried this for the first time on Saturday, so this is a bit of a backlog. I held off drinking this one for a while, possibly out of a kind of fear? I like cinnamon as a flavour, but I’ve had too many bas experiences with cinnamon tea blends for me to approach this with anything other than trepidation. I needn’t have, though.
This tea really is a little bit magic, isn’t it? Drinking it makes me think of the glowing embers from a fire (or from a dragon’s fiery breath, maybe), and the spice almost makes it seem like it might spark in my mouth. My brain was expecting a sensation a bit like popping candy, but, of course, I didn’t get that :P Not to worry, though, because it’s fabulous anyway. For a tea to be so evocative is a thing in itself, whether or not the sensations live up to it!
Whenever I’ve had cinnamon previously, it’s always been blended with other spices, like cloves and ginger. I’m not a fan of that kind of mixture — it just tastes like a museum apothacary I visited as a child smelt, and that’s not a good thing in my estimation. This tea doesn’t, though. The cinnamon is left to shine on its own, and it tastes just as it should, like its natural self. The cayenne pepper adds a wonderful spicy heat, and the two together make a pretty unique, special combination. There’s a very, very slight smokiness from the lapsang, but it’s really barely detectable. This is a good thing for me, as I’m not oven keen on smoked tea, but it’s there for a reason in this blend, and it adds just enough for me to be able to imagine I’m drinking something dragon-singed. The dragonwell base is smooth and not at all astringent. You have to admit that the name, if nothing else, made it absolutely perfect for this tea. It does a good job supporting the flavours, though, and doesn’t get in the way of the overall taste. I actually think it’s a better fit here than a black base would have been. It adds just a slight dankness that contributes perfectly to the overall effect.
I’m looking forward to trying a second cup of this. I do love it when a tea is more than just a drink, and becomes a sort of taste experience that makes you think about its name and origins, and how it was put together. It’s a rare tea that does that, but this is one of the good ones. Truly magical! Thank you, Frank, for creating such inspired blends!
For some reason, I couldn’t think about anything but tea on the bus home from work. I think it’s because I have a headache, and I know tea (or caffiene, maybe…) will help to make it better. Anyway, I actually tried this for the first time yesterday, and only remembered just now. Safe to say, though, it’s the best chocolate tea I’ve tried so far.
Dry, it smells just like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. The black tea leaves are soft and slightly downy, and range from golden to a chocolatey brown. I can see pieces of marshamllow root, orange zest and chocolate chips interspersed generously. Brewed, the scent is similar. It’s definitely still chocolate orange, which is a relief. After the divine scent of the dry leaves, I’d have felt let down if it had been lacklustre at this point! It’s not, though. Far from it, and anything but. It tastes just as it smells, with the chocolate, orange and marshmallow each contributing equally to the taste, and harmonising with the others. This is such an aptly named tea — the flavours really are three friends here. The base tea is wonderful, too. It’s smooth, and slightly malty, and it makes for a great accord with the other flavours. When I’ve got a tea like this, I don’t really need real chocolate!