1617 Tasting Notes
In an effort to try and embrace Christmas (I just don’t feel Christmassy this year), I drank two cups of Bluebird’s Christmas Cake over the weekend. It came as a sample with my last order, and I kept it so that it wouldn’t be late summer when I was drinking it! I have to say, I really enjoyed it. It’s one of those novelty teas that’s so appropriate at Christmas, with its snowflake candies, iridescent glitter, and SPRUCE NEEDLES. I mean, how much more christmassy can you get? This is tea which contains ACTUAL CHRISTMAS TREE.
As if appearance alone wasn’t enough, it’s pretty good to taste, too. I tried this one the year before last, but this year’s version seems stronger on the vanilla than I remember. It’s deliciously sweet and creamy, with strong, rich, fruit cake notes underlying. There’s a lot of raisin, a touch of orange, a hint of spice. It really conjures up Christmas cake for me! I have a sample from last year lying around somewhere, so I’ll have to dig that out when I get home. This one was a real mood booster for me.
Wow, this is strong. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my first cup, and then wandered off for a few minutes while it brewed. I came back to it and added a splash of milk, not really sure what to expect. The initial sip nearly knocked me over – this one is SO, SO malty it’s almost thick. It makes my mouth feel kind of furry and icky, if I’m honest. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a tea as malty as this one before. There are other flavours, too – baked bread, prominently, and it’s also kind of earthy and woody. It’s rich, though. Maybe too rich for me. Even though I had lunch recently, I feel like this one’s making me feel a little queasy. Definitely not a tea to drink on an empty stomach, for me at least! On the plus side, it is keeping me awake. Given that it’s Friday, and the end of a horribly busy 6-day week, I really need something to keep me conscious this afternoon. I’m not getting out of bed tomorrow, and that is a FACT.
Not sure about this one.
Sipdown! I’ve had three small colds over the last two months, all of which I’ve zapped with this tea before they really got hold. I was a little skeptical about the effect a tea could have on a thing like a cold, but I really do believe that drinking this has made a difference. It’s good for soothing a sore throat, and I’m convinced it’s helped me to shake off the ills more easily. It tastes pretty good, too! Super brilliant stuff, and a definite repurchase!
Sipdown! This one has been my go-to tea the last couple of days. I’m feeling a bit under the weather, and it makes a wonderfully hearty, comforting cup. More so with a splash of milk! I’ll miss this one from my cupboard now it’s gone, but I can say that I enjoyed every last tiny scrap. Even though it no longer exists, this is still the best Assam in the world.
A sample from Miss B! I feel like I haven’t been on Steepster for ages, which isn’t entirely true. I’ve had a quick glance most days. I should probably say that my tea consumption hasn’t reduced, just my time to write notes. Work is manically busy at the moment, and the limited free time I did have has been completely swallowed up these last few months.
Anyway, this tea. It’s a new one to me, so I’m stealing 5 minutes to write something about it. I have the beginnings of a cold, so I figured a chai latte would be a good thing to drink. Warming, comforting, all that. I’ve managed to create one pretty successfully given that I’m at work, so that’s pleasing even though nothing else is right now. Tea makes everything better. I used 2 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it about 6 minutes in boiling water. It brewed up pretty strong, which is fine because I compensated by adding lots of hot milk. One thing I noticed about the dry leaf – this tea contains LOTS of cardamon pods. A good thing, because I like cardamon!
To taste, this has to be one of the best chai blends I’ve tried in a while. There’s a lot of milk, but the flavours are still really clear and strong, and not drowned in the slightest. The main flavour is cardamon (which makes sense, given that there’s tons of whole pods in this blend!), followed by warming ginger, the sweetness of cinnamon, and the slight dankness of cloves. It comes across almost medicinal in the aftertaste, but I don’t mind that so much. I think it’s the cardamon/clove combination that’s making me think of herbal throat sweets, but as they’re flavours I quite like it’s no big problem.
I’m glad I had this one on hand today – it was just the thing! I might add a little sugar to my next cup, just to sweeten things up a bit, but I had to give it a chance plain for my first cup. A delicious winter treat.
A sample from Miss B! It’s definitely chai weather now, so I’m working through my samples at quite a rate. I’ve drank this one twice now, both times in a Timolino at one of our interview day events. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for both cups, and gave it approximately 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk each time, but it strikes me as a tea that doesn’t take milk particularly well. It looks a bit thin and pale, although it doesn’t seem to affect the flavour so it’s not too much of a problem. The other thing that struck me straight away about this blend is that it’s mostly spices (quite chunky ones at that – whole cardamom pods, star anise, peppercorns, etc.) There’s not lot of actual black tea that I can see, which may account for the “thin” appearance.
Still, flavour is all and there are no issues with that here. I like cardamom in chai, and it’s pretty prominent here. There’s also a nice warmth from the ginger/cinnamon combination, and a touch of heat from the pepper. The only thing I dislike is the artificial sweetness that hits me in the back of the throat. It’s very reminiscent of stevia, but it could be liquorice root. It’s that kind of over-sweet, cloying flavour. I’d prefer to add my own sweetener, if I’m honest, but the rest of this one is so good I’m prepared to overlook what is a relatively small fault.
I’ve enjoyed this one, but it’s not my favourite chai. I’d probably not actively seek it out, but I’d not turn down a cup if offered. If you like a “chunky” chai blend that’s big on flavour but with not too much caffeine/actual tea, this might be just the thing!
This one’s really been calling me the last few days, so much so that it’ll soon be a sipdown. I have about two cups worth left, I think. I suppose now the weather’s getting cooler, the thought of “Ribena” is more appealing. I’ve not drank any actual Ribena in years, but blackberries and pomegranate are a reasonable substitute. Sweet, berry-like, a little tart. I like that it’s not too strong or overpowering – the sweetness of the white tea pokes through, with the gentle berry/fruit flavours mostly in the mid-sip. Pretty delicious!
Slowly working through my 52 Teas stash…
This one seemed like just the thing this morning. I feel like I might be getting a cold, so anything remotely resembling vitamin c is appealing for the moment. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it approximately 3 minutes in boiling water. No additions.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I was surprised by how much I liked this one. It has a delicious sharpness to the initial sip – it reminds me most of white grapefruit, but there are also hints of lemon and lime about it. The “main” flavour, though, is orange and I feel like that occupies most of the mid-sip, lingering just a little into the aftertaste. This one’s pretty natural tasting – like actual fruit juice and zest rather than “flavourings”. The black tea base is pretty solid, too, although not so strong that it overpowers everything else. Just right.
I drank this one hot because that’s what I do in winter, but I feel like it’d make a really good cold brew. I’ll maybe try that if there’s any left by the time next summer rolls around!
Finished this one off yesterday in my timolino. It was literally my only tea yesterday afternoon because I was out of the office hosting interviews (it’s THAT time of year again, sadly). I had a headache by the end, but at least this one kept me company for the first hour or so. It wasn’t as good as it is in a cup – somehow, the flavours seemed a bit muted. Still okay, though.
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!