1674 Tasting Notes
This morning’s matcha was a 1/4 tsp whisked into a shot glass of hot water. It wasn’t my favourite combination, let’s say. A little too citrus peel/fresh cut grass for first thing, maybe, and it’s an odd combination to start with. I felt pretty horrible for about an hour afterwards, but I’m not sure whether the matcha had anything to do with that. I was feeling pretty rubbish to begin with, although not quite as nauseous. Not the combination for me!
This morning’s matcha was a plain latte made with 1/2 tsp, a bit of hot water, and lots of milk! I thought at the time that the powder had incorporated well, but I did find clumps that had settled to the bottom once I got to the dregs. Clearly my whisking technique needs more work! I think it’s pretty safe to say that I prefer flavoured matcha – it’s just so much more palatable. I didn’t mind this, though – it’s a bit grassy, and that’s an odd contrast at first with the sweetish flavour of boiled milk, but it’s not overwhelmingly pungent. I think it’s doing me some good, too, so I can tolerate it just to feel better.
Another old favourite, but this time the “old” 52Teas reblend version. I only opened the pouch today, and I’m getting the alcoholic tang that sometimes seems to occur with 52 Teas. I’m thinking I’ll need to air this one before it’s at its best in terms of flavour, but I gave it a go anyway just in case. I went with my normal parameters – 1tsp, 3.5 minutes in boiling water, splash of milk. The flavour is okay – definitely cotton candy, sweet, sugary, delicious. I can taste the alcohol-like tang right at the beginning of the sip, though, so I was right to think about airing it. I’ll try and be more patient before I go for my next cup! Either way, I enjoyed this one. It’s good to have it back in my “active” cupboard, and I’ve let my original rating stand.
A sample from Miss B. I’m very much a chocolate tea fan, so I’m more than happy to take any opportunity to try one that’s new to me. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.
I was looking forward to chocolate truffle in a cup – who wouldn’t? – but it’s really not that intense. The black tea is malty and sweet, but that’s mostly all I can taste. There’s a hint of chocolate, but I think potentially I’ve been spoilt by some of the other chocolate teas I’ve tried recently. I’m looking for MORE CHOCOLATE, and it’s not there to find. Still, though, it’s tea. My expectations should probably be more reasonable.
This isn’t a bad cup, by any means. The base tea is pleasant and there is some chocolate. Just not enough for me, clearly!
A sample from Miss B – I’m still working through the very generous (and seemingly bottomless!) box she sent me. At first I thought this one was mainly black tea, and wondered why it looked so…shiny. At this point I realised that it actually contains a very high proportion of vanilla pod pieces – maybe as much as 50% now that I’ve taken a closer look. This clearly explains the name. I gave 1.5 tsp of leaf approximately 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.
I’m pretty impressed with the flavour. I wasn’t sure how a tea with such a high proportion of vanilla would come across – whether it would taste thin because there’s not too much actual “tea”, whether the vanilla pods would even infuse well in only a few minutes. I was wrong on both counts – the black tea base is nicely malty and pairs amazingly well with the sweet, rich, creamy, fudge-like vanilla. This one reminds me a little of Whispering Pines Golden Orchid – it’s not as intense or chocolatey, but the vanilla gives it a similar dessert-like vibe. It’s definitely a pleasant tea to sip on – very enjoyable.
I tried this as a latte this morning, and I was pretty impressed. I wasn’t sure how the flavour would work with milk, but it was actually okay. I got more of the “wine” flavour than I did with yesterday’s coconut water, but also a hint of berry and a touch of citrus rind. I have felt more awake the last couple of mornings, so maybe there’s something to this matcha thing after all. I’m enjoying this one – thanks again to Roswell Strange for sharing it with me!
ETA: I keep meaning to say that I’m drinking the basic grade, distinctive flavouring version of this one.
I opened my pouch of the “old” 52 Teas reblend version yesterday evening. I’d been hanging on because I was half-scared that it wouldn’t live up to my memory of the original. I needn’t have worried, though! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water, no additions. In terms of scent it’s exactly like the SBT version, and it’s very similar in terms of flavour too. It’s tangy, a little creamy, with flavours of lemon, lime, orange and raspberry that are at times distinctive and at times part of a greater “sherbety” whole. There’s even the suggestion of fizziness, which is as lovely as it is intriguing. This will make a wonderful transition to spring kind of tea, and it’ll certainly brighten up my day every time I drink it. Wonderful, magical stuff.
A sample from Roswell Strange. I still had some coconut water left after yesterday’s experiment, and I figured a sweeter/fruity matcha might pair better with it than plain. I used 1/2 tsp whisked into half a glass, and was a lot happier with the result. There’s a pleasant overall “orange rind” kind of flavour that works well with the sweet, tropical coconut. This turned out a lot more palatable than just plain matcha, and I was happy to sip on this first thing. A success!
The sample I’m working on currently is from Christmas 2014. I believe I still have some in a tin from 2013, but I didn’t have that to hand this morning. Needless to say, I really enjoy this one. It tastes like Jamaican ginger cake – warming, spicy, with a sweet biscuit/bread/cake like element underlying the spice. It’s my favourite of the Bluebird Christmas blends, but one I’m also happy to drink year-round. It certainly brightened up today.