587 Tasting Notes
Opened my sample bag of this last night. I was so tired, all I can really remember is that the dry leaf smelt gorgeous, and reminded me of Adagio’s Chestnut from the Holiday Cheer sampler. I drank it black, since that’s what I seem to do with honeybush generally, and found it on the sweet side for my tastes. Pleasant, though, and with a clearly defined hazlenut flavour. I’ll add a more detailed tasting note when I actually managed to drink it AND think about it!
On a related note, my Adagio fandom samplers arrived this morning. The European site has just started stocking them — only Sherlock and Doctor Who for now (I suppose because they’re inspired by BBC programmes?). I don’t place many orders with Adagio now, but I couldn’t resist these! I’m really looking forward to trying them, but my first complaint is that the tins are leaky. I had some tidying up to do when they arrived, as some of them had managed to find their way out of the hinges, which have gaps in. Not great, but fortunately not too much lost. I was pretty intrigued on the whole, though, and had a quick look on the US site to see what else might be coming this way in the future. Then I saw the Game of Thrones and My Little Pony samplers. Oh my, MAJOR WANT! Hopefully if the first two sell well in the UK, the rest will be stocked eventually…I imagine I’m in for quite a wait, though, given how far the European site seems to lag behind the US one — you guys have got loads of cool things on there that I just can’t access. I almost wish I hadn’t looked now, because I’ve made myself impatient. Perhaps I can persuade someone to buy them for me and ship them over…It’s so unfair sigh
I lied. Whatever I said my last sample from Courtney was, actually wasn’t. I’d somehow forgotten about this one, but found it on Friday while tidying my stash.
Anyway, two cups worth of this remain. The dry leaf smells sweet, and faintly of caramel. I gave it four minutes in boiling water and added a splash of milk. Reading the description, I wasn’t sure this tea would be for me. In actuality, I find it rather pleasant. The vanilla is the first thing I can taste; sweet and creamy. This gives way to a hint of citrus (maybe orange?) and then the spices develop in the aftertaste. They leave a warming sensation on the tongue and at the back of the mouth — I can see this being a fabulous winter tea. The black base is smooth and slightly malty, with absolutely no astringency. The flavours are well defined without being overpowering, and the whole thing seems really well balanced.
A great black tea, perfect for a chilly evening! Thanks again to Courtney for another excellent sample!
Sipdown! Tried another cup of this hot last night, but I still couldn’t get the flavours to develop as I’d have liked them to. It’s sweet and vaguely fruity, but nowhere near as good as it is cold — that’s how this tea really shines! I dumped the rest of my packet in my iced tea jug, and cold brewed it overnight. Might as well say farewell in style. Sweet, creamy, fruity strawberry pineapple awaits!
This is an unexpectedly beautiful tea. The leaves are long and wiry, and sort of variagated in colour. The tips are a pale golden brown, which gradually darkens to a dusty brown almost-black. The scent is sweet and malty, with slight notes of chocolate and smoke. It’s certainly an intriguing tea, and one I’m really looking forward to trying.
I gave this four minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. I think milk is a comfort thing for me; I had a challenging day in clearing yesterday, and I couldn’t imagine a non-milky drink tonight. This is a tea that seems to stand up well to milk, fortunately, but I will try it without before my sample is gone.
Brewed, the scent is much the same as it is dry, and the taste is much the same as the scent. It doesn’t look particularly substantial; the liquor is a golden brown even after four minutes, but the taste is deep and rich. It’s very sweet and malty, with hints of chocolate and cocoa in the aftertaste. I’m not the biggest Adagio fan, but this is one of the most intriguing black teas I’ve tried in a while. I’m going to enjoy finishing this sample, and picking up more of the nuances. This is definitely my kind of tea!
Another new try for tonight — but only a sample packet. I was looking for something that would suit the heat, and this jumped out at me from among my current selection. I like the idea of earl grey and fruit, so I’m looking forward to this one.
Dry, this smells overpoweringly of bergamot. I hope it’s not so strong brewed, or I may struggle with it. I’m a little surprised to read that there’s jasmine blossoms in here…I guess that’s what’s contributing the heavily floral edge. At the moment, it’s not looking like the light, delicate tea I was hoping for, but I guess we’ll see. I can see quite a lot of small fruit pieces among the black tea base, so that’s encouraging. The idea of papaya and strawberry are really appealing to me at the moment, so I hope they’re detectable when this is brewed.
I gave this three minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. That’s usually how I roll with EGs until I feel I’ve sussed them out. Brewed, this is actually really nice. There isn’t much hint of fruit in the scent, but strawberry comes out clearly in the taste. The milk makes it slightly creamy, and it’s reminding me a little of strawberry yoghurt. The papaya is pretty lost, but it might come out better were this left black. I’ll try that next time. The bergamot and jasmine are pretty subtle, although they add a bit of a sharp tang to the aftertaste. It’s by no means unpleasant, though; the slight bitterness contrasts well with the fruity sweetness, and this is an earl grey after all — where would it be without its bergamot? Fortunately, it’s well balanced, with a smooth, malty base, and the two aspects — fruit and earl grey — come together as a convincing and interesting whole. I wasn’t sure that it’d work initially, but it does, and I’m glad I gave it a chance. One I’ll definitely enjoy coming back to in the near future!
I like spearmint, a lot more so than peppermint. Until now, I’d only really tried this in blends, but I liked the flavour and deicded to pick this up with my last Tea Palace order. I’m in clearing again today, so I cold-brewed a litre of this overnight to sip on today while I work in the call centre. It’s a lot more mild and delicate than I was expecting — possibly I underleafed a little — but it’s still really refreshing and enjoyable. The mint is sweet and cooling, not as sweet as I was expecting. Neither is it as bitter as I sometimes find peppermint. Overall, I’m happy enough with this. I’ll increase the amount of leaf next time to try and get a bit more flavour, but I can see myself drinking this cold for the rest of the summer, and possibly even hot in the winter. Spearmint is definitely my mint nirvana, and I’m glad it’s something I realised before deciding against “mint” tea forever!
Sipdown! Decided to try the last little bit of this cold brewed, as I really loved the SBT version but have no more in my stash at the moment. It’s also the first day of clearing at my university (a-level results day, in other words), and things are pretty manic. I don’t have to brave the call centre until 12.00, so I’m soothing myself with this until it’s time. Cold, this is just as good as it is hot. It certainly smells like neapolitan ice cream! To taste, the honeybush base seems a tad more discernable than it does hot, but all three flavours are still present and correct. The chocolate comes out most clearly here, fallowed by the strawberry, and rounded out with the smooth, sweet creaminess of vanilla. As far as I’m concerned, this is pretty much prefection in a cup. I’m sad it’s gone, but hopefully it’ll be reblended at some point.
Last sample from Courtney. I was offered a temporary promotion at work this week, which starts when I get back from my holiday next week. Hence, I’m trying to clear my drawer of tea samples and the last little bits of packets so that I don’t have so much to carry home on Friday after I clear some space for my temporary replacement.
This is one of the samples that was in my drawer. Dry, this smells very strongly of marzipan — almost as if there was an actual block sitting there. It’s sweet and sugary, and it’s making me think of Christmas. Brewed, the scent is much the same. I’m not a huge marzipan fan, so I was getting a little worried, but oh my goodness. The taste. Almonds and marzipan are in there, but I can mostly taste cherry and coconut, with a gorgeous nuttiness in the background. The cinnamon and ginger come through mostly in the aftertaste, adding a little welcome warmth at the back of the throat. This would have been a great sample to have kept for winter, but I’m just as happy drinking it now. It tastes sort of like cherry almond cake — that’s the closest I can come to putting a description to the flavour — and there’s a wonderful hint of creaminess somewhere in there too. I’m a fussy thing when it comes to rooibos, but this is just gorgeous. There’s none of that brassy woodsiness I usually associate with rooibos, because the flavours are so clear and strong. Spot on! Now all I have to do is feel sad that I only had a one cup sample. Insert sad face here.
Had a cup of this hot at lunch, and wasn’t all that impressed. It smells sweet and bubblegum-y, but the taste is still very thin. I got strawberry, pineapple and creaminess from the cold brew, and I was looking for them desparately here, but all I can really taste is a generic sweetness. It’s a pleasant enough cup, but I definitely prefer this cold-brewed. I’ve got about half a pouch left, so I think that’ll be the way forward for me here. I’m not sure how I would have felt if I’d tried it hot first, but I think I’d have come to the same conclusion after trying it cold. That’s how it really shines!
My parents have been drinking this cold brewed for the last couple of weeks, and are apparently really enjoying it. I don’t remember inviting them to help themselves, but there you go! I decided to cold brew a litre of this for myself before it’s all gone, and I’ve also brought enough with me for a hot cup, just so I can compare.
The cold brew to start with, though. When I took this out of the fridge this morning, I was a little concerned to see it still looking so pale. Usually honeybush and rooibos brew up pretty dark, but this one is a pale reddish straw colour. I had a little sip just to make sure it actually tasted of something, and, despite appearances, it does! It’s a little on the weak side for me — possibly I need to add more leaf next time — but it tastes deliciously sweet and fruity. The honeybush contributes a lot of the sweetness, I think, although it doesn’t taste over much of honeybush, if that makes sense. I can definitely taste strawberry, with a hint of creaminess from the marshmallow. There’s a touch of pineapple in there somewhere, I think, which combines with the strawberry to make an interestingly odd flavour in the aftertaste. I guess it might as well be called pineberry — it’s certainly nothing that exists in nature! The dry leaf smelled quite strongly of bubblegum, but that’s not something that really energes in the brewed tea. It’s just sweet and fruity, light and delicate. Perfect for this time of year! I’m looking forward to trying a cup hot later!