1676 Tasting Notes
I finished off the last of my “Anne” sample yesterday, which made me sad. It’s not a sipdown, though, because I’ve still got a pouch of the “Frank” version in my cupboard somewhere. I love this one for its nutty, creamy, sweet, marshmallowy wonderfulness. It’s a Squares bar in a cup!
A sample from Miss B! This was my first cup of the day at work, and I’m enjoying it immensely. Flavoured teas can be a bit hit and miss, but this one delivers what it promises – buttermilk and lemon. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk, just because. The scent of the brewed tea is very much buttermilk – it has that salty sour tang that’s so distinctive. This also translates into the taste, but it’s freshened up wonderfully by the bright, zesty lemon. It’s deliciously creamy but not too sweet or cloying – it walks the right line for a mid-morning cup, at least in my estimation. The overall effect, particularly with the added milk, is one of lemon pudding. Totally delicious!
A sample from Miss B! It’s pretty much properly winter now, so I’m finding that I’m drawn more and more to warming teas, and particularly chai, once I get to work on a morning. I like how they can vary so much from blend to blend – it’s like there’s always something new to discover, even though there are usually strong similarities too. I used 2 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk. I’d love to try this one as a latte, but it’s western style for now because it’s just not really feasible to faff about heating milk at work. Sad as that is.
Anyway, the tea. The initial flavour is very gingery, which I’m enjoying. Sometimes ginger in chai can get a little lost amongst the stronger flavours, but it’s here in all its glory. There’s also a touch of corriander, which is no surprise as there were so many corriander seeds in my scoop. If anything, I thought it might actually be stronger because of that, but it seems like a pretty mild chai as they go. That’s good in one respect, because it allows the orange and vanilla to come through pretty confidently, and they’re nice flavours to have in a chai. This makes for a smooth, creamy, sweet chai with the slight sharpness of orange zest, a good warming kick of ginger, and a swirl of more generic “spiciness” floating around in the background. I enjoyed this one.
This is one of my oldest 52 Teas, so I figured it was time to finally try it. Plus I was in the mood for a mint chocolate tea anyway, so it’s a win-win. The scent upon opening the pouch was pretty strongly alcoholic, and I’m guessing this one will need to air a bit before it’s at its best. I used 1 tsp for my cup, and gave it approximately 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.
To taste, it’s pretty good. The base is a bit more pre-eminent than I’d have liked it to be. I’d forgotten what 52 Teas old black base used to taste like, but this was a clear reminder. It’s malty, but somehow also a little dusty tasting? Not the greatest, it has to be said. Then there’s the slightly alcoholic tang, which experience tells me will fade in time now the pouch is open. Underneath those flavours lurk the chocolate and peppermint. They’re pretty strong, which is good, and they come over better as the cup cools. The mint is cooling and refreshing, the chocolate sweet and creamy. It’s hard to go wrong with such a classic combination, really. I wish I could taste a bit less of the base, but that’s a relatively minor complaint because the flavourings still come over really well. Once the alcohol tang fades, this’ll be a pretty nice winter cup.
Sipdown! Finished this one off at work today. This was probably my least favourite of the Doctor Who fandom blends. It’s not that I don’t like it, but it didn’t wow me in the same way some of the others did. Mostly, it just seemed to lack a decent punch of flavour – I got a lot of base tea coming through, but not much of the orange I was really hoping to taste. Farewell, Donna!
A sample from Miss B! Another David’s blend I’ve heard good things about but not tried before – until now! I used 2 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. It smells really good, first off. Like a pina colada, only hot. To taste, it’s also pretty amazing. The initial sip is intensely tropical – I can taste coconut and pineapple primarily, maybe a touch of mango. There’s a slight whisper of spicing at the end of the sip, but it’s not overpowering or even really all that present. If I’m honest, I’m not sure what star anise is doing in this blend at all, but it doesn’t impact too much on the flavour so I’ll put that aside.
What this tea reminds me of most is one of those freshly squeezed fruit juice blends, only with a touch of added cream. The creaminess kind of crept up on me – I didn’t really notice it at first, but it gets stronger and stronger with successive sips. Another thing that builds in intensity is an artificial-tasting sweetness at the back of my throat. I’m guessing this blend is maybe pre-sweetened with stevia? Either that or there’s some liquorice root kicking about. It’s that kind of sticky, overbearingly intense sweetness that becomes difficult to ignore after a while.
Having said that, I am enjoying this one. I like the fruitiness, and the creaminess adds that extra touch of deliciousness. It has a brilliant tropical fruit juice/pina colada vibe going on, and in that respect it’s very easy to like. The intense sweetness is perhaps to be expected, and to be fair it’s not completely spoiling my enjoyment. I’m just very aware that it’s there, and really speaking it’s a little more than I’d like. It’s unseasonably warm today, so I feel like this tea made a fitting afternoon companion. A little hint of summer in a cup.
Sipdown! I had a little over 1 tsp of leaf left, so I decided to use it all for one last cup, rather than split it into two much smaller quantities. It concerned me slightly to overleaf a green tea, but in practice it worked okay. The initial sip was pretty much 100% praline, but as it cools I can taste the creaminess of the eggnog creeping in. I think I’m tasting more of both flavours this time than I ever have before, so maybe the slight overleaf was no bad thing. I’ll miss this one.
A sample from Miss B! I remember reading loads of reviews of this tea back in the summer, and based on those it was probably one of the recent David’s Teas that I was most interested to try. The flavour concept seems reasonably unique, too. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it approximately 4 minutes in boiling water. I spared myself the painful debating this time, at least. The liquor is really pale – clear and sort of yellowy, except that there’s a slight oily scrim on the surface. The scent is sweet and very reminiscent of melted sugar while it’s still clear (well before it starts to caramelise). I suppose that gives it at a decent hard candy vibe, so I’m encouraged so far.
To taste, this really is as candy-like as I imagined. It has that sweet, clear-boiled sweet flavour that’s basically sugar and glucose syrup. There’s a mild fruitiness underlying – it starts off tasting very much like strawberry, but there’s a definite sour cherry-like tang at the end of the sip. It’s by no means strong fruitiness – the “hard candy” aspect is front and centre at all times. I can see why people are comparing this one to Jolly Rancher, and it does come across a little like that – for some reason I want to say that it reminds me of the watermelon ones most of all, although there’s no melon flavour to make me think that. There’s a slight wateriness in the aftertaste, so maybe that’s what’s doing it.
I quite like this one. It’s like liquid lollipop. It reminds me most of all of those huge red candy rock dummies you can get at the seaside, or at the fairground. I don’t find it too cloying or over-sweet, maybe because it’s not that strong a flavour. It’s the right side of the line for me. I’m glad I got chance to try this one!
A sample from Miss B! I debated over this sample for a bit, because I’m aware that this tea was marketed at least for the purpose of serving iced. I didn’t really have enough leaf to make a pitcher of iced or cold brewed. I figured it would turn out pretty weak if I decided to risk it. So hot, then. But how much leaf? The whole sample (about 2 tsp) or half of it? This decision was made all the more tortuous by fact that I recently picked up a David’s Tea box set, which contains one of their measuring “teaspoons”. It became obvious pretty quickly that the David’s “teaspoon” is a lot bigger than my normal measuring teaspoon from Bluebird – nearly twice the size, in fact. Interesting. In the end, I went with 1 tsp of leaf from my normal measuring spoon, with the reassurance that I can always add the extra tsp of leaf if things don’t look to be working out. I gave it approximately 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions.
The first thing I have to say is that it smells great. Even if nothing else, the scent is just amazing – fresh, ripe, sweet, juicy peach. Thankfully, the actual flavour is equally wonderful. I had feared from the strength of the scent that it would be a little on the artificial side, but it’s not at all. It’s just like biting into a peach on a warm summer day. Perfect. It’s hard to describe any more accurately – think of a peach and that’s this tea. It’s pretty sweet (maybe just a touch sweeter than it needs to be), but not to the extent that it bothers me. I’m just enjoying this one for its sheer peachiness, and it’s welcome reminder of summer at the beginning of winter.
I thought I was going to get away without a pre-Christmas cold this year, but obviously that was a complacent thing to think. I was fine all day yesterday, until, inexplicably, at 4.45pm my throat got really sore. It’s only got sorer since, and nothing seems to be helping – not lemsip, not throat sweets, not hot drinks. Usually one of those provides at least a bit of relief, but apparently not this time. It’s really painful when I swallow.
The last thing I have to try is this tea, which now seems like a timely purchase. It’s a slightly odd combination of ingredients, although I can see why, together, they might help with a cold. I’m not sure that I’ve actually got a cold, though. I feel fine at the moment, except for the fact that my throat hurts. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. It smells “interesting” – a little like peppermint and liquorice, with a strong herbal/medicinal undertone. To taste, it’s not so bad. I can taste mint, mostly, and that has a nicely cooling effect that I’m really enjoying. There’s also a touch of eucalyptus, and that’s really pleasant too. I feel like I can breathe more easily, so I can see this being a good “stuffy nose” tea. The lemongrass adds a smooth sweetness that’s a little citrussy, but it’s really just background. The chili and echinacia I can’t taste, but that might be me – at the moment it’s hard to say. The only thing I’m not too keen on is the artificial tasting sweetness that’s coming from somewhere. It reminds me of liquorice, or stevia, although they’re not in the ingredients. I can only think it’s the aniseed, although usually that doesn’t bother me too much.
For a “medicinal” type tea, this is actually really palatable. I like the immediate cooling effect, but I haven’t had enough yet to establish whether there’s any longer term gain in terms of easing symptoms. I suspect I’ll be drinking this one most of the day, though, so I’m sure I’ll know for sure soon.
Just in time for the weekend, too. Happy Friday?