1321 Tasting Notes
A sample from Angel at Teavivre. After trying the plain Silver Needle this morning, I decided to move on to the two flavoured blends she sent me. The silver needle in this packet appears to be of the same quality — pale creamy green buds, very downy. In addition, there are rose buds and whole chamomile flowers scattered throughout. The scent upon opening the little pouch reminded me of peaches — sweet, slightly floral, with a lovely juicy fruitiness. Amazing! It’s the scent of summer.
I gave just over 1 tsp of leaves 2.5 minutes in water cooled to approx. 175. The resulting liquor is pale green, with a hint of yellow.
The initial flavour is rose, in a kind of sweet, sugar-dusted, turkish delight kind of fashion. I think the sweetness comes from the chamomile — it’s almost honey-like, with notes of hay and sunlight. The two flavours sit well on the silver needle base, which is itself mildly floral, a little sweet, but mild and unobtrusive on the whole. There is a slight savoury, fresh cucumber note that I picked up on in the plain Silver Needle, but it’s mostly overwhelmed by the sweeter flavours.
I like the combination of chamomile and rose here. It’s sweet, delicate, not overpowering, and tastes wonderfully of turkish delight! What’s not to love? I also found it very calming during a stressful morning at work, so that’s another point majorly in its favour! Thanks again to Angel and Teavivre for allowing me to sample this delicious, sophisticated blend!
A sample from Angel at Teavivre. I like white tea a lot; it was one of the first varieties of tea I really tried after black, and my initial enjoyment has stayed with me ever since. The dry leaf here looks exceptionally fresh – soft, downy buds, which are white and creamy green. No dried out grey/black buds here! I gave 1 tsp of leaf 3 minutes in water cooled to 175, and the resulting liquor is a very pale green, maybe with a tinge of yellow.
It tastes delicious. Cucumber is the first flavour I picked up; refreshing, cooling, slightly savoury. Then comes a little hay, which adds a delicate sweetness, and an almost thick creaminess. There’s a light floral note right at then end of the sip. It’s a smooth, eminently drinkable cup, with none of the “powderiness” I sometimes get from white tea. I reckon it’s going to be a fabulous resteeper!
Based on this first cup, I can safely say that Teavivre will become my go-to retailer for fresh, flavourful white teas. The leaves are so fresh looking (I’m sure the foil packaging helps with this), and the taste is so much more developed than simply “sweet water”, which is sometimes my impression of white tea.
Thanks so much to Angel and Teavivre for sending me a sample of this one. I’ll definitely be back for more!
I find it hard to believe I haven’t reviewed this one yet. I’ve certainly been drinking it for a little while! I’m sure I did write a note, but maybe steepster ate it. Or maybe I’m just mad.
I used 1 tsp of leaf, and added it to water of about 175 degrees for 2.5 minutes. I was a little taken aback by the colour of the liquor; it was quite a dark yellow-green shade, a shade I usually associate with bitterness or astringency.
Fortunately, it has none of these qualities. Instead, the sweet cherry flavor comes through first. It’s quite mild, but there, and it’s reasonably true-to-life. Not overwhelmingly candy-like, or reminiscent of cough medicine. The toasty rice is the second flavour, and, again it’s pretty perfect as far as my tastes for genmaicha go. It’s toasted without tasting burnt, or bitter, and it’s not too overpowering. I had feared that it would disguise the cherry flavour altogether, but it doesn’t. The final flavour is the mild, sweet, vegetal taste of the green tea. It’s very smooth, and the “green”, almost slightly grassy, flavour augments the fruitiness of the cherry perfectly. I catch just a hint of creamy cheesecake flavour right at the end of the sip, but nothing more than that. It’s enough, though, and it really helps to round this one off perfectly. All elements present and accounted for!
While it’s not my favourite of the cheesecake genmaichas, this makes for a very pleasant cup. Banana Cheesecake Genmaicha will probably always hold that crown for me, and I’d want the cherry here to be a fair bit more prominent if it were seriously going to challenge that. Even so, it’s one of the better balanced genmaicha blends I’ve tried, and they can be hit and miss for me sometimes. Good work, Frank!
Second cup today, for which I used 1 tsp of leaf, brewed for 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk. I’m getting a strong banana flavour this morning — almost candy banana, really, and which is absolutely delicious. There’s a little almond and cinnamon kicking around in the background, and a hint of passionfruit. I got far more passionfruit in my previous cup, but I really like the banana I can taste this time. It’s a really wonderful pairing, and makes for a great mid-morning cup! Delicious. One I’d really like to add to my cupboard in the near future.
A sample from Ysaurella. I enjoy Christmas in general (not as much as Halloween, though!), so it comes as a surprise to me that I’ve not tried all that many teas which attempt to capture the spirit, or essence, of Christmas. I can think of one or two, but none that spring to mind as readily as this one! Finally, thanks to Ysaurella, I have the chance to try it.
I chose a cool autumn day for my first tasting — I’m just too impatient to wait for December, or Christmas itself. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I made no additions to my first cup, but I think milk would work here. The base tea and flavouring seem robust enough to carry that.
The main flavour I can detect is clove, followed by orange/mandarin, and then cinnamon. The base tea is pleasantly malty, and adds a delicate sweetness that really seems to help enhance the almost savoury flavours. It’s quite a heavy-tasting tea, and the aftertaste lingers long on the palate like a slow-fading memory of Christmases past. There’s a very slight dryness, but I’ve come to expect that from spice teas in general.
This one does capture the scents and flavours of a traditional Christmas well enough for me. Christmas isn’t always a happy time of year for me, though, so some of that is very bittersweet. This would be the perfect cosy tea for a cold winter day, though. It’s a spot-on evocation of winter, and traditional happy family Christmases.
I also have a sample of this one from Cteresa, so this afternoon’s cup comes courtesy of her. I gave 1 tsp of leaf approximately 3 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. The taste is a little different to the previous cup I tried. This time, I’m getting a flavour much more reminiscent of rum raisin ice cream. There’s a very clear raisin flavour, followed by a tang of rum (navy, rather than white), almost as if rum infused raisins had been added to the tea base. There’s also a sweet, silky creaminess, which I’m assuming is the vanilla, and which is so reminiscent of ice cream it’s almost unreal. At the very end of the sip, there’s a hint of dark chocolate. It’s deep, dark, decadent and delicious.
Last time I drank a cup of this, I was a little cautious with the brew time. I think the extra minute helps the flavour immensely, although I definitely need milk to cut through the tiny bit of astringency that creates. This is such a boozy, intriguing cup, it almost feels wrong to be drinking it at work! Gorgeous, through, except now I’d also like a bowl of ice cream. Ah well, I can dream sweet dreams until it’s time to go home!
I also received a sample of this one from Ysaurella, so today’s cup comes courtesy of her. This time I’m drinking it without milk, and I’m enjoying it just as much. It’s such a smooth tea, and the base is so light and mild in flavour it’s almost ethereal. A little like the full moon, perhaps?! The main flavour I’m picking up is, as previously, cherry. It’s a lightly floral cherry, rather like sakura blossom, but with enough fruitiness that it’s not a purely floral impression of scent, which is how cherry sometimes comes across to me in tea. It’s definitely a fruit flavour. I can detect almond in the mid sip, and a very light smattering of cinnamon in the aftertaste. Here and there, I’m sure I can taste a tiny splash of blueberry.
This is still an intriguing tea, and one I find particularly interesting to drink. I like cherry tea, especially when it’s a natural, accurate flavour as it is here. I probably wouldn’t have thought to put almond and cinnamon together with cherry in a blend, but it works really well. A little like cherry bakewell! A delicious sweet treat, and one I’ll certainly seek out again in future.
A sample from Cteresa. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 3 minutes in boiling water, and was rewarded with a light golden liquor, which smells sweet and delicately floral. First sip, and I immediately thought cherry. Cherry jam? I also get an almond note, and a light buttery, bakey, biscuitty flavour. Sipping this one does remind me of a jammie dodger! It’s a dessert tea if ever there was one.
As a fan of dessert teas, this one is obviously going to score well with me. I like the almost over-sweet candy-like notes, and like how accurately the biscuit flavour takes shape, and I’m enjoying the fruity-floral notes that really help to round this one out. This is definitely one I’d look to add to my cupboard. It’s completely delicious as a mid-morning treat!