1723 Tasting Notes
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!
Another old favourite, and another of the “Frank” reblends as opposed to Anne’s current version. I have to say, this one smells gorgeous. As soon as I opened the pouch, I was pretty much overwhelmed with the scent of blueberry, and once brewed it’s stronger still. Sweet, sugary, blueberry! I’ve always been fairly conservative with my brew time on this one, given that it has a gunpowder green base, so I went for 2 minutes in water cooled to 175 degrees.
To taste, it’s totally delicious. I wasn’t expecting it to resemble the original so much, but it does and it’s wonderful. The main flavour is sweet, slightly tart blueberry. It’s pretty natural-tasting, not chemically or artificial. Underlying that is a sugariness that does remind me of cotton candy, and helps to take the blueberry to new heights. What this really puts me in mind of is those blueberry slushies you can get at the cinema! A true sweet treat, without the calories! The green tea is surprisingly absent, and I can’t actually taste it at all. I don’t mind that so much.
Drinking this one today reminded me how much I like this blend, and blueberry in general when it’s done well. I’ll not neglect this one so long next time!
Another of my older 52 Teas blends. I liked this one as soon as I tried it in the 12 Teas of Christmas sampler a few years back, and I had to take the opportunity to pick up a pouch of the reblend. Just to clarify, this is a “Frank” reblend, rather than the current “Anne” version.
I like this one mostly because it uses spearmint, which is woefully underrepresented in both green and herbal teas, and in the mint tea world generally. As someone who prefers spearmint to peppermint, that makes me sad. It’s even better here because it’s paired with marshmallow, which is another flavour I enjoy in tea. I never used to be much of a green tea fan, but this was one of the blends that originally helped to change my mind.
This reblend is pretty true to form. It’s quite strongly minty, with the sweet yet still refreshing and cooling spearmint front and centre. After the initial hit of mint comes the more delicate sweetness of the marshmallow root. It adds a deliciously desserty vibe, and contributes another layer of sweetness. Underlying both is the green tea, but it’s barely there and adds just a hint of grassy vegetal flavour. I love the name of this one. It’s very evocative, and it sort of does seem fitting in terms of the flavours. I can just imagine the coolness and the scent of the grass and the trees, with a hint of mist in the air…Very atmospheric!
I was prepared for this reblend to not quite meet my expectations, but in actual fact I’m not at all disappointed. It’s still a great blend, even after all this time. One of my favourite flavoured green teas!
Another of my older 52 Teas blends, but one I’ve been looking forward to a lot. Today is turning out to be a pretty horrible day for various reasons, so I figured I deserved a treat. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and it’s pretty impressive even dry. The scent is great – sweet and caramelly, and there are huge chunks of dried apple scattered amongst the Fuijan oolong base. I gave the leaf approximately 2.5 minutes in water cooled to 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown – rather like caramel, in fact!
To taste, I’m really enjoying this one. I’m not usually a fan of roasted oolong in general, but I’m more than happy to make an exception here. I suspect that’s largely because it’s overpowered by the flavouring, and is only really discernable in terms of a mild honey and wood flavour in the background. There’s none of the metallic notes that I’m so leery of. The caramel flavour is the strongest, and it’s beautifully sweet and a touch creamy. It’s also perfectly paired with the apple, which is softer but still identifiable. The apple adds just the tiniest hint of sharpness, which really takes this one away from merely “sweet” and into genuine “caramel apple” territory. It’s pretty spot on in terms of flavour!
I know I’m going to enjoy finishing off this pouch. It’s a treat in tea form.
Okay, I totally chose this one for the name! It was a free sample with my last Teavivre order, and because I liked the name and am still looking for a decent fruit tea, I thought I’d give it a try. The dry leaf is reasonably encouraging, except that it contains a huge hibiscus leaf. I like to look at hibiscus – it’s a pretty thing, for sure – I just don’t want it in my tea. There are decent sized chunks of pineapple, papaya and apple, though, and a few dried black grapes. The scent to me is very much of blueberry, but there’s no blueberry here as far as I can see…it’s suppose to be a pineapple/papaya “tropical” blend. I guess we’ll see…
I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium orangey-red, and the initial flavour is sadly mostly hibiscus/rosehip tartness. There is a pretty good tropical flavour underlying, but it’s a bit overpowered to really make much of an impression. It’s more papaya than pineapple, a little peppery and less sweet than I was expecting.
On the whole, I’m not really struck. Fruit teas without hibiscus are definitely more my thing, but there are so few that are readily available in the UK. I would really like a David’s Tea here sometimes! I wondered for a moment whether this might have been better cold brewed, but still – hibiscus.