678 Tasting Notes
Backlog from Monday.
A sample from Queen of Tarts, and the first of two stone-fruit rooibos blends to round off the evening. This is the more straightforward of the two – conventional red rooibos with apricot flavouring. My problem with similar teas in the past has been that the apricot tastes so chemically and artificial. I’d love to like one, though, so we’ll see how I get on here.
I gave this one almost four minutes in boiling water. The liquor is a pretty dark brown, but the scent is lovely –sweet, slightly fruity, with not a hint of rooibos to be discerned. The taste is similar – the apricot is very subtle, very delicate, but it’s sweet and juicy, and perfectly natural tasting. The rooibos adds a bit of depth without being overpowering, and without the typical “brassy” taste it can sometimes have.
On the whole, I’d probably have preferred a slightly stronger flavour. Mild and natural is better than strong and artificial any day, though. I liked this a lot more than I thought I would – finally, an apricot rooibos I could get behind! Thanks again to Queen of Tarts for sharing this with me!
Backlog from Monday.
I’ve never tried a grapefruit tea before, so this is one I’ve been interested in for a while. I chose it as a sample with my last Butiki order, purely because I prefer black and rooibos teas to green. In any case, if I like it, I’ll definitely buy more!
Today was a good choice for this, I feel. It might well be the last day of summer, and grapefruit green somehow feels like a summer tea. I let the water cool to about 180, and gave it about 2 and a half minutes.
Brewed, this smells really beautifully, delicately, of grapefruit. It’s augmented perfectly by a slight grassiness from the green base, which complements the sharpness of the grapefruit and seems almost sweet in comparison.
I’d never have believed tea could replicate the flavour of grapefruit to accurately, but there you go. Tasting is believing! Another great sample from Butiki!
Backlog from Monday.
A sample from Queen of Tarts. This has got to be the nicest smelling fruit tea I’ve had in a good long time. Rather than tart hibiscus, I can actually smell sweet, fresh strawberries. This makes me hopeful that I’ll actually be able to taste strawberry…
I gave this about three minutes in boiling water. There were two foamy sugar drops in my sample, and I waited until they’d more or less dissolved. I’ve not seen this before, but it struck me as a pretty cute idea. I tried this with a little trepidation, as it smells so good. For once, though, the taste actually lives up to that. It’s like drinking strawberry Ribena, or something. It tastes beautifully of strong, juicy, strawberry, and there’s just the right amount of sweetness tempered by a slight background tartness. I can taste a slight spiciness, too (cinnamon/cardamom?), and a touch of orange.
As fruit teas go, this is definitely a great one. Love at first sip! Strawberry is the main flavour, but the other ingredients make it a little bit unique. Really, really nice.
Backlog from Sunday.
While I’m tasting plain black teas, I thought I’d finish with this one. I like Darjeeling well enough, on the whole. Not as much as I like assam, but it’s definitely up there. I generally prefer first flush, but I’ve had a couple that aren’t, and they’ve been okay too. I gave this about three minutes in boiling water, and the liquor is a medium yellow-gold. The scent is quite perfumey, and a touch grassy.
To taste, this is beautifully smooth and delicate. There’s a very slight almost metallic tang, then a distinctive floral fruitiness, ending with a gentle muscatel note. No grassy notes, really, but that’s okay.
This is a tea that’s really easy to drink, and very moreish. Perfect for a warm summer evening, which is more or less what the day has turned into, despite it feeling decidedly autumnal earlier in the week. Another great tea from Butiki!
Backlog from Sunday.
I’m beginning to rather like banana teas, so I’m pleased to have another one to try. I think this is one of the last teas left from my first Bluebird order, so it’s past time I tried it, really.
Dry, this doesn’t really smell of banana. I’m getting vanilla and caramel, and a generic sweetness, but not banana. I can see pieces of dried banana in the mix, though, so hopefully they’ll become more prominent once brewed.
I gave this about four minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. The base tea here is Ceylon, so has a light citrus flavour all of its own. I think this matches particularly well with the banana (which I can taste after all), while the milk pairs perfectly with the vanilla to give a really creamy finish. It’s almost like drinking a banana split! I’m pleased with how well the banana comes over, as I couldn’t discern it at all dry. It really sings in the finished brew, though, and helps to make this a pretty awesome banana tea.
It’s not as in-your-face as 52Teas Monkey Fart, and it tastes a tad more natural (less like those foam banana sweets, and more like actual banana). I adore the creaminess, and the sweet caramel note that overrides it all. One of my favourite Bluebird teas so far!
Backlog from Sunday.
This is the first time I’ve tried green rooibos on its own. I’ve had a couple of blends which featured it, but I’ve never tried it in its neat state before. The smell, at first, was discouraging. I find rooibos disturbingly brassy, but this smells somehow…swampy. The colour of the dry leaf was interesting, though. It is actually pale green and cream. I don’t know what I was expecting, but a small part of me was pleased that its colour lived up to its name. I think I thought it was just going to look like rooibos. And rooibos is red. Habit.
Anyway, this doesn’t taste as bad as it smells. It’s not exactly lovely stuff, but it’s not bad. The taste is hard to pinpoint. I want to say woodsy, but in a piney sort of way, or maybe sawdust. There’s something quite resinous and “green” about it. I also want to say nutty, but that’s not quite right either. It tastes similar to normal red rooibos, only…greener. Unhelpful, yes, but it’s so hard to put words to what I’m tasting. I think raw wood and resin, maybe pine, are as close as I’m going to get.
The liquor is a pale gold, so I drank this as is. I normally add milk to rooibos, but it wouldn’t work here. I can’t say I find it an enjoyable cup, but I’ve got a couple of blends in my stash that feature green rooibos, and I wanted to try it solo at some point so I have the experience to draw on when tasting. Educational, if not overwhelmingly pleasant.
With a new Butiki order on its way, I’m trying to work through as many teas from my previous orders as possible. This is one I’ve neglected for too long, especially since I’ve been trying to identify oolongs I can get along with for a good long while now.
Dry, this smells amazing – maple and pecan in equal measure. Rich, sweet, nutty, almost syrupy. There are generous pieces of pecan in with the oolong, and the leaves are, for the most part, long and wiry, slightly twisted.
I brewed this as per packet parameters. 170 degree water for about 4 minutes. My first thought on tasting went something like “Ohh. This is lovely.” Not my normal response to an oolong, it has to be said. This is heavily flavoured and pretty rich – rather like drinking maple syrup, only not thick or sticky. The maple is the first thing I can taste – sweet, rich, almost buttery. The pecan develops second, adding an almost toasted flavour which cuts through the sweetness well. The oolong provides just the right kind of base – substantial but not too strong or overpowering. It’s perfect here, adding a faint but discernible mineral taste in the background, and brining the whole thing together really well. Another oolong I can add to my (very short) list of likes. Brilliantly done.
I’ve been drinking this iced pretty often this summer, but it’s getting a bit cold for that now. Part of me wanted to try it hot, so I decided to give it a go while there’s still some left. 3 minutes in boiling water, no milk.
It’s actually not as odd as I thought it’d be. It tastes of cola – albeit flat – with a twist of lime, and maybe something rum-like hanging about in the background. It’s a tiny bit astringent, but nothing terrible. It smells pretty spot-on, too.
I definitely prefer this cold, and that’s probably how I’ll finish the pouch. It’s not bad hot, though, just a bit strange. The flavour comes out better as it starts to cool, as you might expect. Worth a try, but nowhere near as good as it is iced.
This is an interesting one – coffee flavoured tea! The dry leaf smells primarily of coffee, although the earthy rooibos scent is also pretty strong. It’s that nice, slightly spiky looking rooibos that I’ve come to know I’ll quite like, though, so I’m not too apprehensive. I gave this 3.5 minutes in boiling water, and was rewarded with the usual red-brown liquid. Brewed, the scent is mostly woody rooibos, with just a hint of sweet almond – almost like frangipani, or a freshly opened packet of amaretti biscuits.
To taste, this isn’t actually as thin and watery as I was expecting. The coffee flavour isn’t overpowering, but it’s definitely there. It’s obviously not like drinking a cup of coffee, but it’s not fake or weak either. I’m pretty hungry at the moment, so that’s perhaps influencing my comparison here, but it’s actually making me think of a coffee flavoured bakewell tart. Not that such a thing exists in reality, but if it did. Frangipani and pastry, with coffee flavoured glace icing. Oh yeah!
Sipdown! Another pouch finished in record time. That’s what seems to happen with the ones I really like. I take them to work, and don’t stop drinking them!
A pleasant final cup, anyway, and my second today. The strawberry is sweet and juicy, as ever, although I’m still not getting much mint. A touch, but that’s all.
I’m sad this has gone, anyway. Still, there are plenty more flavoured whites in my stash. Onwards and upwards!