587 Tasting Notes
Tried this for the first time on Saturday, so this is a bit of a backlog. I held off drinking this one for a while, possibly out of a kind of fear? I like cinnamon as a flavour, but I’ve had too many bas experiences with cinnamon tea blends for me to approach this with anything other than trepidation. I needn’t have, though.
This tea really is a little bit magic, isn’t it? Drinking it makes me think of the glowing embers from a fire (or from a dragon’s fiery breath, maybe), and the spice almost makes it seem like it might spark in my mouth. My brain was expecting a sensation a bit like popping candy, but, of course, I didn’t get that :P Not to worry, though, because it’s fabulous anyway. For a tea to be so evocative is a thing in itself, whether or not the sensations live up to it!
Whenever I’ve had cinnamon previously, it’s always been blended with other spices, like cloves and ginger. I’m not a fan of that kind of mixture — it just tastes like a museum apothacary I visited as a child smelt, and that’s not a good thing in my estimation. This tea doesn’t, though. The cinnamon is left to shine on its own, and it tastes just as it should, like its natural self. The cayenne pepper adds a wonderful spicy heat, and the two together make a pretty unique, special combination. There’s a very, very slight smokiness from the lapsang, but it’s really barely detectable. This is a good thing for me, as I’m not oven keen on smoked tea, but it’s there for a reason in this blend, and it adds just enough for me to be able to imagine I’m drinking something dragon-singed. The dragonwell base is smooth and not at all astringent. You have to admit that the name, if nothing else, made it absolutely perfect for this tea. It does a good job supporting the flavours, though, and doesn’t get in the way of the overall taste. I actually think it’s a better fit here than a black base would have been. It adds just a slight dankness that contributes perfectly to the overall effect.
I’m looking forward to trying a second cup of this. I do love it when a tea is more than just a drink, and becomes a sort of taste experience that makes you think about its name and origins, and how it was put together. It’s a rare tea that does that, but this is one of the good ones. Truly magical! Thank you, Frank, for creating such inspired blends!
For some reason, I couldn’t think about anything but tea on the bus home from work. I think it’s because I have a headache, and I know tea (or caffiene, maybe…) will help to make it better. Anyway, I actually tried this for the first time yesterday, and only remembered just now. Safe to say, though, it’s the best chocolate tea I’ve tried so far.
Dry, it smells just like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. The black tea leaves are soft and slightly downy, and range from golden to a chocolatey brown. I can see pieces of marshamllow root, orange zest and chocolate chips interspersed generously. Brewed, the scent is similar. It’s definitely still chocolate orange, which is a relief. After the divine scent of the dry leaves, I’d have felt let down if it had been lacklustre at this point! It’s not, though. Far from it, and anything but. It tastes just as it smells, with the chocolate, orange and marshmallow each contributing equally to the taste, and harmonising with the others. This is such an aptly named tea — the flavours really are three friends here. The base tea is wonderful, too. It’s smooth, and slightly malty, and it makes for a great accord with the other flavours. When I’ve got a tea like this, I don’t really need real chocolate!
Sipdown! Finished this one off last night. I don’t know whether it’s just me, but the last few cups of this took on a slightly smoky taste. I have no idea why — I don’t have any smoky teas stored near this, and I know it for a fact because I don’t think I have any smoky tea in my stash at all right now. Maybe one, in Smaug, but it’s not even in the same box. It’s been open a while and is a little old, so it might be that. Or it might just be me.
Whatever, though. This was a pleasant raspberry rooibos. With milk and a little sugar, it’s just like a raspberry milkshake. This is one I think I’ll be missing a little.
I’m pleased how fresh this tea looks. It’s a lovely silvery-green, unlike some I’ve had recently, and it really is just silver needle. When brewed, the liquor is really, really pale. I didn’t think anything was actually happening at first, but obviously it was as the taste is there.
As I’ve come to expect from unflavoured whites, this is very light and delicate in taste. It’s a perfect spring/summer tea. Easy to drink and refreshing even when hot (or warm, considering I let the water cool substantially). It’s mildly grassy, maybe very slighty floral. This is one of those white teas that reminds me why I like them so much in the first place. Flavoured might be more interesting sometimes, but a plain white this good can be just as inspiring.
These teas are just bloody awesome really, aren’t they? I don’t know why I held off buying some last year. It was plenty hot enough in my old office to merit iced tea, although I suppose I just wasn’t up to the tea tea-buying tricks I’ve developed these days.
Anyway, back to the point. I first tried the normal version of Cotton Candy in last year’s 12 Teas of Christmas sampler. I loved it. Given my success with Neapolitan Ice Cream recently, I decided to try another of the SBTs “converted” from a normal tea. (I’m not sure what it means when you start calling such oddly flavoured teas normal, but I guess it hardly matters at this point. You know what I’m on about.)
This one is another stunner. If anything, the cotton candy flavouring comes out more clearly here than it does in its original counterpart. It’s delicious — sweet, sugary, airy cotton candy goodness. It smells strongly of cotton candy, it tastes strongly of cotton candy. Once again, the black base is detectabe, but it just seems to enhance and support the flavouring rather than mask it in any way.
I have no idea how Frank achieves these extrodinary flavouring feats. What I do know is that, as iced tea goes, these are unbeatable. Yum yum yum is about the most coherent thing I can say about this right now. Please excuse me while I go and drink some more.
I somehow managed to ruin the cup of this I made earlier. It went all bitter and smoky on me. I think maybe the water was too hot when I added the leaves, or maybe they were in there for a bit too long. Fancy work getting in the way of tea! I’ll have to try again later when reception has calmed down a bit.
I’m going to be brave and give this a try today. The first time I tried it, which was a good few years ago now, I could hardly finish the cup. This kind of oolong still isn’t really my thing, but it came with a gift pack (the ultimate, no less) so I feel I really ought to give it a second chance.
The dry leaves in the packet give off that typical oolong scent — kind of earthy and slightly mineral. It’s a scent that used to turn my stomach, but I understand it a bit more now. I gave it three minutes in water I’d let cool a little, and the liquor is now a pale yellow. It smells the same as it does dry, which isn’t hugely encouraging considering I’m very picky about oolongs. It’s this exact scent that I dislike, yet it’s hard to accurately describe. Adagio Wuyi Oolong was the same, and I had to ditch the rest of my sample of that as I just couldn’t face it.
I shouldn’t judge before I’ve tried, though. The first sip isn’t too bad. Maybe because I’ve gone lightly with the brew time and temparature, or maybe just because it’s a more delicate tasting tea than I was expecting. It has a faint mineral taste, and a more prominent grassiness, rather like a mild green tea. I can’t exactly claim to like it, but it’s okay. I’ll be able to finish this cup, and the rest of the box, anyway.
I think my relationship with oolong is going to be a bit hit and miss. I loved the milk oolong I tried, and I’ve got a couple more of those in my stash to try now. The idea of flavoured oolong appeals, too, and the same goes for those. I would like to determine what my preferences are when it comes to oolong, so I’m going to keep trying. While drinkable, though, this clearly isn’t it.
Sipdown! The more of this I drink, the less I like it. The cinnamon is okay, but I’m just not a fan of the base Adagio use for their flavoured black teas. I think some of the unidentified spices in this are a little overpowering, too. It’s not bad, but it’s nowhere close to being a favourite. I wouldn’t buy more, I’m afraid.
I’m going to call this a sipdown. I’ve got one cup’s worth left, but I’ll drink that this evening as my bedtime rooibos. Given that I’ve almost finished a full 2 litres of SBT neapolitain ice cream today, I doubt I’ll be in the mood for the honeybush version tonight. That would be overkill. Or maybe just really nice, depending on your perspective. Variety is supposed to be the spice of life, anyway.
This has been a pleasant berry rooibos. I’m over it now, as I usually am by the time I finish a 100g bag. It’s been great knowing it, though, and I might revisit in the (distant) future. It’s bound to be distant, given the number of teas in my cupboard at the moment, isn’t it? Anyway, a fond farewell to this one.