1031 Tasting Notes
Sipdown! Took the last two bags to work today, and finished them off this afternoon with a splash of milk. I could taste more vanilla and less rooibos this way, which was a welcome change. I usually hesitate to add milk to fruity teas, but in this case it was a good gamble.
I’ve never tried this with milk before, but it’s a bit of a relvelation. I think it’s because I’ve primarily been taking these tea bags with me to events, where I don’t have access to milk, purely for convenience. When I’m in the office, I generally use loose tea. Anyway, I brought a couple with me this morning, as I’m generally pretty rushed when I arrive on a Monday between checking over the emails and preparing for our staff meeting. A tea bag means I can have some caffiene and start feeling a little less grumpy before the day really gets going.
Without milk, I found this a little bitter, a little heavy on the base, and just not very inspiring. With milk, it’s a different story — I wish I’d tried it sooner! The base is toned down, and the creaminess of the vanilla really comes out. It’s fragrant and delicate, and the vanilla flavouring really does make it seem like an actual vanilla bean has been soaked in milk — it’s pretty spot on accurate, if a little subtle. I think that might be my fault for having added a bit too much milk, so I’m about to try again with a lighter hand. I’ve raised my rating a little here, though. I’ve found the way I like to drink this one, and when it sings, it sings. A good Monday morning cup!
A sample from Shmiracles. I saved this one until last because I was scared of it. Understandably so, I think…lapsang souchong, candy cane and ginger isn’t exactly an everyday combination. At least not for me. I’m up for trying anything once, though.
Brewed, this smells equally of smoke and vanilla. It’s an odd combination, and just as odd to taste. The main flavour is, of course, the heavy, beef jerky smokiness of lapsang souchong. The candy cane comes out in the aftertaste, adding a cooling, almost menthol-like, freshness. The vanilla also contributes a slight sweetness. It’s not exactly a natural pairing, but it’s actually not as disasterous as I thought it would be. As dragon themed teas go, I suppose it’s fairly appropriate — in terms of smokiness at least. What candy cane has to do with it, I’ve no idea. I can’t really taste the ginger at all, which is a shame. That I could see working quite well.
Of the two Smaug teas I’ve tried, I definitely prefer the 52Teas version. Smoky teas aren’t really my thing in general, although this was more drinkable than I’d anticipated. A totally unique tea, and an experience for sure! Many thanks to Shmiracles for sharing this one-of-a-kind blend with me! I completely agree that everyone should try it at least once.
The second last of my samples from Shmiracles. I’m glad I saved the majority of these, because I know I’m better at brewing teas — especially oolongs and greens — now than I was last year. I’ve learnt from my mistakes! I was surprised how strong the tropical fruit scent was upon opening this pouch. I’ve come to expect quite subtle flavours from European teas in general.
To taste, this is reassuringly subtle. I was hoping the tropical fruit flavouring wouldn’t become too artificial tasting, and it hasn’t. It’s a little generic , but not terrible. It tastes to me mostly of sweeter tropical fruits — pineapple, maybe lychee, kiwi? A bit of peppery mango would have been nice to offset some of that, but it’s pleasant either way. The description mentions that this is floral — I got a little of that in the aftertaste, but it’s not overwhelming. The fruitiness is definitely front and centre.
As for the base, if I hadn’t known it was an oolong, I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell. It’s unobtrusive, making itself known only in the aftertaste. It’s delicate, sweet, slightly floral. It complements the fruit flavouring perfectly, and is light and palatable like a green.
A very pleasant tea to have tried, and perfect for a warm spring Saturday. Thanks to Shmiracles for giving me the chance to try this one!
A sample from Shmiracles. This isn’t quite what I was expecting, somehow. I don’t know why, but it isn’t. I think I was expecting a more “green” taste, maybe mint, but this is actually a ref fruit/berry tea. It’s strange what associations a name can conjour up!
As red berry teas go, this is really nice. It’s a natural tasting flavour, maybe a mixture of raspberry and strawberry? It reminds me a little of Marco Polo in some respects. The description says that this tea also contains spices. I’m not really picking much up in that respect, except maybe the merest hint of nutmeg. The berry flavouring is delicious alone, though, and doesn’t really need anything else, so it’s not a terrible loss.
The green base is pleasantly light and unobtrusive. It looks to me like sencha or dragonwell, but I’m probably wrong — I’m no green tea expert! In any case, it’s the perfect base for this tea, and carries the flavouring well without getting in the way. This is definitely a Mariage Freres tea I’d try again if the chance arose — thanks again to Shmiracles for sharing this with me!
This is a different oolong! I chose this as a sample with my latest Butiki order, as I was intrigued by the description. Oolong and fruit are not generally two things I associate, but they do sound good together. I still don’t really feel like I understand oolongs, so trying more of them is probably the only way to sort that out. I think on the whole I’m coming to prefer green oolongs, but I’m always willing to try something new.
This one smells delicious. It’s sweet, and does have a detectable hint of berry. It’s faintly purple tinged in the cup, which is a novel point. To taste, I can definitely detect plum, a little berry, a small hint of cherry. There’s a touch of cinnamon in the aftertaste, and a lingering sweetness that is reminiscent of apricot. There’s also a nuttiness underneath it all that I’ve come to associate with darker oolongs.
I really wasn’t expecting such a complex and intriguing tea — it makes for a really interesting cup. It’s a tiny bit astringent, although that might be my fault, but that’s my only quibble here. A real adventure for the tastebuds!
Sipdown! From one apple tea to another, and this one I do like. It’s pretty much spot on apple strudel flavour, and a great dessert replacement. One of my favourite teas from last autumn — I’d definitely be pleased to see this one return to my cupboard later this year. Yum!
I’m not sure about this one. It’s not quite what I expected. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I don’t like it, but I don’t love it either. The apple here is somehow floral, and there’s a touch of bitterness in the initial sip that just doesn’t strike the right note. I wasn’t keen on my first cup — black with no additions — at all. Tonight’s second cup — with milk and a chunk of crystal sugar — is a little better but still not quite there.
I think of caramel apple as a sweet thing, and one of the problems here is that there isn’t enough toffee. I can only see two small pieces in the whole (sample) pouch. There are plenty of apple pieces, but, as previously mentioned, the overall flavour is somehow floral and a little weird. The spice, I think, is a step too far, and might be contributing to the initial bitterness. There’s quite a lot of clove, from what I can taste.
I like the idea of caramel apple tea, and I’ve tried a couple of nice ones in my time. This one, sadly, isn’t quite right to my tastes. Still — you can’t win them all. This is by no means a bad cup, but it leaves me feeling mostly indifferent.
I was naughty and ordered more tea. Oops. That wasn’t supposed to be allowed until I was under 200. Still…hard week at work. I need something to cheer me up.
So anyway, in an effort to begin using up some of the tea I actually have, I pulled this one out to try today. I have a love/hate relationship with Earl Grey. In general, we get along very well, but I’m not a fan of very strong, sharp bergamot, especially when paired with an astringent base. That’s why, although it’s generally something I enjoy, I tend to approach each new EG with a little trepidation. It’s probably also why the idea of Earl Gret Creme appeals to me, although it wasn’t something that was even on my radar until I joined Steepster. How the world of tea has opened up to me. This was actually the first Earl Grey Creme I purchased, so it’s been waiting in my stash for a while. I was in the mood for something like this at breakfast this morning, though, so that’s why it was finally chosen.
It’s love at first sip. In my ideal world, EG would have bergamot, but it would be a mild, tame thing that added a bitter citrus edge but generally minded its own business. IT DOES THAT HERE! I think the cream flavour helps to tone it down, but it’s a slight thing. It’s not sharp, it’s not right in your face like it is in some EGs, it’s not screaming “I’m bergamot, hear me roar.” It’s just there, sitting still and minding its own business, adding a touch of flavour and nothing more. For me, it’s perfect.
Then there’s the cream. Oh goodness, don’t get me started on the cream. Again, it’s perfect. I was half expecting it to be quite an artificial taste, but it’s not at all. It’s deliciously vanilla-flavoured, soft, and adds a cloud-like fluffiness to this cup. It’s got the bergamot on a tight leash, and it’s toned down any astringency the base might have dared to have had. The base itself is pleasant, although I can’t really taste that much of it. It’s pretty hard to identify where the base ends and the flavouring begins, if you see what I mean. It’s just a really great combination.
This is my favourite Bluebird tea to date. We are officially friends, me and EGC.