1676 Tasting Notes
Tea of the afternoon. And why, when it’s still 28 degrees out? I think it’s a comfort thing, and I need comforting when I look at the amount of work that’s just come my way thanks to two skiving colleagues. One is notorious for being “sick” on nice days, the other is just workshy and had to go home because “her leg hurts”. Obviously it’ll hurt a whole lot less in front of the TV, but since when did a sore leg stop anyone from typing? Never in the history of the world, that’s when. That, in a nutshell, it how I ended up doing to work of three people, feasibly for the rest of the week. I decided I needed caffeine.
I love Earl Grey Cream blends. I think I’ve adored every single one I’ve ever tried, as far as I can remember. This one’s no exception. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk. To taste, it’s pretty wonderful. The main flavour is a thick creaminess, very sweet and vanilla-y. The bergamot is very subtle, really just an underlying flavour, which works for me because I’m not a huge bergamot fan. If you like really creamy Earl Grey blends, you should definitely take a look at this one. I could happily drink it all day, and I probably will if the current conditions prevail.
Oh. This one smells good! Maple syrup, and sugar, and malt. I always fear, with flavoured teas, that the scent will be far, far more impressive than the taste, and sometimes that’s the case. Sometimes, though, it’s not. And I’m overjoyed that it’s not this time! It’s still summer, and burning hot, here, and I shouldn’t really be drinking hot tea because it doesn’t help. I had to try this one, though, and now I have I’m going to try and save at least a decent amount for the autumn, because I know it’ll make a fabulous warm-up treat on a cold work morning. It might be hard to keep hold of it for that long, but I’ll try.
I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk because it brewed up pretty dark. There’s a definitely oily scrim on the surface, but it doesn’t affect the texture too much. I’d probably ignore it if it did, though, because I’m all about the flavour with this one. It tastes, to all intents and purposes, like maple syrup. It’s not quite as rich and cloying as that would suggest, but it’s definitely a full-on maple flavour. One point in its favour is that it’s not too sweet. It’s got an edge of almost “burnt” tasting caramelisation which helps to bring it back a little, although the initial sip is pretty sugary. I love it. And now I want more!
Finally getting around to trying this one. It’s been in my cupboard a while, and yet I still think of it as one of my “new” Tealux teas. I finished off the “old” ones ages ago, so really it’s just “one of my Tealux teas”. And it deserves drinking. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. It’s a mixture of CTC and longer, whole leaves, both of Indian origin according to the packet.
It tastes as you might expect; strong, robust, malty, with quite thick caramel notes. There’s a light creaminess, not as strong as I was expecting, but it adds a smoothness to the overall flavour that’s really pleasant, and that successfully manages to tone down what could have been brassier, harsher edges.
I think the creaminess could stand to be stronger, particularly as the base tea itself is so strong. I’m really enjoying my cup, though. It’s one of the smoothest CTC blends I’ve tried in a long time, and I’d happily repurchase.
Today’s work cold brew. I wasn’t expecting a great deal from this one, because it’s a hibiscus based fruit tea and because it’s a fine-shred bagged affair. I’ve been pleasantly surprised, though. I used 4 bags in 2 litres of water, for 10 hours overnight, and the resulting brew is a medium red-pink. The first thing I noticed about it is how amazing it smells, like literally. It reminds me of fruit coulis. Always a good start.
It’s an even better start when the flavour actually lives up to the scent, which can be a rare thing indeed. I was expecting a strong, sour-tart hibi mess, but it’s actually not like that at all. There is an element of hibiscus, and it is a little sharp and sour tasting, but it stays in the background and isn’t overwhelming. The majority of the flavour is a strawberry/raspberry/blackcurrant combo; fresh, fruity, and very berry. I keep trying to imagine what this would be like with some carbonation – I think very good!
I didn’t expect to like this one, but it’s actually very pleasant and drinkable. I’d pick up more of these bags next summer specifically for the purpose of cold brewing – tasty and convenient!
I made this one up on Saturday, and I drank it with my family over the bank holiday weekend. My mum, naturally, didn’t like it. She’s funny about iced tea anyway, so it wasn’t really a surprise. My dad and I enjoyed it, though – it’s not too sweet, and the chocolate isn’t overpoweringly cloying or sickly. It’s a little artificial tasting, but I can overlook that because it’s not too strong. The mint helps to move it back towards refreshing, adding a clean, cooling taste that’s pretty well suited to the hot days we’ve been having lately. My one complaint is that there’s no “ice cream” element – no creaminess to speak of, anyway – but it’s definitely mint chocolate chip. Ice cream was maybe just a descriptor too far.
This one got the usual SBT treatment (3 minutes in boiling water, topped up to 2 litres with cold, and into the fridge overnight). I don’t have another in my cupboard, but if I did I’d happily drink it again. It’s not my favourite SBT, but it’s pretty solid all the same.
The last of my Taylors of Harrogate samples. This is probably the one I enjoyed most out of the three I tried. It has a pleasant buttermint vibe going on, and it also reminds me of spearmint softmints which are just…the best. The sencha base is smooth and unobtrusive, allowing the mint and vanilla flavours to shine.
As green teas go, this one’s pretty perfect in my book. No bitterness or astringency, flavourful, lives up to its name. It’s a teabag, which I don’t usually go for, but it’s convenient and since I’m really busy at work at the moment, that suits me!
I’d drink this one again. I’d actually really like to try it cold brewed.
My second sample from Taylors of Harrogate. One thing I will say about these is that they smell amazing while they’re brewing. This one is pretty much spot on rhubarb and custard, and it’s a real shame that they don’t taste as good at they smell!
This one is also a fruit tea, and has the same hibiscus/rosehip base as Sour Cherry. It’s that tell-tale red colour pretty much straightaway. The initial sip is very tart and a touch sour (thank you, hibi!), but there’s a distinctive creamy rhubarb flavour in the midsip that’s really almost dessert-like and quite delicious. It lingers well into the aftertaste, too. Rhubarb seems like a pretty rare flavour in tea, at least in the UK, so this is one I’d happily drink again if given the opportunity.
My samples came with a card that lists the rest of the range, and the Rose Lemonade immediately captured my attention. There’s also a green tea with grapefruit and lime that I’d quite like to try. I’ve got one more sample to try – green tea and sweet mint, and I’m looking forward to that one because spearmint is one of my favourite things! I like that Taylors are trying to do a few unusual combinations as well as the stuff you’d expect, but what I’d really like is a fruit blend that doesn’t use hibiscus as a base. It’s a lifelong dream, I know.
This came as a free sample from Taylors of Harrogate. It’s a fruit tea, in a bag, and its predictably heavy on the hibiscus. It takes on that tell-tale bright red hue pretty much straight away, and it’s mostly all I can taste, at least initially. There is some cherry in the mid-sip, but it’s more fleeting than I would have hoped. It reminds me a bit of cherry throat sweets – soothers, or tunes, or something along those lines. It’s a little bit sour, but I think that’s mostly the hibiscus and rosehip. I get flashes of liquorice and aniseed, which are a little odd, but they do add a sweetness that helps to pull the tart, sour hibiscus back a bit and make this a palatable cup. Really, though, it’s not particularly well balanced, and there are definitely much better fruit teas out there. I’m glad I had the opportunity to try this one, but it wouldn’t be one I’d go out and buy in quantity.
A sample from Miss B! Liquorice kind of strikes fear into my heart, because it’s usually super-sweet and cloying and I just can’t enjoy it. Not the case with this one (I don’t think it actually contains liquorice root, so hallelujah!) It’s sweet, but gently so, and it reminds me most of blossom honey with maybe just an undertone of dark, sticky liquorice. It’s an interesting combination, and quite light in flavour so it’s also nice and refreshing on a hot day (and today is HOT – 34 degrees outside, and it’s usually 5 degrees or so hotter in our overcrowded, computer-stuffed office.) Heat like this is rare in the UK, and I’m glad for that because I’m finding I can’t actually function as a human being.
The other thing about this tea is how pretty it is. Little purple flowers (lavender, maybe? I could smell lavender while it was brewing), yellow lemongrass (or something like it) and then a whole lot of pale green, fairly finely shredded leaves. It looks like spring to me.
I enjoyed this one, totally unexpectedly. It’s a sweet, delicate cup and I’ll enjoy finishing up the rest of my sample!
The last of my Adagio teas, and today’s work cold brew. I used 4 bags in 2 litres of water, as per my usual method. To taste, it’s not particularly pumpkiny. I get little flashes of squash here and there, but nothing that really makes me think “pumpkin!” The spicing is more of a feature – this blend is very heavy on the cinnamon, with maybe a touch of ginger adding a little warmth. The honeybush base is fairly prominent, and although it’s sweet and unobjectionable, I was really hoping for more pumpkin to balance out the base/spice combination which is basically the whole flavour. It’s not my favourite of the Adagio Fairy Tale blends, but it’s by no means bad. Just a little…lacklustre.