682 Tasting Notes
Sipdown! A fond farewell to this one. I’d definitely purchase it again, although I have a fair few rooibos teas in my stash at the moment. It’s been one of the most well balanced chocolate and mint teas I’ve tried so far, and it’s set the bar high for future contenders! One of my favourite Bluebird teas of those I’ve tried so far.
Today’s iced tea choice! I ordered some more SBTs over the weekend, so I don’t feel so guilty about using these up so quickly anymore. I’ve limited myself to one litre of this today, though, so I should have some left for tomorrow as well. I just find these teas so easy to drink that I can get through nearly two litres all by myself on a hot day. It’s delicious, but pretty extravagant! I want these to last!
The flavouring here is quite subtle. In terms of strength, it reminds me more of Cotton Candy than of Neapolitan Ice Cream. The bubblegum flavour seems to come out primarily in the aftertaste. I’ll take a sip, and get black tea with a hint of fruitiness, and then I’ll breathe in after swallowing and suddenly be hit with a big smack of flavour. It’s a little odd, but very welcome!
I’d probably never have believed tea could taste of bubblegum if I hadn’t tried this. It just seems such a hard flavour to capture. Frank’s managed it, though! It’s a fun tasting tea, well suited to summer, and very refreshing. I’m still surprised how well the flavours combine with the black tea base, but this is no exception in that regard.
Another stunning iced tea. I know everyone says theirs are the best, but these really are. I could probably drink them forever, and will so long as they’re available to buy!
Another sample from Courtney, and another first, because I’ve never knowingly had a rhubarb tea before. Maybe in a blend, but not on its own. The dry leaf smells exactly as I’d expect. There’s a sweet creaminess, and the slightly tangy, fruity scent of rhubarb.
I gave it three minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. This tastes much like it smells. There’s an overriding creaminess, almost like coffee creamer or something of that ilk. Then comes the tangy, slightly sweet-sour rhubarb, and then the cream returns in the aftertaste. It’s quite an intriguing tea, and definitely lives up to its name. If I’d had some actual cream to spare, I would have added a dash, but life isn’t perfectly synchronised. Ultimately, a very enjoyable cup, and another I’d be pleased to sample again in future. Thank you, Courtney!
A sample from Courtney. This is the second tropical green I’ve tried, and my second Harney and Sons. There’s a poetry to all this somewhere, isn’t there? Dry, it smells amazing. It’s a pretty generic “tropical” scent, and it reminds me of Five Alive or something like that, but it’s mouthwatering all the same. I’m assuming from looking at the leaves that this is sencha. They’re folded, but quite broad and flat, and a fairly dark green. I’ve had some good experiences with sencha, so I’m looking forward to this!
Brewed, the liquor is a very pale yellow-green, and it smells delicately fruity. There’s a slight underlying grassy note from the green tea, and the overall effect is pleasant and encouraging. Not many flavoured greens I’ve tried have been anything but a deep yellow verging on brown, so this makes for a welcome change.
To taste, the tropical flavouring isn’t quite as strong as I’d hoped it would be. It’s there, but it’s pretty delicate. The green tea base is equally subtle, though, so I’ve no complaints on that front. I can taste tropical fruit in the initial sip, but it’s not a lingering taste, and soon gives way to the grassy sweetness of the sencha. It’s very smooth and not at all astringent, but I had hoped for a little more punch.
While not bad, as flavoured greens go, it lacks the depth of flavour to really make it in my estimation. Not bad by any means, though.
A sample from Courtney. Dry, this smells soooo much like fresh, juicy mango. Mango is a first for me when it comes to flavoured black tea. I’ve had one before, I think, in a Whittard’s sampler, but it was really no great shakes. This is my first Harney and Sons tea too, do a double first.
Brewed, this retains the sweet, juicy scent that it has dry. It’s not screaming mango as much as I felt it did initially, but it’s still decidedly fruity. I have added tiny splash of milk, though, so that might account for the slight dulling. Fortunately, the mango returns in the first sip. It’s juicy, slightly peppery, and seems to bob along on the surface of the black tea base, so you get a kind of two-tiered taste. Initially there’s the mango flavour, and that slowly gives way to a fairly robust black base. It’s pleasant without being overpowering.
As flavoured blacks go, I think this is a pretty successful one. I can definitely taste mango, and it seems pretty natural which is what counts when it comes to fruit flavouring. I only have the one cup, but it’s definitely one I’d try again if the opportunity arose. Thanks again to Courtney for sharing this with me!
This is a bit of a backlog, as I actually drank this at work on Tuesday afternoon. It was included in the sample pack I bought last year as a counterpoint to the first flush darjeelings, and it’s easy to see the differences when you put them side by side.
The leaf here is noticably darker, more black brown than green/white. I brewed this for just under 3 minutes, I think, although I probably wasn’t paying the closest attention. It brews to a much darker liquor than any of the first flushes, a sort of golden caramel colour. The taste is still amazing, though. I can immediately see that, where the first flushes are peachy and grassy, this second flush is floral and grape-like. It’s a really deep, complex, interesting flavour. There’s a very, very slight astringency, but it’s actually quite welcome with a flavour so rich.
I’d be hard pressed to say which flush I prefer. They’re both so different, and I like them equally for the different qualities that they have. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to try these four darjeelings — it’s really broadened my experience of this tea variety.
A sample from Queen of Tarts. I’ve only had one peach flavoured tea before, I think, and that was Adagio’s peach oolong. I wasn’t overkeen on the flavouring in that one, because it seemed hugely artificial, but it did make me reconsider oolongs. Anyway, this tea is much better on the peach flavouring front, I think. It tastes sweet and delicate, much like an actual peach, and the black tea base remains firmly in the background. I’m not 100% sure whether the flavouring is wholly natural, and it was maybe a touch too sweet for me this morning, but I’m looking forward to trying it again another time. As flavoured blacks go, this is a pretty good one!
My last two darjeeling samples from 2012 have been languishing in my stash for a while now, so I dug them out last night and brought them to work. Immediately upon tasting, I can say that this is my favourite of the three first flushes. It’s far, far peachier in both scent and taste. It’s just somehow really juicy, and tastes almost as if it’s been mixed with actual peach juice. It hasn’t, but I’d really think that if I didn’t know better.
The leaves of this one are evidently very young, and a high proportion of them are a very pale creamy green. There are also a lot of downy tips, as you’d expect from a white tea. Probably that’s why this seems more like a white tea than anything to me, and probably that’s also why I like it so much. White tea is a favourite of mine.
Anyway, surprisingly enough, the liquor is actually darker than the other two Twinings first flush darjeelings I tried, even though the leaves are paler. It’s a golden amber, which somehow made me think it would be quite strong and astringent, but it’s not at all. It is stronger in taste, by which I mean peachiness, than the other two, but on the scale of tea strength, it’s actually still very light and delicate. It just seems to have a more definite and decided flavour, which is no bad thing at all. It’s initially very peachy, then there’s a more generic sweetness, and then something slightly caramelly comes out in the aftertaste. A wonderful, wonderful tea. There won’t be any problem finishing this sample, that’s for sure!