901 Tasting Notes
On the strength of my experiment with Bluebird’s Dark Choc Chilli Chai, I decided to risk another cup of this. My first cup was ALL cayenne pepper, and it was not pleasant. This time, I’ve brewed it at half strength, and added plenty of warmed milk.
Tentative first sip.
It’s STILL cayenne pepper, and there can hardly be any tea in this cup. Given that it’s almost white from the milk, I would have thought hardly any flavour could come through, but it has. It’s more bearable than the first cup, but it’s still creating an unpleasant burn at the back of my throat, and I’m not really getting any chocolate or spice. Just cayenne pepper.
I really did want to like this one, but perhaps we’re just not meant to be friends.
Had another go with this yesterday, while watching an old episode of The Vampire Diaries on DVD. When I made the first cup a few days ago, I kind of forgot what I was dealing with and treated it much as I would any other black tea. I was “rewarded” with a very strong chilli kick, which was almost a bit much. So today, I decided to try and remedy that a little and brewed this as a latte instead. I used quite a big cup, added an extra teaspoon of leaf (with some trepidation, admittedly), and used half as much water as I usually would. After about 5 minutes, I topped it up with some warmed milk.
It’s much better this way. The chilli is still there, but it’s a spicy warmth rather than a hot burn. The other flavours are also a little more prevalent — there’s more chocolate coming through, and some of the other spices, like the cinnamon and ginger, are making their presence known.
It’s nice to know that there are a couple of ways I can brew this, depending on the flavour profile I’m looking for. It’s equally reassuring to know that I can tone the chilli down into something pleasant, rather than a challenge. I feel more at home with this one now.
I took the opportunity to buy a bag of this in anticipation of winter when Bluebird had it in stock a little while back. I’m glad I did, because I don’t have very many rooibos chai blends in my stash at the moment. This is a really nice tea for a chilly afternoon. The dry leaf smells a little too perfumey, almost like a scented candle, but thankfully that doesn’t translate to the flavour of the tea.
Instead, this tastes just like freshly baked gingerbread. It doesn’t have the heat I was expecting, somehow, but the spicing is spot on. It’s sweet and very bakey tasting, with maybe just a hint of sugar. I don’t think it’s sweetened, but it’s a pretty good recreation of a gingerbread man, albeit in liquid form. Cinnamon and nutmeg as the dominant spices, as far as I can discern, so it’s not really a traditional chai. It’s really wonderful brewed as a latte, though, with an extra smattering of cinnamon dusted on the surface.
I did think twice about this, but I’m glad I picked a bag up. Hopefully it’ll assuage some of my biscuit cravings this winter! Lovely stuff.
I haven’t really been a fan of oolongs so far, but I’m trying to find ones that I can enjoy as I’m going along. I asked for this one as a sample with one of my recent Butiki orders, and I decided to give it a go today. It doesn’t have that very mineral taste that I so dislike in oolongs, so that’s a point in its favour already. Instead, it tastes almost sweet and slightly fruity. Apricot I’d definitely agree with, and honey as well. I’m getting a slightly floral flavour in the background that I wasn’t quite expecting. It’s a little bit cloying, but it’s not spoiling my enjoyment. I really like how smooth this is. I usually struggle to finish a cup of oolong, but this is really lovely and very drinkable. I have a bag of this in my cupboard now, so I’ll write more a more detailed note as I become more familiar with it. A nice treat for a Sunday afternoon!
This is my favourite pumpkin tea of those I’ve tried so far. It’s just unbelievably smooth and creamy, and it carries a thick, squash flavour along with mild spicing. I didn’t drink this one at Halloween, but I almost wish I had now. The smell of pumpkin and cinnamon is just so warm and comforting — beautiful!
I gave this one nearly four minutes in boiling water, and added a good splash of milk. The pumpkin is the first flavour to develop, and it tastes very fresh and vegetal. Not in a green tea way, just…like a fresh pumpkin, I guess. The spice complements the pumpkin flavour perfectly, and isn’t at all overwhelming. I can’t identify too much beyond cinnamon, but there are other spice flavours grouping together in the background that give this a mild chai-esque vibe.
The dry leaf is really pretty, too. The pumpkin sprinkles are the cutest thing, and a nice addition even if they don’t contribute anything in terms of taste. What I like most about this is how smooth it tastes. It’s insanely drinkable, and I can see myself coming back to this time and time again over the next few weeks. Truly gorgeous stuff!
I think this is what I hoped 52 Teas Mayan Chocolate Chai would taste like. There’s a good, strong hit of chilli here, but the dark chocolate is its equal contender. The rest of the spices are just about there, but they stay very much in the background. The real stars here are the chilli and the chocolate, which is just fine with me.
The strength of the chilli here did take me by surprise initially. I took a big gulp of tea, and then had to gasp for breath a bit as the chilli caught me right at the back of the throat. I think I forgot what I was drinking for a second! So, this is very much a sipping tea. Very small sips, so that the chilli doesn’t become overwhelming. If you stick to that, you get a good, strong, smooth dark chocolate taste, and then the chilli just at the back of the mouth. It does burn a bit, but…it’s chilli! The rest of the spices seem to develop after the chilli heat has faded, so it’s an interesting tea to drink slowly and contemplate. If you don’t leave a few minutes between mouthfuls, I’m not sure you’d ever really get chai, but it is there if you’re patient.
An interesting tea, and one of the best chocolate-chilli teas I’ve yet tried! I know I’m going to enjoy this one over the winter months, and I imagine it’ll be particularly good when I catch my ubiquitous cold. There’s nothing wishy-washy about this one! Great stuff, Bluebird!
Sipdown! Also finished the last of this today. I brought it home from work with me, and it went down all the easier for the addition of milk. I don’t know why I waited so long to try that, but there you go. I finally found the chocolate, and the milk dulls the tulsi a little. The mint works perfectly with both, and its a little smoky to boot. Lovely, atmospheric stuff.
I’ve got two days off work, and my Yankee Candle delivery arrived this morning, so I’ve been burning my new Black Cherry candle with my new shade, and my thoughts are turning towards winter. Now that I’ve finished these couple of halloween teas, I can get started on some of the ones I bought for autumn and winter. I need to organise my stash a little so I can see what I’ve got, but I’m looking forward to trying some new teas over the weekend. That, and my candles, and my books. Yay for long weekends!
Sipdown! Last cup of this today. It’s one of only a few flavoured blacks I’ve really enjoyed recently, maybe because it actually tastes like it smells (and thus lives up to its name), which seems to be such a rare thing. It’s also perfectly suited to this time of year, and it’s nice to drink something when its seasonal. I’ll miss this, but I’ve got plenty of other autumn teas to turn to now that Halloween is over.
Sipdown! A sad one, because I’ve enjoyed having a cup of this tea in the afternoons. It’s probably one of the most unusual flavour combinations I’ve tried so far, but it works really well. The pineapple is sweet and juicy, it’s nicely offset by the corriander, and it’s beautifully creamy. I’ve been adding a couple of small pieces of crystal sugar to augment the creaminess, and it’s just wonderful. Lovely stuff, and definitely one I’d re-purchase in future!