1158 Tasting Notes
I’ve been drinking this one at work in the afternoons this week, and I think it’s helping to boost my post-lunch energy levels at least a little. Usually, I get into a sleepy slump, but I’ve been feeling a little more alert these last few days. I still find the bright blue colour a little disconcerting, but it’s also kind of cool. No-one else in the office has blue tea, I can tell you that. It tastes a little odd; very floral and herbal. A little like rosewater, to my mind, with a background of hay. It’s palatable, though, and that’s what matters.
I think it’s fair to say that this is one of the most unique teas I’ve ever tried!
Today’s tea of choice. I’ve been feeling pretty crappy for a while now, with headaches and nausea, and so today I wanted something straightforward and understandable to round off the week. This fit the bill perfectly. Assam is, and probably always will be, my favourite variety of black tea. Assam is what got me started drinking tea, and it’s what keeps me going when I’m at my lowest. I somehow reassuring and familiar, and I love it.
I used 1 tsp of leaf and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is reddish-brown. I’ve drank this one a couple of times before and noted its tendency to astringency, so I added a splash of milk to smooth things out.
I feel like there isn’t a great deal I can say about this one. It’s deliciously malty, very bold, and makes a great morning or pick-me-up tea. It’s fairly smooth, but with a slight rugged roughness at the end of the sip that sets it apart. It reminds me a little of A&D Tiger Assam in that respect. To my mind, this makes a great everyday tea, albeit a premium choice. There are other Assams I prefer more for their flavour – Taiwanese or Golden Lion varieties tend to tick those boxes for me. This one is just malty awesomeness, which is perhaps a little one-note, but sometimes that’s all I’m really looking for.
This one’s a feel good tea, and as such will be sadly missed.
I’ve tried a sample of this one before, but I finally gave in and pulled out my much beloved bag of Hello Sweetie this morning. Ever since I heard Butiki were closing, I’ve always thought twice before starting this one. Knowing I’ll never be able to replace it makes it all the more precious. It’s been another difficult week, though, so I deserve a treat, and this is a worthy choice. I used 2 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.
Fortunately, it’s as gorgeous as I remember. The coconut is the primary flavour, and it’s wonderfully creamy, with a fresh, tropical taste. The banana is second, and tastes slightly under-ripe, but that’s pretty perfect with the coconut to my mind. The black PTA base adds a deliciously sweet maltiness to the whole thing, and somehow manages not to steal the show. This one is definitely about the flavours!
I could rave about this one all day, but I’ve done that already in my original note for this tea. Needless to say, it’s one of the best banana/coconut teas I’ve tried – Butiki teas are one of the best for flavours, and their closure will be a great loss to the tea world. I’m just glad that this one lives up to the memory of my first cup, and I’ll be savoring the remainder of my bag from this point forward!
Another weekend Sherlock blend! I said in my review of Sherlock how I love the TV series these teas are inspired by. I’m not usually an Adagio fan (the quality mostly just isn’t there, imo), but the fandom aspect makes these teas a little special. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 4 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk.
To taste, this is mostly a straight-up, bold Irish breakfast. It’s malty and substantial, and it would actually make a pretty good morning tea. The flavouring arrives mostly in the mid-sip, where there’s a decent kick of warming, spicy cinnamon that helps to give this tea an edge it wouldn’t otherwise have had. The green tea is very faint, although it’s identifiable at the end of the sip where it adds a slightly dank, vegetal tinge. There’s the tiniest sniff of bergamot, and then it’s done. Time for another sip!
This is a very easy-drinking tea, and an interesting combination of flavours. I think it encapsulates the spirit of Watson’s character pretty well. Straightforward and reliable, with a hint of the exotic and a little tradition-breaking. Definitely a sample I’ll enjoy drinking, and a tea memory I’ll cherish.
I hosted interviews again last wednesday, and this came with me in my timolino for the morning. I brewed it quite strong (2 tsp of leaf for 4 minutes), and added a splash of milk. I needed something to make the morning bearable, and this is one of the better maple syrup flavoured teas I’ve tried. It has the wonderfully rich flavour of maple down perfectly, and the milk adds an edge of creaminess that I really like. It’s a combination that makes me think of the maple ice cream used in my favourite maple-pecan sundae (which I always have when we eat out at that particular restaurant). This one can get a little aastringent as it cools, but fortunately the timolino is really good at maintaining heat. A tasty, comforting tea for a busy morning!
Sipdown! Finished off the last of my sample at work today. I really have to say that this is one of the best Silver Needle teas I’ve had the pleasure of drinking. The leaves are just the prettiest thing – white/creamy green, very downy, and almost vegetal in scent. A lot of white teas are much closer to grey/black underneath the fuzz, so this makes a very pleasant and refreshing change. I’m sure the individual foil sample pouches help to maintain freshness, but I’m also sure that this tea was super-fresh when it was packaged. Sometimes I do wonder.
Anyway, this one is as wonderful to taste as it is to look at. It has a mild flavour and is pretty much sweet water in the initial sip, but takes on a light herbal, almost “green” flavour, and is deliciously creamy. That’s what I love most about it, I think. It puts me in mind of unripened bananas.
I probably won’t be drinking tons of white tea again until the warmer months, but this is a silver needle I’d definitely consider adding to my cupboard at that point. It’s everything a silver needle should be, in my opinion.
This was my last cup of the evening yesterday. It’s probably not surprising that I couldn’t sleep, after having pottered around the house drinking tea all day. Still, tea is good. What would a weekend be without tea?
I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for this cup, and gave it three minutes in boiling water. No additions. This has become my standard preparation for my first cup of a Della Terra, and I adjust from there as required. Judging from the dry leaf, I was expecting this one to be quite heavily chocolatey (at least, based on the quantity of chocolate chips vs. marshmallows and graham crumbs) but I got a rather pleasant surprise.
The main flavour here is MARSHMALLOW! It’s pretty spot on in terms of flavour accuracy, and it somehow manages to taste creamy as well as sweet and sugary. The second flavour is, as expected, chocolate. Dark chocolate, to my mind, which works well as a slightly bittersweet counterpoint to the over-sweet marshmallow. Right at the end of the sip is a light biscuitty flavour. It’s a little fleeting, and I would have liked it to have a bit more of a presence, but at least it’s there.
This is another flavoured/dessert tea that’s a pretty accurate representation of the actual foodstuff it references. It’s so close to tasting like an actual s’more that it seems unfair to pick faults. I was pleased with the prominence of the marshmallow flavouring, as I had feared that this would turn into just another watery chocolate tea. Not so, fortunately! Another worthy cupboard addition, if dessert teas are your thing.
I’d heard great things about this tea, so I pulled it out yesterday to inject a bit of cheer into my weekend. I tried my first cup black – 1.5 tsp of leaf (oh so cocoa-y dry, like opening a fresh tin of hot chocolate) left for three minutes in boiling water. No additions. It smells wonderful, but I have to say that I found the taste a bit of a disappointment. It’s one of the more chocolately chocolate teas I’ve tried, but it was still somehow watery and thin tasting. I know the mouthfeel is never going to resemble actual chocolate, but something seemed amiss. It reminded me of Teapigs Chocolate Flake, which also smelled wonderful but was similarly weak to taste.
This got me thinking about how I could improve my experience. With the teapigs, I used two bags and a longer brew time. A tea that smells as chocolatey as this one has to have something about it, surely? So, for my second cup, I used 2 tsp of leaf and left it for four minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor was fairly dark, so I added a splash of milk.
Suddenly, it’s all so much better. I can taste chocolate! It’s rich, creamy, very decadent. It tastes like milk chocolate to me, so it lacks a little intensity, but it’s still deliciously comforting. The black tea base is detectable underneath the chocolate, but it works well with the creamy, hot chocolate-esque flavour. It’s a good reminder that this is, after all, tea.
I do sometimes feel that I expect too much from chocolate teas — if I want the mouthfeel and the intensity, I should probably just drink hot chocolate. As a tea-person, though, I have to say that this is one of the better-tasting chocolate teas I’ve tried. It’s never going to be “just like the real thing” because that would be impossible, but it’s a good effort. Definitely worthy of a place in my cupboard.
For last night’s pre-bedtime cup, I pulled out this beautiful herbal. The dry leaf is so fresh and natural looking, it’s a joy just to look at! I particularly love the whole-flower hops, the lemon slices, and the hibiscus flowers. Very few herbal blends I’ve come across are composed of such large, generously proportioned ingredients.
As per the recommended parameters, I used 3 tsp of leaf and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium pink-red (thanks to the hibiscus, I guess). Fortunately, hibiscus doesn’t steal the show here. The star ingredient has to be the hops, which add a very herbal, bittersweet flavour. After tea, beer is my second love, and I do tend to pick out hoppier varieties because I like the clean, almost sharp dryness they can contribute. That’s probably partly why I enjoy them in this blend – they’re almost a perfect counterpoint to the tart sweetness of the hibiscus. The lemon slices help also, adding a sharp, zesty flavour to the cup.
This is a tea that tastes like it’s good for you, but in a pleasant way. It’s deeply herbal, but it’s also cleansing and relaxing. Beautiful stuff!
This was last night’s early evening tea. I’ve not tried all that many pear teas before – it seems to be a bit of a neglected flavour. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it three minutes in boiling water. No additions.
The first thing that catches my eye (of course) is the sparkles. The cup shimmers with gold, and it’s almost hypnotic watching it swirl and eddy. This is definitely a tea that would look good served in a clear glass teapot! To taste, the pear flavour is pleasantly juicy, if a little candy like. It’s not Della Terra’s floral pear flavouring, though, which I dislike based on how perfumey it is. Instead, it reminds me mostly of a pear drop.
This seems pretty much to be a straight-up pear tea, with no complications or additional flavours, and I like that about it. This was much more of a hit with me than Della Terra’s Spiced Pear blend, for example.
An enjoyable cup, and another sample I’ll have no problem finishing up. A potential future repurchase.