1694 Tasting Notes
After achieving a couple of sipdowns today, I figured it was time to pull some more “new” black teas out of my sample box. In all honesty, they’re not actually all that new anymore. I guess what I really mean is “unopened”. This one sounded appealing, although I had to check twice because I didn’t believe it would be a black tea at first. “Caribbean Breeze” had me thinking of a while or green blend, probably tropical fruit flavoured. This one is chocolate coconut.
Once brewed, I can kinda see it. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. It brewed up pretty dark, so I added a splash of milk. An oily scrim gathers on the surface, and I can only assume the chocolate is responsible for that. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to have any effect on the texture or mouthfeel, and it doesn’t taste oily. All good so far.
The main flavour is definitely coconut, swiftly followed by milk chocolate. It’s very reminiscent of a Bounty at this point. The while chocolate comes out a little in the mid-sip, and with it a creaminess that I think the milk also helps to promote. There’s a slightly odd pepperiness at the end of the sip that’s a little jarring, but mostly ignorable. It’s putting me in mind of a David’s Tea I tried a while back…maybe last winter? I can’t remember the name now, but I know it’s going to annoy me until I do…
On the whole, I enjoyed this one. Liquid bounty, with added pepper. IGNORE THE PEPPER!
ETA: White Chocolate Frost? I didn’t much like that, though, apparently…
Today’s work SBT, prepared the usual way. I’ve pretty much always enjoyed 52Teas cola blends, and this one’s no exception. I can taste cola (off-brand, reminiscent of cola bottles), and I can taste cherry (sweet, fruity, not at all medicinal). It’s not effervescent (obviously), but there is something about it that’s coming across as “carbonation”, and it’s not just my imagination. Trust me. I don’t actually have that much of an imagination. The standard black tea base is there in the background, but it’s not too intrusive, and it doesn’t overpower the flavourings. It’s smooth, lightly malty, not at all bitter or astringent. I’ll go with LiberTeas and say it’s like someone poured flat cherry cola into a mug that already contained tea dregs, because that’s pretty much what it’s like. Doesn’t sound too appealing, but actually, it’s really pleasant on a sticky late-summer day.
I’m sad that there’s no more SBT in the world.
But there’s plenty still in my cupboard, so I’m still smiling for now.
Today’s work SBT, prepared the usual way. I was wondering how well mango would pair with what usually comes across as quite a malty black base, but the answer is pretty well. The mango is strong; fruity, juicy, and peppery in the best way, so the black tea is only really present in the background. I feel like sometimes there’s a bit of a battle between the base and the flavouring with SBTs, but it’s not the case here.
This one is supposed to be mango sherbet, and it’s only at this point that it really falls down. There’s a wonderful creaminess (again, strong), but it’s really not reminiscent of sherbet, at least to me. Mango and cream, though, yes, and that’s more than good enough for me.
I enjoyed this one. Strong, accurate flavours, deliciously fruity and creamy, smooth, unobtrusive base. It makes me sad to think that I haven’t got anymore of this one, and that once it’s gone this time, it really is gone forever. Sad times.
Today’s work cold brew. I wasn’t entirely sure how this one would work out, particularly with the bergamot, but I was lazy last night and this was pretty much the only tea to hand, so it was a decision by default. I used 3 bags in 2 litres of water, into the fridge for 10 hours overnight. It’s not too bad. There’s a slight bitterness/borderline astringency that I think is a combination of the green tea and bergamot. It’s not actively unpleasant, but I wouldn’t want either element to be any more prominent. The mango is good, and kind of saves it. It’s slightly peppery, juicy, and pretty flavour accurate. I do wonder at the kind of mind that decided bergamot and mango would be a good combination, but that’s probably why I work in an office rather than an exciting, imaginative job.
I think I’m probably going to prefer this one brewed hot, and I have a couple of bags left so I can try that once the weather turns cooler. This is what I get for being lazy, though. It’s not bad, but I think on balance I probably wouldn’t cold brew it again.
Today’s work SBT, made up as per my usual iced tea/SBT method. This is another of the SBT’s I’ve tried recently that has a favourable flavouring vs. prominence of base ratio. I can tell it’s black tea (and the caffeine is appreciated, obviously), but the flavouring is the main feature and I’m glad of that. Citrus and orange is a no-brainer anyway, but I like that I can taste the individual lemon, orange, and grapefruit elements here. It’s not just one big, generic “citrus” mush. It’s also not too sharp, or too bitter/pithy, and that’s without having added any sugar.
My only complaint with this one is a slight soapy flavour that’s kicking around in the background. It’s ignorable, if i don’t think about it, but once you’ve tasted it it’s hard not to notice it next sip. I didn’t think there was bergamot in this blend, but maybe there is. That’s what it reminds me of most, other than soap, and it’s just a touch jarring for my tastes. Out of place, kinda.
As citrus flavoured black teas go, though, it’s pretty good. Another solid SBT production.
Today’s work SBT, prepared the usual way. Blackberry and blueberry? I can’t actually remember what this is supposed to be, because I bought it so long ago and then hoarded it, but I can definitely taste the blueberry. The blackberry is more of a mystery to me, and it’s really no more than a background flavour if I’m honest. The blueberry is so strong, everything else (including the black base, amazingly) just seems to be getting lost. I’m not complaining about the strength of flavour, though, because that’s what I (used to?) love most about SBTs. It’s good to find one that exceeds expectations again, even if it’s a little one-note and not quite as billed. It’s refreshing, wonderfully blueberry, great on a hot day like today. Impressed.
I find it hard to believe no-one’s tried this one! I made this up last night (usual SBT treatment – 3 minutes in 300ml boiling water, topped up to 2 litres with cold and into the fridge), and took it with me to the coast today. The black base is classic 52Teas – soft and kind of “flat” tasting, just a touch on the astringent side. The blackcurrant flavouring is solid, though – strong, juicy, natural tasting. In my head, a black base was a good choice for this one, but in practice it doesn’t quite gel as well as I hoped it would. White would have been better (Blackcurrant Bai Mu Dan, anyone?), but I think at the time this was made SBT were only producing iced tea with a black base. Not so these days, and that’s a good thing!
I enjoyed this one, and I’d drink it again. Maybe a slightly shorter brew time to cut the prominence of the base (and the edge of bitterness) a bit, though.
Today’s work cold brew. I figured on the strength of Very Berry Crush, I could stand to try another bagged Whittards blend this week. This one is the only other fruit blend of theirs I have, so it won by default. Having skimmed the previous reviews, I think they must have changed this blend recently, because I don’t get any rose at all (I don’t think it’s even an ingredient anymore), and there’s plenty of elderflower. Yay for that, because I love elderflower!
Unfortunately, this blend does contain hibiscus (why?), and it drowns out the more subtle apple flavour almost completely. I can taste the elderflower, though, and it’s sweet, syrupy and mildly floral in the best possible way. There’s a touch of crisp, sharp, green apple at the end of the sip, but it’s particularly fleeting and borderline imaginary if I’m honest. Still, an elderflower flavoured tea is a tea that’s fine with me!
I’d probably repurchase this one, simply because it tastes good (not too tart or sour), despite hibi’s best efforts. I’d keep it for summer cold brews, though. I have a feeling it would be hibi central hot, and I wouldn’t be a fan of that.
For reference, I used 4 bags in 2 litres of cold water, into the fridge for 10 hours overnight.
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!