1701 Tasting Notes
I tried a cup of this hot last night with a spoonful of honey. I think the sweetness helped to cut through some of the hibiscus tartness (which is stronger and A LOT more dominant hot than it is when cold brewed…). I still couldn’t taste much in the way of lemon, however, although it did soothe my throat fairly effectively. Mostly, it reminded me of glycerine cough syrup flavoured with lemon and honey, only less thick and sticky. It’s by no means bad, but I’m still mostly underwhelmed.
This is today’s work cold brew, and it’s as enjoyable as ever. I’ve been really impressed with this one, and I’ll certainly miss it when it’s gone. I have three bags left, though, so that’s not an imminent threat. I’m not sure how this one manages to taste so much like melon juice without actually being melon juice, but there you go. I’ll definitely be looking to try more from English Tea Shop in the coming months.
This one came to work with me this morning in the timolino. I’m working in a different office until 1.00pm, helping a short-staffed team, and I’m not familiar with the kitchen arrangements. It seems odd to other people that the thing that concerns me the most when I’m going to a different office is how I can make tea, but it’s such a huge part of my life that I can’t imagine being without it for 5 hours. I’d get a headache, anyway. Besides, everyone needs a drink! Rather than go without, I filled up my two timolinos this morning and here I am. This one I chose because I know it plays nicely in a flask, and it’s just as good as ever. Sweet and malty, with a wonderful starchy potato note. The other flask contains an Assam, so along the same lines but with slightly more of a pedigree! Enough to keep me happy until lunch, just about.
This is another of the older Butiki teas in my cupboard, but it finally got its chance today! As with a lot of Butiki blends, it’s a beautifully pretty thing. The rose buds are a bright, vibrant pink, and very fresh-looking. They could have been picked yesterday, but I know they weren’t. The silver needle leaves are a creamy green in colour, and very downy. The scent is heavy on the rose, in a way that’s almost reminiscent of perfume. Thick and sultry, very fragrant. It’s a beautiful beginning.
I used 2 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. Even though floral teas aren’t usually my bag, I’m in love with this one from the first sip. If parma violets were rose flavoured, they’d taste like this tea. I’m going to find it fairly hard to explain that now, but it’s how I felt immediately upon taking a sip. The rose is obviously the most apparent flavour, but somehow it doesn’t dominate the blend. It’s sweet, and tastes almost sugared, with just a hint of something powdery. It’s also truly, madly creamy, as if I’d added actual cream to my cup. Smooth, with a dairy like mellowness that complements the rose so, so well. Like rose milkshake, if such a thing existed. There’s the tiniest hint of champagne in the aftertaste, which adds a heady richness to the overall cup. It lingers beautifully, as does the rose, for a good few minutes after each sip. All together, the flavour, the smoothness of the mouthfeel, and the scent combine to make this a real sensory experience. Very few teas have this sort of impact on me, so I’m doubly sad I didn’t try this one sooner. My bank account is pleased, but that’s little consolation.
I love this blend, and I’ll cherish the little bag I have. It’s completely disproved my belief that I don’t like floral teas – clearly that’s not the case. This is a beautiful, fabulously tasty tea, and I’m honoured to have had the pleasure of trying it. Butiki may be gone, but they will always live on in my memory.
This is one of the older Butiki teas in my cupboard, so even though it’s almost summer and not even remotely autumnal outside, I’ve brought this one to work with me today. It was calling to me, somehow. I guess I’m a year-round pumpkin fan, and not just seasonal one. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it approximately 3 minutes in boiling water. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium golden-brown, and the scent is deliciously pumpkin-y, with a hint of cinnamon.
To taste, the first thing I can detect is the spicing. It’s very cinnamon heavy, with maybe a touch of cardamon or clove? It’s a little bitter right at the end, in the way that heavy spice sometimes is. The mid-sip is beautifully creamy, and it does put me in mind of a creme brulee. There’s a hint of slightly-burnt caramel as well, that really conjures up the crispy crust. The pumpkin emerges right at the end of the sip, almost an afterthought, and adds a squashy, sweet potato-y note to the overall cup that works really well with the other flavours. I wish it was a little more prominent throughout, but you can’t have everything. However you look at it, this is one delicious tea!
I added a couple of small pieces of crystal sugar at this point, just to see what the effect would be. After a couple of sips, it’s obvious that sugar really does help to bring out the creaminess, and it also seems to smooth out a little of the bitterness from the spices. Definitely a worthwhile addition!
This one is a little unseasonal, but as I’m just recovering from my latest cold it’s actually pretty well suited to the way I feel at the moment. It’s warming, creamy and sweet, with a spicy edge. A real comfort tea – delicious!
This is today’s cold brew. I don’t have a great deal of leaf left now, which is probably a good thing since I’m not over fond of this one. I think when I bought it, I imagined it as a sharp, bitter lemon sort of tea – maybe reminiscent of lemonade. In actuality, it’s a lemongrass/hibiscus blend, and it’s just a little weak and not-really-lemon like for my tastes. I used 2 tbsp of leaf for today’s brew, added to 1.8 litres of cold water, and then into the fridge for about 10 hours overnight.
The result is okay, in a so-so average kind of way. I can taste a tiny edge of sour lemon, but it’s very fleeting and hardly as present as I’d like it to be. The sip ends with a flash of tart hibiscus, which is fine as far as it goes. I just find the whole thing rather tasteless.
I mention trying this one hot in one of my previous notes, maybe with some honey or crystal sugar. I had thought I’d tried this one hot already, but perhaps I haven’t. I’ll probably do that before I finish this one off for good, but I’m not convinced it’ll make much difference. River Tea did better than this, that’s for sure. I’m sad they closed, but this isn’t ultimately a blend I’ll miss.
In other news, I no longer feel like death warmed over. I’m not exactly better, but I think my cold is slowly disappearing. Other than the first two days, I haven’t actually suffered too much this time. It’s annoying when you want to drink new teas and you can’t, but hey ho! I’ll be back to it soon :)
My no-buy failed fairly spectacularly this weekend. I placed orders with Twinings, Bluebird, and Teavivre, plus Christine Dattner in Paris. Not for huge quantities, but enough that it’ll probably push my cupboard number higher than I really wanted it to go. Still, I’m ill and I needed cheering up. Tea does that, every time.
Moving swiftly on (I was doing so well!), I’ve mostly been drinking this tea for the last couple of days. My cold is fairly awful and I can’t taste much right now, but I found out that Blackberry leaf is good for colds, so I’ve been drinking at least three or four cups of this one spread throughout the day. I think it’s helping at least a bit – I’m having less throat sweets and lemsip than I usually would be, and my throat is a lot less sore than I imagined it would be by now.
I’m not particularly sold on the taste of this one, but I can get behind it if it helps my cold!
This was the first Mariage Freres tea I tried, and it’s still among my favourites today. It’s one of their most well-known and iconic blends, and it’s one I was initially most curious to try, having heard various opinions. I used 1 tsp of leaf for this cup, and gave it approximately 3 minutes in boiling water. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium red, with little scent except a vauge sweetness. The dry leaf is similarly innocuous in this way, with its scent giving little away. I think that’s why I find it such an intriguing tea in many ways – its secrets are well hidden, and a true impression of this tea comes only through having tried it.
See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/06/marco-polo-rouge-mariage-freres/
In my opinion, Golden Monkey is a Teavivre classic – one that all tea lovers (and particularly black tea lovers) should try at some point. It’s a cupboard staple for me, perfect in any season, and at any time of the day or night. It’s a real comfort tea, for me. Reliable, versatile, and tasty to boot! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my current cup, and gave it approximately 2.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is lightly golden, the scent sweet and malty with an underlying hint of grain. I’m drinking it without additions today, hence the reasonably low steep time on this occasion, but it also works well with a 4 minute brew and a splash of milk.
One of the reasons I like this one so much is its almost intensely chocolatey initial flavour. It’s like a square of high quality dark chocolate; bittersweet, with an edge of dark, dry cacao. The malty notes emerge in the mid-sip, and make this a much sweeter prospect, which becomes a little reminiscent of molasses. It’s by no means overpowering, though – there’s just a hint of something treacley lurking in the background. Notes of baked bread, grain and a light nuttiness develop towards the end of the sip, along with a smooth caramel richness.
See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/05/22/golden-monkey-black-tea-teavivre/
This is one of the Mariage Freres teas that I always seem to overlook when I’m choosing a green tea to drink. There’s no reason for it; it just seems to happen. From time to time, I’ll make an effort to pull out those languishing teas and give them another try. I’m usually surprised by what I discover!
See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/02/yuzu-temple-green-tea-mariage-freres/