578 Tasting Notes
Been drinking the remnants of tea from my desk drawer today — mostly this and Teapigs Green Tea with Mint. I’ve written full tasting notes for both of them before, so I won’t bore you with all that again, but, needless to say, a very minty tea day was had!
I never used to be much of a mint tea fan, but I’m coming to enjoy drinking it on an afternoon at work. It’s somehow refreshing and soothing at the same time. Just perfect, then!
I’ve been drinking this tea pretty steadily over the last couple of weeks, and have never once managed to write a tasting note. An oversight that needs redress. This has actually been one of my favourite fruit teas for a long time, probably because it’s not too sweet or artificial tasting. It’s also one of the few where the taste of the hibiscus is, thankfully, more or less drowned in the flavours of the other berries. Dry, this tea smells like a dried forest fruits mix. The pieces of fruit aren’t very big, but I can more or less identify everything that’s supposed to be there. From small elderberries and currants, to pieces of blackcurrant, blueberry and cranberry – they’re all more or less represented. The telltale colour and shape of hibiscus is also noticeable, but the less said about that the better.
I’m struggling to identify the dominant flavour in this tea. I think it’s blackcurrant, but it’s a difficult call. The elderberry and currant come through quite well, but the other fruits are pretty lost. I think the whole reason I like this tea so much is because it’s slightly sour tasting, and very dark. After 3 or 4 minutes, the liquor is a very dark burgundy, almost black. Despite this, it’s still a very pleasant fruit tea – and, on re-acquaintance – still one of the best I’ve tried so far. I drank it iced most of last summer, which it takes too well because it’s easy to brew strongly and it doesn’t get watered down. At the moment, though, I’m drinking it hot at least a couple of times a day. With all the snow we’ve been having, it’s one of the nicer things I’ve had to look forward to upon arriving at work. Just like hot Ribena, only far less sweet and with added health benefits. I feel like I should be saying far more about a tea I love so much, but I guess it’s something I’m going to have to come back to. In the meantime, suffice to say that there’s nothing more I could really want from a drink, and this will definitely make my repurchase list once again!
When I wrote the tasting note for 52Teas Lemon Cardamom Chun Mee, I was absolutely convinced that I’d never tried Chun Mee before. It turns out, though, that maybe I have. The base of this tea is referred to as Chun Mee on the reverse of my new packet, although I’m sure it wasn’t previously. Anyway – it’ll be interesting to try this tea again knowing what I now know.
I brewed this tea for three minutes, which is about as long as I can stand to brew green tea before I start to find it undrinkable. Looking at the leaves, it looks like this is a pretty even mix of green tea and peppermint. The scent would also seem to confirm this, as neither really dominates. The skill with which Teapigs blend their teas is, I think, one of the reasons I like them so much. It doesn’t matter which one I choose, I always finish it in the belief that someone took care over the quantities and proportions of the ingredients. This one is no exception.
To taste, this actually turns out a pretty complex tea. There’s a slightly dank note contributed by the green tea. Something in me wants to call it swampy, but that’s a rather unflattering way of describing it. It’s not bitter, though, or astringent. In fact, this is one of the smoothest green teas I’ve tried, if I’m not counting those from 52Teas, which are always perfect in this respect. Vegetal is probably a better descriptor, although overused. Either way, the green tea is the first thing I taste. After this comes the peppermint. Initially cutting through the taste of the green tea as a distinctive coolness, and eventually transforming into a mellow sweetness that lingers on the tongue.
I’m pretty impressed with this. As it cools, the sweetness from the mint becomes more prominent, which is very pleasant. I can see this being another one I’d like iced in the summer (can you tell how much I want the cold to stop??), but I doubt my current packet will last that long. Another Teapigs triumph!
Opening this packet was a pleasant surprise. I was immediately greeted by the strong scent of dried fruit, and the sight of the pieces, which are larger that I was reasonably expecting. I can clearly pick out orange peel, pieces of strawberry, cherry and apple, and rosehips. There’s also something that looks suspicuously like a whole hibiscus flower. I’m not the greatest fan of hibiscus, but you’ve got to admit that the quality’s there. This is definetly an improvement on some brands I could mention. The smell is very tart, but I was expecting that. It’s something I can even enjoy in a fruit tea, from time to time, provided it’s not overwhelming.
Reassuringly, this tea takes a while to colour, and doesn’t turn instantly red as heavily hibiscused fruit teas tend to. To taste, it is, of course, tart. I find I can identify some of the fruit flavours, though, which is a definite point in its flavour. The strawberry is quite prominent, giving it a sweetly delicate, summery flavour. This isn’t at all the cloying, deep red drink I was expecting given my experiences so far, and I’, very pleasantly surprised. There’s also a slight tang from the apple, which cuts through some of the natural fruit sweetness, and provides an interesting counterpoint to the red fruit flavours.
All in all, I’m really impressed with this. Far more so than I was with Adagio’s Berry Blues. I’m still holding on to the hope that one day I will find a red fruit or berry tea which doesn’t include hibiscus at all, but until that day this is perfectly palatable. A hit, rather than the miss I was dreading!
This is the last of these I’ve yet to write a note for, so I decided now was as good a time as any. I haven’t been over impressed with the Twinings Sensations range so far, although they’re by no means terrible. I think I’d prefer them iced, but it’s just too cold for that at the moment.
So. Double Mint Sensation. So called because it contains mint oil as well as peppermint leaves. On first removing the bag from the sachet, I’m not overwhelmed by the scent of mint. Not like, say, Teapigs Peppermint Leaves. That’s a seriously minty tea. The scent of this is quite delicate, obviously peppermint, but perhaps slightly dank smelling. My hopes are not high.
I put it in a cup regardless, and brew for the recommended 3 minutes. It smells a lot mintier now, although it still has a flat, bruised scent to it, almost as if the leaves have been squashed rather than dampened. Maybe because they’re chopped so finely?
To taste, this is minty, but it’s nowhere near the mintiest tea I’ve tried. I’m not picking up on the mint oil at all, so I can’t comment on what that might or might not be contributing. This’ll be a good mint tea for days when I don’t want an overpoweringly strong toothpaste effect, but these days I generally expect a bit more from my mint teas than this is offering. It’s a perfectly adequate, bog-standard peppermint tea bag, just don’t expect miracles. Eminently drinkable, but no stunner.
Haven’t managed to get into work today because of the snow. When I lived in Durham a couple of years ago, it would have been business as usual, but there’s complete chaos here.
Anyway, not having to rush out meant that I could take my time over this tea. I’m always a little concerned about the gunpowder base, because I can’t stand bitter green tea, but I haven’t had any trouble at all with this so far.
Sweet, strongly blueberry flavoured, and with a hint of sugary cotton candy. Perfect snow day tea!
Backlogging from Thursday
I’ve had an upsetting week so far. Work has been trying; multiple system failures have meant that we’ve had a lot of complaints, and as receptionists we’re supposed to put up with all of the angry/ranty people that come our way, be nice to them, and attempt to placate them. It’s hard. I’ve not been getting home until 7.00pm, so the days feel long and my evenings short.
I needed cheering up, so I dug out this old friend of a tea. I haven’t had one of these in an absolute age. I guess new, shiny teas kept jumping to the head of the queue, but sometimes it’s good just to have something familiar and comforting.
The dry leaves smell just like a creme caramel. Sweet, smooth, with a fudgey note from the cubes of caramel. I can’t actually smell the rooibos all that strongly, just decadent, creamy caramel. Blindfolded, you’d think it was the real deal.
I brewed this for three minutes, just long enough to melt the caramel but not so long that the rooibos overpowers it completely. I added milk, because I think it complements the creamy sweetness of this tea, and tones down the earthiness of the rooibos. I love the suggestion on the packet that you add creme fraiche to this instead of milk. I can see that working really well, and it’s something I’ll definetly have to try one day.
To taste, this is much as you’d expect. The rooibos is quite prominent, and adds a woody, robust depth to the flavour. I’m not overkeen on rooibos alone, but it combines well with the caramel, which contributes a rich creaminess. Together, they taste wonderful. This truly is like a creme caramel in a cup. Sweet, divine, smooth.
I love trying new tea, but sometimes an old favourite is the best thing there is. I’ve fallen in love with this tea all over again. It brought a smile to my face, and reminded me that there’s more to life than worrying about work. Finally, I feel like I’m starting to relax.
This one I like much better. The dry mix smells strongly citrussy. Both lemon and lime are detectable, although, as expected, the lime predominates. There’s also a base spiciness from the ginger. You know, the kind that tickles your nose when you inhale too deeply. Yeah. I did that.
Brewed, this smells of lime jelly beans. It’s actually very pleasant. To taste, it’s neither over sweet nor too sharp. A goldilocks tisane for me, perhaps? The citrus flavours make up the bulk of the sip, with a spicy kick from the ginger in the aftertaste. At first when I bought this, I was thinking of it as a summer drink. Drinking it today, though, when it’s cold and windy, the warming aspects really come through and are more than welcome. I definetly think I’d like to try this iced, though. I can imagine it’d take well to that.
A better experience with this, then, than with the Chamomile and Maple Sensation I tried earlier in the day. Even so, while I don’t mind the taste, this definetly isn’t one of the better teas I’ve tried in recent months. I like to be able to see what’s in the tea, but this has pieces so small and fine they’re almost unidentifiable. It’s pleasantly drinkable for all that, though, and on those grounds it can’t be faulted.
Took these to work today to finish off. I’m not a fan. The dry leaf smells strongly of maple syrup, but with a slight edge to it that makes me think it’s artificial flavouring rather than the real thing. I might be wrong, but that’s what it smells like to me. I can also smell chamomile, a distinctive, sweet, apple-like scent that’s actually quite pleasant.
Upon first tasting this, I was pretty repulsed. It’s very sweet and rather cloying. The maple flavour comes out most clearly, and it’s hard to taste the chamomile at all. As it cools, though, this becomes infinetly more pleasant. Some of the initial sweetness fades, and the apple-like flavours of the chamomile start to come through. I think I might actually take these back home, and have them iced in the summer. It’s definetly better cool, and I’m no longer pulling my “ugh, I don’t like this face”.
This is no better and no worse than I expected from supermarket tea. The combination of flavours should have been a good one, but it falls a little short of my idealisation in its current form. I can just imagine what this might be like if it were made with whole chamomile flowers and generous amounts of maple syrup. Unfortunaely, this is one dream that ended in dust, quite literally.
I’ve been drinking this at work today, trying to hang on to the last vestiges of Christmas spirit before they’re gone for good. Unlike last time, when I was at home, I’ve been adding milk to this. It makes a pleasant change. For some reason, I just didn’t think of adding milk until I got to work. Maybe because that’s what I usually do here.
Anyway, with the addition of milk, this is perhaps even nicer than before. It’s creamy, and the earthiness of the rooibos is toned down a little. The spices are slightly less harsh. I don’t usually add milk to rooibos, but I could get used to drinking it like this. Maybe because it’s spiced, but it’s reminding me of chai more than anything right now. Ah, winter! A successful experiment. I can’t wait to try this with the box of Rooibos Creme Caramel I’ve got stashed away now. I think that could turn out realllly nice! All I’m left to wonder is why this has never occured to me before. Still, better late than never.