587 Tasting Notes
From one extreme to the other. This is another tea I’ve tried before, although not for a couple of years now. Dry, it does indeed smell like Christmas. I can pick out cinnamon, ginger, orange, maybe a hint of clove. It’s warming and spicy.
This one has a rooibos base, so I gave it about 4 minutes. I want to taste the spices, rather than have the rooibos overpower everything else. Brewed, this is a deep red-brown and smells strongly spicy. I suppose it’s a little like mulled wine, only sadly without the alcohol. I’m actually tempted to add a bit of brandy, but I’ll refrain for now. It also reminds me, interestingly enough, of the Lush shower gel I’m using at the moment — Glogg. I think it’s because it’s almost the same colour, and shares the same cinnamon scent. Thankfully, they don’t have soap in common.
Anyway, this tea doesn’t taste as “heavy” as I thought it was going to. The colour of the liquor is deceptive in that way. The rooibos really complements the spices — it’s earthy and slightly muddy tasting under the cinnamon and clove, which seem to come out most strongly of all once infused.
This is certainly a pleasant, hearty tea for this time of year, and a little different too, in not having a black tea base. I don’t usually go for gimmicky Christmas team because they’re generally spice-based, and they’re not flavours I particularly feel like drinking at any other time of year. This one is probably much the same in that respect, but I can be Christmassy when called upon. And when I am, this isn’t a tea I’d mind drinking.
I’ve had this tea many times prior to joining Steepster, and a couple of times since. It was actually my drink of choice last summer, when I was working in a relatively small, almost windowless office. For all that, I’ve never got around to writing a tasting note. I feel like something fresh to drink this morning, though, so I decided to grab the opportunity.
The dry leaves are one of the things I like most about this tea. Large, flat pieces of dried lemongrass, and nothing else. They range from a gorgeous grassy green, through shades of brown and cream. The scent is almost undescribably fresh — lightly lemony, slightly grassy and hay-like. Opening a new packet, the scent immediately reminds me of summer. It’s just that kind of smell.
I usuaully leave the bag in this one, until it’s a medium yellow-green. The infused leaves smell strongly citrussym with more of a lime note than they posessed dry. The lemon is still detectable, although slightly less so. The overarching note is a delicate sweetness, contributing a wonderful hay-like aroma. I love this tea. It makes the sun seem that much closer, even on a grey, miserable day like today.
To taste, this is just as you’d expect. Citrussy, sweet, and very mellow. It tastes very rounded, very smooth, and it’s so easy to drink. There’s a very slight tang from the citrus in the aftertaste, but it’s more than welcome after the sweetness of the initial sip.
If it were possible to bottle summer, you couldn’t get much closer than this.
Third cup of Cotton Candy from my 12 Teas of Christmas sampler. I’ve probably got just enough left for one more cup. Sadly, because I’ve really enjoyed this one. I love the sweet, sugary, slightly alcoholic scent of the dry leaves, and I adore how, when brewed, it actually tastes like cotton candy. It takes me right back to childhood visits to the fair. It’s something I’ve not done in a long time, but every memory feels so close and real when I taste cotton candy (whatever form it takes). For me, a real sensory experience.
Drank another one of these yesterday evening, after feeling slightly nauseous all day. I enjoyed it just as much as last time, if not more so. The peppermint seemed to help settle my stomach, and the chocolately notes were rich and smooth. A mint creme in a cup. Perfect!
Drank another of these today. I wasn’t the biggest fan at first, but they’ve grown on me considerably. It took a bit of trial and error to find a brew time that allowed both the chocolate and the raspberry to come through equally, but I finally found it at around 4 minutes 30.
I really like the way neither the raspberry nor the chocolate taste too cloying, and yet still manage to stand up to the (rather strong) base tea. A sweet, comforting flavoured black. Not an all time favourite, but certainly a pleasing cup.
Another one I’ve not tried before. I became a big Ceylon fan after trying (and falling head over heels in love with) Adagio’s Ceylon Sonana. It’s still my black tea of choice. After finishing my first bag, though, I decided to try a few different Ceylons, just for the sake of experimentation. This was one of them, only I forgot about it until a couple of hours ago. So there you go. I was blinded to all other potential loves by Celyon Sonata for a while, but now the honeymoon period is over, I can see all of my other choices again.
I brewed this for about 4 minutes, because (on the whole) I like to drink my black tea with milk. Unfortunately, I can’t say much about the smell of the dry leaves. This is entirely my fault, because I had the bag stored next to my Yumchaa teas. Thus, all I can smell is Berry Berry Nice. Moving swiftly on (and having moved the Yumchaa to a safer place), the leaves of this tea are very fine — almost like conventional tea bag tea. I knew this was a BFOP, which I usually try to steer clear of, but I was still interested to try this one because of it’s single estate origin.
Brewed, the liquor is a nice deep golden brown. It smells mildly citrusy, with perhaps a hint of smokiness. The smokiness, I wasn’t expecting. It’s kind of pleasant all the same, though. To taste, this has quite a strong, slightly astringent, flavour. I expect that’s partly due to the broken leaves, so I might brew it for less time in future to compensate a bit. While I’m enjoying this enough to merit comenting on it, I don’t like it as much as my beloved Ceylon Sonata. I feel it lacks the lightness of flavour I was expecting, and I’m finding it a little too drying in the mouth. Not a winner, but it was worth a try if only to further scope out what I like and don’t.
Since I’m now into my last few days off work, I decided it was time to try one of the wintery teas I’ve had in my stash for a while, but not yet got around to trying. I love Chai in the winter, preferably as a latte. It’s a bit complex to make at work, though, so I usually reserve this pleasure for home.
Over the last few months, as I’ve developed my taste for and appreciation of different teas, I’ve moved away from plain bombay-style chais, and onto flavoured ones. I picked this one up from Twinings back in November, I think. I’m not always a great fan of Twinings, because sometimes I feel the quality just isn’t there, but this is a niiiice chai.
It has an assam base, and the dry leaves smell faintly spicy, with a strong creamy vanilla overtone. Brewed, the scent is very similar. As I was hoping, the vanilla predominates, the spices complement, and the black tea base provides a sturdy, fulfilling foundation. I made this as a latte, so it’s pretty pale-looking once I’ve added the milk, but this absolutely hasn’t destroyed the flavour. If anything, the creaminess of the milk helps to highlight the vanilla, making this one of the most pleasing teas I’ve tried in a while. This is almost perfectly balanced, for my taste. And I’ve no doubt it’ll go down perfectly with the slice of Christmas cake I’ve got my eye on. Chalk another one up for Chai. This is divine.
On the twelfth day of Christmas, 52Teas gave to me…White Christmas!
Another one that smells gorgeous straight out of the packet. It’s actually reminding me of a mint creme. Peppermint is the dominant note, but there’s also an underlying sweetness from the marshmallow root. Oh, this is going to be good!
I brewed this for three minutes, while I finished sorting out my presents and clearing up wrapping paper. It smells sweet and slightly minty, and I’m getting a hint of chocolate that I assume is coming from the black tea base. Mouthwatering!
To taste, this is just as I imagined it would be. A perfect balance of sweetness from the marshmallow, coolness from the mint, and chocolatey depth from the tea base. It really is like drinking an After Eight, and it’s got to be the perfect after-dinner tea in existence. Particularly when the dinner concerned is larger than usual and distinctly overindulgent. I added a splash of milk, which I think has added an extra dimension of creaminess, but I would just as happily drink this without any additions at all. Honestly, I don’t think there could be a more fitting Christmas Day tea. Another perfect end to a perfect day!
On the eleventh day of Christmas, 52 Teas gave to me…Butterbeer!
I used to be a big Harry Potter fan. Not so much in recent years, but enough that I’ve always wanted to try Butterbeer. Now, I’ve got my chance.
The dry leaves smell amazing. Really strongly buttery with a depth to it more like caramel, toffee, or maybe butterscotch. The scent reminds me a bit of werther’s originals. It’s pleasant (in small doses), but I can imagine it becoming a little sticky and cloying. I’m hoping the brewed tea won’t taste too much like that.
I let it brew for about three minutes, and I’m relieved to discover that it’s no longer overpoweringly sweet smelling. Some of the other flavours have started to develop, and now the scent reminds me more of a caramel rooibos (specifically Teapigs Rooibos Creme Caramel). Slightly earthy (maybe the chicory?), but still with a distinct butterscotch note.
To taste, this is divine. If this is what Butterbeer tastes like, then no wonder Harry and his cohorts drank so much of the stuff. It’s creamy, caramel-ly, buttery deliciousness. Thankfully not overpowering, as it could so easily have been.It’s the perfect, perfect dessert tea. Drinking this on Christmas Eve, I feel warm, cosy, and homey. A great end to a great day. Thank you, Frank!