1555 Tasting Notes
A sample from Ysaurella. I enjoy Christmas in general (not as much as Halloween, though!), so it comes as a surprise to me that I’ve not tried all that many teas which attempt to capture the spirit, or essence, of Christmas. I can think of one or two, but none that spring to mind as readily as this one! Finally, thanks to Ysaurella, I have the chance to try it.
I chose a cool autumn day for my first tasting — I’m just too impatient to wait for December, or Christmas itself. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I made no additions to my first cup, but I think milk would work here. The base tea and flavouring seem robust enough to carry that.
The main flavour I can detect is clove, followed by orange/mandarin, and then cinnamon. The base tea is pleasantly malty, and adds a delicate sweetness that really seems to help enhance the almost savoury flavours. It’s quite a heavy-tasting tea, and the aftertaste lingers long on the palate like a slow-fading memory of Christmases past. There’s a very slight dryness, but I’ve come to expect that from spice teas in general.
This one does capture the scents and flavours of a traditional Christmas well enough for me. Christmas isn’t always a happy time of year for me, though, so some of that is very bittersweet. This would be the perfect cosy tea for a cold winter day, though. It’s a spot-on evocation of winter, and traditional happy family Christmases.
I also have a sample of this one from Cteresa, so this afternoon’s cup comes courtesy of her. I gave 1 tsp of leaf approximately 3 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. The taste is a little different to the previous cup I tried. This time, I’m getting a flavour much more reminiscent of rum raisin ice cream. There’s a very clear raisin flavour, followed by a tang of rum (navy, rather than white), almost as if rum infused raisins had been added to the tea base. There’s also a sweet, silky creaminess, which I’m assuming is the vanilla, and which is so reminiscent of ice cream it’s almost unreal. At the very end of the sip, there’s a hint of dark chocolate. It’s deep, dark, decadent and delicious.
Last time I drank a cup of this, I was a little cautious with the brew time. I think the extra minute helps the flavour immensely, although I definitely need milk to cut through the tiny bit of astringency that creates. This is such a boozy, intriguing cup, it almost feels wrong to be drinking it at work! Gorgeous, through, except now I’d also like a bowl of ice cream. Ah well, I can dream sweet dreams until it’s time to go home!
I also received a sample of this one from Ysaurella, so today’s cup comes courtesy of her. This time I’m drinking it without milk, and I’m enjoying it just as much. It’s such a smooth tea, and the base is so light and mild in flavour it’s almost ethereal. A little like the full moon, perhaps?! The main flavour I’m picking up is, as previously, cherry. It’s a lightly floral cherry, rather like sakura blossom, but with enough fruitiness that it’s not a purely floral impression of scent, which is how cherry sometimes comes across to me in tea. It’s definitely a fruit flavour. I can detect almond in the mid sip, and a very light smattering of cinnamon in the aftertaste. Here and there, I’m sure I can taste a tiny splash of blueberry.
This is still an intriguing tea, and one I find particularly interesting to drink. I like cherry tea, especially when it’s a natural, accurate flavour as it is here. I probably wouldn’t have thought to put almond and cinnamon together with cherry in a blend, but it works really well. A little like cherry bakewell! A delicious sweet treat, and one I’ll certainly seek out again in future.
A sample from Cteresa. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 3 minutes in boiling water, and was rewarded with a light golden liquor, which smells sweet and delicately floral. First sip, and I immediately thought cherry. Cherry jam? I also get an almond note, and a light buttery, bakey, biscuitty flavour. Sipping this one does remind me of a jammie dodger! It’s a dessert tea if ever there was one.
As a fan of dessert teas, this one is obviously going to score well with me. I like the almost over-sweet candy-like notes, and like how accurately the biscuit flavour takes shape, and I’m enjoying the fruity-floral notes that really help to round this one out. This is definitely one I’d look to add to my cupboard. It’s completely delicious as a mid-morning treat!
A sample from Ysaurella. While brewing, this one smells just like a parma violet! That unmistakable sweet, powdery, floral scent, that’s so reminiscent of childhood for me. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in 95 degree water.
Brewed, it TASTES just like a parma violet! I was hoping this would be the case, because it’s a flavour I absolutely adore. It’s one of those flavours that surprises me, because usually floral teas (or floral anything, really) aren’t my thing. This, however, is clearly the exception that proves the rule. It’s sweet, almost candy-ish, and very, very smooth, with a distinctive violet flavour and light generic-floral aftertaste. It’s a little powdery-tasting, very perfumey. It’s almost a scent as much as it’s a taste.
I’m pleased to say that I really love this. I’d hoped I would, and I’m glad that I actually do. Definitely one I’d add to my cupboard if the opportunity arose! In the meantime, I shall seek out more violet teas. Avidly.
A sample from Cteresa. I’ve not had brilliant experiences with green/black blends before, but it’s something that intrigues me. I can see how, in the right circumstances, the notes could be beautifully complementary. My biggest struggle is usually with the brew temperature — it feels wrong to put green tea in near boiling water! There isn’t a huge amount of green tea amongst the dry leaf that I can see, though, so I went with1 tsp for 3 minutes at 95 degrees.
The resulting liquor is golden brown. The scent is quite almondy, with a hint of cinnamon in the background. The real surprise is in the taste; on first sip, passionfruit comes out very, very clearly. It’s followed up with almond — almost like a tropical bakewell — and then a tiny hint of cinnamon right at the end of the sip. I can taste a light roasty note, which I assume is from the green tea, and a mild, sweet fruitiness (almost like lychee) which could be the black base.
This is a pretty unique tea amongst those I’ve tried so far. I wasn’t expecting it to be so fruity, but I like how that flavour works with the almond and cinnamon. Definitely one I’d consider for my cupboard, if I wasn’t so leery of the black/green base combination. Another couple of cups should help to reassure me that I can cope with it, though!
At the moment, I’m drinking a sample from Cteresa, which she tells me might be Se Chung…The leaves look similar to the photograph on here, so I’m going to pop my note here for want of a better location!
I let the water cool to around 180, added 1tsp of leaf, and gave it 3 minutes. Fairly standard oolong treatment, for me. Unfortunately, it looks like this is one of the varieties of oolong I don’t get along with so well. It tastes a little like a hojicha green, roasty with a sort of background seaweed/saltiness. I generally prefer my oolongs sweeter and more buttery, definitely greener.
As roasted oolongs go, this is super smooth, with absolutely no bitterness or astringency. There’s a clarity to the flavours; no over-complexity or muddiness here. Sadly, it’s just not for me. It’s good to keep trying and challenging my tastebuds, though!
A sample from Cteresa. I’ve had relative success with a few orange/jasmine/vanilla blends recently, so I pulled this one out to try with interest. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 4 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. It smells beautiful — sweetly cirtussy, just like an actual mandarin, with a light floral edge.
To taste, it’s everything I’d hoped. The orange is sweetish, but with a slightly zesty edge, and the vanilla and jasmine combine into a creamy light floral, which complements the citrus flavour beautifully. The base is smooth and delicate, with no bitterness or astringency at all, and it doesn’t detract in the slightest from the flavouring. I do appreciate how well balanced many MF teas are; the more I drink, the more that stands out to me. Thy’re the quiet, unassuming geniuses of my tea cupboard. Their flavouring might not be loud and brashy, but it’s certainly subtly awesome.
This is one I’d definitely add to my cupboard if the opportunity arose. My favourite orange jasmine tea prior to trying this one was Mighty Leaf’s Orange Dulce, but I think it might just have lost its crown! Thanks so much to Cteresa for sharing this one with me.
A sample from Ysaurella. This is today’s afternoon tea at work. I gave 1 tsp of leaves 4 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. The flavour of this one is one of the strongest I’ve ever encountered from a MF tea. I can taste apricot straight away, and fortunately it’s an accurate, natural apricot and not a terrible chemical monstrosity. I can also taste the deeper, darker sweetness of fig. It adds a sweet syrupyness to the fresh, sweet top notes of the apricot. I’m not really getting peach, but that’s a small complaint when everything else is so present and correct.
I like this one, and that’s not something I usually say about apricot teas. A cupboard candidate for sure! Thanks again to Ysaurella for sharing this one with me!
A sample from Cteresa. This is another subtle, interesting cup, with a lot going on. I’m enjoying contemplating these teas as I drink them, picking out the flavours, considering how they work together to create the overall effect…
I gave 1 tsp of leaf 4 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. The main flavour I can detect is cherry, underscored with a light floral (like blossom?) and just a touch of spicy cinnamon at the tail end of the sip. With successive sips, I notice a note of honey dancing somewhere in the middle — it complements the cherry/spice dynamic really well, and helps to make this a very smooth, delicately sweet cup. At times, I can also taste a very light nuttiness, perhaps hazelnut, although it’s a little overpowered by the cherry and spice. They’re definitely the main players here.
It’s not really putting me in mind of a full moon, but I am enjoying this one. Natural tasting cherry teas are a rare thing, but MF seem to pull it off better than most. A delicious mid-morning cup, and another I’d consider adding to my cupboard. I’ll be overrun at this rate!