911 Tasting Notes
This is an interesting one. The aroma while brewing reminds me a bit of an oolong, although I know it’s not. There’s also a sweet fruitiness from the peach, and a distinctive bakey-floral note from the hops. I gave it three minutes in boiling water, by which point the liquor has become medium brown in colour.
As it cools, I can smell more peach than I could initially. That’s a good thing, I think. First sip was still a little hot, but varied in taste between sweet and bitter. The peach adds a light sweetness, and a delicate, summery fruitiness, while the hops and base guranse add a slightly bitter, slightly floral note. I wasn’t sure at first, but on balance I think the combination is a good one. There’s a weight to it, a bit like beer, and an almost thick texture. It’s certainly unlike any tea I’ve tried before!
I’ve left it right until the end of summer to try this, but it’s a tea I could happily drink all year round. To me, it’s quite summery in terms of flavour, but it’s also substantial enough to make a really interesting autumn tea as well. Definitely one I’d buy more of in the future!
I brewed this immediately after drinking my sample of Premium Taiwanese Assam, so that I’d be able to compare more effectively. The first thing that caught my attention was the difference in scent as this one brewed. The PTA was very malty and sweet, where here I could smell something more reminiscent of grapes. The liquor is slightly darker, so I felt safer adding a splash of milk to this one.
On tasting, I’d agree that these are two entirely separate teas. There’s no sweetness here, and no chocolate, but there’s no astringency either. It’s smooth and very delicate tasting (smoother than th PTA, I think), with clearly discernable citrus notes. I can’t taste grapes, but there is something raisin-like here, and a light maltiness.
On the whole, it’s hard to say which I prefer. They’re both wonderful, and I think they’d both suit different moods. I’ll probably start with a supply of both, and work out which I like best over future tastings. I’m really impressed with this one, though (and with myself, for being able to taste the difference!) Amazing.
Sipdown! I’m working on finishing off my Adagio samples at the moment, of which this was one. It’s not bad as rooibos goes. I’ve enjoyed drinking it on busy work night evenings when I’ve wanted something simple and straightforward, but caffiene free. I probably wouldn’t buy it again, simple because plain rooibos isn’t really my thing. Another experience I’m glad to have had, though.
Sipdown! Last cup’s worth of this yesterday evening. Bluebird’s taster packets really are generous — I feel like I’ve been drinking this one for ages! That’s a good thing, because now I’ve worked out how best to prepare this, I’ve come to really love it. My trouble at first was developing the strawberry flavour without over-steeping and getting an astringent base. I finally found an optimum point at around 3.5 minutes, and I didn’t look back from there. I know adding milk to earl grey is a little bit perverse, but I have been with this one. Somehow, it just seems to bring out the creamy strawberry-ness, which is otherwise more or less overpowered by bergamot. Definitely one I’d consider repurchasing, especially in the summer. Great work, Bluebird!
I’m trying to work through my samples from Butiki today and tomorrow. I think I’ve been avoiding them because they’re one-cup, and if I don’t log them immediately I’ll forget the detail.
Anyway. Assam was one of the first varieties of tea I tried, and it’s still my favourite. As assams go, this is an exceptionally good one. The leaves are the first wonder. They’re really long, quite thick, and a bit twisty. They’re also a really dark brown, almost verging on black. I’ve only seen this maybe once before, in a sample of Laoshan Black kindly sent to me by Sil, and I loved that, so I have high hopes for this one.
Brewed, this smells sweetly malty and slightly chocolatey. The liquor is a touch paler than I expected — a sort of medium-brown. Despite my reservations, I added a splash of milk. Thankfully, this is a tea that seems to accept milk pretty well, so I’m glad I did. To taste, this is, like all strong, malty blacks, supremely comforting. It tastes much like it smells — malty, with hints of cocoa, and a raisin-like fruitiness towards the end of the sip. As it cools, it tastes on a sweet, honey-ike taste that’s really quite delicious.
This is a black tea that could well become an all time favourite, and I’ll definitely pick up a bag with my next Butiki order. I’ve a sample of the upgrade version to try next, and I’m interested to see how they compare. Thank you to Stacy for the samples!
I really wanted to like this one, but it’s a bit of a miss for me. Looking at the dry mix, all I can really see are pieces of hibiscus, rosehip and apple. Consequently, all I can really taste are hibiscus and rosehip. Interesting, in a tea called strawberry kiwi. Saying that, I can taste strawberry a little, and the smell is right, so there must be some flavourings added here. Unfortunately, they’re just not powerful enough to stand against my nemesis hibi, and his sidekick rosehip. I’m not getting kiwi at all in the taste, and not really to speak of in the scent. Strawberry, yes, but only just. And that’s really all.
As fruit teas go, it’s no better or worse than the majority I’ve tried. I just wish it wasn’t called strawberry kiwi, because that had me hoping for a minute.
I was drinking mostly coffee by the end of friday to try and keep myself awake. It really was a difficult week, and I’m so glad it only happens once a year. I celebrated my return to tea this morning with a cup of this. I love how chocolatey it is, and how rich and deep the flavour of the black tea base can be. I’ve not had a problem with astringency, which I half suspected I would. Instead, it’s just smooth, slightly dusty, cocoa heaven. A truly beautiful black tea.
I only started my pouch of this on monday, and it’s almost gone. I think that, more than anything, shows just how much I love it. It’s been a cold week, so the idea of a warm cinnamon bun has been really appealing. Since there were none to hand, this tea was a more than ideal substitute. I’ve been brewing it for between 4 and 5 minutes, by and large, and I can’t get over the fact that it tastes almost exactly like the real thing. The smell is the first thing I noticed. In the bag, it’s quite strongly cinnamon, and I could see the quantity of chips in here. In practice, though, the cinnamon is remarkably delicate, there’s a sweetness that’s reminiscent of icing, and there’s something…something in the background that’s maybe just reminding me of pastry. I picked this out after giving it a longer brew time on friday — before then I wasn’t really getting the bun element at all. I think I’m going to take some sugar to work next week and see what that does. As honeybush goes, though, this is going to be another of my favourites, alongside Strawberry Pie. It’s amazing stuff, particularly for autumn.
Final sipdown this week! Another one that grew on me the more I drank it. I could never really taste cake, but I definitely got cream and raspberry, much like the filling of a victoria sponge, so I suppose that’s fair enough. It’s tea, after all. Tea is not cake. I did find the black base a little bitter and astringent here, but I learned to deal with that by brewing for a shorter time. That impacts on the depth of flavour a little, but not terribly. Adding milk helped to develop the creaminess, but I prefered this black on balance. One I’d definitely consider restocking in the future.
Sipdown! This one was a long time coming, but I got there in the end. I wasn’t sure about it at first, because there’s a lot going on in terms of flavour, and it just seemed a bit confused. It’s grown on me, though, especially as the days have gotten cooler. I drank the last cup of this at work on friday afternoon, after I’d spent a couple of hours over in estates packing boxes of freight. It was freezing, and so this fruity, caramelly, slightly nutty, spicy wonder was just the thing when I got back. It reminded me almost of mulled wine, and maybe that’s the comparison I’ve been looking for all this time. Probably not one I’d buy again, but a nice enough autumn/winter rooibos for all that.