1723 Tasting Notes
Sipdown! Finished off the last of my sample at work today. I really have to say that this is one of the best Silver Needle teas I’ve had the pleasure of drinking. The leaves are just the prettiest thing – white/creamy green, very downy, and almost vegetal in scent. A lot of white teas are much closer to grey/black underneath the fuzz, so this makes a very pleasant and refreshing change. I’m sure the individual foil sample pouches help to maintain freshness, but I’m also sure that this tea was super-fresh when it was packaged. Sometimes I do wonder.
Anyway, this one is as wonderful to taste as it is to look at. It has a mild flavour and is pretty much sweet water in the initial sip, but takes on a light herbal, almost “green” flavour, and is deliciously creamy. That’s what I love most about it, I think. It puts me in mind of unripened bananas.
I probably won’t be drinking tons of white tea again until the warmer months, but this is a silver needle I’d definitely consider adding to my cupboard at that point. It’s everything a silver needle should be, in my opinion.
This was my last cup of the evening yesterday. It’s probably not surprising that I couldn’t sleep, after having pottered around the house drinking tea all day. Still, tea is good. What would a weekend be without tea?
I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for this cup, and gave it three minutes in boiling water. No additions. This has become my standard preparation for my first cup of a Della Terra, and I adjust from there as required. Judging from the dry leaf, I was expecting this one to be quite heavily chocolatey (at least, based on the quantity of chocolate chips vs. marshmallows and graham crumbs) but I got a rather pleasant surprise.
The main flavour here is MARSHMALLOW! It’s pretty spot on in terms of flavour accuracy, and it somehow manages to taste creamy as well as sweet and sugary. The second flavour is, as expected, chocolate. Dark chocolate, to my mind, which works well as a slightly bittersweet counterpoint to the over-sweet marshmallow. Right at the end of the sip is a light biscuitty flavour. It’s a little fleeting, and I would have liked it to have a bit more of a presence, but at least it’s there.
This is another flavoured/dessert tea that’s a pretty accurate representation of the actual foodstuff it references. It’s so close to tasting like an actual s’more that it seems unfair to pick faults. I was pleased with the prominence of the marshmallow flavouring, as I had feared that this would turn into just another watery chocolate tea. Not so, fortunately! Another worthy cupboard addition, if dessert teas are your thing.
I’d heard great things about this tea, so I pulled it out yesterday to inject a bit of cheer into my weekend. I tried my first cup black – 1.5 tsp of leaf (oh so cocoa-y dry, like opening a fresh tin of hot chocolate) left for three minutes in boiling water. No additions. It smells wonderful, but I have to say that I found the taste a bit of a disappointment. It’s one of the more chocolately chocolate teas I’ve tried, but it was still somehow watery and thin tasting. I know the mouthfeel is never going to resemble actual chocolate, but something seemed amiss. It reminded me of Teapigs Chocolate Flake, which also smelled wonderful but was similarly weak to taste.
This got me thinking about how I could improve my experience. With the teapigs, I used two bags and a longer brew time. A tea that smells as chocolatey as this one has to have something about it, surely? So, for my second cup, I used 2 tsp of leaf and left it for four minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor was fairly dark, so I added a splash of milk.
Suddenly, it’s all so much better. I can taste chocolate! It’s rich, creamy, very decadent. It tastes like milk chocolate to me, so it lacks a little intensity, but it’s still deliciously comforting. The black tea base is detectable underneath the chocolate, but it works well with the creamy, hot chocolate-esque flavour. It’s a good reminder that this is, after all, tea.
I do sometimes feel that I expect too much from chocolate teas — if I want the mouthfeel and the intensity, I should probably just drink hot chocolate. As a tea-person, though, I have to say that this is one of the better-tasting chocolate teas I’ve tried. It’s never going to be “just like the real thing” because that would be impossible, but it’s a good effort. Definitely worthy of a place in my cupboard.
For last night’s pre-bedtime cup, I pulled out this beautiful herbal. The dry leaf is so fresh and natural looking, it’s a joy just to look at! I particularly love the whole-flower hops, the lemon slices, and the hibiscus flowers. Very few herbal blends I’ve come across are composed of such large, generously proportioned ingredients.
As per the recommended parameters, I used 3 tsp of leaf and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium pink-red (thanks to the hibiscus, I guess). Fortunately, hibiscus doesn’t steal the show here. The star ingredient has to be the hops, which add a very herbal, bittersweet flavour. After tea, beer is my second love, and I do tend to pick out hoppier varieties because I like the clean, almost sharp dryness they can contribute. That’s probably partly why I enjoy them in this blend – they’re almost a perfect counterpoint to the tart sweetness of the hibiscus. The lemon slices help also, adding a sharp, zesty flavour to the cup.
This is a tea that tastes like it’s good for you, but in a pleasant way. It’s deeply herbal, but it’s also cleansing and relaxing. Beautiful stuff!
This was last night’s early evening tea. I’ve not tried all that many pear teas before – it seems to be a bit of a neglected flavour. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it three minutes in boiling water. No additions.
The first thing that catches my eye (of course) is the sparkles. The cup shimmers with gold, and it’s almost hypnotic watching it swirl and eddy. This is definitely a tea that would look good served in a clear glass teapot! To taste, the pear flavour is pleasantly juicy, if a little candy like. It’s not Della Terra’s floral pear flavouring, though, which I dislike based on how perfumey it is. Instead, it reminds me mostly of a pear drop.
This seems pretty much to be a straight-up pear tea, with no complications or additional flavours, and I like that about it. This was much more of a hit with me than Della Terra’s Spiced Pear blend, for example.
An enjoyable cup, and another sample I’ll have no problem finishing up. A potential future repurchase.
Slowly working my way through my untried Della Terras. I used 1.5tsp of leaf, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. No additions. The dry leaf contains small-ish pieces of dried cherry and a generous amount of chocolate chips, so I’m hopeful that it’ll turn out well.
To taste, this really does resemble a chocolate dipped cherry! Maybe not as intensely flavoured as the actual thing, but definitely on the right lines. I can taste the cherry first, and it’s a sweet, juicy, black cherry flavour that’s not at all artificial. The chocolate emerges mid-sip, and adds a little hit of sweetness that really helps the cherry flavouring along. Both flavours meld and linger in the aftertaste, making this a wonderfully decadent dessert tea. I could happily sit and sip a mug of this while others tucked into a slice of black forest gateau, and I wouldn’t feel left out at all. Black forest gateau is another good flavour comparison here – it really captures the chocolate/cherry element THAT well. The black tea base is unobtrusive, and I can’t really taste all that much of it. The flavouring is definitely the star here.
I like this one – it’s a very enjoyable cup, and one of the more flavour accurate, satisfying dessert teas I’ve tried. It’s one I’d perhaps look to repurchase in the future, once my stash is a little more under control. Like that’ll ever happen, though! I’ll certainly have no problem finishing this sample.
This was last night’s pre-bedtime cup. I remember trying this iced last summer, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever tried it hot before. I used 2 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a tell-tale pinky-red, which immediately had me looking at the ingredients. Yes, my old friend hibiscus lives here.
Hibi and I have a love-hate relationship. Every time we meet, I wonder how it’s going to go. This time, it’s actually okay. The main flavour here, as I was hoping, is lemon. It’s a wonderfully fresh flavour, almost bitter. It’s almost like an actual lemon has been squeezed into a cup of hibiscus tea, and it’s a pretty good pairing. The hibiscus adds just the right amount of sweet tartness to counteract the sour lemon, without completely overpowering it.
I actually like this one a lot more hot than I did iced, and I think it’ll be a great herbal blend for a cool spring or summer evening. Drinking this makes me sad that RiverTea have gone. They had all too short a life in the tea world. I suppose the only thing to do is remember them fondly through the teas I have left, and this one makes that easy.
I love Sherlock. By which I mean the BBC series, although I’m also rather partial to the original books. Anyway, I had to try these teas when I saw them, and this was my first pick from the sampler! It seemed like the obvious choice.
I’m not generally partial to lapsang blends, but I’m open to being proved wrong. How will I ever know if my taste for it changes if I don’t try every so often? I gave 1 tsp of leaf three minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. The dry leaf smells quite smoky; it’s like opening the tin releases a little puff of it. Once in the water, it seems less pungent.
Upon taking a sip, it’s immediately obvious that this IS a smoky tea. BUT…it’s somehow a soft smoke, and it’s actually quite palatable. I think the smoky blends I’ve tried previously have mostly been rather acrid and bitter, but this one’s not like that at all. It’s like the smoke at a barbecue, almost. I think the assam helps to tone down the LS a little, and the oriental spice adds a little bit of background flavour that distracts from some of the initial smokiness. The milk probably helps a bit, too. I’m not sure I could drink it without.
Anyway, this blends seems like a fairly fitting tribute to Sherlock to me. It’s a dark and a little mysterious with its background of almost hidden spice (shrouded in smoke, perhaps?) It tastes like I imagine Sherlock’s coat might smell. Not that I imagine that often, of course. Honestly.
This one is typically my weekend breakfast tea, even though it’s a rooibos blend. I’m actually quite sad that Della Terra don’t make it anymore, because it’s one of the strongest and most flavour-accurate maple teas I’ve tried. I had my doubts about the bacon pieces at first, but they don’t play much of a part in the overall flavour. Maybe a touch of smoky sweetness, but nothing outrageous.
Anyway, in my bid to finish up older teas, I allowed myself a cup of this today. I have a couple more teaspoons of leaf left, so it’s not over yet, but I’ll miss this one when it’s gone. This is a rich, delicious, sweet maple tea. One word: yummy!
I’ve been drinking this a couple of times a week since I went back to work, pre-bedtime. This year’s blend is a lot more chai-like than the one I originally tried – there’s a wonderful spicy ginger warmth that’s really lovely on a cold night. The initial sip is still very cake-like, though, and retains the sweet, almost perfumey, notes of freshly baked gingerbread that I enjoyed so much last year.
I’ve been drinking this one both with and without milk, and it works well either way. The spicing comes out better plain, as you might expect, and the cake notes better with milk. It’s a tea to suit all moods, really, and one I’d definitely keep around during autumn-winter.