1246 Tasting Notes
A sample from Shmiracles!
This is a really great caramel tea. I’ve been on the hunt for a decent one for what feels like a long time, and now I’ve found two in two days. More on that later. This is the more subtle of the pair, so far as the caramel flavouring goes. It’s creamy, smooth, sweet, and distinctively caramel flavoured, but it’s also beautifully balanced with the black base. As far as shares in the overall flavour go, they’re equal contenders.
It’s probably fair to say that this one smells more like caramel than it tastes, but when the combination is as good as it is here, that’s more than okay with me. There’s nothing fake or artificial here — it’s like actual caramel was melted into a sturdy black base. A genuinely lovely afternoon tea, and a wonderful treat for my Sunday!
A sample from KittyLovesTea. Last cup of the day at work. I found this one a bit of an odd duck while hot, but as it cooled it seemed to settle down. It brewed up pretty dark, which suprised me. It’s a herbal, so I just dumped the bag in boiling water and hoped for the best. I found chicory an odd ingredient here, and it might be responsible for the slightly weird flavour I detected initially, but it’s an undeniably lemony tea. It’s a little sour as well, so quite accurate lemon, rather than over sweetened or candied lemon.
I think this one would be really refreshing on a hot day, and even better cold. As lemon teas go, it’s a good one. I’m not over-awed or anything, but it’s a nice tea to have tried. Thanks to KittyLovesTea for sharing it with me!
A sample from KittyLovesTea. I’m naturally suspicious of peach tea. I’ve tried a few, and almost all of them have been unbearably fake-tasting. The kind of peach a kid’s lipgloss might be flavoured with. The smell of this one dry concerns me. It’s exactly the kind of over sweet, cloying, thick artificial peach that I dislike most. I’ve never had a real peach that tasted anything remotely like this (and other peach teas) smell.
As ever, though, I’m up for giving it a chance. Brewed, it’s not actually so bad. There is quite a thick, artificial peach taste, but the base tea is nice and smooth, and it peeks through in just the right places. I actually added milk to this, based on how dark it brewed up after only a couple of minutes, and I think that’s helped to give it a creaminess that it maybe wouldn’t have had otherwise. The suggestion on the sachet this bag came in was to ice it, and I think it might be very refreshing like that. Unfortunately, this doesn’t have quite the natural, fresh peach taste I was really hoping for, so it’s probably not one I’d seek out again. It’s just a little too far on the wrong side of cloying for my tastes. My search for the perfect peach tea continues.
A sample from KittyLovesTea. I like being presented with things that I wouldn’t otherwise try, so I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. I like white tea in general, and most berry teas, so it’s a good combination for me. Initially, I was concerned about the colour this brews to in a surprisingly short time. It’s quite a dark brown, even in cooled water, and only for about 2 or 2.5 minutes. As another reviewer has commented, though, it does contain things like blackcurrant, liquorice and cranberry, so perhaps it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise.
The real proof is in the taste, of course, and the taste here is wonderful. The berry flavour is clear, slightly sweet, and very fresh tasting. Not a hint of artificiality at all. It’s mostly blackcurrant, I think — it actually reminds me of the hot ribena my mum used to make me when I was a child. It’s not as strong or as chemically sweet, but the flavour is there. There’s not much in the way of white tea to be found, but I suppose that can’t be expected when put next to strong flavours like blackcurrant.
I really like this one, and it’s something I’d consider purchasing for myself. I’m going to go and check out Goodness Direct, now!
A sample from KittyLovesTea, and another one I neglected because I was scared of it. I read some of the reviews below, became even more scared, and then decided to give it a go anyway. I mean, it’s better to know.
I wasn’t really sure how to treat this one, so I dumped a teaspoon (about 35 berries) into my infused, and added it to a cup of freshly boiled water. I forgot about it for a few minutes, so it probably had about 4-5 minutes brew time in total. The liquor is a pale yellow, and it smells…vaguely fruity, and a little medicinal. I sniffed it suspiciously before taking a sip, you see. So I know.
First taste isn’t actually too bad. It does taste subtly fruity — I agree with the sour plum another reviewed picked out. There is something a little vinegary about it in the aftertaste, but it’s not terrible. For some reason, I was expecting a much stronger flavour, but it’s actually quite palatable. I’m coming round to the view that it’s rather nice to drink something completely different once in a while. Something you’re probably not going to come across ever again — a challenge for the tastebuds.
I wouldn’t say this is something I’d drink often, or even seek out. I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to try it, though. I’m not getting five flavours from it (which might be a blessing in disguise), but it’s a nice enough vaguely fruit/berry flavoured cup, if a little odd around the edges, Something everyone should try once.
A sample from KittyLovesTea, and another one I left for fear of messing it up. I’m still not entirely sure how to treat it, “it” being a white tea left to oxidise. I plumped for treating it like a while for my first go, and I think that was probably right. It tastes smooth, anyway, so it certainly didn’t do it any harm.
Hot, I’m not sure whether I like it all that much. As it cools, however, it’s a lot more pleasant. More of the flavour seems to come out, and it takes on more of the natural sweetness white tea can sometimes have. It tastes very honeyed, and slightly hay-like, but there’s a deeper edge to this that I suspect is caused by the oxidisation. It’s pretty unique, I think. The dry leaves are pretty unique, too, retaining some of their white downiness, but largely being very fine, needle-like, and almost black in colour. The liquor is a deep honey colour.
It’s not a strong flavour, and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what I’m tasting. A stouter, sturdier version of a white tea, with a slightly fruity edge. When I say fruity in this case, I’m thinking of orange fruits like peach and apricot.
I think this is one that will grow on me, and I can actually imagine it tasting really wonderful iced. It’s certainly one I’ll continue drinking at a lower temperature. It’s an odd creature hot.
A sample from KittyLovesTea. I was intrigued by this one, but completely clueless about how best to treat it. For this reason, I went with the steeping parameters indicated in the description on this page – 5 mins at about 180. I like Darjeeling, on the whole, but green tea and jasmine flavouring have always been borderline flavours for me. That’s probably why I wasn’t expecting to like this a whole lot, and so I took myself completely by surprise when it turned out that I did. Like it a lot, that it.
It’s sweet, for starters, and I wasn’t expecting anything like that. It is a little bitter at the end of the sip, but the initial sweetness is just phenomenal. It smells delicious, too. Sweet, again, and slightly floral. Juicy, somehow. It’s quite perfumey to taste, but somehow this isn’t a bad thing. Usually, heavy jasmine scents or flavours aren’t my thing at all, but this is something else. Although the jasmine is both strong and heavy, I actually don’t mind it. It works really well with the base Darjeeling, perhaps because it’s a “green” Darjeeling. In addition to the jasmine, there’s a strong grassy flavour. Again, sweet, but it cuts through the floral a little in the middle of the sip, and reminds me of some of the more delicate green teas I’ve tried recently.
Looking at the leaves, the majority are a medium green colour, with some darker leaves (approaching black) among the mix. They’re quite small, and some are broken, but the majority actually unfurl to a reasonable size once steeped. The liquor is a bright yellow, very sunny looking. I needed things to cheer me up today, and this has done the trick admirably.
Overall, a huge success! I’m going to resteep the leaves, as recommended, to try and lose some of the bitterness. I might also try my next fresh infusion with a slightly shorter brew time. I’d put off trying this one because I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but I’m glad I finally took the plunge. A reward if ever there was one!
2nd steep isn’t so great. The bitterness is still there, only this time there is significantly less flavour. The jasmine is more subtle, but in this case I don’t think that’s an advantage. I much prefer this at full strength.
Right. Today I am endeavouring to stay calm. I will not let my job dictate how I feel.
Starting the day with a cup of Red Christmas, which will soon be a sipdown. I like it, although probably not so much that I’d seek out another bag next year. 100g over the last two has been enough of this one for the foreseeable future. It makes for a pleasant cup, but it’s not overwhelmingly different from all of the other cinnamon teas out there. Particularly at Christmas. It’s a good rooibos, though — not too woody or overpowering in its own right, and delicious with milk.
So, that’s the last of my backlog caught up. I’ve had a really hard week at work, with our teamleader signed off with stress for the foreseeable future. There are no plans to replace her for the time being, meaning that all of the stuff that caused the problem in the first place now falls to me and two of my colleagues. Great.
On a different note, I’m thinking of participating in Camp NaNoWriMo next month. It might be a little crazy considering what’s happening at work at the moment, but it’s something I’ve fancied doing for a while now, and I think I should just get on and take the plunge. Otherwise I’ll procrastinate for ever, probably.
Anyway, I am here, even if my appearances are a bit sporadic, and I’m still drinking tea. Lots of it, as it happens, because it’s one of the few things keeping me sane at the moment.
Hopefully things will get back on a more even keel before too long.