1718 Tasting Notes
Yaupon, as a tea varietal, is entirely new to me, At first glance, it looks a lot more like a mate or a guayusa; flakes of greenish-brown leaf that put me in mind (albeit fleetingly) of fish food. Closer inspection reveals that they’re actually quite sizable chunks of (very shiny) tea leaves, although not as oxidized as I expected given that they’re referring to this as a “black” tea. Generously scattered among the leaves are cubes of dried apple, almond slivers, small pieces of beetroot, and cinnamon chips. Even dry, the scent is pretty amazing – spot-on apple pie spices!
Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/09/29/american-apple-pie-catspring-tea/
Today’s “new start”. From the scent of the dry leaf, I was expecting a cup of mostly rooibos, and probably a very woodsy one at that. Fortunately not so. The main flavour here is a slightly sour marscapone-ish creaminess, very reminiscent of tiramisu. Underneath that are notes of almond, coffee, chocolate, and just a hint of caramel. There is some rooibos poking out here and there, but it’s pretty effectively masked by the flavouring for the most part.
I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. The dry leaf contains coffee beans, chocolate chips, and cubes of caramel, so there’s a slightly oily scrim to the brewed cup, but nothing too distracting. I enjoyed this one, on the whole. I’m not sure whether I’d have chosen a rooibos base…but it works. I’m a happy camper!
Today’s work SBT, prepared the usual way. It’s also the most disappointing SBT I’ve tried in a while, because I can’t really taste much in the way of peach, cobbler, or ice cream (the package says a la mode even though the listing doesn’t…) If I concentrate, I can taste tinned peaches, or rather, the syrup that they’re usually preserved in. The flavour really is that light and insubstantial. There’s no vanilla to suggest ice cream, no creaminess, and nothing buttery, biscuitty, or even pastry-like to make me think cobbler. The main flavour is sweet black tea, with only the very, very mildest hint of peach. This makes me sad, because I had high hopes for this one.
Sweet Dreams is part of AstroloTea’s Transformative Loose Tea range, which combines ingredients with specific properties to create teas designed to have an effect on either mind or body. Sweet Dreams, true to its name, is supposed to be a relaxing blend, with the intention of promoting sleep or rest. Like many blends of this kind, it contains a selection of herbal ingredients known for their calming properties, including rose petals, hops, jasmine, lemon balm, and lavender.
Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/09/26/musicandteamonday-sweet-dreams-herbal-astrolotea/
After achieving a couple of sipdowns today, I figured it was time to pull some more “new” black teas out of my sample box. In all honesty, they’re not actually all that new anymore. I guess what I really mean is “unopened”. This one sounded appealing, although I had to check twice because I didn’t believe it would be a black tea at first. “Caribbean Breeze” had me thinking of a while or green blend, probably tropical fruit flavoured. This one is chocolate coconut.
Once brewed, I can kinda see it. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. It brewed up pretty dark, so I added a splash of milk. An oily scrim gathers on the surface, and I can only assume the chocolate is responsible for that. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to have any effect on the texture or mouthfeel, and it doesn’t taste oily. All good so far.
The main flavour is definitely coconut, swiftly followed by milk chocolate. It’s very reminiscent of a Bounty at this point. The while chocolate comes out a little in the mid-sip, and with it a creaminess that I think the milk also helps to promote. There’s a slightly odd pepperiness at the end of the sip that’s a little jarring, but mostly ignorable. It’s putting me in mind of a David’s Tea I tried a while back…maybe last winter? I can’t remember the name now, but I know it’s going to annoy me until I do…
On the whole, I enjoyed this one. Liquid bounty, with added pepper. IGNORE THE PEPPER!
ETA: White Chocolate Frost? I didn’t much like that, though, apparently…
Today’s work SBT, prepared the usual way. I’ve pretty much always enjoyed 52Teas cola blends, and this one’s no exception. I can taste cola (off-brand, reminiscent of cola bottles), and I can taste cherry (sweet, fruity, not at all medicinal). It’s not effervescent (obviously), but there is something about it that’s coming across as “carbonation”, and it’s not just my imagination. Trust me. I don’t actually have that much of an imagination. The standard black tea base is there in the background, but it’s not too intrusive, and it doesn’t overpower the flavourings. It’s smooth, lightly malty, not at all bitter or astringent. I’ll go with LiberTeas and say it’s like someone poured flat cherry cola into a mug that already contained tea dregs, because that’s pretty much what it’s like. Doesn’t sound too appealing, but actually, it’s really pleasant on a sticky late-summer day.
I’m sad that there’s no more SBT in the world.
But there’s plenty still in my cupboard, so I’m still smiling for now.
Today’s work SBT, prepared the usual way. I was wondering how well mango would pair with what usually comes across as quite a malty black base, but the answer is pretty well. The mango is strong; fruity, juicy, and peppery in the best way, so the black tea is only really present in the background. I feel like sometimes there’s a bit of a battle between the base and the flavouring with SBTs, but it’s not the case here.
This one is supposed to be mango sherbet, and it’s only at this point that it really falls down. There’s a wonderful creaminess (again, strong), but it’s really not reminiscent of sherbet, at least to me. Mango and cream, though, yes, and that’s more than good enough for me.
I enjoyed this one. Strong, accurate flavours, deliciously fruity and creamy, smooth, unobtrusive base. It makes me sad to think that I haven’t got anymore of this one, and that once it’s gone this time, it really is gone forever. Sad times.
Today’s work cold brew. I wasn’t entirely sure how this one would work out, particularly with the bergamot, but I was lazy last night and this was pretty much the only tea to hand, so it was a decision by default. I used 3 bags in 2 litres of water, into the fridge for 10 hours overnight. It’s not too bad. There’s a slight bitterness/borderline astringency that I think is a combination of the green tea and bergamot. It’s not actively unpleasant, but I wouldn’t want either element to be any more prominent. The mango is good, and kind of saves it. It’s slightly peppery, juicy, and pretty flavour accurate. I do wonder at the kind of mind that decided bergamot and mango would be a good combination, but that’s probably why I work in an office rather than an exciting, imaginative job.
I think I’m probably going to prefer this one brewed hot, and I have a couple of bags left so I can try that once the weather turns cooler. This is what I get for being lazy, though. It’s not bad, but I think on balance I probably wouldn’t cold brew it again.
Today’s work SBT, made up as per my usual iced tea/SBT method. This is another of the SBT’s I’ve tried recently that has a favourable flavouring vs. prominence of base ratio. I can tell it’s black tea (and the caffeine is appreciated, obviously), but the flavouring is the main feature and I’m glad of that. Citrus and orange is a no-brainer anyway, but I like that I can taste the individual lemon, orange, and grapefruit elements here. It’s not just one big, generic “citrus” mush. It’s also not too sharp, or too bitter/pithy, and that’s without having added any sugar.
My only complaint with this one is a slight soapy flavour that’s kicking around in the background. It’s ignorable, if i don’t think about it, but once you’ve tasted it it’s hard not to notice it next sip. I didn’t think there was bergamot in this blend, but maybe there is. That’s what it reminds me of most, other than soap, and it’s just a touch jarring for my tastes. Out of place, kinda.
As citrus flavoured black teas go, though, it’s pretty good. Another solid SBT production.
Today’s work SBT, prepared the usual way. Blackberry and blueberry? I can’t actually remember what this is supposed to be, because I bought it so long ago and then hoarded it, but I can definitely taste the blueberry. The blackberry is more of a mystery to me, and it’s really no more than a background flavour if I’m honest. The blueberry is so strong, everything else (including the black base, amazingly) just seems to be getting lost. I’m not complaining about the strength of flavour, though, because that’s what I (used to?) love most about SBTs. It’s good to find one that exceeds expectations again, even if it’s a little one-note and not quite as billed. It’s refreshing, wonderfully blueberry, great on a hot day like today. Impressed.