1532 Tasting Notes
Another from the ML Collection sampler. I gave this 3 minutes instead of the recommended 5, as it had already brewed up to a typical mint tea swamp-brown in that time, and it smelled pretty strong to boot. I’m not ordinarily a plain mint tea fan, so the verbena was definitely the attraction for me here. Unfortunately, mint is pretty much all I can taste. It’s the kind of flavour that could overpower anything given half a chance, and it’s definitely given more than half a chance here. There’s a tiny hint of lemon, particularly in the early sips, but it’s hardly there and it’s soon knocked out completely by the mint. Not the tea for me.
I want to like this, probably because it looks so pretty, but I just can’t. The liquorice root is far, far too sweet and overpowers all of the other flavours. I can also taste it at the back of my throat for hours afterwards — it’s like artificial sweetner, ick.
This was the third sample with my first RiverTea order. Based on this experience, it definitely won’t be the last! The packaging was fabulous — it’s probably the most nicely put together package I’d received in a long time. The free samples and the complementary spoon were welcome surprises, too.
Anyway, the tea. This smells wonderful dry, and equally wonderful brewed. It’s sweet, with a strong note of fruit and berries. The dry leaf contains generously sized pieces of papaya, and pretty blue and yellow petals among the white peony leaves. The taste is luscious, rich caramel and mulberry, with sweet, juicy papaya. The white tea base adds a slightly floral, slightly peachy note, and there’s also a hint of apple. It’s very, very creamy. Drinking this is almost on a par with eating some decadent dessert!
I’d heard a lot about this one, so I’m glad to have had the opportunity to try it. It’s definitely one I’d consider adding to a future order. There’s definitely going to be one — I can feel it coming on already!
Another new try this morning. I’m trying to work through my smaller quantities of tea in order to reduce my cupboard — it’s fairly crazily out of control at the moment. It also gives me the chance to try some new teas, which is nice, as I’ve become a little jaded with drinking the same teas over and over again. I’m sure I’ll appreciate them more after a refresher!
Anyway, the tea. I followed the parameters for this one, and gave 1tsp of leaf 1.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The leaves are very fine and string-like, and (at least dry) are fairly curly. Wet, they unfurl and become uniformly straight, with some unfolding into complete leaves with stem! The scent is very vegetal, like freshly cooked green beans with maybe a touch of butter.
Brewed, the liquor is a medium yellow-green shade. The flavour is quite intensely nutty, with an almost mossy edge. Wet leaves is what it really reminds me of, I think! It’s relatively sweet, particularly in the initial sip, and there’s a tiny note of citrus. It’s very lightly astringent. It doesn’t taste nearly as vegetal as it smells, although there is an element of buttery green beans, or maybe asparagus. Mostly, it reminds me of walking through a young forest in spring, after a light rain fall. It’s a very fresh, light flavour. I can see this one holding up well, so I may resteep it later. A delicious green!
Second steep was much, much lighter in flavour. It’s still mildly vegetal, but I’ve lost most of the notes I picked up earlier — there’s not very much nuttiness, no forest…it’s pleasant, but I liked the full strength initial steep more. The second steep could be my friend when I’m looking for a milder green, though, so I’ll bear it in mind for the future.
Second cup of the day. I followed KS’s advice and brewed this one for only 15 seconds. It has turned out a sort of dark ruby, and the flavour is much, much lighter. It’s still got the distinctive damp, mossy, earthy notes, but there’s less horse. I consider this a good thing.
I still don’t think I can be persuaded to try many more pu’erhs. I might have to accept that they’re just not for me — or at least, not at the moment. They’re certainly a unique drinking experience, though!
I should probably also say that this is a sipdown. I have been saving my last one-cup servings up for a mega sipdown session while I’m off work next week, but I figured I’d probably lose my nerve with this one if I didn’t just get on with it. I have less tea to choose from at work, so I pretty much have to drink whatever I’ve got with me. It gets me past my tea inhibitions sometimes! Anyway — say yay for one less in the cupboard!
I was a bit worried about this one last night, as I couldn’t smell any orange, or taste any in the tiny sip I took. I also thought I might have overdone the steep a little as I got distracted. I brought it to work anyway, and I actually needn’t have worried because I was REALLY WRONG.
I took a tentative sip and discovered that this is actually insanely creamy. It tastes just like vanilla ice cream! The orange is pretty subtle, which is probably why I couldn’t taste much of it, but it does remind me of a thin orange ice lolly shell around a thick, creamy, vanilla ice cream interior. It’s a creamsicle through and through! The black base is a tiny bit intrusive, but that’s pretty much my fault because I went over the three minutes a little. It doesn’t ruin the overall tea, though, so it’s all good. This one had the standard treatment — 3 minutes in boiling water, topped up to 2 litres with cold, and into the fridge overnight.
A delicious summery SBT — this one makes me want to go on the zoomdweebies website and place an order for MOAR right away. I am trying to resist, though — there are a good few still sitting in my cupboard waiting to be tried, and I don’t want to neglect them unduly. SBTs make going to work in the summer bearable. I don’t know what I did before I discovered them.
This was a sample with my first Whispering Pines order. The dry leaf smells strongly of cinnamon, and actually reminds me of christmas cake. I know it’s summer, and this is another tea that’s hopelessly inappropriate for the season, but I have a sore throat (STILL), so I’m more or less pleasing myself.
I used about 2tsp of this (the packet says 1/2 tbsp, but I don’t have a tablespoon measure with me so I’m guessing a bit!). I’ll have enough for another cup left if I use this quantity of leaf, so hopefully I have the right idea. I’m using a pretty big cup to boot.
I gave this the recommended 5 minutes in boiling water. When I returned to retrieve it, the whole of our office kitchen smelt of cinnamon, and the liquor was a surprising dark brown. Somehow, I wasn’t expecting that!
This is an interesting tea — probably the most interesting I’ve tried in a while. The flavours are pretty complex — the first sip reminded me strongly of chai, but it’s actually quite different in style even though some of the flavours are the same. Cinnamon is the main flavour, followed by elderberry. There are other spices kicking around in the background, I think, but I’m finding it hard to identify them individually. A swirl of spicy heat finishes each sip, although it soon fades. At that point, the bitter-sweet, slightly tart elderberry returns. It’s a pleasant combination, although admittedly not one I’ve come across before. It would make a wonderful winter tea to sip before bed curled up by a fire! Although the ambiance is off at the moment, it IS making my throat feel better, so it’s a definite win with me. One I’d consider repurchasing come winter.
Another first for today — I’ve never tried a Tieguanyin before! I figured that while I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone, I might as well stay there for a while. I had serious reservations about putting oolong in boiling water, but I did it anyway. It still feels odd to do that, but it makes sense to trust those with more experience. I gave this two minutes.
The resulting liquor is medium yellow-green, and smells quite toasty. To taste, it’s very buttery and very smooth. There’s a strong nuttiness — chestnut is probably fairly spot-on — and a wash of floral flavour towards the end of the sip. The oolong is slightly grassy — I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not a green! It’s quite a heavy tea in terms of flavour, but it’s so smooth that it doesn’t really become an issue. It’s not over-cloying, and I’m glad for that. The flavours dance across the palate, and the floral edge lingers momentarity — it’s like walking through a summer garden. Based on this experience, Tigguanyin is something I’d like to learn more about, and would seek out again. I think I may be coming around to green oolongs more than I ever thought I would!
This sample came with my first RiverTea order. It was another I’d considered while putting my order together, and another I finally decided against as I was trying to limit myself a little. My cupboard is out of control, after all. Still, it worked out because I got to give this one a try anyway!
I gave this 5 minutes in boiling water. The liquor was a medium honey brown-gold, and something in the scent reminded me a lot of 52 Teas Strawberry Pie Honeybush. A good omen, because I loved that one!
To taste, this one is very fruity. Grapefruit is the main flavour, and it adds a sharp, almost bitter, tang to the overall flavour. The strawberry is mild, but it’s there, adding a sweet and juicy undertone. The honeybush is also sweet, but otherwise remains an unobtrusive base. There’s no woodiness here. I wasn’t sure about this one at first, but as it cooled I got more of the fruit flavours, and it actually turned into a pretty successful cup. The grapefruit is a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the honeybush and strawberry, and the combination works really well. I have a three-cup sample, so I chose to brew this hot to start with, but I’m pretty sure it would work equally well cold brewed. If I add it to a future RiverTea order (and there’s a good chance that I will!), I’ll definitely be trying it cold. A genuinely lovely, caffeine free option, and a welcome addition to my pre-bedtime rotation.
I’m pretty scared of pu’erh in general, but as my throat is still sore this morning I decided I could probably risk giving this one a go. If I don’t like it, at least I can hope I missed some of the finer nuances! This is the first plain pu-erh I’ve ever tried, so I’m a little apprehensive. I haven’t been overawed with the flavoured versions I’ve tried so far — in general, the base is just too much for me.
Anyway, I put aside my reservations and gave this one 2 minutes in boiling water. I stopped at two because of the colour the liquor had already turned — black, basically — and because the smell coming of it was fairly pungent. I might have lost my nerve if I’d gone the extra minute.
First sip was actually okay. I tried not to focus on the scent so much, because that inevitably puts me off. It does remind me of mucking out stables when I used to keep a horse as a teenager. Fortunately, there’s not too much of that present in the taste, although there’s a tinge of it in the initial flavour. Mostly, I get a musty, damp flavour with a certain something that reminds me of wet, freshly turned earth. It does put me in mind of caves or a forest after a rain shower. It’s more palatable than I thought it would be, although I suspect this kind of tea will never be a favourite. It’s just too pungent for my tastes. I will admit to enjoying this as a morning cup, though. The strength alone helped to wake me up! Definitely a valuable experience to have had, even if it’s only really cemented the fact that my journey into pu-erh will probably end soon.