1641 Tasting Notes
A sample from Roswell Strange. This has to be one of the oddest combinations ever? I mean, mate, black, herbal…? Surely it’s hardly herbal if it’s got both mate and black tea in it, neither of which are renowned for their caffeine free-ness. I can get behind the idea of mate and black, though, and caramel works well with darker teas as a flavour, so…maybe?I have another question. What’s monk fruit? Please don’t say fruit eaten by monks. I could google, but the people at work would think I’m odd. Or odder than they already think I am, anyway. Maybe that’s one for later.
I gave the bag 3 minutes in boiling water, and it’s brewed up to a medium golden-brown, no additions. The initial taste is very heavy on the mate – quite earthy and pungent with a burnt coffee-like aftertaste. There’s also something smoky, although I can’t pinpoint exactly what. Maybe the mate? The monk fruit? Ha. I didn’t get much caramel initially, but as the cup cools I can begin to taste it. It’s a little on the artificial side, but not too badly, and there is a hint of salt. The salt actually works really well with the savoury flavour of the mate and the smoke – somehow it helps to bring everything together. Then with the underlying richness of the caramel, it actually makes for a pretty decent cup. I’m not even sure how it is that earth, coffee, smoke, salt and caramel taste good together, but they kind of do so there you go. My befuddled morning brain can’t make any more sense of things than that.
Sipdown! This will be a fond farewell, because I love it so much and it’s really difficult to get hold of David’s in the UK. I’ve had three cups from the sample so kindly provided by Roswell Strange, though, and I’ve resteeped each one once, so six cups in all. That should be enough to keep me going until next time I manage to get hold of some!
It’s not goodbye, but until we meet again. I hope.
Cold brewed this one again in an effort to finally finish the tin. I’m not there yet, but we’re making good progress! I’ll probably continue with this one over the next few days until it’s finally gone, because I enjoy it so much more cold than I did hot. It’s got good peach/apricot flavour, and a deliciously refreshing white base, and it’s been in my cupboard for far too long…
Finishing off my last tuocha today, and it’s going to be an unexpectedly sad goodbye. This was one of the first pu-erhs I tried, and although we had a few false starts I’ve come to enjoy this one really quite a lot. I’ve logged this one in detail before, so this time I’m just going to say that I’ll be resteeping it probably all day, and that I love its earthy compost flavour.
This makes a really good introductory/gateway pu-erh. It’s not too strong (as long as you don’t steep it too long to begin with…), and it has a fairly gentle, accessible flavour profile. I enjoy it most on a cold winter day, but I’m trying to get my cupboard under control and I don’t want a lone tuocha hanging around for another 5 or 6 months. I may repurchase – one day.
I really must have been more than half-asleep when I first tried this, because I definitely got cherry chocolate second time around. No raspberry, and definitely no blueberry. I should probably also note that the base is honeybush and not rooibos, which I generally always find sweeter and less woody anyway.
So yeah. Not sure what I was thinking last time. This is good, though. Cherry, milk chocolate, and a light, smooth base with very mild honey notes. This one’s going to be my go-to pre-bedtime blend for a while.
Returning to my original bag of French Toast Dianhong, which I found a little floral the first time around. I’m pleased to say that I’m not getting any floral flavour today. I’m steeping two pearls in boiling water for about three minutes (no additions), and I’m currently on my second steep.
The first steep was quite sweet, with very strong vanilla notes and an overall caramel-like flavour. The second steep is a little more muted, but still delicious. The vanilla seems to have mellowed into a thick creaminess, and I’m tasting chocolate and a touch of hazelnut. It’s reminding me a fair bit of nutella, actually, although not as intense.
I’ll probably stick with this one for a while longer, maybe another steep or two. It was a good choice for today’s cold work morning!
ETA: I’m on my sixth steep now, and it’s holding up a lot better than I expected. It’s less intense in terms of flavour, but there’s still plenty of delicious creamy vanilla, and just a touch of chocolate. The base tea is more prominent, but it’s so pleasant; smooth, malty, and eminently drinkable, that it’s no chore to keep going with this one. I’d not tried resteeping it before today, but now I know what I’ve been missing!
I first tried this ones ages ago, as a sample from Shmiracles. Not long after Harvey Nichols started stocking it, and I loved it so much I bought a full tin. I’d not opened it until today! As soon as I removed the ring-pull seal, it smelled amazing – pure salted caramel! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. I added a generous splash of milk, but no sugar because I can tell from the scent that it’s going to be pretty sweet.
To taste, it’s a lot stronger than I remember it being. The initial sip is soft, rich caramel with hints of vanilla and salt, really decadent and dessert-like. Dark chocolate emerges in the mid-sip, along with thick, sweet malt. It’s like drinking chocolate sauce poured over caramel – a rich, high-cocoa dark chocolate that’s leaning towards being bittersweet. The bitterness gains a little prominence at the end of the sip, but at this point it’s actually quite a welcome distraction. How often do I get to say that?!
When I added the milk, I was slightly concerned that it would drown everything out, but there’s no chance of that happening. The flavour is so strong and intense, but I guess it’s freshly opened and it might dissipate a bit over time. A little of intensity fades as the cup cools, so maybe it’s also a hot water thing. Trying this as a cold brew has just become an appealing idea! I love the fact that the base tea here is an Assam. I adore Assam, and I feel like it’s a bit underused in blends at the moment – particularly chocolate or caramel blends, which IMO it’s perfectly suited to. It does make for a strong cup overall – quite tannic in some ways, and thickly malty, but done well (and it’s done exceptionally well here) it can be a great thing.
This one is pretty much the ultimate dessert tea. If you’re looking for a chocolate or caramel black tea, look no further. I could take this one a little less intense, so I’ll probably fiddle around with my brewing parameters a little, but there’s no question as to what this tea is about. Chocolate. Caramel. Malt. I wasn’t sure how our reacquaintance would fair, but it looks like it’s still love at first sip.