1701 Tasting Notes
Today’s iced tea. We’re super-busy at work at the moment (I’ll be working Saturday, sadly, and extra hours all of next week), so I wanted a plain, simple, caffeinated tea to sip on that I wouldn’t have to concentrate on too much. This one fit the bill perfectly! It got my usual SBT treatment – 3 minutes in 1/4 litre of boiling water, topped up to 2 litres with cold and then into the fridge for around 10 hours overnight.
There’s not a lot to say about it. It’s the usual SBT base, as far as I can tell, only without any flavouring. It’s a solid, malty black tea with no bitterness or astringency. Just easy to drink, plain tea. I could add lemon, sugar, or both, but I probably won’t. It’s fine just as it is. I don’t usually go for plain when it comes to iced tea or cold brews, but today it’s a welcome simplicity.
A sample from Miss B, and today’s cold brew. I used my usual method of preparation – 2 tbsp of leaf in 2 litres of cold water, into the fridge for around 10 hours overnight. I think this one had me at hello, because the dry leaf smells so good. Very candy-pear, and something else – maybe quince? Delicious, anyway.
To taste, it’s just as wonderful as I’d hoped. The initial flavour is sweet candy-pear, very reminiscent of pear drops (especially in the way the flavour lingers). The ginger comes out in the mid-sip, very strong and spicy, and it makes for an unexpectedly delcious pairing with the much sweeter pear. I wasn’t sure whether the two flavours would go together at first, but it seems obvious now that they would.
This is one I’d happily drink hot as well, maybe in the autumn or early winter. It’s got a lovely spicy kick cold, and I can imagine it being a very warming cup on a cold day. I wish there were more pear teas around. They seem to be a relative rarity in the UK, and that makes me sad. More so because this one’s such a winner!
Today’s work cold brew. I was surprised, at first, at how kind-of floral this one comes out. That was the first thing I really noticed about it when I took a sip. The more I drink of it, though, the less I notice that aspect. It seems a bit odd, but there you go. Once I got past the initial “thick” white tea and flowers, this is actually a pretty good rendition of “strawberry lemonade.” I can definitely taste the lemon, which is slightly sharp if a little chemically (it reminds me of lemon juice from those lemon shaped bottles – did they used to call that Jif?), and it’s closely followed by the strawberry. The strawberry is also pretty unnatural – very sweet and candy-like – but such is life. Together, it’s strawberry lemonade, which is a pretty artificial thing in itself to begin with, I suppose.
I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as I hoped I would. It’s refreshing, but the flavour isn’t quite there and the white tea base seems far too prominent. I think I’ll make my next jug with a bit less leaf, just to see, but today’s was created with my usual 2 tbsp of leaf to 2 litres of water, so I don’t really think it’s that. More a case of “you can’t win them all” probably!
Finally getting through most of my older 52Teas! I’ve been looking forward to this one, because cashews are my favourite kind of nut. I’m the kind of person who always hogs the cashew chicken when we’re having Chinese. I wanted this tea to be good (52 Teas from this era are so hit and miss), and, fortunately, it is!
I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water, splash of milk. The initial flavour is smooth, silky caramel, followed by a hit of dark chocolate that even the milk hasn’t managed to mellow out. So rich and cocoa-like! The cashew, glorious, creamy nuttiness, comes out mostly towards the end of the sip, and works really well with the chocolate and caramel (of course it does!). It’s such a good combination, I’m pretty sure I could drink this all day and not tire of it.
I’m enjoying this one. It’ll be a good way to say goodbye to the last of my old 52Teas, if there’s still some left when I get to that point!
Today’s work cold brew. I’ve waited a while to try this one, but I could probably say that about literally all the teas in my cupboard. It’s just what seems to happen. Anyway, what I really like is when I’ve waited a while to try something and it turns out to be really good. All the anticipation pays off! It definitely worked here, because this is a great candy floss tea, probably one of the best I’ve tried. Usually, they’re either on black or rooibos bases, but this one is white and I think the delicate, sweet (sugar water-like) flavour of white tea really works here.
The initial flavour is sweet, candy-like strawberry, and also something that reminds me very much of the coating on hundreds and thousands (which makes sense, because there are some in the blend!) After the berry flavour fades, there’s a generic caramelised sweetness that’s perfectly reminiscent of candy floss. It’s hard to pin down a flavour that’s so light, airy and insubstantial, but Bluebird have done an excellent job here. It really is strawberry-flavoured candy floss in a cup!
I’m guzzling this one, so if it’s still available I’ll definitely be buying more :)
Today’s work cold brew. I nearly made this one up on Saturday, but then I realised how much chamomile is in it and changed my mind. As it turns out, chamomile isn’t really the main flavour when this one’s cold (it really is when it’s hot, though.) I was hoping that would be the case, but I was prepared for the worst.
To taste, there’s a hay-like sweetness, but it’s very much in the background, and it actually provides a pleasant counterpoint to the slightly tart, slightly sour blueberry flavour that’s the main draw here. It also seems appropriately on-theme with the Three Little Pigs, so I guess Adagio get points for that. I like blueberry a lot, so this one was almost bound to be a winner with me. It’s not too sweet, in the end, and the fruitiness is at the forefront and fairly natural-tasting. Another decent blend.
Another of my “old” 52 Teas blends. I’m actually pretty sure I’m nearly through the 2oz pouches I have left, which are the really old ones. I’ve maybe four or five or those left to try. After that, I’ll be on the sample pouches which are still “old” 52 Teas but newer (if that makes sense!), and then after that there’ll just be “new” 52 Teas stuff left. Who says I can’t get my cupboard under control within the next decade?
Anyway, I wanted to like this one. Like, really wanted to like it. It’s my second banana tea of the day, but sadly, again, there’s not as much banana as I’d hoped.
I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. As with Bananas Foster, there’s a touch of astringency in the initial sip, but it’s nothing I can’t overlook. The main flavour here is strawberry, and while that’s nice, I was really looking forward to the combination of strawberry and banana. It’s not here, but the strawberry does have a yoghurty, almost smoothie-like vibe to it so that’s something. I added a splash of milk to my cup, and I think it helps with that at least a little. Otherwise, this is just your basis artificial-strawberry tea. Not bad, but not amazing.
I’m drinking the “old” 52 Teas version of this tea, which I unearthed from my stash this weekend. I bought this one because I love bananas, and I really loved 52 Teas Banana Pudding Black back when that was released. I think I was trying to get some of that amazingness back in my life, but I think my cupboard must have snowballed by then and that’s how it is that I’m actually just getting around to trying it now.
I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk. The initial flavour is very heavy on the cinnamon, and actually reminds me a lot of Cinnamon Roll Honeybush, at least to begin with. The banana and vanilla emerge in the mid-sip, although they’re by no means as prominent as the cinnamon. Hot, there’s a degree of astringency, although it’s not so bad that I can’t overlook it. Just a little of the chalky dry-mouth feeling. This one actually seems like a better prospect once it’s cooled. The banana becomes a little stronger, and the cinnamon seems to mellow out. There’s more of a creaminess, too, although I suspect my full-fat milk is helping that along! One thing I will say is that, for once, the banana doesn’t strike me as particularly candy-like. If anything, it’s putting me in mind of underripe green bananas – and the astringency is definitely playing up that effect (you know how underripe bananas can be a little floury and dry-tasting? Exactly.) Candy banana would have been more at home here, and I know for certain that I’ve never said that in a tasting note before.
I enjoyed my cup, even though it’s not quite as banana-centric as I’d have liked. It’s also not particularly sweet, so I might try a little crystal sugar next time and see if that helps to perk things up a bit. I like the cinnamon/vanilla combination, and it works well with what banana flavour there is, but I think a stronger banana flavour would have resulted in a much better balanced cup.
A sample from Miss B! This one has had me intrigued for a while, from the name to its rather odd appearance. I finally got around to trying it today, and the first thing I noticed is the incredible scent – sherbet lemons, pretty much as soon as the leaf hit the water. I went for a pretty quick brew time with this one – no more than 2 minutes. The leaf is so fine that I didn’t honestly think it’d need more than that.
To taste, it’s actually pretty good. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it’s very much in line with the scent – a sharp initial lemon flavour, followed by a sweet sherbet-like hit, with just a touch of warming, spicy ginger at the end of the sip.
Rather unexpectedly, I’m a fan :)