963 Tasting Notes
I have to confess, I’m not liking the smell of this much at all. Where food is concerned, pineapple and coconut are two of my favourite things. Together, however, and particularly in tea, the scent is a bit…funky. Much like Adagio’s Pina Colada, this one has hibiscus and rosehip in it. I’m not sure why it’s such a prevalent combination. To my mind, red fruity things and tropical fruity things are much better kept separate. Anyway, it’s wrong to knock something before you’ve tried it, so on to the tasting!
Brewed, this smells…better. The pineapple and coconut seem to have settled down a little bit, which is giving me hope. Maybe they’ll even play nicely! I probably shouldn’t have hoped, because after tasting, I’m still in two minds. There’s a kind of oily film on the surface of this one, and I’m not really sure what it tastes of. Mainly coconut, I think, although the whole thing seems strangely muted. Even the hibiscus isn’t up to its usual tricks. Part of me is glad, because after the initial scent of this one met my nose, I was more than a bit worried about the taste to come. I do wish the taste was a bit more decided, though. At the moment, it’s like the pineapple and coconut, and the hibiscus and rosehip are two sides of an army at stalemate. Neither is winning, and the result is that this tea doesn’t taste particularly of one thing or the other. As it cools, a sweetness develops and I can taste the coconut more easily, but this isn’t quite what I was expecting. I guess that’s maybe what you get when you come to something which quite decided assumptions, but this one has me more or less confounded at the moment. I’m just not sure what to make of it!
I’ve just sent some of this out in a swap, but I should have enough for another cup or two before it’s gone. For now, I’m going to give this 50, because it seems like a halfway tea (or a tea of two halves?) if ever there was one.
So, fruity cherry banana. Another sample from Sil, and part of my ongoing quest to find a fruit tea I can really love. The dry mix is pretty impressive – I can identify pieces of most of the things that are supposed to be there, including strawberry, banana, apple and orange, along with the seemingly ubiquitous hibiscus and rosehip. Cherry is notable by its absence, but possibly that’s just in the flavouring. It’s hard to say exactly what it smells like dry – generically fruity is the closest I can really get, and none of the flavours seem particularly dominant at this point.
Brewed, this is a different story. The liquor is a deep pink-red, and the scent is more decidedly of cherry and banana. There’s also a slight background nuttiness which is intriguing. After my first sip, I was concerned that this was going to be primarily a hibiscus tea. Initially, that’s the flavour that comes out most strongly. Fortunately, it’s quickly followed by really quite distinctive notes of cherry and banana. It’s curious, because it sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it definitely does! The cherry is quite tart, and marries well with the hibiscus and rosehip while tempering some of the sourness that those two ingredients on their own would contribute. The banana is sweet and creamy, and just seems to help bring the whole thing together. I know the taste is reminding me of something, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is at the moment. Some dessert, probably! I’m really happy with this, though. For a hibiscus based fruit tea, it’s not half bad!
Sent out another swap package today, and while I was going through my stash last night I took the opportunity to make a list of teas I need to finish before I’m allowed to open any new bags. I’ve also started making lists of new teas I’d like to buy again, even though I’ve got more than enough in my cupboard to be going on with. Will I ever learn? I’ve been good today, though, and finished up three of the samples I identified. This is another of the teas I’ve had open a while, though, so I’m doing my bit for this one this afternoon. I’ve said it before, but it’s a tea that’s so delicate and easy to drink that it’s always a welcome addition to my “portable handheld beverage interface” as Alan Sugar apparently has it…
I’ve got a couple of flavoured whites that I’m desperate to move on to, but I’ve got to finish up the plain stuff first. Not that that’ll be any hardship!
The third and final sample from my second Bluebird order. I’ve only had lavender earl grey once before in my life, and I wasn’t over struck. To be honest, though, it wasn’t a great brand, so my expectations for this one are much higher. It’s a pretty simple tea for Bluebird – the dry mix is composed only of black tea leaves and pieces of dried lavender. It smells, as you might expect, predominantly of lavender, with maybe a very slight hint of bergamot. Brewed, the scent is much the same.
To taste, this is very…lavendery. Teas like this usually make me think of potpourri, and that’s not something I’d ever want to drink. I just don’t know about the combination of bergamot and lavender, either. It’s a little odd. I think I usually end up feeling like this because I like earl grey quite a lot, and I’m not over keen on having it messed about with. On the other hand, I don’t like lavender at all, other than to smell or as a plant in the garden, so I guess I’m biased as well. I’m sure if you like the combination, this would come across as a great tea. It’s quite subtle, the flavours are well balanced, and the black tea base slightly malty and supports the flavours well. It’s not at all astringent, so it’s easy to drink without milk as well. To me, though, there’s something about that taste that’s just a little…off. I know it’s only because the flavour combination just isn’t one that appeals to me, though, so this is by no means a bad tea. Some you win, some you lose, and I’m afraid lavender is always going to lose with me.
The second of the samples from my second Bluebird order. This one smells beautifully herbal dry; sweet, floral and minty all at the same time. I can see whole chamomile flowers, pieces of liquorice root, and peppermint leaves among the dry mix, and it’s just so pretty to look at!
To taste, this isn’t quite as sweet as I feared. My last experience with a liquorice tea was Teapigs Liquorice and Peppermint, which is majorly sweet. I kept a close eye on this while it was brewing, but even so, this one is much more palatable. Chamomile is the dominant taste, followed by peppermint. It’s a combination I’ve tried before, and it’s by no means a bad one. The ginger is a bit lost, though. I was hoping I’d really be able to taste it, but it’s hard to pick out at all.
Apart from being less sweet than I thought it was going to be, this one isn’t really wowing me. It’s made me reconsider liquorice tea for the future, since I know now that they’re not all hellishly sweet. Chamomile and peppermint is a combination I’ve tried before, though, and there’s nothing particularly special about it here. If only the ginger was more discernible, then I think it would be really something. This probably isn’t one I’d buy for myself, but I’m glad to have had the opportunity to try it. Thank you, Bluebird!
This is the first of the samples from my second Bluebird order. I love the little packets they come in – so cute! This one actually looks a lot like the Yumchaa Enchanted Forest I’m working my way through at the moment. It’s a sencha, with quite long, flat, folded leaves and a smattering of rose petals. The difference is the addition of cherry blossom, and the fact that this one smells divinely floral and (as you might expect!) strongly of cherry.
Brewed, this smells really marvellous. It’s actually filling my reception area with the scent of cherry blossom! The cherry comes out surprisingly well in the taste as well, although it’s more floral than fruit. Given that this is supposed to be cherry blossom, though, I suppose that’s not too surprising. It’s quite delicate and pleasant, perfect for drinking on a sunny morning. I guess I picked a good day to try this one! There’s a very slight bitterness from the green tea base, although I think that might be my fault for not letting the water cool quite enough. Patience is something I’m still working on when it comes to tea! Ultimately, this is a very pleasant tasting tea. It’s sweet, delicate, and very moreish. I feel slightly disappointed now that I only had a one cup sample. This is definitely a candidate for future orders!
Approaching sipdown on this one. I’ve been drinking it most evenings, at the expense of the other teas in my stash. I really do enjoy the caramel-popcorn combination it’s got going on — it’s almost like it was made for drinking in front of the TV (Dr Who particularly, obviously), or while watching a film. I’ll be sad when it’s gone, but at least it’ll force me to start drinking something new again!
This is the other one in my desk drawer at the moment. Until fairly recently, I wasn’t a huge fan of green tea. This was one of the ones that helped to change that. I’m trying to run down my stash of Yumchaa teas a little bit, which is why I’m drinking this and Raspberry Vanilla pretty intensively at work atm. I like the sweet, creamy, rhubarb flavour this one has. It’s actually making me want to sample Bluebird’s Rhubarb and Custard, just to compare, but it’s not like I need to buy any more tea just at the moment. If anything could make me think of unicorns wandering through a magic forest on a work day, it would be this tea. I don’t know why it makes me think like that. Possibly because I’m so tired I’m almost hallucinating? It’s a pleasant thought, anyway, and now I’m going to stop rambling. This is a great flavoured green tea, one of the best I’ve tried. That’s really all there is to it.
Another sample from the wonderful Sil! I did actually try and order this one, but a bag of Malted ChocoMate turned up instead. Still, it was just as welcome, and I’ve got to try both in the end anyway!
The dry leaves smell sweet and woodsy, and ever so slightly like maltesers. It’s only very slight at the moment, though — the main scent is undoubtedly the honeybush. That’s okay, though. Honeybush and I can get along.
Brewed, this smells rich and deep and chocolatey. Not so much like malted chocolate, more like a bar of chocolate that’s been melted. To taste, this isn’t quite what I was hoping. It is vaguely chocolatey, but I’m not really getting chocolate malt. There’s also a slightly odd chemically flavour that I know some others have picked up on too. It’s not overpowering, but it does seem to mask the flavour a little.
With my second and third cups, I tried a little more leaf and a slightly longer brew time, but that didn’t really change anything. I’m not 100% happy with this one. It’s a palatable enough honeybush, but it just doesn’t wow me like some other 52Teas blends have. I’m not missing the full bag after all!
This is another one I’ve been drinking almost exclusively cold-brewed recently. On the whole, I prefer my tea hot, though, so it’s high time I tried this one before I run out.
The dry mix smells insanely strong — just like freshly squeezed apple juice, with a touch of pineapple swimming around in the background. It reminds me a little bit of apple fruit leather, only jucier!
Brewed, this smells completely different — a bit like freshly baked apple pie. There’s a slight hint of cinnamon and caramel about it, which is probably what’s giving me that impression. The pineapple also comes out much more clearly than I was expecting. It’s a bit of an odd combination, actually.
I needn’t have worried, though. This has got to be one of the better fruit teas I’ve tried — not least because it’s got no hibiscus in it! The natural flavours of the apple and pineapple shine through, and it really is like drinking a fruit salad. The “baked” element I detected in the scent doesn’t really translate to the taste, except slightly in the aftertaste. It’s just fruity, refreshing, tropical wonderfulness. Another hit from Tea Palace!