918 Tasting Notes
There’s rooibos and rooibos, as I’m starting to find out. This is completely different in appearance from other rooibos blends I’ve tried. The leaves, if I can call them that, are very thin, long, and pointy looking. They’re also more of an orange-red than a red-brown. And I rather like them. I’ve finally put my finger on what it is I don’t usually like about rooibos. To me, it tastes like blood. Almost metallic, or iron-like. I say usually, though, because there isn’t so much of that here. I can detect a faint trace of it in the background, but, actually, I wouldn’t know I was drinking rooibos straightaway. It’s there in the background, but it somehow seems more mellow and less dominant than it has in most of the other rooibos-based teas I’ve tried recently. Good news.
So. Another thing I like about this tea is that it actually does smell like a sherbet lemom. There’s a nice lemon-citrus kick to the dry leaves, sizeable chunks of lemon peel, and a slight stickiness that reminds me immediately of a boiled sweet. Thankfully, this carries through pretty well to the brewed tea. It’s not quite as strong as the scent, but it’s pretty good. More so when it’s hot. It’s very lemony then, both in smell and taste. The thing I feared most was that this would taste like lemsip, but it doesn’t. It’s more of a lemon sweet (a lemon sherbet!) kind of taste, and neither creamy nor medicinal. As it cools, I can taste the rooibos a bit more, but the earthiness is kind of pleasant with the openly zesty flavouring. Imagine how cool this would be with some popping candy added! Anyway, I enjoyed this hot, but I think it will really come alive as a cold-brew in the summer. Maybe with some added soda water or lemonade, because all this needs is to be a bit fizzy, and I’d have the whole lemon sherbet effect. Great stuff.
Okay, so I thought I was going to try another Yumchaa this morning, but as I was picking through my stash, my gaze fell on this, and I knew that my plans had changed. It might be March, but it’s still snowing here, so while I’d like to be thinking about nice teas for spring and summer, I’m still well into my chai lattes.
I like an adventurous chai, and this is one of my favourites. Assam base, cardamom pods, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, and flakes of chilli. They’re all in evidence in each bag. The cardamom pods are particularly huge, and I can definetly pick out the red chilli flakes and some seeds. If something is going to be spicy, I don’t want it to be spicy by halves, so this pleases me immensely.
The scent of chai is one of the things I love most about it, and this one is no exception. The ginger is immediately obvious, as is the creamy sweetness of the vanilla, and the more dessert-like spiciness of the cinnamon. There’s also something very slightly floral about it, and something that’s reminding me a little of curry. Certainly intriguing.
I’m drinking this as a latte this time, so I’ve added a lot of warmed, frothy milk after brewing for about 7 minutes. Notwithstanding, the flavours come out beautifully. I find the vanilla most obvious in the initial sip, I think because the milk highlights the sweet creaminess of it and brings it to the forefront. Next come the cinnamon, ginger and cardamom, and the finally the tounge-tingling chilli in the aftertaste. I like how changeable this tea can be. I know, for example, that this flavour-profile is unique to its creation as a latte. If I were drinking it black, or just as tea with milk, different ingredients would dominate and the whole taste experience would be completely different.
I find this a versatile, adaptable, exciting tea which can ebe brewed to match many (or any!) of my moods. The first time I tried it was with trepidation, but we’ve become firm friends in the intervening years. Chilli Chai, I love you!
First tea of the day today. I do honestly think Teapigs have changed some of their teas a bit since I last tried them. This one has smaller leaves than I remember, not like bagged supermarket tea, but not entirely whole leaf either. That’s fine with me, as I like the strength that chopped leaves can help to contribute on a morning, and I used to find this one a little on the thin side. In any case, though, I’m not sure all of their changes are for the better.
Still, on to the tasting. This is a breakfast blend, composed of ceylon, assam, and a rwandan. It smells more or less like any plain black tea, but with maltiness and a slightly citrussy note that actually complement each other pretty well. I brewed this for four minutes, and easily got the strength I was looking for, which pleased me more than it should have, probably.
I found this unexpectedly light to taste, given that there is assam in the base. The dominant tea, I felt, was the ceylon. There’s a definite zestiness about this, almost like orange or grapefruit peel. Second among the flavours are the assam and rwandan, which I do think help to give this blend some depth and sweetness. There’s a definite malty, almost molasses-like undertone, which develops into an almost chocolate-like intensity in the aftertaste. The first time I tried this tea, I wasn’t all that impressed, but this definetly has a lot more complexity than I remember it having. Perhaps my tastes have changed a little, but I think this is definetly one of those teapigs teas which were altered for the better.
I could happily drink this as my staple breakfast blend for a good long time. As it stands, I have enough for about two weeks. It’s everything I want on a morning, and then some. Really good stuff.
Tried this again. More leaf (nearly two teaspoons), longer brew time (closer to 5 minutes), and I made sure to stir it well both while brewing and after. I also added a piece of crystal sugar. I was rewarded with a much clearer caramel taste, rich and creamy. Definetly worth the effort!
I’ve just sent some of this out in a swap, so I figured now was as good a time as any to get my act together and write a tasting note. Scent wise, this is fairly subtle in the bag. I can smell the black tea base and a sweet, caramel note, but that’s all. It’s a pretty tea, with relatively large, wiry black-brown leaves, scattered throughout with white chocolate hearts and caramel cubes.
Brewed, the caramel scent comes out much more clearly. It smells almost like fudge. The black base is pretty light — I don’t recognise it explicitly as a keemun, but it isn’t identified outright as such on my bag. I added a little milk, because that’s how I roll.
This is nice, but I think the nicest thing about it is the scent. It doesn’t quite carry through to the taste. It’s hardly unpleasant, I just wish it was a bit stronger. There’s a sweet, creamy taste, which I think is at least partly the melted white chocolate, but it’s just not quite caramel. Almost, but not quite. Maybe a beefier base would have helped? I’m not sure. I might try this black next time, use a bit more leaf, or leave it to steep for a little longer to see if any of those help.
I don’t dislike this, but it doesn’t quite live up to its scent or my expectations at the moment. There’s a little more experimentation to be done before I cast my final decision, though, so I’m not going to rate it for now. I’ll happily drink the rest of the bag, but I so wish it tasted more like it smells. I guess I’ll have to see what can be done about that!
Chocolate Flake. I’ve had this a number of times previously, but have somehow always managed to avoid logging it. Anyway, it’s an assam base, with cocoa beans and chocolate pieces. It smells deeply, darkly chocolatey, with an equally deep background of strong, malty tea. Assam has always been one of my favourite black tea varieties, so I generally always enjoy this one. I’ve found the key to developing the chocolate flavour (and avoiding the watery hot chocolate taste) is to use a smaller cup than usual, so that’s what I’m going to do.
Anyway, enough of my ramblings. I find this a pretty subtle tea, certainly not as chocolatey as 52Teas Double Chocolate Decadence, for example. I don’t mind that, though, as it’s quite versatile in return. It smells and tastes very chocolatey black, but mellows with milk into a flavour more reminiscent of chocolate digestives. The assam is a pretty dominant flavour, too — it’s certainly not beaten down by the chocolate. Instead, I can initially taste the strong, malty base, and then the dry, almost powdery cocoa flavour.
This is definetly a pleasant tea. Perfect for times when I want something more indulgent than a plain black, but not too rich, overly flavoured, or fussy. As much as I enjoy this, it’s been a staple in my cupboard for a while now, so it’s probably time I took a little break from it so that I can come back refreshed. I can’t see it being a long break, though. It’s too easy to drink for that!
Following on from last night’s success, I decided to try another of my first flush darjeelings. This one is from the Chamong estate, and is a first invoice.
It’s another fabulous first acquaintance. The scent of the dry leaves is amazing. It’s slightly more subtle than yesterday’s Badamtam, but it smells similarly of peach and apricot, with a touch of lemoniness about it. It’s less perfume-like. The leaves are, once again, quite long and wiry. There’s a slightly higher incidence of downy white buds, although they’re otherwise very similar in appearance. I brewed it similarly to the Badamtam, 3 minutes in just boiling water.
The liquor is much lighter in colour, more of a champagne yellow-gold than the deeper amber I’m used to. The peachiness comes out wonderfully now, and is mouthwateringly juicy. To taste, this is very, very subtle. There’s a sweetness to the initial sip, which quickly develops into a lightly grassy taste. It’s not at all drying or astringent, just delicately sweet, slightly fruity, and very refreshing. I don’t think there could be a more fitting drink for a spring evening. It’s still a bit cold out yet, but I can see this being a wonderful late afternoon drink a couple of months down the line. Definetly worth a try, and it’s more than convinced me to continue experimenting with first flush darjeelings — I may have found my tea nirvana!
I wanted to choose something fitting for my 100th tasting note, so I decided to give this a try. I’ve kind of been treasuring it, since I only have a sample sized bag and I adore my first flush darjeelings. In any case…
Man, this smells good. It’s very sweet, with a definite peach scent, and a slight perfume-like undertone. The leaves are mostly green, although a few are brown and quite wiry in appearance. Some are creamy-white and slightly downy.
I’m following the instructions on this one to start with, as I have so little I want to try and get the best from it. One heaped teaspoon, in just boiling water, for three minutes. What do we get?
Heaven in a cup, approximately. The liquor is pale amber, and the peachy scent carries through beautifully into the flavour. There’s a delicate muscatel note, and a very, very slight astringency. I love this. There are no other words for it. This is a fine, delectable tea that I’m really going to savour before it’s gone.
I thought I’d done a proper tasting note for this, but it turns out I haven’t. This was actually one of the first teas I bought from Adagio early last summer, when I really started buying whole leaf tea in earnest. It came in the same order as White Peony, which I have logged, and Assam Melody, which I notice I also haven’t. Very strange, given that I’d also just joined Steepster. Anyway…
This is still one of my favourite blacks to drink as an everyday tea. It’s not flashy, but it is reliable, and it’s one of the only Adagio teas I own a big bag of. Dry, the leaves are a uniform chocolatey brown-black, and slightly twisted. It smells like a conventional black; slightly toasted and lightly malty. Brewed, it’s a different story. The citrus notes I like so much in Ceylon start to come out. It still smells like a black tea, but slightly citrussy and vaguely like orange peel. I like that it’s versatile enough to drink with or without milk, depending which end of the recommended 3-5 minute steep time you remove the leaves. I felt like a strong black today, so I went with milk.
It’s in the taste that the citrus flavours really come out. There’s a very slight maltiness at the start of the sip, and then a decidedly grapefruity flavour takes over. It’s very pleasant and refreshing — perfect in the afternoons when I’ve had a difficult morning at work. Somehow, it just seems to revive me, which is one of the reasons I’ve been keeping it around.
It’s not flashy, as I said, but I think it’s pretty spectacular in its own quiet way. Who doesn’t need a tea like that?