1617 Tasting Notes
Today’s cold brew. It’s confirmed for me once and for all that I don’t like liquorice root. I know I said I didn’t mind Teapigs Liquorice and Peppermint last time I tried it, but I had a cold, guys. I couldn’t really taste it. I didn’t mind this one hot, interestingly enough — the hibiscus seemed to come out more that way. Cold, this is liquorice and stevia central. It’s all I can taste, and it’s lingering at the back of my throat in all its intensity.
It does taste a bit like Aniseed Balls. A lot, in fact, like the sweet sugar shell. I never thought I’d find myself wishing I could taste more hibiscus, but I do at the moment. It’s fruity tartness would at least go some way towards toning the sugar down here.
So — lesson learned. Aniseed Balls is not a good cold brew choice. I will ALWAYS drink this hot from now on.
This is a surprising tea. For some reason, I was expecting it to be quite musty in flavour, probably because that’s one of the things I associate with cloves, and there are a lot of cloves in the dry mix. I was distracted from that for a moment by the prettiness of this blend, though. It contains yellow, red and green leaves and flowers, and looks very fresh and natural! That’s no surprise — a lot of Bluebird teas are very picturesque. I allowed my water to cool to about 180, and then added 1tsp of leaves for around 3 minutes.
The predominant flavor is apple, followed by cinnamon and clove. I’m pleased the apple came through so well, as I had been concerned that it would be disguised by the spices. Instead, it’s sweet and sort of baked in flavour, with the spices adding an element reminiscent of apple pie filling! The green base is right here, I think — it adds a crisp, vegetal freshness that is probably helping the apple along a little. It’s light and fairly subtle, vaguely sweet, and very smooth. The whole combination makes for an easy to drink, tasty cup! I can see this one being pleasant any time of year, but a warm summer evening adds a little holiday ambiance! Another winning blend from Bluebird :)
I’ve had a cup of this each morning after arriving at work this week. I had hoped I’d be able to coax a bit more orange flavour out of it, but it’s sadly eluding me. It’s there very slightly, but it’s nowhere near as orange-creamy as the scent of the dry leaf made me hope. Saying that, it’s not too strongly floral either. I’m not a fan of hugely floral teas, and this blend contains both chamomile and jasmine. The chamomile is pretty much the strongest flavour, which is okay with me, but I really was hoping for more orange. Sadly, you can’t win them all!
This was my last cup of the evening yesterday. It’s one of the few unopened Bluebird samples I currently have sitting around, so I thought I’d give it a chance to shine. The dry leaf smells so much like a freshly opened pot of runny honey, I actually had a hard time believing it was tea. As scents go, it’s just spot on. I was expecting the rooibos to take over the the flavour, but fortunately it didn’t. The same headily sweet, delicious honey note carries through, with subtle hints of chamomile. Chamomile often tastes a little honey-like to me, so I’m not surprised it seems to enhance the flavour here.
While it’s a genuinely lovely caffiene free cup, it probably lends itself best to drinking in small doses. It’s quite sweet and rich, almost like eating honey straight out of the jar. For that reason, it becomes slightly overpowering and really a bit much by the end of the cup. It’s a very enjoyable treat, though, and one of the best honey teas I’ve had the pleasure of trying.
I’ve been having a lot of luck with this kind of tea recently, so I pulled this one out to try yesterday evening. It’s the first Whispering Pines tea I’ve tried, although there are a few more in my cupboard. They’re next in the to-drink pile!
I gave 1.5tsp of leaf 3 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. The smell of the dry leaf is mildly fruity, and this carries through to a certain extent in the flavour. I wouldn’t say I’m getting melon and passionfruit as the description suggests, but there is a sweetness that’s reminiscent of raisin. The main note I’m picking up is cocoa, and it’s delicious! It’s sweet and malty, and the chocolatey flavour with the added milk gives it a wonderfully creamy edge.
I’m glad to have had the opportunity to try this one, although it didn’t wow me quite as much at the Teavivre golden tip version. It has made me curious to try more Whispering Pines teas, though.
I’m slowly coming to the realisation that plain blacks might be my absolute favourite, which comes as a surprise given that I discovered tea largely through flavoured varieties. I’m not sure that I would have been able to pick out all of the flavours in teas like this back then, or even that I would have appreciated them as much as I do now. How tastes change! I’m glad to have discovered this one :)
My second Assam of the evening last night. This one couldn’t be more different from Assam #8 if it tried, and as I said in my previous note, that’s one of the things I love about Assam the most. Each different variety can be an entirely different experience.
The leaves here are golden brown and tippy, and are long, thin and curly in appearance. The bag also contains a quantity of golden brown “dust”. I gave this one 4 minutes in boiling water, and the resulting liquor was dark brown — much darker than Assam #8. I added a splash of milk.
I want to say that the flavour of this one is stronger — it comes across like that, a little, but I think it’s a case of pungency rather than strength, somehow. The malt and grain notes here are very prominent, and yet it’s not nearly as sweet as I expected. Instead, it has an almost molasses-like note, As it cools, a deep smokiness develops. It’s a very smooth, easily drinkable cup, and one I’d definitely return to again. It reminds me a lot of some of the Dian Hong teas I’ve been drinking lately. Another delicious treat, and another confirmation of my love for Assam in general!
I opened samples of two different Tealux Assams last night to compare, and was immediately reminded all over again why I love Assam so much. There’s so much variation between different varieties that it would be almost impossible to get bored of it, and the flavour is always so, so good.
This one reminded me strongly of Butiki’s Premium Taiwanese Assam, both in appearance and scent. That would make sense, I suppose, as they’re both Taiwanese in origin. This one has the same long, thick, twisty black leaves, and it’s insanely fruity to smell.
I gave this about 4 minutes in boiling water, and the resulting liquor was a golden brown with hints of almost ruby. It smells sweet and malty, and these notes carry through into the flavour. To taste, there’s a strong element of dried fruit — raisin particularly. There’s also hints of sweet potato, and the tiniest smidge of grain.
I’d have to compare this side by side with PTA to be more certain of their similarities, and to know which, if any, I prefer overall. This was a delcious cup, though. Black beauty indeed!
Back to my selection of SBTs for today’s cold brew! This is another I first tried last year, and as far as I can recall I really liked it. I’m pleased to report that I like it just as much the second time around. The pink lemonade flavouring is easily detectable — it’s a sort of generically sweet, slightly fizzy tasting, maybe very slightly strawberry/lemon tinged flavour. It’s just like actual pink lemonade! The base is smooth and unobtrusive — it’s the characteristic 52 Teas SBT base, so if you’ve ever tried one before you know exactly what to expect. Brewed at the recommended parameters — 3 minutes in boiling water, topped up with cold to 2 litres and into the fridge overnight — it’s a delicious treat on a warm day. These teas do make work far more bearable!
First tea of the morning! The scent of the dry leaf made me really want to like this one. It smells so much like an orange creamsicle! I was a little concerned by the amount of floral-ish ingredients, but I thought on balance it would probably be okay.
And it is okay, but I can’t say I really like it. The orange disappears almost completely, and the main flavours are actually chamomile and jasmine. It’s like this one got stuck between being an orange black and a floral herbal, and the taste is just a little bit weird. The initial sip would almost be enough to convince me that it WAS a herbal, if I didn’t know better, but then the black tea and a teeny-tiny hint of orange develop. It’s not an entirely successful contrast.
I have a small tin of this, so I’ll definitely be giving it another go, adjusting steeping parameters, etc. I like orange teas, so I had high hopes for this one. Maybe I can pull it back a bit with some sympathetic brewing?
Sipdown! This is the first green tea I have ever cold brewed, and I’m pleased with the result. I figured this one would be a good choice to start with, as it has more lemongrass than green tea. I was worried about the green tea becoming bitter after 10-12 hours in the fridge, but it hasn’t at all. I guess that’s something to do with the cold water?
The flavour of this one is pretty different when cold brewed. I can taste the lime far, far more. It actually overtakes the lemongrass as the primary flavour. Then comes the chilli, which adds a really nice kick of heat and spice. It’s such a summery tea, and so different from the usual run of the mill tropical tea. It definitely shines more when it’s cold brewed, and I’m glad I decided to give it a go. It makes me wish I’d given MojiTEA a try cold brewed — I think I’ll have to buy some more now!
I have monday off next week, so I’m gathering together some one cup remainders and I’m going to try and get my count back under 300 over the three day weekend. A couple of cold-brew sipdowns in the meantime will help, too!