1723 Tasting Notes
Today’s work cold brew. I wasn’t expecting a great deal from this one, because it’s a hibiscus based fruit tea and because it’s a fine-shred bagged affair. I’ve been pleasantly surprised, though. I used 4 bags in 2 litres of water, for 10 hours overnight, and the resulting brew is a medium red-pink. The first thing I noticed about it is how amazing it smells, like literally. It reminds me of fruit coulis. Always a good start.
It’s an even better start when the flavour actually lives up to the scent, which can be a rare thing indeed. I was expecting a strong, sour-tart hibi mess, but it’s actually not like that at all. There is an element of hibiscus, and it is a little sharp and sour tasting, but it stays in the background and isn’t overwhelming. The majority of the flavour is a strawberry/raspberry/blackcurrant combo; fresh, fruity, and very berry. I keep trying to imagine what this would be like with some carbonation – I think very good!
I didn’t expect to like this one, but it’s actually very pleasant and drinkable. I’d pick up more of these bags next summer specifically for the purpose of cold brewing – tasty and convenient!
I made this one up on Saturday, and I drank it with my family over the bank holiday weekend. My mum, naturally, didn’t like it. She’s funny about iced tea anyway, so it wasn’t really a surprise. My dad and I enjoyed it, though – it’s not too sweet, and the chocolate isn’t overpoweringly cloying or sickly. It’s a little artificial tasting, but I can overlook that because it’s not too strong. The mint helps to move it back towards refreshing, adding a clean, cooling taste that’s pretty well suited to the hot days we’ve been having lately. My one complaint is that there’s no “ice cream” element – no creaminess to speak of, anyway – but it’s definitely mint chocolate chip. Ice cream was maybe just a descriptor too far.
This one got the usual SBT treatment (3 minutes in boiling water, topped up to 2 litres with cold, and into the fridge overnight). I don’t have another in my cupboard, but if I did I’d happily drink it again. It’s not my favourite SBT, but it’s pretty solid all the same.
The last of my Taylors of Harrogate samples. This is probably the one I enjoyed most out of the three I tried. It has a pleasant buttermint vibe going on, and it also reminds me of spearmint softmints which are just…the best. The sencha base is smooth and unobtrusive, allowing the mint and vanilla flavours to shine.
As green teas go, this one’s pretty perfect in my book. No bitterness or astringency, flavourful, lives up to its name. It’s a teabag, which I don’t usually go for, but it’s convenient and since I’m really busy at work at the moment, that suits me!
I’d drink this one again. I’d actually really like to try it cold brewed.
My second sample from Taylors of Harrogate. One thing I will say about these is that they smell amazing while they’re brewing. This one is pretty much spot on rhubarb and custard, and it’s a real shame that they don’t taste as good at they smell!
This one is also a fruit tea, and has the same hibiscus/rosehip base as Sour Cherry. It’s that tell-tale red colour pretty much straightaway. The initial sip is very tart and a touch sour (thank you, hibi!), but there’s a distinctive creamy rhubarb flavour in the midsip that’s really almost dessert-like and quite delicious. It lingers well into the aftertaste, too. Rhubarb seems like a pretty rare flavour in tea, at least in the UK, so this is one I’d happily drink again if given the opportunity.
My samples came with a card that lists the rest of the range, and the Rose Lemonade immediately captured my attention. There’s also a green tea with grapefruit and lime that I’d quite like to try. I’ve got one more sample to try – green tea and sweet mint, and I’m looking forward to that one because spearmint is one of my favourite things! I like that Taylors are trying to do a few unusual combinations as well as the stuff you’d expect, but what I’d really like is a fruit blend that doesn’t use hibiscus as a base. It’s a lifelong dream, I know.
This came as a free sample from Taylors of Harrogate. It’s a fruit tea, in a bag, and its predictably heavy on the hibiscus. It takes on that tell-tale bright red hue pretty much straight away, and it’s mostly all I can taste, at least initially. There is some cherry in the mid-sip, but it’s more fleeting than I would have hoped. It reminds me a bit of cherry throat sweets – soothers, or tunes, or something along those lines. It’s a little bit sour, but I think that’s mostly the hibiscus and rosehip. I get flashes of liquorice and aniseed, which are a little odd, but they do add a sweetness that helps to pull the tart, sour hibiscus back a bit and make this a palatable cup. Really, though, it’s not particularly well balanced, and there are definitely much better fruit teas out there. I’m glad I had the opportunity to try this one, but it wouldn’t be one I’d go out and buy in quantity.
A sample from Miss B! Liquorice kind of strikes fear into my heart, because it’s usually super-sweet and cloying and I just can’t enjoy it. Not the case with this one (I don’t think it actually contains liquorice root, so hallelujah!) It’s sweet, but gently so, and it reminds me most of blossom honey with maybe just an undertone of dark, sticky liquorice. It’s an interesting combination, and quite light in flavour so it’s also nice and refreshing on a hot day (and today is HOT – 34 degrees outside, and it’s usually 5 degrees or so hotter in our overcrowded, computer-stuffed office.) Heat like this is rare in the UK, and I’m glad for that because I’m finding I can’t actually function as a human being.
The other thing about this tea is how pretty it is. Little purple flowers (lavender, maybe? I could smell lavender while it was brewing), yellow lemongrass (or something like it) and then a whole lot of pale green, fairly finely shredded leaves. It looks like spring to me.
I enjoyed this one, totally unexpectedly. It’s a sweet, delicate cup and I’ll enjoy finishing up the rest of my sample!
The last of my Adagio teas, and today’s work cold brew. I used 4 bags in 2 litres of water, as per my usual method. To taste, it’s not particularly pumpkiny. I get little flashes of squash here and there, but nothing that really makes me think “pumpkin!” The spicing is more of a feature – this blend is very heavy on the cinnamon, with maybe a touch of ginger adding a little warmth. The honeybush base is fairly prominent, and although it’s sweet and unobjectionable, I was really hoping for more pumpkin to balance out the base/spice combination which is basically the whole flavour. It’s not my favourite of the Adagio Fairy Tale blends, but it’s by no means bad. Just a little…lacklustre.
A sample from Miss B. I’ve only had a couple of tulsi blends, so I was excited to have the opportunity to try another. It’s slightly earthy in taste, which works well with the spiciness of the ginger. The pink peppercorns add an additional edge of heat that lingers at the back of my throat. I can’t taste the orange at all, which makes me a little sad.
This one would be a good sore throat tea. It’s flavourful enough as it is, but I’m not a huge ginger fan so it’s not one I’d drink on a regular basis. I like the pepper, though. It’s rare that I can taste pepper in a tea, and it’s a delight here with the earthiness of the tulsi. A good winter warmer! It’s a shame it’s 30 degrees out today. I feel like I chose an unseasonable day to try this one.
Today’s cold brew. Of all the Adagio blends I’ve tried recently, this is the one where the honeybush is most prominent. It’s a little bit woodsy, and it gives me a scratchy throat. Having said that, there’s also a really excellent (albeit artificial) peaches and cream flavour. There’s also some chamomile, but if anything that actually helps to amp up the “sweet” and “thick” aspects of the “cream” flavour, while adding a honey-like edge all its own. The aftertaste has a whole lot of rose, which I’m not massively sold on. It’s a touch perfumey for my tastes, but it does work with the peach flavour a lot better than I expected it to. On balance, not a bad cup. It’ll never be my favourite, but I like it more than I expected to.
A sample from Miss B. Clearing has finally started, so I basically just grabbed a handful of sample bags from my cupboard to take into the call centre with me. This was one of them. I gave 1.5tsp of “leaf” about 3.5 minutes in boiling water. Longer probably would help, but I’m short on time (and long on work) today!
To taste, this is mostly orange and mint, plus a mild background toastiness from the rice. It’s pleasant, easy to drink, and definitely one of the more unusual herbal teas I’ve tried. More than worth a try, if you get the chance.