1117 Tasting Notes
A sample from Courtney. Dry, this smells soooo much like fresh, juicy mango. Mango is a first for me when it comes to flavoured black tea. I’ve had one before, I think, in a Whittard’s sampler, but it was really no great shakes. This is my first Harney and Sons tea too, do a double first.
Brewed, this retains the sweet, juicy scent that it has dry. It’s not screaming mango as much as I felt it did initially, but it’s still decidedly fruity. I have added tiny splash of milk, though, so that might account for the slight dulling. Fortunately, the mango returns in the first sip. It’s juicy, slightly peppery, and seems to bob along on the surface of the black tea base, so you get a kind of two-tiered taste. Initially there’s the mango flavour, and that slowly gives way to a fairly robust black base. It’s pleasant without being overpowering.
As flavoured blacks go, I think this is a pretty successful one. I can definitely taste mango, and it seems pretty natural which is what counts when it comes to fruit flavouring. I only have the one cup, but it’s definitely one I’d try again if the opportunity arose. Thanks again to Courtney for sharing this with me!
This is a bit of a backlog, as I actually drank this at work on Tuesday afternoon. It was included in the sample pack I bought last year as a counterpoint to the first flush darjeelings, and it’s easy to see the differences when you put them side by side.
The leaf here is noticably darker, more black brown than green/white. I brewed this for just under 3 minutes, I think, although I probably wasn’t paying the closest attention. It brews to a much darker liquor than any of the first flushes, a sort of golden caramel colour. The taste is still amazing, though. I can immediately see that, where the first flushes are peachy and grassy, this second flush is floral and grape-like. It’s a really deep, complex, interesting flavour. There’s a very, very slight astringency, but it’s actually quite welcome with a flavour so rich.
I’d be hard pressed to say which flush I prefer. They’re both so different, and I like them equally for the different qualities that they have. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to try these four darjeelings — it’s really broadened my experience of this tea variety.
A sample from Queen of Tarts. I’ve only had one peach flavoured tea before, I think, and that was Adagio’s peach oolong. I wasn’t overkeen on the flavouring in that one, because it seemed hugely artificial, but it did make me reconsider oolongs. Anyway, this tea is much better on the peach flavouring front, I think. It tastes sweet and delicate, much like an actual peach, and the black tea base remains firmly in the background. I’m not 100% sure whether the flavouring is wholly natural, and it was maybe a touch too sweet for me this morning, but I’m looking forward to trying it again another time. As flavoured blacks go, this is a pretty good one!
My last two darjeeling samples from 2012 have been languishing in my stash for a while now, so I dug them out last night and brought them to work. Immediately upon tasting, I can say that this is my favourite of the three first flushes. It’s far, far peachier in both scent and taste. It’s just somehow really juicy, and tastes almost as if it’s been mixed with actual peach juice. It hasn’t, but I’d really think that if I didn’t know better.
The leaves of this one are evidently very young, and a high proportion of them are a very pale creamy green. There are also a lot of downy tips, as you’d expect from a white tea. Probably that’s why this seems more like a white tea than anything to me, and probably that’s also why I like it so much. White tea is a favourite of mine.
Anyway, surprisingly enough, the liquor is actually darker than the other two Twinings first flush darjeelings I tried, even though the leaves are paler. It’s a golden amber, which somehow made me think it would be quite strong and astringent, but it’s not at all. It is stronger in taste, by which I mean peachiness, than the other two, but on the scale of tea strength, it’s actually still very light and delicate. It just seems to have a more definite and decided flavour, which is no bad thing at all. It’s initially very peachy, then there’s a more generic sweetness, and then something slightly caramelly comes out in the aftertaste. A wonderful, wonderful tea. There won’t be any problem finishing this sample, that’s for sure!
Had another of these last night, probably the second or third cup from my sample bag. I’m still finding this one of the most enjoyable chocolate rooibos blends I’ve tried, and I really like the freshness the mint adds here. I’ve got a good few cups to go yet, but this is one I’d definitely repurchase. The balance of flavours is almost perfect, and the rooibos isn’t at all overpowering. Yummy stuff.
My headache last night turned into a full blown migraine, and by the time I got home I was craving something chocolatey and comforting quite badly. A cup of this hit the spot, along with some of my normal pain killers. I think this is one of those teas that I’m going to notice more about each time I drink it. Unless it was just my imagination, I think the tea base itself has something a little chocolatey about it. I added a splash of milk about half way through the cup, just to compare, and I think that definitely helped the highlight the creaminess of the marshmallow. An intriguing tea, and one I know I’m going to look forward to drinking time and time again!
This is a tea I’ve definitely got better at brewing as time has gone on. The first time I tried it, I could taste mostly the tea base, and the berry only really emerged in the aftertaste. These days, I can make a cup of this and know that the berry flavouring will the main feature. I think it’s probably partly trial and error, and having found the amount of leaf and the brew time that suit my tastes. Part of it might be that it’s been open a while now, and maybe it’s benefitted from being aired a little.
I’ve only got a couple of cups worth of this left now, so it’ll soon be a sipdown. It’s a tea I’ve thourghly enjoyed, though, and one of the best berry flavoured blacks I’ve tried in a while.
I last drank this long enough ago that I don’t actually remember it at all. High time for another try, then! As this is the last of the Yumchaa reds in my stash for now (except Red Christmas, but I’m saving that for…Christmas), I’ve moved it to my tea drawer at work. I usually go for teas I don’t need milk with at work, as I don’t trust our old and ancient fridge. As I’m so cold today, perhaps this is just what I’m looking for.
Brewed, it smells spicy and hibiscussy, and for some reason it’s made me think of mulled wine. I guess it was a good choice after all, in that it feels like winter has suddenly returned. The taste is similar. I can detect the hibiscus (what is it doing here anyway?), but it is thankfully quite subtle. I can also taste cinnamon, and something like caramel. The kiwi plonks itself down right in the middle of the sip. I remember thinking last time I tried this that it really was like an adventure for the taste buds. This tea brings together all sorts of random ingredients and somehow makes them work. It’s not like any other tea I’ve ever tried, and, surprisingly enough, it’s nice. For all that, though, it’s not memorable. I’ve never drawn a complete blank on a tea I’ve tasted previously before, and yet I did here. Maybe the ingredients are too diverse? Maybe I just haven’t tried it enough compared so some others? I’m not really sure at the moment. It’s definitely a nice, welcome drink on a day like today, though. One I’ll have to try and get to know better over the coming weeks and months.
Today’s iced tea choice for work. I probably made a mistake with this today, as it’s not actually all that warm. It’s so stuffy in our office usually, I think I’ve just fallen into the habit of assuming I’ll be too hot. I haven’t taken my hoodie off yet, though, so it’s definitely on the cool side.
It doesn’t really matter, though. I don’t have any actual ice, so this is really just chilled tea. It’s convenient, because it means I don’t have to keep getting up and going to the kettle, which is at the other end of the office. It’s while I’m on these jaunts that someone inevitably comes in to reception, and I miss them. Still, it’s monday, I need caffiene, and I don’t care whether it’s hot or cold.
I’m a Lime Jello Salad fan, so this is another of Frank’s SBTs that I was eager to try. The first thing I can say is that I still prefer the green version. I miss the marshmallow in this, and the sweetness that perfectly balanced the tang of the lime. This is definitely limey, though, and it pairs so well with the black base. The smell of this both dry and brewed reminds me of actual Lime Jello, which I suppose is the point. It’s kind of sour and tangy, and it makes me think of summer. The taste is similar, with the Lime Jello peeking out from under the black tea and adding a fruity, zesty tang to each sip.
I forgot my sugar again, so I can’t experiment (when will I learn?), but I think my enjoyment of this would be hightened if it was a little sweeter. It’s lovely and refreshing and palatable as is, but I am looking for just a little more sweetness than it has naturally. While this probably isn’t my personal favourite of the SBTs, it’s certainly another good one. If I’d known it was this easy to make iced tea, I would have been doing it for years. Another excellent creation!