1052 Tasting Notes
Sipdown! Drank the last five cups worth of this today at work, with a little honey added. It’s pretty good stuff, but I could do with a break from it now! I guess it might make a reappearance in my stash in the summer, but I’m content for it to be a memory for now :)
My third and final Yumchaa red for today. I have to say that these are taking me by surprise quite a bit. The ingredients I think I’m least likely to be able to pick out are the ones that seem to come across most strongly. This tea is a case in point. It’s got a lot of ingredients, some of them, like hibiscus and rose hip, quite powerful in terms of flavour. Despite this, it’s the caramel and apple that I can pick out most clearly in the brewed tea. It’s no bad thing, I’m just surprised that they come across so well in quite a complex blend.
Anyway, that said, the dry mix is another busy, pretty one. There are quite large pieces of apple, kiwi, hibiscus, and rosehips, and generous fragments of almond. The smell is quite spicy — mostly cinnamon or nutmeg, I think, although neither are explicitly identified. It’s quite a clean and refreshing scent despite this, though, and if I inhale deeply I can definetly identify the apple and kiwi.
Similarly when brewed, the spice is the first thing I can smell, and then a slight frutiness. The biggest surprise is the taste. Looking at the ingredients list, it’s the kind of tea that shouldn’t work at all. Somehow it does, though. There’s a mild, background tart sweetness from the hibiscus and rosehip, and then a decided frutiness from the apple and kiwi. It all ends with a savoury, nutty twist from the almonds, and the deep richness of the caramel. All of which is held together by the spiciness that runs over and above it all.
I’m glad I saved this one until last, because it’s certainly an odd, complex tea. There are a lot of facets to the flavour, and I feel like it’s taking me a lot of time and concentration to absorb and appreciate them all. It’s so aptly named, because it absolutely is an adventure for the tastebuds. A unique and interesting tea, this is one I’m going to take the time to get to know properly. A great, if intriguing, first acquaintance!
The second of today’s Yumchaa reds, and a relatively simple taste profile this time. Just raspberry, vanilla, and rose petals. Dry, the scent is much as you’d expect. A slight brassiness from the rooibos, a whole lot of raspberry, and a creamy sweetness from the vanilla. There are a fair few rose petals in the mix, but they’re not contributing much at this stage.
This actually brews pretty quickly to a deep red-brown liquor, so I immediately considered adding milk. I’m resisting that impulse for the minute, though, as I’d like to know what it tastes like au naturel before I start on any additions. The scent, as with the dry leaf, is creamy raspberry, with a tinge of rooibos round the edges. Flavour seems to be the central thing with these teas, and I’m glad about that.
The scent does nothing to prepare you for the taste, though. This is pure, strong raspberry from the very first sip. Initially, it’s just very fruity, but the creamy sweetness of the vanilla creeps in afterwards to give this a smooth, thick taste that belies its appearance. It’s definetly one I’ll try with milk at some point. Another winner from Yumchaa!
On to the reds now, of which I’ve three still untried. Berry Berry Nice is the first, and the scent certainly matches the name. This isn’t the same kind of rooibos as lemon sherbet, I don’t think. The dry leaves are shorter, wider, and more brown in colour. This is a mix that’s packed with additions, though. Pieces of berry abound — blueberry, blackberry and strawberry are all in evidence, as are pieces of kiwi, and they’re making the rooibos delightfully sticky. I can also see rose petals and pieces of vanilla pod. It’s interesting to look at, to say the least! The scent at the moment is a sort of generic “berry”, but I’m not smelling the typically woody rooibos, which is another point in its favour.
Brewed, this is another really fragrant tea. Yumchaa do that well, I think. I can smell a slight earthiness from the rooibos, but it’s more or less overpowered by the scent of strawberry, kiwi and rhubarb, which are the three ingredients I can pick out most clearly. To taste, the rooibos is fractionally more dominant in the initial sip, but the fruit certainly makes its prescence known. There’s a slightly floral note from the rose petals, and a sweetness from the vanilla, and then again a powerful berry flavour. The flavours of the fruit come out particularly well in the aftertaste, more so as it cools, but it’s mostly strawberry, rhubarb and kiwi I can taste. The blueberry and blackberry seem a bit lost, and I’m not really able to identify them at all.
This is pretty nice for a rooibos, certainly one of the nicest I’ve tried so far this year. Given that its berry flavour develops more and more as it cools, I’m definetly going to try this as a cold brew at some point. I’ll also try it with milk, just to see what effect that has, but I’m pretty happy with this. Definetly a hit!
One of the things I like most about Yumchaa is that the bases vary from tea to tea. I sort of assumed all of their green teas would use the same base, but they obviously don’t. I think they used to say they were all sencha, but they’re just identified as ‘green tea’ now, so I guess they must have changed that at some point. Saying that, though, I think this one actually is sencha, so that was a pretty misplaced perception.
Anyway, the leaves in this one are quite broad and thick, and look like they’ve been rolled. They’re all fairly long, but they’re relatively flat too. The scent is mildly fruity. I’m getting blackberry and rhubarb mostly. There are a lot of peony petals among the leaves, so I was expecting it to be quite floral in fragrance, but it’s not at this point.
Brewed, this one smells gorgeously sweet and fruity. It’s actually reminding me of a rhubarb and custard sweet, which came as a complete surprise. When I saw the thick, dark green leaves I was expecting a strong and bitter green tea taste, and not much else. This has come off surprisingly delicate, though.
The taste is similarly surprising. The green tea isn’t strong or bitter, and, as with Wanderlust, it remains resolutely in the background. What I can taste is fruit. Rhubarb and blueberry, primarily, with a very creamy-tasting finish. I never really expect a lot from green tea. That’s my one inexplicable tea prejudice. This tea is going a long way towards changing that, though, as it’s actually left me pretty speechless. It’s absolutely, geuninely lovely. Sweet, fragrant, fruity, perfect. Anything that can get me to drink green tea with a smile on my face must be some kind of enchanted. Yumchaa are rising quickly in my estimation.
I feel like a green tea this morning, which is something that doesn’t happen all that often. There are a couple of Yumchaa greens untried in my stash, so now is probably as good a time as any to make a start on them.
First up in Wanderlust. I think it just might be the kind of apple pie flavoured green tea I’ve been searching for all my life. Or since I started drinking tea, anyway. The dry leaves are long and wiry, and vary in colour from a pretty dark green-black, all the way to a pale creamy green. Most of them are on the darker side, though. Among the leaves are pieces of apple, almond, and what looks to be cinnamon bark. It smells subtly of apple and cinnamon.
Brewed, it smells even more like apple pie. Apple pie that’s just come out of the oven. There’s an immediate kick of cinnamon, and then the warm, slightly sour scent of apples. To taste, it’s much the same. Cinnamon first, and then a naturally sweet, rounded apple finish. The green tea remains resolutely in the background, and it’s smooth and perfect. Not bitter, not astringent, just supporting the flavours of the apple and cinnamon while being pretty unassuming itself. I think the almond and vanilla that are supposed to be in here are a bit lost. I can’t really detect either of them all that much. I’m not complaining, though. Any tea that tastes as much like apple pie as this one does is all right with me.
Had another go with this, as I couldn’t stop thinking about where I might have gone wrong. I let the water cool a little, left the bag in for 2.5 minutes, used a little bit less leaf, and made sure there were some fruit pieces in my infuser. I also left it black.
I’m still not keen, the problem being that this time it doesn’t taste of anything at all. I don’t understand this tea, at the moment.
I always enjoy this one, as long as I’m patient and leave it long enough for the caramel and white chocolate pieces to melt. And then give it a decent stir. It wasn’t my favourite at first, but it’s growing on me as I learn better how to brew it. A surprise contender for a permenant place in my stash.
Tried this for the first time today. I generally like black teas flavoured with red fruit, but finding one with a good flavour balance can be difficult. In the bag, this one smells just as I want it to. Blackberry and raspberry predominate, and I can actually see one or two whole fruits among the leaves. The base of this one is actually identified on my bag as a keemun, but it seems to have been cut fairly liberally with raspberry leaves. The effect is pretty, but I guess I’m kind of wondering why they’re so predominant. Surely they’re not going to add much in the way of flavour?
Anyway, on to the tasting. I brewed this for about 3.5 minutes in boiling water. Yumchaa don’t really give much in the way of brewing parameters, so I know it’s going to be trial and error until I find what works best. At first, this has no discernable smell, but after about three minutes it develops quite a strong smoky scent.
The smokiness doesn’t translate to the flavour too much, although I can taste it. On the other hand, I can’t taste much in the way of berries. Maybe very slightly in the aftertaste, but that’s all. Obviously I’m going to have to work on how I brew this a little, because what I’ve got at the moment can’t be this tea at its best. The smokiness confused me at first, although after a quick google, I established that keemun teas can taste smoky and bitter, depending how they are processed. I know the taste isn’t contamination, as I haven’t had any smoky tea in my cupboard since I bought this. Smoky tea really isn’t my thing. Where is the fruit, though? It’s so odd, because it smells just fine dry, and I want it to taste like that too!
Not sure about this one at the moment. I might try it black, and adjust my leaf and time/temp parameters to see if any of that helps. The name is pretty accurate, though. It tastes like a walk in the woods in early autumn, when there’s the scent of woodsmoke on the breeze…
Had another of these today, as a sort of joyous farewell to winter. Just straight, with a little bit of milk. The chilli and clove come out most prominently when it’s brewed this way, I think. I’m not a huge fan of clove, so I generally prefer this as a latte, but it’s good all the same. Nice, warming hit of chilli. Good stuff.