1657 Tasting Notes
This one really comes into its own cold. I guess because it’s a winter-flavoured tea, I’d never really thought of cold brewing it before now — I’m glad I decided to give it a go, though! After yesterday’s slightly weak Cuba Libre, I went for 3 tablespoons of leaf in 2 litres of water, and into the fridge overnight for around 12 hours.
It’s literally liquid candy cane. The initial sip is almost pure, unadulterated sweetness — the stevia, I guess — but it’s so much like the sticky glaze on a candy cane it’s almost unreal. A smooth, creamy vanilla flavour emerges next, and then the coolness of the mint develops in the aftertaste. It’s seriously yummy! Looks like I’ve found my new favourite way with this tea.
This is a reasonably good chai. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it surprised me, somehow. I drank it as a latte, so the first thing that struck me was its wonderful creaminess. I was expecting milky, but this tea has a dimension beyond that — I think it’s the coconut! It’s rich, smooth, silky creaminess with a hint of sweetness. I wouldn’t have said coconut automatically if I hadn’t known — it adds more of a texture than a flavour, imo.
The chai blend is relatively light. I can taste a mild spiciness, but it doesn’t have a lot of the depth I usually look for in a chai. Saying that, I usually drink chai in the winter, when strong, warming, homely flavours are the order of the day. This could be a wonderful spring chai, though — mildly spicy, with a creamy tropical edge! I get ginger, cardamom and pepper primarily. There are cloves, but few enough that they don’t overpower everything with their almost musty, occasionally overbearing flavour. I think that’s probably the key here.
As first cups go, this was an interesting experience. I think it might be a chai I could actually like a lot, but I’ll need to try a few more cups before I can decide one way or the other. Intriguing!
I’m pretty sure I’m only drinking so much of this because it’s literally the only black tea I have at work with me right now. It’s not bad, but it’s probably not one I’d turn to quite so much for any other reason. I’m happy with the raspberry flavour, I’d love more chocolate, but the base is just a bit heavy for me to ever really be able to love it properly.
I’m pretty sure this is only my third cup of this tea. I’m not sure why I don’t pick it out more often — I like white tea in general, although the flavouring here isn’t perfectly to my tastes. I guess I’m more drawn to black tea at work, and probably in general. Still — my tin of this one isn’t going to get any smaller if I just sit here looking at it!
A cup it is. It’s not actually as bad as I remember, so I’ve raised the rating a little. The white peony leaves are mostly black/brown, sadly, and the peach flavouring IS very artificial (like a gummy sweet rather than an actual peach…), but I’ve definitely tried worse. It’s delicately sweet and not too cloying, light and refreshing, so perfect for a muggy day like today.
This isn’t one I’d restock, but it’s okay.
This is today’s cold brew of choice. It’s much, much better cold. The cola flavouring is still fairly subtle, and then rum subtler still. It’s very refreshing and easy to drink, though, and that’s an important consideration when it comes to iced tea. I’m surprised how mild the base stays, given that it was in the fridge for around 12 hours overnight, and I used two generous tablespoons for just under two litres of water.
It’s not my favourite cola flavoured tea, or my favourite 52 Teas tea, but it’s eminently drinkable all the same. On the whole, though, I think I prefer 52 Teas Cherry Vanilla Cola, or the cola flavoured SBTs. This is okay, but not quite up to those.
I pulled this out to cold brew last night, and decided to have a cup hot at the same time. I probably don’t have enough leaf left to cold brew in bulk again, so it seemed a sensible option at the time. Predictably enough, though, this isn’t all that great hot. There’s just a fundamental wrongness about hot soda flavoured things, somehow. It’s not that it’s bad — I can taste a mild cola flavour and a hint of rum — it’s just weird. The base seems too prominent when this is brewed hot, too. Bitter and slightly astringent. I think I’ve tried this hot with sugar previously, and it’s better like that, but I’m trying to avoid using too much sugar if I can help it. Probably that means I should stick to cold brewing this one!
I did well with this today, largely because I gave it a longer brew time than I usually have patience for. It’s deliciously creamy, with a strong vanilla note emerging first, and then a cooling hit of peppermint. I’m drinking this hot today as it’s dull and rainy, but I’m starting to think I’d really like to try it iced. I might take the bag home with me and give that a go. The only thing I’m not too keen on after letting this steep for longer is the tell-tale taste of stevia that lingers at the back of my mouth. It’s just a little too artificial. Otherwise, this is perfect! A great start to the morning!
A sample from VariaTEA. I’ve got to admit that the green oily scum floating on the surface of this one was almost enough to put me off it without ever having taken a sip. It just didn’t look…nice. I closed my eyes and got on with it anyway, and I’m glad I did because it tastes pretty amazing! The first sip actually reminded me of 52 Teas White Christmas (I’m pretty sure that’s what the LE Christmas Day tea from the 2012 12 Teas of Christmas box was called. That’s the one I’m thinking of, anyway!) Mint is the initial flavour, followed by a gorgeous creamy, white chocolate, vanila flavour. I can see why this one would have been great during the winter…the flavours and the warmth just go so well together, it’s almost like drinking liquid peppermint bark. Why the pink peppercorns, though? I’m not sure what they’re contributing, if anything, and yet there are LOADS of them in my sample.
I’m glad I finally got to try this one, anyway. I read so many tasting notes about it last Christmas that I almost couldn’t bear not being able to try any. Thanks to VariaTEA, I got my chance at last. It’s not one I’d want to drink a lot, despite the flavour…the oiliness is a texture too far for my tastes. I can ignore it for a few cups though, if they all taste as good as this one!
Second to last cup this morning, and it was REALLY good. Why is it that just as I’m about to run out of a tea, I find a way of brewing it that seems to bring out the best in it? I suppose it’s the culmination of all the trial and error that used up the rest of the bag, but I seem to have a particular talent for it. I feel like sulking.
I can’t for too long, though, because this was wonderful paired with my croissaints this morning. Very walnutty, beautifully smooth, with a nice hit of banana in the middle of the sip. It was a treat indeed!
Second cup of this. I really liked it previously, and my opinion is unchanged. I surprised myself all over again with how smooth and non-astringent the darjeeling base is, even when steeped for 4 minutes as per the recommended parameters. I was worried that I’d overdone it, but one sip told me we were okay. I also like how this one tastes like milkshake even without any milk — it can’t be anything but amazing Butiki awesomeness yet again! Spicy, milky, pumpkin wonderfulness. It may be spring and a bit unseasonal, but I love it anyway :)