1053 Tasting Notes
Like Yumchaa’s Caramel Sweetheart, this one definetly benefits from a good stir. That I have discovered. I have, somewhat distrubingly, started using two bags of this in a big cup. Possibly I should eat some real chocolate, rather than trying to recreate it in a drink. At least it’s Easter Sunday…there’s a chocolate rabbit with my name on it that I think would go rather well with another cup of this :)
This was actually my first tea of the day this morning. I woke up with a bit of a sore throat, and a craving for Chilli Chai. The warmth was wonderfully soothing. Great stuff. Now all I wish is that it would stop being so cold and/or snowing. It’s supposed to be spring, yo!
It always starts out well for me with these teas, and by “these” I mean adagio’s fruit tisanes, because I unfailingly adore the scent of the dry mix. This one is no exception. It smells strongly of blueberries, to the extent that I had to double check I’d picked this sachet up and not Berry Blues. I can pick out the cranberries, also, as a kind of red-fruit tinged with sourness. I’m not sure what “natural forest berries flavour” might constitute, but, looking at the dry mix, I’m sure there are at least a couple of things in there that haven’t been explicitly identified. Blackcurrants, for one, I think. In any case, the pieces are relatively large and generous, and the mouthwateringly strong scent is making me really look forward to this. On to the tasting…
While brewing, the scent develops to quite an incredible strength, I can see why it’s called Berry Blast! It’s a lovely, deep, dark, bittersweet forest berry scent. The taste is similar. I can definetly detect the hibiscus, which is what usually ends up ruining fruit tea for me, but it’s not overpoweringly strong. The blueberries don’t really come out in the flavour, but it has a definite blackcurrant-y, wine-like flavour, with the sour tang of cranberry to finish. It’s bittersweet, for sure. The initial sip has quite a lot of natural fruity sweetness to it, but the aftertaste is slightly drying and quite sour. It’s not a bad thing, though, and I’m actually quite enjoying the contrast.
This is another tea I’d like to try iced in the summer. It definetly has the strength to stand up to being watered down a little. I should probably start making a list, because I’ll undoubtedly forget otherwise. Anyway, this is one of the more pleasing fruit tisanes I’ve tried recently. I’m a fan of deep, dark forest berry-like flavours, although the hibiscus does spoil the overall effect. If it wasn’t for that, this tea would be right up my street. As it stands, I’m still on the lookout for a hibi-less tisane. Not bad by any means, though.
This smells so deliciously of fresh strawberries, I had to give it a go. I’m in a funny mood today, and I can’t seem to settle down to anything. It’s really odd, because I’ve longed to have some time off work, and now I’ve got it I feel at a loose end. Anyway, hopefully this will help to sort me out!
The dry leaves, as I said, smell strongly of strawberries. This is to the extent that I’d probably think I was smelling a tisane if I didn’t know this was a black tea. There are little pieces of strawberry and raspberry in the mix, and whole blackcurrants. It smells absoultely gorgeous, and is really making me long for summer.
I brewed this for about 4 minutes. The black tea is discernable now, of course, but the fruity berry scent is still there. I’ve added milk this time, but I’d like to try this with cream one day. And maybe a scone. In the summer. Time to stop dreaming, though. It’s about 5 degrees outside.
The berry taste doesn’t come out in the brewed tea as much as I’d like. I think that’s always going to be my bugbear with teas like this. It’s by no means bad, though. The initial sip just tastes of black tea, but as I swallow the berry taste does come out. It’s quite subtle, but it’s definetly there. I actually quite like this effect. As you sit there feeling a bit cheated, the sweet, glorious berry flavour suddenly develops. It helps that you can smell it as you lift the cup, I think. That definetly adds another dimension.
Ultimately, a pretty good tea. I definetly want to try this iced in the summer, but as a hot drink to remind me that summer is coming, it’s not too shabby at all. I could really get into this.
There’s rooibos and rooibos, as I’m starting to find out. This is completely different in appearance from other rooibos blends I’ve tried. The leaves, if I can call them that, are very thin, long, and pointy looking. They’re also more of an orange-red than a red-brown. And I rather like them. I’ve finally put my finger on what it is I don’t usually like about rooibos. To me, it tastes like blood. Almost metallic, or iron-like. I say usually, though, because there isn’t so much of that here. I can detect a faint trace of it in the background, but, actually, I wouldn’t know I was drinking rooibos straightaway. It’s there in the background, but it somehow seems more mellow and less dominant than it has in most of the other rooibos-based teas I’ve tried recently. Good news.
So. Another thing I like about this tea is that it actually does smell like a sherbet lemom. There’s a nice lemon-citrus kick to the dry leaves, sizeable chunks of lemon peel, and a slight stickiness that reminds me immediately of a boiled sweet. Thankfully, this carries through pretty well to the brewed tea. It’s not quite as strong as the scent, but it’s pretty good. More so when it’s hot. It’s very lemony then, both in smell and taste. The thing I feared most was that this would taste like lemsip, but it doesn’t. It’s more of a lemon sweet (a lemon sherbet!) kind of taste, and neither creamy nor medicinal. As it cools, I can taste the rooibos a bit more, but the earthiness is kind of pleasant with the openly zesty flavouring. Imagine how cool this would be with some popping candy added! Anyway, I enjoyed this hot, but I think it will really come alive as a cold-brew in the summer. Maybe with some added soda water or lemonade, because all this needs is to be a bit fizzy, and I’d have the whole lemon sherbet effect. Great stuff.
Okay, so I thought I was going to try another Yumchaa this morning, but as I was picking through my stash, my gaze fell on this, and I knew that my plans had changed. It might be March, but it’s still snowing here, so while I’d like to be thinking about nice teas for spring and summer, I’m still well into my chai lattes.
I like an adventurous chai, and this is one of my favourites. Assam base, cardamom pods, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, and flakes of chilli. They’re all in evidence in each bag. The cardamom pods are particularly huge, and I can definetly pick out the red chilli flakes and some seeds. If something is going to be spicy, I don’t want it to be spicy by halves, so this pleases me immensely.
The scent of chai is one of the things I love most about it, and this one is no exception. The ginger is immediately obvious, as is the creamy sweetness of the vanilla, and the more dessert-like spiciness of the cinnamon. There’s also something very slightly floral about it, and something that’s reminding me a little of curry. Certainly intriguing.
I’m drinking this as a latte this time, so I’ve added a lot of warmed, frothy milk after brewing for about 7 minutes. Notwithstanding, the flavours come out beautifully. I find the vanilla most obvious in the initial sip, I think because the milk highlights the sweet creaminess of it and brings it to the forefront. Next come the cinnamon, ginger and cardamom, and the finally the tounge-tingling chilli in the aftertaste. I like how changeable this tea can be. I know, for example, that this flavour-profile is unique to its creation as a latte. If I were drinking it black, or just as tea with milk, different ingredients would dominate and the whole taste experience would be completely different.
I find this a versatile, adaptable, exciting tea which can ebe brewed to match many (or any!) of my moods. The first time I tried it was with trepidation, but we’ve become firm friends in the intervening years. Chilli Chai, I love you!
First tea of the day today. I do honestly think Teapigs have changed some of their teas a bit since I last tried them. This one has smaller leaves than I remember, not like bagged supermarket tea, but not entirely whole leaf either. That’s fine with me, as I like the strength that chopped leaves can help to contribute on a morning, and I used to find this one a little on the thin side. In any case, though, I’m not sure all of their changes are for the better.
Still, on to the tasting. This is a breakfast blend, composed of ceylon, assam, and a rwandan. It smells more or less like any plain black tea, but with maltiness and a slightly citrussy note that actually complement each other pretty well. I brewed this for four minutes, and easily got the strength I was looking for, which pleased me more than it should have, probably.
I found this unexpectedly light to taste, given that there is assam in the base. The dominant tea, I felt, was the ceylon. There’s a definite zestiness about this, almost like orange or grapefruit peel. Second among the flavours are the assam and rwandan, which I do think help to give this blend some depth and sweetness. There’s a definite malty, almost molasses-like undertone, which develops into an almost chocolate-like intensity in the aftertaste. The first time I tried this tea, I wasn’t all that impressed, but this definetly has a lot more complexity than I remember it having. Perhaps my tastes have changed a little, but I think this is definetly one of those teapigs teas which were altered for the better.
I could happily drink this as my staple breakfast blend for a good long time. As it stands, I have enough for about two weeks. It’s everything I want on a morning, and then some. Really good stuff.
Tried this again. More leaf (nearly two teaspoons), longer brew time (closer to 5 minutes), and I made sure to stir it well both while brewing and after. I also added a piece of crystal sugar. I was rewarded with a much clearer caramel taste, rich and creamy. Definetly worth the effort!
I’ve just sent some of this out in a swap, so I figured now was as good a time as any to get my act together and write a tasting note. Scent wise, this is fairly subtle in the bag. I can smell the black tea base and a sweet, caramel note, but that’s all. It’s a pretty tea, with relatively large, wiry black-brown leaves, scattered throughout with white chocolate hearts and caramel cubes.
Brewed, the caramel scent comes out much more clearly. It smells almost like fudge. The black base is pretty light — I don’t recognise it explicitly as a keemun, but it isn’t identified outright as such on my bag. I added a little milk, because that’s how I roll.
This is nice, but I think the nicest thing about it is the scent. It doesn’t quite carry through to the taste. It’s hardly unpleasant, I just wish it was a bit stronger. There’s a sweet, creamy taste, which I think is at least partly the melted white chocolate, but it’s just not quite caramel. Almost, but not quite. Maybe a beefier base would have helped? I’m not sure. I might try this black next time, use a bit more leaf, or leave it to steep for a little longer to see if any of those help.
I don’t dislike this, but it doesn’t quite live up to its scent or my expectations at the moment. There’s a little more experimentation to be done before I cast my final decision, though, so I’m not going to rate it for now. I’ll happily drink the rest of the bag, but I so wish it tasted more like it smells. I guess I’ll have to see what can be done about that!