65 Tasting Notes
Backlogging now that I’ve played around with this a few times .. Testing with less water, a longer steep time etc, but the flavour other reviews have written about continues to be somewhat elusive or at best too wishy-washy for my liking ..
The aroma of both dry leaves and steeped brew is a distinctive sweet chocolate/fruity/vanilla that I now associate with a lot of the H&S’s range (Paris, London, Florence, Blackcurrant, Valentine al have similar aromatic notes imho) ..
Though sadly, while I can smell the chocolate I can’t taste any – not even with the addition of milk & sugar .. There’s also no sight, smell, nor taste of any Rose in my sample :(
I’d personally pass on this and go for H&S Florence or Vanilla Comoro instead!
I’d just got home and desperately needed a cuppa, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to sample next, so in the end I chose this tea based solely on the strong white chocolate scent of the dry sachet .. Plonked it into a mug, and without thinking filled it up with boiling water, actually pouring boiling into my room-temp mug brings it down to 90°C but the point is I scorched it, then suddenly clicked ‘Oh No, White!!’ .. I quickly emptied half the cup (more than I’d intended), and re-filled with tap water, only that took the temp way down to 65°C ..
- See if I’d had my regular morning brew I wouldn’t be so absent minded come 10:30am, but eh, I’m searching for variety in my mornings and thus had tried something earlier that didn’t ‘do it’ for me ..
Anyhoo, so this left me with a tea that smells somewhat Vanilla (though extremely weak compared to H&S’s Vanilla Comoro), but tastes only of Bitter Chamomile – blech .. And it’s getting worse as it cools down so I’m not even going to finish it :(
Considering I had just the one sachet to sample and obviously abused it with heat I don’t think it’s fair to give it a numerical rating .. In saying that though, I don’t think I’d personally purchase more even if it had brewed correct – I’m simply not a fan of Chamomile, and none of the other flavours seemed to be present ..
In short: I failed the tea – the tea did not fail me
I have to start by mentioning this is my very first taste of Jasmine Tea, and to make it even more exciting it was a free sample delivered right as I happened to be outside cutting long tendrils of blooming Jasmine to scent the house :D
I thought it best to put it aside for a bit as my head was already intoxicated with the fragrance, so I finished up what I was doing then did some more tasks in another room for an hour or so .. Finally I went online and figure out how long & at what temp I was going to brew it as there was no recommendation written on the sachet wrapping ?!
Steep #1 (80°C – 3min 30sec)
Steep #2 (80°C – 5min)
My first impressions when unwrapping the sachet were ‘WOW it’s really Jasmine!’ , I seriously didn’t expect it to smell so strong – but no complaints as it’s my favourite floral aroma .. I chopped the silken bag open to set them free during infusion, oh and I weighed them too (3g / 21 pearls) .. Poured on the water and what a wonderful sight, and smell! I absolutely loved watching them ‘come alive’ :P
Now I’m currently sipping the dregs of my second cup so these are the notes I wrote earlier: very floral scent & taste .. I don’t usually enjoy greens but am emptying the cup pretty darn quick, and looking forward to a second steep .. Taste reminds me of Summer and swimming pools – in fact it reminds me of getting a mouthful (small splash) of pool water – but NOT in the gross way as this no-doubt sounds! Really clean, sun warmed pool water – lets call it sprinkler water perhaps ..
It’s Summer in the Garden in a Cup!
Second steep: To be honest I can’t tell much difference in taste, colour, or aroma .. it’s really nice! Only thing I have to add to the above is that I don’t enjoy it so much as it cools off, so no chilling of this for me .. When it’s cool I’m finding it a bit pucker-some on the tongue and roof of my mouth, and a bit ‘too’ floral ..
I’m going to wait for a bit and try steep #3
I wish I had written about this with a cup in hand but that’s not the case, nor do I have any of my sample sachets left .. So from memory I enjoyed Paris a lot, but confess to being somewhat distracted by H&S’s other Historical Places tea ‘Florence’ as I sampled them within an hour of each other and Florence was a stand-out that had me playing hide & seek with the credit card ..
For me Paris was all about sophistication .. A tea suited to sipping out of a cup rather than gulping from a mug, as is how I tend to drink my tea .. I did get a subtle Earl Grey connection from it that became stronger with the addition of milk & sugar, especially as it started to cool off .. But again it’s very subtle, just a slight citrus finish that I noted and perhaps wouldn’t have if I weren’t an EG drinker ?!
I actually took this with me to an outdoor event (sons horse riding) on a cold spring morning, and it was the perfect match .. It could easily be used for high tea with guests, or a go-to tea when you want a quality cup but not after anything over fancy or ’dessert’ish’ ..
The dry leaves smell positively yummy .. A deep, sweet, fruity aroma, and I swear I can even detect a chocolate note in there somewhere – like a rich Black Forest cake! And yes I know Black Forest’s don’t have currents, but that’s what instantly came to mind , Jam & Chocolate :)
Only once brewed it seemed to me to lose that yummy scent, and the flavour too was all tea and no fruit :(
I came online to read what others had to say about it as I sipped, and to be honest I’m pretty darn confused, both by it’s description & the other reviewers experiences as I personally found it needed at least two good spoonfuls of sugar to get any sweetness from it .. I certainly couldn’t taste any fruit .. So I figured I needed to try brewing a little cooler and a little quicker in hopes of less tannins and more fruit flavour ..
Take #2 – Nope pretty much the same deal; strong tea with maybe just a hint of fruit, if I really stretch my imagination .. Hmm .. How’s about cold?
Take #3 – Oh ok now we’re talking .. Still strong black tea as the dominant flavour, but definitely tea with fruit!
This is actually a super nice drink COLD .. Reminds me a little of cherry cola (yes another odd flavour connection), only this is much much better .. I could definitely desire a glass come summer :P
Following on from yesterdays bad Rooibos experiences – that had me watering plants via a teacup – I decided to experiment once again with H&S’s Bangkok .. And a good thing too as I’ve found a very satisfying way of brewing/drinking this ..
Firstly it needs a nice long steep to really allow each of the flavours (Coconut, Lemongrass, & Ginger, oh and I guess Green Tea!) to thoroughly emerge, and also results in a gorgeous buttercup yellow liquid .. Then mixed with a little raw sugar, and put into the fridge to cool off ..
If you find drinking it hot too similar to drinking a curry, then try sweetened and chilled .. It still maintains all that unusual buttery coconut, warm spicy aroma & taste, but is more like sipping an unusual (healthy) cocktail syrup ..
I’m afraid I couldn’t make myself drink this one .. It smells nice, and it brews into an incredibly pretty colour, like a stunning orange sunset! But the taste, well it was simply unpalatable to me, even with sugar ..
I should note that after emptying my cup I actually tried two other Rooibos teas and had a similar experience with each, so I won’t bother giving a numerical rating – it’s just not my thing ..
I also found it a bit sad to pull a deflated sachet out of the cup after all the puffed out tetrahedrals the black & greens produced .. Call me odd but I think there’s a little bit of magic in watching tea leaves rehydrate, but this started & finished looking dead :(
But again – very pretty infusion colour!
I’m pretty much a GTV (green tea virgin) so this was like no tea I’ve ever tasted before .. The Thai influence is very obvious from the moment you smell the dry leaves (YUM), and is amped up considerably when hot water is added – it’s very coconutty and an intense lime/yellow colour ..
Note To Self MUST get a glass pot/travel mug!
Unfortunately I don’t think I brewed it long enough the first time round (2min) as it tasted weak, though this could also be because I’m used to and thus comparing it to black &/or stronger flavours .. As with the scent the coconut flavour is dominant, and it’s buttery so a little like drinking warm coconut milk, but I can also detect just a hint of mellow ginger in the after-taste in the first steep ..
ETA – In the second steep, which I did for longer (5min) the lemongrass & ginger was very obvious, and the coconut/butter takes more of a back seat ..
All up I had no clue what to expect from this, and found it a very interesting flavour profile for a tea .. I’m not convinced it’s something I’d want too often, but instead of scaring me off trying more greens it’s made me more interested to see what else is out there! And I’m keen to try it cold too :)
Making my way through these H&S samples feels like taking a mini-vacation; yesterday I explored London, this morning it was Paris, and this afternoon found me in Florence .. Each has been most enjoyable with it’s different sights, scents, and of course local flavours, but it was Florence that made me stop in my tracks and looking for a B&B so I could linger for longer .. Mmmm, from the very first sip this tea had me hooked!
I tried it with & without milk & sugar and prefer it a little sweet, but could go either way with the milk depending on mood and time of day .. I think perhaps black in the am when I’m after more ‘tea’ and milk after lunch as it really brought out the chocolate hazelnut flavour .. It does seem to me to be more of an afternoon tea anyways .. And (imho) this is no sipping tea – It’s full bodied and best drunk it gulps from a very large mug :D
This too has been put on my shopping list and I can’t wait to offer it to guests!
Forgive my uneducated palate but this smells and tastes to me of a lightly fruity (plum?) flavoured Rooibos ?! At least on the first steep .. I then gave it a second long steep and added a teaspoon of raw sugar which seemed to bring out more of the vanilla flavour that others have described .. It’s quite nice, ‘smooth’, and certainly doesn’t need milk or sugar etc, but it kind of left me wanting more ..
I think I need another cup (or two) to give it a fair rating, and that said I really do want to like it because I covet that tin! But right now I’m kind of on the fence – wouldn’t turn a cup down, but I don’t know that I’ll purchase ..