347 Tasting Notes
Moving stress is setting in, so I decided to break into my envelope of Tealux Japanese Spirit, which boasts St. John’s Wort, gingko, and chamomile in a kukicha base. This blend is supposed to calm frazzled nerves, so let’s hope that it does. What about the scent and the taste?
The dried tea smells very sweet and strongly redolent of substances other than kukicha—I presume the St. John’s Wort and gingko. It does not really smell like chamomile, despite the presence of some full buds. I believe that the sweetness is primarily from the gingko, but I’m not sure what St. John’s Wort smells like. I have had gingko-laced tea before, so that does smell familiar. The scent of kukicha (which I love) is completely shrouded by the additives.
I am ambivalent about adulterated Japanese green teas, since I tend to agree with the Japanese that they should generally be imbibed au naturel. In this case, the blend is clearly intended to be a functional tea, so I suppose that the only remaining question is why to use kukicha as the base rather than something else. Perhaps this was chosen because of the low-caffeine content.
The flavor of the tea base, like the scent, is somewhat drowned out. Hopefully the gingko and St. John’s wort will “help to relieve the stress and tension of daily life,” as promised on the package!
A venti iced Zen was my first tea of the day. It’s rather warm out, so I decided to seize the moment and drink something cold rather than hot. The barista must have misunderstood the order because I was first given a sweetened cup, so I returned it for unsweetened. As a result, I now know what the sweetened version tastes like: too sweet for me!
This entry in the Yogi Ginger infusion series, Raspberry Ginger, is rather heavy on the hibiscus. In fact, the raspberry flavor is pretty much overwhelmed by the tart hibiscus. Ascorbic acid is also listed among the ingredients, which no doubt enhances the lip-puckering effect.
As a ginger brew, is this is a bit less appealing to me than Yogi Lemon Ginger. The ginger is there, augmented again by the black pepper (a favorite ingredient chez Yogi!), but I would say that the overall effect is at least as close to Raspberry Zinger as it is to Raspberry Ginger!
I almost forgot to log this afternoon’s Tazo Green Tips.
Today’s discovery was that I really do prefer drinking this brew from the big ceramic cups, not in the take-away cardboard. In the future I’ll enjoy my Green Tips in the store. I did remember to ask for a few ice cubes in the bottom of the cup so that the water would not be too hot, but somehow it did not taste as good as it does when I carefully monitor the brewing process in an open ceramic cup and gaze at the perfect pale green liquor while sniffing the lovely fumes.
It took a direct side-by-side comparison with Stash Lemon Ginger for me to realize how much better Yogi Lemon Ginger really is. There are a few ingredient differences. In the Yogi Lemon Ginger, licorice root and black pepper may really improve the blend. My impression is that the black pepper heightens the piquancy of the ginger, making the brew much more invigorating than the Stash, which tastes a bit stale by contrast.
Yogi Lemon Ginger tastes better to me, but I don’t like it as much as Tazo Settle, and the best ginger brew of all is made using freshly grated ginger root. Still, for a quick filter bag ginger fix, this one is pretty good.
In tonight’s steep-off chez sherapop, Stash Lemon Ginger is going sniff to sniff, sip to sip against Yogi Lemon Ginger, both in the filter bag format.
First observation: the Stash Lemon Ginger liquor is much darker, almost orange, than the Yogi Lemon Ginger, which is a cloudy yellow color.
Second observation: it might be the safflower in the Stash (not present in the Yogi), but something is muting the ginger in this blend, making it much less spicy and piquant and quite far from a fresh ginger infusion—my reference for excellence in this category.
Stash Lemon Ginger is potable, but nowhere near as likeable as Yogi Lemon Ginger. Yogi wins this round.
This fruit-scented black tea blend from Tazo, Sultry Strawberry, packs a mighty punch of strawberry parfum in the dried form, but the taste of strawberry in the brew is quite light. The tea base is also rather light. I used a hefty 2 tsp for my single glass and the liquor is definitely on the lighter side of amber. The base is apparently a blend of teas from India, but Assam does not appear to be implicated, or if it is there is a lot more of some milder teas.
This is one of those cases where the dried tea builds up great expectations which may be dashed in the brew. In the end, it’s a decent black tea with only a slight fruitiness on top. I drank mine with cream. The flavor of the tea itself is good, but perhaps this would be better named Subtle Strawberry.
I would not recommend this as a fruit tea per se, but it’s fine as a medium-bodied black.
Today’s pot of Fukujyu was a bit more astringent than I remembered the last one being. Still, it was a nice post-lunch sencha. I noticed that the liquor was more golden than green, which makes me wonder whether I may have steeped longer this time than last. I’ll have to check that.