896 Tasting Notes
This Almond Green Tea is another of the flavored greens featured in the Kusmi sample set of mini tins. The base green tea appears to be the same as that used in the Rose Green Tea, so maybe it is green Congou? Not sure. Once again I find that the flavoring is very marked (as in the case of both the rose and the strawberry, which I tried yesterday—though I believe that the base was bancha).
I’m not sure about this combination. I may be so accustomed to drinking my green tea unadulterated that it will take some getting used to before I feel that flavored greens are a good idea. Well, I have the rest of this tin—several pots more—to find out!
The almond flavor is unmistakeable, but I feel as though it has been applied so as to mask, not to complement, the base tea. Maybe these teas are intended for people who do not like green tea?
I had no business brewing anotha cuppa—I should be asleep!—but I could not resist comparing Stash Licorice Spice to Teapigs Liquorice and Peppermint. Turned out to be another apples and oranges scenario—so not really a steep-off.
Full disclosure: Licorice Spice is a tea of which I have consumed hundreds of bags. I also sent 100 bag boxes to my sister when she needed some moral support with her dieting. Let’s face it licorice is an able dessert surrogate. That’s because licorice root is one of the sweetest natural substances there is.
As promised, this blend combines yummy licorice with … spices! In just the right proportions. It’s so satisfying that a cup easily serves as a dessert surrogate. Don’t believe me? Try it! If you’re really hungry, brew two cups!
Back to the steep-off (not), there is no mint in this blend. Nor is there any ginger (as in the Harney & Sons Licorice Ginger blend). I should add that I believe that Stash does have a Licorice Mint, though I haven’t had any in quite some time. Now that would make a great steep-off with Teapigs Liquorice & MInt! Well, except that it would be a filter bag vs. sachet steep off, clearly favoring the latter.
Or not. Stash Licorice Spice tastes very good to me, despite being in a filter bag. Perhaps it is true that herbal infusions are less fussy than are caffeinated teas. Or perhaps it just does not matter whether one uses chunks of licorice or fannings. Indeed, the smaller the particles, the greater the surface area to volume ratio, which would lead one (me!) to expect an increase in the intensity of the flavor.
This is my second journey through the land of Teapigs, and based on these two experiences, it appears that the sachets contain 3g, rather than the more common 2g sachets, so part of the increased quality may simply be that the brew is bound to be more flavorful because of the leafage.
Liquorice and Peppermint, subtitled “Sweet Treat”, is a very simple blend combining only licorice root and peppermint leaves. That’s all. No elaborate bells and whistles or any of the standard herbal bases and fillers such as rooibos, hibiscus, and rosehips.
The brewed liquor smells just like minty licorice or licorice scented peppermint! (I just noticed that the British spelling contains the word ‘liquor’ in it!) The two components are well-balanced, and I happen to love both, so this tea is truly a sweet treat for me!
I brewed up a glass of Mighty Leaf Organic Earl Grey in the sachet with the intention of holding another steep-off chez sherapop. The contender was supposed to be Teapigs Darjeeling Earl Grey. In fact, it ended up being something of an oranges and apples scenario, as the teas were very different, despite both being scented with Earl Grey. The liquor produced by this sachet was only a slightly darker reddish brown color (the Teapigs being more orange), but the brew was much less smooth.
The Mighty Leaf Organic Earl Grey required cream because the black base was quite scratchy. This blend might fare better consumed by itself or perhaps next to a lower-tier grocery store Earl Grey such as Bigelow or Twinings. For now, I have to say that I was not very impressed. I’ll try again later.
I saw Teapigs boxes at the grocery, so since I’m a tea hog, I figured, “Why not?” In truth, I was surprised at how pricey they were, relative to other grocery store fare, but I decided to see whether the quality matches the price and the hype in the marketing text. To be honest, I was neither impressed nor intrigued by their blanket denunciation of all China blacks in the description on the box. Obviously, the powers that be at Teapigs have never tried Golden Monkey! But that’s another story…
Darjeeling Earl Grey. This was a first for me, and a happy one. I happen to like darjeeling, but I don’t believe that I’ve ever had a straight-up darjeeling scented with bergamot—or much of anything, come to think of it. I like both darjeeling and bergamot, and Earl Grey as a genre of tea. The big surprise here was to find an Earl Grey which I have no reason whatsoever to douse with cream. I drank this glass au naturel, and it was smooth and satisfying. I’ll add this to my list of no-cream-necessary Earl Greys, which includes now Darjeeling Earl Grey and Harney & Sons Earl Grey White.
According to their website, Kusmi Strawbery Green Tea is a strawberry-flavored sencha. To me, this seems like bancha. I’ve had some difficulty extracting answers about the identity of the China green teas used in the Kusmi blends, so I’m starting to wonder whether they might vary from batch to batch. Here’s what a customer service representative wrote to me this morning, along with my reply:
On Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 10:04 AM, [a Kusmi sales associate]> wrote:
HiHope this helps!
Algothé Standard Chinese green
Almond Green Standard Chinese green
Ginger Lemon Green Standard Chinese green
Green Bouquet Standard Chinese green
Imperial Label Sencha green tea (made in the Japanese style, but produced in China)
[a Kusmi sales associate]
China makes a wide range of green teas, so your answers do not really narrow down the possibilities.
Thanks for your effort all the same.
Anyway, the strawberry scent is very powerful in the dried leaves, and a bit less so in the taste of the liquor. The scent of the surface of the tea, however, does still smell very much like strawberry. I was happy to read that the flavoring here is natural. Let’s hope that it’s true!
I’m not sure yet whether I like this combination. I love strawberry, and I love green tea (both sencha and bancha!), but do I like them together? Well, I have the rest of my 1 ounce sample tin of the loose blend to help me to determine the answer to the question!
I’m polishing off my 1 ounce envelope of Tealux Tenkaichi Sencha Supreme today, and happily I got all the parameters right for this little pot. A flavorful, only slightly astringent and lightly vegetal batch of pale fluorescent green sencha was my first TOD (tea of the day). Yum. This sencha is excellent for right after lunch, and I’ll definitely be ordering it again…
I have nearly reached the end of my supply of these rip-off single-serve loose leaf portions of Tea Forté Chamomile Citron, and I have to say that this blend has grown on me over several sessions.
Tonight I used a wider-gauge sieve, which made the particles of chamomile slip through, so maybe that’s why it seemed stronger than usual. Anyway, I would definitely consider buying this blend again, perhaps in the loose-leaf rather than in these individual packets. I don’t have a problem with teaspoons. No, not at all!
Today I more closely observed the brewing liquor of a Wissotzky Timeless Green Tea sachet and discovered that the initial color is pale green, and after a couple of minutes of steeping it becomes more golden. One change to today’s brew was that I used slightly hotter water than last time. I kept the steep time short, but I had to wait a couple more minutes before imbibing because the liquid was still too hot.
The flavor ended up being very good, as before. I still hope to find out what the identity of this China green is, but I have yet to receive a reply to my question from the folks at Wissotzky…
second infusion: as before, I brewed two separate glasses of Timeless Green, and then later reinfused the sachets. The second round was good once again and fairly strong with a flavor close to the first infusion. Hopefully the caffeine was removed in the first infusion… on verra…