1066 Tasting Notes
Numi Golden Chai truly is golden, which surprised me a bit since the base tea is Assam. I’d have guessed Ceylon, but probably there is just a high spice-to-tea ratio in this blend.
Since I was experimenting with almond-coconut milk today, I tried it for this glass and found the resultant adulterated liquor too weak—unsurprisingly. I’ll try again with light cream, or perhaps I’ll steep some bags directly in the almond-coconut milk next time.
I noticed that this chai lacks cloves, which can sometimes be problematic for me, so this blend holds potential. It might be better in the loose leaf form or else amped up with some extra Assam. I find CTC Assam very helpful in rescuing what I refer to as “spice cabinet chai”…
I decided to try Chai Diaries Wisdom Pu-erh Chai with almond-coconut milk today. The variant I favor has only 45 calories per cup (35 of which are from fat), and is unsweetened. The outcome was not as good as my recent glass using light cream. I suspect that this tea would be much better brewed directly in the almond-coconut milk, rather than brewed first and then diluted. The milk is too light (especially relative to light cream, which packs a mighty 40 calories per tablespoon, so about 500 per cup!), so the resultant liquor was a cloudy tawny color and not stout and creamy enough for my taste.
Still trying to develop a concept of Sejak, I brewed up a large tetsubin for my post-lunch pot. The liquor is pale greenish yellow and the flavor remains elusive—ineffable! Perhaps this compares most closely to some of the more subtle China greens. It’s definitely nothing like sencha—at least not to my palate. But it’s also not really like Mao Feng or Mao Jian. The flavor is smooth and light, closer to perhaps Bi Luo Chun? Still not sure.
One thing is for sure: to me Sejak does not taste at all like seaweed, as other reviewers have observed!
Bedtime brew: Yellow & Blue! I love how this blend looks in the sachet with the gorgeous purplish blue of the cornflower blossoms mingling with the golden yellow buds of the chamomile. The scent is equally lovely, and the taste offers a perfect harmony of lavender and chamomile.
I also love how the liquor looks initially bright yellow from the chamomile but then swiftly veers green because of the blue. A visually, olfactorily, and gustatorily stunning blend!
Once again I was struck tonight by the complexity of Numi Moroccan Mint. I feel that there must be something else besides mint here. Or maybe they use the stems, and they impart a green tea texture somehow? Anyway, I do like this filter bag mint tea, and I call it a “tea” purposely, because it drinks more like a tea than an herbal infusion.
I would not ordinarily purchase a decaffeinated green tea, since all green teas are multiply infusable, so it’s a simple matter to create a decaffeinated green from the first infusion of a standard green.
However, I received some filter bags of Numi Decaf Simply Green in my sampler selection boxes, so this seemed like a good choice for after dinner as I had missed my mid-day green tea feeding, having overslept this morning.
The flavor and appearance are very similar to the Numi Gunpowder Green, so I am assuming that this is that, except that Decaf Simply Green is a CO2 decaffeinated version. I’ll do a side-by-side comparison one of these days to confirm.
Today’s brew was not that good, but it’s most likely my fault because I used overly hot water. I’ll try again using cooler water. Until then, I’ll withhold evaluation…
Another venti iced Passion for me today. I love the tonicity of this infusion and wonder why anyone would add sugar!
I noticed that Starbucks now calls this brew “Passion Tango” and touts it as a Teavana tea. This suggests that they may be preparing to merge Tazo and Teavana or maybe eliminate Tazo altogether. I prefer Tazo to Teavana, but hope that Starbucks will now consider removing the artificial flavorings from the Teavana teas. They make the brand far less appealing to me and do not really cohere with the generally high quality of the ingestibles chez Starbucks…
This simple chamomile blend from Numi offers a slight variation on the usual themes. There are many chamomile soliflore tisanes, the quality of which obviously depends solely on the integrity of the chamomile used. Nothing is being blended, and only one ingredient has been selected: chamomile.
At the other end of the spectrum lie the many loud bells & whistle chamomile blends, which often boast ingredients such as lemon grass, hibiscus, rose hips, and just about everything else under the sun. In such complicated blends, the chamomile can get lost in the noise.
Numi Chamomile Lemon offers a compromise between the two approaches. Not quite a soliflore, but not very complicated, as the only ingredient beyond high-quality chamomile is lemon myrtle, which has a flavor entirely distinct from that of lemon or lemon grass. I recalled my first experience with Numi Lemon Maté while drinking Chamomile Lemon, and upon examining the ingredients, I discovered that lemon myrtle figures big in that blend as well.
Based on those two cases, it seems pretty clear that I (unlike some) really do enjoy the flavor of lemon myrtle! This filter bag is rather good, but I’d like to try this tea in loose leaf format.
Flavors: Citrus, Flowers
Today’s refill chez Starbucks was once again a venti unsweetened Iced Passion. It has the perfect zesty twang to serve as an ideal post-sweet drink beverage. The color of the liquor, both deep and bright ruby red, is also beautiful to behold. My favorite post-coffee refill remains Refresh, and after a Green Tea Frappuccino, I generally opt for iced Zen. However, I wanted to order Passion this afternoon to cover-up memory traces of my recent unfortunate experience involving a barista’s refusal to fulfill my request for a refill of this tea.
Happily, corporate Starbucks took my complaint of a couple of days ago very seriously. True, I sent my complaint to the head honcho, Howard Schultz himself, but I was impressed with the prompt response from his Regional Vice President, who contacted me personally to apologize for the incident and assured me that all Boston-area stores have been put on alert about the refill program. Wow!
In addition, the Regional Vice President also sent me an e-gift to thank me for sharing my experience with them. I am sure that they realize that for every obnoxious person like me who puts pen to paper to Howard Schultz, there are another hundred customers who had a similar experience but just let it slide. So the good news for all Boston metropolitan Starbucks frequenters is that we can expect not to encounter any more baristas who treat us as though we are trying to rob the store when we step forward to claim the refills offered to us by their company as a perk for being rewards card program members.
This tea, of course, is always good news, and I shall continue to drink it over the hot months to come!
The Starbucks Frappuccinos are generally too sweet for my liking, so I always tweak the recipe when I place the order. (Yes, I am one of THOSE customers…). Today’s recipe went like this:
Venti green tea Frappuccino, soymilk, light ice, no syrup.
It was good. I accepted the whipped cream on top, which is not—as some might smirk—really a contradiction since I select soymilk not because I am totally lactose intolerant, but because milk makes me drowsy. Ever since my sister informed me that the whipped cream is prepared fresh to order, I have rarely been able to decline!
All in all, today’s recipe was pretty good. To be honest, I do not consider this green tea Frappuccino to be so much a glass of tea as a frozen green confection. I often request extra matcha, but the first time I did that, I was unaware that they use a sweetened matcha powder, not straight-up matcha. This meant that I completely cancelled out my reduction of syrup by amping up the matcha. Now I know that each scoop of matcha contains 25 calories = pretty much sugar calories… Needless to say, doubling the matcha in one of these beverages is going to significantly increase the calories and sweetness as well!
Since I ordered my green shake so late in the day, I did not request any extra matcha whatsoever. Hoping to get some sleep tonight!