898 Tasting Notes
Thé vert à la rose is my very first experience ever with Kusmi tea. And it is an auspicious beginning! The sachet is smaller than some (Harney & Sons, Tazo, et al.), but the dried tea includes both larger and smaller pieces of green leaves—very dark and some gnarled and knotted—along with dried rose petals. The rose scent is unmistakeable, but so is the dark vegetable aroma of the base tea.
The liquor brews up to a nice golden color—veering toward brown—and the taste is the sum of its parts: a China green vegetable-flavored tea garnished with the light taste of rose. I do taste the rose here, which I did not so much in Harney & Sons Jane’s Garden. Another big difference is the base tea. Harney & Sons features bancha, which this definitely is not. It might be Mao Feng, but I’m waiting to find out from Kusmi customer service whether that is right.
In the meantime, I can affirm that this was a sachet well sent (along with a recent purchase of the Russian teas set), as it has provided me with firm grounds for ordering a larger supply of this tea. As a matter of fact, I already have a small tin (1 ounce) on the way, as it is included in the green tea sampler tin set. After drinking this tea a few more times I’ll be able to decide whether a big tin purchase is in order for a future order. So far, so good with Kusmi!
Somehow I neglected to review this tea from Teavana before, busy as I have been sipping my way through their foody holiday selections. Jade Dragon Mao Feng is a good green tea, so my second from Teavana (the other being gyokuro).
The dried leaves are wiry and crisp and quite dark and very fragrant. The brewed liquor was extremely pale after two minutes of infusion, so I decided to continue the steep for another couple of minutes. After that the liquor had a bit more color (more yellow than green), and the flavor was smooth and satisfying. I like it.
second infusion: I used hotter water and infused a bit longer for this batch. The result was good: a yellow liquor veering slightly green, and a smooth thirst-quenching flavor. I don’t believe that there is enough oomph left in the leaves to try a third infusion, so it’s probably time to move on…
I suppose that my evaluations of Teavana teas—as of all things—are all relative. Compared to several other of the blends I’ve tried, Berry Basil Blast is pretty good. I have to confess, however, now that I am polishing off the envelope, I won’t be repurchasing this tea. Tonight’s batch felt more like an assignment than a pleasure to imbibe.
The flavor is sort of half-way between an herbal hibiscus infusion and a more savory blend. I don’t find the basil very strong, but overall Berry Basil Blast is just potable, not really something I have any desire to experience again.
While sipping Harney & Sons Earl Grey Imperial side-by-side with Wissotzky Imperial Earl Grey, I find it hard even to tell them apart. However, after swallowing there is a slight difference. I still feel that the Harney & Sons is a bit tannic in the back of my throat (as I found in comparing this sachet side-by-side with Harney & Sons’ own Earl Grey Supreme). Now I’m going to have to do a steep-off between Wissotzky Imperial and Harney & Sons Supreme!
I do believe that both of these are solid Earl Grey offerings. And Harney & Sons wins the packaging competition hands down!
Which self-proclaimed Imperial Earl Grey sachet reigns supreme? That is the question which sherapop set out to answer into today’s steep-off between Wissotzky Signature Collection Imperial Earl Grey and Harney & Sons Historic Royal Palaces Earl Grey Imperial.
The Wissotzky is good. The Harney & Sons is good. The scent of the dried sachets remind me in both cases of men’s cologne! So, yes, there’s a lot of bergamot going on here. (FYI: bergamot is a component of 33% of all perfumes!). In terms of appearance, the colorful cornflowers add a bit of visual interest to the Wissotzky sachet, but the tea leaves are quite a bit more broken up than those in the Harney & Sons sachet.
In terms of black tea base, Wissotzky features a blend of Ceylon teas, while Harney & Sons features a blend of China and Indian teas. The color of the two liquors is virtually indistinguishable: dark amber. With light cream, the two appear nearly identical: caramel-colored lusciousness. The scent of the two brews is very similar as well.
As is the taste!
My batch of Tealux Superfine High Montain Mao Feng is much better today than last time (not that it was bad!), probably because I used more tea. The flavor is more succulent and the liquor is literally beckoning me to imbibe.
The color of the brew is pale yellow veering toward brown, but the flavor is a bit fresher than I recall. I am increasing my evaluation accordingly. Another good Mao Feng. Now that I finally know what Mao Feng is—I hope!—I see that I may be developing a specific Mao Feng need which could eventually come to rival the Japanese greens so dear to me.
Another new organic green tea for me—also sourced from the grocery store!—this Clipper tea reminds me very much of Tazo Chun Mee. I’m nearly certainly that it is a Chun Mee blend, but I shot an email to customer service to find out what they have to say.
The brew is gold—a rich gold, not really brown—and the flavor is baked not steamed. I actually liked this better than the Tazo Chun Mee of which it reminded me, so I’ll be doing a steep-off sometime soon to verify. I believe that the Tazo is also organic, and these are both filter bags, not sachets, so the particles of the tea blend are rather small and the bags are not reinfusable. Not bad at all for a filter bag green, and I’m always happy to ingest anything organic.
I had never tried anything from Wissotzky Tea, so I decided to pick up a couple of boxes at the grocery store. First up is Timeless Green Tea. This is a part of the signature collection, which features pyramidal sachets and full leaf teas. The appearance of the dark green tea is a bit gnarled and reminds me of a couple of the loose leaf Mao Fengs I’ve tried recently.
The liquor is pale yellow moving toward very light brown (not green), and the flavor is of cooked vegetables. This is a good tea. I’ll have another cup and reinfuse the sachets later today. I have sent the company an email inquiring as to the identity of the tea, but it definitely evokes memories of some Mao Fengs, and also a couple of the terroir greens I have been tasting of late. This is a good tea, especially for the price and the ready availability—at the grocery store, in the same aisle as Lipton!
So far so good for Wissotzky—at least for the Signature Collection sachets!
I have now come to the conclusion that there is a somewhat odd taste to this blend. I reached for it tonight craving vanilla but without wishing to use cream (as I do for my #1 decaf vanilla choice—Vanilla Comoro). I finished off my supply of Sleepytime Vanilla last night.
I probably won’t buy this one again, but I may finish this box.
This tea by Tea Forte—Lychee Coconut—is pretty good for a filter bag. There is a marked coconut flavor, and the overall experience is a positive one. It could not really hold its own against a competitor as formidable as Harney & Sons Green Tea with Thai Flowers, but for a “functional” tea, intended to provide the imbiber with “radiant skin”, Lychee Coconut is better than expected. Certainly better than most functional teas I’ve tried…