1180 Tasting Notes
(backlog from 5/29/14)
The sencha base of Zen Tea Coconut Green is very neutral—not at all vegetal. The cloudy gold liquor has a very strong coconut aroma and taste. There are literal chunks of coconut amidst the dried leaves, but there must be some coconut essence as well.
This coconut green tastes different from Harney & Sons Bangkok Blend (aka Green Tea with Thai flavors), not only because the base tea is different (sencha rather than bancha), but also because there is neither lemon grass nor vanilla here.
Coconut, all coconut! For coconut nuts only!
second infusion: coconut flavor still going strong!
(Blazing New Rating #9)
(backlog from 5/29/14)
I don’t usually like flavored green tea (with the exception, I have recently discovered, of jasmine!), but I thought that I’d try Arabian Night just for fun.
The sunflower is the dominant flavor in this blend, but there is also some sort of unidentified fruit (“flavor” in the ingredients list…) present. As I’m not a big fan of the taste of sunflowers (though I love the sight!) this blend is not for me.
From the spent leaves, it is clear that black tea is present here, too. I’ll probably use the rest of this envelope for iced tea this summer.
(Blazing New Rating #8)
Be Cool is a part of the Kusmi Tea Wellness collection, of which I have the sampler tins. Essentially this is a licorice-mint blend with some embellishments thrown in for good measure. It tastes good and refreshing and is touted as having various functional health benefits.
I always wonder about those claims. I do not doubt that, in the long run, the consumption of massive quantities of antioxidants and vitamin C will be good for the body. But what about a single cup of tea? It seems to me that in order to reap the alleged benefits of these sorts of teas—marketed as health-inducing elixirs—one would have to imbibe them religiously over a lengthy period of time.
Fortunately, this one tastes good, so I’ll certain finish my 20 gram tin. Will that be enough? That is the question.
I just realized that this was my seventh new tea in a row! This calls for a public announcement of my intention to test and review as many new teas as I possibly can without breaking the series with an old cupboard stand by. How long can sherapop keep up this Blazing New Rating Pace???? The race is on…Other steepsterites are deeply involved in sipdown madness. For me, the personal challenge will be to see how many untested teas can there possibly be in my house? I am a bit afraid to find out the answer to this question, but we shall see… (This could take a while, as I have two orders en route and only just received two others!!!)
Wish me luck!
(Blazing New Rating #7)
Flavors: Licorice, Mint
My first observation about Pukka Detox is that it tastes better than Yogi Detox. Of course, they contain completely different ingredients. But that is in part why I am surprised. The number one and number two ingredients are anise seed and fennel seed, so I was predicting that I would not like this blend. Nonetheless, I was willing to give it a try!
What I find is that Pukka Detox does not smack overwhelmingly of fennel seed, which sometimes seems quite harsh to me. It’s fine in sausage (though I no longer eat mammals…), but as a major component in an infusion I usually find it to be too much. One recent example was Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Egyptian Chamomile, which has a huge fennel component nearly wiping out the chamomile.
Here the fennel blends in with the licorice and the cardamom somehow. Not sure how celery seed is contributing in a positive way, but I am happy to report that I do not taste it at all.
A solid functional tisane. I’ll probably reach for this more as a digestive than as a detox, but it’s nice to know that it does that, too!
(Blazing New Rating #6)
Flavors: Anise, Fennel, Licorice
I was feeling a bit queasy—more of a headache than a stomach ailment—so this seemed like a great time to try another one of the Pukka functional blends: Three Ginger.
With 51% ginger root, it’s no surprise that this infusion is to my liking! There is a nice ginger bite, and the aftertaste is slightly sweet from the licorice root. Other interesting ingredients are galangal (familiar to me from Thai cuisine, and related to ginger) and turmeric.
All in all, a tasty and soothing golden brew!
Now: does anyone know why this is called “Three Ginger”? Perhaps they are counting galangal as a form of ginger, so with the ginger root and the ginger extract that would make three? Still wouldn’t explain why there is no plural, though!
(Blazing New Rating #5)
Virtually everything is better with coconut on it, so I decided to take a chance on this Coconut Oolong from Zen Tea. I say that it was something of a gamble because I have had troubles in the past with oolongs. I used to also have troubles with jasmine, and lately I have found several palatable jasmine greens which have not disagreed with my system, so I was hoping that my problem in the past with these two types of teas was simply that I encountered inferior grades.
Coconut Oolong brews up fairly yellow (I may have oversteeped…), and tastes smooth and coconuty more than oolongy—so we’re off to a good start. The big question is: how will I feel in, say, half an hour? We shall see… For now, I can affirm that this blend is pleasing to this amateur of all things coconut!
second infusion: also tasty. Unfortunately, however, I have been overcome by that vague headache-y feeling induced by oolongs in the past (with only a couple of exceptions involving blends in which oolong played only a minor role). I do believe that this may be an allergy. sigh.
(Blazing New Rating #4)
I love caramel so much. Whenever I buy a caramel-ribboned ice cream, I excavate all of the caramel out.
So naturally, a large tin of Kusmi Caramel tea seemed de rigueur a couple months back when I placed my first order with this company. No idea why it has taken me so long to try this one—well, except that I have too much tea!—but today’s unseasonably cool and depressingly gray and drizzly weather seemed like the perfect opportunity, so I brewed up a small pot.
The dried leaves smell incredibly wonderful—almost good enough to eat! The brewed liquor is reddish amber and tastes excellent with light cream added. I should have taken a sip before adulteration, but it was clear that this brew could not really be a caramel tea without adding cream!
Interestingly enough, while imbibing this tea I was reminded of Tazo Golden Monkey, which miraculously manages to taste like unsweetened caramel though it is an unflavored tea. I prefer the Golden Monkey, but this Kusmi Caramel is also very good, and I’ll surely enjoy the rest of my big fat tin!
(Blazing New Rating #3)
Apple and rose? Who knew? This unique combination is featured in Nina’s Paris Marie Antoinette. There must be some backstory here of which I am ignorant. Did Marie Antoinette love crisp apples? Was that her final meal request before having her head lopped off?
To be honest, I was not initially sure which fruit was implicated here. I often have a tough time discerning the precise identity of fruits in tea blends—in this case, I even guessed apricot at one point!
Marie Antoinette smelled fruity, but was also lightly redolent of rose. I began drinking the amber liquor au naturel, but as it cooled, I decided to throw in some cream and see how it tasted then.
The result is pretty nice—I definitely prefer the adulterated brew—but this is not something that I’ll make a concerted effort to stock. It’s fine, but I already have several fruity black teas, and I’m focusing more these days on unflavored teas. I’m also not that thrilled with the apple + rose combination.
That said, I do believe that this blend is a must-try for apple lovers!
(Blazing New Rating #2)
Flavors: Apple, Rose
My very first Palais des Thés experience, I have to say that Thé des Moines is a very pleasant surprise!
I was concerned that this black and green tea blend would pose brewing challenges, as I have found it tricky to negotiate the parameters for Tazo Joy, which combines black, green, and oolong teas. I read somewhere that the best approach to these sorts of teas is to brew conservatively, as though the entire blend comprised only the most sensitive tea.
When I smelled Thé des Moines, however, it was so reminiscent of Earl Grey cream teas that I threw caution to the wind and brewed up a small pot as though it were completely black. Boiling water; 5 minutes.
The result was remarkably good, so good, in fact, that I enjoyed the entire large glass of dark amber liquor without adding any cream, which is a real rarity for this Earl Grey amateur. I usually take a sip or two of a new Earl Grey before adulterating it, but in this case the brew was so tasty that I preferred to drink it au naturel!
The flavor is subtle and smooth, with all of the beauty of an Earl Grey cream but without the usually mediocre base tea. Very tasty. I was thinking about reinfusing the leaves, because so many of them are obviously green, but then I decided to drink a suite of new teas on this cold, gray day. I’ll try multiple infusions next time.
For now, I am glad to have a beautiful clay potful of this unique blend! The recipe appears to be a carefully guarded secret, but clearly bergamot has been added, along with a smidgeon of vanilla or something else which gives it that “creamy” taste. The black and green tea leaves are visible, so no debate about those ingredients, though it’s unclear which black and green teas they are…
(Blazing New Rating #1)
The temperature plummeted thirty degrees since yesterday, making this evening a perfect excuse to brew up a wonderful comfort tea: Vanilla Comoro. As usual, I drank mine doused with light cream and marveled that this could actually be decaffeinated. I like this tea so much that it may end up being my first completely emptied Harney & Sons tin—which I intend to refill with this same tea in loose form!