898 Tasting Notes
I find it impossible to access my own previous reviews of this tea (is there some trick to doing that of which I am ignorant?), so I’m probably just going to repeat myself on this tasting note for Harney & Sons Vanilla Comoro. Of course, that will simply prove that I am telling the truth!
It’s good—and especially for a nighttime, decaffeinated tea! The base is not the China black used for most of the Harney & Sons flavored black teas. Instead, it’s their decaffeinated Ceylon, lightly scented with vanilla.
Tonight I brewed the sachet in only 8 ounces of water, and that appears to be the perfect volume for producing the darker, stronger liquor which I strongly prefer for flavored black teas. I’m really looking for an opaque, caramel-colored result once I’ve added my cream. If the brew is too light, then this becomes obvious as it looks like cloudy brown water with the cream. A propos: light cream also works better than half and half, since there is less dilution.
Vanilla Comoro is a winner and makes me want to try the other H&S decaffeinated black teas—and I shall!
“Giddy with joy” might be a slight exaggeration of the effect of Tealux White Nights on me, but I admit that I am pleasantly surprised by the outcome of this highly original blend of white tea, chamomile, rooibos, and peppermint. Who knew? Seriously who dreamt this combination up?
The flavors all seem to come together but at the same time remain distinct, if that makes any sense. I taste the rooibos and the peppermint and the white tea and the chamomile, and they mingle together harmoniously!
The liquor is peachy amber, and the flavor is probably pepperminty enough to warrant a caveat: this blend is suited only for mint lovers!
second infusion: this is much less minty—I gather that peppermint is water soluble?—and the rooibos is less pronounced as well. Now the blend seems more like a gently scented delicate white tea. So glad that I tried another round! The liquor is now more golden than peach. I like how the rooibos does not dominate the composition, as it so often does…
third infusion: now the liquor is more yellow—closer to the color of brewed chamomile than rooibos. Tastes good. This is a blend which really changes a lot as the more volatile elements are removed with each successive infusion. Still good though—just very lightly flavored at this point. Closer to a simple white tea with just a smattering of rooibos.
My can of Republic of Tea Spring Cherry Tea is of unknown age and provenance, so I’m not going to attach a number but only report here that sencha does get old and turn brown eventually. The brew was potable but it reminded me of middling grocery store green.
I might try this again in the summer iced. It was just okay hot, but the liquor is brown and the dried leaves are brownish, too, so I do believe that it is past its prime!
Today’s brew was a bit weak as the barista gave me a venti ceramic mug (she probably thought that she was reaching for a grande) with only one sachet. Then, bizarrely, when I asked for two bags for the refill, she charged me 30 cents for the extra bag, saying that a grande comes with only one bag. That was definitely a first chez Starbucks.
Usually the baristas have no problem with requests for any form of hot or iced tea or coffee in any size as a refill. Oh well, maybe she was having a bad day. Perhaps she should brew up a large ceramic mug of Tazo Green Tips with a few ice cubes in the bottom and two sachets infused for only two minutes. That should lift her spirits!
I brewed up a glass of Harney & Sons Valentine’s Blend just to prove to myself that chocolate flavoring does not really have to taste like Sharpie markers! I do like this flavored tea, though the black tea base could be a bit heftier.
I should probably use a single sachet for a small cup rather than an 11 ounce glass, as I did today. Of course, sometimes it’s nice to have a lighter brew. This seems like a good late afternoon tea.
Here’s another example of why I steer clear of artificial flavors. DavidsTea Chocolate Rocket smells swell dried in the sachet. It reminds me quite a bit of Tazo Pogo, which also boasts chicory and cocoa but features pu-ehr and black tea in place of the mate. Once brewed, however, the amber-colored Chocolate Rocket liquor tastes like a Sharpie marker! Okay, it’s true: I’ve never tasted a Sharpie marker, so I should modify my claim. Chocolate Rocket tastes the way a Sharpie marker smells!
I must be in the minority here, given the high accolades bestowed upon this mate-chocolate-chicory blend. With cream, the marker fumes are muted to some extent, but I’ll not be purchasing this tea, a few sachets of which came in some sample sets purchased at the post-holiday sale.
Tealux Gyokuro Kokyo is a solid Japanese green, no doubt, but I found it to be a bit flat when compared directly side-by-side with Gyokuro Premier. The dark, roasted-spinach-like dried leaves were very similar in appearance, as was the brewed liquor—both were very pale green with tiny white particles floating about.
The texture of the Gyokuro Kokyu was not as smooth as that of Gyokuro Premier, and I felt that the blend was closer to sencha than to Gyokuro. It is a blend of two teas, basically Gyokoru has been cut with a less-expensive tea to produce a cost-effective Gyokuro. I am not convinced that the savings (only a $2 difference between 1 ounce of pure Gyokuro and 1 ounce of this blend) are worth this change…
Interestingly, I have encountered of late a couple of Gyokuro-esque senchas, so I’ll have to compare this blend side-by-side to see which I prefer!
In this afternoon’s steep-off chez sherapop, Tealux Gyokuro Premier is going sniff to sniff, sip to sip against Tealux Gyokuro Kokyu. So it looks as though Tealux will win either way!
The first infusion results were not definitive, because I appear to have underleafed both pots, so they were very pale greenish yellow, with a very similar appearance. The Kokyu did seem to be ever-so-slightly more green, which led me to predict that I would like it better.
In reality, I found Gyokuro Premier to be the superior brew. The flavor was slightly salty and the texture silken. I did this test in a state of complete ignorance, having resisted the temptation to read anything about the two teas before imbibing. Naturally, I was relieved to find that the winner of my taste test was the more expensive single-origin Gyokuro (Premier), not the blend!
second infusion: for this round, I used less water to get a better idea of what these teas are really supposed to taste like. I confirmed that Premier is better to my palate. Now I’ll have to compare it side-by-side to Tealux Gyokuro Ureshinocha…