1165 Tasting Notes
I saw Sarahbeth’s Tea at a grocery store and decided to try the Earl Grey because the other flavors did not sound very palatable to me, but I was curious about the brand.
This Ceylon Earl Grey brews up amber and tastes pretty smooth—no scratchiness or bad aftertaste as in many grocery store Earl Greys… The base tea is just as important here as the bergamot. In fact, the scent is rather light. This is not bad for a quick batch on a cooler day—provided that one enjoys Ceylon tea.
The tin contains 40 bags, but each bag contains only 1.5 not 2 grams, so some people would do better with 2 bags for one glass. I’ll try that next time. I drank mine with light cream, and the brew looked more cloudy than creamy. With half and half this would be too dilute for me.
This BA10 South African Rooibos from Upton Tea Imports is their entry-level rooibos. I’m no connoisseur of this herb, and truth be told, I rarely drink it. However, I found the remnants of a large envelope dating from years ago and thought that I’d brew it up to determine whether or not rooibos goes stale.
Guess not! This tastes as fresh as new rooibos to me! Bright red liquor—just as I remembered it—with a very light flavor of vanilla (not added, but a tasting note).
Today’s lunchtime pot was Nourishtea’s Mao Jian: The Emerald Path. Once again I was pleased with this organic single-source China green—a happy discovery at the grocery store a few weeks back.
Once again I noticed that I enjoyed the second glass more than the first, though I had of course removed the infuser basket, which strongly suggests that the flavor is affected by the temperature at which the brew is imbibed. I used slightly hotter water today, but I think that in the future I’ll go back to a lower temperature, since this tea seems best brewed à la japonaise…
I was planning to do a steep-off between Harney & Sons Mint Verbena and Mighty Leaf Mint Mélange tonight, but they ended up being so different from one another that I abandoned the trial—although I did drink both glasses!
Mint Verbena smells a bit smoky somehow. Bear in mind that I was sniffing it next to the Mighty Leaf, which is a bright and vibrant fresh-cut spearmint scent. This Harney & Sons mint tisane features peppermint, but it does not really smell or taste like peppermint, I presume because of the lemon verbena. There is no citrus flavor here, but the lemon verbena does seem to transform the qualities of the mint. At the website, only peppermint, not spearmint, is indicated for this blend. Perhaps the recipe varies a bit from batch to batch, or perhaps spearmint is added to the sachets but not the loose blend. Not sure…
The brew reminded me a bit of Numi Moroccan Mint, so perhaps I should try a steep off between those two instead!
My glass of Mighty Leaf Organic Mint Mélange tasted better tonight, perhaps because I had already come to the conclusion that it is straight-up spearmint, not a mélange of anything but spearmint leaves, and certainly not peppermint!
Tonight I appreciated the freshness of the spearmint in and of itself. It really tasted like freshly cut spearmint, so that’s a plus, if one happens to be looking for a spearmint tisane. Adding hot water to the dried leaves brought them back to life again!
I also noticed that the sachet is very generously stoked. Mighty Leaf seems to put 3 grams in most of its sachets, not the standard 2 grams.
I polished off my 25 gram envelope of Tealux Cloud’s Green today, which turned out to be a perfect post-lunch brew to follow a frittata of baby kale, swiss chard, and spinach made with parmesan and romano, some sautéed red onion and mushrooms, and served with the final hunk of a loaf of rye-whole wheat white bread slathered with butter. Yeah, that’s right: slathered.
I wanted a more robust tea, given the dark vegetables in the egg dish, and this was entirely compatible! The dried leaves look a lot like the Mao Jian from Nourishtea: wiry and crisp. I wonder whether these teas are related? Well, I’ll probably be restocking, so I should be able to do a steep off at some point in the future…
It has been five months since I last drank a glass of Tazo Calm prepared from the filter bags with white envelopes. I gave this blend a pretty low rating the last couple of times, so this time I tried to improve the experience by reducing the water so that the liquor would be stronger.
I remain underwhelmed. The chamomile and rose are too light and the sarsaparilla too strong. I must reiterate that this is a very different blend from the full-leaf sachet!
As I make my way through a few more filter bags, I’m still mulling over whether to acquire some looseleaf Numi Chamomile Lemon. That might sound like a ridiculous debate topic but in truth it’s not a completely trivial matter, as Numi offers loose leaf only in 1 lb bags so one must be pretty willing to commit to lots of pots ahead.
I like the chamomile-lemon myrtle combination. Would I like it better than looseleaf chamomile alone? That is the question…
I tried the Mighty Leaf Chamomile Citrus sachet again tonight. Still a bit heavy on the lemongrass for my tastes. I only counted about two partial chamomile buds among the orchard of lemongrass. I still want to compare this side by side with Tea Forté’s Chamomile Citron.
This batch did not really remind me of the Tazo Calm sachet, despite the overlap of many of the ingredients. The Tazo definitely has a lot more chamomile, among other differences.
I was feeling a bit groggy but did not want to brew any more java for the day, so the natural choice for a mid-afternoon tea became … drum roll … the tea blend expressly created for coffee drinkers: JavaVana Maté.
I must concur that there is truly something java-esque about this dark amber brew. I have compared it to Tazo Pogo, and now I’m going to have to do a side-by-side steep off with Numi Chocolate Pu-erh to see which I prefer. Pu-erh is not roasted maté, of course, but it does have a similar intensity. We shall see…