1008 Tasting Notes
My recent Harney & Sons order included a large bag of Valentine’s Blend, a chocolate and rose petals-scented black tea blend. I was in Salem today, and by the time I got home my box was on the doorstep, and I was seriously ready for some tea. I also ordered some other flavored teas (Boston, Fruits d’Alsace, and Florence), but since this one was the easiest to prepare (in sachet, not loose format), I started with it.
Yum! This blend smells scrumptious dry and smells and tastes scrumptious brewed! The liquor is a burnt orange color. I splashed in a bit too much light cream, so then I was obliged to brew up a second cup and combine them. Honestly, this could become a favorite flavored tea. Very satisfying and smooth, with a creamy chocolate taste.
I believe that the tea base is China black, but I’m not completely sure. Maybe there is some ceylon thrown in? I’m guessing because of not only the taste but also the color of the brew. I do not really detect much rose flavor, but the chocolate is very appealing.
Another winner in the flavored tea category from Harney & Sons!
I went to Salem today to check out a couple of possible apartments. Naturally, I had to test out the local Starbucks, plus I was starving, so I ordered a “meal replacement” beverage (with soymilk), and then took a large Tazo Refresh away as a refill. I am pretty sure that this is the perfect post-coffee beverage! Plus it was freezing out, so it kept me warm as I walked across the quaint little town where I may be living in the not-too-distant future. On verra…
Since I also found filter bags of Stash Chamomile, I could not resist another steep-off chez sherapop, this one pitting the Harney & Sons Chamomile filter bag against the Stash Chamomile filter bag.
I found that the Stash brewed up darker, more golden than yellow, and the flavor was a bit more dense. The Harney & Sons brew was more light and airy. I ended up preferring the Stash in the filter bag format. But the Harney & Sons Chamomile in the full-bud sachets is the best.
Next up I’ll have to brew up some of the Harney & Sons loose leaf Chamomile. But that will have to be on another night.
I found a few errant filter bags tonight, including some Harney & Sons Chamomile. I have been enjoying the sachet version of this simple soliflore very much, so I was interested in seeing how the filter bags would brew up.
Answer: yellow! Perhaps a bit lighter in flavor, but still pretty good.
I have to say that Tazo Golden Monkey is very different from most other yunnan teas—not at all smoky, and with a burnt caramel flavor but without being sweet.
This gorgeous reddish-brown brew is so ridiculously delicious. The caramel finish is perfect and greatly enhanced with light cream. This is definitely my top Yunnan-origin tea.
I have increased my rating to reflect my enthusiasm. This is how all tea should be: beckoning me to go brew up yet another cup because it is so irresistibly wonderful. Why settle for less?
You know that you have too much tea when you “discover” hermetically sealed tins of unknown age while preparing to move. This one, Peet’s Yunnan Fancy, smells as fresh as the day it was purchased (whenever that was…), so I decided to brew up a cup on this frosty afternoon.
My most recent yunnan pot was Tazo Golden Monkey, which somehow set me up to expect a tea with a similar flavor profile. In fact, Yunnan Fancy, despite bearing superficial similarities—lots of golden tips and crisp twig-like leaves—tastes completely different!
The liquor is dark amber and the flavor is really quite smoky—against all expectations. In fact, it reminds me a bit of the lapsang souchong blends which I’ve been imbibing of late! Maybe closest to Russian Caravan (which is a lot lighter on the lapsang than is Baker’s Street Blend).
Well, I happen to like smoky teas, and this seems like a solid brew to me! I took today’s strongly brewed cup (1.5 tsp—not 1tsp) with cream.
Today’s pot of Sencha Shizuoka was somewhat less satisfying. Perhaps I underleafed? The liquor is pale golden yellow (not green), and the flavor is not very vegetal at all.
I should use 3 tsp, not 2 tsp, for this tetsubin in the future…
Why are there no berry or berrylike ingredients in Winter Berry Spice? I am a bit confused. It seems to imply that the berry facet is created only by the artificial flavorings, which I find unfortunate.
This foody infusion is okay for a foody infusion.
In some ways it’s funny that I prefer Upton Russian Caravan to Baker Street Blend. Since I much prefer darjeeling to oolong, and Baker Street switches out the latter for the former, it should be a blend made in heaven for me: lapsang souchong, darjeeling, and keemun.
It’s good, no doubt, but the grassiness of the darjeeling makes the unadulterated liquor of the brewed Baker Street (dark amber colored—a bit lighter than the Russian Caravan) just a bit less smooth and pleasant than the unadulterated Russian Caravan.
With cream, however, this is also very nice. I’d recommend Baker Street for those who like lapsang souchong straight, since it is more marked in this blend than in Russian Caravan. For those who find lapsang souchong too smoky, this Baker Street Blend might be as well.
There is one problem with my comparison, however. The Russian Caravan in my tea cupboard is Upton’s higher grade (T70 not T60), which they own is prepared using higher quality teas (presumably in the same proportions). So in some ways I may be comparing apple and oranges, except that Upton does not seem to have a higher-grade Baker Street Blend, which would be the fair comparison.
Anyway, this is still a fine afternoon tea—but much more of lapsang than keemun or darjeeling. I’d be interested to find out the proportions used of the three in this blend.
This is not quite a steep-off, but I was interested in, first, drinking more caffeinated sencha (I reserve my first infusion spent leaves for after dinner…) and, second, verifying that I really prefer Fukamushi to Miyazaki. In today’s brews, I have confirmed that this is true.
Miyazaki is a good sencha, to be sure, but it is much lighter and quite a bit saltier than Fukamushi (also by Tealux). One added bonus for the Miyazaki is that it is organic, so that’s nice to know. But probably when I reorder from Tealux I’ll opt for the Fukamushi over the paler, gentler, slightly yellower Miyazaki.