565 Tasting Notes
Usually I am griping about how much of a garbage pile my body is, with the Fibromyalgia and all the stupid allergies I have, but this once I am going to congratulate it on being awesome! Everyone in the house caught a nasty cold, and I live in a house full of Marvel Comics-esque Super Soldiers, so you know it is awful when they get sick. Guess who was the only person who didn’t get the cold…yep, me! I was up under Ben and Rita gaming and bringing their sick selves tea, so I know I got lots of exposure, and now that everyone is on the mend I think I am in the clear. Good job body, you got to be the healthy one taking care of people for once.
Today we are having our first look at Golden Tips Tea, an Indian tea company with a very respected history and legacy. Plus, when you get a package from them it comes in some very awesome wrapping!
I recieved several samples from them (yay! I needed more Indian teas on my blog!) and the first one I pulled out of the box was Castleton Moonlight Darjeeling Black Tea First Flush, I did a little happy dance because I have become hardcore addicted to Darjeelings lately. Plucked in April of 2014, this FTGFOP1 Moonlight Grade first flush Darjeeling comes from the Castleton Tea Estate, which was first established in 1885. The aroma of the dry leaves is, as expected, quite delicious to the nose, there is a strong muscatel presence, blending fresh juicy grapes and a hint of the more honey sweet raisins. Also fresh hay, a touch of peppery nasturtium leaves, and a bit of freshly crushed parsley at the finish giving the tea a neat herbaceous touch.
The brewed leaves are surprisingly herbaceous with notes of parlsely thyme, and fresh broken leaves. Of course there are notes of muscatel, primarily fresh grapes and honey. At the finish there is a hint of distant wildflowers and hay. The liquid, well, that packs a sweet punch! Like fresh grapes and raisins with a pinch of thyme and a strong apricot undertone. Fun fact, thyme and apricot is wonderful together, I suggest mixing the two whenever possible.
Ok, so the taste, well, wow! One of the things I love about Darjeeling tea, especially first flush, is how the taste reminds me of Scuppernongs, the super sweet and juicy grape variant that I would eat fresh and sun-warmed from the vine during my childhood in the South. The muscatel notes are the notes of happy memories to me, so how can I not love it? The mouthfeel is smooth and light, there is more to this tea than muscatel notes, there is also a refreshing note of fresh lettuce and a bit of thyme. The finish is sweet honey drenched apricot that lingers into the aftertaste. A delicious tea that tastes like summer and sunlight, I certainly enjoyed every sip.
Being the only person in the house with a restricted diet is a nightmare! When I was visiting my mom, I forgot how hard it can be, she is not Gluten Free and plagued by multiple food allergies per se, but she feels better avoiding certain foods, so it was not constantly in my face. Since I have returned home I am bombarded with baking bread, loaves everywhere, massive pasta dishes, pies, cakes…it is not very fun leaving my bedroom. Luckily my mom gave me an awesome simmering potpourri, one which I am using to make my room smell like pine trees, anything to keep the bread away!
First off, my computer ate the usual first photo of the dry leaves for today’s tea, What-Cha’s Nepal 2nd Flush 2014 Dew Drops Green Tea, so I must substitute it with something random. These adorable little tea balls resemble Gunpowder Green in their shape in size, hailing from Nepal’s Greenland Organic Farms in the shadow of the Himalayan Mountains. The aroma is a bit sweet, a blend of toasted sesame and freshly cut grass, a bit of distant floral and a touch of mineral at the finish. The tight little balls did not give up their scent easily, it required much sniffing, but the aroma that did come off of them was light and clean.
Brewing the little dew drops of tea brings out more of the aroma hiding away when they were dry, it is a blend of light floral nectar, nutty undertones, and a nice spinach greenness that overshadows all the other notes. It is the aroma of fresh spinach leaves rather than cooked spinach, reminding me a bit of a salad. The liquid is a blend of honey sweetness and green notes from spinach and greenbeans. There is a touch of a sesame note at the finish that adds some nice nutty notes, again the aroma is clean and light.
The taste of the first steep is so green! Like a mouthful of fresh spinach with a distant hint of floral and a touch of citrus. It is neat, there is a peppery and almost salty quality that blends really well with the citrus and spinach, like a mouthful of fresh salad. Just like the aroma, the taste is refreshing and clean!
The aroma of the second steeping is a neat little blend of floral sweetness and savory green notes. With notes of spinach (cooked this time) wildflower nectar and a general vegetal greenness. The taste is mostly green, with a buttery taste and mouthfeel, it tastes like greenbeans and spinach sauteed and butter with a hint of pepper. At the end there is a bit of grass and mineral,
For the last steep, the aroma is a nice blend of savory in sweet, but this time it is more floral and honey than vegetal. This time around there is no saltiness, buttery notes, or really any savory notes, it is all sweet and fresh. Like wildflower honey, flowers, toasted sesame, and a touch of fresh spinach at the finish. Overall this was a refreshing green tea, I liked the blend of sweet and savory, they did not clash.
You know what, I have excitement building in me that I was going to wait to share, but if I don’t let it out I shall pop! So, for most of my gaming life (I cannot remember a time in my life that I did not have access to a gaming system, my dad and I hoarded them) I had a gaming system and pile of games in my bedroom. I would re-arrange my entire room to make it easy to lay in bed while gaming, because yours truly spent a lot of days home sick from school or too sick to play, I spent that time alternating between gaming and reading. Since living in Kansas City, the Xbox360 has been in the family room, and I have just hated that! Thanks to a little finagling, I will be getting a nice monitor and moving the Xbox to my bedroom, finally, on those sick days I can lay in bed and game without having to interact with anyone. That sounds a little mean in retrospect, just usually when I feel really icky I like being by myself, it is a very old habit I am not too likely to break. So, I am excited!!
It has been too long since this Gaijin had some Gyokuro, something I am rectifying right now, with Yunomi’s Kurihara Tea #2 Heritage Gyokuro Tea! The heritage part of this name refers to the super traditional way of shading this tea with handmade straw or bamboo mats, giving it an extra level of awesome. In case you are new to the ‘Jade Dew’ (that is what Gyokuro translates to) let me take you on a very green adventure! This Japanese tea is different from Sencha by being covered by a shade for a length of its growing time, this of course depends on how high of a grade of Gyokuro, the longer the shading the higher the quality. This is the most sought after and expensive tea to come out of Japan, now, if only I had a fancy Shiboridashi to brew it in using the specialized brewing method. So, enough rambling, onto sniffing the tea! The aroma of the vibrantly green leaves (seriously, they are as green as pine needles) is delightfully sweet, a blend of sweet chestnuts, wildflower honey, freshly mown hay, sweetgrass, and a tiny bit of distant wildflowers. Something about the aroma of Japanese green teas (especially the very verdant ones) reminds me of summer, either you have the sweet and green ones like this Gyokuro, or the sea air ones like some Sencha. Truly, this tea smells absolutely amazing, I might have actually inhaled a leaf after sniffing this tea so much!
Since brewing Gyokuro in the traditional way requires a large amount of leaf to a small amount of water, I decided to not use my Kyusu or make-shift Houhin (the holes are a little too big for a delicate tiny tea) and brewed the leaves in my double boiler-tea alchemy tool, for extra visual fun! The leaves look like they are almost bioluminescent while steeping, it is so pretty. The aroma of the steeped leaves is super sweet and very green, there are notes of sweet chestnut, cut hay, sweetgrass, and crushed bamboo leaves giving it a touch of sharpness. At the finish there is a tiny hint of kelp to bring in that umami note. The liquid is delicate, not at all faint, but the difference between a piece of silk floating through the air and dropping a book, both are noticeable but one is prettier to look at. There are notes of sweet chestnut (it seems to be the dominant note so far) and hay with underpinnings of bamboo and kelp. The liquid balances sweet, green, and savory very well.
So, first steeping time, and let me start by saying that this tea is thick! I love that about Gyokuro, when brewed with the traditional methods it is often called soupy or syrupy, and that is an apt description. It coats the mouth to an almost oily extent, almost like drinking warm, partially formed jello. The taste is an adventure, it starts sweet and nutty with chestnut notes and fresh hay. After this initial nutty sweetness the unami kicks in at the midtaste, it is fascinating, a blend of cooked spinach, bamboo shoots, and a touch of kelp. It tastes like eating the finished Gyokuro leaves as a salad. After this the taste goes to a slightly dry and a little bitter green like kale and vegetation. The finish is sweet grass and lingering honey.
For the second steep I upped the temperature and shortened the steeping time, as per Yunomi’s recommendation. The aroma is much more green this time around, with strong notes of spinach, kelp, and even a touch of kale in there as well. The finish is sweet with a touch of chestnut. So this steeping is a glorious example of how a tea can evolve, where the previous steep was sweet with a touch of umami, this tea is a kick in the face of savory notes. It is intense and delicious! Like a blend of kelp, kale, spinach, bamboo leaves and shoots, it tastes like a salad and growing things. There is bitterness, but it is bitterness of vegetation and green things, a bitterness that I absolutely love (and have come to realize that some people really dislike, much to my confusion) it evokes the foods of my youth with turnip greens and collards. The finish has a chestnut and wildflower honey sweetness that lingers, along with the smoothness of the mouthfeel. It is times like this that I wonder, why do I ever let myself run out of Gyokuro?
I am pretty sure Ben’s computer doesn’t like me, even though I am using it right now, I bet it is just seething with annoyance that someone other than Ben is using it. All day it has been dropping the internet like it is dial-up and there is only one phone line in your house, and now it is refusing to read my camera’s SD card. So the tea I had planned to review today has to be changed, which is a pity because I was rather excited to go on a ramble about it…and show off my tea desk after I redid it. Silly machines and their problems, maybe I offended Optimus Prime in a past life or something?
Computer woes aside, there is always tea, even if I did have to reshuffle my schedule a bit (not that I have the most strict tea schedule since I like writing about a tea that inspires me that day) and this one is from tea shop right near my house (at least my Kansas City house) Phoenix Herb Company, specifically their Four Seasons Spring Oolong! This tea hails from Mingjing, Taiwan, and is plucked in the spring, though this specific tea can be plucked during all the seasons while having a consistent flavor, much like it was plucked during spring. The aroma of the leaves is a refreshing blend of floral, green vegetation with a tiny bit of a baked finish. It starts with hyacinth, transitions to growing things, and a tiny bit of sesame seeds, though not toasted ones, just fresh sesame seeds. It gives it that touch of sweetness to a spring scented tea.
So I decided to brew this one in the yixing teapot I got my mom for Christmas (and then liked it so much I got myself one for Pu erh) and make the two of us some tea, that might be what I miss most about being in PA, always having tea with my mom…but I digress…brewing the leaves brings out a touch of nutty chestnut, but really what comes wafting out of the teapot is a springtime bouquet of hyacinth, orchids, and green vegetation. It reminds me of walking around Kauffman Gardens during spring, so it is quite lovely. The liquid, having been freed from the teapot, is a blend of chestnuts, fresh vegetation, and a touch of minerals. Of course there is a blast of floral, more like fresh blooming flowers than perfume, primarily hyacinths and a touch of lily.
One of my favorite things about Four Seasons (or Si Ji Chun) Oolong is how approachable it is, usually on the cheaper end of green Taiwanese Oolongs, this makes it good for everyday sipping. It is also not a super powerhouse of flavors making it, again, good for everyday sipping. it is an Oolong I have found myself drinking while painting or gaming because it tastes great, but you don’t get overwhelmed by its presence. This Four Seasons is no exception, the mouthfeel starts out creamy and smooth and stays that way throughout the first steep. The taste is gently nectar sweet and very floral, though in a mellow drinking distant flower aroma rather than a bottle of perfume. There is a bit of a mineral taste at the finish, like fresh spring water.
The aroma of the second steep is still quite floral, a nice blend of hyacinth and flower nectar, with an added bit of wildflower honey thrown in at the end. The second steep is much like the first, starting out floral and sweet, but along side the hyacinth there is a little touch of spicebush. This transitions to fresh vegetation and growing things, with a finish of mineral at the end. It leaves a subtle honey sweetness as an aftertaste that lingers.
Now that I am back in Kansas City, there is a very strong chance that my weekly nerd ramblings shall commence on Saturdays. Well, probably next Saturday since I have not geeked much yet. Before I left PA I played a two on two game of Summoner Wars in which my mother and me lost terribly…but she did like the game enough that she now wants it, so that is an epic win. Since I have been back I visited Tabletop and was informed that the D&D campaign is starting next week (eep, I do not even have a character yet!) and have watched Ben and Rita (his sister) play Dragon Age Inquisition. I keep going back and forth on if I am going to play it, probably not since there is something with the TV or the PS3 that makes the texts utterly unreadable, and that is just not fun. Plus the Dragon Age series oddly never did it for me, I really like the world setting but the games themselves bored me immensely.
Today’s tea is totally on the geek spectrum, so it counts, Adagio Tea’s Custom Blend: Minecraft Slime Tea! So a little backstory, this is one of my blends (the whole Minecraft Mob fandom is my series) and really, the only thing I design from scratch like a real blender is the label, true I have tried A LOT of Adagio’s teas so I have a pretty good idea of what the tea will taste like before I try it, but I go into these custom blends totally blind, which is always fun. The Slime tea is particularly apropos because my current re-purposed house (it is the stronghold) is a Slime spawner, I keep being swarmed by Slimes! So, this is a blend of Citron Green (a green tea blended with lemon and orange) Green Pekoe (a fuzzy green tea) Ginseng Green (a green tea blend with ginseng and ginger) and some orange peel for accent. The aroma is a quirky blend of lime jello, growing green things, and wet stone, name aside, this smells exactly like I imagine a Slime bouncing around in a cave would smell…wet and citrus with hints of green! The smell makes me giggle, it makes my nose tingle like sniffing a fizzy soda, it is a little weird but fun.
The brewed tea leaves is very citrusy and sunny, very bright and refreshing. There are also notes of green slightly vegetal tea, earthy ginseng, and a touch of warm ginger. The green liquid (sadly not vibrantly Slime green…ok that is not sad, also not the same texture) is still quite heavy on the citrus, but with a strong earthy root-like aroma and a touch of honey sweetness.
The taste, in one word, refreshing! Something about light green tea and citrus together just makes me feel refreshed, the same feeling as taking a cold shower on a hot day, just less unpleasant (not a fan of cold showers, but I heard they are refreshing.) There are also notes of earthy roots from the ginseng and ginger, but this also gives it a bit of a zingy, almost effervescent quality. The finish is slightly vegetal and green with a hint of sweetness. This is an odd tea, one I could see being a required taste, but conveniently it is one that I really liked (as did my mom who had a cup with me) and found its oddness quite tasty. It is not my favorite of the mobs’s teas, but it is certainly up there!
Slowly yet surely I am putting my living quarters back into some semblance of order. It is a good feeling but alas, has left me with little time to dedicate to tea in the last couple days, something I plan on rectifying, maybe after a long nap. Definitely needing a nap, but first it is time for my daily tea ramblings.
Today’s tea is Maple Walnut by Trader Leaf, a blend of Green Tea, Brittle Pieces, Walnuts, Almond Pieces and Flavoring, green teas can come off quite nutty at times, so this seems like it could be a fun blend! Also I cannot help but be amused by the giant pieces of walnut in this blend, it is not shy about being nutty! The aroma is super sweet, very nutty and a touch of brittle. To be honest it reminds me a lot of Pecan Pralines, but made with walnuts, very nostalgic for the South where these things are super popular. I am also getting a tiny hint of coconut, though no green tea base.
The brewed tea is still so sweet, just like pralines and a bit of brittle, it is intense! There is a distinct nuttiness, both walnuts and almonds, and a bit of maple syrup at the finish. The liquid is unsurprising, very sweet. A bit of honey and maple and a generous heaping of nuttiness, even though it is sweet it is mild, not a hammer to the face of sugar, but certainly like sniffing a very sweet candy.
Tasting the tea is mild and sweet, like biting into a fresh, warm, praline, but with different nuts. Having a very distinct praline taste but with walnuts is weird, but certainly enjoyable, I am tempted to break out my candy making skills and give that a try. There is also a bit of honey and lots of nuttiness, there is no green tea base at all, it just tastes like candy, this is tasty candy, but I would have liked to have tasted the base tea at least a little. If you have an interest in trying this tea yourself, Trader Leaf very awesomely has a pair of coupons for my readers: for free shipping use code ‘amanda’ and for $10 off all orders over $40 use code ‘butterflies’ so yay for discounts!
Using someone’s else computer is just weird, Ben specifically got a larger keyboard and mouse to avoid his hands cramping. I have especially tiny hands and a much smaller keyboard and mouse because of that, meaning my hands are cramping and I keep typing wrong and clicking the wrong things. I will get used to it in a day or so, but it is still just really weird. Also, while typing this I am watching Ben play Dragon Age Inquisition, it is good to be back!
So, since last Wednesday and yesterday was taken up by holiday shenanigans, I decided to have a What-Cha Thursday this week, it does not flow as nicely though, so I shall stick with Wednesdays. Today I am looking at Malawi Zomba Pearls White Tea, first brought to my attention when What-Cha was having a sale at the end of October and fellow tea blogger and Steepster member said they should be called Zombie Pearls for Halloween, it has not been anything in my mind since then. These neat little rolled leaves (they look a little like cocoons!) hail from the Satemwa Tea Estate in Malawi and definitely fit into the unique category of teas from that estate. The aroma of the little pearls is a zingy mix of cucumber, pepper, bok choy, lettuce, and a little bit of sweet hay at the finish. It borders on savory, but stays more in the refreshing and bright spectrum. It really smells like some delicious drink or even sandwich one would consume on a summer day when seeking something cool and refreshing.
Giving the little pearls a steeping causes them to unfurl a bit, not a huge unfurling yet. They have a refreshing aroma, like their dry counterparts, but it is a bit more savory this time around with notes of bok choy, cooked bell pepper,fresh cucumber, and pepper. At the finish there is a tiny bit of sweet hay, but mostly it is cooked veggies. The liquid is a savory blend of cucumbers, lettuce, and a bit of hay and spinach.
So, the first steep is light yet quite distinct, one of the first teas I have ever thought tasted crisp, like biting into a fresh cucumber and lettuce. It is quite unique! There are also notes of cooked bell peppers at the middle and a finish of fresh sugar cane juice and very slight citrus. I definitely love how refreshing this tea tastes, it even feels like eating a cooling cucumber.
The aroma of the second steep is identical in notes, but increased in intensity, it is really quite mouthwatering and refreshing. I especially find myself amused by the cucumber notes, I do not run into that very often and when I do, they are usually very light and not a primary note. So, have you ever grown cucumbers, the tiny ones, and eaten one fresh from the garden? It is cool and crisp and surprisingly sweet, I mean cucumbers are not the most savory veggies in existence, but these have a unique sweetness. The first sip of the second steep captures that taste nigh perfectly, it is sweet with a touch of savory. This transitions to bok choy and a tiny bit of lettuce, like the first steep the finish is sugar cane and still rather cooling.
For the last steep, the leaves have almost entirely unfurled and the liquid is a glorious golden, in fact, the aroma of the liquid has taken on a sunny feel. Not so much cooling cucumber, now it is warm sweet hay and cut grass, there is a hint of cucumber and lettuce, but it is now mostly sweet. The taste takes its cues from the aroma, delicately sweet and warm with notes of hay, sugar cane juice, and a finish of cucumber. I really enjoy how this steep starts warm and finishes with a cooling sensation. I have inevitably already finished my sample, but plan on getting this tea for light summer steeping, I expect it will help keep me cool during the long Kansas City summers.
So, I am going to do something new…I am upping my previous rating from 76 to 85, why? Because I am sitting here waiting for my sweetheart to arrive (last leg of his 16 hour road trip! Wooo!) and to keep myself from being too antsy, I needed tea.
Rummaging in my pile, I found the last of this sample and decided, eh, why not? I am probably not going to pay that much attention to it. Brewed it at 200 degrees, on a whim, and steeped it for 8 minutes…and holy moly that is tasty!
Plum notes are there, along with hay and a delicate chestnut and sweet corn finish. It still pales in comparison to Kenyan Silver Needle, but it much improved on a higher temp. If I wanted a really mild silver needle, like if I feel really sick or have a sensory hell migraine, this would be such a soothing tea.
I might actually have to get more of this now that I know its little secret…and now back to watching Minecraft tutorials…man, redstone is hard! I wish I would have taken the electrical elective in shop instead of robotics!
So, before I get into the tea review, I want to take a minute to thank everyone who reads my ramblings! It has been an awesome year, and I greatly look forward to another year full of tea! I should warn you all that there is a slight chance that this will be my last post until the first of the year. Ben will be swooping in tomorrow night and having a brief visit before we take an epic (though not as pretty as the one mom and I had this fall) road trip back home. So I hope you all forgive me for wanting to spend the last few days in PA focused on packing up, re-acquainting myself with my long missed boyfriend, and having many tear-filled goodbyes with my mom. If I find time I might blog, if not, have an excellent rest of December!
Today is the last of the Christmas teas (actually no, I have a few stashed away in my notebook for a July Christmas or something along those lines) and I am not going to lie, I saved my favorite for last. M&K’s Tea Company’s Winterwolf (which is an awesome name, fun fact, when I was in my ‘Japanese obsession phase’ in my late teens, I went by Masshirona Okami, yeah I was a dork) is a blend of Wolfberries (also known as the beloved Goji Berries) roasted in honey, Green Rooibos, Vietnamese Cinnamon, and Natural Butterscotch flavor. The aroma of this tea is yum, I had a very hard time not eating the goji berries, seriously, I love those things so much! It is a blend of warm cinnamon, butterscotch, honey, sweet freshly mown hay, and of course goji berries. I love their sweet and slightly tart aroma oddly they remind of the sweet aspect of tomatoes, I know that sounds a little odd, but they have that quality to me.
So, with great self control, I did not eat the gojis and placed the tea into my steeping basket and let it soak. After a few moments I noticed something awesome…the aroma coming out of my cup is egg custard pie. That is, hands down, probably my favorite dessert ever. I seriously did a double take when I sniffed it, and then did a little happy dance in my chair because yum! There is of course goji berries as well, and now I am tempted to add them to egg custard next time I make it. The liquid is spices, goji berries, egg custard goodness, and a bit of sweet hay that almost gives it a crust-like aroma.
So, now that the tea has steeped, I am eating the goji berries. It is a good way to pass the time while waiting for the tea to cool, anytime teas have little nibble bits in them and I am not expecting a resteep I tend to eat the bits, but I also do that on the last steep of green teas too. So, the time of truth, the time of tasting…and HOLY BUTTERSCOTCH CUSTARD PIE, Batman!! Holy Mary Mother of Mudkips, seriously! I want to create smellovision and instant ‘taste things through the screen’ because oh my that is yummy. It tastes like warm egg custard pie, the good kind that has cinnamon dusted on the top and the sugar on the top layer has caramelized. There is definitely a hint of crust in there as well, and of course, the beloved goji berries add their sweet berry goodness to the tea. I really love the wolfberries because they do not have an overpowering flavor, they are sweet and very juicy with an almost floral taste, and they are wonderful at imparting this into the teas they are blended with. So yeah, this was definitely my favorite of the holiday teas, it might not scream ‘Christmas’ but it makes me feel immensely happy, and really, isn’t that what the holidays are about? Now, I need to use my Christmas money to buy a big ol’ thing of this tea, I do not need to run out of it!
Everyone, today is my mom’s birthday! According to the Celtic Tree Calender her birthday gets its own tree…which according to whichever of the many, many, many (sometimes very poorly researched) sources you choose to read, this means she is either ruled by mistletoe, elder, pine, or nothing. I jokingly call this the non-day, that clearly she is a changeling and I am half fairy, anything to make my constant playing of an elf in RPGs plausible. So happy birthday mom! I am glad I am getting to spend it with her this year!
Today’s tea is part of the quest for holiday teas, Armenos’s Christmas Song Tea Blend! This is a rather coloful blend of Rooibos, Apple Pieces, Pineapple Pieces, Cinnamon, Star Anise, Pink Peppercorn, and Hawthorn, two of my favorite ingredients (pink pepper and star anise) and one I confess to never having in tea before (hawthorn) so fun fact, the berries of hawthorns are called haws (I sound immensely Southern while trying to say that word) actually reading about it, hawthorn is used in Chinese tea blends sometimes, so maybe I have had it? Who knows, time for a tea adventure either way. This is a nice spicy tea, for me one of the most ‘Christmasy’ things is a spicy tea, because my mom would always break out the spices for both tea and her simmering potpourri, very much so a comfort thing for me. The aroma is very much so Christmas spices with cinnamon and anise and a very mild bit of pepper. There is also a touch of citrus and fruity and a nice sweet, woody finish (hello Rooibos) to the tea.
Oh I do love this smell! It steeping has set my little tea corner up as a nice spicy, warm, area. It feels like a warm cuddly blanket for the nose. The leaves once they have been steeped still bring about a nice spice to the area, the anise and pepper shine supreme and the cinnamon and apple bring up the rear, it is like a very mild and slightly unusual cider. Note to self, use star anise and pepper in my next mulling spice blend. So, the liquid without the spices, fruits, and such, is very much the holiday Rooibos, you can certainly pick up the caramel and woody notes I always associate with Rooibos, but mix that with a slightly citrus fruitiness (not exactly citrus, you know how pineapple and apple for that matter have a citrus tone to them at times, at least they do for me) and spices and you have a pretty neat smelling blend.
The name of this tea is Christmas Song, now I am trying to figure out which of my favorite songs I can visialize while sipping it…pretty much all of my favorites are tree and snow themed, so, if anyone has any spiced themed songs they want to share with me that would be awesome! If you have ever found yourself deeply in love with Christmas spiced teas and wanted one without caffeine and black tea to sip before bed, this could be a great choice, that is, assuming you like Rooibos. The taste starts out with cinnamon and star anise, this moved to a distinct creamy sweetness with apple and pineapple notes, not sure where the creaminess is coming from but I rather like it. The finish is a blend of woodiness and pepper, there is no dry mouth sensation from the Rooibos, I believe the fruit took care of that.