1093 Tasting Notes
A tasting note from Dinosara the other day gave me the idea to mix a smoky tea with a chocolate tea. (And as I’m typing this I just realized that Dinosara sent me one of the teas I used here.) So I took two teas that I didn’t LOVE and made them better. A teaspoon of the chocolate and a Choice Russian Caravan teabag (which are actually really good for a teabag, but they are getting older.) Both of them combined make me like them more! It’s a nice smoky milky chocolate. So so good. The second cup wasn’t as marvelous, but the first one was awesome. Lesson learned: combining teas I don’t LOVE might make them better together (and think of all the flavor combinations!)
I was kind of surprised to see this one in the bestseller sampler. It seems kind of plain and easy for a 52Teas blend.. but what do I know, I’m not a Harry Potter fan. I wanted a tea with licorice in it, since my throat seems a bit sore. I steeped for two-three minutes… 52Teas are always questionable on steep times. Sometimes they work at 45 seconds. I may have let the water cool too long ( a few minutes – I was deciding what I want), since this seems like just a black tea to me. The flavor is too mild to make it special for me. It seemed like the fragrance of the dry leaves was stronger than the flavor. A bit of a root beer, not a noticeable licorice difference on my throat. This reminds me of candy corn which I love more. To be honest, the second cup kind of tasted like wet cupboard (I would imagine anyway… and I’m sure Rowling imagined Butterbeer differently as well!) I wish a different tea was included in the sampler!
This was another one serving sample I removed from Momo’s B teabox…. it seems I’ve been trying many of them lately (probably because they are sipdowns – I tried to take some of the blends out of the box that only one teaspoon left). Darjeelings like this are making me love them more, though this doesn’t have quite the flavor of the favorites I’ve tried recently. It’s light – maybe that is the difference between a first flush and second? I like this one, but it seems less full and complex as the others. It actually seems lemony and there is a bit of fuzziness from the leaves that I don’t love. Darjeelings are certainly diverse though, but I guess every type of tea is. Tough to describe this one!
A big thanks to Terri Harplady! I get to try this one that she included a bit of in the HH teabox. The name is Yunnan but I don’t see much gold color, so it is very dark. The leaves are very big and wiry. Verdant suggests two teaspoons, at boiling starting at one minute.
Steep #1 // just boiled // 2 min
I went for two minutes, since one seemed too light! The flavor seems to be in between Laoshan Black and Zhu Rong, if I remember. It’s very sweet! It’s like caramel! If I hadn’t washed the mug well, I would have thought there was sugar left over. But there is that flavor from Laoshan black that seems dark while still being very light… I can’t seem to describe it any other way. The cup color is light – almost like caramel again. I remember Zhu Rong being sweet, but I think that flavor is darker than this one.
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 min
This cup seems like the flavor isn’t what it should be. I should have followed Verdant’s suggestion (one min first steep, two min second steep). It’s good, but not as good as the first cup. Tough to describe why! It seems like there is an oily texture this time around. I can’t decide if I like this one more or less than Zhu Rong.. I had it a while ago, but I like both better than Laoshan Black. Just not as full flavored as my favorite black teas – though I’m sure my palate is too immature to fully appreciate these teas at this point.
This one is thanks to Nicole! I had read about the East Frisian method of brewing, so I had been waiting until we had cream around to try this one. I spotted some French vanilla cream in the fridge! So for the East Frisian method of brewing, you plop some rock sugar into the bottom of the mug, brew the tea, and slowly lower a spoonful of cream into the top of the mug without stirring it at all! The idea is a creamy top, tea, and a sugary bottom. Yum! Both steeps turned out the so I’ll just talk about the first:
I used Adagio’s amber rock sugar, brewed a teaspoon and a half for four minutes. I wanted to try a sip of tea before adding the cream and it is the perfect tea for adding cream and sugar (which I never do, but makes for a nice occasional treat!) The flavor of the tea isn’t mild, but not too tough either. A nice maltiness… I kind of wish I had drank more before adding the cream. I’m not very talented at adding the cream, it whished everyone in the mug anyway… and seemed to settle to the bottom anyway. The cream/ sugar flavor is very nice, but I feel like it kind of overpowers the tea to the point of wondering how the tea tastes. It’s almost just cream and sugar without any tea. The last gulp was nice, unlike the cream, the sugar stayed on the bottom. No matter how delicious sugar and cream are, I’d rather just drink straight tea to taste the nuances. Otherwise, I’d just be drinking cream and sugar every day. Plain tea is cheaper anyway! :D
Another one I removed from Momo’s teabox – thanks everyone! I accidently poured most of the sample into the brew basket (maybe two teaspoons)… but the flavor is pretty mild, so it wasn’t terrible. This blend seems like my ideal blend. Spicy chocolate chai! I was looking forward to it! But even with two teaspoons and a steep time of a few minutes, the flavor was mild. My favorite part was the milky sweet chocolate flavor, probably the chocolate chips. I don’t think I’ve had a chocolate David’s tea before but I like this one! Hardly any spice or heat – just chocolate! I decided to add the bit of the leaves that I didn’t accidently dump into the brew basket for the second steep, since the flavor was so mild and there was less than a teaspoon left. The second cup was nice too! I wouldn’t mind having this around for a chocolate tea with a mild base, but as a spicy chai it FAILS. I like what is here though…. just use LOTS of leaves!
Another black pearl I’m able to try from Momo’s teabox. There was only one serving left, so I took it from the box for later. Later is now! These are about half inch in diameter sized black and gold pearls. I’m sure I’ve had these before under other tea companies, but I’m willing to try all of them! I used the last six pearls.
Steep #1 // just boiled // a few minutes steep
I wasn’t sure if the dry leaves smelled exactly like chocolate or it was smelling like that because it was stored around another tea that actually had chocolate in it. At first sip, nope, it’s these chocolate pearls! The flavor is very deep dark chocolate. Like chocolate without the sugar/calories. Before taking a sip I swore there was a wisp of a fragrance of cherry and the first couple sips were actually slightly smoky. I think six pearls are the magic number for this, or maybe even seven, though there actually are a ton of leaves in the basket.
Steep #2 // just boiled // few minutes steep
This cup was much less deep chocolate and even less cherry but turned into a berry flavor.. can’t tell which, just not cherry. Interesting switch! I feel like I’ve had these pearls before (though I know most black pearls aren’t the same). Probably either Tealux or Teavivre. I’ve tried both of those only once, so I can’t be sure. If these Teavana are the same as those two, I imagine the prices of the other two are WAY cheaper for the same thing. In any case, this happens to be about one in three Teavana blends I actually like. These would be a cupboard staple… from Teavivre of Tealux though.
Additional notes: This was my first pu-erh a year plus a few months ago. I can’t believe it hasn’t been longer than that… I feel like I’ve had a ton of pu-erh since then. Sipping this one again has inspired me to order from Fusion’s AWESOME Black Friday sale (if you want a ton of samples anyway – you still have two days left!) I just love this blend… even when there doesn’t happen to be a giant piece of caramel in the infuser. Two sample size packages of this in the cart they go. (I only had one cup left & not many pu-erh blends! It was a necessity!)
Additional notes: sipdown! (I have to work on a ton of sipdowns..one a day for all of December wouldn’t be enough but at least 1/4 of my cupboard only has a teaspoon left of each tea.) This was nice, just not as nice as last time. The flavor seems to change with every cup and even every sip! It’s tough to pin down.. I was noticing the difference in flavors last time I had this tea as well. Sometimes it wants to taste like a Darjeeling, sometimes it’s chocolatey. This time was lighter flavored than last time though. And since I had this tea the last time, I’ve definitely grown to learn that the gold Yunnan tastes like honey!
Additional notes: Having this one now – I may or may not have just ordered some super-sale Della Terra, some favorites I’ve only have the try-me packs of and some blends that look too nice to overlook! This ended up being the exact cup of tea I was envisioning. This one works better with lots of leaves and a very long steep time (over ten minutes – you can’t hurt it, really). Very tasty! Liquid cookie.