1851 Tasting Notes
I got a second package in the mail today, from Rachel! We did a little swap, & she sent me some Harney & Sons samples, which I’m excited about, as I’ve never tried any of their teas! Thanks Rachel!
The predominant smell of this tea is Honey, & there is honey to the flavor as well, but it’s not particularly sweet on it’s own. I added stevia, to bring out the flavors, & it did! This is a mild cup of fruitiness, mostly of a peach-like nature. The black base is not particularly bold, but provides a mellow backdrop that makes me think of toast with jelly on it. The bergamot is very mild, just enough to add a little brightness to the cup. Yummy! I’m in the mood for sweet teas right now, & this was very nice (I say was, cuz it’s gone!).
First off, I just ordered this on Friday evening, & it arrived today! Now, THAT’s service! Thank you Hugo for sending it so quickly!
I’ve been feeling a bit unsatisfied tea-wise today, I’m not sure why. I started with my beloved Imperial Breakfast Summer Blend, which I love, running it through 3 steepings. There was nothing wrong with the tea, I just wanted more… I did a green tea sampling, but still I wanted more… Maybe it’s just because I only had one full strength cup of black tea today…yeah…that’s probably it. I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning, house-plant maintenance, & re-arranging of things today, & I haven’t sat around & enjoyed just sipping tea in my sun-room as much as usual.
Then the mail came, with my Hugo’s order! Now I’m enjoying a cup! I bought this tea because Nik pointed LiberTEA’s review of it out to me, & he was right, it sounded like my kind of cuppa! Thank you, Nik! You get a big HUG!
The dry leaves are a pleasing mix of charcoal, mahogany, & a little beige. The scent is rich & bright. My first cup was just what the doctor ordered: Bold, tasty, a little different from the teas I’ve been drinking of late. It’s a beautiful red orange brew, & there is a brightness & a grapey-ness to the taste that lifts the flavors & adds an edge. I brewed 3 cups in all: First, the original, 2nd a re-steep of those leaves, which still had a good color, but not a lot of flavor. 3rd I brewed new leaves & added Stevia, because little Terri wanted to try it sweet. (Her actual words, “I haven’t had anything sweet ALL DAY”.) Now I’m enjoying that sweet cup, as I feel the caffeine lifting my spirits.
This is a tasty, robust black tea. It’s a nice one, a change of pace that will make a good addition to my morning (& sometimes afternoon) black tea rotation! You can get it at http://www.hugotea.com.
Once upon a time I ordered a bunch of green tea samples from Verdant. I’ve only drank a few of them, because I wanted to brew them right, & so I held off until I got around to getting myself a better scale & a thermometer. “You don’t need a thermometer & scale” someone in my head tried to tell me, but the scale I had didn’t measure grams, & I have a tendency to over-estimate. So I finally ignored ‘the voice’ & got both.
There is enough of this sample to go for 2 different steepings, so today I’m enjoying it Jingshan style: I filled my glass cup 2/3 full, the water was too hot, so I did a few menial things, then the water was too cold. I turned the kettle back on, tried again. Of course, it was too hot again, but I paid better attention this time & once I got the temp to 175 I sprinkle on the tea.
Backtrack: dry, it smells fresh, like alfalfa. The leaf matter is smaller than dragonwell or some of the other green teas I’ve had, more broken up, very delicate. At first it was hard to sip off the cup, as there was a lot of ‘dust’ floating, but it finally sank down.
There is quite a bit of bitterness, which has an edge of lime to it. Although some of the green teas I’m drinking work well this way, I’ll use the gaiwan when I do my next sampling of this tea, because I’m not really getting any of the sweet tones that were alluded to here.
I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend! Too bad it’s over, eh?
I spent most of the day playing a gig at the local Schnucks grocery, which was both fun & profitable. I drank:
Bolder breakfast (teaspot) with my breakfast before leaving home
China Breakfast at the gig (I think it is Numi)
Chai @ the gig, made with canned coconut milk I brought from home, LOL
The gig went great, I sold several CDs (www.harpsinger.net).
When I got home I made a cup of Mango Tango. The dry leaf smells bright, with mango & passion fruit. The tea tastes bright & fruity as well, & a little on the astringent end. It is a tea that I have to sweeten to enjoy, which I did with stevia. I would enjoy this iced, unsweet.
My gig schedule has been crazy for weeks, but I’m finally having a Saturday off with Tony. We had a nice breakfast together, started a crockpot of chili, & have basically lazed around in our PJs all day, watching back episodes of NCIS & a few other shows we like. So far today I’ve drank Shagadelic English Breakfast & Bolder Breakfast. Now Tony is is the bubble bath (real men DO take bubble baths), and I’m watching Snow White & the Huntsman, and sipping this Earl Gray. And I LIKE it! YEAH! It’s a nice variation from the usual: bright & lemony, sweet with a little licorice & vanilla. The black tea base is a little weak, in my opinion, but otherwise this is a tasty cup! I sweetened it with some stevia, & I’m enjoying every sip. :D
It smells like ice cream with ribbons of fudge & caramel running through it, yum!
Plain it is not bad, kind of a a buttery roasty taste. With Stevia added, it is bright, caramelly, light fudge, & kind of a nice dessert-like flavor. It reminds me of something, but I just can’t put my finger on it.
Although I am a fan of both Sencha & Dragonwell, this tea was just so-so for me. It smells wonderful, but…meh…really it’s just that when it comes to green teas, I’m pretty much a purest, with the exception of jasmine.
I’ll try cold brewing it next time, maybe I’ll like it more that way…
Thanks to Angel & Teavivre for this generous sample
First off, I love Teavana’s Black Dragon Pearls. That’s actually one of the only teas I buy from them, & the convenience of being able to zip over to the mall & get some is pretty nice. It’s a yummy malty breakfast tea that I enjoy. SO I thought I would brew a cup of that alongside Teavivre’s Fengqing Dragon Pearls, just to see if there was really any difference.
Dry, the difference was noticeable. The Fengqings were smaller, but more aromatic, with a little more of a malty smell. I used 6 of the teavana pearls in one 8 oz cup, and 8 of the Teavivre in another. The main difference I noticed in taste was that the Fengqing had a bit of a berry flavor, & then I realized that I had ruined the taste test. Damn!
You see, last night I made a cup of decaf blackberry vanilla black from some local tea company. It was a gift from one of my students a few years ago, & I was really just trying to use it up to get it out of my cupboard. I ended up dumping it out, it just wasn’t really a tea that I enjoyed. I swear I washed my tea strainer well! But somehow that flavor stuck, & ended up in the morning’s cup.
SO…the taste comparison was ruined! Luckily, there was enough tea left for another sample, & although I’m not doing another comparison test, I will say that this is a very tasty, malty, satisfying cup of tea, with chocolate croissant undertones, just the way I like it. It is delicious & smooth plain, & also quite tasty with stevia! Yum!
I have a tendency to shy away from cherry flavored things. They usually taste like cough syrup, or some phony cherry kind of taste. So it took several orders from the Tea Spot before I got myself to order this sample size from them. I’m really glad I did!
First off, the tea base is a mix of Indian & Chinese black teas. I have to say at this point that I’ve always been happy with the Tea Spot’s black teas. This is no exception: It is both bright & deep, bold & smooth. It has the croissant like pastry taste that I love, & then they layer in the chocolate, which makes me think of their Bolder Breakfast or Chocolate ‘O’. The Cherry flavor is there, but not so prominent that it takes over. It’s more of an enhancement, & gratefully it doesn’t taste like cough syrup, candy, or anything phony.
I drank half the cup plain, & that was yummy. I added a little stevia to the 2nd half (cuz this was suppose to be my dessert), & it’s a real treat!
Thanks to The Tea Spot for this sample!
On my last Tea Spot order I toyed with the idea of getting a sample of this. Their samples aren’t free, but they do include enough tea to really try something out. I ended up not getting it, & amazingly, they threw it in as a freebie. This sample is probably enough for 2 cups, or maybe 3. So I’m trying the first one hot.
It is a very pretty tea unbrewed, though not as pretty as the picture! It smells mostly of mints & lavender, with a little Lemon myrtle in the background. The brew is not pink, but there are pink rose petals floating around in it. Flavor-wise, it’s pretty mild. The Lemon Myrtle steps forward, strongly supported by chamomile. Everyone else forms a backdrop, like the scenery in a play. It’s pleasant, but probably not something I’d drink often. I sweetened the 2nd half of the cup, & I can say for a fact that this is a tea my grand daughter & one of my grandsons would love! (The other grandson has decided that drinking tea isn’t cool enough for him…sigh…). I like it best with a little sweetness myself.