660 Tasting Notes
Seeing all the hubbub about the 12 Teas of Christmas has reminded me that I never finished mine from last year – in fact, I don’t think I even tried half of them! I found Christmas far too busy with family and food to have time to deal with the 12teas, and then they were forgotten at the back of the tea shelf until now. Luckily, only one last year contained an ingredient I loathe (coconut) so there were still 11 others to try. I am excited that Frank is doing bigger sample sizes this year as I thought it was a bit of a ripoff last year (2 cups per sample, so $30 for 24 cups), but I will not be partaking this time. Unfortunately, 52Teas don’t tend to be to my liking, with a few notable exceptions.
All that aside, I’m brewing up some cinnamon roll honeybush – the cinnamon is certainly there in aroma, though I’m not getting anything pastry or bakey. 5 – 6 minute steep yields cinnamon flavoured water, with a hint of something honeybush at the end. I am not a huge fan of cinnamon and I find it to be very overwhelming in most teas, but when it’s done well it can be really nice. It may just be because of the age of my sample (obviously it’s a year old) but this one isn’t yielding anything beyond the two notes of cinnamon and honeybush. I would like to see something in the middle there filling it out, a bit of sweetness to represent the icing, or something bakey. I love cinnamon rolls, but this is just cinnamon tea, to me. : (
Tried this one with the beau a few days back and forgot to log a note – I remember being pleasantly surprised with the quality initially but finding it become bitter as time went on despite careful steeping. The falvour and aroma were rich and earthy, but the finicky nature of the tea didn’t endear itself to me. Will try again with the rest of our sample later on, at the moment I wouldn’t feel the need to restock it. I could certainly live without it, there was nothing remarkable going on.
Here’s another one I’ve had for quite a well but never tried. Since I first started shopping at Davids Tea, this one has been strongly recommended. I’ve noticed that the newer sales girls tend to reach for the newest teas first, but this one used to be a strong seller for them, and I assume it still is as it’s still on the menu. Of course, for the first year or two of my tea life, I didn’t like oolong OR puerh – now it’s just puerh I can’t handle. I figured that after having a sample of this for probably a year or more we should probably try it out.
We steeped it in 85 degree water for 3 or 4 minutes, I didn’t want to scald the oolong as I didn’t know how well it would stand up to heat. The flavour was at first a bit strong, ginger and orange peel rounding out each sip and keeping the flavours together, but it became very palatable as I got deeper in the cup. I haven’t looked at the leaves, but it must be a roasted oolong rather than a green. I didn’t get any wet dog smell or taste from the puerh, so I was pretty happy with that. Altogether, these flavours work remarkably well. Unexpectedly, the beau LOVED it and wants to take it to work – this is one he would actually like to get a tin of. Will marvels never cease? He used to hate ginger, oolong and puerh. It’s interesting how our tastes have changed.
The second steep we just enjoyed came out a bit thin after five minutes of steeping, but it was also tasty. It was shockingly sweet (I assume from the oolong) and the ginger/orange were there just as a light background note. I would have preferred a bit more strength in the second steep, but the beau may have been light on the leaf so I shan’t blame the tea.
Anyway, this is a very respectable tea. Not sure what it really does for fat absorption, but if it helps at all, I support it! : ) It went quite well as a complement to our takeout pad thai as well. Hey, a girl needs a treat sometimes, right? : )
I like pears. This doesn’t smell like pears…It smells like bubblegum with some sharp fake pear on the end. The “pearness” is reminiscent of a jelly belly rather than a real pear (bosc or otherwise!) The bubblegum smell is starting to really make me mad, I have experienced it in so many of the DT blends from the last year.
Steeped five minutes or so, warm yellow colour, reminiscent of a pale ale. The taste doesn’t match the aroma, but like some of the others, I get more tart apple than sweet pear. If I even got tart pear I’d be okay with it, but I don’t get pear at all. There is a creamy sweetness at the back of the sip that I think is the vanilla – it’s not a bad blend and I’m not getting bubblegum anymore, I just think it’s misleading to call this Perfect Pear.
Actually, as an apple tea it’s quite nice. I almost wish that vanilla weren’t there though. It’s not quite working for me.
Re-visiting this one today as part of the never-ending Herculean effort to diminish my tea stash, or at least the ones I’m not crazy about. I steeped 1.5 teaspoons of this for about five minutes and got an apricotty brew with a hint more cinnamon than I would prefer, but it’s not too bad. I find cinnamon to be a tricky ingredient in tea as it always tries to take over. The blend is still pretty lackluster but decent enough. Maybe this should be a cold brew tea for the beau? Hmm.
I didn’t realize I never posted a review of this one – I bought it probably a year or so ago when I went on a bender of trying all of Davids’ unflavoured teas. Now, of course I know what a typical orange pekoe tastes like from the bag – this takes that to a more refined level. It does remind me a lot of Red Rose or Tetley, but without the gritty bitterness I find typical of those bagged teas. It could stand up to additives, but when steeped carefully you don’t need them. There is a natural sweetness in the tea which is very nice on the sip and helps take this from standard fare to something nicer.
All that said, for a LOOSE tea, this is extremely standard. This is what I would use to convince bagged OP drinkers that there is more in the world – baby steps! It makes a nice base for a chai and is okay on its own but I don’t drink loose leaf for “okay.” : )
I’m revisiting this one today and am a lot more impressed with it than the first time I tried it (May). Since then I have become a lot more comfortable with oolongs and gotten a lot better at knowing how I like to steep them – I gave it less steep temp and time and what I have here is really tasty. MUCH more like a black tea than a green, which is something I appreciate in a roasty oolong.
That said, it’s not the most remarkable tea I’ve ever had. For me, this would be an every day sort of tea, rather than a special occasions, knock-your-socks-off kind of tea. I’m used to the latter with Teavivre, so this one has me a bit flummoxed but I DO like it. I don’t think I’ll keep it in stock as I’d rather deal with a black than an oolong, but this could be a nice one for those who find black teas too harsh or oolongs too green. It hits the spot, that’s for sure!
Had this again today and the cheesecake flavour was completely absent. I was hoping that waiting a few weeks would allow the flavours to meld a bit better (like with other flavoured teas) but it doesn’t seem to have helped. There was something present in the matcha in terms of flavour, but it was mostly a light sweetness and not any identifiable flavours. Kind of a bummer.
I didn’t realize I never posted a longer review! We finished this one up today and it is on my re-buy list, honestly. The oolong is there but very subtle under the sweet pineapple. It puts me in mind of dried pineapple more than fresh, but that’s okay. It is one of the rare cases where a flavoured oolong meshes really well for me. It is a bit cost prohibitive, but it’s also an excellent treat to enjoy once in a while.
I continue to be amazed at how good it is!
Whoops, this is yet another overdue review on a tea from Teavivre. Out of the package, this one has a very bold aroma, roasty and rich with some completely unexpected cocoa notes, but also an earthy, mossy smell. That last note is one which I have grown to appreciate – this is a tricksy oolong, putting me more in mind of a black tea. I love black tea!
I used the whole sample in my perfect tea mug with water that’s probaby around 90ish degrees. The steep was around 3ish minutes, yielding a liquor that is dark for an oolong but would be light for a black – a warm yellow, reminds me of an IPA or similarly styled beer in colour. The steeped aroma is subdued cocoa, with some dark earthy notes – almost reminding me of peat and cocoa. I don’t know why I say peat as I’m not completely sure what that smells like, but that is what comes into my head.
First sips are rich, earthy. I get a fairly bold roasty oolong flavoured, with a hint of spice at the end. Maybe something cinnamon or nutmeg? It’s a little sweet at the finish, unexpected but really nice. I get the sense that there is a bit of bitterness lingering underneath at all, but it isn’t fully developing, so it just gives a sense of complexity. This is a fairly bold tea and could handle additions if you were so inclined but certainly doesn’t need them – the mark of a good tea, in my books.
I have had a couple Big Red Robe oolongs now, and I must say that I really enjoy them. The flavours remind me of black teas more often than not and they’re nicely complex but still drinkable. This one almost has a savoury aspect, it puts me in mind of of a nicely seasoned roast. What is going on in my head today?! IF I can get teavivre.com to finally accept my credit card, this one might get slipped onto the order. Very yum.
EDIT to add that as it cools, I get a smokey note. It explains the sense of tobacco I was getting earlier. This is the second tea I’ve had recently with that slightly smoke that develops late in the game and I am liking it. Maybe I’ll be able to try a Lapsang some day.
PS – This reminds me a lot of the Teavivre Dragon Pearls. What’s up with that? : )