704 Tasting Notes
Another old sample from a box from way back. Improperly stored, possibly smell contaminated. I really regret being lazy about my samples now! The dry smell is pretty nice. I get some sweetness and a hint of cinnamon.
Steeped, this smells weird. It smells like freshly buttered corn, or prhaps popcorn. I steeped it only 2 minutes as the smell really started to intimidate me – as food it would be really appetizing but as tea it’s just weird. And nothing at all like a cookie!
The leaf is not something I’m used to, there were little nubs that looked like the Kenyan Tinderet from DavidsTea. I’m thinking this has Indian and/or African tea in it, neither of which are my forte. I see that Lupicia recommends it with milk. Sadly, I don’t like to add things to my tea, and I can rarely be persuaded to imbibe milk in any form. I’m not familiar with Lupicia as they don’t ship to Canada, but I really don’t like that they don’t seem to list their ingredients, or at least the base tea. Inquiring minds want to know!
Despite my apprehension about the smell I’ve decided to at least try it. First sips echo the aroma. I get BOLD black tea, almost as roasty and bitter as coffee. I definitely do not care for the base here and I can’t seem to get past it. I don’t get any caramel or anything else, though that could be because of it’s age. I even steeped it in a TSac to minimize bitterness, but this one just isn’t palatable to me. I’ll offer it up to the beau’s coworkers, perhaps someone there will take to it. :)
Here’s another from my box from LiberTeas from way back when. This is another I fear has been improperly stored and as a result I am not getting any odour. I could tell that it was a black tea but had no idea as to potential flavourings. Actually, even if this had been fresh i probably still wouldn’t have got it, chestnuts in my world are spiny creatures that really hurt when you get hit by them. Of course I would never do such a thing..
Steeped about three minutes, I have a rich brown liquor which is throwing off notes of.. chocolate? Oy. The smell I am getting is milk chocolate at that! There is also something weird behind that but I think it is the buttered popcorn contamination yet again. Darn you buttered popcorn sharing your yuck!
First sips are a mix of the weird contamination taste and some unexpected sweetness. I get something roasty at the back end of the sip which then morphs back into sweetness – while this is likely a very inaccurate assessment of this tea, it is really interesting. There is some bitterness in there as well, but it doesn’t seem to be the tea base – I’ll chalk that up to smell contamination as well.
Once again, the lesson here is to drink your tea quickly!!
Another from the box o’ tea I bought from LiberTeas a long time ago. I am surprised I didn’t drink this one up right away, actually. Grapefruit is something I really enjoy (though I am selective about it). I’ve only had grapefruit flavour in tea once or twice before so it is something I am interested in. Unfortunately, this is a sample that picked up weird odours in storage and I am not getting any grapefruit in the dry leaf or steeped aroma. I think this one might be a write-off.
I tend to enjoy dark oolongs though, so I persist with the knowledge that this probably won’t be an accurate tasting. The liquor on this one is yellowy orange and doesn’t give off a scent I can identify. I think the buttered popcorn from 52Teas might have gotten into this one, based on the smell.
Tastes give a slight sense of citrus and a hint of oolong at the end, but otherwise there is just some vague and undefinable sweetness and warm water – this is definitely a case of bad sample storage (Whoops). No numerical rating on here, I think I’ll just toss the rest of it. This would be a prime example of why I should not buy any more tea until I finish all I have!
I got a sample of this one with my last Teavivre order as it sounds like the sort of thing I would enjoy. The beau and I steeped it up this afternoon and I was pretty enticed by the aroma. Hello cocoa! I love a good natural cocoa note. The beau finds it smells earthy which I can understand, but for me it’s cocoa all the way in the dry smell.
Rather than doing this in the gaiwan as I usually would, we’re doing this western style as this has been the weekend of tea, relaxing and video games. I’ve been playing Alice Madness Returns while the beau alternates between Silent Hill Downpour and R.U.S.E. I’ve also gotten halfway through the newest Carlos Ruiz Zafon book today (Prisoner of Heaven) and I am LOVING it. It’s nice to have a weekend of our favourite things after the hustle and bustle of December.
Back to the tea! Steeped 2.5 minutes, I have an incredibly fragrant cuppa. It smells like bakers chocolate or even just cocoa powder. I am not a dark chocolate person but I LOVE cocoa notes in tea. The depth of the smell is impressive, it seems extremely rich.
First sips are smooth and rich, not as bold as the aroma had led me to believe but still an excellent quality black tea. I still get cocoa but I’m not picking out anything else at the moment. It’s bold without being bitter and has a sweet smoothness at the end of the sip. This is a great infusion and I think I can probably get a couple more out of this sample. When I do another Teavivre order, I think this one will be on there. Very nice!
I’d like to brew it side-by-side with Bailin Gongfu and see if they are as similar as my memory leads me to believe. I have been stocking the Bailin but this may be better…
This is one I received in my box o’ tea from Liberteas via teatra.de a year or so back. As is frequently the case with me, my eyes were bigger than my stomache and I’ve only made a small dent in the bounty of tea she provided. Looking for a black tea this afternoon I stumbled across this one and the aroma appealed to me. I’ve only ever had one or two other adagio teas and I remember the black tea base to be very finicky so this got a precise 2.5 minutes, just in case.
The dry aroma put me in mind of caramel or vanilla, which fits with the flavourings this has (rum and cream, I believe?) Anyway, very appetizing aroma in the dry leaf whcih translates well to the steeped liquor. Deep brown and with similarly caramel/cream aroma. There’s an aspect to the steeped scent that makes me think this might get bitter, hopefully that doesn’t come through. From afar the cup puts off an aroma of burnt sugar, almost reminiscent of a creme brulee.
First sips yield a strong breakfast tea taste – not bitter but certainly bold. I’m not much of a ‘breakfast tea’ person as they tend to feature the bolder black teas that I don’t yet appreciate, but this one is muted a bit by the sugary flavours I am getting. I wouldn’t call it cream, but there is a sweetness that presents at the end. There is some distinct maltiness going on here, they might be Indian teas? I am starting to get some bitterness as I get deeper in the cup, this is one that would benefit from a slight stir of honey, I think. I don’t like to add anything to my teas but this one is so bold I think it needs it
Half a straw of grapefruit agave later, I have a much nicer cup though I have definitely changed the composition. I find agave to be super sweet and that is definitely present now, the cream has been smothered by the flavoured agave. The bitterness/maltiness are more bearable but it is still astringent with my tongue feeling dry after sipping.
While this tea isn’t exactly my thing, it is pretty nice and I am infinitely grateful to have tried it. Plus it gave me an excuse to use the grapefruit agave in something other than matcha. :)
As an aside, I’ve been drinking all my tea lately in my Japanese Latte Mugs from Davids Tea which I absolutely love. The first time Davids had them it was $50 for the 4 so I admired them from afar but they came back in the fall/winter for onlr $20 for the set. Yay! I think they’re absolutely wonderful
Not sure when I bought this one but the beau and I are brewing it up today. At first I thought it was an herbal, but apparently there is a bit of white tea in there somewhere. Tea is the 5th ingredient listed though, so it can’t be much! For Davids to charge $11.75/50 g for a glorified herbal is kind of outrageous, and helps explain why I only bought 10 grams. I like Davids in general but that is just ridiculous.
All 10 of those grams steeped in our pot for about 4 minutes in 90 degree water. The resulting brew is pink from the hibby and rosehips though the aroma is sweet, like the brown sugar crust on an apple crisp. I’m not necessarily picking up rhubarb or strawberry in the aroma, but crumble is there for sure. That’s actually pretty impressive. I’m picking up some serious cinnamon which is worrying but this blend also has rock sugar in it so I am hoping the cinnamon, hibby and sugar balance each other out.
This smells much better than the strawberry rhubarb parfait from Davids that I had over Christmas…The cost is still bothering me, but the smell is divine. First sips are sweetened cinnamon, hint of fruit and then smooth sugar, like I’m eating rock candy. Well, I guess I kind of am. There is a build-uip of sweetness and pastry which I really like but I’m not getting the fruit like I might hope. I love strawberries and always want strawberrty tea to hit me over the head. This doesn’t do that, but it does a very good sweet fruity crumble. I’m not picking up any white tea, but that’s to be expected with the ingredients this has.
In the end I definitely can’t get over the cost (for shame!) but this is really nice. Flavour is a 70 – 75 but cost to flavour is closer to a 30. Glad to have tried it but I definitely won’t be getting more.
As the cup cools the hibby starts taking over so I shall take my leave and finish the rest of the cup. The beau is playing the God of War Ascension demo and I am considering some Just Dance 4 when he is finished. I love the dancy games, but this one is really rocking my socks. I have goals to accomplish, I love that sort of thing!
Enjoying some of the remains of this sample which was generously supplied by SimplyJenW many moons ago. I remember really liking it and hoarding the remains for some sort of good tea apocalypse. Steeped, the liquor is a light orange, I’m surprised at how light it is, actualy. The aroma is very bold with a strong cocoa note and a sense of bitterness, but that could be the cocoa I’m picking up on.
First sips yield a bold rich cocoa that quickly morphs into a sweet note with a hint of spice in there. Cinnamon is my first thought, as it so frequently is. It’s like I am drinking three distinct things but they are coming through in that order. This is even more remarkable than my memory of it led me to believe. I am getting absolutely no bitterness and not any discernible astringency, just cocoa, something sweet and something cinnamon. Fantastic!
I just looked this up on the Harney site and though it is definitely a delicious tea I was surprised at the price. $20 for 2 oz is about $20 for 50 grams – it is definitely good, but that price is unbelievable. For $10/ounce I would probably rather pick up some Verdant Tea but I am really glad to have this sample still. Thanks again SimplyJen!
I was digging through some samples at home and brought a number of them in to work to finish up (eventually). This is one I got from Bulk Barn over a year ago but it still smells of juicy black currants despite poor packaging. I’m impressed! I also did a naughty thing yesterday and ordered some Black Currant from Tea Forte with a coworker so I was really jonesing for some currants! I’ve only ever had currant flavoured things and I’ve never seen, smelled or tasted a real currant but this tea when brewed still smells just like those Simpkins Black Durrant Drops that I loooove. I understand currants to be more of a UK thing? They don’t seem very popular here in North America.
Anyway, the tea! As I say, the aroma is like the candies though the taste has muted with the passing of time and bad storage. I’m also picking up a weird note that seems to have seeped through the whole basket from some other tea. That’s disappointing, but to be expected. While I remember this tea as very juicy and flavourful it is now an echo of that. Oh well, my fault. I will enjoy the remainder and eagerly look forward to the Tea Forte Black Currant which I hope will be lovely!
Seems I am re-enjoying a number of teas lately that I haven’t had in +/- a year. I really need to keep busting my stash…I’ve busted enough so far that I want to buy more but it’s totally not practical. Thank heavens winter is upon us. It’s tea drinking season in Canada!!
The beau and I brewed a pot of this tonight to enjoy while unpacking after returning home from 11 days of family and Christmas vacation. While there were some tough moments (our car was wrecked, the beau got walking pneumonia and of course the obligatory awkward family moments) it was an excellent set of visits. I miss my family a lot, and I rarely get to see my Mum and brothers on that side so visiting is huge for me. Of course, this is why we finally got a car and then that got ruined, but if nothing else I will see them all in less than five months for our wedding!
Anyway, the tea. It’s a servicable monk’s blend. There is some bitterness that creeps up on it, so I steep it 2.5 to 3 minutes and it comes out well. There is some sweetness and almost a sense of cream but it doesn’t really come through. The liquor is a bit thinner than the other Monk’s Blend I have but it’s still really nice. The black tea could be a bit more present but since that is the likely source of bitterness I don’t mind it hiding. I’m not really sure what constitutes a Monk’s Blend – this is definitely something to look into. Later. :) For now, it’s back to doing sudoku while the beau plays Silent Hill Downpour. I keep wanting to turn the volume down and he isn’t even at the scary parts yet. I’m a wimp!
EDIT to add: I just re-read my tasting note from last year. It’s weird how I get different impressions at different times. Today I get bitterness and wish for more cream/depth where last time it was the opposite. Still no pomegranate though..
After a surprising number of cups my twenty gram sample is almost entirely gone and I am left with a slightly higher opinion than when I started. I am not one to add sugar or milk to my tea but 1/8 teaspoon of sugar really knocks out the sense of bitterness and astringency that this cup can develop when you are not looking. The black tea flavour is relatively familiar and puts me in mind of my fathers beloved bagged teas. More muscat would make a huge improvement but this is a cheap(ish) second flush so I guess I might be asking a bit much of this one. When I am drinking it I don’t feel the need to restock but when I am just thinking about it I can’t decide for sure. I think what I really want to do is get 100 grams of Wild Yunnan Black as I was hoping I get some for Christmas but I didn’t. Alas. :)