698 Tasting Notes
This may just be the best smelling tisane of my whole life. The beau and I steeped up a pot of this in the afternoon, enjoying another generous sample from Teavivre. The dry smell is fabulous – strongly blueberry, hint of tart and a hint of something raisin-y behind that. If I could smell only one fruity thing the rest of my life I would choose this. If this were jam, I would eat it by the spoonful. Oh man, it smells like jam!
I steeped 4 heaping tsp. in 12ish oz of boiling water for about 8 minutes, basically following the Teavivre directions. Lately I have found ymself pulling away from fruit based teas, but berry tisanes still hold a place in my heart, and this one smells like the queen of them all. Oh man, am I excited.
The brewed liquor has a tart smell from the roselle, but there is still distinctly jammy blueberry and raisin underneath that. The first sips are very tart, so we added a drop of honey and that made this lovely. The tartness is there, but it is muted a bit by the honey and the blueberry flavour becomes more rich. It still reminds me of jam and has a lovely aftertaste – this is a treat! I look forward to enjoying the rest of this sample, and likely will be ordering it at some point in the future.
EDIT: Made a second steep (10 minutes) and that was really good – the tartness was totally gone, and though the berry flavour was obviously light, it was naturally sweet and deicious, like over-ripe berries. Loving the lighter second steep to go with the bold first!
This sample was provided to me by Angel from Teavivre approximately 1 to 2 months ago. My apologies in the delay before tasting, life got away with me. I’ve decided to do all my initial reviews on these teas following package directions. Though I would not ordinarily steep an oolong in boiling water for 1 to 3 minutes, I will give it the old college try, and hopefully post an additional note at another time with my usual parameters. For the tasting, I am using my gaiwan with one sample packet and sharing with the beau in our little double walled teacups.
Dry leaves smell sweet, and remind me of hay and grass. The beau proclaims them earthy but as in “of the earth” not dirt. : )
First steep: One minute, boiling water. The liquor is pale yellow with a hint of green, not nearly as deep as I feared. The smell is very vegetal, my first thoughts are boiled spinach and leafy greens. This does not appeal to me, but I’ll give it a shot – once it’s cool enough to drink! The leaves have opened a LOT and are very pretty in my gaiwan. As it cools the boiled greens aroma fades (yay) and the taste is surprising. There is an aspect of green vegetalness (ya, I said vegetalness, what of it? :D) but this is really nice. I am not a green tea drinker and tend to prefer oolongs that are more like black teas, but this is really pleasant. Surprisingly sweet and rich. There is a floral aspect which is very present in the taste, but not overwhelmingly. Reminds me of a few flowering teas I have tried and enjoyed. I’m impressed! The beau, on the other hand, says “it’s kinda plain”. Well.
Second steep: 2 minutes, boiling water. The liquor is much darker this time ‘round though the smell is fairly similar. Let it cool so I don’t burn my tongue and the taste is actually quite vegetal with a hint of bitterness. Jumping up to 2 minutes was clearly too much for me, I should have stuck at 1.5 for now. For an experienced oolong drinker the bold vegetal aspect of this might be appealing, but it is a bit too much for an oolong novice such as myself. Ah well, it’s my own fault! The beau proclaims that this steep is better and he likes it more. He has a recently discovered love for green tea, so this makes sense.
I think I will take a break now to prepare lunch and add any notes about further infusions later on, if I think of it. I have only tried 3 or 4 different Tie Guan Yins now, so I barely know what I am talking about but I found this to be really present and quite bold. Though I feared the boiling water, I think that is what maintained the strength of flavour.
Just tried a cup of Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha (non vegan). Wow, is it ever different from the kind found in the 12 Teas of Christmas. I really enjoyed it with the marshmallow root, but what I just tasted was not the same at all. There was a strong smoke aspect which I did not like and the marshmallow was kind of yucky. After a few sips, I left the rest of the cup for the beau – blech! Numerical rating still stands for the vegan stuff, but this would have got a 40 from me.
Purchased this while in Yarmouth visiting family over Christmas. Apparently a local drug store (City Drug) has started blending and selling their own tea – Very intriguing. The beau and I decided to get a bit of this, but they only offer their tea in 50 gram bags. Bummer (and kind of a strike 1). We decide to get it anyway, despite there being no visible price chart (strike 2). This 50 gram bag came to 12 dollars with tax!!!! First off, no tax on tea in NS. Second off, that is an outrageous price – No wonder the price list is hidden. They also charge more than $10 for a 100 pack of T-Sacs. We won’t be buying any more tea there at those prices, so we had pretty high expectations of this puppy.
We finally rbewed a pot of this up with breakfast, and it was pretty darn good. no bitterness – which is great. There was a rich, creamy flavour which was more caramelly than anything else, but quite nice. The pomegranate they talk about on the packaging was nowhere to be seen, but it was prerty nice. I think I might even prefer it to the Sawadeee Monk’s Blend based on the richness, but at the price it is, we’ll live without when this pack is gone.
Another from my box of teas from LiberTeas on teatra.de – WEE!!! The beau and I brewed up a pot of this while watching the last two episodes of Arrested Development. I know we’re behind the times, but oh well. As for the tea, I’m not familiar with or fond of green tea, but this one appeals to me in terms of flavourings. Hojicha is totally new to me but I’m intrigued to give it a shot.
The steeped liquor is a rich honey colour, and has a chickory-esque aroma. Smells faintly woody/nutty but there’s also a sweetness in the aroma. Fairly appealing, and nothing like any green tea I’ve tried. According to my research, that’s no surprise. First sips are surprising. It’s so reminiscent of chickory! It’s got a sort of pseudo chocolate aspect going on too. There is a faint sweetness with a woody almost smoke note as well. Not getting much by way of pear, but I assume the honey is the reason for the sweetness. Another nice one to have tried and I think I might take what’s left of this one to work to finish up. Yum!
This sample came to me by way of LiberTeas and her big box of samples on Teatra.de. Since I am cleaning house (well, trying!) in terms of samples I opted to use this guy for a pot for the beau and I after work. I’m not getting much aroma from the loose leaves, but I’m assuming this tea is getting older, since most reviews of it are from a year ago or more. I will admit up front that I am very uncertain about banana flavour in tea – Most banana teas involve chamomile which is the bane of my existance, so the opportunity to try banana cheesecake is too good to pass up.
Knowing that Frank’s black tea base and I don’t always get along very well, I let the water cool to 95C and only steeped for 3 minutes. These precautions yield a brick red liquor with very little aroma, though there is a tinge of bitterness underneath (almost coffee-ish). There’s not much by way of banana or cheesecake in the aroma but there is a vague sweetness on top of it all. If I could just get the “top” lawyer of the aroma, this would be a very appetizing smell.
First sips are pretty nice. No bitterness, but also no banana. I’ll chalk that up to the age of the tea and the fact that it was in a little plastic bag next to lots of other teas for a while. The general flavour is sweet and lovely, reminiscent of 52Teas’ Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish. I’m not really getting cheesecake here, but there is definite sweetness. Very nice to have tried!
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a de-cupboarding! I’ve been drinking the remains of this sample for the past few days in an attempt to finish it up, and am glad to have done so. While there is a fairly authentic raspberry taste to this mate there is also a strong smokiness which seems more intense than it was when I first tried it a few months ago. It’s not particularly offensive, but it is unexpected. As the cup cools I find the smokiness really develops and takes over the sip, leaving a smoky taste in the mouth afterward. Different!
Finishing up my sample of this today – Another one down, wahoo! I must admit that this tea has become less appealing to me over time. I have a tendency to have my strongest feelings about a tea on initial tasting and to gradually come to enjoy it less and less. Such is the case with this one. The apple that was so innovative at first is now too sweet, the mint too mild and the tea too cloudy (it is a particularly fine rooibos – Lots of little bits floating around, it’s almost like matcha in terms of consistency).
The chocolate has all melted in (according to the “oil slick” on top of the tea) but isn’t very present either. I am getting a lot of sweetness and a very slight hint of mint and milk chocolate at the tail end of the sip but I would prefer for them to be more bold. This is still a nice tea and different from most mint chocolate teas on the market, so I am pleased to have had some, but it doesn’t demand a re-order anymore. What is going on with my tea tastes lately??
I feel pretty bad that I added a tea to the Steepster database just to complain about it a bit, but here I am. This is another that I received in my big box from LiberTeas on teatra.de and I steeped up about half the sample tonight for myself, the beau and a friend. Honestly, this tea appealed to me in theory (I am always on the lookout for a good apple tea, and a good caramel tea. If it can be both then that’s great!) but the reality leaves something to be desired. Once steeped I mostly got a rooibos taste with a faint whiff of something perhaps caramellish every once in a while. I tried it on it’s own at first, then paired it with supper (breaded pork strips and homemade french fries) which didn’t really help a whole lot. It was when drinking it paired with food that I got the most sense of caramel, but there was never any apple. Fine enough to drink for something warm, but not enjoyable, per se.
I got this as a sample in my box of teas from LiberTeas on teatra.de and am finally getting to it. In my ongoing effort to manage my stash, the beau and I have been drinking a lot of teas that we only have a small amount of (or don’t really like) to try to cull the numbers a bit. There was just enough in this sample for a good sized pot, so we went for it.
Steeped in boiling water for 2.5 – 3 minutes, this yields a deep brown liquor with a honeyed black tea aroma. It smells sweet and appealing, though not of strawberries. First sips are a nice sweet black tea with a hint of fruity something behind it. Almost like a jam flavour, and it is a thicker mouthfeel. The black tea is nice and unassuming, not too brisk, bold or malty. Frequently I have an issue with 52Teas black tea base, but this works, so far.
I have never had zabaglione, but am loving the jamminess I get while this tea is hot. Having just googled zabaglione I don’t really know why I am getting jam flavours, but that’s okay. I can tell already that this is a tea to enjoy hot because as it cools the typical bitterness I experience in 52Teas black teas is coming forward (which I hate!) All in all, this is lovely while hot but the bitterness just isn’t my friend. I am considering sweetening this to mask the bitterness, but I don’t like making additions to my tea. Ah well, it was nice to try!
EDIT: Added a bit of milk about halfway through the cup to cut the bitterness. With milk, it’s a bit more bearable in terms of bitterness, but it also masks the hint of strawberry I was getting. Now it tastes almost as if I have a generic orange pekoe tea with some milk thrown in, and a bit of something sweet/fruity. Disappointing.