703 Tasting Notes
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.
This is another very old sample that I had purchased from The Tea Brewery about a year ago. Finishing it off and finally writing a tasting note. I didn’t really pay attention to the look of the tea before I steeped it, but afterward it is clear that this one has hibiscus in it. It is very red, and probably a bit over-steeped as I didn’t notice there was hibiscus.
The taste of this is berry, but not specificly apple. There isn’t much sweetness, but nor is there much tart from the hibiscus. I’m guessing there was only a touch of hibiscus for colour more than anything else, but it seems incongruous to have hibiscus in a “sweet” apple orchard blend. This was another disappointment, but I could chalk that up to age. I really need to kee cleaning out some of the older samples in my tea stash. It still amazes me how quickly time flies!
This tea is an older sample that I purchased from the Tea Brewery’s stall at the Market, and I am finishing it up today. Apparently I have not made a tasting note for it before and I honestly don’t remember anything about it, so it’s just like starting over! I steeped this about five minutes in boiling water. The liquor is fairly yellow and very mild in aroma, as was the loose “leaf”. The smell and taste are not very present, possibly because it’s age. I get a hint of something appley, and this is enhanced when I have a few almonds as a snack to pair with it. The beau finds this quite pleasant but I see it as a disappointment. It was too bland to be interesting and not really worth absent-mindedly sipping. If nothing else, at least another sample bit the dust! :)
Another bubblegum tea… I held out a lot of hope for it at first, the aroma was very much like an orange creamsicle, and the first few sips even alternated between bold (yet sweet) orange and a vanilla creaminess but as the cup started to cool it began to taste like bubblegum. Now I can’t get any flavour or aroma out of it other than bubblegum and I am pretty bummed. I like orange teas, but I find it difficult to get one that tastes good. Not much else to say about this, it’s pretty forgettable. I would rather have more bagged Twinings African Honeybush Mandarin and Orange than this one.
So long, suckers! All in all, this was a Davids Tea miss for me. I found it fairly disappointing and the flavours did not meld in any way I appreciated. The juniper and mint were interesting, but combined with apple, etc, it ranged from okay to gross. I think that removing the apple might have made it better, but I can’t be sure. I find DT is going overboard on ingreients latley (last year or so I have felt this way) and they need to rein in a few of their blends and really make a solid tea before I lose heart.
A quick note: I brewed this last night at 80 degrees (and I know this because of my variable temp kettle!) and this was a totally different cuppa tea. I got the green tea very bold in the foretaste, almost cinnamony and then a hint of lime in the background. I do prefer the lime to be a bit more bold (as I find it is if brewed at slightly higher temps) but this was interesting. To taste mostly green tea and not hate it was a big step up for me. It did make me feel slightly nauseous (as I find green teas and puerhs do sometimes) but I might be ready to give green teas a shot sometime in the next few months. As long as they don’t make me nauseous, cuz nothing is worth that.
Also, a complaint: I wish the water temperature scale didn’t just move in 5 degree increments in fahrenheit. It is impossible to get some of the exact numbers I use in celsius (my kettle works in five degree increments in celsius).