697 Tasting Notes
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).
Here’s another that smells sort of unpleasant (too strong, really) while dry but actually is nicely flavoured when steeped. I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought a tin of this, but I did. The dry smell is over-whelmingly cinnamon, which is something I have grown to have very little tolerance (and even less appreciation) for. Luckily, when steeped the cinnamon is much less present. I get a hint of slightly bitter black tea and then some muted cinnamon on top of that. Though there are other components floating in the tea, they are not coming through in taste. As it cools, the tea is becoming more bitter and making me wish I had some honey.
I think it will be a bit of a struggle to finish this tin, but at least I have definitely learned to better know my tea tastes over the past few months. I have gotten much better at resisting the urge to buy tea just because there is some in front of me (though I still have my moments). As much as I want to support my local tea shops, I have been finding the quality lacking, of late. Verdant Tea has spoiled me!
Well this is ALL wintergreen this time around! The black tea is hiding under the bold mint flavours, but somehow it all works out. I do get a toothpaste/mouthwash association, but surprisingly it isn’t bothering me. If anything, the dry aroma is my least favouite part of this tea but somehow the bold wintergreen tastes “just right” in conjunction with the other mints and the tea. Not my favourite, but nice to have in the arsenal for days when you get sent to switchboard and have headaches from needing new glasses.
This is not vanilla. It’s barely even chai, honestly. On first smell, this is not super appealing. There is a whiff of vanilla in the aroma, but none of that translates to the taste. Instead I get a bit of astringent black tea and some mild chai. No spices really stand out, but they do work together nicely as a cup you don’t really have to focus on too hard. If this astringency could be eliminated it would be a much nicer cup, but this is okay, as is. This is yet another oldie that I am going to try to force myself through. I need more tea turnover!
To be fair, my stash of this is getting on in age (1 year? 1.5?)but today’s cuppa was just not great. There was no bergamot, and only a light hint of fruit to mask the black tea that went bitter despite only being steeped 2.5-3 minutes. I am thinking that a slightly lower temperature or a bit less leaf than the recommended 1 tsp. might help things, but I’m disappointed that it needs help at all. I am guessing that my evaluation of this today reflects the changes that my tea tastes have undergone over the past year and a half or so. I went through my tea shelves yesterday and am trying to use up some of my older teas, many of which just aren’t my favourites anymore.
Oh my heaven, have I ever under-appreciated this tea! The beau and I have been turning to this a lot lately as a pot to enjoy together. I find it delicious and sweetly lemon, more lemon cream pie than lemon zest – and I like that. For my Canadian friends, this reminds me of Honey Bee from Davids Tea in some ways, though obviously non-caffeinated. Caffeine doesn’t bother me one way or another, but I like the rooibos base (no bitterness, huzzah!) Highly recommended and one of the rare teas I am actually increasing the rating on after having enjoyed it for a few months. I bought the biggest tin available of this (6 oz) when I placed my order, and for once I don’t regret it – this is fabulous!
Continuing the oolong trying extravaganza, I splurged on some of this. Not very much of it, mind you, as it is $10 for 25 g. That makes it the single most expensive tea I have purchased to date. Anywho, on to the tea. Heated the water with my variable temp kettle (so I finally have exact temps!) and steeped it in my gaiwan. To the untrained palate (IE – mine) this is almost indistinguishable from DT’s Tie Kwan Yin.
1st steep (1 minute at 90 degrees) – Mild and unassuming, slight flavour, no bitterness, not very vegetal. Light floral note in there, lightly sweet. A non-steep, really.
2nd steep (2 minutes at 90 degrees) – Much better, there is more flavour here. Slightly vegetal/floral, still no bitterness.
3rd steep (2 minutes at 90 degrees) – Similar to the second, almost has a milkiness (is this what others think of as buttery?) but I might be reaching for that. The beau says the third steep is the best and “clearly tastes different than the other ones.” There is an elusive hint of something underneath it all, almost like a mild spice (sweet cinnamon?)
4th Steep (3 minutes at 90 degrees) – This is a fairly thin steep. I get a hint of the nice sweetish flavour I picked up on in the last steep, but it is quite watery. Not much depth or richness, this will be my last steep. I still maintain I got a hint of spice like cinnamon but the beau compares it to rosemary.
I think I might prefer darker oolongs to greener ones (not surprising, as I don’t like green tea but love black tea) but this is a nice one to have tried. I like that it never got bitter, but I prefer stronger flavoured teas. Again, this is certainly an enjoyable tea but one I won’t re-purchase. Though it was a beautiful tea, with the large leaves completely unfurling after two steeps, there just wasn’t enough there for me. For my tastes, the cheapo Tie Kwan Yin is a better purchase in terms of quality/taste to cost.