675 Tasting Notes
Had a cup of this today and was a little disappointed. Initially it was the delicious sweet vanilla tea I love, but as it sat it became bitter and over-steeped, even though I shook out the “dust” beforehand. I’ve got to finally admit that I wish I hadn’t been so quick to purchase a whole pound of this, as it will take me FOREVER to finish. Lately I’ve been feeling very blah about all my tea – I have too much of it and the turnover just isn’t there. I hope these winter blues go away as I would prefer to be loving my tea again.
I’ve got a confession to make. Even though it is cold outside now (and there is a foot of snow on the ground – Damn you Nova Scotia winter!!) I am still only drinking one cup of tea a day, while I’m at work. I think it speaks to the appeal of this tea that 4 out of 5 cups this week (also known as every cup since I bought this tea) have been Santa’s Secret.
Twice I have accidentally oversteeped it and it still didn’t get better. It has yielded a shockingly flavourful second steep and honestly reminds me of a hint of green tea taste with the creamy vanilla-esque mint flavour. I do believe that I will go get myself a tin of this one, as it seems to be the tea for me, at the moment at least.
It’s not that there is anything overly special about this one, it’s more that it is wonderfully executed for what it is and just plain tasty. A Davids Tea win, to be sure.
First, let it be known that I am in love with the IDEA of this tea, if nothing else. I am a big fan of mint and black tea, and I love the DT blends with little candies (Read my Lips, Oh Canada, Swampwater). Last year I passed it up as I foolishly believed I had too many mint teas. This year, I know better. Second, I tried one of the little candy pieces and they’re quite yummy. Minty and sweet, almost like there is a hint of vanilla or cream.
I am a little afraid that I’ve oversteeped this cup, it got about 4 minutes which is a hint more than I usually give. The aroma is dominantly black tea, but with mint coming in at the end – I would prefer perhaps a little more mint but we’ll see how it tastes. At least I can always add more mint! The liquor is quite dark, but the flavour matches the arome shockingly well. There is definite black tea, but the mint comes in quickly and then yields to a creamy light mint aftertaste, very similar to the little candy pieces. It is candy-caneish but not very sharp in terms of mint. Sweet, but not sickeningly. This cup, I am loving! Hopefully the appeal lasts as right now I am loving this – Might have to really stock up before it disappears.
Re-visiting this one, partially in an attempt to clear out my work stash. Today I realize that the fruit pieces I somehow confused for apple last time are clearly banana, and they are really dominating the cup. I’m not getting much chocolate this time, just sweet banana-esque rooibos. I’m actually going to lower the rating on this one a bit, as it’s just not all that spectacular. However, if you’re looking for a dessert tea with banana and chocolate echoes, this might be the one for you!
I am liking this a LOT more today than I did on first encounter. I honestly made a cup only because I would like to use it up and get it out of the way, but I am really enjoying it, at least while it’s piping hot. The mint and juniper are front and centre leaving a cooling menthol sensation, but the sweetness of the apple is in the background. I remember disliking the sweetness and honestly at the moment I prefer it staying hidden. I am getting something tart at the front of the sip – Not sure what that might be. I’m still not inclined to get more of this but if I can make the rest of it come out like this, I’ll be happy. I think the key (if you’re having it hot) is to have it VERY hot, as well.
A couple pre-emptive notes: there are three listings for this tea. I chose this one as it has the most ratings. Also, my sampling is from this year’s batch (I didn’t have the guts to try it last year!) Thankfully I learned the way of chocolate tea. I actually went in yesterday after some Christmas shopping (the earliest I’ve ever started!) to get this and Santa’s Secret but my local store had already sold out of Santa’s Secret and was waiting on stock. I need to try that tea!!! Anyway, the dry smell is chocolate heaven – I don’t smell any chai or tea, really, but chocolate sure delivers. Steeped, the aroma is still dominated by chocolate, but a bit lighter.
The taste is impressive, to this formerly chocolate-tea-hating girl. It’s extremely similar to Read My Lips, minus the mint. Occasionally I think I feel the chili heat a tiny bit in my throat at the end of the sip but it doesn’t really stand out. For those of you that like chocolate tea, this should be a guaranteed winner. Might need to get some more, for those odd days I don’t feel like having mint in my chocolate tea. The black tea base doesn’t come out to play but I feel that it’s very important to the balance of the cup, lending the chocolate some weight and really keeping the base a bit darker – I guess I’m trying to say it’s not too sweet and though the tea doesn’t shine I think it is a VERY important supporting character.
As I continue sipping, I find the impression of chili heat increases over the course of the cup. Still not dominant in the sip itself, but in the back of the throat after swallowing. This is different. I like it. Also, there’s nothing chai about this, but I don’t mind. Really impressed with this one.
Okay. When I first bought this I knew very little about white teas and foolishly assumed it wouldn’t be very different from the black teas I knew and loved. Now, however, I know more. For example, I know that I’m not a huge fan of white tea. It’s too subtle for my tastes and far too fussy in terms of steep temp. and time. However, I am revisiting this one in an effort to give my teas a more even spread.
Used hot water from spigot at work, let it cool 5 minutes, then steeped for 2 or 3 (didn’t do the “flash steep” as it is flavoured and I don’t know if it would work so well.) The flavour is sweet with a hint of under-ripe melon rind. It sort of reminds me of 52Teas Peach Cobbler green which I hated and swapped away. I can drink this, but it still isn’t a favourite, possibly because it seems SO sweet. Might like it more if I removed the dried cantaloupe pieces, but that seems like cheating. Sometimes white and green teas make me feel nauseous, hoping that isn’t the case with this one…I don’t know that I’m ever going to appreciate white teas, at this rate.
EDIT: As with my initial tasting of this tea, I find the smell a little off and I don’t like that. The taste is not objectionable, but the smell sort of brings it down a bit for me
I just lost my post. : (
In sum: This is still delicious. Bought 100 grams of this which stays at home (the beau and I both like it) and the sample stays at work. Reminds me in taste of Joy’s Teaspoon’s Lemon Zest but the mate aspect really makes it stand out. Naturally sweet, but not cloyingly so (I find myself averse to too sweet tea lately). Highy recommended! (Disclaimer: I have no discernible reaction to caffeine and the like, but I’ve hear this one can be pretty “energizing”.)
I know I go through this all the time, but I have found the Saigon Chai sweet spot! I had another 50 g tucked away somewhere and brewed a cup today. Only 2 or 3 minutes to steep and I shook out the dust beforehand. I find this batch has fuller leaf which means less bitterness off the bat. I added a tiny bit (maybe 1/8 tsp) of sugar to my Perfect Tea Mug, and it’s great. For now. Historically, it gets worse as it cools, but I’m hoping this cup holds up better. Raising the rating, for now. Really need to do a proper stovetop chai with this sometime!
Re-visiting this one again today. I’ve been feeling very under-whelmed lately with my tea options at work so I have been bringing in bits and bobs from home. Of course, it doesn’t help that I seem to have no idea what I want, but I persist in my quest nonetheless. This tea is a bit unusual in my cupboard, I don’t think I have any others that feature bamboo and honestly not that many that are strawberry. I remember enjoying it quite a bit during the summer so I am hoping that enjoyment is still there.
Dry, the leaves have an odd smell (almost reminiscent of melon or white tea – I don’t know where I’m getting that from) but there is a strawberry sweet note as well, sort of like strawberry candy. I steeped two heaping teaspoons for 7 or 8 minutes, and the result is a liquor that smells almost exactly like the dry ‘leaf’ – sweet but something off about it.
The taste matches the smell. It’s pretty much like I remember it. Sweet artificial strawberry, with the taste of the bamboo coming through as almost hay or oat-like. Right on the top of the sip I get a note that is almost like dark chocolate which really boggles me. I’m enjoying this at the moment, though I think I might prefer it iced (rare for me). Glad I only bought 50 g, as it doesn’t quite have the lasting impression I hoped for.
Still no spicy note. Bringing down the rating from 93 to 80s.