699 Tasting Notes
I’ve been having this one lately at work while at switchboard – When I find myself wanting something unflavoured this is the only one lying around (at work) that isn’t in bags. I find it has a tendency to become bitter if I am not careful about steeping time, but it is certainly a servicable black. I think if I could add a drop or two of milk or a few granules of sugar after a while it might improve that hint of bitterness, but when in switchboard there is none of that.
All that said, I would prefer a higher quality keemun to be the one I have on hand (something with some depth and nuances of flavour) but I should be able to use the rest of this tin with ease. When I did my large scale exploration of black teas a number of months back I made the fatal mistake of buying large volumes of tea before testing them, so I have a couple tins of servicable (but not fantastic) tea lying around that I need to use up before I can justify getting some of the good stuff. I can’t resist a bargain and the price of tea in the tin is usually far superior to the cost of samples (on a per gram basis, of course). Ah well, at least I have tea!
Had a DELICIOUS pot of this last evening with the beau (after packaging up an ounce or two for a swap!) We used two heaping teaspoons for the pot and each got two 8 ounce cups out of it, so that’s pretty good in my book. The taste was rich decadent vanilla with a hint of caramel, just the way I like it. Adjusting the rating back up based on that perfect pot – I think the key to this one for me is a bit more leaf and only about 3 minutes to steep. I don’t like astringency, so most of my blacks get about 3 minute steeps and that’s just what I like – No additions.
I’m going to blaspheme here – I actually liked this bagged chai. I find chai tea to be a great equalizer – Yes, it is better as loose leaf but of all teas, it’s not so bad bagged. This is likely because the spices dominate the tea and mask the bitterness from low quality tea, but I don’t care. A coworker gave me two bags of this as she knew I love tea and I liked this. Stuck at reception with no time to prepare loose leaf this is a good stand-in and is keeping me warm. Partway through I added a few drops of milk and a miniscule amount of raw sugar as it was getting a titch bitter (and chai handles both milk and sugar well, I find) and it made it better.
Also, it’s making me think that my recent tea apathy might just be a seasonal change in tastes and I need to figure out which ones I want – Chai, mint and chocolate seem to be in vogue for me!
Sadly, this is another one that has become less appealing to me over time. Today, I shook out a considerable deal of dust (what I believe used to be the mint in the tea) so I added a half teaspoon of Spearmint to brighten it up a bit. I’m getting a dry sensation in the aftertaste and a pretty sharp mint. The green is present, though not dominant. Not being a green fan, it is a hint more green than I would prefer, but still acceptable. I am pretty certain this cup is oversteeped though, and that is doing something unpleasant. I really am having a bit of tea failure this week, hopefully I can fix it up soon with something better. Maybe I need to get back to basics.
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.