660 Tasting Notes
Okay, it finally happened. I finally, after more than a year of loose leaf love, have fallen out of love with my bagged Twinings Black Currant. It makes me sad, but also excited becuase now I can officially begin the hunt for an amazing loose black currant. Unfortunately, I rarely see ‘plain’ black currant black teas. What’s up with that? : )
Well, apparently I haven’t had this since last year…We bought 2 or 3 berry herbals from David’s Tea at the same time last year and I have always had trouble remembering which ones I really like and which ones come out too tart. Today, this one I really like. I went a bit low on the steep time so the hibiscus couldn’t take over and am having an enjoyable berry flavoured buppa which is what I was going for. I feel like Bear Trap was the one I loved, but right now I’m liking this. And it is cutting through my garlicky hummus breath, so that’s good for my colleagues!
Okay. Months later, I have opted to try this. The first thing I wonder is how others are steeping this? It is far too fine and dusty for my metal infuser, so I’m steeping it in a T-Sac but I even managed to shake some tea dust out of that. I gave it three minutes to steep, no additions, water that wasn’t quite boiling, as it came from the spigot at work.
First sips are confusing. Not the hit over the head ginger and cinnamon taste I expected from similar “bold teas”. At the front of the sip, there is a rich flavour, slightly bitter black tea, but almost more on the edge of the coffee. The end of the sip is well balanced, with a hint of ginger burn on the tongue (if that makes sense). I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it. I do think it would hold up spectacularily to a proper stovetop method with milk, which is saying a lot for me. I think this might be better with a hint of honey to sweeten out the rough edges (ground tea obviously comes off a bit bitter. Silly tannins).
I think I will take it home to make there, as I can’t try stovetop OR honey at work. I greatly prefer 52Teas Gingerbread Chai to this one, but I think that this might be just the thing on a biting winter day, with snow blowing in my eyes and ice trying to trip me on every step.
Update: I found a bit (and I mean a bit!) of white sugar that I had hidden in the cupboard for emergencies. I stirred it in (maybe 1/4 of a teaspoon) and I find that it has managed to mellow out some of the slight bitterness without really adding any sweetness. That’s a yay! Definitely confirming my thoughts about this being a winter tea. Would make a good latte if I had that skill.
This smells amazing, dry. The beau picked it out to drink on our return from the Market and I acquiesced. Then I looked it up..uh oh. Rosehips? Hibiscus? Chamomile? Herm. This is one the 60+ teas (yes, sixty!) that I recieved in my box of wonder that I purchased from LiberTeas via TeaTrade. It’s been so warm the last few weeks that I’ve only been drinking tea at work, and none of these are there so this is the first one I’ve broken into.
Back to the tea. Ever since I read a tasting note on here (don’t remember whose) about squeezing steeped rosehips and having them ooze, just thinking about it makes me a little queasy. I already have a tenuous relationship with hibiscus and hate chamomile, but I am hoping the delicious sweet orange dry smell really translates in the taste.
The liquor is very red (hibiscus) and the steeped aroma is unusual. Tart and dry, with an oatmeal-ish edge, according to the beau. I’m fairly certain the odd scent I keep getting is the chamomile mixing with all the other powerful ingredients. There is no echo here of the dry aroma, this is a whole different beast.
First sips are a relief. The hibiscus isn’t overwhelming and the chamomile is there but not dominant. I don’t get any orange or cranberry though, which is a let down. As it cools, the chamomile takes over. Bleck. I appreciate the chance to try this one, but I think I will try to move the rest of my sample along to a friend. Either that or convince the beau to drink as he DOES get orange and doesn’t get chamomile.
Firstly, thank you to Tea Licious for having sent me this sample months ago. Secondly, I’m sorry Tea Licious, that I took so long to get to this sample. I’m terrible for that, on occasion.
This one is surprisingly pleasant. I don’t have much experience with Ceylons, so I am not sure of the nuances, but it is a wholly drinkable (and enjoyable!) black tea, if a little forgettable. I know this may be blasphemy, but it doesn’t seem terribly diffferent from my bagged Bigelow Ceylon (which I enjoy!). I get something approaching plum or raisin on the end of the sip, quite a sweet taste left in my mouth almost as if I had added a drop of honey. I could imagine this being a wonderful way to convert bagged black tea drinkers to the wonders of loose leaf. It almost has a hint of astringency, but it hasn’t developed any bitter impressions. I imagine it would easily take milk and sugar without being totally washed out, but I think it is fine as is.
The aroma of this as it is steeping blew me away. I was convinced before tasting that it would be THE apple tea for me. I steeped it three minutes and leaned in closer for a better sniff. Hmm. Not good. Up close, this doesn’t smell nearly as good as the tantalizing apple aromas that waft out of the pot. I’m not much of a green tea person, so I was a little concerned about the green tea base, and I think that is what I am picking up on in my “up close sniff”.
First sips echo my recent thoughts. I get apple, certainly, but I get a bit more green tea taste than I would prefer. I found it reminiscent of Baked Apple from the last winter collection, which it took me time to enjoy so hopefully this will grow on me as well. I have 26 grams to learn to love, for now. It also reminds me of the dreaded chamomile apple bagged Twinings that I bought a few months back, and that is NOT a taste association I ever want again. Drinking that made me nauseous.
As it cooled, I got more pastry aspect, though I noted that it could use a bit more cinnamon to round out the apple pie aspect. I considered blending some with a vanilla tea to give it an ‘a la mode’ aspect…this is something I might try later on. The beau made a second steep this morning with breakfast that I didn’t try but he reported that he liked it better the second time and found it had more pie aspect.
While there is always the strong possibility of my mis-steeping it (no temp. gage or thermometer in our house!) this leaves a little something to be desired, for now. As I reported to the beau, I’m on the fence about this one. It has the potential to be great, but it hasn’t shone yet.
I’ve figured out what it reminds me of: Ruby Red from Joy’s Teaspoon. Which I love and have 6 ounces of. This isn’t quite as strong in flavour as the Ruby Red (though I suspect that has to do with the dried fruit, which I have learned to carefuly spread out) but is still fairly potent and very sweetly flavoured. I enjoy this, but when it is all gone I won’t be getting any more. There is almost a pseudo smoke note in the middle of the sip, but I suspect that is the rooibos. I have had this small amount for quite some time, and look forward to finishing it off and de-cupboarding it after one more cuppa. I’ve become quite fond of the idea of de-cupboarding lately, although I never seem to finish any teas. I should get to work! : )
I know there is nothing new about the fact that this tea is tasty, but I am enjoying it so much right now that I figured I might as well log it. My only disappointment with this tea is that it frequently seems to be rather thin, likely because it is a decaf tea. The vanilla flavour is still more caramel than coconut, and though it could be stronger it is a lovely mild tea, not one I really focus on but good to wile away the afternoon at work (though I’d rather have another afternoon at home with a good book!)
Enjoying a surprisingly strong second steep of this today. It is not as tart as yesterday (less hibiscus) and I find the blueberry flavour is more out to play. The sage is still fairly strong, but supportive of the blueberry.
Also, unrelated but I have noticed today that my tea has been bothering the heartburn I have been enduring for a few days. Has anyone else ever noticed this? I’m assuming it’s a reaction to the hot liquid rather than anything else. Stupid heartburn, making me question my tea…
This smells HEAVENLY. I am a blueberry fan, and this smells like sweet ripe juicy berries…even like cooked bluieberry pie, where all you can smell is sugar and blueberries! If I concentrate deeply I get a hint of what must be the sage, but this is mostly just a blueberry assault on the nose. If it tastes like it smells, this might be one I actually keep on hand.
Steeped, that sage really comes out to play, in the smell at least. There is stil a definite blueberry aroma going on, but that sage is surprisingly bold. Honestly, I’m a little concerned about the sage business, I don’t know that I’ve experienced it in a tea before.
First sips are tart blueberry, with the sage hiding under the taste and a sweeper blueberry flavour on the aftertaste. It’s surprisingly complex over the course of the sip. I really enjoy the aftertaste of juicy blueberries, but wish that the tart aspect up front were diminished. This is definitely enjoyable and one that I think I will keep an eye out for, but wouldn’t make a special order for (mostly because I have “too much tea”). I don’t get any alcohol or medicinal taste in this which is, at this point, a huge relief. Thumbs up!