703 Tasting Notes
I did something radical this morning. I steeped a tea – this tea – to package specifications. It’s been so long since I had this that my taste memory is mostly gone but I do perceive some differences. Firstly, I actually got some vanilla flavour. Still no apple, but what the hey. Secondly, it’s actually a delightfully mild but spicy chai.
I used 2 tsp. (I can see why – white tea being so fluffy and all that in terms of volume it looks about the same as 1 tsp. of other teas) and steeped for 2 minutes. My water might have been too hot as I am at work, but it still worked out. I still had that weird smell I get from 52Teas Bai Mu Dan (I don’t notice it with other companies, I don’t know what’s up with that!) but it isn’t translating into the taste. I do get a white tea taste in the middle of the sip, which is also new for me and this tea. Either that or I have finally learned what white tea tastes like. Either way, yay!
Tea #1 of 12 from the exceptionally generous sampler package from Fusion Tea Room. Thanks, Fusion! I have been big into herbals and tisanes for years, and even when I go on a different kick (such as my recent fondness for unflavoured blacks) I always still enjoy them. This one smells very berry in the bag, with no discernible note over-ruling though I do think strongly of strawberries and raspberries. Steeped, it turns a deep red fairly quickly but the smell is muted quite a bit and I couldn’t pick out one particular scent.
First sips are berry, but gentle. The hibiscus does NOT come up as tart as I expected based on the colour but does add a little balanced tartness at the end of the sip. The lingering taste is of strawberry and raspberry (I would say more raspberry than anything) which is very exciting. I have very few teas that capture raspberry and this one does it. Of course, it is still a ‘berry melange’ and not just a cuppa raspberry tea, but it’s really enjoyable and surprisingly sweet. I’ve got to say, this raspberry note sort of blows me away. I think this could have done with a bit more steeping for full strength (I was worried about the hibiscus) but this first cup is excellent. The beau comments that it “tastes like a watered down juice. I like that.” : )
Enjoyed a decadent cup of this at work this morning, thanks to Taryn who keeps posting about it! My cup was very minty, but the chocolate was surpringly rich, almost as good as drinking hot chocolate with mint tea in it, which I love to do. Only better for me! : ) At the very end of the cup the peppercorns really came out to play which I enjoyed. I don’t remember them being very flavourful in previous infusions so it was a real treat to have that peppery edge. It takes this tea from plain but yummy chocolate mint to awesome.
Also, I think I might like chocolate tea in general now, huzzah! I think I finally feel ready to try Joy’s Teaspoon’s sample of Chocolat Pot de Tea.
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! : )