682 Tasting Notes
Finished these off today. I had saved four of the marbles for one last hurrah and it is proving delicious. If this weren’t so obscenely over-priced ($14.50/50g) I would definitely re-stock but at this price I won’t be. I will remain contended with my dragon pearls from Teavivre even if they don’t have jasmine.
Anyway, this tea. The black base can go bitter so I like to keep it around 3 minutes steep or use slightly cooler water. I know it will go two steeps with solid black tea flavour and fairly dominant jasmine. The jasmine gives it a sweetness that I really like – I never knew I liked floral teas until this one. The black is bold enough to remain present and provide a good base for the jasmine to dance on.
TL;DR: Great tea, too pricey.
So this was my first tea as a married woman – we have been so busy with wedding preparation, setup, enjoyment, take down and aftermath that this may be the only tea I have had in a week. I love mint so it really hit the spot, and it was thoughtful that my mother-in-law made it for me. We have been together for nine years so nothing really changed but it was amazing to get together with our best friends and family to celebrate. It was a true Nova Scotia kitchen party – we are thinking of having a celebration every year in the same style. Happy tea!
Well, the name is accurate on this one. I had been referring to it as mango bubble gum but mango fruit punch works better. This is a very heavy tea that smells delicious, like something you should eat immediately. I ended up using the entire 26 gram packet for our 24 oz teapot as it was very heavy and hard to get enough to flavour up. That basically makes this 1.75 a cup. Yikes!
Steeped, it has a yellow colour and a sweet aroma. The taste matches it closely, with a POW of sweetness, some identifiable candied mango and then bubble gum/fruit punch under that. To be honest, I don’t like it. I am not keen to finish my cup and I definitely won’t buy any more. I don’t know what I expected but the smell was so amazing that I got carried away. What I would want here is to cut the sweetness and add maybe some tartness to round it out. Rare for me! I should probably have used less tea or less time, but I know how difficult it can be to get dried fruit to flavour up. Unfortunately I went the opposite direction. Not for me, but would probably be very good iced or if you’re a huge fan of sweet teas.
Another poorly stored sample, but worth a go, right? This smells tart like hibiscus but I don’t see any of the typical pink tinge. I get some sour rooibos as well, masking what I would otherwise presume to be tart blueberries. At five minutes, this tastes mainly of smoke. Like there is a fire a few kilometres away but a bit of the smoke has blown in on the wind. No tart, nor sweet, nor blueberry at all. If I could get the aroma to match the taste I would be a happy panda.
At 15 – 20 minutes I can finally get some blueberry flavour in there but it is so dominated by smoke that I am not interested in continuing. This is my fault so no rating. I wish I had drank this two years ago when it was still fresh.
Dry, this smells amazing. I am thinking of the horse barn at the exhibition but in a GOOD WAY. Sweet clean hay, damp wood, hard working animals and minimal stink. This is contrasting with the cow barn which always smelled much more of excrement. Blech. I have come to really enjoy the smell and taste of hay and damp wood in my teas, and trying to get into puerh seems like the logical next step for me and my tea journay. Black teas and roasty oolongs still make me a happy panda but puerh might offer me just a little bit more.
Because I am a puerh noob I have used a bit less leaf than I probably should have, but that’s okay. Coupled with 95 degree water, I am ready to dip my toes in. I am using my smallish gaiwan and very small double walled cups. I have also broken out my tea feet (tea pet) to get their tea on too.
First steep at 30 seconds. Because of my conservative leaf and temp, I figure I can up the ante on time. I am tasting this one, though I know typically the first steep is a rinse. Not much about this is typical though. The smell is strong and smoky, like tanned hide or salted meat. Smoked wood, tobacco. I am developing an appreciation for a smoky note so this is actually enticing. The flavour is sweeter than the smoke note led me to believe, and taste more like the initial smell – sweet hay, damp hide and a hint of salt. Perfectly drinkable though not my ideal cuppa. Much more earthy than sweet though.
Second steep at 45 seconds yields the same aroma of smoke and salt. The taste is much sweeter though, more sweet hay, less earth. Much nicer, though it tastes a bit light. This is very sippable, the contrast of the taste and the aroma is very interesting. The smoke really develops as the tea cools.
Third steep at 1 minutes results in a brew much like the second, only amplified. I am getting some floral tastes now. I didn’t get any fruit or spices before now but I hardly know what I’m doing and I’m okay with that. This is my favourite so far, the smoke is mellowing out and allowing the taste to dominate the aroma.
Will likely steep more later but taking a break to put together our corn chowder now. General impressions are that this is a nice tea, but not my favourite. Something to enjoy occasionally. Will try it more traditionally at some point (more leaf/less time) and see what I get. Might do a cup western style too.
This is an impressive tea, especially for it’s cost. For a long time, my favourite black tea was the Wild Black Yunnan from Davids Tea. For me, this one is even better. Stronger, bolder flavours with less (read: no) astringency or bitterness. It holds strong through multiple steepings but is so inexpensive that I don’t mind calling it quits at just one steep. I actually prefer it to the other Yunnans that Teavivre offers, as this one has the cocoa and earth POW that I love. I am very glad to have 100 grams on hand, and will re-stock this one rather than the Davids when the time comes. Mmmm!
The beau and I picked up 10 grams of this last March and promptly forgot about it. Though it smells appetizing, I fear the hibby is strong in this one. So many of Davids blends over the past couple years have been lackluster for me, with the notable exception of Berry Good which I adore.
Steeped, this is a coral liquor which smells very tart, like pink lemonade – that would be the hib, I assume. The taste is a shock of tart with some herby flavour in the middle and then all ginger and hibiscus at the end. I am not really liking it but it isn’t the worst herbal I’ve had. I am not getting any strawberry though, which is a definite problem. Strawberry was the selling point for me but all I have is tart ginger. I will try cold brewing the rest, I think, and see how that goes. If nothing else, the beau likes iced tea.
I got a sample of this one a long long time ago and finally had the presence of mind to steep it up today. There is enough there for two cuppas so I have half of it in a filter bag as that stuff looks too fine for my filter. I hate when floaties escape into my tea!
The aroma is fairly strong with cinnamon dominating. Cinnamon isn’t my favourite part of a chai but I do appreciate the necessity, so on we forge. I went through a mega chai phase about two years ago but really lost my taste for it somewhere since then. I am not sure what happened, though I suspect I put too much milk in it at some point and it was ruined by association. I am not a milk drinker and never have been. Blech.
Steeped, I get cinnamon in taste and burn, with some gingery/nutmeggy baking type flavours. There is a bit of heat, but I am not really getting the cardamom which sometimes balances chai out for me. The black tea base is also pretty assertive. I know it is blasphemous, but I don’t really like assams and the ilk. Their strength of flavour is interpreted by my tongue as bitterness, even with the most careful treatment. Then it needs milk, which I don’t like. Hmm, I guess I just figured out why I don’t like chai. :)
Anyway, this is a perfectly respectable chai and if you are a chai fan it will likely impress you. This might make a good latte (which interestingly I do enjoy, if it isn’t too milk heavy) but that is beyond my skills. I’ll just keep sipping.
Gave this another shot in a different way today. I forgot to clean out my Perfect Tea Mug so I put 4 or 5 pearls in a T-Sac and brewed them up for 3 – 4 minutes in a mug. I got a LOT more jasmine than previous infusions, and the black tea came through pretty nicely as well, but without any astringency. I remain a little disappointed by the quality of the base tea and prefer Teavivre’s Black Pearls for price AND taste, but these are definitely a nice change from the usual. I frequently forget how I feel about jasmine but I DO like it and these are a lovely way to get a floral hit. If that base tea were just a bit better..
Another from my box o tea from LiberTeas several years ago. Initially it smells as though it has been scent contaminated with all the rest, but when steeped 2.5 minutes it smells definitely like black tea with light citrus. More like cleaner than fresh fruit, but not unappealing. It looks and smells like a tea that will get bitter if over-steeped so I was careful with the time.
First sips yield a fairly typical black tea that starts out a bit sweet and then goes a bit astringent, with some light citrus in the background. Considering the age and storage of this sample, I am impressed that there are any flavours to distinguish at all. In the aftertaste I get a sense of bergamot but it is very light and not dusty at all the way bergamot can sometimes be.
This is a very pleasant (if mild) cuppa, and I will definitely be able to finish the sample. Yay!