660 Tasting Notes
Let’s be real here – I love black currant flavoured things. Black Currant Simpkins drops are one of my favourite candies and I am always on the lookout for a tea that can recreate that taste, albeit with a lot less sugar! When a coworker of mine told me she was doing a Tea Forte order, I knew I’d end up tossing in their black currant to try it out. I piked up the 50 gram loose pouch for $7.00 – if it’s good, that’s a decent price for a flavoured black.
The aroma out of the bag is bold and very closely aligned to the Black Currant Drops I so love. MMM, a deep breath of this is lovely. Weary of a potentially bitter base, I am giving this 2.5 – 3 minutes to steep. Steeped, the aroma has diminished but if you get close to the cup it hangs heavy like fog. I wish the smell were as vibrant steeped as dry, but hopefully the taste holds true.
First sips are a good balance of the tea itself and the black currant flavouring. No bitterness but neither is it sweet. I get the sharp flavour of black currant on the back of my tongue, and it builds throughout the sip. I wish there were a little bit more of the black currant, but this is a pretty good balance. I’m not sure if I prefer it to the Twinings Black Currant (one of the best bagged teas I’ve ever had) but it’s very nice. I’m very glad to have a black currant back in my cupboard as before this I only had the dregs of an old batch from Bulk Barn.
A coworker made a massive Tea Forte order and let me toss in some Black Currant to try and also a tin of these mints. I opted for the Lime Mojito as there’s pretty much no way to screw that up. I love mint so this was right up my alley – and it’s a success, at least in this flavour. The tea is pretty absent but I like to think it’s good for me (they’re made with matcha). The lime and mint are well balanced and the flavours last the length of the mint. Yummy!
Okay, colour me impressed. This is one from my box o’ teas from LiberTeas from forever ago that I thought I wouldn’t like. It doesn’t have the smell contamination that others do (I finally realized that it is the packaging – the ones in the thicker plastic have no smell contamination but there were some in small sandwich style bags and those ones shared smells. Voila!) but chocolate orange is not a flavour I enjoy. The smell is okay but they just aren’t for me. Another side note: Terry’s now makes a chocolate mint which is fabulous. I bought one as a treat and wish I had more!
Anyway, the aroma of this was very strong and true to the name, I conjured up images of Terry’s Chocolate Oranges right away. Even when steeped both the chocolate and the orange are present, though the orange comes through more as rind at this point.
Apprehensively, I took my first sips. Wow. No bitterness (from the tea or the orange rind) and the chocolate is actually sweeter than expected. I believe it has cacao nibs rather than milk chocolate but there is some sweetness in there that gives more of a milky taste. Accurately it is more of a dark chocolate orange and it is good. Way better than the chocolate.
Speaking of the chocolate, this doesn’t have any nasty artificial taste to it the way many chocolate teas seem to do. This tastes very authentic and natural rather than chemically reconstituted chocolate. Nice!
I continue to be impressed at how smooth this one is. I really expected some bitterness but the base tea on this clearly is quality tea. I thought I may have over-steeped a bit, but it’s holding up well. Very nice! I just checked and am sorry to report that Ovation teas is going out of business…I would manage to finally try their tea after it was too late. If there’s any of this in their closing out sale and you like chocolate orange things, I highly recommend picking some up.
THis is a sample that I thought I had tried but apparently neglected. Luckily it was still sealed so when I opened it up I got a POW of aroma. The leaves are not whole but are in decent shape for an affordable yunnan and there are some golden ones in there. The aroma is richly cocoa, very bold and present, with a sense of bitterness and maybe some malt.
Steeped, the aroma remains as strong with the bitter malty notes over-riding the cocoa. I would like to have a cinnamon note here but I do not. I’m a little intimidated by the aroma, I tend to like my blacks a little gentler but smells can be deceiving. First sips reveal that I have been deceived. I’m getting some earthiness, some hay, some barn-like flavour that reminds me of a puerh. It’s not unpleasant and it is all supported by a sweet note but I can sense that this will build up in bitterness as I sip/the cup cools.
I think it’s the sweetness mixed with the earth that makes me think of fresh hay in a barn, and it’s really surprising for me. I’m not used to this in a yunnan, like I said above it is more of a puerh quality. I am pleasantly surprised by the flavour and feel it is much more complex than the initial aroma led me to believe. I am starting to get a sense of cocoa morphing into the back of the sip which is nice and more what I am used to. While I don’t think can take quite the same beating as my beloved Wild Black Yunnan from Davids, this one is a very nice offering. It also happens to be about $6 less per 50 grams than the Wild Black Yunnan which is a nice selling point. I think that next time I do a Teavivre order I may pick up more of this, or perhaps try out the next grade up in their Yunnan set (the full-leaf which contains more buds. For this price, I might pick up both of them!
I’m definitely digging this one – bold and rich but not bitter, that shows a good quality tea. I have a coworker who is super into Indian teas for their strength and not so much liking the Chinese blacks – maybe this one could help pull her over to my side! :)
This is a LONG overdue thank you to Mercuryhime for providing me with this sample (and others) eons ago. I found it in my basket of muddled aromas and thought it might have survived the onslaught of smells. Steeped, the tea smells tart and is a quite pretty coral shade. I am thinking there must be some rosehip or hibiscus based on the smell and colour, but it’s not too in-your-face about it, which is pleasant.
I’ve googled Anjou pears but I am not sure if I’ve had them before. When I look for pear tastes, I expect a sweetness reminiscent of the pear Jelly Bellies and this actually has that, in a way. The reality of this one is that is very tart though, at least for a pear tea. If we take pear out of the equation it is mildly tart, definitely fruity. More of a crisp sour apple than a pear. I’m not picking up on the oolong, but that’s to be expected with all the additives this has.
While it’s got a generic fruit flavour going on, I actually quite like this one. If this were an offering from a store close to me and was relatively cheap (maybe $5 or 6 for 50 grams) I might pick up some more. Generic, yes, but still tasty and the oolong makes it different than if it had a green or black base. This almost tastes like an herbal, it just has a bit of backbone from the oolong.
Having looked up the ingredients on Teavana’s site, I see this has both hibiscus and rosehips. I am impressed that it is such a light touch though – most hibiscus teas are overpowering. Perhaps Mercuryhime balanced it for me. :)
Anyway, this was my first and only Teavana tea. Nothing to write home about, but nothing objectionable besides the price. Thanks again for sharing, it’s much appreciated!!
The aroma of this one appealed to me so strongly in store a few months ago that I broke my own rules and bought a Davids Tea white blend. Their whites are outrageously priced in my opinion, and rarely have much tea in them. The smell of this one though…MMMM. Apparently I really like the aroma and taste of floral teas, because this one is a floral POW and I love the smell. The sales person had recommended it to me because I really like Three Wishes, another floral blend.
Yesterday was the beau’s birthday and also one of our last days with the rental car as ours has been deemed a ‘total loss’ and now we are working on getting a payout. A very very small payout. So now we get to pay for a wedding and invest in a new car, only 6 weeks after having got the last one. Grr. Anyway, we went to visit my grandmother yesterday while we still could and then went out for dinner and a movie (The Hobbit) to celebrate the beau’s birthday.
Today we are cleaning up the place and trying to relax a bit before his father and sister stop by to celebrate once again. I’ve also made bread and a cake – a busy weekend, for us. So, the beau offered to make tea to relax a bit but unfortunately it sat forgotten on the table and steeped for 20 minutes. Blergh.
Second try, we forgot it again and steeped it an extra minute. This is an expensive tea and we’ve already wasted about half our sample, so we’re determined to drink this one come hell or high water. It is incredibly fragrant, throwing off waves of what I assume must be jasmine. Up close, it pus me in mind of Tim Hortons peach drink from my childhood – in the most nostalgiac delicious way. The taste of this one is very true to the aroma – jasmine that tricks me into peach followed by a bit of astringency from being over-steeped. My bad. Though I would prefer there not be this astringency, this is a remarkable blend. It obviously isn’t one to take a beating, but even this over-steeped cup is perfectly drinkable, though very drying at the end of the sip.
The beau keeps wandering around proclaiming it as delicious, saying that he wants to buy more and wishes it weren’t so expensive. I have a feeling that some of this will end up in our cupboards for a special treat. :)
PS – I don’t notice any white or green tea taste specifically, for which I am very grateful. There also isn’t anything tart so obviously hibiscus blossoms work differently from hibiscus petals. This is really quite tasty!
Another old sample from a box from way back. Improperly stored, possibly smell contaminated. I really regret being lazy about my samples now! The dry smell is pretty nice. I get some sweetness and a hint of cinnamon.
Steeped, this smells weird. It smells like freshly buttered corn, or prhaps popcorn. I steeped it only 2 minutes as the smell really started to intimidate me – as food it would be really appetizing but as tea it’s just weird. And nothing at all like a cookie!
The leaf is not something I’m used to, there were little nubs that looked like the Kenyan Tinderet from DavidsTea. I’m thinking this has Indian and/or African tea in it, neither of which are my forte. I see that Lupicia recommends it with milk. Sadly, I don’t like to add things to my tea, and I can rarely be persuaded to imbibe milk in any form. I’m not familiar with Lupicia as they don’t ship to Canada, but I really don’t like that they don’t seem to list their ingredients, or at least the base tea. Inquiring minds want to know!
Despite my apprehension about the smell I’ve decided to at least try it. First sips echo the aroma. I get BOLD black tea, almost as roasty and bitter as coffee. I definitely do not care for the base here and I can’t seem to get past it. I don’t get any caramel or anything else, though that could be because of it’s age. I even steeped it in a TSac to minimize bitterness, but this one just isn’t palatable to me. I’ll offer it up to the beau’s coworkers, perhaps someone there will take to it. :)
Here’s another from my box from LiberTeas from way back when. This is another I fear has been improperly stored and as a result I am not getting any odour. I could tell that it was a black tea but had no idea as to potential flavourings. Actually, even if this had been fresh i probably still wouldn’t have got it, chestnuts in my world are spiny creatures that really hurt when you get hit by them. Of course I would never do such a thing..
Steeped about three minutes, I have a rich brown liquor which is throwing off notes of.. chocolate? Oy. The smell I am getting is milk chocolate at that! There is also something weird behind that but I think it is the buttered popcorn contamination yet again. Darn you buttered popcorn sharing your yuck!
First sips are a mix of the weird contamination taste and some unexpected sweetness. I get something roasty at the back end of the sip which then morphs back into sweetness – while this is likely a very inaccurate assessment of this tea, it is really interesting. There is some bitterness in there as well, but it doesn’t seem to be the tea base – I’ll chalk that up to smell contamination as well.
Once again, the lesson here is to drink your tea quickly!!
Another from the box o’ tea I bought from LiberTeas a long time ago. I am surprised I didn’t drink this one up right away, actually. Grapefruit is something I really enjoy (though I am selective about it). I’ve only had grapefruit flavour in tea once or twice before so it is something I am interested in. Unfortunately, this is a sample that picked up weird odours in storage and I am not getting any grapefruit in the dry leaf or steeped aroma. I think this one might be a write-off.
I tend to enjoy dark oolongs though, so I persist with the knowledge that this probably won’t be an accurate tasting. The liquor on this one is yellowy orange and doesn’t give off a scent I can identify. I think the buttered popcorn from 52Teas might have gotten into this one, based on the smell.
Tastes give a slight sense of citrus and a hint of oolong at the end, but otherwise there is just some vague and undefinable sweetness and warm water – this is definitely a case of bad sample storage (Whoops). No numerical rating on here, I think I’ll just toss the rest of it. This would be a prime example of why I should not buy any more tea until I finish all I have!
I got a sample of this one with my last Teavivre order as it sounds like the sort of thing I would enjoy. The beau and I steeped it up this afternoon and I was pretty enticed by the aroma. Hello cocoa! I love a good natural cocoa note. The beau finds it smells earthy which I can understand, but for me it’s cocoa all the way in the dry smell.
Rather than doing this in the gaiwan as I usually would, we’re doing this western style as this has been the weekend of tea, relaxing and video games. I’ve been playing Alice Madness Returns while the beau alternates between Silent Hill Downpour and R.U.S.E. I’ve also gotten halfway through the newest Carlos Ruiz Zafon book today (Prisoner of Heaven) and I am LOVING it. It’s nice to have a weekend of our favourite things after the hustle and bustle of December.
Back to the tea! Steeped 2.5 minutes, I have an incredibly fragrant cuppa. It smells like bakers chocolate or even just cocoa powder. I am not a dark chocolate person but I LOVE cocoa notes in tea. The depth of the smell is impressive, it seems extremely rich.
First sips are smooth and rich, not as bold as the aroma had led me to believe but still an excellent quality black tea. I still get cocoa but I’m not picking out anything else at the moment. It’s bold without being bitter and has a sweet smoothness at the end of the sip. This is a great infusion and I think I can probably get a couple more out of this sample. When I do another Teavivre order, I think this one will be on there. Very nice!
I’d like to brew it side-by-side with Bailin Gongfu and see if they are as similar as my memory leads me to believe. I have been stocking the Bailin but this may be better…