136 Tasting Notes
1-1/2 tsp, 8 minutes, 2 tsp honey
I’m testing and comparing all of Upton’s Holy Basil (Tulsi) choices tonight. After loving Organic India’s Vanilla Tulsi, which is a blend of 3 types of tulsi and a few other things, I wanted to see where the flavors came from, in hopes of duplicating the blend.
When I smelled this in the bag, there was no obvious aromas that stuck out. When measuring, there was a little bit of clove/cinnamon and a hint of mint. Brewed, the clove note is coming out first, but not as strongly in the Organic India blend. There is definately a minty note coming through too, but the clove tramples all over it in the aftertaste.
This is good. Not as good, but good. Weaker tasting, even with an 8 minute steep vs. 5.
When I went on a search for local honey, my first stop was a small “natural foods” store in town (and yes, they had what I was looking for, yay!). Half of the store is supplements, and then a little of this and little of that. The tea wall was actually pretty big for the size of store, with mostly Celestial Seasonings, Yogi and Traditional Medicinals. But this caught my eye, as I had seen reviews of Tulsi of late, so I settled on this Vanilla choice (only other choice was Raspberry).
This is a blend of 3 different types of Tulsi (Holy Basil), along with some rooibos, chamomile and vanilla flavor. The first time I tried it with T. of honey, it was too sweet. Unsweetened it is not sweet at all, so after tasting without, I’m adding 2 tsp. honey. The honey really brings out the clove note that some associate with tulsi. I’m a fan of clove, so this is perfect. There’s a hint of apple, or other fruit that makes it seems a little like an apple pie (spiced with cinnamon and clove). Some have mentioned a mint note on other tulsi blends, but not getting it in this. Vanilla impression, a little.
I’m retesting so that I can test 3 Upton offerings of Holy Basil varieties. BH02 (Holy Basil Purple Leaf) has no spicy or noticeable flavoring type scents. BH03 (Wild Forest Holy Basil, aka Vana Tulsi, aka clove basil) has a licorice scent. BH06 (now BH08) (Holy Basil Green Leaf) does have more of a mint scent that the others (with spice). I wish I knew the ratio on this tea, so can duplicate (will attempt).
I’ve had this sample since early March, and the smell of the dry leaves have scared me from testing. I’m not a fan of smoky flavors generally, and this smells like you’ve been hanging downwind from a roaring campfire … that smell that gets into your clothes and won’t go away. Once this smelled like it was mixed with barbecue sauce, but not today. I’ve already told my son that he is getting this sample without me testing (he shares his father’s tastebuds more than mine, lol). But reading Amy’s review last night, and Jen mentioning marshmallow, well, what can it hurt? This is supposed to be a Lansang Souchong beginner tea afterall (can you tell I’m talking myself into sipping?)
The brewed aroma shares that same smoky aroma … with a little rubber mixed in? (oh boy, must sip……….) Oh phew, no burning tires upon first sip. Hmmm hmmm (ponders).
I did add honey (yes, wimpy), so it is on the sweet side. And I do get a hint of the smoke, similar to the campfire association. As I let that linger, I’m concluding that the smoke isn’t all that evil, like I thought it would be. Ha, maybe this tea would be good to have with a charbroiled steak (mmmmmm) <<< but I don’t indulge in that often. The taste is actually not that bad. Maybe if I try not to sniff it, when cup comes to lips, it would be better to my senses. Yep, lol, that bumps it almost…almost very good.
Growing up, most family vacations involved fishing trips (Dad’s choice), which meant camping trips to surrounding states and mostly Canada (in search of Walleye). This tea invokes those memories.
Thank you Angel from Teavivre, for writing to me and generously offering to send me samples to try. This is by far my favorite of the 5, and have already ordered 100g with my first Teavivre order.
So I started my tea journey trying mostly flavored teas. I am now in the next phase, of attempting to find unflavored teas to love. This one falls in the “love” category. Btw, I am still using honey to sweeten most teas, but this one requires only a minimal amount. Don’t forget that my first love is Coke, so my taste buds are sweet trained. But I’ve found local honey, and using it will help with allergies too (so it has 2 purposes). But the tea itself carries a sweetness to it, that requires little help.
Yun Nan Dian Hong Golden Tips is really smooth and has absolutely no bitterness to it. Being sensitive to bitterness, this already gives it high praise. Someone called it “Lipton but better” and I concur … much much better. Some mention the sweet potato association. I’m leaning more towards caramelly, but see where those associations are coming from.
Teavivre says that this can be resteeped 12 times. I’ve only gone as far as 3, and on the third the flavors were weakening. Perhaps I need to be more precise with my temps and times. I’ve also tried it cold, and that is where the Lipton comparison comes from. It’s very nice cold, in a Lipton (but better) kind of way. Teavivre is now offering this in the 50g size. Angel sent me a sample of the full-leaf version of this tea, and it will be nice to compare the two. Teavivre’s customer service rocks btw. My order was put into the mail system Upton/Adagio-style (next business day). This and Upton’s Imperial Golden Monkey (ZP85) are my current unflavored favorites (so far).
A sample of this tea was included in my last Stash order, so I decided to give it a try last night. I’m not overly impressed with Stash’s Earl selections. The bergamot that they use overwhelms the tea mostly. When I’m not overly impressed, it is easy to get distracted, and ended up having a half cup that got completely cold (40 degrees in Ohio last night…brrr). When I tasted it cold, it was so much better. A light bulb went off, and I think I found a way to use up the regular Earl and double-b Earl bags that I have (iced!). Will see how that goes.