861 Tasting Notes
Not quite a palate cleanser but a nice, calm, well-implemented single flavor after the Buttered Cinnamon Raisin Toast.
Coconut is a flavor I can quite enjoy if I’m in the mood. Sometimes it’s really heavenly. I feel as though today I’m pushing the mood a little. That’s what comes from feeling the need to tee things up for sipdown I suppose.
I think I would have been more in the mood for a toastier coconut today, but this will do.
I’m finding that my expectation that the novelty of this would wear off soon is coming to pass. I’m actively working on sipping it down, now.
I think I’m learning that in general I don’t do well with unusual flavors, except, perhaps, in rooibos blends or if they’re fruity concoctions. The non-fruity ones sit too heavily. I’m obviously not counting in this things like chocolate and nut flavors per se. Just things that are meant to conjure a completely different food rather than a flavor or two.
Fortunately, the BF likes it, which will make the sipping down go twice as fast.
Preparing with boiling water as directed seems to keep the “butter” from turning chemical-y, so that’s good to know. I saw some pieces of cinnamon in the blend I steeped this morning, but I’m still not getting a lot of cinnamon.
Though I stand by my assessment that this lives up to its name, the way it has been hitting me the last couple of days makes it difficult for me to justify leaving it at a rating of 82.
It should get very high technical marks for evoking this flavor (a 90 or so) but for me, anyway, the more I drink it, the less I enjoy it.
Docking some points.
Enough flavored blacks for one day. Now for something unadulterated.
I had to add this one to the database, but unfortunately The Tea Table no longer offers it so I can’t provide a picture. They do offer something called Kings Golden Monkey but from the description it’s quite a different tea.
This dates back to my Tea Table tea of the month club. Overthem00n introduced me to the Tea Table and they’re nice people with a good selection of yummy teas.
The dry leaf is a pretty mixture of dark and golden leaves and has a smoky fragrance. It reminded me of the smell inside one of our local barbecue/steak places combined with something that’s close to chocolate. The steeped liquor is a lovely copper color as mentioned in the description, and the aroma of the steeped tea has a fruity thing going on. A little raisin, maybe a little plum.
The tea is smooth and mellow and retains some of the hints of chocolate from the dry leaf. It’s brisk and definitely medium-bodied. I get a slight astringency but not enough to make it not refreshing. It doesn’t leave me thirsty. There’s a slick, slightly thick mouth feel to the finish, and something suggestive of grain—its a maltiness, but not a sweet maltiness so much as a grainy one. I am not sure which grain though. It’s a little like wheat, a little like rye.
And I just noticed that none of the grains I might have picked (including wheat, rye, or just “grain”) are among the flavor options. (Whine. Whine. Whine.)
This is a really tasty black tea that I’ll enjoy exploring over time.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Stewed Fruits
Something about the aroma of this today is hitting me wrong. It’s kind of chemical-y.
Chemical-y, then jasmine-y. That’s the floral note from yesterday? Jasmine? I think so. Interestingly, I think that’s what is responsible for the butter and part of the toast aroma and flavor as well. The raisin also seems to have a floral quality to it.
Fortunately, the tea doesn’t seem to be hitting me wrong. Often when an aroma isn’t quite hitting it off with me, that means the tea won’t be kind to my stomach, but so far so good. I just had a chicken breast sandwich for lunch which may be helping.
I steeped this at less than boiling today to see what that might do. I wonder whether the temperature accounts for the difference in aroma.
I am tempted to sprinkle cinnamon into this as I’m still getting less cinnamon than any other flavor. I am getting mostly butter and toast today. No. 2, however, gave it a sniff and said, “Mmmm raisiny.” So I suppose it is just me.
Sipdown no. 90 of the year 2014! Yay! Now of course, I’m so close to 100 I can taste it—pardon the pun—and want to get over the 90 hump. It remains to be seen whether I can do that today without setting myself up for failing to reach the at-least-one-per-day goal later this week. Thank you President’s Day.
I tried steeping a little cooler and longer today. 205 for 4 minutes.
The thing that makes this less than excellent for me is that it’s just not quite sweet enough. It’s not that the caramel itself necessarily has to be sweeter. A sweeter tea base would, I think, work just as well. I could, I suppose, put sweetener in it, but I’d be afraid it would take several tries to figure out what kind and how much works best. Since this is a sipdown of a tea that is no longer made by a company that no longer exists, I think I’ll spend my efforts elsewhere. ;-)
As best I can tell this is the same tea I have, though the picture and name are different. Mine is called Coconut Cream Pie Flavored Black Tea and it has a picture of a wedge of coconut cream pie pointing toward the left-hand side of the packet. This is another in my antique 52 Teas collection that was in a sealed packet.
Pretty amazing coconut smell coming from the packet. There’s something else, too, which don’t think I would have thought to describe as mint if I hadn’t read that Jason made that connection. There’s a good, sweet coconut of the toasty variety coming out in the aroma of the steeped tea as well (no mint).
I’m expecting good coconut here. The question will be whether the pie makes it in there…
Swing and a miss. I don’t get pie from this, though I know that 52 Teas are fully capable of producing a pastry-like flavor.
So now I’m in a weird rating conundrum. I like this much better than the Buttered Cinnamon Raisin Toast and the Maple Bacon of yesterday, but I think those flavors live up to their names better. So I’m rating them higher though I prefer this tea and will much prefer drinking it to those. I can already tell the chances I’ll get sick of this are nil, and the chances this will do a number on my stomach on certain days are equally nil. I can’t say that about the other two.
I feel like I need a different sort of rating system, like for Olympic figure skating, where they judge both on the technical score and the artistic interpretation. Mine for a tea like this would be 85 for tea enjoyment and 72 for how well the flavor matches the name.
Sipdown no. 89 of the year 2014. So close to 90! I’m going to have to find a way to get there today without totally messing up my nascent sipdown strategy. I haven’t completely figured it out yet, but it involves trying to position a number of teas of different types so that they have at most a serving or two left in the hopes that I can keep up the pace of at least one sipdown a day for the foreseeable future.
This isn’t my favorite black vanilla or even close to it. It’s somewhat underpowered and the more I taste it, the more the vanilla strikes me as borderline into that fakey bakey vanilla that I experienced in the Numi decaf and the Adagio vanilla oolong. It’s trying to be something other than that. It’s trying really hard, but falling short, as it is neither creamy nor vanilla bean rich (like the flavor of French vanilla ice cream), either of which would have been fine with me. Sometimes creamy vanillas are really well done, but I’d rather have a rich bean flavor. Unfortunately, this is neither. Which is great because it means I won’t have to miss not being able to order it with SpecialTeas out of business and all.
Back to this one to do a proper, unrushed tasting.
I’ll be drinking it out of my new, very cute, tiny bubble cup from DAVIDSTea (one of my tea ware purchases from my excursion yesterday).I wrote my first note about a DAVIDSTea tea yesterday and was so excited to share in the fun with all of you who drink them a lot, and wouldn’t you know it, it never showed up on my dashboard and apparently got buried during the dashboard freeze yesterday. It’s there in my tea log, though. Does this happen to anyone else when the freezes occur? Anyway, I feel compelled to repeat that I did not buy any tea except for the cup I bought to drink in the store. Lockdown is still in effect and I managed to resist and get out with only a couple of tea ware items. Bubble cups, yay!
In the tin, this smells very floral. I get a lot of rose, a little lavender and really no rosemary at all. It’s so pretty to look at with the different colors and all the little buds and petals.
The rosemary comes out in the steeped aroma and it is the most prominent scent I get. The floral notes are present, but for the most part seem subsumed to the savory one. Though if I sit with the aroma long enough, I am able to smell a really nice rose and a lavender undercurrent that, from time to time, trades places with the rosemary.
The tea looks a reddish mahogany color in the little bubble cup.
Hot, this is much less of a single-note savory tea than I experienced when I drank it cool.
In fact, I wouldn’t say it’s savory at all contrary to my initial experience. I’d say it’s floral, with a light spice to it that presents as a cooling sensation in the sip with more rosemary in the aftertaste.
Where is the bergamot in all of this? I’m not tasting it. It’s possible it’s there among the floral mélange, but I can’t isolate it. The other S&V Earl I had was also light on the bergamot, so this isn’t surprising to me. I am beginning to suspect that bergamot is the first flavor/scent to go when an Earl ages and given that these were not removed from their original paper bag packaging, it’s possible the bergamot has flown the coop.
That said, this is a really unique flavor and I’m intrigued enough to want to try with a fresher sample. I can’t give it high marks for meeting the basic criteria of an Earl Grey because of the lack of bergamot, but I am putting it on the list to occupy one of the anterooms in the pantheon at least temporarily.
Sipdown no. 88 of the year 2014. This was my only sipdown eligible tea that wasn’t a black, a green or a white. Once again I’ve managed to avoid having to sip down the Vanilla Comoro, but I worry that I’ll have a tight back in the morning.
My experience with this this evening is very similar to yesterday, though I managed to avoid the oversteeping and so managed to avoid the somewhat stewed and bitter-edged steeps among the four I did. Though I know there’s likely to be more caffeine in the first couple of steeps, I drew the line at four just in case it helped.
Final verdict: not bad almond flavor, but not much oolong in the mix. Likely not a restock for me unless I’m (for some reason) craving almond oolong and can’t find one with more oolong flavor later in my tea travels.