951 Tasting Notes
Started the day with an Earl I’ve already written a lot of notes about (so no new notes on that one) and then turned to this. Another of the unopened 52teas blends from a while ago.
The scent from the packet is mostly chocolate, but I get the raisin, too. After steeping, I smell mostly the tea, though I also get a dark, grapey smell of raisin. The liquor is clear, and a cherry color.
I expected to get a lot of chocolate in the flavor, but it’s not a heavy chocolate. It’s present, but the main note I get is a fruitiness. It’s in the aftertaste that I mostly get a suggestion of chocolate covered raisins, as though I chewed a handful of them five minutes ago.
The BF says he gets more chocolate than raisin and he gets more of the Raisinette flavor throughout than I do. (But then, he didn’t drink Earl Grey this morning.)
It’s tasty and I’m not having a “food tea” issue, because again, candy doesn’t count as food. I give it about a 77 for being true to its name and a 79 for drinking enjoyment, hence the 78 rating.
Tasting note 800 and the 500th tea I’ve written a note about. If only it was a milestone sipdown as well!
Once upon a time, I belonged to the Tavalon tea of the month club. I am fairly certain this was sent to me as a part of that club.
I really love the way this looks. It’s a bit like a Teavana blend in that there are large chunks of fruit in and among the flowers that make up the rest of the blend. There’s a great dark, dried fruity smell that smells like currants and dates to me more than anything that’s actually in this blend.
It looks like cranberry juice in the cup, maybe even a bit more magenta if that’s possible. I smell mostly hibiscus and chamomile coming in the aroma. I steeled myself for the hibiscus pucker, but fortunately, this has enough sweet stuff in it to counteract that, and the hibiscus is actually serving a purpose here. It keeps the mixture from being too sweet to drink.
Cranberry and cherry are the main flavors I taste along with the hibiscus, though there’s a citrus note that floats in and out which must be the blood orange. My guess is the apple is contributing sweetness more than flavor.
With blends like this, I’m never sure whether the difference from cup to cup is going to be significant enough to change my mind, because a lot of the flavor seems to depend on how much of which ingredient gets into what you steep.But unless things change dramatically from steep to steep, this is something I’d buy again.
Despite the wildly divergent ingredients in each of these blends, it’s in the same general category as Tazo Passion, Teavana Caribbean Breeze, and The O Dor Je M’appelle Dorothee, but it has one thing none of those have. A balance of tart and sweet rather than just tart, tart, tart.
I opened up the packet and cantaloupes fell out. Or at least, that’s what it smelled like.
This is what other sweet flavored white teas aspire to and fail to achieve in my view.
I decided to steep in the gaiwan per the comment from yyz on my last white tea endeavor, however, I didn’t have the note in front of me and steeped a bit shorter. 30 seconds, then going up to 45.
The aroma is also of cantaloupe, though mellower. The liquor is pale yellow.
The flavor is pure cantaloupe, without any adjustments. There is no winy-ness to speak of, like some other melon flavored teas I’ve had. There’s no bitterness.
The tea isn’t planty or overpowering, nor is it non-existent, but I don’t get a strong flavor, more like a dark undercurrent that lets me know I’m drinking tea rather than hot cantaloupe juice.
The aftertaste is sweet and gently melon-y.
It’s the best flavored white I have had thus far that doesn’t rely on a tart citrus to cut an unpleasant mustiness, and I’ve rated it accordingly. The good news is I have a fair amount of this and I can play with the time and temp until I get it as close to perfect as possible.
Another LeafSpa that I apparently never tried and never posted a note about.
This will be a sort of a placeholder note because I can’t really see or smell the tea as it’s in my Timolino, sitting next to me while I watch kids do kung fu classes (and homework for the one not currently in class).
I’m pretty sure I bought this one because I liked the name. What’s not to like about Eagle Nest Ever Drop? I am not sure I’ve had an Indian green tea other than a darjeeling. Maybe I have? I’ll have to check my notes.
What’s interesting to me about the taste of this is that to me it tastes like a green equivalent of an Assam. It has a bold, malty flavor and a full body for a green tea. The description mentions muscatel, but I don’t get a darjeeling-y flavor from it.
Very interesting and worth spending more time with when I have some peace and quiet to do a more full review. The one thing I’m not sure about is whether it’s really what I’m looking for in a green tea. When I drink green teas, I’m usually drinking them as alternatives to blacks, and this is a very black-like green tea.
For now, it’s a great contribution to the project of hitting 800 tasting notes at the same time as hitting 500 separate teas on which I’ve posted notes.
I just realized that if I do this right, my 800th tasting note will coincide with the 500th individual tea about which I’ve written notes. I just have to make sure my next several notes are all on teas I haven’t written about yet.
So to start off that process, I’ve got another tea from the now defunct LeafSpa that I believe I’ve tasted but not written a note about before.
Dragonwell is something I’ve really wanted to like and haven’t had great luck with. The person who works next to me is from China and the only tea he drinks is Dragonwell, and he brings in a container of it every day. He really likes the sweet aftertaste. I am hoping this is one I’ll be able to relate a good experience about in our daily tea conversations.
One thing Dragonwell definitely has going for it is gorgeous dry leaves. Long, with pretty color variation. The liquor is pale yellow and clear.
I’m really liking the aroma of this one after steeping. It’s less like green vegetables than a lot of the other green teas I’ve had lately (not that I don’t like the green vegetable smell and taste) and more like a sweet, buttery grass. And that’s what I get in the flavor, too. There’s just the slightest roasty note as well, though sometimes it seems to meld into a smoky note like that of gunpowder but not nearly as strong.
The aftertaste is fresh and just slightly sweet-hay-like.
I think I probably used a lot more leaf than I’ve used in the past and that may be the trick for me and Dragonwell. In any case, this time I get it. Too bad this tea won’t be available after I drink it down. I now believe there are other Dragonwells that I’ll like, though.
Sipdown no. 103 of the year 2014.
After reading some of the notes, I’m going to try using less water this time for the same amount of tea and see what that does. I don’t want to go hotter with the water or longer with the steep, because teaddict warned against this as a way to encourage bitterness.
Less water most definitely makes a difference. The flavor is stronger, and I’m getting an almost Darjeeling-like note, a small amount of grapey sharpness to liven up the overall smoothness. It’s not at all like a silver needle as I’d said in my first tasting note. It has none of the dewy, nectary notes I associate with silver needle. Instead, I’m getting more buttery flavor that has a little of something almost like asparagus.
I wish I had more so I could keep fine tuning. I’m putting it on the shopping list for after I come out of lockdown, if ever.
This is really yummy today. There’s a thick, chewy mouth feel. There’s also a bready thing going on.
In fact, drinking this is reminding me of eating a piece of warm sour dough bread.
That’s an awesome thing for a rainy day like today.
It may not be like this next time, but for now, I gotta bump the rating.
Flavors: Baked Bread
I think this is the last of my Simpson & Vail Earl Greys. It has a lot in common with the other two.
Usually I smell bergamot in Earl Grey dry leaf, sometimes eye-wateringly so, but whatever I smell usually smooths out and becomes must more mellow after steeping. I don’t smell bergamot in this dry leaf, unless it is the vaguely floral scent I’m smelling. I don’t smell citrus. I don’t really smell vanilla either. But I do smell a nice, solid, earthy black tea.
That tea also takes center stage in the aroma after steeping. It’s malty and sweet which makes me think there may be some Chinese black tea in the blend and I suspect there is some Ceylon because of the color. It has a deep red, almost garnet liquor. The description doesn’t say what sort of black tea is in the blend, but I am guessing it is similar to what is in the Earl Grey Aromatic, which contains both Ceylon and Chinese Blacks, as well as Assam and Darjeeling. I don’t get the heft of Assam here, but perhaps that’s the influence of the cream (even though I don’t smell cream).
In flavor, this is a tasty, sweet, medium-full bodied black tea with a floral note. Because I don’t really get a distinctive bergamot flavor, It doesn’t really taste like an Earl Grey to me, but then, neither did the S&V plain Earl Grey. I’m also not really tasting cream, which makes me want to do a side by side between this and the S&V non-creamy Earl.
Essentially, I have the same impression of this as an Earl Grey crème that I had of its sibling as an Earl Grey, which is to say I think the tea is lovely but it doesn’t really seem to meet the criteria for an Earl Grey, with the additional point that I don’t really get the crème either. Maybe my taster is off. I’ll try it side by side another time and see what happens. For now, rating it the same as its sibling.
Little league baseball season has started. With two kids on two different teams, this means we will have three games and two practices each week for the next few months. Last year around this time we pretty much lost control of our entire schedule because of the baseball situation and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Not that it wasn’t fun watching the kids play. No. 1 in particular is quite talented. He has an amazing arm and is a pretty reliable batter as well. But still. On top of everything else the kids have going on it’s quite a hellacious couple of months. Not to mention what we, the adults, have going on. All of which basically gets put on the back burner. At least this time I have a folding chair to take with me to the games (I asked for one for Mother’s Day last year because my butt hurt from having to sit on the concrete at the parks where there aren’t bleachers).
All of that is a long winded way of saying that I’m going to put this in a big mug and go lie down with it beside my bed, and I expect I will fall asleep (continuing with the baseball theme) before you can say Jack Robinson.
The pie flavor is coming out even before much cooling goes on tonight, which is comforting. Soon my body will realize that it isn’t getting any sugar out of this despite the taste and I won’t be able to stay awa…
I still have one serving of the plain Yerba Mate before sipdown, but I thought I’d crack this open today anyway and see what’s what.
It was definitely the right choice to try to plain first. This is much easier to drink than the plain version. It is much mellower—tastes more grassy and less dirty-grassy. Steeping a shorter time may make the difference, but it could also be the addition of the kukicha. In general it is less bitter and closer to sweet, though I wouldn’t go far enough to call it sweet as the description does. Interestingly, I’m not really getting a mineral or metallic note, but then I didn’t get a passion fruit aroma from the leaves, either.
Definitely more to my liking than the plain version. I’m not going to rush out and buy mate blends, though. Mate remains not really my thing.