1178 Tasting Notes
As part of the project to sip down open sample packets (which is frankly not going all that well because I keep opening more), I’m turning to this one which has been sitting in the “to be drunk soon” sample box since my original note. At least it’s an older open sample, so it fulfills the primary goal of the project better than sipping down something I opened yesterday. Not that this is in a position to be sipped down… yet.
I have a lot of breakfast blends but I haven’t had any in a while? Seems like my order in the morning has gone: Earl Grey, flavored black, another flavored black or an unflavored single tea black. I’m reminded of how much I enjoy good breakfast blends.
This one has the heft of a cup of coffee without an unpleasant throat bite and indeed, rather a smoothness to it. The Darjeeling addition really makes it interesting as it adds both a softness and what I called before a “perkiness” to the flavor.
Very enjoyable morning eye-opener.
Tasting note no. 666. Cue Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.
(The spooky Omen music starts at about 1:48 but you can knock yourself out and listen to the whole thing if you have an hour LOL.)
I had nothing with devil, diablo, diable, satan, lucifer, or such in the name so I decided to go the opposite direction, literally up rather than down. Hence the Temple of Heaven.
After I sampled this in my 31 flavor Golden Moon sampler I gave it a rating of 73 and added it to my order. It’s weird, though. Now I don’t think I’d order something unless I gave it a 75 or higher, and I’d probably only order a few teas ranked in the 70s as there are so many I’ve given more than 80 to.
But that’s easily solved on this one by bumping the rating a few points. I don’t have a lot to compare it to in the gunpowder sphere, but as a green tea, it’s a nice change from the lighter, more vegetal green teas I’ve been having lately. The smokiness, though light by Lapsang and even Keemun standards, is quite enjoyable on a rainy February evening.
I may regret drinking this at 9 p.m., but I was up against the 666 number and I didn’t see this as a first thing in the morning tea. Heh.
Night night all.
We took a vote for an after dinner tisane and this is what won. (I mentioned that raspberry is the BF’s favorite fruit earlier when we tried the Simpson & Vail raspberry flavored black tea.)
There’s an amazing smell in the packet, like a raspberry parfait. It steeps to a reddish orange (I would have expected it to be redder?) and the aroma leads with vanilla and ends with raspberry with only a very slightly discernible rooibos scent.
The flavor has a citrusy tang, and a smoothness from the vanilla. The tang smooths out into raspberry in the finish and the aftertaste. I don’t really taste the rooibos, which makes this a success for me.
My main complaint is I wish the flavor was a bit stronger. It’s fairly light and even slightly watery. Next time I’ll mess with the water/leaf ratio and see if I can get a bit more flavor. If so, I’ll boost the rating. The flavor, such that it is, is very nice.
Sipdown no. 70 for the year 2014.
The thing about this mixture is that it has so many humongoid pieces and you have to use so much to keep it from being too tart to drink that it doesn’t go very far. One 2 oz packet made exactly two pots of tea (approximately 7 servings).
I tried it on the kids tonight. No. 2 said it was too “lemony” by which I think he meant sour. No. 1 said it was good but didn’t really want to drink it.
The BF said that he really liked it and he thought it would be great to have around for sore throats. He claimed to like it better than the Strawberry Lemonade. No. 1 and I both prefer the Strawberry Lemonade. No. 2 abstained from comment.
Since it has been discontinued, it’s not something we can have around for sore throats. I did like it better this time around so I’m bumping the rating. But I doubt I would have reordered it much—two pots to a packet doesn’t really work for me.
When I first opened the packet I was worried this was going to be a repeat of the Adagio White Tropics because there was something in the smell that, while not as cloying and false as the Adagio, still leaned that way—but the more I inhaled, the more I lost that “remembered” smell and got a more typical Teavana fruity smell. It’s similar to what I smell when I stick my nose in many of their fruit blends, but with a much more central melon overtone.
One thing you have to hand to Teavana is that they make their blends very visually interesting. This one is very colorful with big chunks of fruit as well as petals among the leaves.
This steeps to a very light, clear yellow color with an aroma that is sweet, but just when it seems like it might turn toward cloying, a whiff of a fresh (floral?) note breezes in to dispel that impression.
The taste is light, floral, a little sweet. Not unpleasant.
I think I should like this more than I do and I think perhaps I am just not a huge fan of flavored white teas unless the flavor is grapefruit. But that seems too self-limiting. I will
try it again another time and see if I have a different impression.
I do give it points for avoiding the cloying and the planty.
Sipdown no. 69 for the year 2014.
When I drank this yesterday I got interrupted because I was late to pick up No. 1 at an activity. By the time I got back this had cooled quite a bit.
I meant to mention that the dry leaf mixture has a really interesting aspect to the aroma which I would describe as “creamy” though it’s probably more accurate to say it has unexpected depth.
Sipping this at a warmer temperature and a more leisurely pace, I’m enjoying the way the oolong plays off the green tea and the fruit flavors. I can definitely taste the oolong more than the green tea but it has a very round quality to it, no rough edges at all, no pungent champagniness (I am assuming it is a darker Formosa oolong though I really don’t know what kind it is—but I don’t get the sort of creamy floral notes I get from greener oolongs). I also taste it quite a bit in the aftertaste, where it leaves a more typical nutty impression.
A tasty afternoon tea.
For my 450th distinct tea represented in these-here notes (as opposed to the number of these-here notes), I thought I’d write about something I’ve been wanting to try for a long time.
This tea has gotten a lot of love on Steepster and I’ve had a sample of it (hermetically sealed) waiting for a special occasion. After tasting it, I have jumped on the love bandwagon.
When I sniffed the tea in the sample packet I thought I’d fallen into a vat of liquid almond croissants! The aroma is of the sweet, buttery, rich almond paste that’s used in pastries like croissants, bear claws, etc. I have not had a brioche (I don’t think I have anyway) but if they smell like this, I must make it a project to have one.
The steeped tea carries that aroma as well, in an amazingly rich, deep fragrance. I would have expected it to be much more dilute. The liquor is a clear chestnut color.
The taste is quite remarkable. I didn’t expect complexity. I expected it to taste like it smelled, more or less. And it does, but it’s not just almond paste. It’s that plus butter, brown sugar, baked goods. It really is a liquid dessert.
As an aside, I’ve started to categorize tea companies in my mind by what I think they do really well in terms of flavors. As examples, I think of Kusmi as great at berry flavors and caramel, but not at chocolate or vanilla. I think of Harney & Sons as great at chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, and rose, among other things. Given my recent tastings of ATR teas, I was ready to conclude that ATR is great at fruit flavors. Now I have to include Brioche along with fruit flavors!
Flavors: Butter, Nuts
The electricians are here installing our new exterior lights and also fixing some problems with the fixtures in the kitchen and one of the bathrooms. I just looked outside and the new light is up by the front door. Yay! It’s a craftsman style lamp and so much better looking that the ones that came with the house. Plus it will have a sensor so that I won’t have to fumble with my keys in the dark if I forget to turn on the light before leaving the house. Double yay!
Since the BF is supervising all this, I thought I’d be nice to him and steep something he was bound to like. Raspberry is his favorite fruit of all time.
For this first time, I steeped at 4 minutes and less than boiling despite the directions. Next time I’ll be a good girl and play by the rules.
The smell of the dry leaf is, in a word, yum. Definitely raspberry and a really nice one. At first I thought there were flowers in the mix, but I think the small greyish things I thought were flowers are the raspberry leaves.
The steeped tea has the reddish brown color of Ceylon liquor and is very clear. There’s a mild, almost malty tea scent under the raspberry aroma, which is subtle.
The flavor. How to describe it. It’s not the juicy, fresh fruit flavor of the ATM fruit blends. It’s more of a baked goods fruit flavor, definitely there but more subtle—not jammy. Like it was woven into the fabric of the tea. At first I worried that it would taste soapy, because there’s just the slightest hint of that in the aroma, but it’s not.
I don’t think I’ve tasted a raspberry flavored black tea before. Though I like fruit blends that are bursting with juicy flavor, I also like the quieter ones like this where the fruit flavor is integrated in and made part of the tea, like banana is integrated into banana bread. There’s a lovely, cookie-like raspberry flavor in the aftertaste that has a cooling, aromatic quality.
If/when I try other raspberries I may revisit the rating but for now, this gets an excellent.