1119 Tasting Notes
Another tea I bought way back when but never even got to open before life intervened. The BF was very interested in it this morning, so I opened up the packet.
Wow. The dry leaf smells just like the ice cream tastes-sweet and nutty and buttery, and a good bit of that smell carries over into the steeped tea. The flavor is really true to its name, too. In judging teas like this, I give lots of points for trueness to the name. But it’s clearly tea as well, with a black base that plays nicely. Every now and then it comes to the fore but just enough to wave hello.
What I like best about this is that before I tried it, I thought it would probably need to be sweetened or to have milk added to make the flavor taste like what’s in the ice cream. BUT NO! It’s lovely and sweet enough as is, sans any additional caloric content. (For me, anyway. The kids took a sip and said “needs sugar.”)
Of course, those who snooze lose in the 52 teas game, and this is no longer available. I will have to husband my supply.
Sipdown no. 17 for 2014. First cup of the day. Getting a late start today because I stayed in bed, it being a holiday in the US, and watched the Tivo’d first episode of Sherlock, series III, and the little documentary afterwards.
All that stuff I said yesterday about the flavors having come unbalanced? Today this is working just fine for whatever reason. Isn’t it funny how tea does that? I suspect there’s actually a reason, which is that I used a bit more leaf today.
I’m sorry to see it go and I definitely want to get more, whenever the day comes. Meanwhile, I have lots more ATR samples to try.
The peanuts, by the way, each had a tiny sip and decided this wasn’t for them. Not really surprised, and secretly relieved given the label says caffeine content: high.
Once upon a time, I was searching for the perfect lemon blend. It has been a while, and I don’t really recall how the things I tried on that search tasted. I’ve read back over my notes and I see that some were disappointing and some were quite good.
Apparently, I didn’t get around to trying this one and I wish I had.
I can’t now remember where this would rate among the others I’ve tried so I sort of have to start over, but damn, it’s a GREAT lemon, even given its age. The sad part is that I checked the 52 Teas site and it’s, of course, long gone.
In the package, the lemon smell is divine. Rich, sweet, tart, no bitterness, and the honeybush is definitely in the background.
After steeping, it’s a milder smell, but retains the character it had before steeping. The flavor is a really nice lemon. Not bitter, like some I’ve tasted, not too tart. Just when I thought it might take a tart turn, the sweetness would come back. And I am not even aware of the honeybush.
I can only imagine what this was like in its prime. I wish I’d gotten to taste it then and stocked up!
Sipdown no. 16 for 2014. Another sample in the “to be drunk soon” box that I didn’t get to during my last tea tasting frenzy.
The dry leaf has so many interesting shapes and colors in it. ;-) The red peppercorns are really pretty. They look like miniature holly berries against the green of the tea. I can see little squares of what must be the papaya or the pineapple (probably papaya because of the color). And the little cardamom pods! The dry leaf has a mostly sweet scent to it with just a hint of spice.
The liquor is golden and smells very fruity. I get a lot of pineapple in the aroma.
I’ve had some bad experiences with flavored greens, but not so here! Very tasty and not at all bitter. Not as toasty-ricey as I expected, though there’s a hint around the edges, and I’m not getting the spice I thought I’d get with the pepper and cardamom (though there’s a peppery kick to the aftertaste that’s playing with the tip of my tongue). I get mostly pineapple, as a gentle fruity flavor. As I was sipping I wondered where the bamboo was, but I’m getting it, a long with the toasty rice, in the finish. I should perhaps have steeped this a bit longer. I also suspect that with teas like this with all the various ingredients a lot depends on the individual makeup of your sample. I’d drink it again, though I don’t love it enough to buy it.
And now I really must detach myself from the internet and go write something. Alas, I fear I will not be successful.
ETA: The fruity tea lover in the house, the BF, had one word for this.
“Aces.” I’m bumping the rating because he’s more of the target audience than I am. I’d give it a 75. He’d give it, I’m sure, at least a 90. So I’m putting it at 85. I also have to revise my prediction as to whether I would buy this, because he’s already asking if there’s more!
Sipdown no. 15 for 2014. BTW, Steepster undid my likes, too, today. I think it was because I was doing them on my phone? Who knows. In any case, if I missed your note it wasn’t intentional.
Back to the original time and temp for steeping and it makes such a difference. That bitter edge I found last time? Gone! The hint of butter to the mild, green vegetal taste? Back in force!
Lovely. I shall miss it. Now I must try to go focus on writing as I have an exercise due tonight. Alas, I fear my cats need vacuuming.
I had a sample of this that I’d planned to make over a couple of tastings, but it ended up as an unintentional sipdown. I was making 3 cups in the Breville and that left only enough for about one more cup so I figured what the heck. Adding it to the count of sipdowns for 2014. This is no. 14 for 2014.
It was in my “soon to be tasted” box of samples, which means it was not kept away from light as it should have been, particularly given the clear plastic bag it came in. I am not sure how that affected it. I didn’t get aroma from the dry leaf-I just smelled the sample bag’s plastic, so my guess is it had a negative effect.
The leaves, being FBOP, are small and brownish. Fairly uniform in size, shape and color and pretty to look at. The tea steeps to a pretty, orange-brown tea color. The leaves were a bit too fine for the Breville filter and some made their way into the tea and settled at the bottom of the cup.
There’s a subtle aroma that actually strikes me as a little fruity, rather more than flowery. In taste, it’s light and a little fruity. Not full bodied but pleasant, definitely a more appealing taste than what Americans have been raised to think of as “orange pekoe.” I’m glad I got the chance to try it though for plain blacks I find a richer flavor more to my liking.
I didn’t get to try it iced, but I think that could be its sweet spot.
ETA: Peanut number 2 asked to sniff this and then to taste it and proclaimed “I love it!” I added a bit of sweetener to mine and found it opened up the flavor quite a bit. I should also add that the mouthfeel on this one is nice. It has some thickness to it that I wouldn’t expect given the body of the tea.
I love the name passion fruit, but until recently I wasn’t sure I’d ever eaten one as opposed to just tasting it as an ingredient in juice. Then last summer, we vacationed in Costa Rica, and pretty much every breakfast buffet featured these little guys. Still, it’s not a flavor I grew up with so it isn’t strongly imprinted in my mind. In other words, I am not qualified to say whether a tea accurately captures the essence of passion fruit.
This morning, the BF, who seems to be getting into tea some as a result of the most recent bout of horrible winter illness, asked for something fruity. So I decided to break out my sample of this.
The aroma of the dry leaves from the packet is not as strong and juicy as was the apricot of yesterday, but it’s still very nice-fruity, with a freshness and cleanliness to it. And of course, there are flower petals so I’m happy with the look.
The liquor brews to a reddish amber, almost a mahogany color. I suspect this is the same base used in the apricot. There’s a light, fresh, fruitiness to the aroma.
The taste is very pleasantly fruity without tasting artificial. It fit the bill for the BF’s fruity request. He said, “I’m not sure I taste passion fruit, but I taste fruity and I like it.”
That about sums it up.
I was going through my “already tried” sample box (as opposed to the not yet open sample boxes of which there are many) and was shocked-shocked I say-to find that I had a good bit of this sample left and that it was still in the original packet which was NOT SEALED. The ATR sample bags I got back in the day don’t have a zip lock at the top (have they changed that? if not, they should). Still, that’s no excuse. I could at least have stuck the packet into a zip lock myself, but I didn’t. Sigh.
So I decided I had to drink this asap. I really loved it when I first tried it fresh so I was hoping some of the magic was still there. The dry leaf didn’t have a lot of smell left, though, so I was prepared for the worst.
And the verdict is-this one is best drunk fresh. It’s not that it doesn’t have some decent flavor left in it. There’s a lot of lavender in the flavor and the undercurrent of the Yunnan reminds me of what I loved about it in the first place. But the interplay of flavors seems to have gone off some with age-the bergamot, which was light to begin with is all but gone, and the tea base isn’t quite keeping up with the floral. There’s enough that’s still good about it so that I understand why I loved it, though. Still plan to buy some when I come out of lockdown.
Sipdown no. 12 for the year 2014, and my 550th tasting note. :-)
This is a fitting blend for it, as it was really the first “tea” that I felt I’d been successful in steeping (i.e., it had flavor!) and was what led me to try everything else. At the time I had no idea that rooibos was so forgiving-so it was a huge (though misplaced) confidence boost.
I owe it much, so parting is bittersweet.