951 Tasting Notes
I’d been wanting to try a plain rooibos so I could have a frame of reference when evaluating rooibos blends. This is actually pretty tasty on its own. Sweet, with honey and vanilla notes, and a tea-like flavor that is smooth and slightly toasty. I would probably pick a tea over this on most occasions for the flavor, but could see being in the mood for rooibos on its own every once in a while, or substituting it for tea to avoid caffeine if I’m overloaded (the couple of decaf teas I’ve tried haven’t been very good; I don’t like decaf coffee either).
I tried this tonight with one bag of the lime and one bag of Tazo Honeybush. While I don’t think I got the ratio right (it could take even more Honeybush-to-lime), I can see this being a good way of ratcheting up the sweetness of the lime without adding sugar or honey. The Honeybush significantly accentuates the natural after-sweetness of the lime, and makes it even more lime Sweet Tart-like. A fun experiment.
And it gets another little point bump tonight, for showing consistency with the improvement of last night. There’s still a bit of bitterness around the edges, but apart from that it has grown on me some. There’s also the possibility that it just varies from cup to cup depending on the concentration of flavors that makes its way into the spoon with any given scoop. For example, tonight, I’m getting more custard and less pineapple. Last night I got more pineapple, and it was sweeter (likely owing to the pineapple as well).
It does make me want to try other pineapple flavored teas, and it piques my curiosity about The NecessiTeas’ flavored blacks.
Dessert tonight was this pretty little tea; the fifth in my series of flavored green tea samples from The NecessiTeas. In the packet, it smells quite nice. The prevailing aroma is of jasmine, though there’s a berry tang as well. The berry smell becomes more obvious upon steeping, becoming clearly raspberry. Depending upon how the spoon fills up, the raspberry aroma can prevail over the jasmine after brewing, or it can be fairly evenly balanced. The raspberry part of the fragrance is sweet, not at all pungent or artificial smelling.
The tea itself is nice as well. When the dried raspberries reconstitute, they plump up considerably. I ended up with something close to a whole berry floating in my cup. The flavor is delicate, and the raspberry and jasmine are each distinguishable, and nicely blended and balanced. The tea itself is barely noticeable, and not bitter. I’d prefer a bit stronger presence of the tea, but also prefer barely noticeable to bitter (by a lot).
I would not pass this up if I were offered it again, though I think I’d prefer to drink it after a workout and a shower, where something clean and subtle would hit the spot. I’m much more in the chocolate lava cake camp when it comes to dessert than I am the raspberry sorbet.
It’s like a lime Sweet Tart! Yes, it’s definitely tart out of the gate, but surprisingly, I’m tasting a sweetness to it as well that shows up after a few seconds. (And I’m not using any additives.) There’s no bitterness; a big plus. I could see keeping this one on hand for when the mood strikes.
Having discovered that I am not the world’s biggest lemon myrtle fan, I also discovered that dropping a bit of ground cinnamon into this significantly improved the taste in my view. It cuts the soapiness of the lemon myrtle, and boosts the taste of the chamomile a bit. However, it is easy to overdo it and if you do you just get a mouth full of cinnamon.
It’s tasting better tonight and I really didn’t do anything differently that I can identify. I wonder whether it’s that I’m drinking it back to back with Tropical Green, and by comparison the pineapple flavor in this one is stronger? The bitterness is less too, even with a bit longer steeping time. Possibly it’s because I picked up a bit more pineapple in the spoon than the last go around. In any case, bumping it up a few points.
My dessert this evening: the fourth in a series of flavored green tea samples from The NecessiTeas.
In the package, it has a blended tropical fruit aroma that is somewhat reminiscent of the smell/taste of 5 Lush gum (which I happen to like a lot). There’s pineapple, but also something that could be mango and something else that could be tangerine. It’s sweet, but not very strong.
When steeped, the aroma becomes diffuse and ephemeral, and that repeats in the flavor. The tropical flavors are there as well as the tea flavor, which by the way isn’t bitter at all even when steeped for 90 seconds (though my water temperature was a little lower this time), but both the tea and the tropical flavors are a bit too thin for my taste. It’s not a bad tea, it’s just not robust enough for me.
I have been starting my day with Tazo Earl Grey since I have a lot of bags of it left (not the full leaf sachets, which I plowed through already, but the other kind). The taste isn’t all bad, though it’s strong on the bergamot. But something about it can give me a tummy ache at times. I’m guessing it is the acidity of the citrus, mixed with the black tea. My other Earl Grey experiences are limited to bagged tea by Numi, Twinings and Bigelow, all of which were satisfactory enough to make me want to try loose Earl Grey. This is my first foray into that, though I have some other sample sets on order.
Let me just say that the difference between any of those I have tried and Samovar’s Earl Lavender is, to put it mildly, astonishing. In fact, I was tempted to start this entire note out with “so this is what a really really GOOD Earl Grey tastes like?” but I didn’t because I don’t have other loose leaf experience for comparison.
First, there’s the way it smells. I’m getting a brown sugary smell, which is delicious, mixed with a gentle lavender, and just a tiny bit of citrus. Then there’s the way it feels. Thick and silky, and it coats your mouth in a pleasing way. Then there’s the way it tastes. Here’s where the resemblance to other Earl Greys comes in most directly. It definitely has a flavor in the same ballpark as those; you’d recognize it if you drank it blindfolded. But there is so much more to it. A smooth black tea base that isn’t distracting and doesn’t overpower, nor is it overpowered by, the other flavors. A lavender floral scent/taste that takes the edge off the citrus, and a citrus that is present but not perfumy or oily.
This is my second Samovar sample, and I am rapidly reaching the conclusion that theirs are exceptionally well-blended teas. But that isn’t news to most of you here. :-)