1178 Tasting Notes
My tin was full to the brim as well, and the top of the tin is very tight — which is good for the tea, but not so good for my newly cleaned countertop. At least it was the countertop, not the floor, so I could salvage…
It’s very tippy, giving it that (brown) salt and pepper look that I find so appealing. The dry leaves have the soil-like smell of some Assams, but with something stronger, sweeter and vaguely bready (as opposed to yeasty) about it. Bready good. Yeasty (unless winey or beery or bready) bad.
It makes a medium-dark amber liquor with a bready aroma. I totally get what Stephanie mentioned in her note — warm, sweet bread. It leans toward, but doesn’t completely reach maltiness of the type I recall from the Numi Chinese Breakfast. It isn’t the sugary, yam-like orgy of complexity that was the Samovar Yunnan Golden Buds. But it is quite nice.
It has a thick, substantial mouthfeel which adds to the perception of breadiness. I would not have identified the pepper note without reading about it here, but now that I do, yes, that makes sense. It’s not a spicy pepper though. It’s like the flavor of pepper without the spiciness.
A nice, all-purpose, Yunnan black tea.
Made on the stovetop using the Samovar extra black tea method. Extra black tea today was LeafSpa Yunan Gold. I love those sorts of names for teas. Makes me think of action movies involving drug cartels.
The Yunan Gold has a very thick mouthfeel, which I thought would make it a particularly good candidate to add to chai to help along the chewiness.
Yum. I can definitely taste the chocolate in this. It’s like someone mixed brownie and gingerbread batter together and liquified it. Or put another way, it’s like the Mayan Chocolate Chai but more chocolatey and less spicy (the ingredients are the same except for the cayenne pepper). It’s still nicely spiced, though. Although I do miss my black pepper. I wonder what adding a bit of black pepper would have done to it?
Definitely yum for a sleepy Wednesday afternoon pick me up.
This is embarrassing, but I bought this by mistake. Am I the only one who has ever done that? I meant to buy the Mandarin Orange green tea from Teas Etc. But this is what showed up. I’m sure it was because of user error, i.e. mine, and it seemed like a hassle to send it back so I just kept it and decided to give it a shot.
There’s an intense, juicy orange smell upon opening the tin. The rooibos is noticeable, mostly as a sort of woody back-note, but not strong.
The aroma from the rooibos after steeping is — get this — very much like Fanta orange soda without the addition of the carbonated quality. There is also an appley smell underneath from the rooibos.
The taste is not bad. It’s not exactly sweet orange, but it’s not bitter either. I wish the orange flavor was stronger. It’s almost enough to make me unaware I’m drinking red rooibos, but not quite.
It started out a mistake, and it’s not something I’d order again, mostly because I just don’t think I’d ever really want to drink orange rooibos (unless I’d ordered it by mistake, in which case I’d happily drink it to have an additional option at night when I don’t want to take in too much caffeine). But it’s decent, by the standard I apply which is unobtrusiveness in the rooibos flavor.
In the sample packet, the smell is to die for. Chocolate. Nom. Chocolate. Nom nom. Chocolate. Nom nom nom. Not really much else, just sweet, creamy smelling chocolate.
You can’t really see it in the picture, but the red rooibos is interspersed with long yellow dried petals. They’re pretty. They look sort of like fragments of crepe paper.
I had very high hopes that this would be some sort of caffeine free chocolate dream concoction that I could drink at night while watching The Biggest Loser. Just the illusion of calories.
Unfortunately, it was not to be. In the cup, the aroma is rooibos first, chocolate illusion after. As is the flavor. The chocolate isn’t bad as far as it goes. The rooibos isn’t a bad rooibos. It’s the balance that’s the issue for me. As with some other recent rooibos trials, the problem here is that the rooibos won’t shut up.
For me, if a rooibos is good, it’s a lot like a good waiter. You barely notice they’re there, you just notice that you’re not left wanting anything. They don’t barge in, they don’t totally ignore you. They’re just a very quiet presence that miraculously gets the job done.
This one isn’t quite there. Dang. Now what can I have while watching The Biggest Loser. Quick, before I head for the cookies!
Getting close to the end of my TeaFrog samples. I think I have three more. This is one of them.
The dry mix is very pretty, the lemongrass is very green against the backdrop of the Ceylon and there are little flecks of blue where the cornflowers show through. There’s a light neutral color as well that looks like the lemon peel. I’m not really seeing jasmine, though it could be that some of the flecks that look like lemon peel are actually jasmine petals. It doesn’t have a strong scent of bergamot (or otherwise) in the packet.
The tea has a lemony aroma with a bergamot undercurrent. It has a lemony taste as well. A bright taste. The bergamot is pretty subdued, secondary to the lemon. I am not getting much in the way of jasmine.
It’s hard to say whether it’s tastes like an Earl Grey so much as a lemon black tea with bergamot? It does seem to me the lemon is the stronger taste of the two. It’s actually very nice; it’s different. I don’t think I’d buy it to fill an Earl Grey need. If I order some, it will simply be because I like it.
This sample packet contained a really interesting mixture. Bit chunky pieces of roasted chicory that looked like tree bark or mulch, red peppercorns, and what looked like little chocolate chips among a tan colored substance that must be the ginger. The dry mix smells like spicy mocha. It makes a thick looking brown liquor.
The aroma of the tisane smells like chocolate, coffee and pepper. I’m not really picking up on much ginger here. The taste is similar to the aroma. Lightly chocolately, lightly coffee-like, with a zing of pepper that stands out most of all. The ginger hangs on to the chicory and mellows it into a sweet coffee-like flavor with a ginger overtone.
It’s a really interesting flavor, one I haven’t come across in a tisane before. I could see wanting it every now and then, especially during colder months. It’s a little too unusual and slyly intense for more than occasional drinking, at least for me.
Another TeaFrog sample from a prior Steepster Select. This was back before I started to shun rooibos. ;-) Actually, I don’t really shun it even now, I just have a lot more understanding of my own taste preferences with respect to it now than I used to.
This has the same basic flavor profile as The Necessiteas’ Peppermint Pattie, and yet, its rooibos is far more present. It’s more present in the nose of the dry mixture, in the aroma of the steeped tisane, and in the taste. It’s in the first position in all of those, followed by mint and then by chocolate.
The rooibos isn’t bad tasting as rooibos goes — it doesn’t have a lot of sawdust or pencil shaving qualities, but I can’t get away from the fact that it is the number one flavor. This is pretty much the exact opposite of what I am looking for in a rooibos blend, though I know I’m not typical.
So I prefer the Peppermint Pattie for this flavor combo in a rooibos. I didn’t think that one was perfect either, as the rooibos flavor played a little bit of hide and seek. But it was pretty good at the hiding part and gave the number one taste spot to the chocolate for the most part, followed by the mint.
This one isn’t really attempting to hide, which I’m sure is the preference of the true rooibos fan. It just isn’t mine.
I ended up with another sample of this.
This time I cold brewed it for more like 36 hours and it made quite a difference. Much more flavorful and round.
It’s also really nice with food. Better, I think, with food than as a stand alone drink. I had it with pasta and marinara sauce and it went very nicely.
Bumping up a few points as I enjoyed it more this time around.
The second in the British Blend Sampler. The web site’s description for the plain Russian Caravan says it has teas from India, China, and Formosa, so this must as well. There is some tippiness to the leaves. Also some twigginess. I wish my senses were sophisticated enough to be able to tell what’s what from the sight and smell of the leaves. I looked up Russian Caravan and Wikipedia says it is a blend of Oolong, Keemun and Lapsang Souchong.
Which is fascinating because after it steeps, it smells like Darjeeling to me. Doesn’t taste so much like it, though. There could well be oolong in this. The mouth feel is soft and silky, and there’s a nutty/stone fruit butteriness to the flavor. I don’t taste smoke except maybe barely in the finish, so if there is lapsang in this it’s a very small amount. I am thinking that what I smelled as Darjeeling is probably Keemun. It has a sort of grapey fruitiness.
The aftertaste is sweet and slightly buttery. I’m in yumsville, liking this one quite a bit.