2791 Tasting Notes
September Prompt – A tea with honey in it.
I usually use this tea for making a sweet syrup and then adding to sparkling water for a root beer-like drink.
Today, Ashman is away at the Woodwright’s School taking another class from Roy Underhill, so I decided on this cool, solitary morning to have a latte with it.
It was decent, nothing to write home about but pleasant to sip on the porch watching the world not go by. (Seriously, where was everybody? I thought there would be lots of walkers out on one of the first cool mornings of fall!) I am not a fan of lots of black pepper in chai, nor of hot pepper in tea, nor of super savory tea, so this one – though it is humble – is a decent cup for cool weather lattes. I felt like it took more honey to get it sweet enough for me compared to how much sugar I would have put, but traditional chai is usually pretty sweet.
I made two lattes tonight using sample teabags from Stash. I have had these for about nine months, so they are not fresh but not too old, either. Honestly, this one smelled pretty bad to me, and now I realize it was the sarsaparilla. If you love sarsaparilla, you will probably like this more than I did. But it was mainly the aroma of the dry tea bag that I disliked.
I tasted this one before handing it off to Ashman, who said he really liked it. He has a real sweet tooth and he is working late and has a lot still to do, so after tasting it and finding it to be a bit bland, I jazzed this up with half water, half milk, our homemade vanilla extract, lots of sugar, and whipped cream on top.
The thing is, this is what it would take to make this enjoyable to me. It is not a tea I would crave or relish as a plain, hot cuppa. Not something I plan to order, but thankful for the sample, and so glad that he enjoyed it on his work break.
Note not about the tea: has anyone tried Bakers Tennis Biscuits and are they worth hunting down?
This is a sample teabag that came in an order about nine months ago.
Ashman is working late at home and feeling peckish, so I made a cheese and cracker plate and thought it was a great time to get rid of these two decaf samples as nice, filling lattes.
Sadly, when I opened the little wrapper the tea (both this one and Cinnamon Vanilla) had a strange and unpleasant aroma. It was a familiar smell, and I think I have decided it is mildew. Like someone threw a wet swimsuit in a hamper and left it and you don’t find out for a week. Ick.
I steeped it strong in just half the water called for and then added sugar and milk and tasted…and added more sugar and some vanilla, because there wasn’t much flavor. The strange smell was nearly gone, although when I tipped the mug back to get the very last of the drink, the smell hit me again. But at least it tasted better than it smelled.
Maybe it is just an off night for my taste buds or something, but this was very non-spectacular. We would have been better off having a cup of hot milk and adding our own spices.
Mastress Alita’s September Sipdown Challenge – An Aromatic Tea
I hope a flavored tea counts for the aromatic prompt, rather than just teas that are naturally aromatic. As stated before, this tea leads with the almond and thankfully the cherry flavor is not at all “cough syrup cherry”. This is strong enough that the scent lingers in your teaware but it behaves itself and dissipates with washing up.
I enjoy this both hot sans additions and as a sweet iced tea. The next pitcher of iced will make a sipdown, but I will probably repurchase someday when the cupboard is under better control..
I received this sample tea bag in an order a few months ago and almost gave it away. I don’t reach for Earl Grey often, and when I do it is usually one with something else added. I dislike bergamot on Ceylon because it is too sour for me and prefer it on Keemun. I had no idea what this base was.
I have tried Harney’s plain Earl Grey, Earl Grey Supreme, and Imperial Earl Grey. Earl Grey Supreme was my absolute favorite of those. I thought I would dislike this tea because I didn’t care much for the Organic Breakfast Blend, although it has grown on me through the many samples received.
What a nice surprise! This tea was really nice with breakfast. The bergamot is medium level and not super sour, just fresh and bright. I made it my usual way for a tea like this – steeped it, poured it into a small pot, steeped it again, poured that into first steep. The strength was just right for me, but I do not add milk and sugar. I think it would still be fine with additions if that’s how you like it.
I left the table for a moment and came back to find that a mosquito had drowned in my last bit of tea in the cup. While I rejoice over the death of the mosquito, I was so sad to lose that last bit of tea. I was really enjoying it.
Also, I noticed a button that says BUY NOW and under that it says that the purchase supports Steepster. It is that true? How? I haven’t ever noticed that before on a tea but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. I did know about the buy now buttons leading to Adagio when one was trying to reach 52teas. That’s plain slimy, Adagio. Shame on you. But a Harney purchase supports Steepster? I can handle that.
September Prompt – a tea with coconut
When I first saw the prompt, I thought I was going to have to skip because I couldn’t remember any tea with coconut on hand. As I stood before the tea shelves staring and hoping for inspiration, my eyes landed on this tin, and I remembered it had coconut flavor.
At first I balked at having it for breakfast but decided to roll it, and I am glad I did.
I have had this a couple of times and was initially disappointed. Today was a little different. I got over the disappointment that it wasn’t POW in your face pineapple. I was having a half serving of oatmeal (seriously all I can stand of it) with honey and cardamom and the tea actually went really well with it. Something about the flavors in the oatmeal pulled a little more flavor out of the tea for me, or maybe I just did a better job of steeping it this time.
The broken leaves are pretty large in this blend, and it is really pretty to look at with all the blue cornflower mixed in with the flat, green leaves.
Sipping, I got a good taste if the green base and a bit of pineapple, possibly coming out more because it was juxtaposed with the honey in the tea, and the creamy coconut flavor made everything smooth, rich, and mellow, the way vanilla does. Maybe the flavors pop more when sweetened, but I will probably keep drinking it unsweetened.
It is growing on me.
September Prompt 3 – A Chocolate Tea
Ashman went in late today so we enjoyed tea and toast together this morning. I almost served Dammann Freres Chocolate Black tea but hesitated because I know he doesn’t like some chocolate teas. (I think he WILL like that one, though.) Then I remembered that he loved this one back when I first bought it and we have not had it in a while, and we really need to drink it up. It would be a shame for it to go bad. I think this is next tea I will hit hard to make a sipdown.
These teas are true to their word – they really do make three steeps, and we always make all three and combine them to keep them evenly flavored, rather than drinking one strong and two progressively weaker.
The chocolate flavor tastes like natural chocolate rather than the mildewy smelling chocolate flavor or oil or whatever it is that seems to crop up in some chocolate teas.(Although last year I noticed the weird scent in my beloved Boston which broke my heart a little. It doesn’t even have chocolate in it, does it?). The strawberry is also more real strawberry than candy strawberry, and with the medium heft black base tea makes for a real yum.
Mastress Alita’s September Sipdown Challenge, prompt number two.
It is blasted hot and muggy, Sam the king of dogs is sick and I have not slept for more than three hours in a row (once, usually it is less than two hours) in four days.
But I did have time for a quiet breakfast with tea.
I made this as a latte this time. Half milk, half water, extra large mug, two small spoons of sugar.
This is my kind of chai which would probably disappoint a lot of true chai lovers. This doesn’t have black pepper heat, nothing too soicy, just some ginger and clove and not enough of that to burn. I like the level of spice, it is just right for me. I can even drink this one with no milk and no sugar easily, I just wanted a bit of spoiling today.
September Prompt 1 from Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge – A Breakfast Tea
I own no tea at all that SAYS breakfast on it at present, though I have owned many types of English and Irish Breakfast. Harney and Sons’ English Breakfast is 100% Keemun, and as much as I like that company that particular tea does not hold a candle to this one.
I get weak in the knees when I sniff the dry leaves. This is TEA. So while I drank to fulfill a prompt, it will probably never be a sipdown because there will be a new bag on the way.
This is nice and hefty for morning, and can take milk and sugar but I never add anything. It is perfect as is for me. Rich, a little raspy on the tongue like cocoa powder is, aromatic. Their Superfine Fragrant is a great tea but it is for afternoons to me, whereas this one is worth getting up for, this is perfect for my morning. I gave it to Ashman once a while back and it was too strong for him, but his tastes are changing and it is time to try him on it again.
Vitacost was having a sale and the neighbor had gone nuts over the Vanilla Nut Teecino I gave him, so we placed an order Monday. Tuesday after lunch, my box arrived. They are lightning fast, and it helps that they ship from our main mail distribution city kn the state. I have received orders in less than 24 hours before.
We bought Vanilla Nut and Hazelnut, and a couple of jars of Bonne Maman Orange Marmalade. but I needed one more item to hit free shipping because we had a coupon. I decided to get this on a whim because I like almond scented things.
Thus I fulfill my final prompt for August – a random tea.
The aroma is heady and boozy. I bought this especially to have a decadent night time treat. Even hot chocolate was keeping me up last year.
I made this with half water and half milk, added sugar, and topped it with whipped cream. Ashman the coffee hater loved it. I loved it and I can’t drink coffee because I just can’t get past the bitterness.
I only used a tablespoon and a half of the loose mix for about 18 ounces of beverage, but it was enough. I am looking forward to enjoying these Teecino blends when the weather turns chilly. I need try it cold frappucino style, too.