1817 Tasting Notes
Shhhh! Don’t tell on me!
I went out my front door and there was a small box sitting by the step. What’s this? I picked up the box and read the name. No way! Impossible! It can’t already be here. I casually walked into the kitchen, not drawing attention to myself, and opened the box. It is! It is! It is my Christmas present tea! Surely I can try JUST ONE. After all, I did ask for tea, I did place the order myself, and no one has any idea how much I ordered and from where.
After an agonizing three or four seconds of mental battle and rationalization, I carefully opened this one. The kids don’t know new tea is here because I controlled myself and didn’t do my SQUEEE dance.
Since this is a brand new company to me and most of us, I will go into a little more detail on packaging and such. First, the box is nice and sturdy, and obviously shipping was fast for me to be surprised that it is here already. Inside the box is a lovely handwritten note, a receipt, and a little brown paper to keep the tins from moving around. The tins are in pristine condition and are very attractive. You would have to involve an elephant to damage the packaging.
Opening the lid on the tin I find a layer of very thin aluminum foil to keep the tea fresher. Hugo Tea is presently changing their packaging, but if you order before the change is complete, be sure you keep that little circle of foil. It makes the lid nice and tight. Initially i didn’t put it back and when I reopened the tin I noticed that the lid came off a little too easily (unlike a few companies whose lids make me weep and I spill as much of the leaf as I get to drink because of obstinate lids) and though in normal circumstances it would be just fine, when is life really normal? People drop things, bump into shelves, etc, and if this tin fell it would almost certainly spill. Keep your foil, or put in a new piece.
Dry leaf: deep army green and somewhat twisty. Nice and full. Aroma is root vegetables like turnips or mustard greens.
Steeped: Nice medium gold color, fragrant, again of root vegetables but a wee bit milder now. First steep is root vegetable with a slight dryness and tingling to the tongue, the sort of green I serve mainly with food. Aftertaste is lingering, lots of staying power. I think of this as a tea that awakens you.
Second steep: similar to the first, but with a soft caress. Flavor remains much the same, but some of the root vegetable edge is smoothed out so there is a sense of a lighter, slightly buttered vegetable.
Mixing the two steeps together, I do not feel that I have something half way between the two, but rather that the first steep has brought the second up to full strength. This makes me think I should shoot for a third steep in a little while. There may be a fourth in here as well!
This was the first tea served at tea party today, and yes, tea party was a day late this week! My middle daughter had another commitment so we postponed because she really didn’t want to miss.
We served a wonderful type of fruit cake – and I don’t usually like fruit cake – called Southern Supreme “More Nuts than Fruit” Cake. It is soooo good and is made right here in NC. We actually went to the main store two years ago. We also had Fresh Market sugar cookies, White Fudge Oreos, and a couple of other kinds of cookies.
My guest and I both LOVED this. She picked up on the cherry flavor immediately, though I didn’t. It tastes just as a Christmas tea should taste when I imagine what should be in one. Somehow the French tea companies manage to put SO MANY flavors in their teas without the end result being a muddy mess. The different notes can all be teased out, but the black tea base is never covered up. It doesn’t end up tasting like a fruit tisane. Nice!
This is one of the teas given to me by oldest daughter at Thanksgiving! :)
I have had this sample for at least a year, and it made me think of Quiltguppy and how much I miss her here on Steepster. This is a sip down, the end of a generous sample that had gotten pushed to the back of a drawer with some others that I am trying to finish up.
Kashyap mentioned in his review of this that a tea’s profile is likely to change over time. I think that happened with this one.
Opening the packet for the first time in a year, the aroma of the dry leaf is nut. Nut, nut, and more nut. Specifically walnut I think, but it could be pecan. Steeped, however, the nut aroma is way in back and a fruitiness has come to the front. It reminds me of the sharp scent of scuppernong grapes. There is so much in this cup of tea!
This is so fruity, with a hint of astringency, that it is reminding me of a Darjeeling today. The aftertaste is of apricot. I feel as though I have eaten an apricot dumpling, swimming in syrup and topped with chopped walnuts. Delicious!
I have read so many great reviews for Earl Grey Cream teas from various companies that it made me curious. Why do people love it so much? When Zen Tea offered to let me pick three teas to sample, it was easy to decide to put this one on the list!
And WHOA! I tore open the pouch and the creamy vanilla swirled up and kissed me smack on the lips. I am pretty sure there is a puddle of drool where I was standing because it smelled so good.
I don’t know quite what I was expecting, but I can tell you what I got. This IS what it says it is – Earl Grey tea with cream. But not just cream…it is rich, homemade fresh-whipped vanilla-imbued cream that has been sitting on top of a hot and decadent dessert.
Yummy! No wonder people love it! Thank you, Zen Tea, for allowing me to finally experience this tea! If you like Earl Grey and you like vanilla, you really should try this.
I am the first? Yippee!
I made this tea for a little afternoon tea and cookies time with my hubby and a friend. The friend is fairly new to good tea – he told me a few weeks ago that all he had ever had was Lipton with milk and sugar. His first “good” tea shocked him. He said he didn’t know there was tea that wasn’t astringent. Now he takes his tea at my house with no additions because he says he really wants to taste and experience the tea.
For hubby, I added a tiny sprinkle of sugar that I was afraid was not enough for him, because he takes black tea with lots of sugar normally. But he liked this even though it was only lightly sweetened. Mine and our guest’s had no sugar and was delightful. The aroma is fabulous, from the moment you tear the top of the bag. The tea is smooth – I steeped on the short side, just three minutes, because I wasn’t sure what the base was. It would be fine longer, I think.
As it was, it was an excellent tea, and my guest was very enthusiastic about it and really enjoyed it.
I think the addition of milk and sugar would probably take this over the top into decadent dessert territory. I think I will try it that way next!
Grrrrrr! That was the sound that escaped me, and that was when I smelled the leaves. Same sound, a little louder, escaped when I sipped the first sips.
This is a delicious black tea. Often, black tea from China will use Asian parameters for steeping the tea and I find it too weak that way and change to Western brewing. This one is super just as they say to make it. It is smooth yet bracing, lightly cocoa flavored, and there is something arresting about the flavor that grabs your attention, but isn’t rough.
This and their Dragon Pearl Green Tea are so good they could be the base for a very nice small cupboard.
My daughter came to join us for Thanksgiving dinner today and brought a gift with her. She said this was part of my Christmas present but that I needed to open it now because it was something for DURING the holidays.
It was the adorable Dammann Freres coffret with two tins of Christmas tea! I made the white tea after lunch because I wanted to share it with her and she really does not like black tea….at all!
This is very fragrant and right away evoked memories of Noél a Londres by the same company, just with a white base. SQUEEE! After the tea is gone, I will have to repurpose this beautiful box and the tins!
My bestie asked me to take a break tonight and come have tea with her. When I got there, she offered me a slice of her coconut cream pie with the tallest fluffiness meringue you have ever seen. I have never had ANY cream pie before. Oh. My. Goodness. It was so very good and I am so very stuffed! I got the recipe but I know my mother will be up in heaven looking down at me saying, “Gee, thanks! You couldn’t try it and fall in love with it while I was alive, eh?” She loved pie, and I never really ate any cream pies.
This tea was a very nice accompaniment to the pie. The base is good, smooth but not overly sweet, and the vanilla is just right – it doesn’t mask the tea but you don’t have to look for it, either.
This was the first tea of tea party today. I broke with our usual attempt of having black, oolong, and green, or some other form of variety and just made two black teas and one flavored black because I was pairing it with something that I felt needed black tea to carry it.
You see, the lovely JacquelineM sent me a tiny little tea book with recipes in it a while back and today I tried one of them for tea time. The recipe is Pear, Walnut, Bleu Cheese sandwiches on Seven Grain bread, except we could only find twelve grain so we used that instead! LOL! The Bleu Cheese is mixed with cream cheese to spread it on the bread. It was very tasty and I don’t EVEN want to know how many calories were in each little triangle!
The sandwiches were very rich, so I wanted a good, strong black tea to stand up to the flavorful Bleu cheese and to contrast with the delicate pear. It was delicious! Thank you, Jacqueline!