This actually seems a little sweeter than I remember. I’m not sure if that is from my decreased sense of smell or if I was remembering it wrong. Still quite bold and super-smoky though. That certainly hasn’t changed.
895 Tasting Notes
Today I’m alternating between soup and tea in order to quiet my cough. But since I really don’t need to OD on caffeine, I thought I’d make the next tea an herbal. Okay, so there is a tiny bit of black tea in this. But based on the leaves, it’s too tiny to really count so I’m thinking I’m okay.
Dry, this smells sweet and woodsy and a little like dried fruit. I can’t figure out exactly what kind of fruit… maybe a fruit roll up? That’s sorta dried fruit, right? Or not. Anyway, brewed, it smells a bit like the apple cider TheraFlu. Yeah, this might not be pretty. Not that I wasn’t worried before. I mean, the description plainly states that it is using hibiscus to enhance the present tartness of rose hip.
Now, I’m not one that follows the school of thought that all hibiscus is evil. I just think that there is a place for it. It’s like the food service at my college – their food was pretty bland but about my junior year, one of the chefs apparently discovered that if they added spice to the food, it wouldn’t be tasteless and bland. Now, that is true, but when everything tastes like red pepper? Not that big of an improvement. Same with hibiscus. In certain situations it can be good and help accentuate the flavors already present. But to depend upon it to provide the sole taste? Not cool. So I’m hoping this really isn’t hibiscus flavored tea.
Huh. This is hard to describe. Okay, first off: the hibiscus. Yes, it is there. But it isn’t overpowering. It adds a lighter (and yes, slightly tart) note on the tail of the tea. It gives me a little bit of the phlegm-y feeling when piping hot that I get from hibiscus flavored things and I could do without that, but again, the hibiscus isn’t the dominant flavor and the phlegm-producing tang calms down a little as it cools a smidge.
Now, on to what I can only assume is rose hip (having never tasted it before). It’s very woodsy and a bit flat. The hibiscus does help fluff it up a little. And it is a bit tart but in a sweeter, darker way from the hibiscus. So in this case, the hibiscus does actually round out the flavor of the rose hip, giving it more depth. That’s good. I could probably do with a little less hibiscus but credit to this tea for having a distinct non-hibiscus taste going on.
So how do the tastes go together? This is going to sound weird, but this tastes like marinara sauce. No, seriously. There’s the darker initial flavor which is kind of like a roasted, slightly spiced, mellower tang and then it lightens to end on a tomato-like brighter tang. That might be the cold talking but seriously, that’s what I get. I even made the husband have some (sharin’ the germs) and he didn’t look at me like I was insane. He even said that he could see that with the tang at the end. So I’m not totally insane.
Now I feel like I need some pasta. I’m drinking tomato sauce. And I’m not sure how I feel about that. I might actually like it but I can’t get over the weirdness factor. Ultimately, while I don’t hate this tea, it confuses me enough that I’m gonna have to go a little towards the ‘meh’ face. Because I’m drinking marinara sauce.
I needed to open this tea and I needed something hot for my throat/chest so I combined those two needs and decided to have this tea this morning. Can I first say wow at the steep time? I was surprised that it’s just 1 – 2 minutes. But then these are tiny little bits of tea, so I suppose that isn’t too surprising. It brews up dark, even in that short amount of time, and smells cardboard-y with a splash of almost-creamy vanilla.
Sipping, it’s a little flat. I’m not going to say that is all the tea because I am getting my first introduction to it while sick with a horrible cold. But not a lot of nuance going on in this tea. It is nicely stout, pretty malty. I have a feeling this would stand up well to milk. Even though it is not as flat-tasting as my first sip made me think, it still doesn’t have any subtlety within the flavor. It’s Assam and it makes no bones about it. The vanilla does help, I think. It doesn’t actually flavor the tea but rather adds a little insulating bubble of faint sweetness that smooths out what might be a little too malty and rough. Not that it makes the tea smooth, but it prevents it from being as rough as it might be. It’s malty and cardboard-y and it’s got a decently chewy body to it along with a little bit of an edge. And I’m only half way through my 12-oz cup and I can already feel the caffeine going so this definitely qualifies as a wake up tea.
All in all, it lacks a little roundness in taste to make me a huge fan of this tea, but I enjoy the stoutness and sort of vanilla-moderated-in-your-face-ness of it. But then most mornings, subtle teas do me very little good so that plus the caffeine means that this at least fulfills its purpose as a good wake-up tea. Plus, the heat has made my chest feel better. Brownie points for that.
I’m still sick. The thing that’s really killing me is my cough makes my chest burn. It’s not fun. I’m not exactly sure why I thought this tea would be a good idea, but I did. Perhaps it’s the chest burn that translates to drinking a tea that makes me think of Crunch Berries on fire. In a good way.
Also on the plus side, even with my head stuffy and gross, I can still smell this tea. Yay for smell! I have to wonder though, if it tasted this mild the first time I had this. I’m going to say no and that my taste buds are messed up a bit. But I can taste smoky and a little berry so that’s good.
I’m pretty tempted to bump up my rating of this since I’ve been having little cravings for it. But I’m going to wait until my taste buds and sense of smell are back up to par.
I am sick.
Correction: The husband got me sick.
I need mint.
This is mint.
I feel better. But I am still sick.
This tea seems to have quickly become the ‘go-to’ tea for when my honey feels sinus-y unpleasantness. It’s a great mint tea that has a warm depth and sweetness to it that makes it very friendly on unhappy nasal passages. Very refreshing and comforting, all rolled into one.
This smells nice. A true caramel scent but not overly sweet. Which makes sense since it is supposed to be bittersweet. I really like the smell. It’s somewhat like salt water taffy, but in a caramel flavor.
It smells more caramel than it tastes though. It’s more of a burnt caramel – there is definitely some bitter but not bitter like it’s been brewed too long since the bitter comes at the front of the taste, not the end and it is much too smooth of a bitter to be from overbrewing. It doesn’t cause me to make a funny face or anything. It’s a controlled bitter that would pair wonderfully with sweet… if there were more sweet that followed it up. Instead the taste transitions smoothly into an almost cocoa powder taste, then a nice (but still) default tea taste.
Contrary to my previously stated desire to have more sweet in this, I decided to add a splash of milk to the second half of my cup. I blame the cocoa-like notes. With the milk in it, the transition of tastes turns into a melding and this turns into a pretty nice post-dessert tea. Not a dessert tea – it’s not sweet enough for that – but something good to end a rich meal on in lieu of coffee. It makes me think of tiramisu actually, which always struck me as having too much bitter with the cocoa powder to be a proper dessert (I prefer things that are so sweet and rich you will go into sugar shock by the end of the dish).
That being said, I do enjoy this but it isn’t the sweet caramel I was hoping for. I can definitely see it as an after dinner coffee-like drink to wash down that super-rich dessert I’d pick. I might try this with sugar but I might not. It almost seems a shame to make the mild bitter go away.
And now I’m out of this one too. I’m pretty sad about that. This isn’t the best Irish Breakfast ever or anything. There is a little something missing that would push it over the edge and into that category for me, if I could just figure out what it is. But until I find the ultimate Irish Breakfast, I’ll probably do my best to have this one on hand because it is pretty darn good.
I’m out of this now. And I’m okay with that.
This is nice. Very light, bordering a bit on perfume-y but not crossing over and I’m not getting a ton of tea taste from it, but it is still nice. No nasty aftertaste or obnoxiousness, just a soft jasmine. Not too complex, not a big depth of flavor and more jasmine than tea, but sometimes the tea taste in a jasmine can turn me off so this avoids that problem.
Overall, it’s pretty inoffensive. Just a jasmine tea. I know I keep saying it’s nice, but it is. I can’t really go farther than that, though. Nothing bad is going on in it, but there’s nothing stupendous either. It’s just nice. I feel like I’m damning it with faint praise but I just can’t get all that excited about this tea. But I it doesn’t make me think icky thoughts either so that’s gotta count for something, right?
I so love this tea.
But now I am out of it.
I must order more.
Much thanks to teaplz for the chance to try this tea! Honestly, since it is rooibos and banana, I never would taken the risk of buying this on my own. But is has ‘monkey’ in the name, so I really wanted to.
Right off the bat I’m a little nervous. The leaves smell like it has gone off. I don’t think it has actually gone bad. I think that’s the rooibos. And the fright grows once I pour the tea into my cup. I was hoping for some chocolate or even some monkey. But instead it looks like I get full on rooibos. I’m scared. Hold me.
Sipping it’s not quite as horrible as the smell. There is… taste… before the rooibos hits. The problem is, when the rooibos hits, it hits hard. And it doesn’t blend with or accentuate the other flavors that pop up at the beginning of the sip. It battles against them and kicks their collective butt. The initial smell is now banana and rooibos and then the sip is banana and then rooibos and then ROOIBOS. Where’s my chocolate? And I can’t pick out the apple (though maybe that’s some of the sweetness at the beginning with the quick banana taste) or the pink peppercorns (and they are pink! I wanted to pick them out!)
Ultimately this is too much rooibos for me. The other tastes in the tea are too mild to make the rooibos step back so it just ends up being too much for me to deal with well. I’ll be able to finish the cup but I don’t think I’m going to be crying out for more rooibos monkey.
Our washer is leaking. From somewhere. Don’t know exactly what’s going on. It’s not fun. I need tea to deal. This one looks like a Jade Oolong, which I tend to enjoy, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Though my tea? Looks nothing like the picture here. What’s up with that?
Initially there is a funky almost plastic smell to it but that’s gone now that the tea is no longer quite as hot. I’m starting to think that my slightly stuffy nose is heavily (and detrimentally) impacting my tea-tasting abilities because I’m not tasting a whole lot. Sweetness in a fruity way… and that’s about it. And then a few seconds after I swallow there is a really sweet aftertaste. Almost like… strawberries? I have no clue. It’s really sweet and really there but it’s also really brief.
The body is pretty thin and light. But it’s nice, too. And seems to be getting more taste the cooler it gets. Now that I’ve said strawberry, that’s pretty much all I’m able to taste. And I taste it a lot. With a quick dash of Splenda taste at the end. Eventually a little bit of the typical Jade oolong green taste comes in, too. This tea really seems to benefit from cooling down. I’m actually kind of groovin’ on it. It’s weird, but I like it.
I like the tiny little pellets of leaves that make up this tea. It’s cute.
This certainly smells smokey but it smells cigarette smokey to me, not the more attractive and sweet cigar smokey. I think teaplz once described a smokey tea as smelling like wet ash and I think that is the prefect description of this tea’s smell. Not all that appetizing for me.
Thankfully it doesn’t taste like wet ash. The smokey taste is actually pretty mild. There’s also not the salty taste I associate with so many Chinese greens. It doesn’t have the same sweetness but otherwise makes me think of a much more delicate and green version of lapsang souchong. Actually, maybe a little too delicate. I think I might want a little more depth in the flavor. I get a nice taste when I first sip, but it pretty much disappears when I swallow and then a sort of post-fire feel of smokiness coats my mouth. I want a little more oomph in the taste as I swallow – an increase in flavor instead of a decrease. On the other hand though, I feel that if there were more oomph in the flavor, I might end up with a too-strong taste of brine or wet ash. So maybe more delicate is good in this.
As it cools I start to get a little more flavor but it is a little flatter than the taste when hot and there is a little astringency that is starting up at the very back of my mouth. But it’s still pretty good. Better than I was expecting. I think this might be a good beginner’s gunpowder. And I would include myself in that ‘beginner’ category. But it’s got the gunpowder characteristics but not so overpowering that they are offensive. Not something I’m going to have to buy but I’ve got one more cup left of leaves and it won’t be hard for me to finish it off.
I neglected to smell the dry leaf, but the leaf post-steeping smells super-roasty. The liquid smells very light, but similar. And when I say very light, I mean very light.
Taste-wise, this is surprising. I was expecting something sweet and it is, but I was expecting sweet flowery and this is more sweet starchy. Actually, it tastes like a diluted version of the liquid in the canned sweet corn niblets we used to get before I knew that, you know, corn was evil. (And I did love that corn juice so). But there is a slightly different note – a deeper, darker, more intense note – that the canned sweet corn juice didn’t have. I can’t quite place it but I’m guessing it is the roasted walnut bit they have in the flavor profile.
For such a light colored and scented tea, the tastes are very dark. It’s good but the connection my mind has made to corn is throwing me off. In my world, corn = evil. So I sip this and go “mmm, dark… sweet… oh crap, corn – EVIL!”
As it cools I’m getting more of the walnut taste (it definitely is the walnut they mention in the profile – it’s screaming walnut now but I’m not getting as much of the roasted as just straight walnut) than the corn taste and that helps with my mental aversion to it but I think I’ve already got a strong mental block against this tea so even switching to a more walnut taste isn’t making me enjoy it. The last few sips are sweet again but mixed nicely with the walnut. But again, the sweet flavor is very corn-sweet.
After thinking on it some, I’m not rating this tea. Because it’s too mixed up in my head with the evils of corn so nothing I give it would be fair. The walnut sweetness is really nice and the flavors are truly lovely so it deserves at least a green smiley but the corn connection make me think red icky face. But neither the green smiley face or red icky face would be an accurate representation of my experience with this tea. Sorry, I’m just too prejudice against the diluted sweet corn juice to rate this accurately.
In the last 24 hours, I have slept through 16. Yeah, yesterday was a rough day. But now I feel better except for the massive headache I have from too much sleep. I will count myself lucky that it didn’t trigger a migraine though (mental note: have some white tea later as a preventative measure).
I decided to try this unfortunate little tea this morning (I have 10 minutes until noon – it is still morning) for two reasons. One, because I want to share with the husband to see what he thinks of this and Two, to try out Angrboda suggestion of using lots of milk to improve this.
I knew there was a reason I followed Angrboda. Not only does she review nifty teas (and entertainingly, too), she’s a pretty smart cookie. For my 12 oz cup of tea, I used maybe 1/3 cup of milk. No sugar since it did horrible things to this tea before. This is a massive amount of milk for me. But it worked. The tea is better. Not good mind you. Just better. It tastes like an overly mild chai now. Not super-flavorful, but at least the spices blend better. Honestly, I still can’t really taste the pumpkin. My taste buds might be defective or something because apparently it’s able to be picked out without hunting. Not sure why I miss it. Though in general pumpkin tastes pretty bland to me. I do think it is that ‘nothing’ taste I get right after the initial sweet spice. But yeah, while this is definitely better with lots of milk, I’m still kind of ‘eh’ about the whole thing.
I gave the hubby some of this and I didn’t tell him what it was – I tend not to and then like to play the game of seeing what he can pick out with zero expectations. He used to be not so great at it but in the past months he’s gotten pretty impressive. So anyway, I didn’t tell him what he was sipping on, asking for him to guess. He took a sip… “This tastes really nutmeg-y.” Another couple of sips. “Is that pumpkin or squash?” Wow. Go him. Especially since that’s the most elusive flavor for me. Then, “Didn’t you have a pumpkin pie tea at some point? Is this it?” Ding ding ding. We have a winner.
When asked what his overall thoughts are, he replied, “I can taste the flavor but I really don’t know if it belongs in tea.” He gave it an overall 2.5/5 stars and I probably have to agree with him. It’s better with the milk and I probably could up the rating based on the with-milk taste to maybe the low-40s. But I don’t think any tea should have to have that much added to it to make it nearer to tasty-ville. And the relative mildness of the spices with this much milk tells me I can’t even judge this by chai standards. So the rating stays where it is.
This morning things are just a bit off. I feel a little out sync with the rest of the world. Sadly, this tea falls into the category of ‘rest of the world’ today and we didn’t mesh all that well. Some of it had to do with my distraction during brewing – not 100% sure I got the right amount of leaf since I was so distracted – and part of it has to do with the fact that I think I just wasn’t in the mood for mango this morning. Also, I tend to put a slight splash of milk in this as it really makes the mango flavor pop but I forgot this morning so the tea isn’t as fruity as it normally is.
Not that it was evil to me today or anything. And once it cooled a bit the mango flavor still poked out. But things were still just off in general.
On the plus side of things, this is the first time I’ve had this tea since I’ve tasted Monk’s Blend (also with calendula petals) and I was able to taste a little similarity between the two teas which I attribute to the calendula. So I have an idea now of exactly what calendula tastes like. Which is good because up until today, it made me think of a calendula cream I have which neither smells nor tastes all that great.
Anyway, hopefully things will sync up between me and the world later today but I really wish it would have happened before I made any tea.
I realized today that it has been a bit since I’ve had a truly awesome tea.
So I decided to have this.
The counter may now be reset.
0 days since our last awesome tea.
My first sniff of the dried leaves smelled just like canned pumpkin with a little additional spice. But sniffs after that were more… pumpkin cider. And then more of a sweet chai. I’m missing the sweet bit that I had on the first sniff. All brewed up, I get more pie spice still, but the pumpkin is back a little. I’m expecting this to be very chai-like.
The taste isn’t a strong as I expected actually and after I swallow, a few pauses later I get an expanding taste of the tea base. Also a little warm spiciness is left on my tongue. There is also a distinctly different spice taste at the front. So each sip goes sweet spice, warm spice, nothing, spicy spice, pause, pause, pause, tea. Honestly, it’s the nothing that’s throwing me off. I can’t seem to taste anything when I hold the tea in my mouth. Even swishing it around, all I taste is just a spice aftertaste. Once I swallow, I get more spice but when the tea is in my mouth, I just get the post-warmth aftertaste. It’s really really weird.
I’m wondering if the sweet taste I get at the beginning is pumpkin. Or maybe the nothing taste is really pumpkin. Either way though, it’s overpowered by the spice when I sip so I just can’t get my tastebuds to it. But it’s weird because none of the tastes seem to blend. They are all separate. Standing there independently, not glancing at or even acknowledging the other tastes there.
With half a cup left, I put a little sugar in to see if that helps any. I’ve probably put too much sugar (maybe a quarter teaspoon) so I imagine at the very least this will be sweet now… And sugar did it no favors. Sure, now there is an underlying sweetness that attempts to mush the uncooperative tastes together but having that added sweetness makes the spice and the tea flavor at the end show up as bitter. Yes, I added sugar and I taste bitterness now.
Okay, before sugar, this cup was weird. After sugar, this cup is unpleasant. But I’m going to rate this on the better of the two tastes and go with the unsweetened cup. Which means instead of being gross, this cup was just… confusing.
I’m pretty sleepy this morning so I didn’t have the brain power to fully explore this guy as I drank it this morning, but I’ve come to a conclusion. It’s good – a nice, nutty but somewhat default ‘tea’ flavor. Not rough or bitter. But a little uneven. Just a little. I feel like it’s missing one little taste that would really pull it all together and make this tea really wow me. A soft or sweet or fruity top note seems to me to be lacking. I want just that little bit of extra effort from it. Then it would be pretty awesome.
This one is a free tea bag that arrived in the mail today with my monthly Lupicia newsletter. Since my hockey game just started, I’ll be up for a few hours so I think I’m okay to have another tea. I really should find a team on the East coast or something so I’m not always staying up for West coast games.
Okay, Lupicia says to do this with boiling water… but I can’t. It’s a green! I’m physically incapable. Plus, the zojirushi is at 175. I will listen to their 2min steep time recommendation, however. Out of curiosity (and because of a conversation between Ricky and Cofftea yesterday I think?), I decided to weight the tea bag. Lupicia says they should weight 3g…. and they are wrong! It is 3.4g. I’m sure the .4 comes from the bag bit though. Good job Lupicia! I know Lupicia is pretty leaf intensive and usually recommends a 4oz cup, but I’m doing 6oz because I want to. And I can. So there.
The smell of this tea bag is somewhat shocking. It’s strong and very berry-y. It’s like a mix of raspberry and strawberry in candy form. Actually, I have a Trident strawberry + citrus gum that this reminds me of the more I sniff it. And I’m sniffing it a lot because it’s strong and surprising but yummy. There is a little hint of green tea underneath it but the smell is 95% berry. Brewed up, the tea still smells very berry-y but it isn’t as intense as the dry and the green tea smell bumps up to maybe 25 or 30% of the smell.
Sipping is… Hmm. I’m not really sure. It tastes a lot like it smells. And it reminds me of my strawberry + citrus gum though not as powerful. I had to take the cup in to have the husband try it (I had already made him smell the package). He said it reminded him of the bag of mixed frozen fruit we have. I mentioned strawberry and he sipped then said that he totally got that and said at first he thought melon, upon which I sipped and totally got cantaloupe. I don’t taste any of the raspberry that I smelled initially. Sipping it now, it’s very much a strawberry cantaloupe mix with a hint of non-sweet green tea to give it support.
This is a very summery tea for me. Very fresh and happy to the point that I can almost feel the summer breeze blowing my hair around. I really should have had it in my strawberry tea cups for it to be just right. I’m not sure how often I would crave this tea because it is very fruity – almost like it should be a mild herbal. Mild – not Jolly Rancher tasting. But it’s a very good fruity tea. I like it. And happy that there is a Lupicia strawberry tasting tea that doesn’t make me think of Nestle Quik!
GOAL! Go Sexton! Woo!
I’m a bit at loose ends tonight because my evening activity, a hockey game, doesn’t start until 9pm central. So I’m waiting and kind of being unproductive. So I thought I’d do something semi-productive and try a new tea!
Such pretty pretty leaves. Curly and colorful and pretty. I’m a little stuffy so I’m not getting much of anything off the dry leaves, but as soon as I poured hot water over them, I got a poof of sweet greeness. It reminds me a bit of Jade Cloud, but sweeter.
Oh but the taste. It’s a bit like Jade Cloud – a lot of the same tastes, but tweaked and rebalanced until this is so much better. It’s sweet and there is no salty/briny taste at all. And the aftertaste has a light nutty flavor. Not faint nutty, but a lighter colored/tasting nut.
So yeah, overall this tea is very similar to Jade Cloud. But better. Mmm.
I was pretty excited to see this one in the box o’ teas teaplz sent me. Not so much because I think it will taste fantastic or anything. Just because it seems funky and fun. And oh yeah, hopefully good.
The dry leaves smell nice. It doesn’t scream chocolate to me but that’s probably because I’m looking for a more cocoa powder smell when it comes to tea and chocolate notes. It reminds me more of… vanilla bean. Of which I don’t think there is any in the tea so I might be insane. The smell of the dry leaf carries across pretty faithfully to the tea. But it smells… richer, a little deeper. It brews up pretty light for such a powerful smelling tea. But at the same time, it doesn’t seem overpowering or too unnatural of a flavor. It just smells like strong tea.
Now on to the taste. This tea is different and it’s going to be hard to explain this right. Based on the smell, I expected a POW of flavor and I didn’t get that. The flavor seems to be more in the feel of the tea. The smell and the taste it leaves on my tongue after I swallow. The warmth of the chili that seems to build as I sip. It’s a soft flavor. It’s truly tea with the flavor of chili and chocolate, not a flavored tea. Does that distinction make sense? Okay, okay, my brain still reads that chocolate taste as vanilla bean. But the point stands that the main thing is that this is a tea. And oh yeah, it’s flavored.
It’s totally not what I was expecting especially based on the smell but it is pretty fantastic. Subtle and soft but obviously there. It’s simultaneously energizing (hello chili!) and mellowing.
It makes me want to drink this sitting by the fire in a nice lodge after a long day of skiing. Which actually, any day including skiing is going to be long because I can’t do it. At all. I can only snowboard moderately well but this tea isn’t a in-the-lodge-post-snowboarding tea. It actually makes me think of gourmet hot chocolate. Or as a gourmet hot chocolate substitute. And it makes my tongue burn a bit – it a good way. Yay chili! So yeah, this tea is funky and I really like it!
I do enjoy this tea. Mostly for the texture, I think. I get a good, gnaw-worthy cardboard taste and starchiness from it that makes me happy. Taste-wise, it’s not all that overly complex but it does what I want it to and it does it well (and it does well in a travel tumbler) so I love this tea.