“Oooh, grenadine and tea… maybe you will be a cherry-flavored tea that doesn’t taste like cough syrup to me! But wait… what are those little orange things you have? That’s in my mango tea, too. You aren’t mango, are you?”
“That’s not mango, that’s calendula.”
sniff … “But you kind of smell like mango.”
“I’m not mango.”
“But you smell fruity and mango is a fruit.”
“Cherry is a fruit, too.”
“But those little things are mango-colored.”
“That. Isn’t. Mango. That’s calendula. I am not mango.”
sip … “Hmm. Fruity. Hello mango, are you in there?”
“I’m NOT mango.”
“But you’re fruity. And a little toasty. And sweet. And yummy.”
“I AM NOT MANGO!”
sip … “Okay, now that you are cooling, you aren’t so much indistinct fruity. You taste, well, sort of like grenadine has been splashed into a toasty, almost bake-y tea.”
“THAT’S BECAUSE I AM GRENADINE TEA.”
shrug … “Well, I suppose you aren’t mango after all, even if you do have those little things my mango tea does.”
“Sigh. I hate you.”
“Mmm, sweet grenadine flavored tea. I love you.”
894 Tasting Notes
“Oooh, grenadine and tea… maybe you will be a cherry-flavored tea that doesn’t taste like cough syrup to me! But wait… what are those little orange things you have? That’s in my mango tea, too. You aren’t mango, are you?”
I seriously had a dream Monday that I was brewing up this tea. Woke up ready to drink it but sadly, my order had not come. No clue why I was dreaming about this tea though. This is the tea from Series 1 that I expect to like the least. I’ve only had one other experience with Dragonwell and it wasn’t fun. But that has somehow translated to this being the tea I want to try the most. I’m not sure if I am trying to torture myself through tea or if I am hoping that damn fine dragonwell will be happier than the one I had previously.
The leaves smell both grassy/vegetal and a little salty. Makes my mouth water just a bit. Brewed some up and – oh, yes. The is nice. This isn’t even nice for a Chinese green (my least favorite type of tea). This is just plain ole nice. Fresh and a bit buttery with a little not-quite-salt at the end. That not-quite-salt taste seems to be a hint of astringency that hits on the middle/back of my tongue after a sip. That single factor is what can ruin a Chinese green for me if it is too strong, but it isn’t in this tea. It gives a nice counterpoint to the fresh smoothness at the front of the sip.
And now my cup is empty (wow, that was quick) so I get to find out how it resteeps!
ETA: Second steep @ 4:30. Not quite as fresh/butter but still good. Not as great as the first cup, but that might be because I just had some cereal.
Today has been a pretty rough day but thanks to takgoti and teaplz I’ve finally gotten in a good enough mood to feel up to making comfort tea. At least I hope this will be comfort tea. Here’s hoping.
Larger sample size for this one – looks like I’ll be able to try this one twice! The leaf smells pretty cool but rather different than what I was expecting because I get a distinct cream soda smell from it I was expecting the jasmine to be the strongest flavor but it looks like the vanilla wins.
The tea looks pretty light – kind of a dark cider color… maybe I should have done a little longer? But I’m impatient. So I didn’t. Smells nice though. Not getting cream soda anymore (which is a bit sad but ultimately okay because I’m not sure if I’m ready to drink cream soda tea), but there seems to be some chocolate smell in there tucked under the vanilla. Or maybe a cocoa scent is more accurate. It does smell good. Vanilla (homemade-ice-cream vanilla, not high-and-sweet-vanilla-cake-from-a-box vanilla) with that cocoa note peaking out and then a soft floral of the jasmine on the tail end. It makes me want to eat s’mores. I’m nervous now because I’m afraid the taste will be a let down. This just smells SO good. I can’t see how the taste won’t be a let down.
Okay, it’s not a let down but it is definitely tastes different than it smells. Smell-wise I get sweet and sweet and a little rich and sweet. The taste is a little darker. The tea is more evident. And the aftertaste is back to a bit of sweet vanilla cream soda (but not as strong as was in the smell of the dry leaf). But sipping this is a pretty awesome experience. The taste changes and expands as it hits my tongue. At first, it is a darker, almost graham cracker taste (sorry – the s’mores association is stuck in my head), or maybe even caramel. But then the second I swallow, the taste lightens and expands – first with the vanilla and then with the jasmine. I still can find some similarity to cream soda, but it’s pretty neat and not overwhelming (and this is from someone that doesn’t like cream soda).
I’m a bit curious as to how this would be with sugar, so for the last half of my cup, I’m going to sprinkle a little in. And apparently I’m going to put a little in my keyboard too. Oops. The sugar shortens the taste expansion a bit and makes the similarity to cream soda more evident. The dark taste at the front is muted and I almost instantly taste the vanilla. And that vanilla taste seems to continue a bit more to cover up the jasmine. The sugar also adds a slight aftertaste that makes me think eventually I will need either gum or water to cleanse, but prior to the sugar addition, the tea left me with a pleasantly clean and light jasmine aftertaste. Ultimately, I prefer this without sugar but neither way is bad.
This reminds me a lot of two of my favorite flavored teas, SerendipiTEA’s City Harvest Black and Colonille. I’d rank this as number three in that group, which is pretty good company to be in. It’s distinctive enough that I don’t feel like I might as well drink one of those other teas but similar enough in the nicely flavored vanilla and chocolaty tones that I do group them together.
So yeah, different than what I was expecting from the smell but honestly? The difference is good. Sure, it’s not quite like eating s’mores but the depth of flavor this tea has is really nifty. Less like candy and more like comfort tea. An easy 4/5 stars for me.
Yay for finishing off another tin! I didn’t have quite enough of this for my morning tea so I put a little blackberry in it. Why blackberry? Well, I thought of Irish Breakfast but realized that I probably wasn’t going to greatly enjoy this cup and why waste my yummy Irish Breakfast on it? And the blackberry was right next to the Irish Breakfast, so I just grabbed it knowing that blackberry isn’t my favorite either.
Mixed results on this one today. The instant this touched my tongue and as it was in my mouth I got a smooth, almost chocolaty taste from it with a hint of kumquat. It was nice and pleasant and made me smile just a bit.
But then I swallowed. And as the tea moved out of my mouth, I tasted this… taste that made me think of the time I had a kumquat that was overripe to the point of almost-but-not-quite rotten. And then after I swallowed, I’d get this… astringent but perfumed taste that physically poked at my tongue and cheeks. So as I drank each swallow, I had to wince a bit. I ended up drinking it pretty quickly, though, mostly because I didn’t want to taste (or feel) that aftertaste for long so I’d quickly take another sip to get me back to the happy taste. And once I was finally done, I needed a gum chaser, STAT.
Okay, so maybe not so mixed. Because really, how much does that initial flash of happy taste really count for? There was a time (before this tin) that I liked this tea. So making my way through my second tin of this tea, I kept hoping that I’d get back to that previously happy experience I had with it. I kept giving it the benefit of the doubt, even when the first few cups from it tasted like bubblegum.
But no. So I’m finally finally adjusting my rating. Down. A lot. But not as far as I would if this was my first or only experience with this tea. Because I can’t discount the fact that used to really like this tea.
A little birdie that goes told me I should try this one so I thought I’d brew it up. The jasmine smell is lovely but I’ve become a bit cautious (and pretty darn picky) with jasmine flavored things, so we shall see.
This sampler has 4g of tea, so I’m making a big cup. The packaging states that this is green tea but that it should be brewed in water ‘just below the boiling point’, which I am taking as 195° (and water that has been freshly boiled ‘but allowed to cool slightly’ I’m taking as 175°). But since it is green tea, I want to do it at 175°. But I’m not. We’ll see how it goes. And in fact, the leaves don’t look super green. More dark olive maybe. And once the leaves are wet, I think they’d definitely be classed as olive.
On one hand, that’s good right? Not a super-green leaf so it should be happier at a higher temp, yes? But at the same time… olive? I would be lying if I weren’t starting to get just a little concerned. After all, GM has to strike out sometime, yes?
Hmmmmm…. I’m a bit torn. It definitely isn’t a strike out, but I don’t know if I love it. It’s different than what I was expecting and from what I’ve had before but I can’t quite figure out why. There’s an additional flavor there that I don’t normally get with jasmine teas.
AH! I’m a dork! I just figured out what that end taste/aftertaste is! TEA! There’s the blip at the end, right before I swallow, that is almost all green tea and then it reappears in the aftertaste when I inhale (after an exhale of jasmine). It makes this one of the more deeply flavored jasmines that I’ve had. Samovar’s had a good depth to it but a more cookie depth. This one has more of a salty, almost astringent Chinese green depth which, as it flows back into the jasmine, gives a bit of a tang for me. Of course, along with being hard to please with my jasmines, I’m hard to please with my Chinese greens.
So, is it good? Well, it’s not fake tasting or heavily done so sure. It’s good. Is it in the same class as there coconut pouchong, sugar caramel oolong or rose? Nope. It’s a good jasmine that I don’t hate and it has a brilliant scent to it which is so delightful that I could probably smell my cup for days. But I like Samovar’s jasmine pearl better for a jasmine tea with depth and I like Adagio’s jasmine silver needle best for a soft, fluffy, light jasmine. I think both of those are better done than this one, at least for my own personal tastes.
That being said, I might enjoy this more if I had done it at 175°.
ETA: Resteep at 175° for 4mins. Still good but not in love. This one reminds me a lot of Adagio’s Jasmine #12. That’s a good thing.
I can’t help but compare this tea to the Rose Congou I had this morning. The smell of the leaf is SO much better (not that that would be hard, mind). While the other smelled sour and a little floral, this smells like roses. Actual roses plus maybe a tiny little hint of candy. The dry leaf battle totally goes to this one.
Wow, as this flowed out of my handy dandy ingenuiTEA, I’m hit with a soft wall of rose scent. It actually reminded me a bit of Teavana’s now discontinued Rose Marzipan. But, you know, without the marzipan. But now that the tea is fully dispensed into my Totoro mug, it’s muted a bit. I can smell the rose, but I can also totally smell the tea. I don’t think I’ve ever smelled the tea when we are talking about a flavored tea. It’s always hiding underneath the flavoring. But not this one! This makes me happy.
No sugar for this (though I do have some in my desk, just in case). Oooh, don’t need sugar though. This is nice. Smooth and sweet. Very rose-y, but not like I swallowed a flower bush. I seem to get it more of a distinct rose on the exhale after the sip. Otherwise is it a sweet, fluffy tasting tea. As it cools, I seem to get more tea flavor out of it.
This isn’t an overly deep tea taste-wise but it does have more… roundness (for want of a better word) than the Rose Congou this morning. This is better than the rose/floral aspect of Rose Marzipan, too. I think the roundness of flavor is coming from the tea base (Ceylon, it seems like?) and it increases as it cools. My last sip had a little edge of something that was delicious and I want more of but I’m afraid I’m too impatient to let it cool enough to get that.
This tea makes me feel like I’m strolling through my grandmother’s rose garden. She used to have rows and rows of bushes. Strangers would pull off the highway to compliment her. It was fairly impressive. And this tea makes me mentally wander down one of the rows. It’s not so overpowering that I feel like I’m stopping to stick my nose in the closest rose bush, just wandering through the nicely spaced rows, enjoying the scent of rose lingering in the air.
This isn’t a tea I’m going to reach for daily because ultimately, I find roses (both tea-wise and flower-wise) a bit too perfume-y and sweet (even (or especially?) when the flavoring tastes as natural as this) for daily contact. But this is a lovely make-me-mellow type tea. Again, mental rose garden.
So the rose tea battle goes to Golden Moon. I will still try the Rose Congou sugar-less some time in the future (this weekend maybe?) but I have a feeling it won’t be able to compete.
ETA: Did a second steep just because I can. Initially had the timer set for 4:30 but the tea looked a little light so I added a minute. It’s still a light (but pretty) bronze color. Still smells lovely but is more similar in scent to the Rose Congou this morning. Tastes a little more like it, too, since it isn’t quite as smooth. Much thinner too. In fact, this is a (still) smoother version of this morning’s tea but without sugar.
In other words, Golden Moon’s SECOND STEEP is equivalent (and actually a hair better) than a similar tea’s FIRST steep. Go Golden Moon. That being said, this tea is probably not the best one for a second steep.
It’s been a bit since I’ve had this, mostly because the husband isn’t a big fan and so I feel a little guilty making him drink something he doesn’t enjoy. I’m the one that makes our morning tea and I try not to abuse the husband too much in the process. But in the spirit of cycling out my current teas to prepare to replace them with new ones (lots and lots of new ones), I decided to have this one again.
The sour smell from the leaves always makes me think I hate this tea, that the smell carries over to the taste. Other than that, I seriously can’t remember this tea. Well, maybe a vague recollection that milk does it no favors? But the directions say to try with rock sugar. I have raw sugar, which begins with r-something and ends with sugar, so I put some in.
Ooookay, I think I put a bit much (though I only used a teaspoon for my 12oz). I’m going to need to try this straight sometime (but taking it with me on my drive to work is NOT the time to be daring – tea mistakes cannot be fixed in a car with no sugar or milk and going 70). My first impression is SWEET! Like, not awesome sweet but dear-lord-how-much-sugar-did-I-put-in-here sweet. The second is… hmm, tea. Soft, slightly fluffy/floral tea. I don’t peg the rose so much as just a general softness to the edges of the tea. I think it is a bit too delicate for milk which is probably why I remember milk doing nothing happy to it. Not an overly complex flavor (and I have got to try it with less/no sugar) but a decent enough tea to work for me, if not overly memorable. I bet it would be a good as iced tea (and when I say that, I mean Southern sweet tea with a cup and a half of sugar per gallon).
Hah! I just got an email from the husband. I asked him how he liked his tea and his response was that it was awesome, a 4-star tea and what was it. I know he didn’t like this tea before but again, I think it was the milk thing. Plus, he’s a big fan of sweet tea so I think the super-sweetness of this tea is most likely what he’s really enjoying.
That’s not to say this is a bad tea. If I had to choose between this and no tea, I’d totally go with this and be happy about it. It’s just not overly memorable or blow-me-away-able. But sometimes having a little light, fluffy cotton candy of a tea is needed. Hopefully I remember that next time instead of being tricked by the sour smell of the leaves.
(BTW: I brought GM’s Rose sampler with me today to have a somewhat delayed head-to-head tea competition with rose as the theme ingredient. Whose tea will reign supreme? Actually, I have an idea but I’ll wait for the official word from the judges.)
This caught my eye yesterday but I made the coconut pouchong instead. Today, it is this one’s turn.
More leaf in this sample so I’m making a big cup tonight. Yay! The dry leaf smells nice. Almost candy-like but not quite like a caramel chew. It brews up to a pretty dark golden liquid with a smell that reminds me of a more roasted oolong – almost a sweet cigar smell – but with heavy caramel overtones. It’s more of a rich, decadent caramel syrup that you’d put in coffee smell instead of a caramel candy smell. I imagine that comes from the burnt sugar part of the flavoring.
The taste is rich yet mild. I can’t taste a lot of oolong, however the caramel taste is such that it doesn’t taste like I’m drinking a flavored tea but more like a scented tea. (Now I’m picturing tea leaves spread out with little caramel candy buds being set on them in preparation for their opening to flavor the tea before they are switched out for more. And more. Anyone know where I can get a caramel plant?) No chemical or fake flavoring taste to be found. This is another well-flavored tea – I’m impressed!
The caramel taste is strongest on the front end, when I can smell it, too, though the smell seems more burnt/caramelized sugar. Then the tastes morphs seamlessly into a sweet dark oolong flavor of floral cigar (though no smoky hints at all – there’s just a similar sweetness) and then the finish that coats my mouth after I swallow is more of the sugar but with caramel tones. Almost like about five minutes ago I finished a dessert that had a caramel whipped cream topping.
I like the coconut pouchong best between these two, but this is still a very good tea. Darker and sweeter in taste than the coconut. But just as good of a pairing of flavoring + tea. If GM’s plain teas are as good as these two flavored have been, I’m going to be a big fan.
ETA: The second steep has lost a lot of the overt caramel/burnt sugar flavoring. Or else that was because of the spicy peanut sauce I just had. But even though the smell and taste aren’t as obvious this time around, it’s still got a great dark sweetness to it and a soft burnt sugar smell.
Well, yesterday was an insane tea day – 7 different teas for me and multiple steeps of most of them. So that’s BIG for me. And I liked it. So I decided to carry over the tea bounty on to today. I’m not going to hit 7 – maybe 4 if I’m lucky – but still. Yay tea!
Brewed this up in my handy dandy ingenuitTEA using filtered water from home. I’m pretty sure that makes me a big ole dork, bringing tea water to work, but the water here is nasty and using bottled water makes my tea flat.
For some reason, the leaves smell of fruit. Some sort of berry. I think when I first got this tea, it was sitting up against a plastic bag of black currant tea so I’m guessing the smell soaked into it a bit. Which is weird. But at least it doesn’t carry over to the brewed tea. It smells comforting – kind of like dry grass plus a little spicy and bit of baking chocolate. Plus, I get to drink it out of Totoro so how can I go wrong?
I think my tea tastes are only slightly more stable than my musical tastes.
I used to really like this tea. But it’s been a while since I had it – I fell a bit out of love with it months ago. But since I am determined to get my tea pantry under control, I thought I’d bust this one out again because 1) I may like it now and 2) even if I don’t, I’m still that much closer to getting rid of a tin, right?
Musically, I tend to switch around musical genres. I’ll be in a pop mood for a bit, then a classic rock mood, then alternative, then angry music (it’s a genre for me, what can I say?)… It cycles and each mood stays around for one or more months. I’m getting the feeling that my tea tastes do the same. Or else I’m outgrowing flavored teas. Either or.
This is a bit more of a candied pineapple taste than fresh pineapple. With a bit of muskiness in it like appears if you’ve ever dried watermelon with a food dehydrator. Which can be a little odd (though at the same time, it’s oddly nifty… but odd). Additionally, I’m becoming pickier about the aftertaste I get from flavored teas. Because I’m learning that teas, even flavored ones, don’t have to give an aftertaste that requires immediate gum chewing. This one, though, does. So that makes me sad.
So not only have I found other good flavored teas, making this one seem less happy-making than it had been previously, but I’m pretty sure I’m migrating away from flavored teas and towards unflavored. I’ve probably got one more morning cup of this tea left but after that I won’t be getting this again.
In musical tastes though, this one is always fun no matter what mood I’m in: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWSQ9YQa_6w
As a reward for going though many teas today, I’m having another one!
Well, at least I hope it is a reward since I’ve never had a coconut pouchong and don’t have the best luck with flavored oolongs (unless it is jasmine). But it smells like toasted coconut, not like raw coconut, so I know we are going in the right direction.
Small sampler so I am doing a small cup. And I’m sniffing the bag as I’m waiting for the tea to brew. Coconut – creamy, rich, toasted coconut. I hope I’ll like this but honestly, not expecting to.
Oooh, now that it is all brewed up, I smell the pouchong. It almost seems stronger than the coconut and surprisingly the coconut matches really well with the sweet scent of the pouchong. I love pouchong. I need to order some. I have none. :( (Wait, I have some in my Steepster cabinet – maybe I still have a little in my pantry… I thought I was out but if I do have some, happy days!)
Oh wow. That’s good. Just like the scent, the coconut doesn’t overpower the pouchong but rather they blend wonderfully together. It’s sweet but not sugary. The coconut is soft but distinctly coconut. And the pouchong is there and yummy in the way that pouchong always seems to be for me. The flavors mesh so well that it doesn’t seem like a flavored oolong – it seems like an oolong with strong coconut notes. The coconut is the first thing I taste (and smell) but it blends seamlessly into the pouchong and then I get a pouchong taste at the end, but then the flavor left in my mouth is mostly coconut but with a hint of green buttery pouchong.
It doesn’t make me want to chew the tea like some straight pouchongs do, but it’s really quite lovely. Big fan.
Ah, the last of the free teabags! I feel somewhat accomplished today in working on getting my tea under control. Sure, I’ve got a bit to go to finish off all of my one- and two-cups-worth-of-leaves teas that I have have, but I’ve made progress! And had 6 different teas today! Why, no! I’m not caffeinated at all!
Samovar has ruined me for any genmaicha + matcha. This one is just plain and boring. No thick, creamy flavor. Just a murky cup of neon green, puffed rice tasting, thinnish tea. I want more punch! I want more creaminess! I want Ryokucha.
ETA: As it cools, it almost tastes like I made this with funky tasting water. Which I didn’t. So that would be the tea. And even though the flavor seems weak, the bottom dregs of the cup were bitter. Yeah, that takes if from a ‘meh’ to something slightly unhappier.
After the sweet and unsubstantial teas I’ve had this afternoon, I wanted something with a little more darkness and depth. So this one seemed like a perfect match! Smooth and mellow but a strong enough roasted flavor that it easily defeats the aftertaste of goat cheese I’ve got going on from my lunchtime munching. There seems to be a bit more sweetness this time – an almost honey + orchid taste to it – compared to when I had it before.
I’m contemplating reconsidering the need to purchase this one (very decisive, I know). It’s not up my normal alley for oolongs but there’s definitely a place for it. And maybe even a place for it in my pantry. Maybe.
ETA: Shared with the husband because I’m sweet like that. He is giving it a tentative 4 and only tentative because of the sauce-related burning he is experiencing in his mouth at the moment. But first, pre-burning sips were rated as smooth and monkey-esque but roastier.
And it’s another free teabag!
This smells like Strawberry Quik. I think I’ve said that about another Lupicia Strawberry thing. A green tea one maybe.
Out of curiosity (and to compare to ROT’s sad little 1.8g teabag), I weighted this teabag too. 3.3g! Good job Lupicia! Still making it in a 6oz cup but I’m glad there’s a good amount of tea in there. Thumbs up to you!
In the cup, I’m still getting the Strawberry Quik smell but that’s okay because I like it (and can’t have it anymore) so it’s making my mouth water. I could be very disappointed when this tastes like tea… Actually, I think I smell a little vanilla underneath the strawberry, too.
Hmm. I’m not so much disappointed as I am just… not excited. The flavoring is nice and not overly fake tasting (well, aside from the whole Nestle Quik thing – so maybe ‘chemical’ is a better word). But it is very light and there seems to be a disconnect between the taste of the strawberry and the taste of the tea. Most likely because a lot of the taste of the strawberry is actually coming from the smell. I think I’m going to add a little milk to see if that brings it together.
It helps a little – gives both the strawberry and tea tastes a little creaminess which creates a little taste bridge between the two. But it just doesn’t make the flavoring pop. Ultimately I’m a little disappointed in this because the flavoring is so soft. That’s what I like about Lupicia’s flavorings with their greens and oolongs, but I tend to like those teas flavored more lightly. For blacks, I tend to like them a little more in your face (not mean, I just like to see a little aggression in them). This would be a good afternoon-in-the-garden tea. But I’m not a big afternoon-in-the-garden type girl.
Free tea bag. In the theme of holiday spiced tea, thought I’d give this one a shot. Can I go tea-nerdy for a moment? I was curious as to what size of a cup they set their tea bags up for so I weighted it. 1.8g. Sooooo, we’re talking a 4oz cup?
Anyway, I brewed mine in 6oz. Compared to Holiday Dream, this one smells better. Almost entirely like mulled cider. This could be very good or very bad.
Wait, what? Where’s the taste? I smell cinnamon and cider and the a little TheraFlu (apparently I’ve got TheraFlu on the mind) then I taste…. nothing. Warmth and then maybe a little tiny bit of citrus and then nothing and then an aftertaste of freakin’ Red Hots. Another sip and I get the same thing! It’s like scented water with a drop of Hot Damn. Non-alcoholic Hot Damn.
No. I don’t even think so. Next tea please!
ETA: I gave the husband the option of finishing my cup. Hey, he LIKES TheraFlu so he might like this. But based on the face he made, okay, he DOESN’T like this. There was a comparison to cleaning products mentioned and then he said that the spices smelled nice so maybe it would be better with a little sugar but that’d risk oversweetening and drowning out the spices. He gave it a 2/5 stars saying “I could drink it if I had to”. Ah, a ringing endorsement.
I had enough of this sample to make one more cup, so I’m having my one cup and celebrating having made just a tiny bit of room in my tea pantry. It’s a dusty cup but I’m not going to have any sympathy for that in my ultimate rating (which I’m thinking needs to drop a bit but we’ll see). Thankfully, the smell gives me more spice than toilet tank potpourri, which is what I’ve gotten previously.
No sugar or milk this time. I got a whiff of the citrus and all I could think of was the yellow TheraFlu. Uh oh. But that has passed so maybe it was a one time taste? Smells spicy but tastes a bit bland in comparison. There might be a hint of a mulled cider taste in it.
Not a bad tea but kind of dull. I think I would rather have mulled cider or chai instead of a somewhat in-between tea. For those that find chai too spicy, though, this might be a good alternative. And it certainly fits the season more now than when I had it in summer. Regardless, I’ve dropped the rating some just because it’s a bit boring.
I was feeling brave a couple of visits to the grocery store ago and I picked up about a tablespoon of this. It promptly caused my pantry to smell like I had been frying meat in it, so I stuffed the little plastic bag it came in into an unlabeled tin. And promptly forgot I had it (or blocked it out).
But last night I remembered and thought I’d try it this morning. Once I took the plastic bag out of the tin the house started smelling like bacon. Or ham. On fire. Once I got the leaf into water, though, the meat smell went away and it turned into pretty much burning wood. As I poured the tea out, I got a hint of a sweet smell – maybe maple – and I really really hope it was from this tea. The tea’s actually pretty light in color. For how this smells I was expecting something black as tar… And eeevil.
Hmm. This isn’t nearly as bad as I was fearing based on the smell. I makes me think of when you stand downwind from a campfire all night and the next morning your clothes (and hair and skin and everything) still smells like the campfire. It has that same taste. You know, if you were to eat those clothes. And there is a little sweetness to it! As it starts to cool, I’m getting a honey-smoked-ham type taste from it. Or maple smoked.
I made the husband try some and he compared it to Liquid Smoke and said that he feels like he’d smell like a smoker if he drank a lot of that (smoker as in device used to smoke meats, not one who smokes cigarettes). So yeah, he’s not a fan.
Honestly, I’m probably not a huge fan either simply because I am not a fan of drinking my ham. Not a big meat fan in general, actually. However, if I were looking for an easier replacement for fried ham in the mornings, this would get my vote. I do enjoy the smoothness of this (which is surprising) and the sweetness (because I am a big sweet fan). So I think I’m going to come down on the side of good tea, not for me.
I think I’m going to see if I can get my dad to try this next time I see him. If anyone would like smoked meat tea, I think it’d be him!
This smells so fresh buttery that my mouth is watering. Literally. I’m drooling.
Tried this at a lower temp to see how that adjusted the taste. Still has the bright, Darjeeling-esque notes of muscatel that I tasted at the higher temp but there is more of a buttery taste to it, too. Not quite as much as the smell, though. Also, the Darjeeling aspect of the tea isn’t as hard hitting as at a higher temp. Now it tastes more like a softer oolong, maybe grown in the same region. There’s still a hoppy note at the end, but it seems to blend better with the softer taste of the tea. Almost gives me flashbacks of the Schlafly brewery tour and tasting from yesterday, but not quite.
I definitely like it better brewed at 195 so far due to the slightly softer taste to the tea and the addition of the buttery taste that, to me, seems to pull the flavors together a little better. I think I have enough for one more session with this and I might go down to 180 just to see how it does there.
Sharing this one with the husband. He said it tasted like an oolong plus herbal but then he’s not really had much experience with Darjeelings so I think the fruity Darjeeling flavor is hitting him as fruity herbal. He didn’t try this one at a higher temp, just 195 so can’t compare that way, but overall gives the tea a 4/5 stars. I think if I could get a little bit more buttery out of it, I’d make it a 4, too. Again, I’ll see how the last bit does at about 180.
Another tea I picked up on my trip to St. Louis!
The leaf is so weird…. They are little balls. Tiny little balls. It reminds me of coffee grounds, but a little rounder. The wet leaves remind me of a mix of wet coffee grounds and something mostly digested that my cat would hork up.
All of which brings to mind the question – is there GOOD CTC leaf? Because if there is, this would probably be it. But isn’t that a bit like saying it was a good tax audit?
It brews up into a actually very pretty cup. Clear and a dark reddish brown. I see why they say it is like Assam – the smell is very similar. A bit of me fears the taste with such small leaves PLUS a similarity to Assam. But I will attempt it first with no milk or sugar (mostly because there is no room in the cup).
Okay, this isn’t bad! It’s got the cardboard taste I now know is ‘malty’. But when thinking about the quality of the malt taste, I still have to bring out the cardboard comparisons. This one isn’t gourmet but it isn’t a dirty, used Amazon box that’s been half way around the country and has little dings in the corners. This is a fresh cardboard box. Clean and shiny with a nice smooth outside yet to be roughed up by indelicate postal workers. The taste hits right in the middle of my tongue and sort of settles in, lingering after each sip, creating just a hint of dryness right there (but no where else).
There is a spiciness in the scent that I don’t really get in the tea until it starts cooling just a bit. It makes me wonder if a tiny bit of milk and sugar would bring that spice forward more. I might have to try that next time. This doesn’t seems as stout as the Kenyan tea from yesterday, but it isn’t a wimp by any means. It would hold up well to milk.
So this seems like a good solid tea. Not overly special but nice. Smoothish but malty (cardboard-y). I imagine for a stouter extending the steep time would work. I didn’t taste any bitterness at 3:30 so I’m not sure when (or if) that would show up… Anyway, good stuff but nothing I’ll be tempted to buy once my 2oz are gone. Probably.
ETA: Did a 2nd steep at 4:00 and it is still nice, clean cardboard. A little thin this time so I could have gone 4:30 probably but was just nervous with the small leaf size.
(Also, not as review-y but as an aside – this tea has seriously stained my teacup! I’m sure it will wash out but there’s a little ring around the top and everything!)
So, did you know if you accidentally hit the escape button while typing a review, it all goes away? Apparently so!
Let’s see if I can remember what I wrote and pick up from there….
Upon first impression, the dry leaves smelled like Assam but then as I continued to sniff, they remind me more of a Darjeeling – there is a bit of sharpness that makes me think of the muscatel taste in Darjeelings.
As I’m waiting for the water to boil (oh how I miss my Zojirushi – would it be overkill to bring that on my next road trip?) I Google a bit to see if I can find anything about this estate or tea. Other than the fact that Lupicia sells tea from this estate and that this estate’s tea seems to be in some Kenyan tea blends, I’m not really finding much. If anyone has any good links to share about the variety of tea plant they grow in Kenya and what they do to the leaves, I’d appreciate it! (Or where to buy more of them!)
Brewed up, the tea is a somewhat murky brown. Smells like a stout Yunnan, though. Mmm, tastes like a stout Yunnan, too. It’s very Yunnan like but makes me think of Yunnan Gold with a hint of Irish breakfast. It’s not from brewing it too heavy, though. Now that I have my teacups, I know I’m doing 2.3g/6oz. So this is just a stout tea.
I’m starting to get a bit of that sharpness I smelled that reminded me of a Darjeeling. As it cools, the front taste becomes Darjeeling-esque and the tail has the warm fuzzy tones of a Yunnan almost with a little cocoa taste after the swallow. Very faint though so it is more of a dry cocoa feel. If that makes sense. For all its stoutness it is a smooth tea with zero bitterness. I imagine it would hold up well to milk and sugar if that’s how you roll, but it has enough of the Yunnan-ish taste for me to find that unnecessary.
And now my cup is empty and I am sad. This is a good tea. I imagine that anyone that finds Yunnans somewhat boring or too smooth/mild tasting would enjoy this one. Or someone that finds Darjeelings too sharp, though this is definitely thicker than a Darjeeling. Or maybe this is the tea for the Irish Breakfast set that finds Chinese teas too weak/thin. Or maybe it is a tea for someone that likes all of those and wants to squish them all together into one nummy tea.
One last comment – I can feel the caffeine hitting my blood stream. This definitely fits on the Irish Breakfast side of the caffeine equation as I’ve never felt that Yunnans were particularly caffeinated. WHEE!!!
ETA: 2nd steep at 5 mins. It’s not an overly impressive second steep which is somewhat sad. Still had a Yunnan-esque flavor to it and still stout, but I couldn’t pick up any of the Darjeeling tartness/sharpness anymore which turned the tea into just sort of normal. Maybe like a second steep of an Irish Breakfast made with Chinese blacks.
Picked up some of this yesterday from the London Tea Room (99% sure that their non-tea room created blends are Rishi). I’m a sucker for anything orange or orange-related so I HAD to try this. I’ve had no tea today and so I need something but I feel like it’s about 9pm (even though it’s not) so the thought of having something caffeinated makes me sad. Conveniently, I have this!
OMG, I hope this tastes like it smells. It smells like a just peeled a tangerine (I should know – I’ve been working my way through a 3lb bag of them the past week and a half). Honestly though, it’s an herbal. I don’t EXPECT to like this.
The herbal juice is a dusky rose/brown – which is good because I always end up with the bright red herbals and those taste like cough syrup. There’s a touch of warmth that I think is the ginger in the smell but looks like this won’t be too overpowering. We are on the right track!
Hmm. Well, after taking sip I check out what Rishi says is in this. Yep, hibiscus. That’s pretty much the cough syrup taste I fear from herbals. This has a slight hint of it but it is right on the front end – it hits the tip of my tongue. So enough that I know it is there but not enough that it makes this icky. Mmm, though taking a larger sip I get more tangerine taste. The ginger is warming and cuddly but not like eating pickled ginger or anything. And as it cools I don’t know if I’m ignoring the hibiscus or it’s fading but I’m pretty much fully on board with tangerine ginger now.
For an herbal this is pretty darn good. I can’t say I’m totally in love with it but I do like it and think it is good. I’d probably even buy more. It does make me want to experiment a little with blending this with a mild black because I think if I could get this flavor into a real tea plus the added depth of actual tea taste, we might have a winner.
ETA: 2nd steep @ 5:30. The tangerine is pretty much gone, but so is the hibiscus. Now this has a lovely candied ginger taste.
I went to a tea room today! Whee! It was The London Tea Room (http://www.thelondontearoom.com/) in St. Louis and it was nifty!
They do a lot of the blends in house so I definitely wanted to try one. I MEANT to get the London Tea Room blend but due to a miscommunication (apparently they don’t speak Texan) I ended up with their English Breakfast blend. That’s okay, I’ll deal.
Now, from the rating you might think I didn’t find this an overly redeeming tea. It’s true that I didn’t love the taste of it – found it meh-ish… totally drinkable but not something I need to take home. BUT! It was neat in that I was able to identify what about it I didn’t like. It was that pesky cardboard taste that normal people apparently call ‘malt’. So yes, it was the Assam in it. Apparently, I’m pretty darn picky about my Assam (and the quality of my cardboard). The taste of the Assam was dominant and since it wasn’t as lovely of an Assam as Thomas Sampsom or Assam Harmony, it didn’t really blow my hair back. However, on the instances that I could taste beyond the Assam, it seemed like there was something good back behind there which, looking at the description, was probably the brightness of the Darjeeling trying to poke out. It was just hiding a bit too much. It was easier to find when I didn’t have milk or sugar in the tea, but ultimately I had to doctor the tea a bit because it is only gourmet cardboard that I can have straight and this was just the normal stuff.
I would like to say that the husband got their Earl Grey which was good and insanely fresh tasting in regards to the bergamot – and smooth enough to drink without milk or sugar. And my SIL got the Monk’s Blend which she sugared and milked to an almost insane degree however the sip I was able to steal was delicious and ensured that I bought some of that loose. Anyway, after my pot for one (two cups) of English Breakfast, I was nicely caffeinated and picked up 7 teas from them to take home with me (including the Monk’s Blend). I can’t wait to try those!
Yay tea room! (Wonder if there’s any chance we can go back tomorrow?)
I continue my unintentional experiment with less than exact tea-making parameters. I’m taking it as an opportunity to try a more intuitive style of tea making.
Okay, honestly, I just don’t know how much liquid the cups hold so I’m having to guesstimate so that I don’t make the tea too watery or too strong. Or give someone a huge cup only one-third filled.
Anyway, it makes me happy that this tea is forgiving enough to still be good when I am not able to control all the factors involved in brewing (who you calling a control-freak, huh?). The flavor is strong, smooth and bake-y but I wish there was a little more thickness to the feel of this tea. For the stout taste of it I feel like I should almost be able to chew it so I’m a little disappointed that I can’t. But I still really like this tea (so much so that my sample tin has now gone bye-bye). There was a hint of almost barely tart/bitterness at the end of the sip but it wasn’t unpleasant. Both the husband and I enjoyed it straight but the father-in-law added a little sugar for his.
This is quite the yummy tea and it’s definitely opened me up to wanting to try lots of other Assams, something I had previously written off as I tea I just didn’t enjoy. But for those that like their Assams more in-your-face, this might be a little smooth and less chewy than they might prefer.
After a 10.5 hour drive, I needed a little tea to decompress. I shared with the husband and his father but didn’t know what size the cups were or the teapot was so I really just sort of guesstimated everything about this tea experience and did it a little more Western-style than I normally do. It was all guess-work so it wasn’t the best cup of this I’ve ever had but it was pretty darn good and enjoyable. Got 3 nice steeps out of it and it hit the spot.