477 Tasting Notes
I have been craving an orange black lately, so I reached for this sample we got in a swap. I was unfortunately disappointed. It was an overwhelmingly average black tea with a faint hint of bitter orange peel at the tail end of the sip. Sadface. This calls for a gaiwan of something wonderful.
Someone from the Toronto Tea Party shared a sample of this with me (Tina? Adrienne? I don’t even know any more.) and I finally got around to trying it. First thing I got hit with was the orange, a very sweet and creamy orange, but with the heavy aftertaste I get from most rooibos teas. Tasty experiment, but I don’t think I’ll reach for it again.
I am consistently impressed by the quality of the Tea Haus’s black teas. They do not give into the temptation of using a lower-quality black just because the blend is stuffed with other goodies.
That said, this was definitely an interesting drinking experience – and I think a part of that is becasue it took me six hours to finish one travel mug of it at work. At first, when still almost-boiling, it was overwhelming in both scent and flavour, with a lot of sweetness from the apple and a bit of zip from the lemon, and the underlying ginger fuzziness. As it cooled, it lost a lot of that sweetness and gained kind of a leafy taste. I’m not sure exactly how to explain it, but it was floral without being sweet, more like a very earthy herbal. Strangely, it reminded me of DT’s Chocolate Rocket when it begins to cool. It was definitely an odd drinking experience. I wouldn’t say it’s unpleasant, but I also wouldn’t say it was delicious. It was just . . . odd. I must mull this over another cuppa.
Yummy! My mistake with this one was, unfortunately, making an herbal to take to work when I needed a mate-infused matcha. I agree with TinaS in that it is very similar to my beloved Ginger Sparkle; it has the same sweet tingle from the ginger and other parts of the blend, but this tea definitely has a strong streak of sweet/tart limeade. Very, very tasty. I don’t know yet if I’ll restock, but it’s a good caffeine-free alternative to my Sparkle.
I am developing such a love for ginger in my tea, and this is one of the best examples I’ve had yet. The black ceylon base is a very full-bodied flavour that’s also very soothing and mellow. The ginger adds a warm sweet fuzz to the top of that, not sharp or fizzy like I’ve experienced before. I am very, very happy to have more of this to explore.
Even though it was a green tea tasting, after exclaiming over the Ola’a tea, also from Hawaii, the wonderful Stefanie prepared this oolong for us, as it is also of Hawaiian origin. This is a tea that was meant to be prepared gong fu style: slowly, with great respect, and with as many resteeps as possible.
It starts as a dark vegetal flavour, mellowing into a sweet note that’s between floral and fruity. Tina described it as being like jasmine without the actual jasmine. There’s also a spicy note on top of the sweet, of nutmeg or cardamom. This is a tea that can be sipped a hundred tips and taste of a hundred different things. We lingered over our cups and it was like watching clouds, calling out everything you saw – this one looks like a bunny, that one tastes like a chai.
Again, I was very lucky to be able to try this special offering. Drink Hawaiian tea!
There is just one word written in the comments column of my tasting notes: AMAZEBALLS.
As part of the tasting, not only were we given the chance to try this amazing tea, we learned about the growing tea production in Hawaii; if given the chance, I think Hawaii could be a major competitor in the specialty tea market. The two Hawaiian teas we sampled today were so incredibly beyond anything I have tasted of their type that I almost cried when I found out the price tag.
This is a straight green. This is not a blend of any kind. So imagine my shock when I took the first sip – the tea being extremely pale in colour, almost clear – and immediately tasted pineapple and mangos. It was light, fruity, sweet without being cloying, and with a fuzzy edge to it that kept it from being too severe. The second steep, while even clearer in colour, was even more fruity, the complex notes and flavours of the tea coming out in force.
I feel extremely lucky to have been able to try some of this tea, and afford a small sample of it. I know it’s an indulgence, but teas like this are rare, and they need to be enjoyed while they can, and in the proper way (with an eye to time and the low temperature). Amazeballs.