Thank you, steapshoppe for this sample, and for including me in your virtual taste testing (teasting)1. I really love participating in these events and hope that I get the opportunity to do so again in the future.
These dry leaves have a really nice aroma. I didn’t really get “chocolate” from them, but the milk and the caramel were definitely there. The wet leaves didn’t retain the layered, complex fragrance, however; I’m afraid I didn’t really smell much of anything at all, except for kind of a wet mulchyness.
I have a lot of respect for sTEAp Shoppe. They are really strict about the ingredients they use and flavour their teas naturally. Sadly, I think that this approach, while most admirable, doesn’t work well for those of us who like our teas really bold and flavourful. I mostly tasted black tea in this blend, and had to work really hard to get the caramel notes from it. Don’t get me wrong, they are there, they’re just not in your face, like I like my flavoured teas. There was a bit of astringency at the end of the sip, a very slight bitterness hitting the back of my throat, and a bit of sediment in my teacup. I added some sugar, thinking that would pull the caramel flavour out more easily, but it actually made things worse in that regard (a new experience for me). It did, however, eliminate the slight bitterness I tasted, which was nice.
[Edit] Azzrian said in the virtual teasting thread that she finds that the caramel notes come out more in the aftertaste, and I’m finding this to be true as well. It’s really interesting: while drinking my little cup of tea, I tasted mostly black tea, but after having finished it it (and it’s now several minutes later), I’m still getting a bit of the caramel taste, even more so than the black tea. I actually really like this aspect and am raising my rating a little bit in appreciation.
Because of the tea’s caffeine content, I only had a little bit, so I still have some of the sample left. This means I get to play with it for another small cup or so. I love being able to try different things to see if I can improve the experience for myself, and I look forward to giving this another shot (on another day, as I’m already buzzed and any more caffeine will make me ill).
Tea amount: 1 level tsp
Water amount: 5-6oz
Additives: None for a few sips, and then about ½ tsp demerara sugar
Dry mouth factor: 7/10