423 Tasting Notes
T&C Box 2/18
Thank you so much for putting this in the box, Nicole! This is one of the teas from Butiki that I’ve been wanting to try the most. Fitting that it’d be the first one from them I try! When I open the bag (heck, I can smell it through the bag), it smells like someone took their flower garden and candied it. It really smells incredible. As it steeps and opens up it smells more natural and less sugary, but still intensely floral.
The taste of this is amazing. I can smell rose, violet, and jasmine all distinctly but they also blend together beautifully. Apparently calendula is marigold, and I don’t know what that tastes like by itself—I have only had it in blends—but the blend of flavors in this is perfectly balanced and absolutely spot on as a floral tea. The oolong base is definitely there but it mostly takes a backseat to the floral notes. This is a sweet, sweet tea, but not artificial in the slightest. As it cools it becomes slightly less sweet and more mellow and oolong-y. Both ways are delicious and I would love to try it iced and cold-brewed sometime. I am so in love with this!
T&C Box 1/18
Steepster is finally back! Now to backlog all the teas I’ve had this afternoon, starting with this one:
The Tea & Cards Teabox came today! After looking through everything in there this was what I went for first. Green tea sounds good right about now, rose is one of my favorites, and I’ve been wanting to give Kusmi a try.
This is an interesting mix. At first I didn’t think I liked it, because it’s strongly bitter, but as I continued to drink it I realized what a complex tea it is. It starts bold and bitter with an almost dried or powdered rose flavor, then slowly mellows out into a nearly candied rose taste. It’s sweet and changes many times throughout the sip, which means it’s anything but boring. The green tea base is sharp at first but then lends an earthiness to the rose flavor.
Usually bitterness turns me off tea, but this is actually growing on me the more I drink it. In fact it’s growing on me so much that I would probably buy it if I got the chance. There’s so much going on here that I’d definitely reach for it again. Thank you for sending this along, Nicole!
Resteep with last night’s leaves. This time around it smells much more oolong-y with a light caramel note. There’s less roastiness but it still smells delicious. Again, dealing with a kettle for the first time so I hope I got this right. The leaves seem to be opening well, though, so fingers crossed!
The second steep of this is much mellower, not at all like the first steep but still very good. It’s a smooth oolong flavor, still slightly sweet from the caramel. There’s a light nuttiness to it from the oolong itself, but the burnt caramel/coffee notes I tasted yesterday are gone. Even though the two steepings are so different, they’re both delicious!
Okay, I think I’ve got the hang of my kettle. I heard a whistle and a rolling boil going on in there. So far I’m pretty happy considering my only other options are a pan on the stove (takes forever), microwave (superheats water, inconsistent, guessing on temps, etc.), and a cheap electric kettle that makes everything taste like plastic (eww). It’s also really cute and will do up to six cups of water at a time—way more than I’ll ever need considering I’m the only one in this house who drinks tea in quantity.
This one smells nice dry. It’s a very clean black tea smell. I’m partial to Ceylons, probably because they’re the first real black tea I could identify as the base of earl grey. They’re also smooth, which I appreciate. It smells nice and rich brewed, with some of the honey notes the package claims the tea has. The taste is pretty generic, honestly. It’s a nice Ceylon and if I wanted a straight one I might get it, but I’m not thrilled. Smooth and slightly bright like citrus with a zing at the end and sweet notes throughout.
ETA: Oh, looks like this one is my 100th tasting note!
First tea of the day. This one is darker than I remember. Maybe I let it steep longer than before? I’m starting to worry about inconsistent brewing, but considering I don’t love this one either way I guess it’s not so much of a problem. I will have to practice using my new kettle, though, which means more tea.
Brewing this cup darker means even less rose scent and flavor. It’s mostly just black tea with a slight hint of something floral, but if I wanted something like that I’d get a straight black with floral notes. I’m lowering my rating on this, because I’m too disappointed to have such a high number attached to it.
Mom insisted no more caffeine tonight and I wanted a sweet tea, so liquid pie it is. The smell of this is really amazing, probably one of the best-smelling teas I have right now and definitely the best-smelling rooibos. I’m not exaggerating when I say I could smell this all day.
This cup is even better than I remember; creamy, lemony, decidedly like pie. Every other rooibos I’ve had pales in comparison, honestly. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a creamy tea before. As soon as the sample runs out I’ll have to get a bag.
Opening the tin, this smells like crème brûlée. It happens to be one of my favorite desserts (or possibly favorite foods, period—I love custard). This is a darker oolong than I usually go for, but it smells wonderful as it steeps: coffee, caramel, some cream notes and a touch of something that smells more like a black tea. It’s slightly sharp but in a good way.
This brews up a pretty greenish gold color. The taste is incredible—I expected the added flavor to be sweet, perhaps even to the point of being too much, but it’s subtle and smooth. Because this is a dark oolong it has some roasted flavors, which means it tastes more like burnt caramel than anything else. Not what I was expecting, but it hits the spot right now.
I’ve been putting this one off a little bit. I love rose anything (scented, flavored, you name it), but most rose teas are lacking for me. So far the only one I truly adore is the one I got from Harrods in July, which is basically just straight rosebuds—of course, it’s not available online and anything like it is incredibly expensive anywhere else. Sigh.
This one is better than expected. I guess my standards for rose tea are too high, but when I drink one I really want rose flavor more than black tea. Tiny petal pieces simply will not do it! Somehow this one takes the tiny petal pieces and becomes a moderately flavorful rose tea, but the black tea flavor is still stronger than the floral notes. I’m ultimately left with a “that’s all?” sort of feeling, which is not what I want from a floral tea. As a black blend it’s very good, but as a rose tea I wouldn’t reach for it.
I feel like I need some caffeine, so more blacks it is. Luckily about half of the teas in Golden Moon’s sample box are black, and all of them sound interesting.
This one is a bit of a letdown after a few of the other cups I’ve had today. It’s not bad, but it’s not very exciting. It’s a bit savory with some light honey notes toward the end. So far not in love with it, but I still have at least one more serving in the pouch, so we’ll see.
ETA: I figured out why I don’t like this one; it reminds me of soup. Which soup I have no clue. Something smoky, perhaps? Regardless, it’s not what I’m looking for in a tea!
A wonderful cup to relax with. The vanilla emphasizes the jasmine and cuts its usual bitterness, and the jasmine lends the vanilla a nice floral touch. This is a very smooth tea. Again, it’s just a touch sweet and I didn’t have to add anything.
I think I’ll have to choose a few of Golden Moon’s teas to keep around at any given time, because this is ridiculous: I haven’t found one yet that I dislike. I guess this means I’ve accidentally stumbled on a new favorite company.