662 Tasting Notes
I’m not a Cyber-toothed -tiger! (Cyber Monday in the U.S.A.!)
I’ve been in my pink polka-dot jammies ‘ALL DAY’ because I don’t feel well. Over these jammies, I’ve wrapped myself in a red plaid shawl …and I have red fuzzy socks on my feet. When My body aches I drink tea, go to sleep…drink tea…come here and ’I’m Thankful’ that ya’ll can’t see me!
I can’t afford all the sales that are out there today, sorry to say. Maybe next year I’ll be ready for them. We’ll see. I still have lots of tea to drink in my cupboard and some samples from sTEAp Shoppe to review!
This little tea had a curious combo of ingredients. I couldn’t imagine the tea taste. Sometimes, I have an idea of what I’m about to taste. The ones I can’t imagine can be a disaster if the ingredients are weird.
None of the ingredients in this tea were unknown to me, just never imagined together in a tea. Especially curious to me was the Lingonberry which is sweet/tarte little seed-like berries mixed with Black Tea.
I set the brew time as suggested (2 minutes). My later comment to Janet at sTEAp Shoppe was that I liked a little longer steep (2.5 to 3 minutes) and a 3 minute second steep worked well also.
I didn’t expect this tea to taste fantastic. Lack of respect on my part. I should know better!
At first, before the fruit flavors developed in the black tea, it tasted like yummy Black Tea with Vanilla.
Then, with a little longer steeping…the Honey flavor developed and a little Lingonberry, which was so light, popped up in the background.
Goodness…this tea was so full of rich, layered flavors that it caught me off guard.
Even though there are Maple Sugar Crystals in the tea, you don’t taste Maple. What you taste is Vanilla Honey woven with a Caramel Trio of Black Tea’s and a subtle hint of Lingonberry (like Jam).
This was like having a European layered pastry. A waffle!
So, good. FYI, BTW …(I sweetened my dessert waffle tea!)
I’ve really overdone the eating. BINGE! So good though. The last thing I ate last night was two pieces of cake that I made…
I baked a yellow layer cake in a springform pan and let it cool. Then I made a simple syrup, and infused some Earl of Anxi tea (with the frankincense in it but use any tea you want) in the syrup. I poked holes in the top of the cake and spooned the syrup on letting it soak in. (Put cake in freezer) Later, split the cake in layers and frost with whipped cream on the layers and top. Good!
This morning, I don’t want to eat anything at all!!! No rich food, no bread, cake, pie…nothing! I’m DONE! FULL!
The choice of tea was easy. Janet (the owner of sTEAp Shoppe) and I had chatted about the tasting we had all participated in some weeks ago, and continued tea discussions back and forth. She sent a sample of her Updated Orange Spice Cake tea for me to try.
This sounded like the right tea for this morning.
I have to be honest. The initial tea’s that I tasted from sTEAp Shoppe were too bland for me. I was not expecting this tea to be leaps and bounds, over-the-top better.
THIS IS REALLY GOOD TEA! It’s not bland or weak tasting at all! It’s spicy, has a cake taste and ‘drumroll’, no bitterness even when it gets cold!!! You suprised me Janet!
When I saw the bits of tangerine and orange peel I was wary. Usually this means the tea is going to be sour or bitter at some point. I’ve been so conditioned by tea companies getting it wrong that I do a little dance inside when someone gets it right.
I didn’t put any milk in my tea because of the citrus and even though I sweetened my cup(yum), it was tasty unsweetened.
If you tried the first batch of Orange Spice Cake and went…eh
try it again. This is really good.
500th Review…Woo Hoo! Tooting My Own Horn!
In less than a year I’ve consumed a great deal of fantastic tea! There was a little barfy tea in the mix now and then, especially in the beginning when I didn’t really know what I was doing.
Even now I screw up.
Oh go on…don’t tell me that you never make tea and forget about it?
“OH NO”…you shriek…“It’s the good stuff!” Proceeding to add water or sugar and milk to dilute your tea enough to still drink it. You WILL drink the tea if it KILLS you.
Selection of a tea for ‘Review 500’ has been difficult.
What tea would I pick? My favorite? A tea I’ve been saving for a special occasion?
Sigh…and more sigh’s.
I had just received a reblend sample of the Chocolate Chai from sTEApShoppe to try this week.
You may remember that many of us on Steepster participated in taste tests for sTEApShoppe on two Sunday afternoons, the last of which was in October.
Janet (the owner) kindly sent out samples of several tea’s and then we reviewed them at a set time here on Steepster letting her know what we thought of the tea.
But what happened after that?
Janet has been busy. She listened to what everyone had to say and has made some changes. This Chocolate Chai is one of the tea’s that I wasn’t too excited about originally. I think it’s way better
The new formulation has been warmed with fennel and the licorice has been removed. There’s lots of cocoa nib, some maple sugar and a mix of spices that gives a good bite to the Chai.
I’m not a person who would drink a Chai without adding milk because Chai is a strong brew. Milk was wonderful in this tea as expected, but the best thing was adding a little honey. OH YUM! Now that was the bomb!
Today being Thanksgiving Eve…my home is filled with the scent of yams and apples that I’ve been roasting…brown sugar and Vietnamese cinnamon. My house smells good!
Chocolate Chai with Milk and Honey…what more could I want?!
If you tasted the previous version of Chocolate Chai and said meh…give the new one a try. It’s not for the faint of heart though. This is real deal spicy Chai!
Ginger, Clove, Black Pepper, Cardamon, Cocoa nibs, Fennel, Nutmeg,
Two types of tea, Maple Sugar…oh…and all ORGANIC. (Well you know how Janet is about ORGANIC!)
I picked Janet’s tea because she’s the ‘Little Engine That Could’
and get’s that award from me. It’s not easy to kickstart a tea company by yourself.
Thank you to everyone for helping me get to review 500, for following me for selecting the like heart and making comments
that have made me feel as though I matter. You’ve kept me from true loneliness many times!
Here’s another teaser intro to a quick Holiday Pumpkin Chai Soup recipe on my blog that’s so easy www.teaandincense.com enjoy!
The best treats are sometimes the ones we create by accident when we’re craving a certain flavor but there’s nothing in the cupboard or frig to satisfy the urge.
A few weeks ago, on the only snowy Saturday morning we’ve had this warm Autumn, I was craving Pumpkin Chai.
I didn’t have any on hand. I had some boxed Organic Pumpkin Squash Soup in the cupboard and a bottle of Third Street Chai in the frig.
Take a look!
This is a snippet from a recipe on my blog www.teaandincense.com where you can see the photo also of the pudding infused with this tea!
My grandsons like to have little treats when they come to visit. Since I have three official grandsons, one in the adoption process and a foster toddler, my five loud and rambunctious young fellows enjoy sitting at my round table to eat pudding tea shots. (Tea always follows)
I began collecting plastic shot glasses from my local Safeway over a year ago. The bakery was making small bite sized desserts, then filling the shot cups with them. Every time I shopped at Safeway, I bought a treat for myself, washed out the cup and put it away until I had enough cups for all 8 Grand-kids.
I make mini jello jigglers, mini parfaits, mini trail mix cups and so on.
One day I had an idea to flavor regular pudding with tea. Why not?
As you can see in my picture, I had lemon pudding mix which was easy to infuse with tea by heating milk then using any kind of tea I wanted. In this case, I strained the tea leaves and let the milk chill…then made the pudding, pouring it in my little shot glasses to set.
You can use tea’s like Cream of Earl Grey (which I used here) or Bergamot Rose, Chai (nice in Vanilla or Chocolate Pudding)
or whatever you can dream up. Toppings make it look more attractive when I have some on hand (which I didn’t this day).
Love my bundle of boys!….read the rest on my blog…
When I walked in the door of my favorite tea pub today, the first person I saw was Andy, all tan and refreshed looking…back from Cambodia and a long honeymoon!
He was wrapped with Christmas lights, tasked with decorating the shop for the Holiday’s. All the other servers were bustling about with an influx of tea patrons that had just about used up all the available teapots and tables.
I sat on my usual bar stool, waiting and watching. They all know that I don’t mind waiting when it’s busy.
Besides, I enjoy the show.
Today I came to see George (the H.L. owner). I was there to drop off two tea and spice rubs that I created with tea from Happy Lucky’s and some seasonings from Savory Spice Shop.
Eventually, the crowd in the shop thinned out and I was able to order a tea that I wanted to take to my daughter’s house for Thanksgiving Day. I already knew that Vanilla Black was pretty popular with flavored tea drinkers at Happy Lucky’s, so I gave it a try.
Joe had blended the tea with natural vanilla. This makes a big difference in the taste, and I remembered how we had discussed how even natural flavors are tricky. You have to add just the right amount of vanilla especially and not overdo it.
The base Black Tea wasn’t malty, but was a straightforward Black Tea. (I wish it was malty. This is a matter of my own taste though.) It had a full vanilla flavor. The vanilla wasn’t bitter and softened the stiffness of the Black Tea.
Without milk but sweetened, the tea was a bit brisk but good enough.
When I added some cream, I liked the tea better, creamier.
I’m sure my daughter and granddaughters will enjoy this tea on
Thanksgiving with the other tea’s I bring to share. Vanilla is, after all, comforting and enjoyed by most people.
Like so many of my fellow Steepsters in the USA, this Monday will be spent scampering off to the grocery store for Thanksgiving Dinner ingredients.
My daughter called this morning to inform me that the body count for dinner at her home will be 20 people, 10 children and 10 over the age of 15. Oh my! I’m so glad she has a big house and an acre out back for the 6 non-infant boys to run around and play on a beautiful warm Autumn day. It will be warm here!
As the only Elder, I am required to bring the food memories my daughter can’t live without. Fortunately, that’s easy. She makes my mom’s turkey stuffing and has the antique gravy boat. I create her favorite yam, apple and pecan casserole layered like a lasagna with butter, maple, brown sugar and spice.
This year I’m making the kids ice cream pies. Pumpkin and candy cane peppermint pies for fun. And tea of course.
(I’ll save my prize winning Apple Pie for Christmas when we’re just family and have RIBS!)
Off shopping I must go! But first, TEA! Dessert tea puts me in a good mood. (All tea puts me in a good mood most of the time!)
I made a small pot of Chocolate Covered Strawberry tea, looking forward to several sweet cups.
Right off, this isn’t a tea that I would drink without adding sugar or sweetener. Some dessert tea’s you can omit sweetening, but not this one. The strawberry flavor is released when sweetened and is the dominant flavor in the tea.
I found the taste sour from the artificial flavoring so I added some cream to soften the tea and make it creamy. This helped.
Another thing that I have trouble with is the chocolate. The strawberry flavor is strong and the chocolate is hardly there at all. (I’ve had trouble tasting the chocolate flavor in all the Della Terra Chocolate Tea’s though, maybe the artificial flavoring and my taste buds are at odds with each other)
This isn’t an awful tea, don’t get me wrong. It’s more of a strawberry tea in my opinion.
I think some of the other tea’s I’ve tried have been more successful.
Off to shop!
Thank you mrmopar for this mini Pu-erh Tuo cha!
There was an old woman who made a China Lapsang Souchong, smoked pepper, Urfa Chili meat rub (one plain and one with brown sugar)…
then made a Earl of Anxi infused simple syrup which was ladled over a warm golden yellow cake…
followed by lemon pudding infused with cream of Earl Grey, poured and set in shot glasses… chilled…
ending with a viewing of Pixar’s, ‘BRAVE’ while sipping infusions of
sweet, smooth ripe cassia Pu-erh. (I’m like ‘The Old Woman Who Lived In The Shoe’ however, instead of too many children… I have too much tea I don’t know what to do!)
Layers of tea to cook and bake with, then a relaxing Shu Pu-erh to watch the animated Scot’s Princess fly through the forest as the brave heroic figure in my movie.
Who says you can’t enjoy such things at my age. Ach!
The little tuo cha was delicious. A small cake-like dessert Pu-erh, not earthy at all. Mild, smooth and easy. Slightly sweet.
I steeped 2 quick 30 second steeps in my Gaiwan and took a taste then in the mug they both went. A full mug of Pu-erh (which I soon repeated)! kicking back.
A good ending to a lovely day with no creative mishaps!
Oh my. In all fairness I can’t bring myself to say who sent this to me. They are too kind in every way and the other tea’s were fine.
This one, is haunted with the taste of raspberry beets. Not good and sweet beets but canned vegetable soup tasting beets.
I must protest…my tastebuds yelled at me. One cursed.
Dear, oh dear.
This tea is fired!
I slept in this morning. I climbed out of my super comfy big bed…put on one of those robes that feels like you’ve been wrapped in a babies cuddly stuffed animal and made a pot of ‘Favored Tea’.
My tea journey began with ‘Flavored Tea’, and gradually wandered down other avenues that at first were mysterious.
Green, Black, Oolong and then…Pu-erh. Each tea variety grabbed my attention and taught me about what was the tea base under all the flavored tea’s that I had loved so much.
I discovered that there is a point where you either have to pull away and choose to only drink unflavored tea or keep in the loop and taste and enjoy what everyone else is raving about without discrimination.
Tea can be very serious, or it can be loads of fun. I saw the same sort of cerebral decision working at the Winery. People got so serious that they no longer fully enjoyed wine. Some refused to try a wine that they assumed they wouldn’t like. “I don’t drink Rieslings”. Well, that’s borish!
I don’t want to be borish! I love my earthy Shu Pu-erh’s, adore my dangerously chocolate Black Tea’s and swoon over dark Autumnal Oolongs.
However, give me some flavored tea’s too! They are FUN!
What was brilliant with this S’mores tea was the use of real chocolate bits and real mini marshmallows and real crushed graham crackers. Just using chocolate, marshmallow and graham flavor would have sunk the tea into a horrid artificial flavor hole.
The natural ingredients seemed to cancel any taste of artificial flavoring. (I was relieved!)
When I first tasted the tea plain I wasn’t impressed at all. It was too bland. I added Splenda and cream which made the tea delicious.
I haven’t had success tasting the chocolate in any of the Della Terra Tea’s. No idea why. A little cocoa but nothing I’d call real chocolate.
What stood out was the marshmallow flavor and graham cracker taste.
Those flavors were rich and creamy, strong enough to make you feel like you were having a satisfying dessert. I had two mugs of this yummy tea!
So far, this and the Chocolate Pumpkin Chai have been delicious and worth having on hand!