673 Tasting Notes
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!
Before heading out to the IRS today…shudder…to discuss a tax issue…shudder again…I treated myself to Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Tea!
It smelled just like an Autumn Pumpkin Spice Yankee Candle. You know what I’m talking about. The candle that makes your home smell like you can bake even if you never turn on the oven!
I had a very nice experience sipping a small pot of this tea.
It wasn’t too pumpkiny (great new word) or too spicy…it was just right.
Except for the part about the chocolate, which was so light that I could hardly taste it, I enjoyed the pumpkin pie and added some cream and sweetened my tea to make it really tasty.
I was all ready to write a positive review on Steepster when BAM!
Steepster Crashed! Not a good omen right before going to the IRS!
Catching up to the review after the IRS visit which went as well as it could (I had 1 person in front of me and that’s all, so hooray for small towns!).
Steepster is finally running again and all is well with the world.
It’s a beautiful morning! I just looked outside and it’s really bright! When you live at a higher altitude, the Winter sunshine warms everything up even though the temperature might read 55 degrees. People wear shorts and a light sweater. The heater stays off in the house during the day because the house is heated by the sun.
When I first moved to Fort Collins, I was so surprised at how warm it was in this dry climate in the Fall and Winter. The jackets come out at night, and the boots when it snows (which isn’t often and melts quickly).
From the beginning of Fall through Winter, Old Town is transformed into a Fairyland of glittering lights, street performers (I love the tuba bands), and free carriage rides. There’s a small ice rink for the wee skaters. http://flic.kr/p/dtcfsy http://flic.kr/p/dtcfQA
‘Tis the Season’ for Thanksgiving in the U.S. next week and the day after is ‘Black Friday’ (a mega huge, shopping frenzy day). I don’t know about the rest of the World, but this is fun in many communities. Some cities, if you wear black you get discounts or goodies from merchants.
In Fort Collins we don’t have "Black Friday’, we have ‘PLAID’ Friday. If you wear plaid you get free tea, cookies, prizes and discounts all around Old Town.
With the glittering lights, street performers, free tea at my Pub and Waffle Hut sandwiches, it sounds like I’ll have fun and I’m going to be there! Wish you could all join me!
I brewed a small pot of Chocolate Chai Pu-Erh this morning hoping that this tea sample would be a redemption after the sour chocolate sample I reviewed last evening.
I do love chocolate but I don’t like too much artificial flavoring.
Thankfully This tea has no artificial flavoring listed on the package! Phew!
My steep time was 4 minutes and the scent of the wet leaves with cinnamon and mini chocolate pieces was amazing. The wafting aroma was like warm chocolate, cinnamon streusel straight from the oven.
I poured a cup of tea and was relieved that the flavor was yummy cocoa with a good amount of cinnamon pop and a bite that must have come from the clove (which you can’t taste, just feel).
The list of ingredients mentioned cardamom but I didn’t taste that spice, and the orange was very light but delicious. I don’t prefer overly orange flavored tea.
If you want Pu-erh flavor, you won’t find it in this tea. The only thing it contributes is a richness. The health benefit is important though. Too many people have a horrible fear of Pu-erh and could easily drink this and never know the Pu-erh is there at all.
My first Pu-erh tea was Davids Tea Chocolate Orange which now tastes a bit off to me because of the artificial flavoring. This Della Terra Chocolate Chai Pu-erh is a step up and away from that sour artificial taste.
This is one of the best flavored Pu-erh’s blends for people who don’t want to taste the actual Pu-erh tea.
BTW Is Black Friday just something here in the U.S. or are there versions of the same thing in Canada and Paris and the UK and Denmark and Ecuador and so on?
Hi everyone, at review 490…I finally had Steepster EAT (or DRINK) my whole review of this tea right at the end! %$#@*&!
I’m not going to try and recount the whole review. The last one took 2 hours. I can’t do that again.
Here’s the short version.
This tea reminded me of Black Chocolate by the Tea and Spice Exchange if any of you have had that one before. I liked that tea.
This is very dark chocolaty as advertised. Not creamy in a way that stands out though and I can’t understand why cream flavor was added. I personally wouldn’t drink this without sweetening it, because sweetening makes the chocolate even stronger.
I tried some tea with cream which was the best way to drink it for my taste.
What I didn’t like was the aftertaste. The tea becomes sour.
I know that up front the flavor is good and chocolaty, but after a minute you’re left with an artificial flavor sourness that comes from too much artificial flavoring. BLECH!
Chocolate makes the sourness worse in my opinion.
I’m keeping an open mind and hope the other chocolate tea’s are not as sour.
I had a great meal out with my family tonight, and this was my dessert when I got home. My first review (that Steepster gobbled up) said the same thing about the sourness so I’m not venting or writing this because of a bad mood.
There has to be a better way to flavor Chocolate tea.
This evening it’s COLD outside! Burr!
Last night one of my alarms began to beep. I thought it was the carbon monoxide alarm so I changed out all 3 batteries. Still, the beeping continued.
I kept fiddling with it for a few hours, charging batteries and trying them again until I discovered the beeping was coming from my smoke alarm on the 9 ft. high ceiling. That alarm was too tall to reach without a ladder. Beep, Beep, Beep!
Finally, hours later, the beeping went dead!
Today I called my son-in-law to come with a ladder to change the battery and he was in and gone in less than 5 minutes.
Beep, beep, beep.
Right away the beeping began again.
It appears that I need a new fire alarm, and I’ll have to put up with this stupid beeping until tomorrow afternoon when MR. son-in- law can return to disable the bleeping device.
I’m getting edgy!
I soothed my nerves and drank this beeping beautiful tea.
This was so good and roasty, a tasty fruity Darjeeling Oolong that’s a little peachy but not too sweet.
I really love Autumn tea’s (this tea reminds me of Autumn).
They’re comforting with the taste of the liquor left from baking peach or apple pie. I’ve made lots of pies for contests and when I bake an apple pie especially, I always add a little brandy which this tea reminds me of. It’s light but smooth and fruity.
No more beeps though, I’ve had enough!
Thank you Ashmanra for this tea sample!
One of the goals in my fathers life was to “See the Country he fought for” which meant…in July, we drove in our 1950’s era Chevy from California to New York City and back. (I remember hearing talk of this desire to ‘see the Country’ from many Vet’s when they retire.)
It was HOT! AND, I had to sit next to my brother Steve who had better not cross over to my side of the car!
There wasn’t air conditioning in the car as we traveled Route 66 through Arizona (stopped at the Grand Canyon), New Mexico and the Painted Desert (explain that one to kids), down into the humid Southern States (ate buscuits and grits). We saw the KKK march down the street in Colombia, S.C. and I was afraid.
I wrote about this adventure some time ago and how my mom made balogna sandwiches for lunch along the way. We stayed in cabin style motels (which were common in those days) and I saw my share of
strange places to eat. Hamburger and hotdog joints shaped like Oranges, Trees, Hamburgers, Hotdogs, Dogs and Dinosaurs.
Dad was looking for historical places. Williamsburg and George Washington’s Church, Lady Liberty, Gettysburg and the crown jewel, Washington D.C. (that was full of cool places like the Smithsonian)!
For my father, going to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the
Iwo Jima Memorial was his duty. Wandering through Arlington Cemetery alone for a long, long time was something I didn’t understand as a young girl. “Dad…come on!”
This was his trip of a lifetime and a dream come true.
I appreciate him now and what that meant to him.
My quiet father had a great life. He was loved and respected by everyone. He had a wonderful life for the son of the town drunk, raised in a shack. I have a lot to live up to.
Ashmanra sent me a lovely tea sample that I’ve held onto for the right time to try.
This is an Oolong, fragrant with the scent of peach and apricot as soon as I opened the packet.
I steeped the beautiful long wiry leaves in 175F spring water for
2 minutes after a quick rinse.
Oh the delicious ripe sweet fruit…amber peaches, freestone’s with all the honey rich juiciness. This was one of those ‘got to have it’ Oolongs!
I steeped it longer, then shorter in a Gaiwan, tasting and testing the flavor. There was a hint of spearmint in the aftertaste. Yes, going back later…it was still there…that spearmint. AND, a toastiness that I love in Autumn tea’s.
Yes, this was one Oolong that I wanted to have in my cupboard!
Thank you Ashmanra, this is a uniquely beautiful Oolong!
A gift from a friend, thank you!
Thank you to all the Veterans who are serving and have served this Country. Thank you to the families who struggle through hardship.
This may be the day that the United States honors Veterans and the day of Honor may be different in other Countries, but the message is the same. Sacrifice and Valor. We show our respect to you all.
My Father, Bill was still in his Navy Uniform when he met my mother at a Canteen for Servicemen in San Francisco.
The War was over and 6 weeks after meeting at the First Baptist Church Canteen on Mission Street, they were married! There wasn’t a day for the rest of their lives that they weren’t crazy about each other.
Dad had been a Radio Operator 1st Class. Morse Code…sometimes decoding dits and dots… 24 hours straight during a battle at places like Iwo Jima. (My father had respect for the Marines!)
My dad blinked and twitched for the rest of his life and was buried with his Navy Honors.
My Grandfather Will was 17 when he enlisted in the Spanish American War in the late 1800’s. He was injured by Gas inhalation in the Philippines. There were no benefits for that kind of injury when he got home from war.
Because he was a good carpenter for the Army, he worked on the grounds of the Vet’s home in Yountville, CA. He was allowed to live in a shack there for the rest of his life. This is where my father was raised and the Cemetary there is where my grandfather is buried.
He used to make the Vet’s caskets. Odd.
During the Vietnam era, I was with my husband at Fort Hood, Texas. We didn’t get to have base housing, and things were pretty dangerous for an interracial couple in 1969. I needed an escort to go to the PX. I was attacked and couldn’t do a thing about it.
The first year of my marriage the military told me not to go to basic training with my husband at Fort Bragg because of the KKK.
So, I went to my parents home and later had our first child like so many military wives, by myself.
My years of living on very little money and other problems wasn’t something that happened at that time to me alone. My story was easy compared to most who were truly suffering.
Military families have always had hard times. Often they must move away from family and friends. They face loneliness, injury, stress and lack of funds.
And the ultimate sacrifice, the loss of a loved one.
Thank you to our Military, Veterans and their Families!
In 1953 I was ‘5’! Amazing that I was able to drink this tea today!
I rinsed the leaves twice and steeped the tea 30 seconds each steeping in a Gaiwan.
The liquor was light champagne yellow, clear and bright.
The wet leaves had the aroma of wet bamboo, roast meat becoming lighter and sweeter with each steeping.
1. The flavor was very SAVORY! I was surprised at how much flavor there was on this first steeping. I’ve never said that a Pu-erh tastes like bamboo, slightly dry and salty sweet, but this one was. There was a little bit of green bean flavor to it, something unexpected.
2. Now the saltiness was lighter and my tongue tingled. There was some dryness in the front of my mouth with the mix of light green bean and bamboo taste. As the tea cooled it became creamier.
3. The savory quality was softened and the bamboo, sweet grass had smoothed into a ribbon of buttery creaminess that increased as the tea cooled. I could feel the tea coat my lips. The aftertaste became sugar snap pea, fresh off the plant.
I was surprised! How could this 59 year old Pu-erh give off so much flavor?!
I just can’t give anything but the best rating to a tea that has given so much to me. Where has it been? What journey has it been on all these years? And to wind up with me…well, I’m amazed and humbled!
Thank you to my friend! What an honor!
I noticed that I was reprimanded by Invader Zim for not reviewing this tea earlier (all in fun)!
Sometimes, don’t you feel like drinking a tea more than once before writing a review though?
You want to give the tea some time to settle and roll around a little in your thoughts before you do anything with it?
This is what I did. For weeks, I let the packet sit after I tried the tea.
The first time I brewed this Pu’er, it was strong and I was faced with a disconnect at the Verdant description of the taste and what
I was tasting. I talked it over with myself.
“It’s possible that my ratio of water to tea was off, and that’s why I had steeped the Pu’er to an expresso strength.”
“I tend to like strong brews. I wasn’t paying attention. I got distracted on the timing.”
Was this all true? I wanted to find out.
Paying stricter attention to detail, I went a different direction and followed my own usual steeping guidelines for Pu’er.
Knowing how strong this Pu’er could become made this brewing easier.
I rinsed the leaves 30 seconds in boiling water once.
The scent can be a little off-putting for someone not used to Pu’er and rinsing is really necessary. The scent of the leaves and taste of the tea are not the same.
The steep time was 40 seconds and produced a liquor that was as dark as coffee. (I personally wouldn’t go darker than this.)
The taste was luscious, almost creamy it was so smooth. I could taste the raisin-spice cake but it was very light and ethereal. Another thing that I noticed was that the tea isn’t too sweet. Some Pu’er’s tend to be overly sweet but this had a hint of vanilla and just enough of a savory quality to make it enjoyable. At any time of day you could drink this tea.
When I say that this would be enjoyable any time of day, I mean that this can be your morning cup with milk and is delicious (I tried it), or an afternoon pick-me-up…equally good with a sandwich or at dinner because it’s not overly sweet.
There was an initial energy that I felt right away.
The subsequent steepings were more savory than the first and I enjoyed the light mushroom flavor.
Sweetened, the tea is caramel with a spicy finish.
Personally,I like the shorter steep time of 30-40 seconds.
I made this in a small pot Western Style which is how I usually brew loose (non-chunky, nugget or tuo cha) Pu’er.
I highlighted the timing because mine is different than Verdant’s.
This is the first time I’ve had a tea with Chrysanthemum flowers.
We the people (customers) voted on what blend we wanted and this was the winner. I think that process was fun.
I only know of a couple of tea companies that actively consult their customers when making such a choice and I would like to see more companies follow suit.
Today, I’m helping an instructor in Washington State demo Google+ video chat for some business people. It’s amazing what I can get myself involved in without leaving my condo. First, I need my anti-headache remedy! Pu’er!
I brewed a pot of this Alchemy Blend,with Pu’er in it,(I’m not going to spell the name out every time) Western Style.
The first impression was that it’s spicy. I like Coriander and think of it as sweet but I didn’t think it as so spicy. I’m sure there must have been some spice coming from the Pu’er also. The heat and bite of cinnamon was too much for Coriander alone.
There was a pop of tanginess from the Juniper Berries that tweaked my tastebuds then smoothed out when the Burdock and Chrysanthemum stepped in as mellowing agents. The Chrysanthemum added some sweetness as did the Holy Basil.
The Holy Basil was something I didn’t taste at all until the tea cooled. Then, I could taste it as a sweet mellow herbal mint, not as mint with a strong bite to it.
I’m not fond of the smell of the tea liquor. It smells a bit odd.
Adding sweetening improved the taste for me too.
I’m usually very pleased with all the Verdant Pu’er Blends, but this one wasn’t one that I enjoyed as much as others. (Personal taste not the fault of any ingredient.) The Pu’er did seem to be overshadowed though.
Like most of the rest of you, I was up late last evening watching CNN and the election results. No matter what you feel about the election results, I have to comment on something I saw on CNN.
Right on the CNN big board where all the names of the famous places in the World are listed, all the Cities like London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Rome, Quito, Toronto was a word I love, FRONTRANGE! WooHoo! The word Frontrange (where I live) Colorado made the big board on CNN! (I just had to get that out!)
You may have noticed some other news about Colorado too. That’s going to be the source of some puns. I’ve already listed John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High on my Facebook and commented on ‘High Tea’. After all, I’m a child of the 60’s and I couldn’t resist the jokes!
Today I scooted off to Happy Lucky’s for strong tea. This one is a favorite. Very dark and gutsy without being malty at all.
I always add half & half and sometimes sugar because this is so robust. I bought an inky black chocolate bar and shared it with the smartly suited young man seated at the tea bar next to me. He had a ponytail like the young Sean Connery. (Bond, James Bond)
He had ordered a pot of Pu-erh.
The chocolate went well with both our tea orders.
Earlier, I shared a citrus mini tuo cha with Sam and told him to poke at it instead of letting it slowly dissolve over several steeps. I had him keep the steep time short (30 seconds).
This was a new method for Sam and he liked how the Pu-erh tasted.
Sam decided to try the same method with the second pot of Pu-erh for his customer. He poked the nuggets with a spoon to break it up, then poured fresh boiling water in the pot.
The young man had never tasted the full flavor of this Pu-erh before and liked it. He had only ever had the lighter first steeping, never the fully released Pu-erh.
Sharing what we learn here on Steepster is lots of fun. (I’m always learning from new people who know far more than I do… and from new experiences.)