239 Tasting Notes
So this, like Safari from the same company, was a tea I got for a friend, but as everything didn’t fit into the little travel kit I put together for her, I got stuck with some to try out for myself. (I am so unfortunate. Suffering. Really.)
I was looking for the black equivalent of the green champagne tea from Tehörnan, and this is what was recommended.
The tea is pretty light and floral in terms of both scent and taste, with that undeniable and yet undefinable lingering note present in all the champagne teas I’ve reviewed so far. To be honest, I find it has very little to do with any form of champagne or sparkling wine at all. It entirely lacks any of the complex exuberance – yeasty, sulphuric or otherwise – I associate with champagne, and there’s not the slightest hint of a boozy note anywhere. So when I get excited about a ‘champagne’ tea, it’s really just because I’m so hooked on that undeniable/undefinable nuance.
That nuance, however, works best in the green tea, very well in the rooibos, and not so well in the black. I expect so much more from a black tea – it can carry so many more nuances of flavor and hints of texture than a green (or even a rooibos). In addition, I often find drinking black teas somewhat challenging because of their richness, so they really have to be worth the effort. This one is not – it’s a black tea masquerading as a much lighter tea, rendering itself redundant in the process.
[Purchased at Bönor & blad in Uppsala, August 2013.]
I brewed this a little hotter than usual. This kicked the fruity notes down a notch, but really brought out the oolong base, which is ridiculously good. And it re-steeps so well.
In my last review I reminded myself to try this cold. I hereby re-remind myself; I just have to finish the huge pitcher of White Temple tea I made this morning.
I still stand by everything I wrote in my last tasting note for this tea, but as I have had so many quite exceptional greens lately, I feel inclined to drop my rating by five points (Quelle insolence!).
I want to cold brew something today, though – if it’s this one I drop into the pitcher before I go take my tram walk with M. (It’s drizzly, so we might as well take the 3 down to Trastevere, cutting right through the city without getting our feet wet.) it just might get its five points back if it’s very lovely.
The dry tea is pretty enough, flush with petals. Scent wise, a slightly chemical citrus dominates.
Brewed, it smells a bit like citrus caramel, which makes me realize I’d really like to try a lemon caramel/lemon fudge tea in addition to all these more obvious lemon-ginger and lemon meringue combinations.
In terms of taste, it’s just a bland, non-descript vaguely floral/lemony rooibos. Not cardboardy at all, but with that hint of artificial flavouring Teavana (unfortunately) seem to have specialized in.
[Purchased at Teavana in Honolulu, January 2013.]
I could more or less copy and paste the review I wrote for Lupicia’s Apple & Berry: http://steepster.com/clareborn/posts/184943.
It’s just not one of Lupicia’s best, but in all honesty that matters very little. Why? Because Lupicia’s green tea bases are so excellent, they still steep beautifully even when the flavouring is on the bland side. I’m really enjoying this cup, in spite of it being yet another case of berries RSVP-ing but not really showing up for the actual event.
[Purchased at Lupicia in Honolulu, December 2012.]
Okay, so this tea is a little worse for wear, as it’s been one of my travel teas – a slowly disintegrating bag of loose leaf I just cram into my carry-on and use for my thermos on flights and in hotels.
It still smells really nice, though, both in the bag and brewed up. The dry tea is mostly generally berryful, but steeped the blueberry becomes very present.
Taste wise, the blueberry remains strong throughout. The lingonberries account for some hints of tartness, but that’s mostly it. I don’t really detect any creaminess or sour notes from the yoghurt – this is mostly just blueberry. I’d like to compare this to an all-blueberry tea at some point, to see how Very Blueberry the leaves can get before it comes off artificial.
It’s good, and sturdy, and simple. Reliable. A travel tea.
[Purchased at Tehörnan in Uppsala, fall 2012.]
I finally got around to trying this iced – I dumped the last of the leaf in a pitcher and let it steep in the fridge for about eight or so hours. It’s definitely more flavourful and interesting than the hot tea, and I imagine it would make a really good base for tea drinks and the like.
It’s still on the bland side, though, and yet another reminder of why I go to Teavana for tea paraphernalia and not to buy actual tea. I’ll knock up the rating from 55 to 65, but that’s as good as this gets.
But PWP does acquire some semblance of immortality either way, because this is, in fact, the first tea I’ve finished since I returned to Steepster. Bag empty!
[Purchased at Teavana in Honolulu, January 2013.]
[Polished off in Rome, September 2013.]
Another tea I didn’t ‘technically need’, yet another discount I wanted to use before leaving the country. This is a good one, though – I find it really original. It might be all about the carrot – I can’t remember if I’ve ever tried a carrot tea before.
Deconstructing the dry tea is a challenge; as it’s so unlike anything else I have a hard time finding something to compare it to. I think of stables, but not the light summer hay stable scent, but rather stables in winter – pieces of carrot forgotten in pockets, the deep, rich scent of dry grass piled high, molasses, leather that is meticulously cared for, and finally a light booziness – whatever the groom keeps in his pocket flask, I guess.
To me, ‘Miss Saigon’, with its Madame Butterfly pedigree, implies a certain measure of elegance and delicacy that has nothing to do with this tea at all. ‘Miss Saigon’ should be a spring tea, and this is all winter.
Flavour wise, it’s fairly complex and very nice. Sweetcarroty with vegetal notes and some little surprising hints I can’t quite define. With a more elegant green tea base, this would do quite well in competition with the best greens of, say, Mariage Frères.
[Purchased at Bönor & blad in Uppsala, September 2013.]