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Recent Tasting Notes
Thanks for this one, Greenteafairy! This is NOT just raspberries in this blend! Within the steeped leaves, I’m seeing all sorts of fruits: something that looks like a tiny cranberry, strawberries, either a blueberry or black currant… basically a lot of things but not raspberry. I love a fruity oolong anyway. The oolong leaf itself looks more like pouchong than a rolled up leaf oolong. It’s tough to tell what type it is exactly, especially mixed with all that fruit.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 tsp // few minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // few min a.b. // 2-3 min
Thanks for this sample, Greenteafairy! A leafy Pai Mu Tan type with a candy peach flavor. I wish I had saved this one for summer! There seemed to be other ingredients than the peach (like a cardamom pod? Hmm.) and there also seemed to be other fruit flavors that should have made an appearance, but I didn’t find those. An okay blend!
Steep #1 // 2 tsps // 20 min after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 2-3 min steep
This is a pretty good blend, if not quite what I expected. The flavor is mostly rooibos, but it’s the good kind rather than the medicinal tobacco woodchip variety. There is some fruitiness to it, though nothing really identifiable as rhubarb. It’s a nice caffeine-free option, if not quite the revelation I’d hoped for, rhubarb-lover that I am. Very pleasant iced.
This was the tea for the 18th. We’ve got a bit of a backlog, but this is the sort of thing that will happen when you keep finding things that make you think, “meh.”
I don’t know anything about this one. It’s a white tea. I don’t think it should be flavoured, because it usually says aromatised on the packing if it is and it didn’t here. Was it grown in Iran, then? If so, we’ve got a lot of points on the Scale of Interestingness. Somehow, though, that strikes me as a little unlikely. That sort of thing doesn’t seem to be ACP’s style, although you never know.
When drinking it, I am further confused about whether or not it’s flavoured, because it tastes extraordinarily like peaches. Like a lot a lot a lot a lot a lot of peaches!
It didn’t actually have any of the things about it that normally puts me off in a white tea. None of that cucumber-y, courgette-y flavour. Not much in the way of floralness and no grass or straw or anything. Just peaches.
It was so strong at one point that I actually visualised biting a peach while tasting it. I could see the yellow flesh of the fruit and feel the downy skin of it. I could see the wrinkly stone and almost feel its roughness against my tongue. It was a really strong sensation of peach there. Far stronger than just your average ‘oh, this tastes like peach.’
So. I don’t much care for white tea in general and this elicited another sigh when opening it but it has turned out to be quite drinkable. THIS is the sort of experience I’d been hoping to get from the Christmas calendar, dammit!
Finally something sensible! December 16th’s tea. I decided to put yesterday’s satchets with the tin of it that I already had.
This! This is far more me than most of the things I’ve had in the calendar so far (apart of course from the wonderful Panyong.), and the stuff I hoped I’d find. Next year I might get the Christmas calendar from Simply Tea which costs the tip of a jet, but is all unflavoured things. We’ll see.
Anyway, I think I’m putting this under the correct heading. The satchets say breakfast tea, and it does indeed taste like Assam and Ceylon, so this is where I’m putting it. Apparently this is the oldest blend in their repertoire.
It’s strong and flavourful and with a great deal of raisin and honey notes to it. I’m enjoying this very much and it’s just the thing to have before making dinner (I’m famished) and after a round of Parcel Bingo with the Danish postal service, in which I came to pick up a parcel and went home with a totally different parcel (also for me, so no catastrophe there) which I didn’t even know had arrived yet. I shall have to go back and have another crack at getting the first parcel tomorrow. Ordering Christmas presents online is easier in the moment of shopping. Not so much when trying to keep track of which parcels have arrived and how many are still outstanding…
So December 14th was a green blend which we didn’t have yesterday because we had a lot of mulled wine and all round Christmas cheer instead with decorating the tree and whatnot. So there just wasn’t ‘space’ for a distinctly summer-y sounding blend.
Summer-y or not, though, this was one of those that I want to find in a product such as this calendar. Something that wouldn’t have caught my eye otherwise but that I might find interesting when tasting it. In other words, not something that I know I won’t like much.
It smells like sweeties when steeped. It’s a very fruity blend with dried fruit bits in (tropical) and large rose petals. Smells like winegums. This of course made me interested!
Unfortunately it doesn’t taste like sweeties. It tastes like… like… like… I’m not sure. I can taste the tropical fruits, pineapple in particular but also something else that I don’t really think I like much. It’s a quite grassy sort of flavour, which leads me to think about the bamboo. I’ve had bamboo in blends before and actually rather enjoyed it, so I don’t think it’s the bamboo alone that does it here. I think it’s more a question of, for me, the bamboo simply doesn’t play well with some of the other ingredients. The rose petals is giving it a fairly floral finish as well, which I’m not keen on either.
Another miss for me, then, but I’m quite pleased that it wasn’t a known dislike before I even tasted it!
As for today’s tea, I’m having a bit of a think about it. I’ve decided that in order to prevent things lying around for ages untasted, I must drink these in order. Today’s box however contained two satchets of their green mandarin blend, which I’ve already got loads of in a tin. So, is it okay to put those two satchets with the tin, or must they still be used before I can have tomorrow’s tea? Answers on a postcard, please. (To be frank, my decision will probably hinge on what tomorrow’s tea actually is)
December 13th. I have no clue what’s in this (and I can’t be bothered to look it up) but I expect it involves mint in some way what with having ‘cool’ in the name. That’s usually a minty word.
It has a quite familiar smell to it which I think is grapefruit-y. Husband doesn’t agree with me on that at all, but couldn’t otherwise place the smell. I think there’s spearmint involved as well. It has that sharpness.
I guess it comes as no surprise, given the nature of this calendar, that I’m not terribly keen on spearmint because I find it tastes like toothpaste. Sometimes I wonder why I even keep trying with it. Tea after tea that I don’t like, who could blame me for giving up? I keep at it because surely at some point they must run out of things I don’t like, mustn’t they? Tell me yes, please!
Anyway, we are having this one as the cup of herbal before bedtime, so now I’m just hoping it doesn’t contain mate or guyuausysusyuyauyuayusuayu or whatever it’s called. With my luck, it probably does.
After steeping, the grapefruit smell has disappeared, so now I don’t think it involves grapefruit at all. Instead it smells rather strongly of licorice. (This should be good for Husband who’s been a bit ill recently with a persistent cold) There’s a minty smell to it as well and something else that I can’t quite place, but suspect might be some kind of spice.
It definitely has licorice in it. It’s right there in the aftertaste, being all thick and sweet. As for the rest?`I have no idea. It’s not as minty as expected, but I am getting a bit of a minty mouthfeel after drinking a few sips. The aftertaste is fairly dominated by the licorice though, so it’s a little difficult for me to focus on. Can’t tell if it’s spear or pepper.
There is something else in here giving it body and I can’t tell what it could be. Don’t think it guyyuayuayuayauayayussuaysya or mate, much to my relief. It could even just be the natural flavour of a whole lot of mint, since mint is more than just the aftertaste, although the aftertaste is what I primarily tend to think of as minty.
The licorice is a little over the top, but other than that, it’s okay. Not awesome, but not awful either. In the context of the calendar so far, that’s not a bad result at all.
Good morning Steepsterites.
I don’t usually have tea in the morning because I rarely feel like I really have the time, but I’ve come one behind on the Christmas calendar and since the 11th was a day of known like (!!!) I thought I’d catch up a bit.
Look, it’s my favourite ever type! Hurray! At last something nice! At last something interesting! At last something I might actually go and buy! This ought to have been the 24th box, really. They’re going to have a hard time topping this.
Anyway, it’s not the smoothest I’ve ever had, a bit rough around the edges and with a touch pseudo-smokyness. Lots of grain and malty notes though, and a bit of cocoa as well.
I haven’t seen them have this type before at all. There was a Panyong with Paklum blended in, which is some sort of white tea, apparently, that I’ve never heard of anywhere else. Why they would do such a thing is beyond me, but this one as far as I can tell from the satchet wrappers is just the black tea.
Well. We knew it had to come, didn’t we? Yes, another flipping Christmas blend. I’m going to be heartily sick of Christmas blends before this calendar is used up! This time on a black base, the very most traditional kind of Christmas blends. Why is this not in the 24th box??? Seems the logical place to put it. Now I have no clue what that one is going to be.
Anyway, we are having this one tonight, although it was the tea of the 10th, because we didn’t have one yesterday and I have decided that in order to stop me from letting unfavoured samples languish forever, these must be had in the order they were opened. And so, if I want to move on to the infinitely more interesting tea of the 11th, which I do, then I must drink this first.
Really, we’re talking about variations on a theme with this one. Spices and orange. We’ve had that on a white base and on a green base so far already and now also a black one. I’m fully expecting a rooibos based Christmas blend to appear as well. Perhaps even an oolong one.
I can’t really detect the orange much in this but I could see the pieces in the blend. I’m mostly getting a load of generic spice and with a side-note of something borderline soapy. The soapy note is also to do with the spice and I know I should know what causes it, but I can’t think of what it could be right now. It’s one of those things, right on the tip of my tongue.
I know the spice blends and whatnots in all three of these Christmas blends so far have been different, but they just haven’t been different enough. They all seem the same-ish to me, but on different bases. So not impressed with this one either.
I still have a couple of posts in my notebook which will be typed up… eventually. So those will appear out of order, but posting in the right order, I’ve decided, is less important than drinking in the right order.
Another Christmas tea? I know it’s a Christmas calendar and all, but come on! Are we going to have to go through Christmas blends on every single bloody base imaginable? In that event this Christmas calendar was rather a waste of money for me, because I don’t generally care much for Christmas blends in general. Too many spices. And as I feel like I’ve mentioned a hundred thousand times all ready since opening the first box of this calendar, I do not care for spices in my drinks. In food, yes. In baked goods, yes. But I do not wish to drink them.
I really do hope that it will turn out they’ve taken advantage of this concept to showcase some of all the nice non-Christmas-y things they’ve got, but so far we’ve had two Christmas blends and a chai in the space of four days, and while I know chai isn’t actually a Christmas blend as such, it’s still a spiced tea which uses a lot of spices commonly associated with Christmas, so it’s close e-bloody-nough.
Anyway, this one has rose petals in it, and it smells like it has been very heavily spiced. In fact it rather… stinks. Well, sorry, but it does. Based on the smell alone, I am not keen. It smells very ginger-y and clove-y too, which isn’t helping any either. Not so much a problem with the cloves as it’s a problem with the ginger. I don’t care for ginger. Which is part of what brought on the above frustrated mini-rant.
I am drinking a cup of ginger-y, clove-y, cinnamon-y, cardamum-y, vaguely orange-y water. There may be green tea in here somewhere, but it’s thoroughly drowned in spices. I don’t even know which spices are in here apart from ginger. I know that must be there, due to the unpleasant burn in my mouth. The rest? No idea. The above is a list of fairly random guesses, because this is spiced to the point where I can just say ‘spicy’ but that’s it. Generic spice and ginger. Can’t say I’m finding this particularly enjoyable. I suppose it’s drinkable, but I find I just don’t want to.
The only upside to this is, at least I shouldn’t encounter it in the calendar again…
Not sure if this is the one I won in my advent calendar today, but I expect so.
Less than thrilled with the prospect of a chai. It’s not really one of those things that I buy. Or want. Ever. Well, occasionally I’ll dabble a bit, but that’s honestly as far as it goes. I’m just not keen on spicy tea and could happily live without it. I’ve written previously about the traumatic introduction to chai I had as a child via hippie-ish scout leaders who didn’t want to serve boring old unhealthy hot chocolate to children age 8-12 or so who would really much much rather have had a cup of hot chocolate. I know I would. I shan’t repeat the whole thing again, but I can probably find the post if anybody wants me to.
So this one is… oh well. At least it was two satchets rather than a loose sample, so one for me and one for Husband and it’s gone and dealt with.
This one is actually fairly inoffensive. It’s fairly cinnamon-y but seems otherwise pretty mild on the spices which is totally fine with me given as how I mentioned I don’t really want spices in my teacup.
Still, though. I drink it because it’s there, but I can’t say it’s giving me much in the way of pleasure.
Polar opposite experience from the one I had when I stopped into Starbucks on my way home to try that honey almond hot chocolate they have. That one blew my mind. Easily the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. I’ll be having more of that, let me tell you! Are these Christmas specials the same for where you are, or do they adjust the selection to suit the locals? I know we don’t have all the same choices that you get in the regular menu. (There is only one Starbucks in this city, and it’s the second biggest town in the country, so we’re fairly new territory for the chain here. I expect this is probably the reason for the somewhat smaller selection. It’s only been open about a year, I think.)
Merry Christmas! It’s the 1st of December! I’ve opened all my calendars, and we had bit of Christmas fun at work around lunch time. We ordered sandwiches and played a gift game. Do you know this game in your parts of the world? Everybody brings two small presents which are placed in the middle of the table. Then you take turns rolling a die and if you get a six you can choose a present. When all the presents have been claimed from the middle of the table, you set a timer to an unknown amount of minutes and continue the game until the timer dings, only this time when you get a six you steal a present from one of the others. When the game ends you’ve won the presents in front of you. For extra action we used four dice, so there were two cups going round and if you got a double six, hey, steal two presents! If you don’t know this game, I recommend you try it. It’s lots of fun. I won a box of small glass baubles, a bag of boiled sweets and a really ugly but festive Christmas brooch with LED lights in it which I intend to wear on my uniform for the rest of the month.
I nearly forgot to open the most important of my Christmas calendars, the one I bought from AC Perchs. It’s their first year selling a Christmas calendar and they’ve done a smashing job with it design-wise. Obviously, I can’t yet comment on the contents. :)
Today’s tea smells like one of those oranges which has been stuck full of cloves. Also cinnamon. I have to say, I’m not finding that a very good start. I don’t much care for Christmas blends in general (too chai-y) and I’m not finding the smell of this one very attractive. Except maybe the orange bits.
To my surprise, the flavour is very orange-y and not as overwhelmingly spicy as feared. It still tastes like cloves and cinnamon too but not at all in an unbearable amount. The white base comes through on the aftertaste and yes, it does unfortunately have the cucumber-y, courgette-y flavour that I must admit I don’t much care for. I do like to eat both cucumbers and courgettes, but I don’t particularly wish to drink them, thanks.
I wasn’t expecting to like this much when I opened it, but I find it’s actually okay.
One of the best cranberry teas I’ve yet to try. The cranberry taste is distinct and strong, but the flavor isn’t overly tart, and as one who tends to be somewhat sensitive to tart flavors, I found myself quite happy with the smoothness of this tea. This tea seems to celebrate the sweeter side of the cranberry.
A flavorful black tea base with a slightly dry astringency at the tail. A delicious berry taste. A really pleasant tea.
Wow, I don’t know how these dudes blend their teas but they tell you to steep this white one for 5-8 minutes :O So umm… I did exactly that, although reluctantly, and voilà! It tastes… really good, actually!
No, it did not come out bitter. Not at all. It smells a little tart, but it’s a good kind of tart… like the promise of tropical fruit. The way it tastes holds up to its aroma promise I think. There’s definitely pineapple and peach… Not sure about the elderflower, I mean, what is it supposed to be anyway? Oh, there’s also supposed to be pomegranate, but it’s wonderfully subtle. I am used to pomegranate hogging all the room for itself in blends (usually it turns out it’s hibiscus, not pomegranate, anyway!) and here it is more in the background.
It gets better as it cools… Nothing about it tastes artificial. It reminds me a little of American Tea Room’s Bliss green & white blend, but this one is IMHO better. I really like it!
Big thank you to Anna for sending me a sample! :)
Do I know what mulberries taste like? No. Yet, I have this and another mulberry tea sitting in my sample container, just begging to be enjoyed. RiverTea’s Mulberry Magic is next up.
Having said that, I was a bit leery to try this. I know there’s papaya something-or-other in it, having read other people’s notes. My first (and only) run-in with papaya was in high school during a writing course – and if you’re friends with me on Facebook you likely read this story already from two of my classmates way back when. Long story short: my inspiring, amazing prof (who at one time brought in a chunk of the then newly-demolished Berlin Wall) brought in an “unknown fruit” for us to try, and then write about. I HATED it. I wanted to puke. Floral mango-y sweetness? No thanks. So I wrote about it, and my classmates then still remember my vitriol today. It’s been more than 20 years now… Bah, how am I old enough to say that?
Anyway. This tea. It’s really pleasant, and while I do recognize the floral sweet notes of the papaya in here, plus other floral notes that are relatively subdued, there’s something light berry-ish that makes me think of summer, and then the lovely base that I’m really enjoying. I thought I overleafed, and wished I’d put the whole sample in now, because it is slightly weak. Still, I could see myself trying to find more of this, perhaps when my cupboard is a bit more… normal. Human. Less showing the world I have a tea obsession. ;)
Flavors: Berries, Flowers
From the queue
This is… I bought it based on a post that Anna made. She greatly enjoys this blend and I (used to) greatly enjoy this company. (Current relationship is somewhat fraught) In the meantime, however, it has been discovered that Anna and I are not Taste Twins. In many ways, in fact, we’re pretty much Taste Opposites, so now I’m a little concerned about it which is why the tin has been gathering dust in the Yet To Try Box.
I have to say I don’t rightly know what mulberry taste like exactly. I’ve had some before, but not so many that I’m at all familiar with the flavour. This blend though is not just a mulberry flavoured white tea. It’s a white tea with supposedly mulberry. And a bunch of other fruits and flowers. The description merely mentions white tea, mulberry and papaya, but I have some rather large pieces of apple in my tin as well and there is at least two kinds of flowers in it.
It smells quite fruity and creamy-thick. It has a sort of tropical twinge to it, which must be due to the papaya, but that might just be that I don’t know what mulberry smells like and I am aware that it has papaya in it. I’ve had some of these white blends from ACP before and I’m pretty certain that it’s the same Bai Mu Dan base for this one as it was for the others. I’m getting that same nutty, courgette-y note from it. I used to greatly enjoy BMDs years ago, but these days I find them all together too courgette-y. This is a smaller problem when flavoured, though.
The flavour also strikes me as somewhat tropical, and the comments above with regard to the base still stands. Again, though, I’m handicapped by having the faintest clue what mulberry tastes like and whether it tastes anything at all like this.
It’s quite nice, but not something that I’m likely to fall head over heels for. It reminds me strongly of the two other white blends from ACP I’ve had, White Temple Blend and especially White Dream Tea. The latter had banana and melon while the former had papaya and… some other stuff, so you’d think it would remind me more of the former. It doesn’t though. Interestingly enough, I also rated White Temple a full 20 points higher than White Dream, but if ever I were to buy either of them again, it would more likely than not by the Dream.
An agreeable black: rich, bold and hearty with a delicious honeyed taste.
Nicely round. Malty notes, bread-y flavors … although this isn’t the most complex black tea I’ve tried. It’s more of a “black tea” kind of tea … strong, full-flavored, but not a more than that to it. Just a good black tea.
I had a tiny craving for this the other day, and one more just now. I was going to send the rest of it to a friend, but maybe just one more cup before it goes.
Honestly, I have no idea why I enjoy this so much. A pretty basic berry-flavoured black?
It’s an evil tea, though. It makes me wish I had a cookie.
Okay, so you know how frustrating it can be if someone keeps calling you the wrong name or constantly mixes you up with your sibling, or something along those lines? Right.
Well, words have feelings, too.
This is an image of a pallet: http://www.bt2interiors.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Pallet.gif
This is an image of a palette: http://addictionjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/palette.jpg
I bet these three words feel like Amy Adams and Isla Fisher and some other tiny, strawberry blonde actress who gets mixed up with the other two all the time.
On to the tea. This smells vaguely of fruity black tea, but without any specific, discernible fruit character. ‘Random berry’, I’d say. Steeped, the scent continues to be subtle, a subtlety that carries through into the sip.
What I really like about this one, and that I feel I often complain about in other black berry (not blackberry) teas, is that it’s not tart or sour at all. The flavour is simply blackberry (with hints of blueberry, as per usual, as the two flavour profiles are really difficult for me to keep apart in dried/tea form) and a very natural-tasting, smooth one, at that.
I’m not a huge berry tea fan, and this one doesn’t have the complexity I usually go for, but I like it a whole lot nonetheless. It’s just one of those teas, I guess. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that it made me crave scones with berry jam and clotted cream (and the works, really) something crazy and there’s just no way that is happening anytime soon.
Thanks for sharing this, Ang!
[Sample from the EU Travelling Box, autumn 2013.]
I am completely confused by this tea. Picking it out blindly (see my note on Vanilla from Fru P) I thought it was a pu’erh, or something along those lines – it definitely didn’t smell like almond, or even bitter almond. So imagine my surprise when I read the label and realized it was ACP’s almond tea that I’ve seen on the shelf numerous times and considered trying out.
Brewed, it has an oatmealy scent – I kid you not. There is the vaguest note of bitter almond, but so vague that I mistakenly – and I will admit this only to you – actually dipped the tip of my nose into the tea trying to chase the elusive scent strand down. We will not speak of this further.
Taste wise, it’s equally confusing. I taste only tea – a fairly non-descript black base. And then, if I close my eyes and very intently focus on almonds and almond slivers and marzipan and other almondy things, then maybe, just maybe, I can catch the slightest note of something vaguely resembling… plums?
No, I give up. This tea is out to get me, I can feel it. It’s clearly gaslighting me!
(Again – thanks, Ang!)
[Sample from the EU Travelling Box, autumn 2013.]
Thank you Angrboda for this sample tea!
The Arctic wind swept down through the Rocky Mountains yesterday afternoon…whoosh!
I stepped out of my Tea Shop, driving 3 miles home…just as the first snowkles began to fall. Perfect timing!
On went the Christmas lights and a movie! http://flic.kr/p/dEPKHb
I was waiting for a proper snow day to kick back and drink tea while watching the Wintry Wonderland through my large picture window.
This morning, I woke up early…wrapped myself in a fuzzy pink robe and poked my head through the curtains to view the pristine white blanket of snow over everything. Top to bottom white!
I don’t need to leave home for days. With temperatures predicted to be in the teens and and minus zero, I’ll stay home!
Comfort and Joy!
Lapsang Souchong fits the scene…Christmas lights on the tree, wreath over the fireplace, teapots out on display. http://flic.kr/p/dETRv6
I’m a Lapsang Souchong when-the-mood-is-right sort of person. I cook with LS often but drink it on rarely.
I have to say that this TEA is semi-mild and entirely smooth.
Very smooth actually!
It’s not boring or flat. Sometimes I think lapsang souchongs are toned down and become boring as though someone sprinkled a little smoke on an average black tea. That isn’t the case here.
Rich, smooth with a hint of citrus…no sooty aftertaste or bitterness a very good drinkable tea.
Had a mug with cream and sugar…loved the flavor…um. Sweet with a smoky hint of saltiness.
The Arctic Blast is rolling across North America, heading East…and if you can grab some Lapsang Souchong…take a break and look out the window at the splendor of Winter, keeping warm with a friendly cup of smoky tea!
So for my very first attempt with this tea, I (gasp) followed the instructions against both my better judgment and Angrboda’s recommendation. There are at least two more brews to get out of this sample, so it seemed like a good place to start.
Following the instructions in this case, resulted in an 80C-steep for a whopping 8 minutes. Yes, eight. And yes. This is bitter, but far from as bitter as expected. What is less appealing is the metallic taste that sometimes seems so hard to avoid in ACP’s greens – but it evaporates once the brew cools off a little.
But I get ahead of myself a little – the dry tea smells very pleasant, there’s a nice balance between the orange and the strawberry, but the fruit notes are a little too candy-esque for me and my devotion to natural fruit flavours.
But yeah – next time this will need to steep for a shorter time, because right now this tea is half bitter and half fruit candy; two main flavour features that don’t marry particularly well.
[Sample gifted by my sweet friend T, October 2013.]