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Recent Tasting Notes
Another tea sample from the Secret Santa package Adham sent. The package the teas came in smells so wonderful. I’m not sure if it is the combined fragrance of the teas, or if one of the teas is really overpowering the rest.
These dry leaves smell spicy, not in a caliente way, but as in chai spices. There is a vanilla sweetness to the leaves as well.
I brewed this at 3 minutes after reading Adham’s note that it brews quite brisk. Seeing how dark the infusion became after hitting the 3 minute mark impressed and scared me a little. Tasting this tea I definitely get the strong malty notes of assam. Wow, this is a full bodied tea. I’m glad to have chosen this to drink this morning, I need the pick me up. I’m glad the vanilla is in this tea, it makes it a bit different from other teas.
I received a package of this tea from Adham as a Secret Santa swap present. Thanks Ricky for putting together Secret Santa!
The leaves are a deep green in color, a medium length sencha leaf and mixed with pieces of citrus peel, lemongrass and flowery blossoms. The pouch smells fantastic, clean and vibrant. I sniffed the pouch as I was waiting for the tea to brew up.
The brewed tea is a pale yellow infusion. The citrus peel and lemongrass definitely show through in the taste but still allow the flavor of the sencha to come through. I could see this being a tea I drink daily, as it isn’t too fragrant or flavored, it is just right.
I’m really beginning to like green teas, I haven’t ventured to try many unflavored greens, but really enjoy these flavored blends.
Thanks again Adham for sending me this tea!
Another one picked up last week – it interested me because it brings together rose and vanilla, a mix I wouldn’t have otherwise thought about. It also lists a rather vague “fruit aroma” in the ingredients list, so I’m not sure what that will do. The dry leaf is dark and smells very fragrant – rose for sure, not much vanilla, but a generous helping of fruitiness too. And as I look at the leaf closely, I can see the rose petals and bits that look a lot like little dried squares of orange peel. This could be interesting!
It really smells good as it steeps, and comes out a medium brown liquor. The flavor profile is floral, very aromatic from the rose petals, with a little bit of juiciness from whatever fruit aromas they’ve used. Very little astringency or bitterness, even without any additives. Once I put a bit of sugar in, it becomes softer and not so perfumed, and with half and half it’s dialed back even more. If I’m going to put additives in a tea, I almost always put both sugar and some sort of dairy product, but I think this is one tea where I’d put sugar only so that I don’t dull the flavors too much. The vanilla never put up much of a fight against the other notes in this tea – too bad! I would have enjoyed more of that flavor.
Couldn’t resist this one, as I love the traditional Christmastime baked goods from German-speaking Europe known as Lebkuchen, and I wanted to build up my non-caffeine collection as well. It also interested me because it includes sandalwood, a scent I like but not something I’ve ever seen in tea before. The dry leaf smells warm and spicy, and very yummy.
Wanting to wring a decent amount of flavor out of it, I steeped it for seven minutes and got a nice deep reddish brown liquor that smelled strongly of cinnamon with the sweetness of almonds lurking in the background. I know this will cry out for additives, but I’ll try it first without – strong indeed in the cinnamon department! Quick, some half/half and sugar…now that’s lovely. The almond comes into its own now; boy does that nut know how to play well with dairy products! Post-additive, cinnamon and almond are still the stars of the show, with cardamom showing up as a lingering aftertaste. Not clear on where the sandalwood may be, but I’m happy to try this again another time to try and find out!
Bam! This is definitely shake-you-by-the shoulders tea. The name translates to “East Frisian Sunday Tea”, and all I can say is that those East Frisians really know how to make a strong cuppa. This particular example has vanilla pieces in it, so the smell of the dry leaf is a wonderful mix of malty tea leaves and warm vanilla.
Although I usually steep black teas for four minutes, I’m going to hold this one at three minutes for this first tasting, just to be on the safe side. It comes out a dark, clear brown with a really enticing sweet and spicy aroma. In drinking the first bit without additives, it’s like the two sides of the tea are both shouting – “I’m black tea! Taste ME!!” and “I’m vanilla! Taste ME!!” which for me means it’s time to calm them down a bit with some half and half and sugar.
Ahh, that’s better. Now it’s much silkier, but the black tea and vanilla flavors are both still very much there. The creaminess has also opened up a hint of coconut. Great way to wake up the palate!
Ah, that’s much better than the Flavia mistake earlier this morning – I needed something to cleanse my palate after that. I put a little extra half/half and sugar in it, so now it tastes like warm cherry pie a la mode with a hint of almond extract in it. Gooood….
Another recent acquisition from Demmers – at this time of year, I couldn’t resist a tea called “Winter Dream”, and the ingredients (almond, wild cherry, lemon) sounded great. It’s a very festive looking tea too, with lots of colorful little flower petals strewn throughout. The smell on opening the pack was wonderful – strong on the cherry, but the almond and citrus were definitely present too.
I know I’ll eventually want to add milk and sugar to this one, but I’ll start the tasting with it straight up. Nice! Those three flavors go really well together; cherry is still out front, but almond is washing all over the background, while lemon hits a consistent high note throughout the swallow. There’s medium astringency, not too much.
With the additives the flavor profile is quite different. Now the almond is up front, with the cherry in the middle as a fruity note and lemon flitting around lightly in the back. Perfect tea for the season. Wish I had a little cherry-almond tart from our local bakery to go with this, that would be an excellent pairing!
I forgot that I had a little sample pack of coconut tea thrown in when I went shopping at Demmer’s a couple months ago, so it’s time to give this one a go. It’s dark leaf mixed with lots of little coconut bits, and definitely displays that distinctive and sweet aroma.
Five minutes of steeping and I’ve got a medium-dark liquor with a present but not overpowering coconut scent. I know I’m going to like this one better with cream and sugar, but I’ve got to try the first few sips straight up. The black tea base is malty and strong enough to stand up to the coconut, and the coconut itself is sweet without being toasty. Comparing it to Tea Frog’s Coconut Pouchong here, which has a great buttery texture to it and little bit of toastiness. Demmer’s coconut is milder and sweeter, and not as deeply flavored. With cream and sugar it’s much more like a dessert tea, sweet and rich, but still not super strong on the coconut flavor.
These leaves are so fragrant of Irish Cream! Thanks to Adham I had a wonderfully scented mailbox this afternoon which included a package with this tea.
The aroma transfers over to the scent of the brewed tea, such a decadent treat before dinner! The brewed tea has such a strong base tea flavor, and quite impeccable astringency for a sweet scented tea. It reminds me more of an Irish whiskey than a Bailey’s Irish Cream. This seems to work in it’s favor though.
This would make an excellent morning tea, as it is such a strong, rich flavor, it would hold up to any of my breakfast teas. Thanks again Adham for sending a sample of this to me!
Always a sucker for vanilla, I had to try Demmer’s variation on the theme. The scent of the dry leaf is rich with vanilla and also has a fruity note to it reminiscent of cherry. I don’t see many pieces of vanilla bean in there, so I think the scent is probably from the addition of vanilla extract.
It steeps up to a clear medium orange-brown color with a much milder aroma compared to the dry leaf. The first sip is nice; I can taste the vanilla warmth and roundness in the back of my throat, and am still getting a cherry taste as well as some astringency from the Ceylon base. I typically doctor vanilla tea with cream and sugar, so I’ll try that on this now.
The tea has now settled into a medium full vanilla groove. Definitely there, but not overwhelming in complexity or body. Perfectly acceptable and drinkable, but no substitute for Mariage Freres Vanille des Iles or Black Orchid.
Though it’s now feeling far from summer, this is still a nice warm cup for a cold and dreary day. I did one pot in the morning and one in the afternoon, and for the second pot I couldn’t get back to strain it for about 10 or 15 minutes, and it still held up like a champ. It was a little more tart, but the apple flavor was brought out more strongly, as was the lemongrass, moving from the background to the middle ground.
Steeped it a longer than last time, and enjoying it more. The lemongrass is more prominent now, and so is a floral element I missed out on before. I’m surprised the rose hips aren’t making this more tart, but pleasantly surprised as I’m really liking the balance between sweet and sour in this one.
This is the one herbal tisane I picked up from Demmer’s, chosen because it seemed to have a nice mix of flavors across the sweet and tart spectrum. The mix is really chunky – big pieces of apple, orange, rose hips, snips of lemongrass, blossoms – and smells clean and fresh. The recommended steeping parameters are boiling water and 5 – 8 minutes, but I think I’ll use slightly cooler water at first to see how it turns out.
It yields a deep yellow liquor with a hint of green and just a little bit of cloudiness. The aroma is citrus plus a more general “herbal” tune, and that’s mirrored in the taste as well. It’s not at all overly tart, but I’m not sure what is giving it the body. It could be the honeydew which is in there, though I can’t pick this out as an individual flavor.
Definitely a pleasant drink and one I can see having when I want to avoid caffeine.
Haven’t had this one in a while, and decided to revisit it without any milk or cream and just a little sugar. This really let the strength of the tea base come through, which was good. It has a fair bit of astringency and is very aromatic with the smell of a nice Irish whiskey. That slightly heady aroma fits in nicely with the season, as it evokes for me mince pies, plum puddings, and other sweets which have been fortified with a shot of something a little stronger to keep you warm. I think this tea would pair nicely with any of those types of treats.
I bought this one on the strength of the aroma alone. Sticking my head into the huge canister of tea in the shop, it was like falling into a vat of Bailey’s. Sweet, strong, and creamy! It brews up to a fairly dark brown liquor, and smells heavenly. They’ve definitely got the mix of whisky and sweet cream right there.
The flavor is bolder tea-wise than I imagined, based on my experience with a couple of the other Demmer’s teas I’ve tried so far this week. This one is clearly based on a strong Ceylon, with a fair bit of astringency which serves as an interesting counterpoint to the Irish Cream direction. Kind of like having a dainty glass of Bailey’s in a dark-paneled library, if that makes sense.
This one is also crying out for cream and sugar, which even in moderate amounts had the surprising effect of really muting the whisky flavor. Still there, but reduced by about three-fourths. Overall, feels kinda decadent to be having this at 10:30 in the morning, but fortunately there’s no actual alcohol in it!
A nice little creamy and sweet pot of this is just what is called for on this grey and rainy day. Almond scent and flavor without moving too far in the direction of sickly-sweet marzipan, and decently strong black tea base assures that I get a reasonable caffeine kick and some taste to back up the almond.
Another Demmer’s new addition to the cupboard. I had a whiff of this one in the shop and thought it rich without being cloying. The dry leaf is dark, so I’m expecting there to be a balance between almond and the flavor of the tea. The aroma of the steeped tea is characteristic of almond flavoring, but it has an additional fruity component to it.
The flavor after four minutes is medium strong; there is light astringency and I can definitely taste the black tea base playing nicely with the almond. For me, this type of tea is much more enjoyable with cream and sugar, so after a few sips of it straight, it’s off into the land of milky sweetened almond tea for me. Mmmm, that definitely brings out the dessert-like quality of the almond flavor and makes it feel like a much more decadent drink. I’m having it in the morning but think it would also be an excellent substitute for a post-lunch dessert. Yummy indeed.
It’s no longer summer by a long shot, but I was in the mood for this summery taste today. The apple flavor really came through this time, both in the aroma and in the flavor, with little hints of mint in the background. It tastes natural and not overly sweet, and this time I chose to put in some cream and sugar. That managed to mask the remaining mint flavor, but brought out the apple quite nicely. It didn’t exactly end up tasting like liquid apple pie, as it didn’t have any yeasty/bready notes, but it was sweet and dessert-like none the less.