Empire Tea Services
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Recent Tasting Notes
Last night’s midnight cup. I learned I really don’t like this without sweetener. Unsweetened it tastes a lot like Tazo Rest (I think that was the name of it). It is too rose and powdery tasting for me. Add sweetener and all these other flavors pop out. It has a decaf black tea base. It takes on a berry like taste when sweet. My wife likes the icky unsweet taste.
This has become a bit of a nightly ritual with my wife and me. The bag is half gone already. She asked if we could order this and have it mailed to us. Which should I use? Ummm… no… I think we need to drive an hour and a half and pick it up ;) Or, Sure and the gas money we save by paying shipping we can use to order more tea and make it worth our while. Yeah, I think I am going with the second.
I had this last night. LiberTeas description of Tutti Frutti sounded kind of like this. I was reminded of it again this morning at the farmer’s market when I passed a booth selling lavender. The first few cups of this I couldn’t pick out individual flavors. Now I am used to it enough I am catching the spearmint (but it is not overpowering – I generally don’t like spearmint). It props up the rose and lavender. Again neither of which are strong in themselves. Sipping this without thinking it kind of comes off as grape Kool-Aid. I think that makes this a decaf grown up kid’s drink :)
Backlogging from Wednesday. Tuesday night my son and I took our telescopes to the state park to help a friend do a public outreach program during the Venus transit. If you missed it, sorry it won’t happen again in your lifetime. It was well attended and a lot of fun. Wednesday I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a truck. Apparently I am a wimp. Flash forward to bedtime. I want tea. This has decaf in it. A pleasant ending to the day.
Check out how pretty the blend is in the picture. I wrote ETS to find out what was in this as it isn’t on their website yet. They are in the process of a major web update which they really needed to do. Now that I have an ingredient list this makes more sense. When steeping it smells a bit spearminty. I only slightly detect that element in the sip. It has decaf Ceylon as the base and a dozen other ingredients. Yes it has hibiscus but it is well behaved, adding only the slightest tartness. I am not a tart fan so I would complain if it were. The brew as I mentioned in my first tasting can turn kind of grape kool-aid if you steep a long time. I only went two minutes this go around. The brew on a short steep is honey colored. I can’t single out chamomile but it is in here as is rose and lavender and orange. This is a tasty late night fruity desert sip. Really enjoying this with a bit of sweetener. Steepster won’t let me add a rating tonight but I give it about an 82.
This is a decaf black tea with fruit pieces, cinnamon, and orange rind. I can’t find this on their website. My wife bought this one. I need to write them and find out more about it. The color of the brew is almost grape Kool-Aid. I cannot place the taste. Maybe black currant (which I have only had one time) or cherry and hibiscus? It isn’t terribly tart . I really can’t form an opinion. I don’t hate or love it. My wife is happy with it so I will gladly sip it in the evening with her. No rating yet.
I am digging through older samples to see if there are any easy sipdowns. There is still enough for another cup after today. I’ve had it about a year. I steeped it close to 5 minutes today – because I was busy. This is the first time I have tasted the Ceylon. The base is smooth with no rough edges or bitterness. Since I am pretty immune to astringent tea – I have no idea. It seems only mildly drying to me. I am thinking that may be more my reaction to the long steeped slightly tart hibiscus than the Ceylon. The lavender is light and kind of pleasant (gmathis – I may be almost brave enough to add some lavender to a cup before long). The lemon myrtle, orange peel and other stuff are providing a strange peppery pumpkin like spice flavor to the cup. Flavored teas like this aren’t really my thing but it is a pleasant distraction. The brew is a beautiful deep red/orange.
Before I get to this tea – I went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch. They used to serve Golden Peak iced tea. It wasn’t bad. Whatever they switched to was awesome for restaurant tea. Great depth. Great bite. Made my tongue tingle. The tamale was good too.
On to this one – still can’t figure out why the name on this one. I can lightly pick out the lavender today. I can also taste something sort of like pumpkin spice – is that what safflower tastes like? Can’t really pick out the black tea. It’s pleasant enough but is kind of one of those teas for people who don’t really like tea. The dry leaf looks like my cockatiel would love it.
The ingredients listed on the sample are a bit different than that on the website: Black tea, lavender, lemon myrtle, orange peel, Spanish safflower, red berries, flavors.
This was a sample given to me with my recent purchase. The leaf is really interesting to look at. It resembles herbal tea. The pieces are all fine and feathery – like potpourri. I am not sure how they came up with the name for this, as bergamot is not a listed ingredient. I do taste the lemon myrtle. I was concerned that the lavender would be too much but that is not the case. If you add sweeteners, take it easy as this has a natural sweetness but I don’t think it contains stevia as I don’t detect any bitterness. It isn’t tart. If there is hibiscus in this it is very well done. I actually like this. Too bad it isn’t decaf. It kind of reminds me of a flavored rooibos but not really. It’s kind of cherry but not really. The best I can describe it is Yankee Candle meets dried flower craft aisle meets hippie incense. Far out. Solid man. Peace!
Not really sure how old this is. My oldest note says two years ago. Eeek. This has just been sitting on the shelf in an old Twinings tin. Today it called to me. One would think it would have lost its zip. It has mellowed quite a bit but Lalith at ETS loves is potent bergamot in EG. I don’t object. So even after 2 years this is as intense as most other brands are new. There is some orange rind in the mix that changes the profile away from the other brands. The white tea leaf is bigger and better looking quality than I recall. The taste has a peppery quality. This hit the spot.
My rear end is dragging the ground. Staying awake a couple more hours is going to be tough. Caffeine to the rescue – but not too much caffeine. This is a year old and was not properly stored. I am pretty sure I have another tin of it around here somewhere. Still smells and tastes awesome. The bergamot is peppery early fading towards orange before catching the white peony late in the sip. Bad storage did not hurt this one at all.
This afternoon was great fun. I was directly in front of the drums. He told me afterwards he was only playing at level 5. By the end all I was hearing from him was white noise. Wouldn’t want to be positioned there if he ever plays at a 10. The bass player trashed his amp. I’m thinking maybe we were kind of loud… but that’s just a guess. hehe. For those of you who don’t get it, playing loud is so much easier, at least to a point. You reach a sweet spot where the guitar comes alive tone-wise and almost seems to play itself. When you go beyond, it just becomes racket. We were getting a little too close towards the end but people were on their feet so…
This is an Earl Grey with a white tea base. Looks like this is 11 months old. Ah oh. It comes in a waxy coated paper sack. Hmmm. I open the bag and Mmmmm. Brewed it up and it still tastes very good. Better than I remember. It starts out peppery followed by orange rind mixed with bergamot. White tea being so subtle to start with, I find I have to be patient with the cup and wait for it. Late in the sip it shows up and its worth the wait. This is about $2.30/oz ($8/bag). Empire Tea Services blends their own teas and they are quite good.
ETS adds orange to their bergamot and it gives it a unique flavor. Not like Lady Grey as it has lemon I think. It is just different. This I have had long enough the bergamot has mellowed a lot. That is a good thing as the white tea is really shining through. A good choice. Tunes: Blackfoot – Train, Train, Blue Cheer – Summertime Blues, Billy Thorpe – Children of the Sun.
Been a while since I have had this one. ETS bergamot is just different from every other I have tasted. Maybe it is the addition of the orange peel. Anyway, I like it. I also like white tea. I find the delicate nature of them appealing. In my mind turning a white into an Earl Grey just seems wrong, but it works. The bergamot drives the flavor profile but the white tea does not get lost under it. I still prefer green EG but this is a pretty good EG even if a little off the beaten path.
So on top of everything else, went to heat up water in the micronuker and after 3 seconds it went Zzzzzzzt and quit. So a quick trip to ‘The Wal-mart’ and I now I have hot water for this mug-o-delight. (One of these days I need a kettle for home) While I enjoy this, it almost seems wrong to add flavors to a delicate white. The bergamot is not heavy and peppery like the green version. It is just a relaxing light cup.
I accidentally oversweetened the first cup. I am used to my little yellow packets. At home I spoon it out of a bowl. Apparently I can’t judge. Oversweet aside, this is really good. The first time I tried this after the De La Creme, which rocks, and it overpowered my perception of this tea. I also noticed no stems in this douple scoop of leaf. It seems they were all mostly in the top of my bag. I split it in half to bring some home. Now that I know, I will either pick some stems out of the bag at work (not likely) or mix it better (cause I’m lazy). My guess is I got the bottom of the bag. The bergamot definitely drives this tea. If you don’t like bergamot this isn’t for you. You can taste the light tea base under it. Not sure how they pulled that off. The orange is under it all supporting the citrus goodness of this cup. This tea and me will become good friends this summer. Upping the rating substantially.
This tea is the main reason I went to ETS this week. I have had several of their teas and all have been exceptional. This one, like most of their offerings, was either $7.50 or $8.00 for 3 1/2oz (100g). I have never had a white Earl Grey before so I really don’t know what to expect with this one. The Earl Green has an outstanding leaf base and is heavily bergamot flavored with peppery notes. The De La Crème from yesterday was wonderfully chocolate and vanilla. The bergamot started more subdued but brightens into a delicious creamy cup of Ceylon based Earl Grey.
On to this tea. Taking the leaf out of the bag I see long wiry, almost black strands (stems?), along with the traditional looking green/white fuzzy leaf. The dry leaf smells of bergamot. It is a just guess at how much leaf to use. I don’t have a scale and this is so wiry I had to judge by how it looked in the bottom of the press.
I ignored the brewing directions on the package. I have enough experience with Empire to know I like tea prepared differently than they prescribe. I used just steaming water and a two minute steep. The liquor is bright and clear with a beautiful yellow/green tint. The wet leaf is Empire’s bergamot and a fresh green leaf scent.
There are three guys at work that I rotate sharing my tea with. Today’s lucky taster’s reaction to this was, “flowers”. The bergamot is strong but not overpowering. It is not bright or tart and not perfumey. I do think I would prefer it be just a tick lighter. This is a white tea after all. You can taste the tea base. You just aren’t going to pick out melon or cucumber subtleties in this flavored tea. Three solid steeps. The fourth was weak until it really cooled off.
This is like earl green lite minus the pepper notes and add in some stems. Resteeps well. A pretty good value. I’m not blown away but do like it a lot.
I had a steep of this left from yesterday. I added a bit of Zenjala Tea Company’s smoky Bohea. Unfortunately I did not add enough to get the smoky EG I was hoping for. Still with the second of this the vanilla tames way down and it becomes just a smooth creamy delight. I said this was an sip down yesterday. Now I mean it. La sigh. On to the next!