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Recent Tasting Notes
Queued post, written April 27th 2014
Anna shared this one with me and Husband chose it as something that might be refreshing to chug after having bottled a lot of beer.
Well, let’s see. Anna found it in sort of the top end of mediocre, so chances are I’ll like it. BUT! This is not a flavoured black. It’s a flavoured green. Meaning our taste-oppositeness is put out of play. All bets are off with green tea.
I’m not very familiar with quince outside tea and similar, so I couldn’t tell you if it smells like it or not. It definitely smells like something that isn’t tea, though. It’s sort of vaguely apple-y but somehow more juicy and a bit more tart. This matches my idea (based entirely on my own imagination) of quince, so that’s fine with me. Close enough for jazz.
It’s the same with the flavour. It definitely tastes like something which matches my idea of quince. (I should point out that quince is not very commonly found in Denmark. I’m not even certain what one looks like and if you were to give me one, I’d have no clue what to do with it.) I’m also getting a lot of the base, though, which strikes me as leafy and a wee bit spicy. I’m finding I might be enjoying the base more than the flavouring here.
I don’t know about this. It’s enjoyable enough, but it’s not really something that blows me away.
I shared a pitcher of this with Em while we hung out on my hideous pink couch. We had a couple of glasses as we caught up (she’s been away) and a couple as I talked about all the packing I have to do (I’m off for a bit on Wednesday) and then a couple more just because…
…and then there were none.
I’ve always thought I would try this cold-steeped (I know one of my notes says I tried it ‘chilled’, but that’s just fancy speak for ‘I forgot my cup and when I picked it up again the tea was cold’) and now I finally have.
I left it for about 12 hours in the fridge, and it was disturbingly foamy when I took it out. Foamy and opaque. I think the most appropriate word would be ‘pondy’ – frog noises would not have been surprising.
Flavour wise, though, this cold steep makes me kick this one up the last magic five points. This is the ultimate iced tea, and I seriously cannot praise it enough. Just a pinch of sugar, and this would be the most perfect summer lemonade. I need this tea in my cupboard forever.
Congratulations, kiwi vanilla. You’re hired. I love you.
From the queue
Anna shared a sample of this one with me. It’s a green base, which I don’t think I had fully realised when I asked for it. I’ve had a green vanilla-flavoured tea before and was only moderately impressed, but kiwi and vanilla sounded like such a fantastic combination I just had to try it. (Besides the previous experience with green vanilla tea, I believe was before my current vanilla-y preference had fully set in.)
I can tell you, the leaves definitely smell awesome. The kiwi is strong and the vanilla is sweet and creamy so that the whole thing reminds me of a fruity cream cake! (And I can always eat some cream cake). After steeping I can mostly smell kiwi and the base tea in more or less equal measure. This is quite nice, actually. It smells as though kiwi might be one of those flavours that just ‘click’ with green tea. Bit like orange and pu-erh do for me. It’s so rare to see kiwi flavoured anything, though. I wonder why that is?
(Cool faster, tea, so I don’t burn my tongue. I want to taste you.)
This is happy tea! Seriously, one sip and I’m grinning so widely the top of my head might come off! I don’t know exactly which quality it has that makes me have that reaction, it just does. I suppose that might be what you might call x-factor, although that concept has been rather polluted by irritating talent shows in recent years.
At first I taste primarily the green tea, so for a moment there I was a little disappointed by the flavouring. Then I got the kiwi, and then a thick creamy vanilla which brings me right back to aforementioned cream cake.
Perhaps that’s it? Not x-factor, but cream cake-factor.
This stuff is right up my particular alley of nom!
So I tried this one with a longer steep at a lower temperature, and it definitely enhanced the flavour. Boiling water kills the delicate vanilla/kiwi flirtation to a far larger extent. Next time I’ll try it a little hotter, maybe at 80C, mostly to see if I can squeeze any more kiwi notes out of the leaves before they go bitter.
So I’m slowly experimenting my way through the teas I have yet to try cold-steeped. (Seriously – the things I do to avoid rating those really confusing ones still labeled undrunk in my cupboard.) This one wasn’t a given at all, seeing how subtle the fruity notes are, and how it’s not particularly sweet. Sometimes, though, those teas seem to just come alive iced.
In this case, not so much. The elusive fruit is all in the nose, while the tea itself is very much tea. It’s really frustrating, as it’s one of those cases where just a little more of most anything would make a world or difference… but I don’t want to take potential additives into account in my tasting notes.
(It should be added that the recent cold-steeped success of A.C. Perch’s White Temple might eclipse any other tea trying to be a contender. I don’t find this unfair, because when you find the Tea, there’s just no forgetting it.)
Either way, this particular quince tea is best enjoyed warm.
I do love a bit of quince jam and the characteristic tart-ripe note of the fruit is indeed highly present scent wise in the dry tea. Unfortunately, this complexity doesn’t quite translate to the cup – the main body of the scent matches that of the flavour, but the quincey aftertaste goes missing somewhere along the way.
It’s still a nice, solid tea of the fruit-flavoured green tea variety, and definitely more original than the usual vaguely tropical fare, but it’s something of a one-trick pony.
Resteeping seems entirely pointless.
[Gifted by my friend T, who got it for me in Visby in July 2013.]
This is the first kiwi-flavoured tea I’ve tried – I always assumed kiwi was one of those fruits that would turn out very artificial. When I received this as a gift, though, I was very excited to try it – particularly after smelling it. The scent in the bag is gorgeous; like a big bowl of thick, whipped cream with pieces if kiwi mixed in and a drizzling of bourbon vanilla extract.
In the cup, it definitely doesn’t disappoint – a slight bit of the creaminess is lost, but the kiwi is juicy and fresh and has a light, pleasant aftertaste of vanilla.
I tried some chilled, and it was beautiful as well.
It’s also nice to see a Kränku tea again – they’re a local store on one of the main islands off the coast of Sweden, and I rarely find them where I usually stay when I’m back home. My aunt and cousins used to summer there, though, and I have many memories of Kränku’s tea blends.
[Gifted by my friend T, who got it for me in Visby in July 2013.]