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Recent Tasting Notes
I saw the San Francisco blends on sale in my local (decidedly far from San Francisco) store, and picked the one that seemed most appealing. I’d wanted to try the Napa Blanc as well, but the sample smelled much too strongly of grapes, so I probably wasn’t going to be a fan.
This one, on the other hand, smells like a mouthwatering honeydew melon. It’s not too strong, and the flavor is softer than the aroma, with an additional mellow, honey-like sweetness, an almost creamy finish. Reminds me a little of the honeydew ice cream bars you can find in Asian grocery stores, without the sugariness.
I don’t have much experience with green rooibos teas, though I’ve heard their flavor is not very strong, so I’m not sure how much the base is contributing here. But it is a very fresh-tasting tea and a nice caffeine-free treat in the evening.
Oh my goodness…this is something I could definitely see myself drinking every single day! I just made it and took my first sip a couple of minutes ago and with each passing sip, it grows on me more and more (especially as the peach flavor comes out more and more). I’m sure this would be perfect iced, as well. Not to mention the leaves were quite pretty to look at! I may have the opportunity to go to a Lupicia store next weekend (crossing fingers), so I’ll have my eye on this one!
ETA: Thanks to Jennkay for the sample!
This is a sample from NayLynn. Thank you.
I saw all the post about this tea earlier this year and almost looked into buying some while it was sold online, but I really didn’t think a rooibos could be sooo amazing. Boy was I wrong. This is amazing. I have been cutting back on caffeine at night and so I have been looking into teas that I can drink in the evening. This is so delicious. I made this last night before bed and added 1/2 tsp of sugar to a 12ishoz mug of this. This is juicy, and really does taste like honey dew melon. If this ever comes back online count me in!
More Lupicia because I gave in and visited the store again. This was one of their seasonal teas that I really kicked myself for not getting last time, so of course I came home with it this time.
The blend is black tea with kumquat peel. Kumquat is one of my favorite hard-to-find fruits, and this tea captures that tart, sweet, citrus fragrance perfectly. The tea brews up to an orange amber color, and the tea base is clean and crisp-tasting. In a hot brew, the kumquat zing is delicious and quite sweet, in a way that reminds me of Korean citron tea, which has honey as well as citrus peels in it. Cold brew is less sweet and very refreshing.
I think I’ve been giving out a lot of high ratings lately, but I don’t feel that I’m being indiscriminate, maybe it just means I’ve gotten better at finding what I like!
This one came from NayLynn, and I confess I’ve tried it once and not written a note, because I was feeling lazy and it was late at night. This looks like plain green rooibos, so I guess it’s just flavoring and no other additions. Dry scent is a combination of cantaloupe and honeydew melons, similar to their Melon Oolong.
Once steeped, it smells strongly of sweet honeydew melons, and I added a touch of raw sugar as well. The flavor here is lovely, and it tastes like a combination of cantaloupe and honeydew to me. I think it’s the same flavoring used in their Melon Oolong, and I tend to prefer that one because the oolong base adds more juiciness to it. This one is awesome too though, and caffeine free. :)
Flavors: Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Sweet
Another Lupicia sample courtesy of Dexter. This looks like it’s all roasted stems, so I guess that makes it a hybrid of houjicha and kukicha? Houji-kukicha? Anyway, the stems are brittle and are a light brownish tan in color. It smells very roasty.
Now this is a nice, roasty tea. It tastes like roasted nuts or something similar, and autumn leaves. And it doesn’t make my throat weird and scratchy like houjichas I’ve tried in the past. Hooray! Apparently I’m supposed to enjoy this one with milk, but I like it as is.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Roasted, Toasted
This was not good at all. Something about it was just a whole lot of no. I tried adding milk, but no.
Interestingly it reminds me of Fruits d’Alsace by H&S, only Fruits is WAY better. Sakurambo is very cherry. It’s also very floral. With a lot of peach and apricot somehow. But it’s extremely cloying, and the flavour is not a happy one for my mouth.
So, thanks SSTTB2, but no thanks.
I’m leaving this one in there so other people can try it! :D
Back to Lupicia! This sample came from Starfevre, thanks dear! I haven’t been the biggest fan of houjicha so far, but I figured a caramel-flavored one might suit me better. The dry leaf is a large variety of sizes, and unbroken and broken leaves. They’re a medium warm brown in color, and there are a couple tiny pieces of brittle or something mixed in. The dry scent is light, sweet caramel with a milky creamy smell.
The steeped aroma is quite roasty and toasty with a lovely sweet creamy caramel smell. The flavor is actually much lighter than I expected, I wonder if I should have steeped it longer. There’s a light roasted flavor along with an even lighter sweet caramel note and a touch of cream. I did add a touch of raw sugar to help being out the caramel even more. Overall, it’s pretty good, but I may use more tea or steep longer next time.
Flavors: Caramel, Cream, Roasted, Sweet
This Lupicia tea is a sample from Mikumofu, and it’s in sachet form. I can see cute little shreds of red flower petals mixed in with the dark puerh leaves. Dry scent is sweet and tart citrus with some fishiness from the puerh. I used 1 sachet in 8 ounces of water.
Once steeped, it smells much the same as it did dry – sweet and citrusy – but it’s now more earthy instead of fishy. Yum, I actually really like this one! The fruit flavor is nice and refreshing and sweet, and it seems like a combination of citrus with some stonefruit. I can taste the puerh only a little and it just manifests as an earthy flavor. Very yummy and summery!
Flavors: Citrus, Earth, Fruity, Stonefruits, Sweat
More Lupicia from Dexter! Chocolate and raspberry is definitely a flavor combination I can get behind. So, the base tea… To me, it looks like a mixture of small leaves and little CTC pellets (although they’re bigger than other CTC teas I’ve seen). Then there are the most itty bitty little white flower buds mixed in. I tried to look it up on Lupicia’s website to see if it described the base tea at all, but it’s no longer there! Oh well. Dry, it smells like mild cocoa with a lovely fresh raspberry note.
Hmm, steeped it smells like some kind of raspberry-flavored candy… The chocolate is there also, smelling lovely. Hm, I’m not a huge fan of the raspberry flavor here. It’s definitely raspberry-flavored something as opposed to actual raspberrries. The chocolate is that dark and somewhat bitter variety, which is fine since I added a sprinkle of raw sugar. Overall, this one is just okay, the raspberry flavor is mediocre and it’s the strongest flavor in the cup.
Flavors: Bitter, Candy, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Raspberry, Sweet
My second Lupicia Hawaiian tea from Dexter! I was worried when I saw that this one contains hibiscus… It has the same small black leaves mixed with rose petals and small pieces of fruit. Dry, it smells fruity and somewhat tart, which is a nice change from Hua Ki.
Once steeped, it smells fruity but I can also catch hints of tart hibiscus and floral rose. Wow, this one is way milder than Hua Ki, which is odd considering I steeped both the exact same way. I can taste very light fruit notes (papaya?) and a slight touch of hibiscus tartness. There’s also a weird powdered sugar note that I don’t enjoy. Overall, finding this one rather weak in flavor, which is disappointing.
Flavors: Fruity, Hibiscus, Powdered sugar, Tropical
And Lupicia day #2 commences! This one is from Dexter. The black tea leaves are quite small and dark and somewhat broken, and there are crushed dried green leaves and a couple fruit pieces mixed in. Dry scent is extremely sweet and fruity, like sniffing a bowl of tropical fruit hard candies.
The steeped tea also smells sweet and fruity, but more specifically like mango with a touch of pineapple. This tea is definitely full of fruit flavor, and there’s something about it that make it taste like hard candies or gummies (is there cherry…?). I dunno, it’s nice but overall it’s a little too artificial tasting for me. I can see it making a very nice fruity iced tea though.
Flavors: Artificial, Candy, Cherry, Fruity, Mango, Sweet
Grape candy. The kind you get in Japan, those “champagne grape” jellies.
It’s nice, I LOVE that you steep it for a short time at boiling, and it does taste good, but I don’t think I loooooove the tea. I’ll have to wait till I finish the mug. It’s a touch bitter, so I’d steep it again for 1:30 instead of 1:45.
Flavors: Bitter, Candy, Grapes, White Grapes
Lupicia, Lupicia, Lupicia! Another Dexter sample here. This is Lupicia’s version of a peach black tea. The leaves are small to medium in size, and almost black in color. There appear to be pieces of some sort of dried green leaf mixed in, not sure what that is. Dry scent is sweet peach nectar, yum!
Once steeped, it smells more like other peach teas than peach nectar – the tart element isn’t there anymore. On a side note, I used my infuser insert that came with my new mug (it’s a ceramic one, not mesh), so now there are little pieces of tea floating around in the bottom of my mug. Harumph. I think I accidentally used too much water this time around, as the flavor is somewhat weak. The flavor that is there tastes remarkably similar to all of the other generic peach black teas I’ve tried. I guess peach is a flavor profile that I would prefer more as a fruit tisane or perhaps a green tea.
Flavors: Malt, Peach, Sweet
More Lupicia, more! This one also came from Dexter. I was unsure what to expect or how this would compare to the flavored barley teas I’ve tried. The kernels are quite small and dark, and there’s a lot of powder. Dry scent is yummy caramel and butter!
It smells almost exactly like coffee, and it’s super dark too! I added some raw sugar to mine. It’s quite strong but not as strong as black coffee. I thought I would need to add soy milk to it, but I’m actually enjoying it with just the sugar. It’s very strong and roasty, and similar in flavor to coffee. I can taste a little bit of caramel, but I wish there was more in there. Overall, very strong and satisfying, and caffeine free!
Flavors: Caramel, Coffee, Roasted, Sweet
This is my third and final Lupicia sample from TeaBrat. You really sent me some of the ones I wanted to try most, thank you! The green tea leaves are steamed flat and a medium green/brown in color, and there are some pieces of nut mixed in. It smells very creamy and sweet.
Once steeped, the tea smells of caramel and roasted nuts, yum! The flavor is quite light and subtle, not in-your-face. And I like it a lot! The mild green tea is a nice base on which the creamy and sweet nuttiness dances about. There’s something that reminds me of caramel, and it makes the whole thing rather decadent. While I don’t feel it’s necessary for me to buy some of this one while I have Minnesota Blend around, I can see myself picking some up in the future.
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Creamy, Nuts, Roasted nuts, Sweet, Vanilla
Lupicia day continues! This sample was sent to me by Dexter, and honestly, I find it a bit intimidating. I have liked some ripe puerhs that I’ve tried, but then there are those that taste like dirt and fish poo. So I’m hoping this won’t be one of those, lol. The dry tea smells like sweet strawberries and a bit of milk chocolate. I steeped this up in my new infuser mug! (http://instagram.com/p/uOfokGGgAh/)
The steeped tea doesn’t smell intimidating – no fishies here. It does smell somewhat earthy, but with lovely sweet strawberry and chocolate notes. I added about half a teaspoon of raw sugar to mine. Honestly, this one is much more mild in flavor than I expected (maybe I should have steeped it at boiling…). I do taste the chocolate and the strawberry, along with the earthy puerh base. Pretty good, though not something I would drink often or want in my cupboard.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Earth, Strawberry, Sweet, Wood
Today is going to be trying Lupicia samples day! Mostly because I’m planning on making an order before the end of the month and I need to find out whether any of these samples are must-haves. This one is from Mikumofu, and it’s in sachet form. Dry, it smells very sweet with rich berry tones. I didn’t bother looking up instructions… Did 1 sachet in 8 ounces of water for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Mm, the steeped tea smells amazing! It’s like a combination of blueberry jam and grape juice, with a touch of something almost minty? Very deep berry-grape aroma. The flavor is definitely not as strong as the aroma, but it has similar notes. Definitely blueberry jam with elderberries and grape juice, maybe a touch of blackberry as well. The base tea is very mellow and slightly woody. I added a bit of raw sugar to mine, and it’s very lovely overall.
Flavors: Berry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Grapes, Sweet, Wood
This smells SO GOOD dry. So good. Like tropical bodywash or something. Steeped only 2 minutes, it tastes pretty good. I added milk, so it’s a little creamy (Also cooled down because it’s so weird to steep anything at boiling anymore!), and tastes of mixed tropical fruit. I think mango, citrus, pineapple… not sure what else. It is quite floral, but I think that can be from mango and pineapple as they can both be very floral fruits.
The puer is a little musty, but not fishy. It’s a nice backdrop that occasionally comes forward a bit more.
I like it. I’m not getting any soapy flavour, and I think I like the “Berry Bavaria” I have from Cornelia Bean better just because I prefer berry flavours to tropical fruits. But still, it’s quite nice! Back into the box it goes!
Flavors: Citrus, Mango, Musty, Pineapple
I’m trying this one cold-brewed this evening! I put a sachet into 12 ounces of filtered water and left it in the refrigerator for an hour, then removed the bag and let it chill until I was ready to try it.
The verdict? This one is lovely cold as well! Obviously it’s a bit milder than it is hot, but it still has a lovely roasty flavor with a pop of juicy lychee. My only complaint…it’s a pain to stir raw sugar into cold beverages! :P
This one came from Mikumofu! I was looking about for a caffeine-free option this evening, and after pondering over my growing collection of buckwheat/barley teas, decided on this one. It’s in sachet form, and smells delightfully sweet and fruity. I confess, I’m not well acquainted with lychee, and I’ve never had a fresh one, or even many lychee-flavored things for that matter.
After steeping, the tea smells roasty and similar to coffee (as expected after trying the Plum Barley), but I can also smell a juicy and sweet fruitiness. I added a touch (1/3 tsp?) of raw sugar to help coax out that lovely fruit flavor. I must say, I love this one even more than the plum, which I did not expect! The lychee is just so sweet and juicy and irresistible, and it makes me want to try a fresh one immediately! I suppose it’s lightly floral in a way, but mostly just sweet and charming. Yum! Will try my other sachet cold-brewed.
Flavors: Coffee, Fruity, Lychee, Roasted, Sweet, Toast
I needed a nice palate cleansing tea after that artificial disaster I just drank… My tongue still tastes like alcohol, blegh! This sample came from Dexter. The green tea leaves are small and a dark, rich green color, and there is a lot of rice (hooray!). Smells mildly ricey.
Mm, the steeped tea smells very strongly of toasty roasty rice! Yum, the flavor is extremely roasty as well. I can definitely taste more rice than tea, which is actually my preference in genmaicha. The tea itself tastes like dry autumn leaves with a slight seaweed-ish savory element. Yum, thank you genmaicha, for making my tongue happy again!
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Roasted, Seaweed, Toasted Rice