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Recent Tasting Notes
I got a couple of tea bags of this from Auggy that I had forgotten about. Funny how these things work, because yesterday I found myself internally lamenting the fact that I didn’t try this tea when I was at Lupicia in San Francisco [it’s been on my shopping list to try for months] and then I went rooting through my box o’ samples et voilà, there it was!
Upon catching a whiff of the dry leaves, my immediate thought went to that blasted Teavana concoction that I tried years and years ago when I was dipping my toes in the tea pool – rooibos tropicana [blended with something other other]. Near identical. The flavor, however…
If that stupid tea had tasted like this when I tried it, I would have been much more enthusiastic about tea, because this tastes like what I thought the other one should have tasted like upon drinking. Horrific sentence, I apologize, but seriously. [The other one tasted uncannily like…hot water.]
This tea’s character is tropical, and it took me a second to recognize it, but I was definitely getting strong mango notes from it. That’s the main flavor I get from it. There are hints of citrus dancing around, but it doesn’t lend any of that high, sharp acidity to the tea, so it’s more like…essence of citrus? Like the kind of sensation you get from a powdered lemonade mix.
It isn’t a particularly strong tea, but it left me with strong impressions. It was fruity, but that kind of starchy feeling I get from fruits like mango and guava kept it from being really crisp, crystalline, and awakening. It was refreshing, but in a heavy kind of way. Like in the way that a smoothie can be. There was also something else in it, which I’m guessing is the green rooibos, that I can’t really describe. I have some other green rooibos to get to, so now I’m intrigued.
For a first go, this packed a bit of a wallop. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly overwhelmed by the swirling flavors, but luckily I have one more bag of this to try so on the second go round I’ll give it a bit more time. For now, I’m going to lay a bit low on the rating. It’s too early to call whether this is going to be something that draws me in or not.
So the other day I made a firm decision not to buy any more tea before I go travelling in just over a month. Mere hours later, Lupicia sent me a 20% discount coupon.
And that’s why I’m in the position to write this review today. Oops. g
Actually, after trying this, I don’t regret taking the plunge with a few more new teas. I’m pretty sure I’ve never tried a grape-flavoured tea before and I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. A little surprisingly, grape – or at least this sort of grape – works very well with sencha. The scent of the dry leaves is clearly, but not overpoweringly, grape-like, and this translates into a very similar aroma from the brewed tea. The liquor is, appropriately, pretty close to the colour of a green grape. The flavour is a little lacking, and I think I’d really love this tea if a little more of the grape from the aroma showed up in the drinking. Even so, I do like this one quite a lot. One caveat: I’ve been drinking this for the first time while also testing a quite heavy jasmine perfume and I’d like to revisit the aroma of this tea sans perfume sometime soon.
Increasing the rating quite a bit as this is a quite pleasant iced tea. Using the wet leaves to cold brew the tea created a much pleasant flavor from the tea base, and made the bittersweet cherries much more pleasant on the tongue. The spoonful of sugar I added didn’t seem to hurt either! Glad I tried a steeping of this ice. Not sad to say the sample Ricky sent me is gone. I think I’d still like to try the green version of this tea.
I’ve developed the habit of drinking tea in the afternoon. It doesn’t seem to be keeping me from sleeping, the way drinking coffee in the afternoon did, so I’m thinking this is a good thing. In the afternoon, I tend to gravitate toward green teas. I’m not sure why, it just seems right. Yesterday, I decided to try the rose hip green tea that I ordered a few months back from Lupicia on a whim.
When this tea brews, the color is predictable and yet I was surprised at the pinkish purple brew that developed. There was a definite greenish overtone visible, but color-wise, the rose hips won. To my palate, the taste was not overrun by the hibiscus. (Indeed, even though hibiscus is in the description, I was not able to see any in the tea itself.) The brew had a very tart taste, but it was more of a berry taste, so I’m presuming it was the rose hips. There was a definite grassy undertone from the green tea, and it grounded the experience somehow.
This tea needs to be tried iced, and I have some plans for that up my sleeves. I enjoyed the color and the taste yesterday, it was a very soothing experience. I’m giving it a rating, and it won’t be low, but I think I need to try this one more than once to decide on how I really feel about it. It’s so unlike anything I’ve tried before that the initial taste surprised me.
Auggy sent me a couple of tea bags of this. I don’t think that I’ve ever had the pyramidal tea bags before, aside from the ones from Tea Forté [and I consider those to be a bit of an anomaly since they’re so structured], so I was intrigued to see how/if it was going to affect the tea. There was definitely enough room for the leaves to expand, but even with the somewhat minimal expansion that black tea leaves tend to undergo, there wasn’t much space left in the bag when the steep was over. I can’t imagine what would happen with a rolled oolong. It was a neat experience, and I think that if I was in a situation where I needed the added convenience I’d be fine with using the pyramidal bags [albeit, size-wise, I’m not sure how other companies stack up to Lupicia’s], but I still like my loose leaf.
I used both of these on consecutive nights, one at 3 minutes and one at 4 minutes, and I liked the 4 minute steep a little better.
The flavor was…eh. I’m a big fan of caramel, and the fact that Lupicia describes caramel as being “bittersweet” made me a bit edgy from the jump because the kind of caramel I like doesn’t really have any bitterness to it.
The caramel flavor I got from this was…not terribly present. It skirted around it, and dropped that it there, but I never really got it full-on. When I found it at its fullest, it was flat and strangely salty. It reminded me of peanut brittle with about half the sweetness. I’m not sure what makes this English, but maybe the English like their caramel salty? Or maybe this tea simply isn’t fantastic.
Everything in consideration, not a bad tea by any means, but not something I want more of either. Thanks for the try, Auggy! If I were putting together a Lupicia order, I could see myself ordering a large-ish size of this and it ending in crestfallen annoyance, so this was quite a save.
I was a little shy to try this tea, as I’ve only ever thought of green teas and cherries. But alas, Ricky sent a sample of this my way, so try it I did.
The tea has a great strong aroma of freshly bitten cherries and strong tea. I think I may have steeped a little long at 3 minutes, or used a bit too much leaf, as it was one potent cherry chestnut colored brew.
The taste is very fresh, these cherries are definitely different than any I have had before. I don’t really enjoy the flavor as much as I enjoyed the scent. Very fresh almost floral/grassy notes overtook the cup.
I tried adding honey to see if it brought out any additional flavor, or toned down the floral note, but nothing improved. I’m sorry to say I threw out this cup. I may try the last few teaspoons as an iced brew, to see how that goes. Cold brewing may bring out a better taste.
I was wanting more of this after having it this weekend, so I decided to start the day with it! I’ve got some black teas that are rather disappointing with less-than-boiling water, so I was hoping this wouldn’t be one of them. It’s not! :) I do feel like the vanilla comes across a bit more at this lower temperature, which is nice. But it’s delicious both ways! :)
I am the first to review this tea. Whoa.
But anyway, the dry leaves of this smell like yummy, yummy noms. Fresh fruit salad, to be more specific.
Brewed, the scent of caramel comes across a bit more, but still mainly fruity.
I have to say that the description led me to believe this would be along the lines of Kusmi’s St Petersburg, which is also fruits and caramel (though that has bergamot and this does not). But this really doesn’t smell anything like that. This smells more like caramel apple. Hoooomg. The yumminess of a caramel apple!
My conclusion upon tasting it is that more people should be drinking this tea. For serious. It is delectable and fruity and sweet, but not caramel-appley as the scent would imply. The tea in this isn’t too obvious, but it isn’t completely lost, either. It definitely blends well with the flavors, and everything is in a wonderful, delicious balance. It isn’t too fruity, and it isn’t too caramely, it’s just fresh and yummy with a slight sweetness, and it feels right to be enjoying this on a glorious spring day like today. This would probably be good iced, too!
I may be the first Steepsterite to say, “This is yummy; you should buy it!” But hopefully I won’t be the last!
This is the last of the 6 teas I ordered, and I’m so happy with all of them that I wish there were more! But I still have two samples left to taste. Mwahaha! >:D
This tea smells much like the other vanilla teas I’ve had do: black tea with a hint of vanilla. The dry leaf smells a bit more flavored, but it’s basically what you’d expect from a vanilla tea.
The problem I’ve had with other vanilla teas is that the vanilla flavor and the black base don’t complement each other well. While this does improve as the tea cools, I wanted something that was perfect the whole way through, and this tea is!
This tea is smooth and delicious, what I’ve come to expect from Lupicia over the past couple days. The flavoring in this tea is pretty subtle, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I do like my flavors loud, but there is such a thing as too-much-flavoring. This tea doesn’t have that. What this tea does have is a smooth black base with a hint of vanilla, and the flavors blend wonderfully. The vanilla even adds a bit of thickness to the tea, it seems. This is what I’ve been expecting from the other vanilla teas I’ve tried, only to be disappointed.
So this tea? This tea is YUM.
Out of all the chocolate teas I’ve tried, this one smells the most chocolatey by far! Based on my success with the other Lupicia teas I’ve tried thus far, I’m really excited to see how much of that comes across when brewed.
Brewed, it rather smells like hot chocolate with a background of tea. It actually kind of reminds me of the scent of Marco Polo, if Marco Polo didn’t have that fruitiness to it. YUM.
This is certainly a tasty tea! It’s more hinting-at-chocolate than it is tasting-like-chocolate, but I like that. I find that the taste of the chocolate is more spot-on than with the other chocolate teas I’ve had. It’s a bit more cocoa-y. But the flavor doesn’t overpower the black base; it blends with it. Like the other Lupicia teas, this one is very smooth and very well flavored. It’s a winner!! :)
Being the chocolate-lover that I am, I will never stop going for chocolate teas. But, so far, out of the ones I’ve tried thus far, I’m liking this one the best. :)
This tea genuinely smells like a cookie! Imagine what a caramel-flavored shortbread cookie might smell like, and that’s what this tea smells like. Yum!
Brewed, it smells bakey and slightly sweet. The scent kiiiind of reminds me of hazelnut coffee, actually. The nuttiness probably comes from the almond that’s in it. But overall, it smells much like the dry leaf.
This is smooth with a side of bakey and sweet. However, it doesn’t taste quite as much like a cookie as it smells. This doesn’t mean it’s not yummy. It’s REALLY yummy. :)
You know what? To me, it tastes kind of like a sweeter Thomas Sampson. Mmmmm.
I just opened this today. I’m having it hot with a touch of sweetener. It’s really good. No bitterness, but a nice green taste with a touch of grapefruit. I can’t decide if I like this one or the Yuzu Green better. They are both delicious and definitely taste different from each other.
This is a good candidate for cold brewing, and this weekend when it is supposed to warm up some again, I’ll be giving that a try.
Out of the 6 teas I ordered, this one smelled the best. Veeeeery sweet and caramely! And I like that it’s a green tea. I love my blacks, but I like to mix it up sometimes. :P
When brewed, the toastiness of the houjicha comes out, but there’s definitely still some sweet caramel in there.
It tastes toasty right up front. It’s an interesting flavor, the toasty green tea combined with caramel. But not in a bad way, just in a unique way. I’m really liking it! Lupicia knows how to do caramel, that’s for sure! But I think between this one and Caramele, I like Caramele a bit more. But only a tiny bit more. :P The caramel flavor comes through a bit more in Caramele, and it’s more of a hint in this one.
I would say that, if you aren’t a fan of toasty, this probably isn’t for you. But if you like toasty, and you like your flavors to be less in-your-face, you should definitely try this one!
My Lupicia order came yesterday! I finally caved and bought a bunch of teas I’d been eyeing for a while, and ordered enough for free shipping and a catalog. :D
This was the one I was most excited to try. It’s got caramel and almond flavoring, two of my favorite things!
The dry leaf smells very sweet, to the point where I was a little bit cautious about it. However, brewed, it doesn’t smell quite as sweet. The scent of caramel is the most obvious, but there’s black tea behind that. It smells YUM. I can hardly resist drinking it as it’s cooling. But I must resist, or my tongue will burn. :P
It doesn’t taste nearly as sweet as it smells, but it’s got such a wonderful balance of flavors, and a lingering sweetness on the tongue. YUM.
I got this tea from Ricky, but I think I should have asked him about steeping parameters since I sort of had to guesstimate based on what the Lupicia site recommended. It ended up being one scoop/teaspoon in an average-sized coffee mug for 2 min in 90ºC water. If anyone had sucess with anything different I’d love to hear about it.
Dry it looks much like any other rolled oolong and it doesn’t really smell any different from one either. For some reason I was expecting this really sweet, perfumy tea, but it’s probably just as well that it isn’t. What the scent does remind me of is a Ti Kuan Yin, but with a bit more robust bakeiness.
The taste starts out with a strong bakey flavour aswell, but it changes abruptly into a clear, slightly sweet, uplifting taste which I think might be the osmanthus flavour.
The 2nd steeping (@ 3 mins) is considerably less bakey and much lighter and smoother. This steeping is sweeter too, with the same little clear, uplifting hint of ‘something’ else at the end.
I was kind of craving this today (which doesn’t happen often), so it tasted especially good. I really appreciate the strong banana note with the much more subtle chocolate in the background (I’m not a huge chocolate fan, especially in teas). I think the two flavours work really well together though. Perfect for a not-quite-spring-but-still-could-be-around-the-corner kind of day.
Traveling Tea Box Tea!!!!
This is a pyramid bag and the leaves look very broken. Pleasant bergamot scent :) I used 8 oz of water since Ricky’s note said the recommended 3.7 oz produced a bitter brew. I have to say, I wasn’t expecting much.
The minute the water hit this, it instantly became dark!! I was preparing myself for a STRONG BREW and I got out my half and half and sugar. I steeped for 4 minutes and after adding my milk and sugar it looked more like coffee than tea! Yikes!
Once I took a sip I was so very pleasantly surprised! No bitterness, very nice tea flavor and the bergamot is soft (I wouldn’t want it any other way in the morning – I save the super bergamot ones for afternoon). I am really enjoying it! if you want to have some tea bags around for portability and convenience, this one from Lupicia is excellent!! This company is definitely going on my radar for future orders – they have some EXTREMELY unique teas! ORZO CIOCCOLATA anyone!?!? (ancient barley from Italy which tastes like hazelnut and chocolate – gotta try it!) and being the froofy lady I am, I squealed over the sugar charms – how nice to have for company!!
I decided this may be a good one for resteeping, so I gave it a shot (another 8 oz water and 5 minutes steeping time). It is weaker tea wise but a little more fruity – still very tasty and enjoyable.
I love when my preconceptions are completely and totally wrong :)
I found a little of this left in the cupboard, a little past its use by date, but it’s such a good tea I really didn’t want to just throw it out. I made it with about half as much again the usual quantity of leaves, and that seems to have worked out pretty well. The colour is much the same as usual, a pale green-ish yellow, while the flavour is perhaps not quite as strong as it is with fresher leaves. However, it’s still an excellent oolong, particularly if you’re in the mood for a tea from the “green” end of the oolong scale.
I’m failing to pick up the promised citrus notes, but since I never noticed them before, either, I don’t think that’s the fault of keeping the leaves too long. I think it’s more a case of the retailer drawing a long bow in their description. I’m really not sure quite how to describe the taste of this tea. It’s not really like anything except itself: a high-grade, very “green” oolong, smooth without being as silky or buttery as some others, and with a distinctive personality.
Time for steeping number three…
I am not a huge fan of red rooibos, yet, this is one of the better teas. Sweet smell but the mixture of honey and rooibos is creating some odd flavours. I once tried some honey red rooibos tea from South Africa and this far surpasses it because it doesn’t have that cardboard rooibos after taste.