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Recent Tasting Notes
I’ve had this in my cupboard for a while and I can’t believe I haven’t cracked it open before now. I realized that I have rather an overabundance of flavored blacks in my stash. My buying pattern before I went on hiatus was, go to an online retailer to get one or two things, and end up buying about 30 because they all looked so interesting. And yet, I can’t really drink more than a couple of cups of flavored blacks in a day. Hence the overabundance.
In the packet it smells rather intensely of caramel flavored coffee to me, a little on the bitter side, a little on the sweet side, and something in the middle that’s like baking powder. It has a dark reddish brown liquor. The aroma is less baking powder and more baked something else which is good. Not as bitter smelling after steeping.
The taste has no bitterness at all, and is in fact remarkably smooth. It’s a nice caramel flavor, not too sweet but just sweet enough. At first it reminded me of the amaretti cookies, but more in terms of texture and atmosphere than in terms of flavor as there’s not an almond note that I can discern, though supposedly this contains almond. Perhaps it was the luck of the spoon. If there had been almond to my tastebuds, this would be more similar to Brioche than it is. But in addition to not tasting the almond, this also doesn’t give off the same bear claw type baked goods flavor. The “cookie” part is not a soft, baked, flaky sort of flavor, more of a hard, chewy sort of flavor.
The package recommends having this with milk, but I don’t think it needs it. Which is a good thing, or I probably wouldn’t give it high marks.
It’s tasty, just not as cookie-ish as I had hoped. But perhaps, as I mentioned, that’s the luck of the spoon and I’ll get more of that flavor on the next try.
Flavors: Caramel, Cookie
Dry leaf smelled sweet, fuity, tart cherries. I used boiling water as per directions which was a mistake. Flavors wete muted. Too hot and it killed the flavor. I like the base of the tea. I just wish the cherry flavor came through more. I tried this again with lower water temperature and more cherry flavor was present. Still not enough for me. I like the cherry flavor in Cholate Cherry Latte by A Quarter to Tea better.
Flavors: Cherry, Fruity, Sweet
Very warming, hearty cup of tea. Reminds me of the medicinal herbal Chinese teas I used to drink as a child in Singapore. Not sweet, just what I need after drinking a way-too-sugary apple cider. I don’t think all Westerners will like this but it is a perfect before-bed drink for me.
Flavors: Floral, Medicinal, Peppermint
Finally brewed it correctly. 5g / 185˚F / 45s and wing it from there.
Enjoying. Increasing rating.
Seriously, despite all the stems and bits of broken leaves in it, this tea smells and tastes fantastic. Even when I probably broke some tea rules by combining parts of 4 separate steepings into my Thermos, it keeps beautifully throughout the day for hours of pampering.
Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Plums
Note: Next time, 185˚F, 45s for first infusion.
1st infusion: 185˚F, 1 min
Smells beautiful and floral. Still tastes slightly bitter. Maybe I need to steep for shorter. Or for longer. (Confused)
2nd infusion: 185˚F, split experiment
Half of this infusion steeped for 1:00, the other half for 2:30. Shorter is the clear winner here. The 1:00 was light and fresh, 2:30 was incredibly bitter. Now I know. Don’t follow the instructions on the package (which says 1 to 1.5 min).
3rd infusion: 185˚F, 1:15
Now I’ve got the hang of it. Could probably have gone a bit hotter or longer.
4th infusion: 190˚F, 1:45
5th infusion: 190˚F, 2:10
This tea smells so beautiful, both dry and brewed.
Visual inspection: The quality of the tea seems not great because you have to use 5-6g in a gaiwan, and they’re all tiny bits of broken leaf that flow out into your cup, not whole leaves.
First infusion: I may have overbrewed a little at 190˚F for 1:30, I get a dark amber liquor that tastes slightly bitter.
Second infusion: Much better at 185˚F. Bitterness is gone.
Smells exactly like a rich caramel frappuccino from Starbucks. It tastes a little more subdued, like some kind of “health” drink. I wouldn’t drink it straight, but it might be baller with some milk. Love it as a decaf version of a breakfast coffee au lait.
Flavors: Caramel, Coffee, Wheat
Another exclusive Lupicia Hawaii tea! This is a rooibos blend with coconut and banana. I like bananas and coconut, but rooibos not so much. Opening up this tea and it smells really flipping good – like ripe bananas and sweet.
However it’s not rooibos that ruins this tea, it’s the banana. It’s really artificial, it tastes like that gut rot banana candy (runts or those marshmallows) and it is really strong. It also reminds me, unfortunately, like the banana penicillin I had as a kid. It’s gross strong banana that fades into creamy coconut and woodchippy rooibos. Then fake banana taste.
If you like banana candies you’ll love this, otherwise this tea is a no.
Another exclusive Lupicia Hawaii Tea!
This is a blend of assam, darjeeling, hibiscus and orange. Pretty much just tastes like 80% tart hibiscus with a heavy dry brisk of darjeeling and malty aftertaste. Despite the sweetener I added, it’s super dry.
I don’t mind hibiscus (iced and with sweetener, which is what I did for this tea) but the pairing with assam is a bleh choice.
This is a fairly tasty keemun teabag. Getting some malt and a little bit of astringency as well as some sweet notes. Got this in last year’s happy bag and just getting around to it. Brewed one teabag or about 2 tsp in approx 10oz boiling water for 3 min.
Received this with last year’s happy bag and am just now getting around to it. Getting a mild note of malt and slight bitterness. It is relatively good. Don’t know if it’s lost flavor since I received it. It’s tasty.
I brewed one teabag with approx 10oz boiling water for 3 min.
Got a teabag of this with last year’s happy bag and am just now getting around to it. I woke up at two in the morning and couldn’t sleep. Around 3:30 I figured I might as well have some tea. Not entirely sure if this is black or well oxidized oolong. It tastes mildly of the mango. It is good. Brewed one teabag in approximately 10oz boiling water for 3 min.
Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox – Round #5 – Tea #21
This one is quite nice! A lovely granny apple flavor (or a type like it) on a light buttery sencha. It tastes like a dessert made with butter and apples. Not sure which dessert. Only a tiny piece of apple fell into the infuser too. A very refreshing cup. It would be amazing iced, I’m sure.
Bought from the shinjuku branch of lupicia. The dry leaves are choppy but have a wonderfully sweet chocolate smell with notes of berries. I started with shorter steeps as the leaves were quite broken up. Nice acidity with a sweet fruity note up front, the chocolate is still there with a bit more florality in the mix, the first brew was a bit astringent so I backed off a bit on the temperature and slowly ramped it up again. This is also quite roasty smelling for a black tea, it seriously reminds me of hojicha on the nose of the wet leaves. You can definitely taste this is gyokuro, wonderful base of umami with a lively acidity up to seven brews or so. Probably won’t buy this tea again, but I will definitely drink the rest of the bag I bought.
Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox – Round #5 – Tea #13
Another one I wanted to try! I love the idea of pu-erh, coffee & cinnamon, I’m not sure what these yellow things are. And I’m also not sure how these ingredients make a cookie. It’s tasty though! I wouldn’t mind if the pu-erh was richer, but it isn’t one with odd pu-erh flavors at least. There is plenty of coffee flavor with only hints of cinnamon. Just as flavorful through all three steeps.
Getting to the end of the teas I wanted to try from this box – I picked this one out because it was intriguing to me. Normally I’m all for “strange teas” and teas that taste like other things but this one tastes and smells like straight up cantaloupe and honeydew and it makes me uncomfortable :P
My first whiff of the tea, I couldn’t smell anything but cantaloupe and honeydew but the tea itself does have a bit of a vegetal flavor to it. I’m not as familiar with oolongs but this does have a more earthy flavor to it beneath the initial melon flavor. It was definitely interesting to try!
Flavors: Cantaloupe, Earth, Melon, Sweet, Vegetal
Had this twice in the Lupicia store but wasn’t convinced, but decided to bring it home anyway. It’s so much better with milk added. I taste almond, caramel, and a very smooth buttery-milky flavor. It’s basically a liquid cookie. Had it with Hokkaido milk pudding tonight, and it brought forward the malty tones and boosted the creaminess. Did not add sugar since it’s sweet enough with the pudding.
Another from the Holidays TTB, I initially put this back in the box without trying some and I’m really really glad I took it back out. It’s not a typical fruity tea for me but it’s really good!
Supposedly, there’s hibiscus in this blend and I honestly can’t taste it, there’s a bit more mango and tropical fruit flavors. The black base is on point, definitely not tannic, it actually tastes a bit sweet (or maybe that’s just the fruit) – overall I really enjoy this.
Flavors: Fruity, Mango, Pineapple, Sweet
When I was younger, I went to Wuyishan on a school trip, but I was too young to fall in love with this tea & brought home something lighter (Yin guan ying). Now that I am older, with a fiancé who loves anything smokey (he’s a firefighter), he insisted on purchasing this.
To me, it tastes like a really delicious cup of chinese tea with a throaty, smoky taste. I love the strong scent that enhances the flavour, and it has just enough astringency to round it off. I brewed the leaves 6x before it became too light. Unlike regular chinese tea, the flavour doesn’t change much. I have a stuffed up nose today though, so may have been unable to detect the subtle nuances.
Traditionally the first steep is poured away as it is meant to wash the leaves. Perhaps those who find unappealing but have more to finish up could try drinking this from second steep onwards. I believe my grandmother also brews it for only 2 mins. Am going to bring over some of this tea to my grandma for Chinese New Year.