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Recent Tasting Notes
Anyone who knows me will know I love rooibos redbush tea. I drink it every day since I don’t drink milk and I like to keep as decaffeinated as possible, however I really fancied a change from my daily vanilla and original flavours.
I saw that NBTea had a creme brulee version and decided to try it out. I think I’ve had creme brulee once in my life before, meaning I had no idea what to expect.
I don’t really think this is the type of tea to be observing notes, but whatever creme brulee is it certainly tasted of it. I steeped it for 5 minutes in boiling hot water. This tea didn’t steep twice very well and the second steeping was light but refreshing
It was a nice change from the usual, but nothing that totally blew my mind.
Flavors: Cream, Custard, Nutmeg
Back to this tea in hand. I received a sample pack of 10g from NBT a while ago as an exclusive pre-release taster before it was launched on the site. Now it’s up for sale I decided the best thing for me to do was ice it to try and get the most flavour from it. So for two days I have had 10g of this blend steeping in my fridge using 1litre of water. Coldsteeping is much softer and keeps delicate tones, it’s my preferred method of icing tea/tisanes.
I haven’t mentioned much about the look or scent of the blend but honestly there was not much to it. The blend looked floral and multi coloured which bared a subtly sweet yet herbal scent. The fruit was too delicate for me to really say much about it and I decided to let it’s flavour speak instead. So I waited for the outcome with enough time to thicken with flavour.
Today is the morning I try this and the resulting liquid is a light brown/orange colour with a delicious sweet, fruit scent. Particularly like apple and strawberry with honey. A real contrast to it’s unsteeped scent. It’s flavour is just as wonderful! Sweet honeyed fruits with a touch of floral after tones that leave my mouth feeling sweet and refreshed. The fruit tones are mixed but notable berry with a touch of sourness with an exotic fruit affair behind them.
Honestly this tisane gave me a lot more pleasure than I thought it would and I’m happy to say this Honeybush blend is a winner. I don’t think I would have liked this if it was a Rooibos base and the Honeybush really does make this blend stand out.
More information on SororiTEA Sisters.
This was a free sample from NBT so thank you. Though I admit I have not the foggiest idea of what Mullein actually is… Research time I think.
Verbasum aka Mullein is a flower that grows around Europe and Asia. It has been used as medicine by different cultures for many years to help with " disorders of the respiratory tract, skin, veins, gastrointestinal tract, and the locomotor system".
Well thank you Wikipedia, now I at least have some idea as to what this is. It also mentioned that the Austrians traditionally drank this in tea form for their medicine.
I steeped 10g of leaf into my 1litre bottle overnight via coldsteep method. The colour is still very subtle but it does have a slight yellow/brown tinge to the liquid now.
The flavour is sweet and sugary with a touch of refreshing herbs in the after taste. And honestly that is about it…the sweetness is a bit strange, it tastes like sugar water with a weak clove essence. There really is not much to it at all. Either way it tastes so inoffensive that It is easily drinkable but I can’t find anything remotely special about it. I suppose that is why this is marketed as a medicine, you wouldn’t drink it purely for the taste (or lack thereof).
Well it made for an interesting drink but it’s not something I would buy, at least it was worth a try.
Flavors: Clove, Herbs, Sugar
I cold steeped this tea overnight for a quick review today. Unfortunately I have no idea what the ingredients are as the sample packet I had didn’t say and this is not on the website. Other than Oolong I have no idea, though I did note it had a spicy scent when I was steeping it. Perhaps the spice was why this is Mexican?
In flavour the spice has continued to a point that I’m thinking it resembles black pepper and cinnamon. Perhaps some clove in there too as it has a refreshing after taste. Rather spicy but it does have a sweet and refreshing after taste that lingers. Also getting perhaps a citrus note, like orange rind though subtle compared to the spice. And Oolong wise it’s a dark Oolong.
It’s quite nice but even if I could I don’t think I would purchase this one. It’s not special in terms of flavour or blend and while it might be a nice drink today I can guarantee it will be forgotten about tomorrow.
The Winter Sunset sencha is a blend of sencha, pineapple, apple, cinnamon, ginger, aniseed, pepper and a hit of fennel. It was an OK tea, the flavour took a long time to come out but then again I had this from the seller: start first infusion with a temperature 75-80 degrees and then increase the temperature for subsequent infusions. With an infusion time of 24 minutes each time. I probably only left it 4 to 5 minutes but after so long I did notice I stopped taking out the infuser to try and get more flavour through.
Flavors: Sweet, Sweet, warm grass, Tea, Tropical
Thank you, KittyLovesTea, for a GENEROUS sample of this tea-I had to pack down the leaves in order to fit it in to my tin!
It surprised me that this lemongrass was green instead of yellow like I normally see in teas. Either way, it tastes great-nice and lemony but of course without the acid of actual lemon. The only thing negative I could say is that next time I’m going to brew it stronger because I made it a little too weak the first time.
Tea time! As it’s late I will pick this Rooibos blend. Shooting star, how cute!
I open the packet and am met with a thick, medicinal scent with some sweetness that mimics almond. Not unpleasant but rather …well…odd.
It’s steeped scent is much different. I smell sweet apple sauce with almond, very sweet but also very nice. The apple is rather strong considering, and it’s more apple sauce than apple.
Flavour is thickly Rooibos with a mild, sweet apple after taste before the Rooibos takes control again. Further sips bring out the almond sweetness though it’s still very much in the background of the Rooibos, of which seems almost smoky/smog like.
It’s not as sweet nor pleasing as it’s raw scent though it’s drinkable. It’s a rather medicinal Rooibos which I am not a fan of, well not a fan of Rooibos in general but this is darker than I can usually bare.
Flavors: Almond, Medicinal, Rooibos
My day has not picked up as such but nor is it worse and on the overall scale of things I am not being hard done to by life. The headache is perhaps a little annoying but I can look past that. Into the positive and out with the negative.
This was a sample from having a Tea Buffs subscription, so thank you NBT.
I open the packet and am taken back by the delicious scent. It does smell like popcorn! Sweet yet salty, buttery and toasted. Yum! The leaves (they are dark and look black though could be Oolong) have lots of dried fruit pieces amongst them (which I was not expecting as I didn’t smell fruit) and little bits of actual popcorn too. And here I was thinking it may be Genmaicha based before I opened it.
Colour is golden red with a sweet toffee scent, less popcorn than it’s raw scent though still toasted.
sip, sip It tastes like it smells which is not a common find amongst flavoured tea. Usually they differ greatly, but not this. The toffee is light and buttery with mild sweetness and there is a toasted, salt after taste which gradually lightens and sweetens. Not as strongly toffee popcorn as you may imagine though it’s not too weak either, suppose that is a long way of saying medium strength. As it cools it becomes more creamy and also has some astringency though very little.
Loving this one, reminds me of Toffee Dream from Zen Tea but this has more flavour and is generally more pleasing.
Lapacho huh? That’s a new one on me. According to Wikipedia it’s a herb that comes from the inner bark of a Pau D’Arco tree which are indigenous to South and Central America. Sounds very interesting!
It looks dry and rather…well like bark actually. This blend smells strongly of cinnamon and baked apple, like a pie. Heavy on the cinnamon too which is the way I like it, though also a bit dry.
Once steeped it smells strongly and sweetly of cinnamon bark, I used to eat it as a child and have fond memories of it. This is the closest thing I have smelled to that, though considering it’s a type of bark and has been flavoured with cinnamon it’s of no real surprise. Oh also, the drinks liquid is burnt yellow in colour.
With no idea of what to expect in flavour I have no means of comparison. Wow! First sip was heavenly! It tastes of pure cinnamon sticks with toasted apple, it’s pure tasting and so light but sweet and with a lingering after taste that is refreshing. It is a little dry but not necessarily in a bad way.
It’s simple yet very tasty, the bark has minimum flavour but has absorbed some of the cinnamon so all I can taste is cinnamon bark/stick and some sort of baked/toasted apple. There is nothing else to it but it’s simplicity is what makes this blend for me, it’s what I want in terms of a cinnamon or apple tea, and I adore both.
On my list with a real possibility of ordering more of this. For a herbal tea I am very impressed.
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Drying
“Ewwwww, that sounds disgusting… I must try it!”
That was pretty much my reaction when I first saw this and subsequently added it to my wishlist. Some of you may wonder why I find the idea of toffee popcorn so icky. It’s because in this country popcorn comes with salt on them. That’s it. Salt. Only salt and nothing but salt. Not butter, not food colourings, not sugar, not jam, not chocolate, not taco sauce, not mayonnaise, not chili, not beans, not nothing. And certainly no caramel or toffee of any sort. Salt. That’s it. Just. Salt. With salt on is coincidentally also the only way in which I am and will ever be prepared to eat popcorn. Anything else… I can’t imagine anything more icky.
So. I really don’t know what possessed me to get this. Probably the word ‘toffee’ overruled the rest of the name.
Anyway, it smells sweet and caramel-y while also smelling fairly salty. Can’t really smell popcorn apart from the salt, so I’m telling myself it’s salted caramel flavoured instead. That sounds far more appealing to me and in this context it smells rather nice indeed.
Flavourwise, I can detect a whiff of something that could possibly be popcorn, but it isn’t convincingly so. I can’t really find much in the way of toffee at all. It’s actually more like a nutty tea than anything else and it does also contain both almond and macademia nuts. This is also because the base is a blend of black tea and oolong, and oolong can be quite nutty in flavour sometimes all on its own.
It’s actually a pretty okay tea, although it seems I’m enjoying it mostly because it doesn’t taste like what it’s called at all. Peculiar thing, that.
In other news, happy new year Steepsterites. I hope you were all careful with your fireworks if you had any, minded your fingers and wore your safety glasses. We had a fair bit of it here as the neighbours put on a good show. We don’t usually buy it ourselves. Of course nothing can beat the view of fireworks we had from the balcony of the flat where I lived before we moved in together. That was in the middle of a large town and from the balcony we had views of nearby hills, so ideal watching conditions. The cats took proceedings relatively well. There was some cowering under the bed around midnight when the fireworks were at peak intensity but other than that they made a minimum of fuss.
More Christmas present tea. I have to say that I put this one on the list pretty much only for the benefit of Husband, who is a whisky enthusiast. A few days later (when it was too late to do anything about it) he mentioned that while he liked whisky, he wasn’t generally very interested in whisky-flavoured things. Oh. Well, plock.
Anyway, here it is. I have to say that I wasn’t expecting much from it myself. I don’t like whisky. I don’t like most kinds of alcohol really. I don’t like the way spirits feel in the throat and I can’t even smell a beer without making a face. I can drink wine, but usually only a glass or so. Seldomly two, and very very seldomly more than that. So a whisky flavoured tea? Naaaaaaaah.
I have, though, recently become keen on smelling his whisky when he has some. I can pick up some of the same sorts of nuances as in tea, although it requires a fair bit of concentration to sort of smell ‘through’ the alcohol. Over Christmas he and my father had one that smelled distinctly orange to me (as in the colour orange, rather than the fruit.) and another one which I thought smelled a bit like almonds.
This one smells really very nice, actually. It has cocoa kernels in it and carob, so there’s a strong cocoa-y note to it, but I’m also picking up a scent of whisky from it. Primarily because I know it’s supposed to be there, but it very clearly resembles some of the whisky that Husband prefers. Also vanilla, a bit, so the whisky this flavour is supposed to imitate was obviously stored in bourbon casks. THE THINGS YOU DISCOVER YOU KNOW SOMETIMES!!!!
From the flavour I’m getting a fair bit of cocoa again and a fairly oaky sort of note as well. Those are the two strongest notes for me. Underneath that a bit of vanilla and permeating everything is something which I imagine must come together as something whisky-ish.
However, Husband just came into my room and said that he didn’t think it smelled or tasted like whisky at all… The theory I’m working under now is that I can imagine whisky a lot easier in this because I’ve only got the smell of it to work with. I can’t believe he didn’t find it whisky-y, though! I really think it is!
Rather better than I was expecting, though. I find I quite like this. Probably wouldn’t buy it again, though, since Husband was a little luke-warm on it.
Here is some Christmas present tea. I put this on the list because, pear. Because, marzipan. Because, tartlet. Need I say more?
It smells jolly nice, although not particularly pear-y, marzipan-y or tartlet-y. At least not right at first. But jolly nice. If I concentrate and breathe the scent for a while, I can smell it all coming together in marzipan-y tartlet-y niceness and with some fruit that I can easily imagine could be pear. The more I’m breathing the scent, the closer I feel it comes to the target. Gosh, I want to bake a pear tart now! Those are so good with a bit of creme fraiche…
In the flavour, though… Not really. No amount of concentration really manages to bring it together for me. It’s jolly nice, it just doesn’t taste like I thought. Perhaps this is due to the mysterious addition of mango. The ingredients says it’s got mango in it. Why??? The only thing thing of the title that I feel I can taste with certainty is the marzipan of the title, although it feels more generically nutty than marzipan. Luckily I’m very keen on nut teas lately. Jolly nice.
From the EU TTB – Round 3
I’m still a relative beginner with Pu Erh, so I figured trying this one couldn’t hurt my education. I’ll admit to being wary of it still, but I find myself less scared with every cup I drink. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2 minutes in boiling water.
The resulting liquor is red-brown, and smells quite strongly of…manure. I’m coming to accept that about pu erh, although I can’t say that it makes for the most appealing introduction. Fortunately, the taste is milder than the smell. This one comes across as rich and earthy (compost, almost), with a hint of orange lurking in the aftertaste. The orange is natural and sweet tasting, and offers a juicy, refreshing counterpoint to the base pu erh. I’d even go so far as to say it’s a combination that works well.
I had hoped the orange flavour would be stronger, but I’m glad for what’s there. As I sipped away, I started to really enjoy the flavour, and to wonder what I’d felt such trepidation about. I believe I will get there with pu erh one day, and this was another positive step on the road.
Good lord, this tea is the real deal and one of my favourites, not because it is one of the best, but because it is a very flexible tea. I’ve steeped it on almost boiling water, and at 70C too… long and short steeps, this tea can take it all and give you great albeit very different cups of great tea.
It is a bit woody, a bit citrusy , and very aromatic, reminiscing of some Chinese black teas… I love that you can get playful with it, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys oolongs and the occasional black, and would also dare anyone who has tasted this one and brews it the usual way, to do one 3 min steep at a lower temp and re-evaluate this tea.
Flavors: Citrus, Flowers, Wood
Definate Winter tea, quite enjoyable. although you need to like chilli!
Have had chocolate flavoured teas before and find them quite sickly, but this one is cleaner and with the white tea content isn’t sicky at all.
One for a cold night in :-)
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Spices
This has some huuuuuuge pieces of star fruit in, perfect star shapes that smell so juicy and sweet. On top of that the apple is dominant scent wise, again being juicy and fresh. So far it’s a very nice fruit tea scent, one of the better fruit teas I have sniffed. As for the black base there is no real note in the raw scent.
In flavour this is very bitter, I think it’s because the black tea is rather finely cut and is much too strong compared to the delicate fruit. I only steeped it for one minute as well so it was certainly not over the time. It’s not terrible but it’s just bitter and ear wax like…..rather sour too. There are light apple tones amidst the over powering base.
I decided to re-steep my tea to see if it would be less bitter and strong but alas it was all for nought. This tea is just not for me, it remains bitter and sour with very little fruit taste. Very different compared to what it smelt like, so disappointing.
Queued post, written June 21st 2014
Finally getting around to this one. I’ve had the sample since forever, from the last time I made a (successful) NBT order. I don’t know what it is with me and that site. I’ve done this thing twice now where I make an order and wait for it to show up and then when nothing happens I discover that I have no order confirmation or any sort and no money has gone out of my account or anything. The order was never actually placed. I don’t know what I’ve done wrong. I must have somehow managed to miss a step in the process or something, but seriously, how hard can it be to place an order on a website??? I think I’m losing my marbles… The sad thing is it’s turning me away from ordering from NBT in spite of the fact that I’ve otherwise always been very happy with them. It’s not their fault that I’m apparently incapable of using the internet.
Anyway, last time I actually managed it, I got a sample of this. Mostly because at the time I had never seen elderberries or elderflowers represented in tea at all. The forgotten berry! I love elderflower cordial, though, so I was very pleased to see it at last. I’ve had a couple of things since then with elderflowers in them. That’s how old this sample is.
Last night I finally got around to it. I need to empty this box of untried things! I wasn’t certain if I wanted to try it more as a hot beverage or as a cold one, but it’s a big sample, so I did both. I’ve got a good helping in a jug cold brewing in the fridge and I put another spoonful in a filter bag last night for the before-bed-beverage.
Hot, it was just lovely. Sweet and elderflower-y. That’s really the only way I can describe it and it’s spot on too because this isn’t blended with anything else. It’s only elderflowers. I’m used to elderflowers being in a chilled drink, though (see: cordial) so I’m rather looking forward to the cold brew. I don’t think it’s quite ready yet, though. This is where I’m really expecting it to be fabulous.
Having now tasted the cold brew, I have to say it was rather more bland this way. It’s like drinking mildly flavoured water, which is also very nice, but not really what I was going for. Maybe it needs a longer time, but at this point it was a little disappointing. I suspect mixing it with a little apple juice would be very lovely indeed, or perhaps adding a slice or two of fresh lemon to the jug.
I could also easily see myself experiementing with combining it with other things. A spoonful of elderflowers in with an Assam for example strikes me as something that might be really nice.
As mentioned, it’s a big sample. 10 grams of elderflowers is a LOT of elderflowers, so I have an ample sufficiency to work with.Additional, August 27th 2014
I have since discovered, I think, why elderberries are few and far between in tea and indeed other fruity things that aren’t cordial. Turns out raw elderberries are mildly poisonous. They contain cyanohydrins, but this is broken down when the berries are cooked, preferably for around 15-20 minutes. I didn’t know this. I was looking up what to do with elderberries as there are a some in the hedge between our drive and the neighbour’s, and they’re ripening now. I’m not sure if I’ll do anything with them now though. There aren’t enough to do much of anything at all, really, to make the detoxification process even remotely worth it. I can’t really be bothered to ‘save up’ berries in the freezer for years just for one batch of cordial or marmalade or what have you.
I have seen that some of you liked at one point to use dried elderberries as an addition to your tea. Please, if you can, make sure that your berries have been COOKED BEFORE DRYING. I’m sure they have, though, but even so. If they haven’t, remember to cook them first. Some varieties are more toxic than others and none of them will actually kill you, but they might make you ill.
Possibly the need for cooking isn’t as urgent as all that and the warnings I have read somewhat exaggerated, but better to be on the safe side and cook them first, I feel. People saying, “I have eaten raw elderberries for 50+ years and never been ill from it, therefore they can’t possibly contain toxins!” don’t really sway me much on this point. One does not automatically follow from the other. It’s like saying “I’ve been smoking 40 cigarettes a day for 50 years and have never had cancer, therefore smoking must be good for you,” which as we all know (or bloody well should know) is wildly untrue!
From what I’ve been able to gather, the flowers don’t appear to have toxins in them, though. Just about every other part of the plant.
And that’s all the paranoid rambling from me today.