Nothing But Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m loving the sound of flavoured Pu Erh at the moment so I dove into my Nothing But Tea Pu Erh sampler box and pulled out this orange Pu Erh. That sounds delicious! I have had a different brand of tangerine Pu Erh before and that was very tasty and I imagine this would be similar.
As I snipped my way into the packaging I was greeted with a super strong orange fragrance that was natural with sweet and waxy highlights. It smells like fresh orange, as though one had been cut in half and I have taken a huge sniff. Luckily I love orange and this is certainly not for the faint hearted. :)
Appearance wise this looks like normal loose leaf Pu Erh, small and thinly rolled dark brown leaves in various squiggly shapes. Other than the smell I would not be able to tell any different.
Brewed in my gongfu with boiling water for 2 minutes to give me a lovely large glass full. I’m hoping it’s potent enough for a second cheeky steep (I used two tea spoons of leaves).
The tea soup is browny red in colour (standard ripe Pu Erh coloured) but it carries the same strong orange fragrance but with a more noticeable Pu Erh astringency and earthiness. Yummy.
The flavour is not as strong as the smell but the orange is strong enough to be as expected. It does taste very natural and the mixture of sweet and sour citrus is very pleasing, it matches this ripe Pu Erh perfectly. It tastes like an orange tree: earthy, fruity, natural, sweet, sour, woody, fresh.
It’s a very nice tea and the balance is perfect. I bet this would be a great summer drink.
Green Anemone (also known as a tea rose or Mu Dan – White Peony) are tea leaves that have been sewn together by hand and layered to resemble a flower. It’s similar to a blooming flower tea as this is said to grow and blossom once emerged into hot water.
The Anemone is a mixture of light and dark green leaves that are dry and crisp to the touch. It smells sweet and floral with a slight fruity edge. Based on the smell I would say that this was Bai Mu Dan tea which is a Chinese white tea suitable for multiple infusions.
Since this is a white tea we will need to use hot but not boiling water so around 85°C/185°F. Steeping time will be 4 minutes for the first infusion.
Two minutes after the water has been introduced the Anemone has doubled in size to become more of a ball shape with beautiful leafy detail.
The tea is pale yellow in colour with a sweet and vegetal fragrance, almost like sweet pea.
My first steep is very pleasing, it’s naturally sweet and fresh with vegetal yet somewhat fruity tones. It’s also a little floral but it’s sweetness is what makes this tea. Think of a mixture between melon, cucumber and very weak jasmine all together in your mouth and you will have a good idea of what this tea tastes like.
My second steep will be for 6 minutes. During the second infusion it has picked up a perfumey and almost toasty effect but still remains sweet. The stronger it gets the more fruity it becomes also. As far as the quality goes this example is fair, not the freshest I have had the fortune of drinking but good enough quality to still be enjoyable and suitable for every day.
It was a very nice novelty to have a blooming version of Bai Mu Dan and it would be something I would buy again in the future. My rating for this would be an 8/10. My sample was a very reasonable £1.75 (roughly $3 USD) and for that price this makes a wonderful surprise at the end of any day. :)
For pictures please view my blog. http://kittylovestea.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/blooming-green-anemone-bai-mu-dan/
From my Nothing But Tea Pu Erh sampler that I bought myself for Christmas. I popped two of the little cakes into my gongfu and steeped with boiling water starting with 1 minute and increasing it by the same for each steep.
The toucha’s had a slight earthy fragrance whilst raw. Once rinsed the Pu Erh has broken down into small finely chopped parts that resemble grounded coffee that has an earthy, strong and sweet almost leafy autumn smell. I have never had such finely cut Pu Erh before.
The colour once steeped also resembles coffee as it’s deep dark brown.
As for the taste it’s very earthy and astringent with thick richness and depth. It’s also a little fishy in honesty. The quality seems to be standard, it’s just your bog standard Pu Erh to be drank everyday. In other words it’s cheap and cheerful.
With my decorations now up (mostly…we some how misplaced our tree and are without one this year) and me and my husband are sat down happy with our lazy decorating skills we are theatrically dying of thirst. Then with my new found Christmas frame of mind (which is easier now with the decorations up) I thought about Christingles and the fun that was to be had around this time as a child.
Since orange was already on my mind I thought I had might as well enhance our Christmas experience with a mug of orange tea. As I opened the packed a very strong orange fragrance uplifted me. Brown in colour with the same sweet orange fragrance, this feels like a treat. :)
“Yummy yummy noo noo” is what my sister would say when she was a child when she liked something and that phrase came instantly to mind when I took a sip. The orange is sweet, a little waxy and citrus fresh with the black tea making it a thicker and earthier blend. It remains the same strength throughout with no bitterness.
A very nice orange tea that features both orange rind and orange leaf to create a delicious all around orange black tea. I may have to buy some more of this. :)
It’s late I know but my husband finally got the Christmas decorations down from the attic and all it took was a week of harassing him to do so. :/
I need a cup of tea before attempting to decorate my house with an appropriate amount of decorations and I immediately thought about the samples I got from this company. Chosen to continue my ‘something fruity’ mood as of late thanks to Frank from 52 Teas and his breakfast smoothie blend.
As I opened the bag for a quick sniff I was met with a sweet fruity melody with a mango and pomegranate medley going on. Very interesting.
Brewed for the recommended time and length this has created a light yellow tea soup that smells of sweet and slight sour fruit. The green tea is nice and mellow with only a touch of bitterness but unfortunately the website doesn’t say the ingredients so I can’t tell you which green tea it is. Behind the green tea is a subtle fruitiness that is both sweet and slightly tart/sour but it’s a nice gentle balance.
This is definitely something I will drink but I’m not so sure I would ever specifically crave it, it’s your basic fruity green tea with the only novelty being that this did sort of taste like pomegranate.
As I brewed this as a black last time, I’m making another tasting note brewing it as an oolong; so I’m making a brew with water several minutes off the boil, steeping for two minutes.
The aroma is still quite strong. It’s hot green vegetables, mixed with the smell I get when I’m ironing shirts and trousers.
In the mouth I get green vegetation, freshly-turned soil and chcolate. It’s not quite the same as when I was brewing it as a black tea, though. The notes are a little less intense and a little less sharply defined – more blended together. The soil and chocolate become dominant over the greenery in the lingering aftertaste.
It’s still a pretty good cup of tea, though; but a little more subtle and rather less ‘in-your-face’ than the black-tea-stroke-boiling-water version.
I made a second infusion same way.
The aroma is noticeably different. It’s somewhere between green vegetation and liquorice – not two notes, but a strange hybrid between.
In the mouth, it’s a bit of a disappointment. There’s a rather firm – though not bitter – note reminiscent of boiled cabbage but leaning slightly towards liquorice. Again, it’s one note not two. I’m not getting anything else.
I made a third infusion, same way.
In the nose this is difficult. One sniff I get boiled cabbage, another I’m doing my ironing, another I get a hint of nettles.
In the mouth I’m not getting anything much immediately, but then I get a rather firm note, not bitter but edging towards it, that I can only describe as similar to spearmint but without any sweetness. There’s almost a tingle to it. Also, beneath that, I’m getting a touch of that thyme or rosemary, herb thing I mentioned in my previous tasting note.
It seems to be trying to make up its mind to go somewhere, so I’m trying a fourth infusion, same way.
The aroma is starting to get a bit weaker, now. It seems changeable like the last infusion, though. One sniff it’s ironing and one cabbage and one the herbs and one the not-sweet spearmint. I’m not sure if I don’t detect the faintest hint of warm butter.
Now, this is a bit of a surprise, again. There’s chocolate and warm butter, with that tingle I mentioned for the last infusion underpinning it. The herbs are definitely there, too. I think there’s just a hint of liquorice.
This is as enjoyable as the first infusion, I think.
I’ve actually been throwing this stuff away after I’ve had a good taste, to make way for the next infusion (got to get one of those gaiwans); but I’m very loath to part with this one – it’s intriguing. But I’m equally curious to see what happens next, so, infusion number five, made the same way:
Oops! I’m really not getting anything in the nose with this one. Unless it’s the faintest hint of a heavy-duty shirt being ironed. This may be an infusion too far. Actually, aftre taking a few sips I’m getting the herbs in the nose, too – perhaps because it’s cooled a bit.
And the flavour surprises me again. In the mouth I’m getting vanilla and aromatic herbs. I’d don’t know if anyone’s ever tried to make thyme and rosemary flavour ice cream, but this is what it would taste like. The green vegetation is there as well, but subdued and in the background. There is almost a pepperiness to it – very faint.
Obviously, I’ve got to try a sixth infusion.
I don’t know what I’m smelling now. I thought for a moment I was picking up the smell of something else and not the cup in my hand. What surprised me were fleeting little hints of a floral perfume. But now it seems to have disappeared. There’s a hint of chocolate, too,
I think I’ve broken the back of it now. Surpisingly, I’m not getting anything floral or chocolate in the mouth. I’m not getting the herbs or the vanilla, either. There’s a faintly buttery, biscuity note, and possibly the tiniest hint of that unsweet spearmint bite; but, though it’s pleasant enough, it’s rather bland and uninteresting and doesn’t stand comparision with the last two infusions.
I can’t help wondering if more surpises would turn up with further infusions, but I really can’t face any more tea, despite the stuff I’ve thrown away, so I’ll call a halt. I have to say this has been quite an eye-opener to me. This is an excellent and really remarkable tea.
My sample of this was mislabelled as Golden Spiral and I first put the following note under that tea, so I’m transferring it here. Note that, as this is an oolong, in this note I’ve brewed at the wrong temperature:
This is from a small, free sample.
First of all, I have to say that this doesn’t look much like its picture. The strands are rather straighter and uniformly dark in colour – they’re quite big, coarse strands.
The instructions say two to four minutes so I brewed a cup for three minutes, boiling water, with a heaped teaspoon.
It made a clear, light to medium intensity, orange-brown brew, looking yellow-brown round the miniscus.
There was a quite strong aroma. It reminded me of green vegetation on a warm, damp day with a touch of freshly-turned soil, or, perhaps, the racks of vegetables in the supermarket – cabbages and various greens mingled with the smell of soil from the potatoes and so forth. It’s one of the strongest-smelling brews I’ve had for quite a while.
In the mouth it was a little bit of a surprise. The notes of the aroma are there, but mixed with a definite note of chocolate or cocoa. So it’s a combination of basic tea, earthiness, green vegetation and cocoa. It’s actually quite complex as I’m detecting elusive little hints, underneath. There’s a very, very faint bite, possibly that ‘smell of nettles’ note, or, perhaps, some herb, like thyme or rosemary. Again, I’m not sure if there was the tiniest hint of orange – vanishingly small, if it’s there.
This is an excellent mug of tea.
I tried a second infusion, though the website doesn’t mention multiple infusions – boiling water and three minutes again.
This was noticeably less intense in colour – a clear yellow-orange.
In the nose the green vegetation was less noticeable – the aroma was still unusually strong, but more earthy.
The flavour was much the same overall, though slightly ‘thinner’; but I couldn’t detect those tiny hints of orange and herbs.
This was quite a good cup of tea, but not as good as the first.
On the whole, I think I’d call this an excellent tea and I’m going to seriously consider buying some next time I put in an order to them.
There was no brewing info on the website; but their code for this is ‘BS07’ and on their instruction sheet they give two to three minutes and boiling water for ‘BS0x’, which I assume is a ‘cover all’ for Ceylon teas, so I steeped it for two and a half minutes. I used a moderately-heaped teaspoon.
It made a medium-intensity, clear, slightly brownish, red brew.
I couldn’t get much in the way of nose from it.
In the mouth it was a pretty straightforward sort of tea. There was plenty of good basic tea and there was a touch of richness there which I struggled to describe, but which I eventually decided was nearest to a tiny hint of rum.
That was about it, really – it struck me as a good, basic cuppa, suitable for everyday drinking with meals.
I made a second infusion, brewed the same way.
This wasn’t any weaker in colour, and I did get an aroma this time. I can best describe it as a rusty sort of smell.
In the mouth, it seemed a little lighter but I don’t think it was a noticeably weaker tea. In fact, it struck me as more complex. I thought the basic tea and rum were a little less in evidence, but that may have been because there now seemed to be the tiniest hints of orange peel and chocolate.
I think this was a little superior to the first infusion. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it excellent, but it was good stuff.
I don’t really want another mug, but I’m curious to see what a third infusion will be like, so I’m going to make one – I’ll brew the same way.
Well, the colour’s barely weaker. I’m not so sure about the aroma, though; I can barely detect it.
In the mouth, there’s basic tea and the hint of rum – but the latter is barely there, now – and a touch of digestive biscuit, perhaps; but it’s definitely a a bit on the bland side – it’s a bit watery – and I don’t think it was really worth bothering.
So, to sum up, I think this is a really good ‘everyday cuppa’ – the sort to have with the toast and boiled egg at breakfast or similar.
ETA something I’d completely forgotten. When I was taking the infuser out of the third infusion, the brew was quite pale but I could see the rich colour draining out of the infuser – it was very noticeable – so I dipped it in and out a couple of times. So it’s just occurred to me that the third infusion might have been better if I’d steeped it for a while longer. I’ll experiment with that next time.
I’ve removed this note. This tea didn’t look that much like its picture on the Nothing But Tea website; so I enquired with them and it turned out that what I actually had was a mislabelled sample of Wuyi Yuan Cha oolong. So I’ve transferred this note to that tea.
This is the combination of my tasting notes for three
There was no info on the website so I brewed with a moderately-heaped teaspoon steeped for two minutes, boiling water.
It made a medium intensity, clear, orange brew looking greenish-yellow round the miniscus.
I got very little in the nose but there might have been the very faintest hints of chocolate and digestive biscuit.
The flavour-notes were very weak. There was a slightly metallic touch, but not unpleasantly so – it’s too weak for that. There might have been the slightest hints of basic tea, chocolate and a sweatiness (I imagine some gnarled old tea-master rolling the leaves between sweaty palms); but they were so faint I wasn’t sure I wasn’t imagining them – really, I was struggling for flavour-notes to write up. Actually, with the basic tea, I should probably say that I wasn’t really getting it but that it was not noticeable by its absence – so there must have been some there.
It was quite a bland tea, really.
I made a second infusion, the same way, but it wasn’t really any different.
I tried another brew with a moderately-heaped teaspoon again, steeped for three minutes, this time.
It was a slightly more intense colour, but I didn’t get any more in the nose than with the previous brew.
In the mouth my immediate impression was of digestive biscuit – or some similar biscuit – it was still very faint, though, but a fraction less so than the previous time. The chocolate wasn’t any stronger – it was still just the faintest hint – hardly there. The same went for the metallic hint. I didn’t really pick up on that sweaty thing.
I used all that was left of the sample today – at least a well-heaped teaspoon. This time I steeped for three and a half minutes.
This time there is more of an aroma. It’s difficult to pin down. It’s not exactly the smell of nettles, possibly the smell of nettles blended with either a hint of dark chocolate or a hint of something roast-meaty. There’s the faintest hint of that sweatiness, again.
In the mouth I’m getting that digestive biscuit, again, and there’s a hint of warm butter. There’s some good basic tea and the tiniest hint, right on the edge of taste, of that sweatiness again. Then there’s that ‘metallic’ note. This is a really difficult note to characterise. It’s somewhere between metallic, spearmint and smell of nettles. There’s the very faintest bite to it and it’s not metallic enough to be unpleasant; it’s firm rather than sweet, but that’s balanced by the digestive biscuit, so it’s not a problem.
I made a second infusion but this was rather bland, rather like the first brew I made.
This strikes me as a rather unusual Darjeeling. I’m not sure that it’s really to my taste; but I’m not sure that I can really fault it and I’m not sure that I really got to grips with brewing it properly – it doesn’t interest me enough for me to get any more to experiment with, though. To sum up, this is a pretty good tea, but nothing special.
The instructions were for two to four minutes so I steeped this for three, boiling water, of course. I used a heaped teaspoonful. In the mug it made a clear, medium intense orange-brown, with a hint of yellow-green round the miniscus.
This is one of those odd teas where I seem to get a different aroma each time I take a sniff at it. First sniff, I got good, basic tea – a proper, old-fashioned cuppa. The second time I thought I got a hint of boiled cabbage. So I’ve been sitting here sniffing at it and, at various times, I’m sure I’ve had basic tea, boiled cabbage, digestive biscuits, pizza dough, warm butter … baffling!
Now to actually drink the stuff …
Tasting it is as much of a struggle – it’s shifting and elusive. There’s definitely enough good, basic tea in there – it’s a quite ‘satisfying’ brew. I get a hint of the digestive biscuits, too. There’s something firmer in the background: it’s something like cut-grass but not quite. Actually, I probably haven’t chewed on a blade of grass since my childhood, but I think that’s what I’m getting; it’s the actual taste of grass rather than an equivalent to the smell of new-mown lawns – but very faint. There’s a buttery smoothness to it. There’s something else faint in the background; not a bite, exactly, but some sort of richness that I just can’t pin down. It’s not dried fruit; it’s more savoury than that – perhaps like cakes or biscuits with ginger and cinnamon in the mix, or some sort of spicy pudding (dessert, not the meaty kind).
I made a second infusion, though the website doesn’t mention multiple infusions, and I really couldn’t detect any difference – it was pretty much the same cup of tea as the first one.
I wouldn’t class this as an outstanding tea, in the sense of standing out from lots of others; but it’s a perfectly good, enjoyable cup of tea.
I just rushed around doing my cleaning up and thought I would relax with some Darjeeling, even my husband took up on my offer for a cup.
The leaves are a lovely mixture of brown colours that smell slightly musky and earthy.
Served with a sprinkle of demerara and drop of milk. Not usually my standard for first review but again I want something I can drink in a few gulps.
Despite having the milk and sugar I can still strongly taste a mixture of musky perfume, green grass and thick earth. It makes for a very unique drinking experience as with all good Darjeeling’s as the flavours change with each sip. The milk adds a nice creaminess to make it lighter and the sugar adds to it’s already natural sweet frame to smooth out the flavours.
I find Darjeeling is a fantastic drink to have on lazy days. :)
It’s been a busy Friday and while my husband is away at poker I thought I would stay up late and have some tea. This was a new item that arrived the other day from NBT’s sale.
The loose tea is rather cute with medium green short, twisted leaves with small yellow/orange Osmanthus petals dotted around. The mixture smells fresh and green, perhaps a little bitter.
Once brewed the tea soup is a cloudy golden colour that has a slightly sweet and ricey fragrance.
I’m loving the natural sweetness and slightly ricey and grassy tones that dance on my tongue. It’s similar to Genmaicha but not nearly as gluttonous or stodgy and this is also sweeter. I can taste the green tea which is slightly bitter yet vegetal but nicely manageable with the sweet floral Osmanthus. It’s quite strong and I think next time I would try a 2 minute steep rather than the 3 minutes I have done this time.
The tea picks up in strength as it cools and it becomes thicker and heavier to drink but the slow gradualness of it all makes it easier to manage.
Overall I like this blend, even more so than the Genmaicha. It’s light (to start with), sweet, green and quite relaxing. Very happy I bought this, my only negative point is the bitterness which increases more and more but this was only a cheap version.
This morning I received 4 tea parcels from Teavivre, Tea from Taiwan, Dragon Tea House and Nothing But Tea which has left me drooling and busy putting things away. Unfortunately Steepster is not letting me add new tea’s so I’m stuck with reviewing tea’s that already have a page.
I ordered White Plum purely for it’s aesthetics and you must all agree that the little tied flowers look ace. I try this first as it was the first thing I added to my shopping cart on NBT and it already has a page.
As I open the bag I can smell light and fresh grassy tones. Each piece is tied as pictured with a beige coloured cotton cord and it’s a nice novelty to have such beautifully hand crafted tea.
The instructions state to add 10 flowers per cup and use 70-75 degree water for 4 minutes. I put the flowers into an empty tea sac and despite the steeping time the flowers have still managed to stay tied together.
Once brewed the tea is a very pale yellow colour with a fairly strong astringency. It smells similar to a black Yunnan tea..but this is green tea…how bizzare! It does say this green tea comes from Yunnan so perhaps it has gone through similar processing as their black?
The taste is the same as the smell, dark and smoky with a floral kick. If I was blindfolded I would never have guessed this was a green tea. Definitely a surprising punch from such pretty flowers.
All in all it’s very nice. Smokier than Gunpowder but a much cleaner taste. It gets a little stronger further down the cup and mimics Lapsang Souchong. Very pleased with this unique little ditty. :)
A very pretty-looking green tea that I found to be sweet and nutty, as promised, with a silky texture. Transports you to the mountains.
Dear foreigners! Have you ever had elderberry soup or is that a German and Scandinavian thing only? When I saw that I could by dried elderberries to use as a tisane, elderberry soup was the first thing that popped into my head. Elderberry soup is a treat for dessert in autumn, I think. Piping hot, and possibly with a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream. Clearly then I had to try this.
That combined with the fact that I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen elderberries (or elderflowers for that matter) in conjunktion with tea or tisanes. I don’t know why it’s so rare.
So obviously I had to try this. I really very much had to try it.
I went in to ask Husband if he also wanted to try a cup and he gave me a thumbs up sign before I had the chance to tell him what it even was. So we shall see where that bit of bravery will take him. Or foolhardyness, possibly. We shall see.
The berries are just berries. No leaves, no additives, no nothing. Just berries. They smell a bit like dried cranberries, actually, but then again elderberries do have that same sort of tartness to them.
After having been steeped, the aroma is elderberry soup alright, although it’s obviously not as viscous as the soup. It’s not quite as violently purple either which I have to admit came as a slight disappointment to me. Half the fun of elderberry soup is eating something with that colour.
The flavour is much milder than the soup too. I admit I was a bit worried, because if it was as strong as in the soup, it might get to be a bit much pretty quickly. I like the soup as an occasional treat, as mentioned, but I can only eat so much of it at the time before it gets to be too much.
I don’t think there’s any danger of that with this tisane. It’s quite mild and pleasant. Fruity, slightly tart and kind of semi-earthy in flavour.
You know, I really don’t understand why this berry doesn’t get used in flavouring tea! To me a strong flavoured berry like this seems totally obvious to flavour things with. With the amount of flavouring that comes out of these dried berries alone, however, it should be totally easy to make my own. Any otherwise dull tea should be spruced up considerably but adding a spoonful of these to the leaf. Elderberry soup usually has apple in it as well, so an apple flavoured tea without probably be awesome to use as well.
I’m not sure I would buy these again, just to drink them on their own like this, but I could totally see myself buying a small stock to experiment with mixing in other teas.
Husband, bizarrely, thinks it tastes like tomato soup. I don’t know, Steepsterites… Tomatoes??? O.o I can’t even!
I’ll do a more thorough review of this one later, but we had some of it last night. I bought it because of the huge success I had with the raspberry and vanilla rooibos from Yumchaa which Cteresa shared with me. It started me on this whole flavoured rooibos thing and I’ve been meaning to buy some more of it for quite a while but just never got round to it. Then I was ordering from Nothing But Tea and saw they had this one and I jumped straight on a 100g pouch.
When we had some yesterday it tasted so identical to my memory of the Yumchaa one that I started to wonder if they actually were identical. I don’t know if either of those places make their own blends or if they buy them elsewhere, so I checked.
As it turns out they’re not identical because Yumchaa’s blend also has rose petals in it, which this one doesn’t. But apparently it’s close enough. Compared with my memory (and the keyword here is ‘memory’) of Yumchaa’s blend, these two are interchangable. Excellent news and bad news rolled into one. Excellent because then it doesn’t matter that I never got around to the Yumchaa order and bad news because it lessens the odd of me ever getting around to it.
Right now though, I’ll go and make us something else. Something sufficiently stronger as a post-vet-visit pick-me-up. Just their vaccinations, nothing dramatic, although the Charm Cat did attempt to scratch the vet to ribbons. (They had something in their shop called ‘dog beer’, a vitamin B supplement for dogs, sold in bottles with caps and labels that made it look a little like beer. I should get some for my dad’s dog for Christmas; he would find it hilarious!)
I was sceptical when I saw this, because of the lavender. On the other hand, it’s a vanilla tea. And you know what I’m like with vanilla these days. So I opted for a sample. Had it not had all that lavender in it, I would have done like I did with the strawberry pu-erh and gone straight for the whole entire 100g pouch, because
The aroma of this one is lavender and vanilla. For me, those two come out in equal amounts. Together they create an association partly of soap and partly of something that reminds me rather too much of something we have at work. I’m not sure what, but I’ll tell you this. It cannot be good.
I work in a hospital pathology lab. We have many many chemicals. Many of them stink. You do not want your tea blend to smell like work.
Given the fact that I can’t think of what it is at work it reminds me of, however, I’m willing to go out on a limb and continue. I’m comforting myself with the fact that it’s not formaline, it’s not xylene, and it’s not concentrated ammonium chloride. Those are the worst three stinkers I can think of. Perhaps it’s just one of those random brain short-cicuit associations that pop up from time to time?
Because, it does smell like vanilla.
And lavender. I’m uncertain about that lavender. I can see how it fits the name of the blend, as only foie gras and escargot could possibly be French-er than these two things in combination. And yet, it strikes me as a mildly odd combination. Vanilla and flowers? Really? Or is that just me being far too used to seeing vanilla with other sorts of fruit?
Anyway, I’m rambling. After steeping that funky work-association thankfully appears to be gone. Now it’s just vanilla and lavender. Vanilla, laying down a thick, creamy base which comes across as almost sickly sweet, and lavender adding floral accents on top. Unfortunately, the soapy associations are still very much there.
Right now I’m not having much hope of this being a Perfect Vanilla contender at all! O.O
The flavour is… Hm. sip It’s… sip kind of… sip sort of… sip … sip
Peculiar is a good word. It’s so lavender-y! I very much think I would prefer lavender in smaller concentrations, and never ever on its own. The vanilla is balancing the lavender out for me so that it doesn’t become unbearably floral, but I don’t really seem to be able to find any actual vanilla flavour in this. It’s all drowned out by the lavender. It’s like a debate moderator. When everything gets started you don’t pay any attention to him, but if he wasn’t there, the whole thing would go to pieces. (Look at me drawing inspiration from current events!)
This is most certainly NOT anything at all to do with Perfect Vanilla. I would barely say it had all that much to do with vanilla, really. I’m glad I only went for a sample. I might try and mix it up with something else and see what happens.
WOOHOO! My NBT order came in, and with it this strawberry flavoured pu-erh which I’ve been crazy looking forward to since discovering it while ordering. As a result, I ran (not walked) to Tea Corner to prepare me a cup.
Adding these new teas to my Steepster cupboard caused me to trip over the first post I wrote about the Pu Erh Orange from the same company (which I lurve) and it was full of memories of my great-grandparents’ house. Gosh, that was nice to read again. :)
Anyway, this one smelled OMG of strawberry! Real strawberry. Not strawberry leaf, or that synthetic flavour that represents how we think strawberry tastes until we eat one and are reminded of how it’s supposed to be. Real strawberry. I’m sure this is enhanced by the inclusion of currant and blackberry leaf and coconut chips as I’m not picking up anything about these other flavours at all. Just strawberry. Lots of strawberry.
And also, coconut chips? WHY??? O.o I except this is one of these things that are not for me to know…
After steeping I get strawberry and earthy pu-erh, but primarily the berries. I wouldn’t say these two notes meld quite as naturally as pu-erh and orange (which, for me, are two flavours that suit each other perfectly), but it does so much better than I had expected. I’ve been a little nervous about the combination, to be honest, but not so much that I didn’t order a full 100g pouch without bothering with samples first.
This? This is awesome. This tastes like strawberry jam. Exactly like strawberry jam, sweetness and all. Wow. Perhaps those coconut chips aren’t such a strange inclusion after all, since I expect they’re providing much of the sweetness here. I do seem to have a bit of a coconut-y aftertaste actually.
I’m glad I didn’t go with the sample first and took a chance on the full 100g. It’s not the last time I’ve bought this, I don’t think!
So the strawberry flavouring is spot on, and it’s quite strong too, but not so strong that the tea is completely drowned. Only nearly. It’s down there, I can tell, but I can’t find too many details about it. I just get an impression of something deep and dark and stable. If it had a noise it would be sort of rumbling. I’m reminded rather of the Ogier in the Wheel of Time series, or of Tolkien’s Ents.
I think the base is what really makes it work here. A pu-erh base seems solid and serious but with a playful, girly touch, whereas this in a black tea would just be frilly and frivolous. The average black tea base probably wouldn’t have enough strong low notes to really carry the flavouring off here.
I find it difficult to really describe this stuff. Just know this:
It is very very good.
I made a brew today with a little more tea than yesterday – say a ‘very well-heaped’ teaspoon as opposed to merely a heaped one – three minutes, boiling water.
As with yesterday’s brew, this made a brown infusion, perhaps just a hint reddish, and showing greenish-yellow round the surface circumference, and clear but so intensely-coloured as to be opaque.
In the nose, I’m getting good basic tea, dark chocolate and hints of rotten wood and beef gravy or Oxo or some such.
In the mouth I’m getting good basic tea. There are touches of dried-fruitiness, similar to raisins or sultanas, and of chocolate and toffee. There is a tiny hint of a peppery, firm grassiness – or, perhaps, tiny hints of grass and pepper – it’s white pepper rather than black and just the tiny-tiniest hint – nothing at all unpleasant. It has what I always think of as a satisfying thickness – I suppose this simply means that it’s not thin and watery, but I notice the ‘thickness’ more in evidence in some good teas than in other, equally good teas.
Well, it might not look much better on paper, but this really is a much better cup of tea than yesterday’s – stronger notes and more complex. The little extra dry tea has made a big difference.
I made a second infsuion with the same tea – boiling water and three minutes, again.
It’s a slightly less intense colour than the first.
The aroma has the rotten wood element more to the fore, touches of fruitiness and basic tea. I’m not sure that I’m getting the chocolate any more – it may be there mingled-in with the wood note.
The very first thing I get in the mouth is that the grass and pepper thing is much more evident – it’s newly-mown lawn with a hint of pepper to it. There is good basic tea there, too, but a little firm – not like stale tea, exactly, but hinting a little in that direction – not really enough to be unpleasant, though. There are the tiniest hints of dark chocolate and butter well in the background. It still has that satisfying ‘thickness’.
I added an extra sweetener to counteract the firmness of the basic tea note – which wasn’t really a problem in the first place, but it tasted as if I’d come a bit short on the sweeteners, somehow. This quite got rid of that staleness thing and emphasised the buttery smoothness – but now it’s a little too sweet (this reminds me that it’s time I cut down from three to two sweeteners – see my side panel). It’s a really good cup of tea, though.
So, to sum up, these two infusions were a noticeable improvement on yesterday’s – I must remember to really heap the spoon in future – and I’m going to up the rating a bit. This is not one of those delicate, refined teas to savour by itself with your full concentration, though (unless the fancy takes you that way, of course) – I’d describe it as a good, robust tea for everyday drinking with meals.
I really have too many sweeteners in this – bleurgh!!!
I always keep a stock here and it’s one of my regulars to drink with meals, so I’m a little surprised that I haven’t made any tasting notes. So I’m making a special couple of infusions to do so.
The dry tea is made in the conventional wiry twists, but very, very finely so, so that it’s very easy to spoon out, and with a sprinkling of the little golden tips mentioned in the dealer-info; though they’re not heavily in evidence. Surprisingly, I really don’t get any aroma off it, even when rolling and crushing a little in my palm.
I made a brew with a heaped teaspoon steeped for three minutes, boiling water.
This made a brown infusion, perhaps just a hint reddish, and showing greenish-yellow round the surface circumference, and clear but so intensely-coloured as to be opaque until the level in the mug is quite low.
In the nose, I get good basic tea and a ‘fruitiness’ that I really can’t define more closely. There’s a tiny hint of chocolate.
In the mouth I get good basic tea and a toffee or butter note. It has that ‘satisfying’ feel to it and a sort of smooth ‘thickness’.
I made a second infusion with the same tea, three minutes again.
It’s an intense but transparent orange-brown, showing a greeny-yellow round the surface circumference.
I’m not getting a very strong aroma: there’s some basic tea and a slightly metallic hint; there’s possibly a touch of pizza base.
In the mouth I get basic tea and a touch of dark chocolate and a touch of butteriness. There’s possibly a hint of an ‘unsweet’ cut grass element, but it’s elusive and I’m really not sure of that.
Overall, I’d describe these two infusions as satisfying and quite enjoyable, but not particularly complex or interesting. I normally use this as an accompaniment to breakfast or lunch, rather than concentrating on and properly tasting it, and, concentrating on it, as I have with this brew, I’m rather surprised not to find it better than I do. It’s probably time I rethought my choice of ‘everyday’ blacks (that’s code for ‘a good excuse to get a pile of samples next time I put in an order’). It may turn out better with a different brew on a different day, of course – I obviously at some time was tasting it as something special.
I used a heaped half-teaspoon (the instructions are for a level teaspoon – same difference) and steeped for three minutes, boiling water.
In the mug it’s clear but quite intensely-coloured, a red-brown showing yellow round the circumference.
There is a faint aroma of green vegetation.
In the mouth I’m getting good basic tea up front, with a slightly unsweet – but not unpleasantly so – note of green vegetation and a definite butteriness.
I made a second infusion, though Nothing But Tea doesn’t give a recommendation for one. It was surprisingly intensely coloured, though less so than the first infusion, but definitely a much weaker version of the first. It’s not really suitable for a second infusion – at best a borderline case, perhaps.
Just for curiosity, I made a brew with a heaped teaspoon, as opposed to a heaped half-teaspoon – boiling water and three minutes.
This was a mistake and it’s better to stick to instructions – it doesn’t look noticeably stronger than the half-teaspoon brew, though there seems to be a good basic tea aroma, but it’s definitely over-strong and I’m getting an unpleasant harshness in the flavour. There’s possibly the addition of a touch of chocolate, though, but that does nothing to compensate for the harshness.
To sum up, this is not very complex and really nothing that special, but it has good strong flavour notes and is a pleasant and satisfying brew – that’s when I stick to the instructions, of course.