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Recent Tasting Notes
Thank you VariaTEA for the sample! I had originally planned to have this one on NYE, but obviously that didn’t happen. Instead, I enjoyed a mug of it on my way to work on a rather unexceptional day.
Surprisingly this was quite lovely! I guess I didn’t think it would be because of the green base and, to a lesser extent, the peppercorns in the blend (why would you add peppercorn!?) but it came out very succulent and juicy with minimal contributions from the base and no contribution from the peppercorn. The strawberry was very sweet; it reminded me of a borderline overripe strawberry or maybe a strawberry compote. Either way, there was zero tartness/tang. There were also some gentle honey and floral tones which made the flavour more well rounded. I’m not sure exactly how much champagne flavour was present – I think it was hiding a bit with the strawberry flavour, but it certainly contributed a bit of a sparkly/fizzy quality. Not that this was literally carbonated – it just had that sort of special, effervescent quality in the taste.
Personally, I think this one was very, very flavourful and incredibly well executed! Which, of course, makes it that much sadder I wont get to ever drink it again.
EDIT: Today’s word of the day is Principle which is pretty lame in my opinion. Who doesn’t know the word principle? I remember learning it way back in elementary school! So, instead I’m gonna talk about yesterday’s word of the day!
So yesterday’s word was Verdant. And yeah, that’s a word most of us tea drinkers are probably familiar with because of the tea company – but do you all know the actual meaning? I definitely didn’t. Verdant means: Green with growing plants. Which I think makes “Verdant Tea” an even more beautiful company name!
I haven’t been drinking much rooibos lately. Historically I like desserty rooibos more than fruity.
This is nice – if all rooibos was as good as this one, I’d drink more of it. It’s rooibos, but it’s more subtle in the background rather than that woody/medicinal in your face ick that it sometimes is (lower water temp shorter steep also helps). I’m not so sure about currant – what does currant taste like? – but it’s juicy and tart fruity against the woody sweet of the rooibos. This is a well blended tea – sad that they have gone out of business.
Another one from Roswell Strange. I didn’t look at this tea very closely, so I thought it was a spearmint gunpowder green tea. Imagine my surprise when I opened the bag to make some, and discovered it’s actually a rolled green oolong! In my opinion, that makes it about five times more interesting. Dry scent is mild and sweet spearmint.
The steeped tea has a mild spearmint smell, but I can also smell the oolong underneath. The spearmint is also fairly mild in the taste, which is very nice, as I find that strong spearmint teas remind me of chewing gum. The oolong base contributes and thick and silky mouthfeel and a little bit of “green” flavor. Happily for me, it’s not an overly flower oolong. Pretty tasty!
Flavors: Green, Smooth, Spearmint, Sweet, Thick
Thank you to whoever passed this along to me (I can’t remember who; so sorry!). I’m still very much in denial over RiverTea’s closure and getting to try any RiverTea blend I hadn’t previously is very exciting to me.
This one I cold brewed; it came out relatively weak in flavour and watered down and I’m not sure if that’s because I didn’t have enough leaf or because it’s just a gentle/subtle tea in general. There was a nice, light sugar pea sort of vegetalness to this one that provided a nice canvas for all the additional flavours. It was mildly floral – I would have guessed something like orchids but I suppose it was the rose. The apple was present, but very light – kind of like that fleeting taste of apple you get when you nibble on an apple skin.
No almond/nut notes present here for me.
I don’t want to say I was disappointed with this one because I did enjoy it, but there wasn’t a whole lot going on for me, and so if RiverTea was still open this isn’t one I’d be exploring any further if that was still an option.
Backlog from a looong time ago.
I got this as a sample from RiverTea when I was one of the winners in their photo contest at the end of September. I’ve been eyeing this one for a while because it contains linden flowers, my tea equivalent of Ahab’s white whale.
The most important thing you need to know about this tea is that it’s chunky. Big, huge blossoms and leaves. This makes measuring out a teaspoon or two pretty much impossible.
As a result, I dumped the whole sample packet into my infuser to make a pot of tea (3 cups)….and I promptly forgot about it for at least 2-3 times the recommended steeping time.
Since this was an herbal tea, it was fairly forgiving, despite this. The hibiscus definitely was the most prominent flavour, though, as well as the lemon verbena (I think). I thought I could taste linden, but it was more of a hint than a real taste.
This tea isn’t too bad, but I’m not sure if I’d restock it. I’m glad I got a sample for free.
Yet another casualty of my need to make room in my tea cupboard for my Black Friday purchases.
I love the smell of this one, both dry and brewed, though I think that the brewed tea probably needs some sweetener to give it some oomph. The way that mango scent wafts up from the wet leaves is amazing.
I most certainly will consider getting a tin of this when I make a restocking order with RiverTea. It won’t be for a while, though, as I still have almost all of their other teas in supply.
This tea smells so wonderful when it’s dry and when it’s brewed – I really get that zap of mango. For some reason, I like mango in teas, but I really have to be in the mood for it.
The amazing thing is that I barely get a hint of bergamot with this. If I hadn’t known it was a variant of EG, I would never have guessed.
The taste is a bit weaker, less fruity, and more malty, with a slight yeasty overtone that I’m surprised but not put off by. I might restock this? Maybe?
I took a tsp of this when I had the Marco Polo TTB. It was rather cold today and when I got out of work it was super dark outside so I really wanted to be reminded of spring. Also- my first try of RiverTeas!
Maybe because the sample was old- I was trying to drink a spring tea in late autumn. I didn’t get very much in the way of strong flavor from my brew. I also may have underleafed, but I followed the package directions! There were LOTS of jasmine flowers and other things scattered in with the green tea leaves. In the end though it only tasted like a vaguely floral and vaguely sweet green tea. I was really hoping for something similar to Sakurabo (sp?) from Lupicia. That’s one really cherry tea! I think that cherry-ness plus jasmine on a green base would be really pretty.
A plus at least for RiverTea, they use fairly large and intact jasmine flowers in this. I was expecting more from the tea because of that, but I guess they are mostly decorative. I’ve had jasmine teas in many forms, and this is among the most pretty (excepting blooming teas, of course).
Been curious about this for a while; not curious enough to buy 50g worth and the last couple RiverTea orders I’ve placed there’ve been other teas I was more interested in requesting as a sample so I really pounced on the chance to grab some from Marzipan in our swap.
I like Earl Grey; it’s just not really even close to being a part of my daily tea drinking routine; one EG blend in the house is enough to totally sate any bergamot cravings and I definitely don’t tend to get fancy with it. And mango and I? We have a love hate relationship. But something about this blend interests me. Maybe it’s just the fun name drawing me in, but I was excited to try it!
Dry, I thought this smelled really strong and fruity. Such a bright “orange” smell very distinctly of mangoes, with the FAINTEST bergamot undertone. Steeped up, not as “brightly” fruity but still very rich – I think I taste the mango just slightly more than the bergamot in the blend. It came off as fairly light handed to me. But the balance between the two really worked for me; it was kinda summery and vibrant and fun but with that “soothing” quality of bergamot that makes you feel just right. And I’m not sure why I’m surprised, but the mango and bergamot complimented each other very well too. Plus, the black base was present without being bitter, astringent or too brisk.
And, for my own personal bergamot tastes, I thought that the “light handedness” of it was very suited to me because it makes this blend something I would consider drinking on a more frequent basis, and separate enough from the Cream Earl Grey I stock to maybe be able to justify having both in my cupboard!
Side note – I should add “bergamot” to my online dictionary or whatever because my computer keeps correcting it to “Bertram” and switching it back is annoying.
This was a sample sent to me from Marzipan. It’s a black tea which I don’t have much experience with. I couldn’t put my finger on the flavor. I looked it up on the River Tea site and it says Mango and bergamot but they aren’t listed in the ingredients. Says rose blossom, cornflower blossoms and sunflower blossoms. This is in my top 3 favorite teas!! I made several pots with this sample and was very sad to see this end. My son and I both enjoyed this one all day long. It was sweet, had a well rounded taste. The flavors went well together. The site says it’s a summer tea- but I could drink this all the time! I do see how this is a lighter mouthfeel than a spicy chai but it was perfectly balanced in the flavors for us. Thank you so much for the sample Marzipan!! I never knew my life was missing this one!!!! Only problem now is that it’s gone!! (I did use my local honey to sweetened this one)
Backlog from Christmas Day!
I brewed this using slighly different steeping parameters (slight overleafing for 3 cups, 90C water) and was pleasantly surprised by the result. It was a stronger, more flavourful, sweeeter, and less savoury brew than the other times I’ve tried this. Slightly astringent as well, but not that offputting.
Backlog from whenever:
As seems to be usual with RiverTea’s black teas, I’m slowly coming around on appreciating this tea. Because it’s a darjeeling, I steep it using 85C water instead of boiling.
I’m not sure if this is because it’s a darjeeling tea, if it’s because of the estate, or if it’s the fact that it’s a fall flush tea, but this one is very mild and savoury. I find it’s an excellent accompaniment when I have omelets for breakfast.
Backlog from the recent past:
I’ve had this tea a few times since I won it as part of RiverTea’s Facebook contest. When I won, I asked them what teas I’d be getting, and they said it would be a surprise unless I requested a specific tea.
You know, I kinda wish I had asked RiverTea to send me more of their Golden Yunnan, because that stuff is so good.
This is decent, but I’m not a big Darjeeling person. However, I do like it more than the summer flushes I’ve tried – it’s mild, undemanding, and somewhat savoury. I normally brew it at 85°C since Darjeelings work best at lower temperatures than other black teas.
Pass the Stash TTB #7
Something drew me to this tea as soon as I saw it. It just spoke to me.
I had a bad night last night. I got some bad news that left me feeling emotionally off-kilter. Sleep helped. But tea is also a healing balm.
This tea is lovely. It’s light, fruity without being perfumy, and just what I needed to pick me up. The mango is subtle and not overpowering, and melts into creaminess from the vanilla. There’s only a little bit left in the bag so I’ll be finishing it up before the box moves on.
Flavors: Cream, Mango
When I was growing up, my best friend had a mulberry tree in her backyard. I have such happy memories of summer days of picking those tart, juicy berries until our fingers and mouths were stained purple with juice! So I had high hopes that this tea would capture that flavor. To my disappointment, this sample didn’t taste like mulberries at all. To me, it had more of a floral scent and flavor with a slightly sour aftertaste. Not something I would drink again.
Flavors: Floral, Sour
Thank you Ost for the sale! I’ve seen tasting notes for this one before and it sounded good. It is — it tastes like a liquefied banana coconut cream pie! I may have left this one steeping for 25 minutes but the steep instructions suggest 10-15 minutes anyway. The most noticeable flavor is the banana with hints of coconut. I’m not sure what sultanas taste like but there wasn’t much flavor from the mangos and papaya… they probably lent some extra syrupy sweetness. (Also, NO hibiscus in this one. I feel like if it’s a herbal blend I have to give a hibiscus report.) It is certainly a dessert tea without caffeine! (Or with some graham crackers I was eating with the tea – it’s like the pie crust paired with the filling.) One of the best herbal blends I’ve sipped. There is just some ripe brown bananas in the infuser is all. :D Amazing that the bananas can be in a tea but I taste NO preservatives.
Steep #1 // just boiled // 25 min
Backlog from whenever – I’ve had this tea a few times since my last note, but I’ve been super lax about my tea logging lately.
This is a tea I turn to now when I’ve got an upset stomach in the evenings. I used to really dislike licorice/fennel when I was younger, but I’m slowly learning to accept the taste, especially now that I understand it has a lot of savoury applications.
This is the only tea I have with raspberry leaf, so it will probably become my go-to for when it’s That Time of the Month.
First note for this tea! I had this last night when I wanted something without caffeine. The fact that it had raspberry leaf as the first ingredient was perfect, since I’m on my period right now. (TMI? Perhaps. But that’s one thing that raspberry leaf tea is good for.)
The ingredients list includes apple and rosehip, but I have to say that the most obvious flavours in both the dry leaf and the liquor are the fennel and anise. I used to hate licorice-flavoured things a lot, but I’m warming up to fennel because it has savoury applications as well as sweet ones (fennel is great in sausages and pot roasts, I find).
There’s also a bit of mint, but oddly enough, under the fennel/anise blast, I also get a sense of chamomile – which is weird, since there is no chamomile in the blend. Perhaps that’s because of the apples?
Anyways, I can definitely see this being a good winter/nighttime/lady’s time of the month tea. Even better: I had a scratchy throat last night, and I’m fine this morning. I know that licorice/fennel is often used on “throat coat” teas, so perhaps it helped.
How odd, I was sure I reviewed this last time I drank it! It certainly made an impression on me, but maybe I just wasn’t up to putting my thoughts into words at the time. This is my first milk oolong and I have to say I really like the style. It’s slightly sweet and undeniably milky with a little bit of earthiness—I’ve never put milk in an oolong before but I imagine this is what it would taste like. It’s an interesting and satisfying cup and I can easily see myself going through a pot of this at a time.
Flavors: Creamy, Earth, Sweet