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Recent Tasting Notes
Well, I’m sorry not to give this tea a good rating, and SBS Teas is one of my favorite tea companies, but in my last order they sent me a generous sample of this tea and it smelled divine but when I had it it tasted overwhelmingly maple-ish and I honestly could barely even taste the black tea. I like to taste the tea AND the flavoring and while I like flavored teas and really do want to taste to flavor added I don’t want it to overshadow the black tea itself. This tea was just not a good cup of tea for me.
I think this tea came out of the Travelling Teabox and it’s been sitting in my cupboard for a fair while. It’s clearly labeled as comming from SBS Teas but I can’t seem to find it anywhere on their website, although given the length of time I’ve been hanging on to this blend I guess that isn’t too surprising.
The tea itself is rather underwelming, mildly floral – mostly jasmine and only a hint or orange, but mostly there was just a generic tea flavour. It’s not terrible – the floral notes aren’t too perfumy, but it doesn’t wow me. I’ll probably trade off this one.
I received this in a swap and used the whole tin to brew up a pitcher of iced tea. I saw that this product may contain some hibiscus and lavender, which don’t fare too well, in my opinion, in hot water. There may have been too much lavender in this mix as it tasted a little bit soapy. Nonetheless, it is a good, juicy iced tea. I don’t think this would be good warm. Iced, it is strong, and I didn’t even have it steeping in the fridge for 12 hours when the brew was already a dark red color. I took it out after that. This is just okay.
I can’t find this on the site.. maybe my sample is old. But there is barely any flavor here. There isn’t enough black tea here to call it a black tea. You think there would be if it is called “hearthside spice”. And it is a cold day in the middle of September! Yikes. I’m not ready for winter yet, even with a bunch of tea…
Steepsterites, I have been neglecting you. What with kittens and a hilarious new computer game that I have, I just haven’t been around to do more than skim the recent posts page (I hardly ever bother with the dashboard except for notices these days), I just haven’t been paying attention to actually bringing something back to the group. Posting. This, I shall hereby remedy.
Also, mostly I’ve been drinking oldies-and-well-knownies in the effort to free up some tins so I can open more of my Shang order.
This one, however, is from the Basket. On mornings when we’re both not going to work (ah holiday!) we have a budding new habit of me making a large pot of something and sharing. Since one of us is more narrow minded (to be taken with all the symptoms of friendly teasing) when it comes to tea I typically let him choose something. Typically, he says ‘something black’, and I know him well enough to know that by ‘something black’ he means exactly that. Not ‘something black with bizarre flavouring’. I have of yet still been unable to glean a definition of ‘bizarre flavouring’. I think it depends on the time of day because at other times, he doesn’t turn down something flavoured.
I actually demoted my black currant from the Standard Panel because he liked the blackberry flavoured one much better and I had no strong preference over one or the other so long as something was berry flavoured.
But I digress.
This cup was the tea of the morning today. As I mentioned, it came out of the basket, and based on Jillian’s earlier review saying she got it out of the TTB, I can for once determine that it came to me via Pamela Dax Dean and her Great Big Box of Tea.
The aroma is not very strong or forceful, but it’s very pleasant. It’s quite honeyed and sweet, and malty but not super-malty. It’s quiet and reserved. Like a queen, it bears itself with dignity.
It’s very light in flavour, very unlike other Assams and apparently this has to do with the flush. Standard Assams being second flush and this being first. It’s extemely delicate and flighty, but the flavour profile that one associates with Assams is still there. Malty, slightly astringent and with a funny sort of cardboard-y flavour (which I do not mean in a bad way. That’s just what it reminded the person who used it first of, and I find I agree. Probably because that note is such a very grey colour to me). It’s all there. It’s just somewhat muted.
This is not really a tea that says, “come and look at me, I’m magnificent!”
It’s more a tea that says, “come and look at my potential, see what I can become when you pick my second flush!”
A demo of teas. You get the right idea but not all the features.
And yet, I quite like it. Possibly because I tend not to be too impressed with Assams to begin with. They’re so easy to wreck, so finicky compared to my preferred Chinese blacks. I think I like this, because it’s a different Assam.
This tea just isn’t doing it for me I’m afraid. I wish it had more vanilla and less rose in the flavour profile because as it is now it tastes far too sweet and perfumed for my tastes. The white tea base doesn’t look like it’s the best quality either, as the leaves are distinctly brown rather than any shade of white or green like I would expect. Eh, so I’ve turned into a bit of a tea-snob – so sue me. ;)
This tea will join the others ones I’ve set aside to trade/give away. If anyone wants it, please pm me.
So that’s the end of this tea. I know I said it was a fairly average chai, but I have noticed that it has a smokey quality to the leaves. So either they’ve been contaminated with soemthing else or the blender used a Russian Caravan or some other smokey tea for the base. I still don’t think that makes this tea rave worthy, though it tastes good enough with milk and honey stirred into it.
Another offering that came to me from the Travelling Teabox (has it made it back to Angrboda yet?). There’s obviously bits of cinnamon bark in this tea even though it isn’t listed as one of the ingredients. It seems like a pretty standard chai in most respects so I’m not sure what’s ‘voudou’ about it (I couldn’t find any pins stabbed into it). ;)
For an ingredient the company didn’t even bother listing the cinnamon is quite prominent in the taste and smell of this tea. I find I’m missing the cardamom which is an essential part of any chai in my opinion. It tastes nice enough with some milk, but altogether I found it to be a fairly average chai.
And it’s goodbye to the Kenilworth.
I went into this one with rather low expectations, having not had all that much luck with Ceylons in general before. And then I encountered this. It is shocking and unnatural how much I actually liked this. I’m of a mind to re-explore the Ceylon teas now, so I may get me some samples from Nothing But Tea whom I happen to know have a large selection. Their shop is summer closed at the moment though, I think, so it will have to wait. Which is probably just as well, all things considered.
The second reason for having Ceylon this morning harks back to the Passion fruit black I had yesterday. Remember I had a synesthesiastic colour association with the base tea in that one? Reddish brown like polished cherry wood, and it sort of said ‘Ceylon’ to me. We are now checking if that same colour applies itself to a cup of confirmed Ceylon.
Wait, why does this cup smell like those fancy little perfumed soaps? Sort of flowery and sweet-ish, but not sweet in a way that you would necessarily want to eat… It has never done that before.
Right flavour. Colours. What say we?
It’s a bit strong, because it’s got some extra leaf. There was more than one pot in it, but less than two. But yeah, I’m getting some hints of that colour association. I’m not sure it’s really it, but it’s fairly close. It’s definitely reddish brown, but I’m not sure if it’s not more red than brown.
Yeah, I think the base in that passion fruit business yesterday could very possibly involve Ceylon, but I’m not sure if it’s only Ceylon. Or it could still be something else entirely, but my immediate semi-qualified guess is Ceylon.
Are we SURE this really is actually what it says on the bag? Really?
I mean, okay, it’s the second steep of the leaves.
But I forgot them, so it’s had a good half hour. It’s gone a bit lukewarm bit it’s not even remotely bitter. It’s not even astringent for crying out loud!
I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell you! How can this happen with a Ceylon?!
It defies logic. I’m pretty sure it defies a number of the laws of nature. It ought to be completely and utterly undrinkable at this point. What’s going on???
GOSH! The extravagancy of not only being on Steepster at dead-early in the morning before leaving for work, but actually posting something. How decadent.
I’ll just make it quick because my first encounter with this one, which is one of the ones out of the enormous box of tea I received this weekend, because it struck me as kind of odd.
It has an extremely fruity sort of flavour. Extremely so. If I didn’t know better, I’d think it was flavoured with black currant or similar. It’s there in both the aroma and the flavour, but I have to assume that the labels on the bag in which it was sent to me are correct.
Very very strange! Somehow stranger than if it had been a cocoa note, which we’re used to seeing around here and there. I seem to recall someone else, I think it was Teaplz, having encountered this phenomenon before, and now I’m wondering if perhaps it was the same estate.
This is very fruity indeed, and perhaps I’ve actually happened across a Ceylon tea here that shows me a little more personality than other Ceylons. Usually with Ceylons the highest degree of interest I can muster is wondering why the tea world stubbornly sticks to calling them Ceylon teas instead of Sri Lanka teas…
I feel a bit like exploring this category again, although right now, with a cupboard that looks like it does, is SO not the time for it.
One look tells me that there’s hibiscus in this tea – nothing else would turn the water such a vivid red colour. The tisane seems to be a mix of hibiscus, rosehips, apple(?) bits and lavander with a few pieces of orange peel thrown in so I’m not sure how this is supposed to be a ‘Citrus’ anything!
And it basically tastes like hibiscus and lavander – I might drink this if I had a cold (and my tastebuds were dulled) but it’s not to my tastes at all, being very tart and pungent. Maybe I’ll give this another shot with a reduced steeping time, but so far I’m not impressed.
The combination of flavours in this tea really intrigued me since grapefruit and vanilla aren’t normally ingredients that I’d automatically put together – actually grapefruit is a flavouring I haven’t seen in many teas at all.
The dry tea had a creamy vanilla scent, though it took on a citrusy scent too as the leaves steeped. The grapefruit flavour is rather subdued, just present as a hint of citrus in each sip. The creamy-vanilla flavour is more dominant and is particularly noticable after the tea has a had a chance to cool a bit. It all mixes surprisingly well with the slightly nutty, vegetale flavour of the white tea.
Another out of the TTB. I acually didn’t know that an Assam could come in flushes like a Darjeeling tea would – Assam has always been just “Assam” to me. Interestingly, from what I’ve been reading on Google just now, the 2nd flush is actually the more prized rather than the first.
The tea is a considerably lighter than I’m used to Assams tasting. It has a fresh, clear sort of flavour that takes on a sweetish note at the tea cools. But yet the flavour still harkens back to the malty flavours I’m used to getting out of standard 2nd flush Assams – although it’s not as strong.
This one’s out of the Travelling Teabox – which seems to have a lot of SBS teas in it – was someone back along the route an employee or something, I wonder?
I love all things cherry, though it’s hard to find a decent cherry-flavoured tea. I wasn’t sure about this one since I noticed the dreaded hibiscus listen in the ingredients, but the cherry part won me over. Why do practically all fruit tisanes contain such a large amount of hibiscus? I know it’s supposedly good for you, but so is broccoli – and I don’t see them rushing to make broccoli-flavoured tea!
I went on the lower side of the steeping reccs and the tea turned out of be curiously mild, almost bland. I can still taste the hibiscus, though it’s not obnoxious and maaaybe a bit of something that might be cherry, but certainly nothing that would resemble vanilla. Actually it reminds me a lot of that Saskatoon Berry tea I had awhile back, only slightly less tart. Ordinarily I’d steep this longer to try and bring out the cherry flavour, but I KNOW that if I do that I’ll just end up making the hibiscus taste stronger.
SBS Teas are a staple in my house and this is not only one of my favorite of their teas, but one of my all time favorites ever. I was never really a fan of Earl Grey, but I sampled this while working on my tea book which will be out soon and fell in love with it. I just ordered another 1/2 pound. This one is always in my house, an Earl Grey with the usual bergamot but also vanilla and cream. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted any tea that makes me positively SWOON like this one does and it tastes as good as it smells, perfumes the whole house while steeping! If you’re a fan of Earl Grey you’ll want to try this!
I like the subtlety of this raspberry tea. Too often, I get a raspberry-flavored tea that has been pumped with sugars or berry-flavoring so that the berry flavor just screams in your mouth.
SBS’s tea definitely has a pleasant raspberry aroma of medium strength, and while you can definitely taste the raspberry it balances with the black tea instead of trying to dominate it. I drank it hot, but I think that this would be great iced, too.
It’s not a complex or fancy flavor, but for a good basic summer tea I’d stock up on this one.
I was confused when I went to add this one; I thought perhaps the website had it’s information mixed up. The description also lists vanilla in this (non-vanilla) chai! But, the ingredients list on the package does say vanilla, so I guess the website is right.
It definitely does not have the smooth vanilla aftertaste of the vanilla chai I drank Tuesday, so if I was going to pick one I’d say that the vanilla instant is the better drink. This one is spicier, but also tastes more of artificial creamer.
Of SBS Tea’s instant chai, I like the apple best… unfortunately that one is on clearance. I guess she’s not going to reblend it. :-( Of the stuff in stock the vanilla is my favorite.
The 3rd mug of a 1 oz sample is a bit weak, so I’m trying to decide what to do with it. When I finished the spiced chai I just added apple chai mix, but I don’t know that that would go well with vanilla chai.
I shouldn’t have filled my mug and only made a half a mug or something! If you buy their samples, remember that when making the last mug!
Since I got an email about 20% off from SBS, I decided to splurge and buy some cocoas and instant chais for the office. This one is really delightful.
At first it’s like a normal (instant) chai, but the aftertaste is a very strong vanilla. It still doesn’t compete with a traditionally brewed (stovetop) chai, but for a quick pick-me-up in the office it’s great! I’m definitely getting more of this one!