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Recent Tasting Notes
It is time to admit defeat and take up Paper Craft. Try as I might I cannot think of a way to make a Minecraft Blaze out of Perler Beads and not have it look really bad, same with the new Guardian mobs. I simply must have these for my desk, so my other option is to buy ink for my printer, a new Xacto knife, and some decent paper and make them. The reason I have been hesitant is because I know this will turn into an obsession and next thing you know I will end up having a huge Minecraft diorama on one of my shelves…and I am not sure I can spare the space just yet. Clearly I will just have to get a new set of shelves.
Today’s tea is quite appealing to my inner child, Chocolate A-Peel (ing) actually! A blend of Kenyan black tea, Rooibos, Citrus, and Chocolate and creamy goodies from SerendipiTea, a substitute for my favorite childhood candies, chocolate oranges! You know, the kind that comes in foil that you smash onto a table to separate it into little chocolate slices, really whoever thought of mixing chocolate and oranges together was a genius. The aroma of this particular dessert tea is pretty rich, with strong notes of woody rooibos, creamy cocoa with almost a chocolate liqueur tinge to it, a bit of caramel, a bit of apple, and lastly a potent zing of oranges. It is very sweet and rich, but not too sweet, very much so the difference between a yummy slice of chocolate and a giant chocolate cake.
After submerging the leaves into their hot bath (you’re in hot water now, bub…really threatening leaves helps…ok no it doesn’t, even if it is caused Agony of the Leaf) and letting them steep, it is time to sniff some soggy leaves! The aroma is still pretty sweet, also very woody with strong notes of orange and chocolate. It is really funny, the more I sniff Rooibos the more I like it, I went through a phase a few years ago where I really disliked it, so glad that has passed. The liquid is so much chocolate, it is like sniffing a bar of chocolate with notes of malt and oranges with a slightly woody finish.
As is usual with teas that have bits of chocolate as part of their ingredients, the top has a bit of an oily film, giving it a slightly oily mouthfeel. However, the rest of the mouthfeel is quite smooth, none of the dryness that usually accompanies Rooibos. The taste is super rich, it starts out malty and woody with strong notes of chocolate and caramel, this turns into a bright zing of orange which is like a little bit of sunshine in the dense night of chocolate. Lastly the tea finishes off with lingering caramel and creamy sweetness, definitely a tea for someone with a sweet-tooth or a sugar craving (which conveniently I have both of at the moment). Although I am still craving chocolate oranges, I think I am going to have to stock up on them this holiday season and try to not eat them all before New Years.
Remember how about a week or so ago I was lamenting my hands and wrists hurting because of writing too much? Well after getting myself some very swank looking wrist guards (I look like a Mortal Kombat Ninja) and only writing when necessary, my wrists are finally pain free. This is extra exciting because I can get back to folding my origami, which I have missed immensely. First thing to work on is my garland of Toshie’s Jewels for my Tea Lair and then I think I am going to make some stars. My Lucky Star jars are totally empty after they all found a new home, so time to refill them.
Today’s tea is Buddha’s Fingers from SerendipiTea, a nice amber oolong (meaning it has a higher oxidation than some of its more vibrantly green friends) from Wen Shan in northern Taiwan. The aroma of the little curled leaves is toasty and tasty! It is a blend of toasted sesame stems and tobacco with a touch of freshly broken green stems and a finish of coal. The aroma is more savory than sweet, reminding me of autumn fires at the end of a day.
Into the gaiwan it goes (fun fact, this was the first time I used this gaiwan after it arrived in the mail) for a nice steeping and slight unfurling. The aroma of the now soggy leaves is quite rich with notes of smoke, tobacco, toasted sesame seeds, and an underlying sweetness. This sweetness is like old orchids and a touch of wildflower honey. The liquid is mild with notes of sweet yeasty bread, butter, toasted sesame seeds, and a tiny touch of orchids at the finish.
This is a smooth tea in mouthfeel but slightly sharp in taste, it is an interesting contrast. The taste starts out with sharp, almost bitter, tabacco and rich toasted sesame seeds. This fades to a caramelized nut taste that lingers for quite a while as a sweet aftertaste.
For the second steeps’s aroma my nose was greeted with a very toasty roasty kick, like a blend of toasted bread and roasted nuts, along with a sweet caramelized sugar finish. The taste is pretty potent, starting out with an almost sour tabacco taste that causes me to salivate a lot, which in turn makes the taste come off as very sweet. After that initial fun flip-flop the taste is toasted sesame and caramelized sugar with a slightly dry finish. This is a pretty potent tea, not for the faint of heart, which I like, and find myself wondering how this tea would hold up to Grandpa Style Brewing.
Flavors: Caramel, Roasted, Toasty, Tobacco
Well here I am, mostly back in the proverbial tea saddle, by which I mean my desk chair and not lounging in bed. I am still a bit out of it from my Endoscopy and of course have to wait for the results of my biopsy, but first impressions have pros and cons. It looks like I may not have Celiac disease, just Gluten Intolerance and IBS…which is the good part, bad part is my stomach has some nasty inflammation and ulceration, if I am lucky it is just from medication or bile reflux, if I am unlucky the H. pylori never did get knocked out of my system all the way. I will never wish that infection on anyone, the methods to remove it are as bad as the infection, at least it was to me. No use counting evil chickens before they hatch though, for now I am just going to relax with tea.
And speaking of tea we have today’s tea from SerendipiTea (whose name makes me smile) who recently sent me a nice pile of samples to try out, I wanted something relaxing so I decided The Big Sleep was the way to go today. An herbal blend of Anise, Brahmi, Coconut, Honeybush, Pomegranate Peel, and Vanilla Bean (all organic) blended with the aim of putting the sipper into a nice dream state. I really like SerendipiTea’s use of references, as a massive Geek I always appreciate them, even if I have not read The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (or seen the movie inspired by the book) I certainly recognize the reference. The aroma of the dry leaves is pretty interesting, a blend of herbaceous and spice notes with a touch of sweet vanilla, nutty coconut, woody honeybush, and a hint of fruity tartness at the finish. It is quite unlike any blend I have sniffed before, I especially like how well the anise and coconut compliment each other.
Giving the tea a nice long steeping (which is so unusual when I do so much Gongfu brewing, it feels just so long!) the aroma from the wet leaves waft up to my nose. The aroma is a blend of sweetness and spices, it reminds me of my favorite Indian market’s spice aisle, but with an addition of coconuts. It smells soothing it me, but that could be because I am having a nice nostalgia. The liquid without its leafy friends (or more herbs and spice friends) has an aroma very similar to the wet leaves, but it is woodier.
Ahh, this tea is quite soothing. It has an oily coating from the coconut and dryness from the honeybush, it is an interesting mouthfeel, since it starts out oily and fades to dry at the finish. The taste is a mild blend of sweet vanilla and caramel and gentle anise. There is an herbal taste to it as well that reminds me a bit of fennel seeds. I am not sure if it is the tea or convenient luck, but I am feeling very relaxed and wanting to go curl up and nap. There is also a slight tingly feeling in my throat, similar to the tingling of cloves, which is nice. This is a nice sipping before sleep tea, it is tasty without being overpowering.
Flavors: Anise, Caramel, Coconut, Fennel Seed, Sweet, Vanilla, Wood
This is a wonderful mint tea, I really loved it from the first brew. Read my full review here: https://whoisapneet.squarespace.com/blog/serendipitea-moroccan-mint-tea
The scent of this tea is much more green and floral than I was expecting. I hope that it offers something more than that in the flavor!
Sipping… I detect light flowers, sugar and raisins. This cup has a thicker mouthfeel, but it’s not necessarily buttery or milky which is what I look for in a milk oolong. I’m a bit disappointed. This is a drinkable oolong, though, if you like them to be on the greener and more floral side. I feel like it’s just not really milk oolongy enough for me. Oh well, onto the next!
I can’t figure out what to make of this tea…it smells like blueberry pancakes, almost, but the flavour comes across slightly more dilute. There’s still the heavy, ripe blueberry notes but there seems to be another fruity something in behind it that I can’t quite put my finger on.
It’s not a flaky pastry tea like Della Terra’s Blueberry Crumble, but it does take sweetener well enough. I have a sneaking suspicion that this one might be better iced, but I’m sadly not in a position where I can test that theory.
With that said, though, this is a tasty little fruity thing. I’m not going to keep it, but it was a fun cup to try out.
’Here’s Hoping’ traveling teabox Round #2 // Tea #36
I love the name. This seemed to have other ingredients, but it really just seemed like oddly strong chamomile. Chamomile shouldn’t be this strong! The description mentions mango, but I really don’t taste it. I would love one good chamomile tea in my collection.. I guess right now it’s just Adagio’s Sherlock’s Molly Hooper. Sherlock!
’Here’s Hoping’ traveling teabox Round #2 // Tea #35
Black currant and chocolate here. An odd combination, unless you think of the tart with the sweet. Sadly, there isn’t too much flavor here to notice either way. I really think that any tea that claims to be chocolate should have more than cocoa nibs.. they just aren’t chocolatey enough. Dump in that cacao!! Everything is just mild here – the black tea, the currant, the chocolate. But it might be too offensive in flavor if it wasn’t mild.
Yet another from “Another Tiny Tea Box” – reading past reviews, I think this tea is well traveled! Initially it wasn’t so bad, just a really apple-y chamomile. But the more I drank the more thirsty I felt, and it wasn’t because the tea was astringent. It was really odd. I ended up not finishing it and chugging a lot of milk straight from the jug. Yeah, I’m that girl.
’Here’s Hoping’ traveling teabox Round #2 // Tea #15
Steep #1 // just boiled // 5 min
The description of this one sounded not too bad, but looking at the blend, it seemed like all orange peels and rooibos. The first sip wasn’t bad though! I always think orange and chocolate aren’t my favorite combination, but then I remember that the Terry’s chocolate orange earlier this year convinced me otherwise. To be fair, the taste of this one reminds me more of a creamsicle type ice cream, rather than chocolate. Maybe a orange/vanilla/light chocolate swirl? The cup turns out pretty dark, even though there doesn’t seem to be much black tea in my scoop. The flavor is a bit tangy with hints of orange, chocolate and rooibos.
Tea #4 from Traveling Tea Box C Round 2
This was to make up for the bleh that I got from the s’mores genmatcha. It smells fruity enough though I’m a bit daunted by the hibiscus in the blend. I’m not sure if the tea that I’m trying is different, or they just don’t list the entire ingredients list. The ones listed for this tea here are certaintly different from the ones listed on the package. I’m not entirely sure if I should edit the list here or not since the one on Steepster is what it says on SerendipiTea’s website.
Not too bad of a brew, though the hibiscus makes it tart like I was worried about, but it thankfully doesn’t take over. Mostly I get nice blueberry smell and taste with a tart hibiscus poke. I had to add a bit more Truvia than I usually do to get it drinkable though. I’m not sure if the slight mouth puckering that I’m getting after a sip it astringency on the part of the tea, or a side effect of the hibiscus. I tend to avoid blends with hibiscus since I don’t have very good experience with them. I enjoyed this, but not really enough to want to have it again or even order it.
From the Here’s Hoping Traveling Tea Box #2
Nope. This tea is not for me. It has a strange sour note that I don’t enjoy at all. I’m not sure if it’s from the orange peel or the yogurt, but blah. I ended up dumping the last few sips because I just couldn’t drink anymore.
I originally purchased the Organic Lavender from SerendipiTea with the intention of making lavender-flavored and scented ice cream. I was really into experimental ice creams, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. After a while, I stopped making homemade ice cream for some reason. It may have coincided with my purchase of a bread machine. I guess that I only focus on one genre of culinary gadget-produced creation at a time!
Tonight I decided to brew up some of the buds to see whether I actually enjoy drinking straight lavender. It’s definitely a different experience. To get into the spirit, I donned some lavender perfume. I do love the scent of the infusion, but I don’t like the taste as much as that of straight chamomile. To be honest, I have always found Herbes de Provence to be a bit heavy on the lavender. It’s an extremely potent flower, so next time I might use less or else mix it with some loose leaf chamomile to make my very own Yellow & Blue!
Sipdown No. 88, from Sil, who got it from Cavo. Thanks girls!
There is something about this tea that I just really don’t like, at least not today. I guess it’s the Jasmine, which I do tend to enjoy, but there is a mintiness, perhaps a camphor like taste from the Puerh, or somethings, that just isn’t working for me.
This is one of my three finalists for the milk oolong spot in the collection. I guess I need to retaste them all in quick succession. If memory serves – and it may well not – I think the scent of the dry leaves is a little less impressive than Mandala’s but the flavor is a touch better? And then I remember liking Capital’s version even a bit better than this one? For reference, my gold standard would be ‘punch me in the face with milky oolong flavor.’ Subtle, I am not. UPDATE: Having a little oolong-off here this morning, and the Mandala milk oolong is a bit more flavorful.
Yesterday I had this tea hot (without sugar), and it was pretty good. It was very smooth for a black tea (it had none of the bitter smokiness that I don’t like about many black teas). The pear flavor was light but good.
I read another review recommending this tea iced, so I used the rest of my sample to make a container of iced tea last night. This time I added rock sugar while it was steeping. I’m drinking it now (I left it in the fridge overnight) and it is quite tasty as an iced tea. The pear flavor is enhanced nicely by the rock sugar. Pretty good. Not crazy good, but it’s something to keep in mind if I’m looking for good iced teas next summer.
(Sample from silentrequiem. Thanks!)
Tea #34 from the Here’s Hoping TTB
When I first started drinking loose leaf again serendipiTEA was one of the brands I started with because they were selling their teas on Amazon. That meant if I ordered some tea with my books every semester my parents would never notice… not that I would have done that mind you. My dishonesty aside, their teas got me through some long nights studying and they have a number of blends that I really enjoy.
This isn’t one of them, sadly.
Everything started out ok, but then the medicinal flavor from the rooibos seeped in and soured my feelings a bit. There is also quite a bit more chocolate in this than I expected, because now I’m not feeling very well. I try to only drink chocolate in small doses, it makes me pretty ill, and this blend has Cacao Beans, Chocolate Bits, Chocolate Flavor (Natural), and, White Chocolate Bits. No wonder I don’t feel good. I’ve really got to be better about reading ingredient lists before make myself a cup of tea. With all of the chocolate in this tea I’m really surprised that I can’t really taste it. The primary flavor from this tea comes from the black currant, giving it a somewhat tart flavor.
for not focusing on sipdowns, i’m still managing to get a few in. I don’t have high hopes for meeting my goal at the end of the year but every cup made is a step closer! Not to mention that i have a few days of working from home next week that will help.
Cavocorax gave me this one…i didn’t realise it had jasmine in it. I had a sip but that’s about all i could manage since the smell was overpoweringly jasmine…eau de fleur is not my most favourite. Still though, it’s one off the list of all the teas! hahaha
My mom gave me 4 ounces of this (through my own suggestion) to me for Christmas. It’s hardish to find online, and my parents frequent an awesome coffee shop that sells it, so I thought I’d request she purchase it through the local business. I love this tea. I remember it from when before I drank tea, and from when I didn’t find rooibos disappointing, so I was worried I would like it less now. I do not. This tea is fantastic. It’s light and vanilla and chocolate with the addition of the mint. It’s probably the best rooibos tea I’ve ever had. I’m a huge fan and have been for years.
nice smoky aroma. aftertaste is very pleasant. the actual tea itself is delicate, subtle, very mild. the common tea drinker would find this boring, and even i don’t find it memorable. it’s not a tea i would crave, or reach for when its lined up with others. but i don’t mind drinking the tea, i do enjoy it. so there you go.