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Recent Tasting Notes
After much debate and talking with Ben, both of us have decided that I need a sun-lamp, because my SAD is just awful. Each winter I turn into this pitiful, miserable, pain filled lump…clearly I am actually a plant, though not a coniferous, alas. I used to think I had SAD during the summer as well as winter and I would just deal with it, but thinking things through I tend to just feel grumpy and uncomfortable in summer because I loathe the heat, it is just me being a big baby, but in winter I just get kinda catatonic, one step away from hibernating. Next step is to research a good sun lamp, any SAD people out there with suggestions?
It is time to delve into the pile of notebooks from long ago, filled with tea notes of yore! Today we are looking at Monk’s Mead by SerendipiTea, a blend of Apple, Apple Flavor, Chamomile, Mango, Mango Flavor, and Rosehips, all organic and natural! This tea is supposed to evoke the taste of mead, and I have never had mead, the closest I have had is Oenomel, or Grecian Honeyed Wine, so I cannot say how close this tea gets to its goal. The aroma is pretty great, blending dried apples, honey, and the straw and vaguely fresh apple aroma of chamomile. At the very finish is a slightly citrus sour note from the rosehips, though that fades really quickly.
You know one of the things I kinda hate about chamomile? It gets sooooo stuck into the fine mesh of the steeping basket, meaning it is a real pain to clean, other than that I love the stuff. The aroma is primarily chamomile, blending straw, pollen, strawflowers, and a touch of apples. I pick up a gentle note of mango at the finish, but mostly this is all chamomile all the time. The liquid is a blend of mango and apple with a slightly sour note and a finish of pollen and strawflowers.
The first thing I noticed about this tea is the utter lack of anything but chamomile, the front taste is all chamomile all the time, with strong notes of pollen and wildflowers fading to apples. That apple note builds from a distant apple memory to a full on baked apple, with extra sweetness from the mango. At the finish there is a note of honey, with a slightly sour citrus note, it lingers for a while, making me salivate from the sourness. This is not a bad tea, it did not wow me overly much, but I found it pleasant, I think I would have liked it a lot more if it lacked the rosehips, since for me this tea shined most when it was very sweet.
For blog and (crappy old) photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/serenditpitea-monks-mead-tbt-tea-review.html
My second tea for soothing the sore throat. I actually did about half this tea, and half spearmint. Chamomile and mint is my absolute trump tea for when I’m sick, but I didn’t have any plain chamomile so I went with this.
It was extremely smooth and soothing on my throat, but one thing that I think I’m learning is that chamomile just isn’t my favorite tea flavor. It helps my throat, but I basically only drink it when I need it.
Hnnng. Backstory on this tea: there was a well touted coffee shop in the library where I did my undergrad and I would occasionally stop by with a friend and pick up a cup of tea. By the time I graduated I was hooked on this stuff but couldn’t figure out where to get it.
The other day I remembered what it was called and finally found it and bought a 4oz box (on Amazon… the expiration date is in 6 months so I think I’ve learned my lesson now :/)
The peach isn’t as strong as I remember but overall it’s still my favorite “comfort tea” – I generally don’t care for chai but the spices mixed with the mellow peach are phenomenal. It’s perfect for the change in seasons and hopefully wintertime too. It reminds me of thanksgiving.
Flavors: Clove, Ginger, Peach, Spices
Happy Thursday, internet! Yours truly had a long and tiring day of playtesting and I am greatly glad to be home and only a few short hours away from sleep. I got very little of the Zzzzz’s last night because someone poisoned me (or I caught a stomach bug) but it sounds more dramatic to yell ‘who hath poisoned me?!?’ than ‘where did this virus come from?’ it is always about which is more dramatic. I think when this playtesting and such is over I am going to take a vacation, just not do anything for a week other than drink tea and maybe play Minecraft, and lay in bed a lot. It will be gloriously lazy.
Today’s tea is SerendipiTea’s Dahl House, inspired by much loved novelist Roald Dahl, I was never a huge fan of his work, but I can certainly say they were influential and helped shape many children’s lives. One of these work’s was James and the Giant Peach, I mean, who doesn’t love the idea of sailing away inside of a giant peach, I am pretty sure that is every Southern child’s dream (or at the very least mine) especially with talking bugs. The first thing I notice about the aroma is the real, fresh, peach smell that is wafting out of the dry leaves. I love when peach flavored teas actually smell like peaches and not peach candy, it makes for a happy me. There are also notes of malt, honey, and a really nice zingy ginger aroma that makes the tea smell very warm.
Into the steeping basket the leaves go, and the aroma of peaches and ginger fill the room. I admit, I miss my tea lair, but I do no miss the basement at all, so dingy…so many spiders…ok I liked the spiders. The peaches still smell like warm, juicy, fresh peaches but with an addition of ginger and malt, with a slight bit of oak wood at the finish. The liquid is super peachy and sweet, though the ginger is milder, a tickling warmth at the back of the nose. The malt is right up there with peaches in strength, making for a very rich aroma.
The first thing noticed upon sipping this tea is it is very rich and malty, with a delicate honey sweetness and a tiny hint of roasted peanuts…but where is the peach…wait, found it! Not even to the midtaste, the peaches explode, much like biting into a ripe very juicy peach. This is no sad peach you bought at the super market when you had a 2 A.M. craving, no this is a fresh from the orchard roadside-stand in the middle of South Carolina peach! A very real distinction that we Southerners get bent out of shape over, we are a bit obsessive with our peaches. After that massive pile of peach to the face the flavor has a wonderful warming ginger burn that lasts into the aftertaste where it lingers as a nice tingly feeling in the belly. I was quite fond of this tea, it reminded me of home, and I liked the addition of ginger, it blended nicely with the peach!
For blog and (not very good) photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/05/serendipitea-dahl-house-tbt-tea-review.html
I absolutely love this tea iced or hot! I’ve been on a huge kick with it lately and its pretty much all I have been drinking this week. I like that the Jasmine isn’t too strong and you can taste the apple as well as you smell it. I also have forgotten that I was steeping this tea until like 30 minutes later and it did not pick up too much bitterness so that’s definitely a plus for me. I use 3 teaspoons of tea in 2 cups of water for my iced tea because I like it really strong but as a hot tea a teaspoon to 8oz is good.
Pleasantly surprised with this! I was alittle hesitant about this blend because on the sample bag it says there’s hibiscus in this, which I’m not a fan of. But happily the apple and mango are mainly dominant over the hibiscus and rose hips. A really good blend
Flavors: Apple, Mango
I’m brewing this Gongfu style. This is a pretty strongly roasted oolong. In fact, it is so heavily roasted that the flavor reminds me of Houjicha. I don’t taste anything distinctly “oolong” about it, or maybe there’s the subtlest hint of flowers in the background. Compared to most other rolled oolongs I’ve tried, this one overbrews quite easily. It has a bit of a drying, astringent finish only two or three infusions in, and as dry as it leaves my mouth feeling, I’m not too compelled to do a fourth infusion. I will anyway, for the sake of curiosity…
The fourth infusion seems to have really lost flavor for the most part. I’m not getting much out of it, but it is still really dry feeling in the mouth, and has a bitter finish like orange blossom tea.
Other than the first infusion, I didn’t enjoy this tea at all. The first infusion was great and reminded me of some of the better Houjicha I’ve had, but after that there were some astringent and sour qualities that were so overwhelming to me I didn’t really feel compelled to try to describe the subtleties. It’s not that I don’t like the roasted flavors this tea has… it’s just that I’ve had lots of other teas that have similar roasted flavors without all the biting qualities of this one, so to me… I wouldn’t revisit this tea.
Flavors: Astringent, Roasted
How did I never review this? I’m usually so good about that.
I bought some of this from Shab Row Tea Emporium in Frederick, MD. It’s nice. Minty with the feel (if not quite the taste) of chocolate. Sugar doesn’t really add much to this tea, though I do like adding a bit of Herbal Infusions Cacao Tea to up the chocolate taste. It’s nice but not really something I’ll get again.
Flavors: Chocolate, Peppermint
Funny that some of the other reviews say too much jasmine, because I’m finding it to be too little jasmine. There is only a hint of jasmine and I like really strong jasmine flavor. The rest of the tea seems really well balanced, but it just doesn’t pack enough punch for me.
There has been a role reversal in the house today, instead of Ben having to take care of my sickly self, I got to take care of him today. Poor sickly thing either picked up a super nasty cold or the flu, chances are I am going to get it what with the fever and sore throat I have had all day, but it has not hit me as hard as it has him. I feel really bad since he has one of those amazing immune systems and never gets sick, he just does not know how to deal with it. I have been giving him loads of tea which seems to be helping.
Today’s tea is Fu Man Chu, by Serendipitea, a blend of Organic Jasmine Petals, Organic Pouchong, and Organic Pu-erh. I need to start this review by saying that I have always wanted a Fu Man Chu mustache, I mean it is just so cool! Yeah I am one of those nerdy chicks with mustache envy, I think because it just looks fun to twirl while contemplating, I could twirl it while contemplating this tea! The aroma of this tea is quite unique, a blend of heady jasmine and earthy pu-erh. It is like a blend of blooming flowers and a garden after rain, it has that mineral and wet earth aroma. This tea smells like laying on one’s back in a summer garden, a very interesting concept.
Once the tea has been brewed the wet leaves get a bit of that market smell that I associate with some pu-erh, it is a bit metallic, earthy, and has a tiny bit of a wet river mud aroma at the finish. There is also a pretty potent jasmine aroma followed by a honeysuckle sweetness. The liquid is a heady blend of jasmine and orchid with an underlying earthiness and honey sweetness. It is pretty intense!
The taste if this tea is certainly interesting! It starts off sweet and heady, with a strong taste of orchid, honeysuckle, and jasmine. This transitions to earthy pu-erh with a touch of metallic and a slightly bitter finish. Sadly, even though I am always a fan of the unusual, I did not find this particular blend worked for me. It was too contrasting of tastes for me. I do recommend giving it a try though, it is so unusual that it is a tea that needs to be experienced at least once!
It has been one of those days, you know, the day that starts out kinda ok and then turns out bad because pain decides to slam you in the guts. Literally. The only thing I can do is take it easy and hope tomorrow will be better. If it isn’t I plan on spending the day doing something crafty. Actually, even if I do feel wonderful tomorrow I am going to spend it doing something crafty, I have not had a craft day in a while.
Today’s tea from SerendipiTea is definitely one for those who like the chocolate, or so the name Cocoa Power would have me believe. This tea is a blend of Cocoa Beans, Cocoa Powder, Chocolate Bits, Natural Chocolate Flavoring, Natural Cream Flavoring, Organic Pu-erh, Organic Rooibos, Natural Vanilla Flavoring, and White Chocolate Bits. This tea probably wins the award for the most amount of chocolaty things in a tea that I have looked at (so far) it is impressive how many types of chocolate related ingredients are in this tea. And good googly moogly, chocolate power indeed! The aroma is a great blend of earthy pu-erh, woody sweet rooibos, vanilla sweetness, and loads of chocolate. It is a blend of sweet chocolate candy and rich cocoa powder, mixing the sweet and bittersweet aspects of chocolate. I am glad that it is sweet, but not cloyingly so.
The now steeped leaves have an intensely rich aroma, not at all sweet though. There are notes of cocoa, earthiness, the tea smells heavy. This seems like an odd description, but it has a real weight to the aroma. The liquid is a bit cloudy from all the cocoa powder, almost making it like tea and hot cocoa. The aroma has the same heaviness to it, but it has caramel, chocolate, and woodiness, alongside the cocoa and earthiness.
This tea is a cup of cocoa decadence, that is, if you are a fan of dark chocolate. If you prefer the more milkier chocolate you might find yourself reaching for cream and sugar! This is not a very sweet chocolate tea, it starts smooth and rich, much like eating into an 80% cocoa dark chocolate bar (which if you have not done, I would seriously recommend) it has a slightly oily mouthfeel from the white chocolate bits as well. After the initial dark chocolate taste, it turns into earthy pu-erh with a slightly metallic and mineral taste at the finish, which is a very interesting contrast to the cocoa. I am not sure this is my favorite chocolate tea ever, but it is certainly very rich and unique!
Ooh, I love this. If not for the fact that I can see rooibos (both in the dry tea and the fact that the brew is red), I would barely know this is a rooibos at all. It really is a garden, with chamomile, lavender, mint, and rose blended perfectly so that I can taste each one. This is a super-relaxing herbal and I might have to get some for when my headaches are bothering me or I can’t get to sleep. Delicious!
I am so close to have the bedroom redone that I can almost taste it, not in a ‘I have been licking the furniture’ way either! There will be much rejoicing when I am finished because it has been taking so much time and energy, also the cats are in a tizzy over all the moving furniture. Pretty much all I have left to do now is put everything away and think of an official name for my new tea area, it just doesn’t feel right calling it a lair if I am not longer underground.
Today’s tea is an herbal blend from SerendipiTea, Fellini’s Folly, named for director Frederico Fellini. I am not too familiar with his work (not much of a film person) but his inspired tea caught my eye because of its ingredients: Rooibos, Peppermint, Golden Raisins, Anise, Orange Peel, and Licorice Root (all organic)…specifically the golden raisins (SULTANAS!) I love golden raisins, much more so than their darker counterparts which I will not even acknowledge. The aroma is quite strong, a potent chill of mint, sweet woodiness, a touch of licorice, a touch of anise, and a finish of raisins. It manages to be cooling and warming at the same time, an interesting contradiction.
Giving the tea a nice steeping brings out the sweeter notes. The wet leaves have an aroma that is a blend of honey, caramel, wood, and anise. There is a finish of citrus and then a nice pop of mint that lingers and cleans the sinuses. The liquid is a bit more subtle than the leaves, it has more or less the same notes, but they are gentle and a touch sweeter. I do believe that the aroma of sultanas is much stronger now, which makes me happy.
Tasting this tea is quite interesting! It starts off with a cooling sensation from the mint that cools all the way down my esophagus, but as soon as it passes into my stomach it blooms into soothing warmth. The taste, after the initial mint coolness fades, is sweet with notes of caramel, anise, and sultanas. There is a bit of licorice sweetness at the finish, but it is faint and not at all cloying like licorice can be. One thing I really liked about this tea is that the mint seemed to counteract the dryness from the rooibos that is usually present.
Happy Monday everyone, I feel absolutely awful, when I go to the Rheumatologist next week I am going to have to have a long conversation on why the medication he gave me stopped working and why I keep progressively feeling worse. Despite the pain I am in a good mood, I feel creative and inspired to do crafty things, a positive outlook (and copious amounts of tea) does make things better in the long run.
Today’s Tea is SerendipiTea’s Really Goethe, an award winning tea inspired by famous writer, philosopher, and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. This tea blends together Chinese Green Tea, Jasmine Petals, Laurel, Lemon Myrtle, and Rose Petals for a very pretty looking pile of leaves. The aroma is very floral and refreshing, with notes of heady roses and jasmine and a strong citrus note from the lemon myrtle. There are hints of honey sweetness and fresh vegetation as well.
The brewed tea has a nice zing of lemon myrtle, it is a fascinating scent blending the aroma of fresh lemon and a touch of crushed leaves. There are also hints of roses and jasmine with a touch of honey. The liquid is gently sweet and herbaceous with accompanying notes of roses and lemon myrtle.
Tasting the tea, it is quite delicate and refreshing, it blends the taste of fresh herbs and vegetation, floral notes and a bright citrus. It starts unassuming with the green notes and then transitions to roses and jasmine (like journeying from stem to blossom) and then finishes with lemon and a sweet, flower nectar aftertaste. This tea is really good on a day when you want something flavorful while not being overpowering, something that is gentle on the senses.