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Recent Tasting Notes
Sipdoooooown! 148. This is a triumphant one because it was old, I had a lot of this tea, and it was one I never thought I’d finish. But it’s gone! I have been cold steeping it since I started getting extra sensative to the bitter notes of its lowish-quality base. Cold steeped it was nice, creamy and floral without too much of any one flavor. Next!
I really need to get through some of the older teas in my cupboard. This happens to be one of the oldest I have, and I haven’t had it in forever. I loved it the first time I had it but then started tasting a bitterness in the base, and I have had so many other teas in my life I haven’t gone back to it. Well, time to have some today. I really have quite a lot of this left (it came in a 4oz pouch when I bought it… so much tea!), but reading my older tasting notes I see it makes a good cold brew, so that should help me get through it.
Brewing it at this cool of a temp seems to have helped, but this is definitely a tea that is still a bit rough around the edges. I am definitely more sensative to low quality base tea than I once was. Still, otherwise this is nicely floral and vanilla-y, and for me it’s a good combo of flavors. Reminds me of DavidsTeas Vanilla Orchid Oolong but on a black base instead of an oolong one.
I’m a bit disappointed that even with a low temp and short steep this one is still a little bitter… it’s kind of just a character of the black tea base, I guess, which is unfortunate. The florals are so powerful on this one it’s crazy, and I can definitely see people thinking it tastes perfumey, but it’s not quite there for me yet. It’s almost rosey, but not quite… orchidy, I guess. :) Fortunately this is really great cold steeped, so I will definitely enjoy it that way even if I can’t quite get the hot steep right. I did drop my rating since the hot steep is tainted by a bitterness I can’t seem to fix.
This was a fantastic cold brew. It far exceeded my expectations (ETA: although I suppose it shouldn’t have, as I apparently did a quick cold resteep the last time I drank it and it turned out very well, but I’m forgetful). A lot of teas I have are very nicely tasty as cold brews, but sometimes a tea will surprise you! I find that a lot of times that if a tea has vanilla, when cold brewed the vanilla will come out and take everything else over. The vanilla on this one remained nice and light: definitely present, but not overwhelming. It played so well with the very floral orchid notes. I will definitely be cold steeping this one again, though I’m coming to enjoy this tea so much I worry about going through it too quick… it’s not available online, and since I bought it at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens on a vacation a while back, there’s always a chance it won’t be there the next time I go back. Well, I still have plenty now, so I can worry about that in the future!
For some reason this tea was calling to me from my tea drawer, so I finally decided to brew a cup of it. I dropped the water temp this time because I remembered to go back and look at my previous tasting note, in which I say it was a little bit bitter.
This time the aroma of the steeped tea is again distinctly vanilla, with rose and other floral notes rounding it out. That lower steep temp took some of the bitterness out, but a little remains as it cools (shorter steep time also next time I guess). Not enough to be too distracting, though, and it’s definitely delicious. It’s that floral vanilla flavor, like really fresh vanilla beans. I suppose because it’s French Vanilla it should be creamier like custard, but all the florals just wipe that away. Don’t get me wrong, the tea is definitely smooth and rich, but in a different way than ice-cream style French Vanilla. Add to that strongly rosey, sweet, floral notes… this tea is definitely not for the (floral) faint at heart. Bumping my previous rating up a bit; if I can get rid of the last remaining twinges of bitterness, this could be amazing.
ETA: I “cool-brewed” this tea like I did with Rosy Earl Grey this morning for about an hour, maybe a bit longer. Even with that short of a cold-brew steep time, it’s really tasty. Very naturally sweet… it almost seems like I sweetened it! Floral and vanilla-y and of course no bitterness. Yum!
I picked up this tea up at the Cleveland Botanical Garden when I was there last week; the leaves they had out smelled pretty good, and though I rarely buy a full pouch of tea without sampling it first these days, I decided to get this one. This company doesn’t have any teas on Steepster (other than this one now), but they seem pretty cool because most of their teas are organic and fair trade. This tea doesn’t appear on the company’s website, and it has a specific “Cleveland Botanical Garden” label, which makes me think that this one is probably produced specifically for them (the company is based in Ohio).
Anyway, on to the tea. The smell of the dry leaf is very powerful, and hard to place. A hint of vanilla, some general floral, and maybe some fruity sweetness? The leaves are decently sized for a flavored tea, and there are tons of flowerpetals in the blend. I brewed it for my standard new-tea time, and it came out pretty dark. Brewed, the aroma mellows out into a pleasant black tea with very distinct vanilla notes with perhaps some florals underneath. The taste is a twinge bitter (will probably brew at less than boiling next time), but otherwise very pleasant. A fairly bold black tea with some honeyed notes, and overall a lovely vanilla that is almost a floral vanilla, if that makes sense, and less of a creamy vanilla. Given that this is a “vanilla orchid” tea, I suppose that’s the point. The rose is definitely there adding to the floral flavor and aroma.
Overall a really nice tea, and I’m glad I picked it up. Appropriate for a botanical garden, too!