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Recent Tasting Notes
Tea Sparrow tasting #1!
I’m not too experienced with Rooibos teas, but what I’ve had so far has been quite pleasant so I’m excited to give this one a go. I think tea sparrow sent out a similar one from a different vendor a few months ago, also to do with “apple pie in a cup”.
This one smells quite delicious; sweet apple cinnamon. First sip is a little underwhelming because I don’t get the same intensity of flavours as the aroma provides. Also, I can really taste the marzipan in there; unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan of marzipan… The tea is also not really sweet in itself, and falls a little flat in body.
Rather disappointed with this one. I’ll try brewing it for longer and sweeting it next time, maybe it will help bring out the flavours.
Edit: As the tea cooled I could taste more of the apple, but still no sweetness came through. I actually still found it rather sour.
I think my favourite steep was number three. The oolong had mellowed out somewhat and yet a hint of the jasmine still remained.
I gave up on the leaf after steep four. Four was pleasant enough, but the flavour of the leaf and the additions were done and another one would have been flogging a dead horse.
The tea is really pretty. I’ve been steeping in a clear glass canister and watching the dark tea, jasmine blossoms, and goji berries float around. Beautiful.
It is also possible that steep one and two were good, but I was too rushed to pay much tea attention. It’s been a bit of an overwhelming week. I need to chill before I crash. Rest breaks, rest breaks. I miss being able to power through with my endless energy supply like I used to do.A reminder to appreciate your health and wellness when you have it.
Flavors: Jasmine, Wood
A sample from Miss B. If nothing else, it certainly smells amazing! It’s another one that fills the whole kitchen with its glorious aroma. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it around 4 minutes in boiling water. It brewed up pretty dark, so I added a splash of milk. You can tell straight away that there’s chocolate in this one, because there’s an oily scrim that develops on the surface. It doesn’t affect the flavour or texture, though, so not a big issue. At least the chocolate melted!
To taste, there’s a very light irish cream flavour and a stronger, rich undertone of chocolate. It’s not nearly as flavourful as the scent would have me believe, which is a shame. It pleasant to drink, though – smooth, rich, and not overpowering, and it does taste of what it’s supposed to. The only memory I have to compare this one to is Butiki’s Irish Cream Cheesecake, which was a finicky brew but simply amazing when done right. This one isn’t quite on a par, but it’s a good contender. I’m finding that the irish cream flavour develops a little more as it cools, which is a welcome discovery. It’s a comforting cup of yum, no question!
A sample from Miss B. I can’t believe I’m still working through the box of samples she sent me, but I am. There seems to be no end to it! This one was lurking right at the bottom, or else I’d probably have got to it a lot sooner. I also feel like my cold has cleared up enough that I can try new things again, except for a niggly slightly-sore throat that I think is going to be around for a week or so yet.
I used a generous 1 tsp of leaf for this cup, and gave it around 4 minutes in boiling water. When I returned to the kitchen, it had filled the whole room with the scent of chocolate cake. Looks like I’m going to be popular at work today! I added a splash of milk.
The first sip tells me that the taste more than lives up to the scent. It’s very chocolatey straight away, with vanilla/cream notes in the mid-sip and a deliciously cookie/fudge finish. I’m guessing it’s the dates that are responsible for that – they’re rich and slightly sticky, and I can sort-of pick them out in the aftertaste. I love dates, though, so I’ve no problem with that.
Taken as a whole, this tea does remind me of oreo cookies. The initial sip is a lot more like chocolate cake than anything else, but it comes together remarkably well and by the end of the sip it’s definitely “biscuit” rather than “cake”. I appreciate that it doesn’t taste watered down in the way that some chocolate teas can – it’s not like hot chocolate with too much water added, and that’s always a bonus.
I actually have some cookies to eat with this one – not oreo because I’m on the gluten free these days and I can’t have those anymore. They are triple chocolate, though, and rather delicious, so I’m going to sit and eat those with my cookie tea and pretend I’m not at work for a while. It’s a plan.
A sample from Miss B. This one actually reminds me quite a lot of 52 Teas Cinnamon Roll Honeybush, only it’s a black tea…and all the better for it. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water, no additions. The liquor is a medium golden brown, and the scent reminds me of warm danish pastries – sweet, a little pastry like. My colleague said it made her think of toast, but I guess some people are just a bit odd.
To taste, it’s cinnamon roll in a cup. The cinnamon isn’t too sharp, just a prominent yet gentle spice. The vanilla is the really amazing thing here, creating a flavour very much like icing, and adding a distinctive creamy sweetness that lingers well into the aftertaste. The black tea base is smooth and allows everything to shine nicely without really making itself too conspicuous. This might be flavoured tea heaven!
Many thanks to Miss B for sharing this with me. It’s been an unexpected hit, and I’m very glad to have tried it :)
I really enjoy the pairing of chocolate and pu’erh. and who I am kidding, I love chocolate. This tea is more of a dark chocolate though, I didn’t find it sweet. There wasn’t any meringue pieces in my scoop though so that might have something to do with it. I don’t know if I would label this as “truffle” though.
I really enjoyed this one. I didn’t find the flavouring to be too strong, which is nice sometimes.
I think I would add this tea to an order if I made one to Tea Desire. I have only tried one other tea from there I think.
A strange, delicate, and lovely tea this one.
Who knows what bamboo is supposed to taste like? Here, each sip is a mellow variation of straw, strawberry tart, and sweet fruit tastes with a heavier silkier mouth feel than you would expect from such mild flavours. I am quite enjoying this pleasant evening tea. Gentle on my spirit after a trying day. Like a gentle camomile hug without the camomile.I look forward to shaking the bag up a bit more and steeping a bit longer to see what flavours develop.
And as for the question of what bamboo is supposed to taste like, I guess I will find out soon because one of my Black Friday sale teas is a bamboo-based one from Zen Teas.
Flavors: Red Fruits, Straw, Strawberry
Reuniting with an old favourite of mine. I haven’t had this tea lately because I’ve been drinking tea at work a lot for the past couple of months, so much so that I don’t feel like drinking it at home very often. I’ve gotten back into enjoying a lot of tea recently, especially after re-organizing my tea cupboard nicely. It’s so much more relaxing seeing nicely put on the shelf instead of the hap-hazard piles of tea I had a couple days ago!
Oh, Buddha Bamboo, you still smell so enticingly delicious. So crisp and fruity, but in a deeper sense than just “fruit”! There is a wonderful mix of aromas that this tea gives, so I cannot identify what it is exactly about it that makes it so enjoyable to breathe deeply. It’s kind of a sweet and fruity mix, with some other subtle undertones that give it much more depth.
I gave it lots of leaf for this brew, but I forgot that I like to leave it in extra long to tease out all of the subtle flavours that don’t get a chance to make it into the tea in just a few minutes of brewing. I’ll have to remember that for next time; good thing I still have enough leaf for a couple more brews.
Sample courtesy of the lovely MissB! I’ve been meaning to try this out out but kept passing on it because in the store, it didn’t even smell like much of anything, so it’s great to get this.
I’m not sure how old this batch is, but the dry leaf didn’t smell like much, and unfortunately, didn’t taste like much either. I just got a vague sweetness behind the typical Tea Desire black base, but it doesn’t hint at a cookie-like flavour in any way. I added some light cream and it felt like I was drinking a weak cup of black tea.
I would still try this again in the future. Maybe I’ll be lucky and they’ll be offering it as a free tea of the day next time I make a trip.
From the Teeny Tiny Tea Box!
This tea smells like just your average black tea. There were tiny nodes of… tan stuff in it? It looked like tiny chunks of brown sugar or something.
Steeping it, it smells like a bright black tea. No irish cream smell.
Tasting it… blech. I don’t know??? Is this how Irish Cream is supposed to smell like? Maybe it’s just gone bad since I’ve had it for so long D:
Reading all the other notes, I think my tea has just gone bad. Darn. I wish I drank it when I got it!
I’ve never had Irish Cream before, but I did have the chance to try it a couple months ago! I took a class called Wines, Beers and Spirits where we mainly learned about the process of making wines and different wines and all. Of the 20 meetings we had, 18 of them was wine related, 1 day for beer, and 1 day for spirits. Spirits day we had 9 different ones and they were in teeny tiny little cups. Probably not even 1/2 an oz of each spirit, but by the end, I was gone hahaha. IT WAS ALL FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES OKAY. But at the end, my professor told us about other stuff and he brought out a thing of Bailey’s and all the people who wanted to could get a taste of Bailey’s, but I opted out bc I couldn’t hold that much alcohol in my body ahha.
I’m a lightweight okay. I’m like 5 foot 2, weighing 110 pounds, and I always just limit myself to 1 drink whenever I go out with my friends, and that’s probably just once a month. So yes, very much a lightweight ahhaha.
Oh how I love these caramel pu-erhs. Thanks for the sale, MissB! This one is delicious. Sometimes in teas the caramel cubes don’t actually look like edible caramel cubes… they might look a little dry. These caramel cubes actually look like tinier versions of those wrapped caramel cubes you can buy in a bag that actually ARE edible… and there are plenty of them in the blend. The fragrance is very caramely but I’m not sure if it’s from the caramel cubes or added flavoring. But the flavor is very sweet and is great with the medium strength ripened pu-erh. It might only be a deep red cup rather than dark black though because of all those caramel cubes – less pu-erh leaves!
Steep #1 // 1 tsp // 7 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3-4 min
This is very chocolatey, and the richness of the puerh does give it a more dark chocolate vibe without being bitter or lacking any creaminess. I am normally not super into chocolate teas (as I usually then just wish I had the real thing) but I was pretty pleased with this, and how it retained some flavor as I resteeped.
Grabbed this one in store iced; the sales associate actually kind of warned me against it saying it’s probably the worst fruit blend the store caries and her least favourite and, well, for me that’s basically like issuing a challenge. I just had to try it and really see for myself.
Admittedly, the dry leaf really doesn’t seem promising; it’s very intensely tart and sour and I’m struggling to see how the blueberry or cream are going to be playing into this. I actually couldn’t believe there isn’t hibiscus in this; the smell seems so hibiscus-like!
The taste is actually better than I was led to believe it would be though it’s not really ideal either; it’s like sour blueberry candies. For me that’s a negative; I’m not into blueberry unless it tastes very natural, and to make that claim about this flavor would be a stretch. It’s got such a sharp, tart taste, as well as some rather apple-y notes. I still don’t get how there can’t be hibiscus in this blend – the taste is there! The colour is even indicative of hibiscus; it’s got that bright redish pink hue. To be fair, it is pretty obvious that’s from the beetroot though.
There’s something else that’s off about this blend; for a blend which has ‘cream’ in the name that flavor is very absent. Even looking at the ingredients list, there isn’t really a single ingredient that could be construed as creamy. I also think it should probably be a rule that when you’re trying to make a creamy tea you DON’T include beetroot. Unless, of course, it’s a ‘beetroot and cream’ tea, in which case the beetroot is probably pretty essential to accurately capturing the flavour.The name of this blend is simply, and painfully, inaccurate. The taste itself could be worse; but there’s lots of room for improvement, and alongside a bad name it’s just a bit of a flop.