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Recent Tasting Notes
Thank you VariaTEA for the sample! I feel like this one probably made its way to you from someone else like Sil though. Am I right? She’s usually our TeaG supplier.
Rooibush Panna Cotta Rhubarb Cream is probably the longest tea blend name ever…
Well, not really. It is pretty lengthy, though. And tacking on the “TeaGshwendner” certainly doesn’t help.
Ok; starting off with a confession: Not only have I never had Panna Cotta, but prior to trying this tea I didn’t know what it was either. I most certainly had to do an internet search, but now that I do know what it is I’m actually kind of embarrassed I didn’t. What originally caught my attention with this one was absolutely the rhubarb; I’ve been on a bit of a personal rhubarb kick lately: beer, pie, jam, yogurt and of course tea.
Dry, there isn’t a whole lot to this tea. It has a very, very mildly fruity scent but nothing super characteristic of rooibos and apart from one small little piece of cube shaped rhubarb my measured out leaf is all fine pieces of rooibos. As the tea was steeping, it started to smell a little bit stronger but still mostly maintained a predominantly rooibos only sort of scent.
The taste thankfully delivers some flavour although not nearly as much as I’m wanting. The whole front end of the sip is straight rooibos – albeit a pretty good one without any medicinal or woodchip kind of notes present. That said, people who dislike the taste of rooibos, good or bad, will want to steer clear of this one: trust me, you’re going to taste a lot of it. The other flavour kicks in the end of the sip and the aftertaste. And it’s pretty subtle; a bit of sweetness and a little bit of tang similar to the natural tartness of rhubarb. It’s also a little bit apple-y. I’m struggling a little bit to pick up the cream/custard of the ‘Panna Cotta’ but there is something about the tartness of the rhubarb that reminds me a little bit of Greek Yogurt, so perhaps that’s more derived from the panna cotta.
I don’t sweeten my teas, but I could possibly be inclined to add the tiniest pinch of sugar to this one because I just have that gut feeling that it’d make a world of difference. However, without the sugar the flavour of this one is definitely lacking. However, this could be a winner for someone who doesn’t mind rooibos and who is looking for something subtly flavoured.
Thanks to Sil (I’m pretty sure) for the tea! I remember asking for this one in a swap once, I’m pretty sure, though I don’t recall with who. They only had a cups worth though, so I was more than ok with not trying it. And turns out it worked out so I get to taste it anyway!
I cold brewed my sample; it’s been absolutely, breathtakingly gorgeous here lately so I’m not making hot tea for my commute to work anymore – which means I’ve had to be a little bit creative with what I’m picking out for cold brews. And since it’s a jumble of tea types, part of me was also relieved about not having to figure out what temperature to brew this one at hot.
This was a very weird tea; there’s certainly a lot going on with it. I tried it semi blindly; I hadn’t looked it up before hand but I had seen reviews on it so I knew to somewhat expect strawberry and caramel notes. Otherwise, I had no prior knowledge.
My experience was that the oolong stood out the most of all the teas mixed in here; and then the black tea – didn’t really pick up anything particularly like green tea. Perhaps the little bit of nuttyness at the front of the sip? But that note could be attributed to the other base teas as well. In addition to some nuttyness, I noticed a fair bit of toastier notes and mineral notes at the start of the sip; this is partially what made the oolong stick out a little more for me.
This transitioned into the body of the tea, which had a sort of ‘medium’ sweetness and richness to it; definitely the caramel. While this flavour was strongest in the middle of the sip, it was still present all throughout. The finish is where the strawberry kicked in for me; though I found it more of a soft, generic red berry sort of flavour and a lot less distinctly like strawberry.
Now that I’ve looked up the tea I know there are also some floral ingredients. I don’t recall pinpointing anything distinctly floral at all – but it is possible (though perhaps a bit of a stretch) that the presence of these flavours, if there at all, were just kind of smooshed in with the flavour of the oolong for me. With all that was going on with this tea I think it’d be perfectly reasonable for me to have missed them again.
I would totally drink this again; the impression I got is that this is definitely one of those teas that gets better the more you drink it. Thank you Sil!
Thank you Sil for letting me try some of this tea! However, seeing as it was a blend of green tea, black tea, and oolong, I had no clue how to steep this. I tried 3 minutes at 175F and the result is an oolongy caramel tea. As in the oolong is the main component I am tasting while the caramel just creeps up near the end of the sip. Plus, as I bring the tea to my mouth, I get just a hint of vegetal flavoring from the green. It’s not bad but not something I will be seeking out again. Still it was fun to try. 197.
I remember the first time I tried to drink buttermilk. As an old friend once commented, “it’s one of those things that sounds like it should be amazing but is actually gross.” It’s not something you typically want to drink straight. The buttermilk was salty, tangy, sour and surprisingly thin, in a filling way.
Luckily this tea, this tea has all of the core flavours of buttermilk without the yucky result. It’s still hard to drink lots of, but it is more reminiscent of dessert than raw baking ingredient. The lemon, which adds its own tangy sweetness, probably helps out with that.
I left some sitting out overnight, and it now possesses a note akin to flat root beer. It’s not as good but still quirky fun. Thanks, Sil and OMGsrsly, for sharing this one!
Flavors: Almond, Butter, Cream, Lemon
WOW – is this ever RED – it looks like red food coloring in cup.
I like it – it makes me happy. This sample is all cherry, maybe just a hint of banana in the back but that might be wishful thinking. Doesn’t matter cherry is one of my favorite things and while this is a little candyish – it’s not cough syrup, so that is just fine by me.
Really tart, really juicy, really cherry – what’s not to love.
Thank you so much Sil for sending a sample of this my way.
Thanks for letting me sample this one, Sil! I actually really quite like it. There’s a creaminess to it, and an almost custardy lemon flavour. Not strongly lemony at all, though, which is kind of nice. Really pleasant base tea and lingering creamy/custardy aftertaste. I’d like to get my hands on more of this at some point, I think. Delicious.
Received this one from Sil – thank you so much.
I cold steeped most of this sample overnight and it is a pretty nice fruity tea. I think the bamboo is a little distracting – would prefer it without. I’m not sure that strawberry is the correct word for this, it’s fruity and maybe a bit berry ish, but it doesn’t scream strawberry.
I hot steeped the last of the sample tonight and it again doesn’t scream strawberry to me, it’s a little citrus and some weirdness that I’m calling bamboo. I actually like it better hot than cold, but it’s not something that I just have to have more of.
Thanks Sil for the opportunity to try it.
I wanted so badly to try this when I first saw reviews of it, and Sil was kind enough to send me some.
I think I may have built this up a bit in my head, because I ended up not being all that impressed with it. It’s an alright creamy lemon tea, but the black base is kind of meh, and it lacks that tanginess that I expect if something is supposed to be both buttermilk and lemon flavoured.
I’m really glad I had a chance to try this, and also really glad that I didn’t end up placing an order specifically to get my hands on this (shipping + exchange rate would have been painful.) Having tea friends who share is so great :)
Flavors: Creamy, Lemon
Have been drinking black teas all day from the incredible samples that Sil sent me. What I’ve learned:
– there is still a TON that I don’t know about black teas.
- I like black tea out of a ceramic mug rather than a glass cup.
I don’t usually do very well with Assam, but am willing to try almost anything. I’m not getting any smoky out of this one. It’s pretty light and has some of that grape y white wine high note thing that I’m not really fond of. I don’t think this is astringent but it has just a touch of the – suck the dryness out of your mouth thing. (Yes I’m making it up as I go along – but these are just my impressions.)
Thanks Sil for a fun day of black teas – and I still have some more picked out for tomorrow – tonight – I need to move onto something else.
Queued Tasting Note. Sample comes courtesy of Sil!
Cold brewed this one (12 hours give or take an hour or two) because, since it’s intended for ‘iced’ tea that seemed like a good idea. I don’t really drink ‘iced’ tea anyway; I don’t have an kitchen equipment for making ice and never seem to be able to remember to pick up like an ice cube tray or something. So it’s just not really a convenient or realistic way for me to make tea.
This has a semi-sweet, authentic lime flavour with a touch of peel/rind and bitterness. I recently learned the term “pith” (from my word a day Calendar, funnily enough) and I’m surprised how many teas I’ve been able to apply it to that I’ve recently had – but I think it could apply a little bit to this one as well. There’s also some faint lemon notes and, at the end of the sip, a really subtle cream flavour. The black base is brisk with a little bit of pleasant astringency.
This is pretty good as a cold brew; definitely a bit better than ‘average’ although I’ve certainly had better lime teas, even recently, and it’s not something that I’d want to order for myself. It’s just missing something that makes the lime flavour ‘jump’, if you will. Sure, maybe sweetner could make this a little more vibrant but I think it boils down to not having enough ingredients to create a in depth, ‘round’ flavour. It’s just a touch flat/monotone.
Flavors: Bitter, Cream, Lemon, Lime
Hmm.. I am still searching for a lovely creamy strawberry rooibos/honeybush, but I haven’t found one that I truly love. This one isn’t bad, but it is stronger on the rooibos and you really have to search for the strawberry. I don’t see why this is called “Strawberry Cream” as the cream isn’t present at all. I will finish up what I have, but I wish that it had more of a strawberry cream flavor. For me, it’s a simple rooibos with a faint strawberry note.
This is a sipdown and a first try (from Sil) all at once.
I’m not super upset about the fact that I have no more about this, but given that my stomach has been acting less than optimally lately I thought this would be the perfect time to try it. It was only as I was like 4 minutes in the steeping process that I saw the “DON’T STEEP FOR MORE THAN TWO MINUTES” warning. Whoops. I yanked it out and hoped for the best.
Okay. So, because this was in a drawer with all other samples I didn’t really get to SMELL the spiciness of it. But I sure as heck tasted it. What happens is you think “Ah, this isn’t bad, what’s everyone else talking abou — huh. My mouth is now exploding inward.”
So that happened. It was too strong for me, too savory, couldn’t finish the cup but don’t feel right rating this as I didn’t truly try it when the spice-level was something more on par with my tastes.
It was definitely a wake up call, though. This is a tea that could probably wake the dead. If you like spicy then this is DEFINITELY your bag.
Thanks Sil for letting me try this. I may have messed it up though – I didn’t realize it was a big jumble of different teas instead of a black blend, and so I went for 4 minutes at boiling. WHOOPS.
I did taste strawberry and some nice black notes, but it was also a little bitter too. Very interesting though! I won’t rate it, but I think I’d be interested in trying it again at a later date.
Thank you OMGsrsly for sharing but I think I messed this up terribly. All I am getting is a creamy honeybush in both smell and taste. I know this tea is so much more than that so I am sure it is personal error. Such sadness because I had high hopes for this one. Still, thank you for sharing your beloved tea!!
Sipdown (and a sample from the lovely Sil!) late last night while reading. My book list seems to be expanding faster than I can keep up, but it’s cold outside, and there’s plenty of tea inside so I’m thinking I’ll manage somehow. :)
Luckily I read the tasting notes before making this or I would have been CONVINCED that this was the wrong tea. I wasn’t expecting caramel at all, in the scent or in the flavor, especially with hibiscus as an ingredient! Usually everything kind of fades to the background with all the tart flavor. I didn’t do much to help the situation, either, by steeping this sucker for EIGHT MINUTES.
In retrospect, whoops.
But the caramel really did a good job holding its own here – not in the middle of the sip, because HIBISCUS, but a nice sweetness took over at the end to make up for some of the metallic, sour tartness. It had a lovely juicy texture – reminded me of cranberry juice a bit, actually- and overall was pretty well balanced. I think the only thing I want to say negative about it is that my tastebuds seemed to get fatigued with it – they seemed less sensitive to the nuances over time and towards the last 4 oz. all I got was tangy hisbiscus and no more caramel.
It was a nifty tea and something to experience for sure! Thanks again Sil for sending some my way!
Flavors: Caramel, Metallic, Tangy, Tart
Thank you to Sil for this sample!
This is really delightful. The smell of the dry leaf is all grapefruit, and very intense.
I didn’t realize this was an herbal when I was steeping it – I guessed green tea and treated it as such – 80C, 2min. And it’s delicious. The dominant note is grapefruit (I suppose pomelo, though it tastes more like grapefruit than pomelo to me.) Then I get lemongrass and a sweetness that’s reminiscent of coconut. I can’t quite pick out the bamboo, though I’m guessing it’s contributing to the sweet flavour.
Flavors: Coconut, Grapefruit, Lemongrass, Sweet
Brewed for 10 minutes.
Amazing balance of flavour. The lemongrass is not at all over-powering (just a bit of a flatness in the aftertaste)- the bamboo flavour is able to come through well. Sweetness in the background. There’s some kind of fruity body to this- like I can imagine biting into a fresh pomello. No off-flavouring.
Thanks to Sil for sharing!
Flavors: Bamboo, Citrus, Sweet
A Chinese green tea with the addition of Jasmine. Nice, light tea with distinct Jasmine aroma and flavor but not very bold. Kind of fights with the tea for dominance. Slightly astringent at the end. Beautiful deep golden color suggests a tea heavier than it is. Re-steeping lead to a lighter colored tea with the Jasmine essence much diminished bit but with lots of green tea flavor still showing up. Second steeping only 1 1/2 minutes to try and preserve a bit of floral flavor and reduce astringency.
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Herbaceous, Jasmine
Wonderfully strong aroma of marzipan. Wish the flavor was as strong. Not a bad tea though, just had hoped for a bit more almond/marzipan flavor. Can still pull a bit of marzipan out of a second steeping but by number 3 not much left other than black tea. A little sweetening helps bump up the marzipan flavor, but still disappointing compared to the aroma.