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Recent Tasting Notes
This is my wife’s all time favorite tea, and I’ve curious about doing a second kombucha ferment with tea, so this is my first step down that road. I brewed it strong and added sugar before mixing it with my kombucha and letting it sit on the counter for three days. After the third day I stuck it in the fridge to cool and today I tried a sip while I was pouring it for the wifey. It wasn’t bad at all! I think she’ll really like it. It got just as fizzy as the other brews and I would call it a rousing success!
Er. Yeah. About that.
I have a confession to make: I am a sucker when it comes to marketing strategies. Mention pastries! Mention France! Mention potential swooning and hearts-for-eyes (or at least imply)! I’m basically a goner if/when all that happens. Which is how I ended up blindly buying this tea in my first Tealish order. Woo boy. Granted, the first time around, I don’t think I was being very fair. My sister, brother-in-law and I had gone for a late afternoon ice cream run, and when I came home, I brewed up some of this tea, hoping for a continuation in decadence.
It might have been the dairy in my body already. It might have been the heat. It might have been any number of factors. But my throat basically decided to do its best Gandalf impression and threw up its arms, all “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” I am not exaggerating when I say I got through that cup by pinching my nose, closing my eyes and taking large, quick gulps. And I still gagged every time.
Later outings with this tea: on some level, my body wanted to like it. There’s a pleasing sort of warmth to it as long I didn’t focus too much on the heavier, savoury spices. But God, they sit on the tip of the sip and just dangle their legs, all “Hey! Hey! Hey! We’re here! Do you see us?” And then I get all conflicted because this tea would be SO GOOD, or at the very least, MEDIOCRE AND DRINKABLE, if it wasn’t so much like a mouth punch. I kept drinking this tea in the hope that it would get better. It did not. When I finished my stash, I breathed a sigh of relief. Sweet, sweet relief.
Finally finished off the last of my bag (which was … overstuffed, for better or for worse). The only other incarnation of Monk’s Blend that I’d tried was waaaaaay back in the good old days of Teaopia. I remember getting a whiff and falling hard and fast, so I bought this one blindly, while running off of nostalgia. And to be fair, my tastes might have changed since the Stone Age, and Monk’s Blend might just not be for 2014-me. I found the scent to be on the verge of sickly-sweet, and beyond that, I thought the base tea was terribly bitter and cloying. I also found, on one occasion, two scraps of paper in the dry leaf?! (They were small and zig zagged, like the top part of a “Tear Here!” bag.) That . . . kind of made my face not know what to do with itself. So. To reiterate. I’m glad this blend is gone from my tea collection, and I don’t think I’ll be getting anymore in the future.
(Note: Actually, I’m starting to realize I don’t enjoy fruity black teas as much I used to/imagined. More and more, I’m turning to maltier, breadier blacks, which is nice to know for future buys.)
Virtually identical to Forever Nuts from David’s Tea, to the point that I wouldn’t be surprised if both companies source from the same supplier. It’s not too much of a stretch for many different companies to have an apple/cinnamon/almond blend, but the inclusion of beetroot in both is what makes me raise a dubious eyebrow. In any case, it’s a winning flavour combination that reminds me of apple pie and oatmeal cookies with cinnamon. I initially found this one slightly less cinnamon-y than Forever Nuts, but I’ve noticed that the flavour of Forever Nuts can be wildly inconsistent with each purchase (sometimes it’s more spicy, other times, more nutty), so maybe that’s the case with Toasty Almond, as well. Both infusions suffer if over-steeped, taking on a strange tang, which may be attributable to either the apple or the beetroot. Both are good, but Forever Nuts is more easily accessible to me, so I doubt I’ll pick up Toasty Almond again.
I liked it well-enough. Tastes like it says it will: orange marzipan. I feel like this one is kind of a springtime tea for me, when the weather still cold enough for me to crave sweet, comfort-food flavours, but at the same time warm enough for me to start feeling starved for lighter, fruitier fare.
Ohh-ho, golly… This is a tough one to review. It’s not that I didn’t like the flavour. I found it unique; spicy and sweet, and plenty strong enough for me. The problem is that one of the spices it contains is cumin. Cumin leaches through my pores at a surprising rate, and leaves me smelling, uh, a tad whiffy. So, it’s a no-go for me, I’m afraid. I think I’d feel quite differently about this one, though, if it didn’t make me smell like a farm animal on a hot day, so don’t let my experience scare you off.
I just. No. Nope. Not happening. At least, not for me? Short steeps, long steeps, different temperatures in water … nothing works. It has a kind of odd play-doh / scratch-n-sniff sticker smell, and on a good day I can get a tiny bit of creamy, vegetal note on the back of my tongue, which, hey, oolong, nice of you to join us, but for the most part, this tea tastes like nothing. I tried, but it’s just not gonna work out between us.
I snagged this from the Here’s Hoping tea box when it was around. Steep #1 was the last run of my Bodum kettle. Steep #2 was microwaved. This one doesn’t seem to get much love from Steepster, but I like the idea of a caramel Formosa oolong. This was actually what I expected it to be. I liked it! There is a darkness to the oolong that pairs well with the sweet and creamy caramel flavor. The name is entirely accurate. The Formosa here seems like a lighter black tea. The second cup was even tastier. Plenty of caramel to go around. I guess I’m such a tea addict I like teas that most others do not.
Steep #1 // 8 min after boiling // 4 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 6 min
GCTTB Rd 3:
This is definitely an interesting herbal. It is sweet, tart, and spicy all in one. The hibiscus hits your tongue first but orange follows shortly after adding a citrus flare as opposed to a hibby tart and then the slight cinnamon flavor pushes it’s way through giving you a touch of spice. All the while the almond and vanilla mellows out all the competing flavors to keep them from overpowering the whole cup. Definitely an interesting cup so thank you mewakeling for the chance to try it out.
Finally getting around to trying this tea. As a big fan of lemon dessert teas, I’m very excited to drink this cup! The scent of the dry leaf is wonderfully lemony and creamy.
Sipping… mmm. I like the strong lemon note and the pastry-like finish. There’s a very nice balance between the sweet and tart flavors. I also find the lemon to be a bit stronger than other lemon dessert teas and that’s just fine with me! There isn’t a strong creamy note which I think would have made this tea even more special. It is sweet enough, though, and has a pastry-like quality.
I guess I wish that there were more variety with these lemony dessert teas — they all end up tasting about the same to me. Well, this was a very good cup and I did enjoy the stronger lemon flavor in this one, so I think I can say that this takes a spot in my favorite lemon meringue/pie/dessert teas.
I’m writing this tasting note under this tea even though I think it might have a new name, “Dulce De Leche” — not sure if it has different ingredients, but I think it’s the same tea. I love the little caramel pieces in the dry leaf! The scent of this cup is very sweet with just a bit of oolong peeking out.
Sipping… I’m surprised that the flavor of this tea isn’t that strong. I do taste caramel and it’s a very nice round caramel flavor. It’s not only sweet, but has that buttery, milky character that makes caramels so delicious. I’m impressed that this flavor can be present in a tea! What I don’t like about this cup is that it’s rather drying and sharp. The oolong doesn’t really seem to contribute anything to this blend, only that drying quality with a hint of wood. Sad, because this tea has such potential to be delicious!
Thank you MissB for including this in my mystery pack I received months ago. It smelled so good and from the ingredients I knew I would have to save it and try it iced. I’ve noticed lately that I sometimes enjoy currant in tea especially cold and cinnamon adds something different to berry teas but I’m not sure what I think about pepper and berry together yet. This was a nice berry tea that I cold brewed and forgot I had it in the fridge so it was a nice surprise when I came home to find it waiting for me to drink.
Delicious! I’m amazed how much this tastes like its namesake with only a few natural ingredients to pull it off! Very smooth, not too harsh at lemon teas can be, and the flourish of vanilla at the end is perfect! One of the best Rooibos teas I’ve had the pleasure of tasting! Big thanks to Cavocorax for sending a sample to my wife :)
Backlog from last night.
This note isn’t going to be so much about this tea as what happened to me before I drank it.
Last night, I finally sent out my swap package to Ost (~hi there, Ost!~). I brought the baggies of tea with me to the post office and then chose a padded envelope for everything.
I’ve been to this post office before, and the person behind the counter is almost always this sweet old woman with grey hair. She looks like she’s a nice person, you know? Competent, knowledgeable, demure – just someone who projects an air of comfort. She doesn’t raise a fit if I don’t know how much the package weighs beforehand, for example.
So, I’m stuffing the bags into the envelope and writing the mailing address on the front, and I’ve got the envelope all sealed up. She’s putting in the destination zip code and measuring the weight to see how much the postage will be, and she asks me if I’m doing something more with tea.
Nine times out of ten, now, if I go to the post office, it’s because it’s got something to do with a tea package. She’s noticed this by now, obviously. So I say “yes” and tell her all about Steepster. The conversation below is heavily paraphrased:
“Oh, I’m part of this site, and we review tea, and we talk about what tea we’re drinking. We share tea, too – so I might try something and then we arrange swaps so other people can try the same teas.”
“That sounds nice!”
“It’s fun! I’m sending out a swap right now, that’s why I’m here.”
“So what did you send out this time?”
“Oh, I sent out a black tea with [flavour redacted, because I want it to be a surprise for Ost], black tea with chestnut flavour, black tea with caramel, some green tea with [flavour redacted so it will be a surprise for Ost].”
Meanwhile, all the while, she sounds so excited, saying things like “that sounds delicious!” and “wow, that’s so neat”. I sense I’ve got a budding tea convert here.
“So what sort of teas do you like?”
And then we spend the next 5 or so minutes talking about different tea flavours, where I buy all these different kinds of tea from, and even fancy/novelty-shaped infusers.
The long story short, ladies and gentlemen, is that the next time I go to the post office, I’m going to give that nice old lady some of the teas in my cupboard to try. Baby steps, though: she likes sweet things and herbals; I’m sure that if I even tried to tell her about pu’erh it would blow her mind.
I’m reminded of a comment that ashmanra made in one of her tasting notes a few weeks ago: “Tea makes friends. Friends make tea.”
Well, it looks like I’ve made a new friend! :-D
By the way, this lemon meringue tea was ok. I just needed something without caffeine, and I also got to break in my new Mr. Tea steeper.
Backlog from last night:
As part of my new challenge to get to only 50 teas in my cupboard by September (I’ve got a whole bunch of stuff coming in, plus a TTB, so it will probably be difficult even with easy sipdowns), I decided to revisit this, which was quite lemony and meringue-y the first time I tried it.
Perhaps I wasn’t paying enough attention, but the flavours weren’t quite as apparent today. However, I did realize one blindingly obvious reason why I liked it – it was a mix of red and green rooibos!
I really don’t have any green rooibos in my collection aside from this tea. But alas, I will choose not to remedy this and instead stay strong on day 2 of my official tea-buying hiatus. :-)
Ahh, so now I see what the fuss is about with all this stuff around chiffon/citrus rooibos teas!
I oversteeped this slightly (8 minutes instead of the recommended 4-6) and this tea was a rosy amber colour instead of bright red. And even better – it didn’t get that woody taste that some rooibos teas can get. Instead, I got a nice flavour of lemon candy, though that could also be due to the lemon honey I added. It was sweet lemon rather than sour lemon, and as the tea cooled, I could taste the vanilla/meringue flavour more.
This was quite tasty. Thanks to Ubacat for sending me a sample!