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Recent Tasting Notes
Sipdown (18/254)! So my cupboard may have exploded again…
and there’s more coming
I went home this weekend for my mam’s birthday and have been too busy to post anything for a few days. This is a backlog from Friday night. This sounded really warming, so I had it on a cold night waiting for my dad in the rain. It was nice enough, although I got absolutely no chilli whatsoever. I brewed it for ages, too, as I left it steeping while I was making sure I’d packed everything. The cardamom was pretty strong in both the initial sip and aftertaste, which is probably one of my least favourite chai ingredients. The other spices came through a little after the initial whoomf of cardamom, but the chilli itself was nowhere to be found. I would probably have been happier with it if the ‘chilli’ was omitted from the name.
Another one I forgot to remove from my cupboard a while ago. If I’m remembering right, this was the first time I tried a jasmine tea, a flavour which I still love. Despite my usual indifference to/slight dislike of green tea, I can drink it all day when paired with jasmine. For now, I have a few better loose jasmine greens, but when I first tried this, it was mind-blowing to me. The jasmine isn’t so subtle the green tea overpowers it, but it also isn’t too strong that it’s offputting or perfume-like. A delicate and tasty match, overall. Possibly my favourite of the Teapigs teas I have tried.
At some point, I really must pick up another bag of this to try again. I bought only one from a teashop nearby, and didn’t realise I hadn’t logged it until now.
This was very early on in my tea enthusiast days, and (I am ashamed to admit), I poured boiling water straight onto it, completely ruining the delicate tea. At the time I hated it, and wondered why anyone would enjoy drinking such a thing, but I now realise that I messed up and it had nothing (or very little) to do with the tea itself. A fair review is in order in the future. This cup just tasted bitter.
I have a box of this, loose-leaf, and it really was the tea that turned me on to drinking leaf-tea.
I just love it. I’ve only had two other jasmine teas in my time, but this one is such an easy-brewing (and extremely forgiving), deliciously floral tea. It’s exactly what I want from a Jasmine Green.
It works well as a ‘mug’ tea with a basket (I tend to use a generous 1 – 1.5 tsp in ~300ml and brew it for two mins or so) or as a more refined, lots-of-short-steeps tea (again, I’ve used ~1 tsp in ~150ml and brewed for 30-45 s at a time). It does get very bitter if you oversteep, I should add, but this isn’t a problem I tend to encounter.
I love this as an everyday Jasmine tea. The jasmine is delicious and strong, without becoming cloying or excessive. And the green base that they use adds a really nice floral, fruity undertone that just rounds off this great, bargain tea.
Flavors: Flowers, Fruity, Jasmine
I have tried this tea so many times, always in single serving sachets, and never gotten around to reviewing it for reasons unknown. Now that I have an official sipdown box, and have put it in my kitchen right next to the kettle, I am far more inclined to go for the teas I need to get rid of over the favourites I seem to keep going back to. This was right on the top, and as it was my final serving (I don’t plan on buying more), I guess the time has come to review it!
I actually drank this a couple of days ago, so the note will probably not be too detailed. It wasn’t really that complex to begin with, though, so I don’t think it will be too affected.
Each time I try this tea, I convince myself that this time I will be able to taste the chocolate, and each time, I am wrong. I have tried different steeping times, different amounts of water, different additives and even used two bags on one occassion. I have had it prepared in-store and I still couldn’t taste any chocolate! The Tea Pigs black tea base is fairly pleasant, with little astringency, so I can drink the cup easily enough. It smells sweet when brewing, and actually reminds me of cocoa butter rather than cocoa itself. The taste also reminds me of cocoa butter, perhaps a little more vanilla than chocolate. I have found it to taste pretty similar no matter how I drink it, and the additives don’t really seem to alter the flavour much. A pretty average tea, disappointing if you are expecting chocolatey chocolate.
I have a long way to go…
EDIT: I’ve just realised that this is my 50th tasting note! Wooo! If only it were a more positive one ):
This is a delicious herbal infusion of lemon and ginger. It’s not too tart from the lemon, nor is it too spicy from the ginger. The balance of both form the perfect flavor combination. This is a light enough tea to enjoy any time of the day.
The ingredient list includes whole forms of: ginger, lemongrass, lemon peel, and licorice root.
Although I typically prefer loose-leaf, If you’re looking for a well balanced, flavorful herbal blend though, and enjoy the convince of tea pyramids/temples, then I’d really recommend, “Lemon and Ginger” from TeaPigs. Also, I had a very good experience with both shipping and the company in general, so I find them to be an excellent company! Some, not all of their teas are also available in Fresh Market, if you have one near you.
Flavors: Ginger, Lemon, Lemongrass, Licorice
I love this fruit blend! I’ve already polished off an entire box of it and can’t wait to place another order. It is sweet, yet not cloying. The fruits used all meld together in a terrific burst of flavor. This is one I can enjoy throughout the day and the evening as well. This is my second favorite fruity tea blend. The only one I’ve tried that outranked this would be the fruit blend from Storm Tea, which I found once in a Homegoods, and haven’t been able to find locally since then. If you’re in the market for a nice fruity tea and just want to try something different, I highly recommend this blend. (Trust me, you’ll want the larger box!).
This is my favorite English Breakfast Tea! It is bold, yet never bitter. It is excellent on its own, or paired with milk and raw sugar. This is my go-to morning blend. The combinations of the leaves used it this tea give it a rich, strong flavor and maybe even a hint of sweetness too. Definitely give this blend a try!
My only complaint is that this isn’t available in loose-leaf form. I wish Tea Pigs would offer loose leaf for those of us who prefer not to use the sachets.
A friend gave me this tea and I’ve been working my way through it. It’s not as subtle as I normally like my tea – it really only has one level of flavor, which is strong and dark. The chocolate is there but it mixes with the black tea. It’s an okay tea but not one I will be in a hurry to buy after I finish my supply. It is caffeinated though, which is all I really need in the mornings some days.
This may be better as a latte with milk and whipped cream on top.
I had been drinking rooibos semi-regularly for a while, until one day my usual dealer was out of stock. Desperation made me turn to an impressive but expensive little tea and coffee bean shop just off Aberdeen’s high street – http://dft.ba/-9PBo (not my image, twitter account or self).
Anyway, I was in a rush so i had a quick look around and grabbed the only rooibos i could find. I’ve seen teapigs for sale in a few other shops, mainly cafés, so i wasn’t sure what to expect, but i gave it a chance anyway. And i’m glad i did, the tea is a delightfully smooth drink with slightly fruity, earthy tones. The caramel isn’t overpoweringly sweet, it’s a good compliment, something i wouldn’t have expected. And it’s only really present on the first steeping.
That was another pleasant surprise – yes, these are teabags, but they’re triangular based pyramids made of some high quality silk like material that doesn’t stain or absorb water like filter paper ones. And as long as you don’t rip it when undoing the string, you can re-steep them at least three times. Supposedly biodegradable too. I added five minutes per steeping, starting at roughly five minutes with water fresh from the boil. But since rooibos doesn’t contain any tannin you can be pretty lax with your timings. This more than made up for the somewhat meagre fifteen bags included in the pack.
All in all a good, convenient, staple tea if you can find it for a reasonably price. I’ve been drinking it probably more than anything else lately so i’ll definitely be looking to get some more.
I don’t know if it’s just that tea after a long walk in the chilly rain is good, but right now this is the BEST tea I have had so far in the UK! We needed a couple of things for the flat, so I decided to walk to the big Tesco. It took longer than I thought it would, and the day is grey, chilly, and rainy. I got two of the items I needed, forgot one (d’oh!), and added this and a couple of other items to my basket as well. Trudged home like a local with my bags on my arm – very tempted to get one of those wheeled shopping carts I have seen the older ladies with.
Anyway… Got home and brewed up a cup, immediately followed by another. I am now warm and dry and still enjoying it immensely. Very smooth, not overwhelmingly spicy.
This is another from the amazing Nattie (thank you!!!). It reminds me a lot off DAVIDs Creme Caramel rooibos which I did not love so much. The rooibos is just too strong and medicinal for my tastes and I find I am always searching for the caramel. So far Teapigs have failed to impress but that’s alright since you can’t love everything and if you have to not like something, best it be something you can’t get easily anyways :). I am grateful for the chance to try it though.
I bought this expecting it to be at least average given the pricing. Teapigs usually has good teas, albeit bagged, but this matcha is terrible. I have had low grade matchas far cheaper than this one that were far superior. I felt a bit conned when I opened it, the colour was off and the grassy, nature fresh notes were just missing. I still prepared it in my chawan, and not soon after found myself with a displeased frown on my face, bitter and stale.
This is my second journey through the land of Teapigs, and based on these two experiences, it appears that the sachets contain 3g, rather than the more common 2g sachets, so part of the increased quality may simply be that the brew is bound to be more flavorful because of the leafage.
Liquorice and Peppermint, subtitled “Sweet Treat”, is a very simple blend combining only licorice root and peppermint leaves. That’s all. No elaborate bells and whistles or any of the standard herbal bases and fillers such as rooibos, hibiscus, and rosehips.
The brewed liquor smells just like minty licorice or licorice scented peppermint! (I just noticed that the British spelling contains the word ‘liquor’ in it!) The two components are well-balanced, and I happen to love both, so this tea is truly a sweet treat for me!
I saw Teapigs boxes at the grocery, so since I’m a tea hog, I figured, “Why not?” In truth, I was surprised at how pricey they were, relative to other grocery store fare, but I decided to see whether the quality matches the price and the hype in the marketing text. To be honest, I was neither impressed nor intrigued by their blanket denunciation of all China blacks in the description on the box. Obviously, the powers that be at Teapigs have never tried Golden Monkey! But that’s another story…
Darjeeling Earl Grey. This was a first for me, and a happy one. I happen to like darjeeling, but I don’t believe that I’ve ever had a straight-up darjeeling scented with bergamot—or much of anything, come to think of it. I like both darjeeling and bergamot, and Earl Grey as a genre of tea. The big surprise here was to find an Earl Grey which I have no reason whatsoever to douse with cream. I drank this glass au naturel, and it was smooth and satisfying. I’ll add this to my list of no-cream-necessary Earl Greys, which includes now Darjeeling Earl Grey and Harney & Sons Earl Grey White.
Apparently I liked this a lot more the first time I had it, because I’d rate it in the 60s at the moment. Reading my previous tasting note, the deep, grassy green taste doesn’t seem to have bothered me at all, and now, that is a flavour I try to stay away from. Maybe I used to be more tolerant of green teas than I am now, or maybe my tastes will continue to change throughout the years. Who knows. I still don’t think this tastes like popcorn, and I think they should rename it. People might be tricked into buying it expecting it to be sweet or buttery, and it may but off genuine fans of genmaicha. Even having said what I have about green tea, it’s not my favourite genmaicha I’ve tried – I prefer both 52teas and the custom one blended by KittyLovesTea. It’s an accessible route into genmaichas for the inexperienced, still, so I won’t begrudge it a place on shelves of my local teashop.
This is my first time trying a genmaicha, and I am very much looking forward to trying and comparing Kittylovestea ’s genmaicha from the Traveling Tea Box when it gets to me! (:
At first, I did not care for this at all. It both smelled and tasted exactly like a toasted rice cereal (I can’t think why…) from my childhood, which I absolutely hated. The smell was bugging me because it reminded me so much of something that I couldn’t place, and as soon as I first sipped it I figured it out. Blech. Only the reason I didn’t like the cereal was that it was just toasted rice, with no additional flavours and no sweetness. It was just so bland. This tea is different, though – grassy, deep green tea flavour with the toasted rice background adding a lovely warmth to it, and an almost floral aftertaste which I can detect, too. I don’t think it was the flavour of the toasted rice in itself that I didn’t like, because I like it just fine in this.
If anything, I would have preferred a little more green tea, as it wasn’t too strong a flavour and in the bag, there was roughly a 50/50 split between tea and rice.
Overall, I enjoyed this as a pleasant lunchtime tea, although I could tell it was rice rather than corn, and wouldn’t market it as ‘popcorn’ tea as I think it is a little misleading, and doesn’t actually taste much like popcorn. It grew on me throughout the cup, and by the end I was wishing I had a couple more bags. I can’t wait for the TTB to try the version Kitty has made!
Sipdown. Kind of. My local teashop sells single bags of teapigs tea, as they have a Café upstairs which you can buy them from. I bought just one of these to try, as I had previously had Yerba maté a grand total of once (in Bluebird’s Morning Kick blend) and I’m not so sure I could taste it at all in that. So out of curiosity, and the need of energy, I brewed it up this morning. As frequently happens, I forgot about my cup and let it brew for about 20 minutes. I don’t know if it was a product of this oversteeping, but I found this tea incredibly astringent, which I was not expecting from a blend without black or green tea in it. It was also very earthy, and reminded me of a pu’erh.
The flavour changed up as the cup cooled, getting less earthy and a little more perfume-y, although not in a floral way. The astringency didn’t let up at all, but it wasn’t too bad with the overall flavour, considering I’m not a fan of astringency at all, and prefer a smooth cup.
This wasn’t exciting enough to drink on it’s own, and not too pleasant although not awful either. I don’t dislike it enough to avoid blends which use it, but I wouldn’t choose to drink it plain again.
I got these teabags for Christmas from my amazing parents who know me too well. I always loved liquorice root as a kid, and this tea sounded amazing.
It smells really good brewed, mainly peppermint with a liquorice background, and that’s how it tastes, too. The peppermint comes through strongly first, then lets the liquorice root come into play a bit more, giving a nice natural liquorice flavour instead of a taste of the mass-produced sweet. However liquorice root is very sweet, and the aftertaste of this is just too sweet for me unfortunately (and I like my teas fairly sweet, too). It hasn’t stopped me from getting through the majority of my teabags already, as it’s the only negative to a good herbal.
I got around it, though! Tonight, I fancied a hot chocolate with a twist, and, whilst I would normally go for a chocolate chai latte, I fancied mint. Sooo, I brewed a cup of this, and added it to cocoa instead of plain water and BAMFT! mint hot chocolate! It’s goooorgeous, and the sweetness means no added sugar! Plus the liquorice aftertaste is still present, giving it a more sophisticated twist. Yummy.