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Recent Tasting Notes
Scheherazade sent me this one. Chai is not really something I’ve ever been particularly fond of, although I’ve sometimes wondered what I’m missing out. The problem with chai is partly that they invariably contain ginger and cinnamon, neither of which are things I’m fond of in tea, but mostly a rather traumatic introduction to it at around age 10. I will tell you what happened.
As a child, I was a scout for many years. At around age 10 or so, my group got new leaders. These were two guys who were… Well. A bit hippie-y in some ways and very correct in other ways. These two traits came together in a common purpose whenever it was time for giving the children some sort of treat. Like when we were camping or the last meeting before the Christmas holidays or what have you. For a child age 10 or so, this sort of occasion is pretty much synonymous with hot chocolate.
BUT GOSH, NO! Hot chocolate, that’s full of sugar! And fat! Very bad for children! Also very very common and boring, let’s put our own personal Eastern spin on things.
Let’s give the children chai instead, what a good idea!
I think they even had their own spice blend for it. Dear scout leaders that I had at around age 10. No, it was not a good idea. It was in fact a totally rubbish idea. We, the children, drank your strange spicy concoction dutifully because it was that or nothing, but I’m willing to wager a rather large amount today that none of the children even knew what chai was and the vast majority of them would most likely much rather have had hot chocolate.
A couple of years later, when we got new leaders again the concept of chai for these special occasions went the way of the dodo right quickly.
So yes, I will definitely claim to have had a rather fraught and difficult introduction to chai in general.
I have never really warmed up to it, although I’ve tried again several times. Now Scheherazade is providing me with another go. It seems a fairly simple one. It has tea, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and cassia, which is also some kind of cinnamon-y spice. So not a complicated one, just the base ingredients that I would associate with chai. It strikes me as being a very good starting point, really.
I made it with half milk and half water. I gave the cup of milk about 90 seconds in the microwave, put in the bag and filled up with boiling water. The milk makes it difficult for me to see when I think it’s done steeping, though. I’m not at all used to milk in tea, but I have learned this much in my adventures with chai; milk is essential.
It smells very nice indeed, actually! All cinnamon-y sweet, but not soapy and nostril-assaulting like cinnamon can sometimes be. Cinnamon sugar and rice porridge cooked with milk. This cup smells pretty much like Christmas.
It tastes quite mild and milky. Possibly I should have used more water and less milk? I plopped the bag back in while drinking though, to see if I could get it to be a bit stronger. I can’t pick up anything in the way of a base here at all, which I’m rather missing. This doesn’t really feel like I’m drinking tea at all. It’s more like warm milk with spices, which in itself is actually also quite nice, but not really what I was hoping for.
The spices are tempered by the milk and not even the ginger is bothering me in this. Ginger is usually my downfall because I don’t much care for the burning sensation. This is a chai that I could actually drink because it’s so mild and unassuming. A true chai fan might find it a bit dull though.
I enjoyed this more then I thought I would, although probably not enough to repurchase. The rooibos base is a bit more woody then I was expecting, but it blended well with the cinnamon, clove, and orange spicing. It is a bit sweeter then I was expecting, although not necessarily in a bad way. Overall it was a good, enjoyable cup -and it definitely reminded me of winter. I think I might experiment with this one a little bit, I have a feeling that it would taste really good with some of my creamed cinnamon honey from David’s Tea.
This could best be described as mulled redbush, really. Most of the flavour is of citrus and sweetish spices, and not that much of the taste of the redbush comes through. I usually add honey to this, as I often do to redbush.
My main complaint is, that like most pyramid teabags, it’s overpriced for the amount of tea you get.
I was pleasantly surprised by this tea! I steeped it for 5 minutes and 30 seconds instead of the recommended 3 minutes. The first thing I noticed was the smell, which was horrible. Really really horrible. I almost didn’t drink it, but decided to anyways because I hate things going to waste. And I’m glad I did! Because it tasted MUCH better then it smelt. Genmaicha is one of my all time favorite types of tea, and I find this one particularly enjoyable because it tastes different then most of my other genmaicha teas. I know other people have said that it tastes a bit sweet, but personally I didn’t taste any sweetness. That might be because of how long I steeped it though. I loved the nutty undertone. Overall a very enjoyable tea, I’ve already had five cups of it today. I’ll definitely be repurchasing this one.
I placed a massive order with Teapigs a couple weeks ago, and just got it in the mail a few days ago. Since I’ve been feeling under the weather I decided to try out this tea, as a sweet treat to make myself feel better. Teapigs recommends steeping this tea for only three minutes, but I like my tea on the stronger side, and I usually don’t steep for less then five minutes. I decided to go with four minutes, since I don’t always enjoy licorice root.
Smelling this tea you can definitely smell the peppermint, it is quite strong. However with my first sip I was disappointed because the actual peppermint taste was extremely mild. On the other hand I found the licorice to be perfect, it was nice and flavorful without being too overbearingly strong. This tea did have a bit of a cough syrup sickly sweet undertone, but it wasn’t too bad. I think if I steep it for the recommended three minutes next time that it will fix that problem. I do still wish that the peppermint flavor was stronger though.
I love how lightly chocolatey this tea is. Seriously, when you smell it you think its going to be super super chocolatey but it isn’t -and I’m actually okay with that. There is a slightly bitter note to this, but bitter in the extremely expensive dark chocolate way. If that makes sense. It is a smooth tea, and (at least to me) tastes just slightly spicy. I’m not a huge fan of of extremely chocolatey teas -I’d rather just have a hot chocolate. But I love this one for just that reason. It doesn’t taste like a poor imitation of hot chocolate, it tastes like a nice tea with a smooth dark chocolate note and slightly (in a good way) bitter undertone.
Normally I’m not a huge fan of chocolate flavored teas, but this one is definitely the exception. Its a mild chocolate flavor, but in a good way! It doesn’t taste watery, which is a problem I’ve had in the past. It also doesn’t taste fake, which is also a problem I’ve had in the past. Its the perfect hint of chocolate without being too mild or too strong or too fake tasting. But if you’re looking for a tea that will taste as strongly of chocolate as a hot chocolate does, then this isn’t the tea for you.
I had two bags left over, so I used both of them to make a huge cup of chai latte yesterday. I’ve started to develop a sore throat, maybe heading towards a cold, so the warming spices and comforting milkiness were just the thing. I went to see Propeller perform The Comedy of Errors last night — it was absolutely brilliant. I like to think this tea got me out of the door when it would have been much easier to stay at home. I’m seeing the same company perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream tonight — on the strength of last night, I’m really, really looking forward to it.
SIPDOWN! Finished off the packet this morning, with a couple of chai lattes. I had a pretty frazzled day yesterday (interview, ugh), and felt like something relaxing to start my Friday. I added a spoonful of honey to the milk this morning, then added two tea bags, topped up with boiling water, and left the whole lot until the colour brightened from ghostly white to pale creamy brown. I’m surprised how much difference the honey makes, actually. It sweetens and adds something I hadn’t known I was looking for previously. Yum, basically. Just what I needed this morning. This is a tea I’d definitely repurchase.
Two wordS; chai latte. One word; love. It more or less has to be autumn when I start drinking chai, and it’s something I look forward to all summer. This is a long-time favourite, and one of the first chai blends I tried. It’s relatively mild, as chai goes, and especially in latte form, but I don’t mind that. It just tastes all the more creamy!
I had another bad day at work, so I used two bags in a big cup, brewed with half water and topped up with hot milk. Even the smell cheers me up; it’s warming and comforting and familiar all at once. I can primarily taste the spice here; cinnamon particularly, but also cardamom. That’s actually all there is, other than ginger and vanilla, and the assam base. That’s why it tastes mild, I think, but I quite like that about it. I have more in-your-face blends for when I want that. This one is quiet and unassuming.
I don’t like this one quite as much as Teapigs’ Chilli Chai, but it’s up there. It was certainly just the tea for this evening, and for many evenings to come, no doubt.
I had one lonely tea bag I had in a sandwich baggie just floating around, really just waiting for a day when I had a massive headache. Yesterday was that day. I think mint helps my headaches more than any aspirin. And since I never have any mint except tea. This one was surprisingly delicious considering it is years old and I have no idea how old it actually is (I took it out of a non-Steepster teabox.) But this teabag had a ridiculous amount of mint. The next day when my headache was gone, I resteeped this with some of Harney’s Valentine (Chocolate!) Very delicious! But this rating is just for the mint.. it could have only been better years ago!
fact 1, i am not a chai person. or perhaps i am a chai person in training. whatever, point being, not really a chai person.
fact 2, this cup is delicious! low on the flavors i don’t like as much and high on the ones i do. and the tea. i can taste the tea still! (i feel like chai spices usually over power the tea itself.)
thanks for sending these tea bags my way Scheherazade! i’m really really enjoying every sip.
also i do like spicy food. like, more than the average spicy food loving person. or so my boyfriend would agree.
(also salt. but i’m getting off topic.)
so just the mention of a curry house in the tea description has my mouth watering. dangit. where’s the takeaway menus?
Sipdown! Finished off the last of these at work today. They were nicer than I expected them to be, but that’s about all I can say for them. I generally prefer my rooibos flavoured, so I probably wouldn’t buy these again. It’s nice to have tried it again, though. I know my tastes have changed since I first started drinking “proper” tea, so it’s good to revisit some I’ve tried previously from time to time. This is by no means bad rooibos, it’s just not for me.
This is one of the boxes of Teapigs from my “Ultimate” collection that I’ve left until last fairly intentionally. Plain rooibos blends aren’t usually my thing – I want to like them, but I can’t get past the taste of rooibos on its own. It’s just too earthy and woodsy and plain odd. On closer inspection, though, this is actually a rooibos/honeybush blend despite its name, so I’m a little more hopeful about it now. Honeybush I can tolerate.
Dry and while brewing, this just smells like rooibos. It’s that typical, almost medicinal scent. Possibly there’s a higher proportion of rooibos than honeybush in here, which would make sense given that this blend is called rooibos, so perhaps I should have expected that. In any case, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to my first sip.
Strangely, though, the predominant taste here is honeybush. Relief is probably the first thing I felt, because now I know I’ll be able to finish the box. I was expecting the harsh edge of rooibos here, for certain, but this tea is remarkably sweet and smooth tasting. It’s almost as if I’d added honey, which I haven’t. After seeing the colour of the liquor, which is a deep, dark red-brown, I was half tempted to add some milk in an effort to make it more palatable. I’m glad I tried it first, though, because it absolutely doesn’t need it. I suppose there’s a lesson here in how not to judge a tea by its cover, as it were. Or by previous experiences with other similar teas, for that matter. It’s not my favourite, and no rooibos/honeybush blend ever will be, but it’s eminently drinkable and, I feel, one of the more pleasant examples of its type. A successful end to this experience, anyway!
Also managed to fit in one of these at work. I’m not sure what the base tea is here, although it’s fairly similar in taste to the Mao Feng I also drank today. I don’t think I’ve ever tried them side by side before, so maybe that’s why I’ve never noticed the similarity. Anyway, the rice here adds a delicious nutty, toasted note. It can verge on the astringent, burnt tasting side if overbrewed, so I was careful to pay attention and was rewarded with a pretty perfect cup of genmaicha. Not something I’d keep around all the time, but definitely nice to revisit!
I’ve had this one before, but I think it was before I joined Steepster so I’ve never logged it. It’s not my favourite genmaicha these days, but I think I’ve been spoilt a bit by other varieties. It is wonderfully nutty, and slightly sugary tasting, very much like the sugar puffs the description refers to. The green tea base is light and delicate, although it also has a slightly bitter aftertaste, and is a little astringent. This is a fairly average genmaicha — not bad, not great. As an introduction to this kind of tea, you could probably do a lot worse. I just know what else is out there now, and on the whole I prefer it.