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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
Recently sipped down, and now back in my cupboard thanks to my aunt and uncle! They bought me four Teapigs teas for Christmas, of which this was one.
The instructions on the packaging say to brew at boiling, but I ignored that and went for 80 as I have grown less fond of green teas recently, and higher temperatures usually lead to unwanted astringency. For the second time tonight, lowering the temperature of a tea was a good call! The popped rice is the focus of the flavour this way, with the mellow green tea present mainly in the background. And I don’t mind it! My mam, who actively dislikes the majority of my teas, agreed to try this after smelling it and even seemed open to me leaving her a couple of bags! Big success. I think this was my favourite way having this tea too, and I will likely follow these steeping parameters in the future.
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.
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.