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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m grumpy. Building management came through my apartment “inspecting” things, saying everything was old (oven, fridge, windows, etc etc) and making a mess. When I asked if they would be replaced, they told me it wouldn’t happen until after I move out. Greeeaat. Thanks, guys.
Anyway, while they were trampling their way through the apartment, I was sipping on this tea that Skysamurai sent me in a swap. I’m getting a peppery/spicy taste from this tea that is surprising. It reminds me of some kind of sauce that I can’t quite put my finger on. It also has a thick mouthfeel. All of these things really surprised me as I have not really experienced the same in other oolongs. It is certainly nice to try it out, but I wouldn’t restock on it (and good thing, too, cause it looks like it’s discontinued). On to other oolongs!
This is a fairly old one that I received ages ago from Autumn Hearth I believe the name was. I have made a note of it, but she modified her name later on and now appears to not be around anymore.
I’m not certain about these recommendations. I’ve been told 30 seconds steeping and I’ve previously heard that with this type of green it’s important to brew the first steep rather coolly, so I went for the lowest setting on my kettle which was 60°C. I’m just not sure that’s warm enough and/or long enough. I mean, I know I’m used to black tea which is tastes far stronger than the average green, but even so. This tastes rather thin on these parameters. It doesn’t have a detectable aroma at all and the flavour is mostly a juicy, veg-y splash in some otherwise fairly lukewarm water. Husband thought it was rather nice, but I thought it was mostly just a cup of warm water.
Not impressed at this point, I decided to go for a second steep and make the water 70°C this time and I gave it 45 seconds. This time it has an aroma, although it’s not a very strong one. It smells like vegetable water, sort of, and with that ‘fat’ note that I associate with green tea. I can’t really explain that one, it just smells fat to me. If a smell could have a shape, that’s what it would be. It has also picked up a smidge of astringency right on the first sip, but other than that it’s still mainly a cup of warm water. That veg-y note is coming through after a while though. It’s a sort of building up note, and it takes half a small cup to get it in any noticable way. It’s mostly right as I swallow and as an aftertaste.
Hm. I don’t dare make the water any warmer, because I think it will probably definitely go all bitter if I do, and I don’t dare make the steeping time longer either for the same reason, so I think I’ve reached a dead end here.
I shan’t rate this because I honestly don’t know how to rate warm water… Honestly, I think the leaf was just too old.
I was scared of this one because I thought it might be killer spicy like RiverTea’s Chocolate Kisses Chili; turns out I was right to be scared of it, just for a different reason.
I got through about three sips of this, and then I just couldn’t do it anymore and dumped the rest of it. What I tasted was sour/rancid oranges paired with overly medicinal orange and then a dusty/stale kind of chocolate. No noticeable spice. Ick. Ick. Ick.
I’m gonna have to try cold brewing the rest of what VariaTEA sent me to use it up; there’s no way I’m trying this again hot! Bleck.
Sipdown no. 122 of the year 2014.
I’ve been making a concerted effort to sip down my less pleasurable herbal and fruit blends, and so I’m happy to report this sipdown. I have had some of this for a couple of nights after attempting to dig out the bottomless tin of TeaG Sleep Tight, and by comparison I prefer the Ginseng Vitality. However, that’s only by comparison.
In a way, it’s a blessing I don’t love this because Teavana has, of course, discontinued it. What is it with them? I’d say they treat their tea blends like car models, but even car manufacturers these days keep the same general chassis design from year to year for a while before a major overhaul. I can understand dropping a blend or two that’s not selling once in a while, but they seem to drop even the blends that get great reviews. I don’t get it. Do they think that the American public doesn’t have the attention span of a three year old? (They could be right about that in some respects. Don’t get me started on what constant bombardment by information has done to attention spans in adults. But still, why contribute to it? There’s so little stability in the world as it is. Maybe that’s why I like companies like Harney & Sons that seem to find things that work and stick with them.)
Anyway, I could rant more because I feel like ranting, but it’s not exactly productive. I think I’ll go do something more productive like watch television.
Tea #15 from Considering a new TTB
I was craving something sweet tonight so thought I would pull this out of the box since I love white chocolate. It wasn’t quite sweet enough, but the addition of a little rock sugar helped tremendously. I thought that the chocolate and mint would be the main flavors of this blend so I was a little surprised by how much the licorice root stood out. It does help round out the cup a bit, but I still wish the mint had a stronger presence. Overall I thought it was a pretty enjoyable cup, but next time I’ll add a little extra peppermint to it, I’m sure I have some around here somewhere.
This tea will not be continuing on, it’s perfect for my middle of the night sugar cravings.
Thank you Allie for the sample of this tea. I dumped the whole bag into my nordic mug and brewed up the cup. I did not expect much from this being a Teavana tea which is good because it is just okay for my tastes. Every now and then I get a hint of nice pineapple flavor but mostly I just find it to be thicker than it needs to be and a touch too citrus. I am always happy to try new things but I am not sad to see this go.
Definitely not a fan of this, but that’s because I’m not too keen on raspberries. I bought it for a friend and tried it, and I think the tea may have burned because it was quite bitter. Even so, due to the heavy raspberry taste, I doubt I would like this. Also, I got no hints of pineapple…
Not thrilled with this one today. I was in the mood for something sweeter (then again, when am I not?) Still, only getting subtle coconut from this tea through the oolong. I didn’t feel right adding anything to this to sweeten it. I did go ahead and try a second steeping, but got almost no coconut.
This is a really great chai blend! It’s jut mild enough that it isn’t too spicy, but it has a hint of spice at the last moment. The cinnamon and light pineapple notes are great! I have been drinking this cold with no sweetener, and it’s probably my favorite chia yet!
Great Canadian TTB
This sounded interesting and despite it being a Teavana tea and I have a hatred for Teavana, I decided to give it a try. It is actually quite nice although given the giant piece of orange peel, I imagine this can get citrusy depending on the scoop. Also, I am getting mostly strawberry and very little basil. Thank you Jeweled Thumb for including it as it was fun to try but I think I will be satisfied with just the one cup.
Thanks to Hubby for this one, picked it up on my first trip to a Teavana… not too many loose tea options in my neck of the woods and eager to smell, try, or buy something and have some kind of tea shop experience. He was more than gracious in making the hour long trek with me to see what it was all about. I’m not going to say I’m eager to go back there, but I was grateful for the trip as it gave me some perspective on what tea buying can be like (hopeful to find some great shops on future vacations!). I could see Chicago (3 hrs away) in my future, but somehow me thinks that may not happen… I have to have a reason besides tea shopping. Married 18 years and only 1 trip to Chicago, oh wait 2 (forgot when we were in college and went to the art museum). We do go places, but not there.
Anyway, it’s hard to buy teas based on descriptions and smells, I want to try them, and I’d not had an experience like this one before. I’ve been to The Tea & Spice Exchange before, but only once looking at teas (& a very limited selection), previous times looking for spices. They have containers you can pick up and smell on your own, and then pre-packaged sizes available to purchase. No worrying about weighing things out unless you buy an odd amount, which you can do if you want.
I wasn’t sure what to think of this tea at first. In the shop it smelled spicy and sweet, and coconutty, but since they just waft the scent towards you with the lid, it’s hard to really get the fragrance. I like all those things in tea, spice, sweet, coconut… and this was a plus that it was caffeine free, yeah evening tea! When I got it home and opened the bag, the scent was much more pungent, in your face, kind of smell… almost overwhelming.
I decided to give this a try the other night. I was is a very potent blend like I expected. I under leafed a bit to err on the side of drinkable.. I guess I could’ve just added more water had I needed to. I found this tea to be thick coconut, ginger, spice… good, but almost over the top, and I love me some spice… Like I’m finding of most of the Teavana blends. I’m thinking I may enjoy this more as a latte or cut with another plain or mild base tea (like vanilla rooibos or just some black to give some richness without added flavor). I’m thinking if I just cut back on the tea itself, it will become a watered down undrinkable cup.
The jury is still out on this one. I think I can like it if I can find the right mix for me. After all… it’s spice and coconut!!… Ok, so no chocolate (or peppermint) in this one… but you can’t have everything you like in one cup!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Coconut
I’ve finally figured out what this one reminds me of! It makes me think of apple fritters. So, in a word, delicious. I still prefer chocolatey teas, however I’m glad I picked this one up. It’s also one of the few teas the hubster will drink hot.
With the crazy weather we’re having today, I’m definitely curling up in not just a blanket burrito, but a double down comforter burrito! Our house is SO COLD! It’s an old farmhouse, and not everything fits together right, lol. However this means that when the wind blows as hard as it is today, the front door makes a whistling sound reminiscent of a kazoo. ALL. DAY. LONG. Ahh, the joys of renting.
A new acquisition as of today, and I’m super glad I went for it! I hadn’t tried this one before, even though I’m pretty sure my hubby, a former Teavana employee, told me I would like it. I haven’t been a big fan of ginger until recently, which may have had something to do with that.
ANYWAY. The loose leaf smells intoxicatingly of coconut and cream and almond, with none of the metallic notes of rooibos—promising! I made myself a cup as soon as I got home, using Teavana’s recommended parameters.
I got mostly coconut from the flavor, with a hint of spice in the aftertaste. I could taste the ginger ever so slightly in the beginning, when it was still hot, but alas, now that it has cooled, the ginger flavor has pretty much disappeared. I still really like the flavor and the creamy mouthfeel. But it gets a less-than-perfect rating because of the absent ginger.
Flavors: Coconut, Cream
I tried this one iced in the store, and after the first sip, decided not to take it home (not for lack of effort on the barista’s part, I might add). I thought the copious amounts of hibiscus I saw in the tin would mellow out in an iced brew, and I may have been correct, but I don’t think I’ll ever know, because it was steeped a bit too long for my liking, and all I could really taste was bitterness from oversteeped oolong and a bit of artificial grape flavor, kind of like Kool-Aid. I won’t be getting or trying this one again.
I’ve been curious about this tea, if only because of the name, what in the world is a wonderberry? This certainly has berry flavor to it, after looking at the ingredient list I was a bit surprised to see just how many types of berries it actually contains. The strongest of the bunch ended up being elderberry although the currant stands out as well, I had trouble distinguishing the others. Overall I thought this tea was a bit flat, that is until I added some of teavana’s rock sugar, it really needs the sugar to round out the flavors and make the chocolate pop. I think this would make a pretty good tea latte, but sadly I’m still out of milk.
Tea #12 from Considering a new TTB
I’ve had youthberry mixed with other teas that teavana sells, but I’ve never had it on its own. Like with many of teavana’s fruity blends, it smells great in the package, but I’m not so sure I like it once it’s brewed. I thought the combination of rose and apple was interesting, but something in the blend and it’s hard to tell what ingredient exactly, left it with a tartness that bordered on bitter. It left me wanting to add sugar to this when I’m sure it already has a fair amount in it from the candied fruit. I do wonder if it would be better to cold steep this, perhaps the bitterness wouldn’t be as noticeable, but since it’s snowing today I’m not going to find out. The gorgeous 50° weather needs to come back, it got my hopes up.