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Recent Tasting Notes
Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox – Round #5 – Tea #14
I wasn’t expecting much from this, since it’s in a thin baggie, but it’s actually quite good. Sencha, pineapple and ginseng. A big piece of ginseng went in the infuser and plenty of pineapple flavor came out. I love a pineapple tea. Both steeps were nice, fruity, refreshing. Hopefully someone else enjoys the last serving…
One of my dear friends just brought a box of these back for me from her trip to the Philippines! I’ve been wanting to try TWG for a while, so I’m quite happy.
This is a satisfying tea, mild on the green tea flavor with a light touch of both fruit and vanilla. Usually with light green teas that include vanilla, the latter is hard for me to taste (especially if I steep for two minutes or less to prevent the green tea from getting bitter). I’m glad to say that this one is an exception. I may try to steep an extra 30 seconds next time, to get an even stronger flavor.
I thought long and hard for two months before getting this tea. Finally got it last Christmas at $10.58 for 50 grams. Dialing back from Darjeeling Tea Boutique’s strong summer and autumn flush offerings, this cup was very subtle. At 4 minutes (the company recommends 7), there’s just a slight puckering of the tongue and no astringency (in the sense of bitterness). The colour in my cup kind of matches “jonquil” (I googled it just to check).
Very subtle. Or maybe it’s because I haven’t been practising my tea tasting recently. Shame on me! It’s got a… I’m not quite sure if it’s a vanilla-ish taste, or… if it’s a “tea” taste, if that makes any sense. I mean I’ve tasted that taste before, I’m not quite sure when. But it’s this underlying flavour I tend to pick up from TWG’s teas underneath their various blend flavourings.
So I guess it’s the purest “tea” taste.
That’s all I seem to be getting from this. And yet, that seems to be all I want. Maybe it’s a placebo effect of it being “white tea” or something, haha. I’ll be saving up for their Yin Zhen next time. It’s almost 60 bucks for 50 grams. But I really could tell the difference, looking into those two canisters.
The latter was nothing but beautiful white buds. Can’t wait to try it out.
But as for this one, definitely worth it. I’ll have to come back to it in the future, see what tastes I can get out of it. Once again, it reminds me how much I still have to learn about tea tasting.
Flavors: Tea, Vanilla
There’s quality in this tea no doubt which justifies the premium price I paid. When I first drank it, I thought the mint was strong to my taste (I’m not a “mint” person and) leaving strong minty after -taste. But a after a few sips, I got used to it and eventually liked it. Very rich in flavour, not watery and that’s one of the reasons I like it – premium quality.
Flavors: Mint, Vanilla
Thanks for passing some of this down, MissB!
I went into this completely blind. Didn’t bother reading up on what’s in here but could smell something vaguely sweet. I was anticipating something fruity based on the dried fruit chunks but I didn’t know what exactly.
Unfortunately, once steeped, it’s just a green tea, although I detect something herbal in the background. There’s a bitterness but it could be from the base or this herbal note too.
Sure enough, now that I logged onto Steepster and checked out the ingredients in this one, it’s pineapple that’s in here, but completely unnoticeable in flavour, plus ginseng. Ohhhh, ginseng! I would have never have guessed that. It’s been so long since having it that I didn’t even think of it.
Pulled this one out of the GCTTB 4. The smell made me super curious.
This bag in the TTB was labelled as The Urban Tea Merchant but any time I google that it brings me back to TWG so I hope this is the right place.
The tea smells like vanilla and smokey spice.
The brewed tea is quite creamy. Is is a great blend of green and black teas. I find sometimes that works great and sometimes it goes really bad. There is flavours of vanilla, orange rind, and some other spices I can’t quite place. It very much reminds me of a Christmas blend but not so Christmassy. Sometimes I think cinnamon, then no, and sometimes I think tamarind, then no. It’s weird , but delicious at the same time.
Quite like this one. Not sure if I would call it a breakfast blend. To me is more of an afternoon tea but I guess that is debatable.
Skip this first part if you just want to read about the tea:
I first smelled this tea in Harrod’s, finding a small, quiet island in the TWG section of the tea department. No small feat, considering it was right before Christmas last year. I sniffed my way through a number of tins and got stuck on the so-called ‘weekend teas’. I snapped a few pictures of the tins and meant to read up on it when I came home, but forgot all about it.
A month later I was in Singapore (I’m sorry for sounding like a demented tea socialite, bear with me), and imagine my surprise when the TWG logo showed up again… and again, and again. I knew nothing about the brand; I’d just assumed it was a trendier spin-off of Twinings, or something.
A quick search yielded the following: TWG is a Singaporean company, carefully branded to be Singapore’s “first and only upscale tea salon”. This was definitely a niche in the Singaporean brandscape that needed filling; tea culture is somewhat lacking, with either imported Japanese concepts where everything is beyond kawaii, or madly overpriced hotel-style afternoon teas.
So far so good, but there’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the brand. For instance: the TWG is generally accompanied by the year 1837 on signs and logos, but the brand was founded no earlier than 2008.
This all makes me reluctant, to be honest. Singapore is so entirely about money, all the time; everything anyone ever talks about is money and shortcuts to money and how to get more money and money. I find that depressing, and it’s clear TWG is a pitch perfect Singaporean brand in that respect. They colonize the most exclusive locations, style their shops and salons to the very last detail (tarnished brass and dark wood everywhere), hardbrand the products and charge ridiculous sums of money for everything.
I’m the first to admit I love a good branding effort. I do; I sometimes enjoy giving in and just going with it because it’s done so well, but TWG are just too devious about it, and it’s painfully clear the product is just the sideshow. TWG is all brand and I can’t get excited about that.
Actual tea review:
I added the above to be honest about my TWG prejudice. This is the first tea I’ve purchased from the company, but I’ve tried their products at a couple of their salon locations. I’ve also had their tea-infused ice cream, which is very nice, albeit, again, ridiculously overpriced.
This looks beautiful in the bag, long, whole green leaves studded with red petals. After steeping, the petals turn fuchsia and it’s one of the prettiest steeped teas I’ve seen, colour wise. In terms of scent, well, I didn’t go the adventurous route here – this smells like something I’ve had before, most likely one of those German-imported greens they sell in every tea shop in Sweden. It’s vaguely fruity/floral and that’s it. What more do you need? Fruity/floral is where it’s at!
There are no steeping instructions on the bag, and none were given by the staff (again, one of those things that’ll tell you this is more about the experience and the ritual of shopping, than what you actually purchase) so I did a semi-Lupicia, letting this steep for 1.5 minutes, at 90C. No bitterness, but also not very much flavour – I’m going to try a different steeping strategy next time, not least for you temperature purists out there.
So, to summarize: meh. TWG will not (CAN not) be my new boyfriend (even though I would have loved to get a chance to meme ‘Bye Lupicia!’).
Unlike an actual weekend in Shanghai, this tea bores me.
[Picked up at the TWG Tea Salon & Boutique in Raffles Place, Singapore, January 2015.]
This is another share from the mysterious silver/clear package with the purple writing. And another hit. Sweet and party flavored for sure. Another I can see would be good for … a tea party. So aptly named. :) And pretty with the flowers without needing to add sprinkles or other junk to muck up the water. A decent dessert tea. The tin looks pretty in the picture, too.
TWG Bourbon Vanilla is caffeine-free rooibos tea from with quite perfumy and lasting vanilla flavors. Since teas made from real vanilla beans are rare, I’ve been curious to know the full ingredients of this tea, but so far it’s not available. “TWG vanilla” on the brand’s website doesn’t mean much. I am particularly interested in finding out the ingredients in pricey TWG teas because the brand is designed to attract luxury-brand junkies who often overlook the true content of the product. Despite it’s “old” image and branding, TWG is a very young brand since 2008 out of Singapore, specifically targeting the well-heeled in Asia. So far customers are enamored by the expensive-looking concept and fancy tearooms, and no one bothers to examine the tea itself.
I got some of this tea from MissB and was a little hesitant based on the reviews, but I did see that it might be best cold brewed (my plan with it anyway, since it is a green). I also took a couple big hunks of ginseng root out of the infuser, since I’m not huge on ginseng.
This was definitely really pinappley. Unfortunately, it was kind of fakey and candy-like, and not in a good way. It was drinkable, but not my fave. Glad I cold-steeped it though, it seems like the best method.
Thank you for this sample, MissB! Your mentioning of Victoria, BC now has me reminiscing of spring there too, now. How I’d kill for a walk down Beach Drive right now!
I couldn’t tell what this was supposed to be in the bag, other than a green tea, of course. I couldn’t smell the cherry, and initially steeped, I just got dry green notes. The first couple sips were a little on the dry side, but as this begins to cool, I’m slowly starting to taste the cherry. It’s a little on the cough syrupy side, though. A specific kind of gum or candy also used to taste like it, but can’t figure it out. Cherry seems to be a difficult flavour profile to tackle in regards to tea.
Thanks, MissB and OMGsrsly, for sending this my way!
This tea is a funny one. The dry leaf smells pleasantly fruity, but after I steeped it I had to double check that I hadn’t yet opened my can of tuna fish. It wasn’t the nicest wet leaf smell, although it was a moot point after I dug into lunch. Canned tuna wins yet another battle in the olfactory wars!
Once I got over the smell, the flavour is pretty straightforward: preserved and sweetened pineapple pieces. I can appreciate that.
Wow I love this one cooled down! what a great sample, thank you so much MissB!
Hot I just get a floral green tea. As it cools, there is a distinct menthol like sensation, which I find rather pleasant. There is also a definite drying out of the mouth that others have mentioned. Almost like I just ate a lemon, only it isn’t really sour.
Cooled, I can now taste more cherry, which is funny because I can never taste the cherry in a cherry blossom tea. This is unique, and coveted by me! Wheeeeeeeee!!!
On the meds front- accidentally took two today. Oops! but hey atleast now I know what could happen if doc increases my dose (I can’t OD, I’d need to take 5x that amount to be unsafe). Sadly though all it did was give me the jitters and a few brief moments of concentration about four hours after I took the second dose. No different than one of my “up” days. Hopefully doc will switch me to a different one when I see him next week. The waiting is killing me. Sighs.
Sorry for boring y’all. I just really needed to write.
My very first TWG began with this. The aroma from the shops’s dry sample translated exactly into the taste after i bought it and brewed it eagerly at home – pleasantly sweet golden liquor with floral notes.
There are visible whole camomiles and petals of other unlisted flowers alongside with whole greens (without any bitterness or vegetal taste). It has no trouble with over-steeping. Easily one of my all-time favorites. Leaves a sweet yet fresh aftertaste which makes your day.
Flavors: Floral, Sweet, warm grass
Thanks for the tea, MissB!
Unfortunately, it just doesn’t smell good when steeped up. IDK what it is about it, but I keep getting wafts from the cup and wrinkling my nose wondering what smells so bad, since I’m bagging up all these French teas and they smell so good!
I think I know what the problem is though. It’s just lost all the pineapple flavour. It’s just a basic sencha base, which isn’t really my favourite kind of tea.
Well, thanks for the sample MissB, but if I want the full experience, I think I’ll need to go into the TWG store here and get a cup to go. :)
Not quite the cup I was in the mood for this morning, but it is a good one. I wish I had tried this one in my malty tea sip off to see how it compares with some of the others. This seems to have a slightly lighter base and a bright note, almost citrusy. There is a light chocolate malt taste. It is smooth with even flavors, but still not jumping out at me. I remember liking the smell much better when I sniffed an open tin at Dean and Deluca’s. I also could have sworn it wasn’t just a black tea, but had more things blended in. Did I get the right tea?! Now I’m wondering…
This cup is reminding me of TWG’s New York Breakfast tea. They both have that same malty base, but this one lacks the notes of chocolate. I’m having it with some cream and it’s a really nice breakfasty like cup. I’m enjoying it, but I think NYB trumps this one.
I just realized that all the tea I’ve had today has been Green Tea; definitely not doing that on purpose. This one comes from MissB – she definitely sent a lot of green tea from her travels; and while it’s pushed me outside of my comfort zone, it’s been fun trying all the different blends!
I buggered this one up though; I started steeping it, and then promptly forgot so it got a really long nearly twenty minute steep. As a result, I imagine the taste is not really a shining example of how it’d normally taste. It’s quite bitter, the grassyness of the green tea cuts in very harshly, and there’s a bit of a drying mouthfeel at the end of the sip. However, I can also taste some well rounded, sweet cherry notes and some floral notes as well, so I see how this would be really good if prepared properly.
For whatever reason, cherry when paired with green tea always reminds me at least a little of bubble gum though. There must have been a kind I chewed a lot as a kid that has some cherry flavour to it but I’m not sure which; something drilled that association into me though! I think Hubba-Bubba and Bazooka Joe were my picks all the way up until like grade nine? After that, I don’t recall having a ‘Go To’ kind of bubble gum – I just bought, and still buy, whatever’s accessible and cheapest. Maybe I’ll have to revisit those brands and see if they taste like cherry to me?
But actually; all things considered this could’ve come out A LOT WORSE. Even with bitterness, it’s still pretty drinkable. That is to say, I’m totally finishing it. But, gonna hold back on rating it. I’m obviously not tasting it like I should be.
Today’s word of the day is…
Tizzy! A tizzy is “a very excited and mixed up state of mind”.
Sipdown! And thanks to MissB(?) for a sample of this tea! I’m not sure exactly what it’s flavoured with, but my first impression was that it was kind of like a gingerbread green? A bit spicy, basically. It was certainly an interesting tea to try, though probably not one I need to try again.
Thank you MissB for sharing! This is an alright cup. I am a fan of pineapple and that is certainly present here. There is also another flavor, which I am guessing is the ginseng that is sort of just there and neither adds or detracts from the cup. At the end of the day though, this is on a green base and I’m just not a lover of of green teas. Still, it’s always fun to try something new.