1616 Tasting Notes
Again! This time I finally cold brewed it. The tea got a really unexpectedly earthy quality, and was surprisingly subdued; I expected more fruity and honeyed notes, and they were there, but they mostly played background to the black tea. Thankfully this is a black tea base I enjoy! Still, I think I prefer this one hot. I did make it with a bit less leaf than I usually do because I had to use sachets, so perhaps that’s part of it. Now I’m curious to see how Paris would turn out cold steeped too.
I’m going to add this to this note as well, since it references this tea: I finally just asked Harney & Sons about the black tea blends and got this reply:
“The bases for those three teas are very similar.
Earl Grey: Keemun, Ceylon, Assam, Oolong
Paris: Keemun, Hunnan, Ceylon, Assam, Oolong
Tower of London: Keemun, Hunnan
I can’t give exact amounts but the Chinese black teas [Keemun and/or Hunnan] are the predominant teas in all three blends. The Oolong in the first two blends is a very small amount that we use to soften them up a little."
Intriguing! But I would guess the Keemun is not my problem since ToL is primarily Keemun. Maybe I need that Hunnan in there for it to be to my tastes!
There are a number of Harney teas I really love, but for some reason I’ve never been a fan of their Earl Greys. I pretty much ordered a sample of every EG they had when I put in my first order with them, and the only one that’s on my reorder list is the Winter White, actually. Nevertheless I want to love their Earl Greys, so I continue to try them. I picked up a sachet of this at the New York Coffee and Tea Festival ages ago (right before I joined Steepster!), and this morning I figured I’d give it another shot.
The sachet certainly smells lovely, with plenty of sharp bergamot aroma. In the brewed tea it’s more subdued, and I pick up more of the black tea base, which smells a bit malty and a bit bready.
Overall… too much black tea, not enough bergamot for me. Also it has that black tea base I’m not really a fan of. I’m starting to think it might be Keemun, actually, since I identify it as an “English Breakfast” flavor and I know many EB’s are 100% Keemun. I’m not sure what it is about it, but I have some kind of knee-jerk, gut negative reaction to it. I do not remember having that when I tried Keemun Mao Feng at the Soho store, which is part of what is confusing me. Then again, some EB’s are a blend of Assam, Ceylon and Kenyan leaves. I’m pretty sure I like Ceylon, and I don’t think I like Assam, but I’m pretty sure there’s not Assam in this tea. I can identify the smell and flavor of that black tea I don’t like, I just can’t figure out what exactly it is since I’ve only encountered it in undifferentiated blends. Anyway, someday I’ll figure it out.
Back to this tea. Besides the tea base that I don’t really care for, the bergamot is very bright and a touch astringent. It’s not floral, but more citrusy, including the slightly bitter citrus pith. I suppose it’s now confirmed: this one’s not really for me. I’m a fan of so many other Harney teas that I don’t really understand why the Earl Grey and I can’t be friends (especially since I like Earl Greys), but so it goes.
ETA: According to Harney, the makeup of the black tea base in this one is Keemun, Ceylon, Assam, Oolong, with Keemun being the primary ingredient. That is nearly identical to Paris, except Paris also contains Hunnan as another predominant base.
Picked this one up at a Pilot truck stop a while ago. I had quite disappointing experiences with the other sachets I picked up, so I wasn’t expecting much from this one, but such is cupboard cleaning: sometimes you drink teas you’re not the biggest fan of.
The dry sachet smelled very generically tropical; I could maybe pick out pinapple? But also worringly artificial. I’m starting get a bit skittish about some fruit tea blends since they can go so wrong so fast for me. Anyway, when I brewed it, it was better than I was expecting. That’s not saying much, but the aroma is decently pleasant and not too fake or sickly-sweet smelling. The green tea isn’t obliterated in the aroma or the taste, which is nice. It tastes fairly generically tropical, like it smells, but it’s decent enough. I was surprised to see that there is mint in this, since the combo of mint and tropical fruit sounds horrible and wrong to me, but while the mint flavor is definitely noticable, I don’t hate it. Overall, it’s not a terribly exciting tea, but not so bad that I won’t drink the whole cup.
This was a fantastic cold brew. It far exceeded my expectations (ETA: although I suppose it shouldn’t have, as I apparently did a quick cold resteep the last time I drank it and it turned out very well, but I’m forgetful). A lot of teas I have are very nicely tasty as cold brews, but sometimes a tea will surprise you! I find that a lot of times that if a tea has vanilla, when cold brewed the vanilla will come out and take everything else over. The vanilla on this one remained nice and light: definitely present, but not overwhelming. It played so well with the very floral orchid notes. I will definitely be cold steeping this one again, though I’m coming to enjoy this tea so much I worry about going through it too quick… it’s not available online, and since I bought it at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens on a vacation a while back, there’s always a chance it won’t be there the next time I go back. Well, I still have plenty now, so I can worry about that in the future!
Ok I really have no clue how long I steeped this tea. I had my timer set up for 4 minutes, and then I forgot to hit start. I’m hoping it was about 4 minutes anyway, but honestly I didn’t look at a clock or anything so who knows!
In any case, I think the steep time was relatively long, and it certainly brought out the chocolate. The Earl Grey is there, but fairly light, just providing a bright note overall. Is this my perfect ideal of a chocolate EG? No, but it’s pretty tasty anyway. I wish it was more bergamotty, which is my main issue. Those who prefer a lighter bergamot EG would find this to be a good blend, I think. I definitely prefer it with the longer steep time, which really brings out more of the flavors (but doesn’t make the tea get too bitter). And since chocolate Earl Greys aren’t exactly very numerous, I can see keeping this one around
Just opening my packet of pearls sent a dizzingly sweet and delicious jasmine aroma my way, and I knew I made the right decision this afternoon. Mm, so sweet and jasminey and fantastic; it’s really the epitome of the jasmine flavor for me. I could drink this all day. Or at least all afternoon, which is what I’ll be doing as I steep these pearls plenty of times.
Happy 200th tasting note to me! This was my overnight cold steep, and let me tell you, it was delicious. I decided to cold steep this one after my cold steep of Marco Polo eliminated the weird tart/acidic flavor I had gotten on both of these teas. It worked again, and this came out incredibly almondy with a bit of extra nut flavors added to it. The only drink I’ve had that is that almondy is an almond flavored bubble tea, which I love.
It seems like for this tea and Marco Polo I need to add cream/sugar or cold steep to take care of that odd acidic note I taste. I’ll no doubt try this one again hot and plain just to be sure, but if nothing else I can definitely always cold steep it.
So the way my tasting notes work out, my 200th note will be for my cold brewed lunch tea. I decided to go with Tower of London for my 199th since other people’s tasting notes of it have made me start to crave it. Tower was actually unintentionally my 100th tasting note as well. This was one of the teas I can credit to starting my tea obsession, so it’s only fitting.
Mm, still one of my absolute faves. I haven’t had this tea since April, but like Paris, my palate has not changed enough that I don’t still love love this one. So thanks, Tower of London, for being a consistantly delicious tea throughout my tea adventures.
Ok so this is officially the last of my “new teas” to try. I have this one thanks to QuiltGuppy! There are two things about this tea that kept me from trying it before: one, it’s decaf and I rarely drink non-caffeinated teas purely because I drink them during the day and the caffeine doesn’t really affect me anyway, so why bother? The other thing is I didn’t really know how I would like a peach tea. I mean, I like peaches, but I had another tea with peach in it that I didn’t like and I didn’t know if was the peach or what. Anyway, I’m in a peachy mood lately, so I’m now excited to try it.
The smell of the two sachets in their little pouch is so powerfully peachy, somewhere between a juicy fresh peach and peach candy. I like peach candy (it’s actually one of the few fruity candy flavors I do like), so that’s fine with me.
It steeped to a pretty dark shade of brown, and while still very peachy in aroma, it’s mellowed out and I get a whiff of the black tea now and then. There’s something about this particular peach aroma that is so familiar to me, but I can’t place it! I think in addition to the peach candy there’s a bit of peach juice (which I rarely drink on it’s own, but do in blends).
As for the flavor: I like it! It’s peachy in that way that I have tried and failed to describe above, which is very tasty. The black tea is present enough to ensure that the peach doesn’t get out of control, but it’s not the main show here. What I can taste of it is nice, and doesn’t taste particularly like a decaf (which I want to type as “decalf” every time). I’m sure it tastes delicious iced. I don’t see a great need for a peach tea as a cupboard staple, but if I did, I couldn’t go wrong with this one.
Cold brew overnight. This definitely has the strength to still give a flavorful iced tea when cold brewed. Very very vanilla-y, and the black tea base is nice and subtle but definitely present. I think it would make a good sub with added interest for plain black tea in a big pitcher of sweet tea (which would of course make the vanilla really stand out, I think!)