1616 Tasting Notes
The last time I had this one I didn’t really enjoy it much, but its been long enough that I wanted to try it again just to see. Also, there’s still some vague recollection of having it back when I first got it and liking it ok at least. The dried leaves still smell like sour cherry candy to me. I tried a low temp and a short steep this time since last time the flavor overpowered me a bit, and the liquor is a very pale yellow but it still has a strong aroma. Still very fruity, still smells a bit medicinal, but it doesn’t seem like too much this time.
The taste is much better, and I’ll bump the rating, but it’s still not great. Not one I’d reorder, but now at least I feel like I can finish what I have! The flavor is very light (initially, it got stronger as it cooled), but being as it’s kind of an odd flavor that’s a good thing. The green/white tea clearly isn’t going to make itself known on the first steep, though perhaps on later brews. I think part of the problem is that I still get primarily cherry flavoring from this (as in cherry candy, not fresh cherries), and I don’t really like cherry flavoring. The promised jasmine and rose and mallow blossoms just don’t show in this one.
Eh, second steep’s not much better. Oh well, I guess this one will go back to sitting at the bottom of my cupboard (until I forget what it tasted like and try it again!)
I didn’t think about the fact that I had set this tea up to cold steep last night so that I could drink it with lunch when I chose the passion fruit black this morning… I guess it’s a tropical tea day!
Anyway, this was fantastic iced. I didn’t sweeten it, but I bet a touch of simple syrup would really bring out the fruity mango. As it was, it was delicious unsweetened. The mango was nice and fresh and juicy tasting, and the black tea was really nicely smooth but also slightly peppery. It wasn’t as floral as my experiences with the hot tea seemed, but definitely all around tasty.
I feel like I’m positively swimming in new tea samples thanks to the super generous JacquelineM and QuiltGuppy! You guys are too awesome. This tea comes thanks to QuiltGuppy!
I am kind of obsessed with passion fruit, so I’m really excited to try this! I have tried a few tropical-type blends with passion in them, but never a straight up passion fruit black for some odd reason. The dry leaf smells awesome, very much like a very ripe, very sweet passion fruit. Sweet, tart, tropical and delicious. Brewed that of course mellows a bit and the aroma of the black tea base joins the passion fruit, grounding it a bit. There’s a high, bright note to the black that complements the passion fruit aroma as well.
Mmm, I can tell this will likely be something I have to keep around! It’s a great blend of the passion fruit and black tea flavors. Sweet and fruity, but with a lovely depth to it. A little malty, a little honeyed, this is a lovely smooth, rich black tea that doesn’t hide behind the passion fruit flavor nor steamroll over it, but works wonderfully with it. A fantastic passion fruit tea! Thanks so much QuiltGuppy!
For some reason this tea was calling to me from my tea drawer, so I finally decided to brew a cup of it. I dropped the water temp this time because I remembered to go back and look at my previous tasting note, in which I say it was a little bit bitter.
This time the aroma of the steeped tea is again distinctly vanilla, with rose and other floral notes rounding it out. That lower steep temp took some of the bitterness out, but a little remains as it cools (shorter steep time also next time I guess). Not enough to be too distracting, though, and it’s definitely delicious. It’s that floral vanilla flavor, like really fresh vanilla beans. I suppose because it’s French Vanilla it should be creamier like custard, but all the florals just wipe that away. Don’t get me wrong, the tea is definitely smooth and rich, but in a different way than ice-cream style French Vanilla. Add to that strongly rosey, sweet, floral notes… this tea is definitely not for the (floral) faint at heart. Bumping my previous rating up a bit; if I can get rid of the last remaining twinges of bitterness, this could be amazing.
ETA: I “cool-brewed” this tea like I did with Rosy Earl Grey this morning for about an hour, maybe a bit longer. Even with that short of a cold-brew steep time, it’s really tasty. Very naturally sweet… it almost seems like I sweetened it! Floral and vanilla-y and of course no bitterness. Yum!
Ah, rose Earl Greys. Why have you eluded me thus far? I have yet to try one that was what I wanted it to be, but then, I haven’t yet tried this one. It’s been on my list for a while, what with all the Steepster love, and now thanks to JacquelineM I finally get to try it!
The dry leaves smell amazing, but I’ve learned to be skeptical of that coming through in the taste. But the brewed tea smells great too: way more jasminey than the dry leaf, but with a certain depth from the rose that is lurking in the background.
Fortunately, this tea has not disappointed! This is one of those teas, like some of the French ones I have, that each of the flavors plays out individually at different parts of the sip, but then they all come together at the end. The florals are the first things I taste, first sweet, lovely jasmine, then rich, thick rose. The bergamot, the Earl Grey, seems to hang out at the end of the sip, but then on some sips it underlies everything else. All the flavors just work so well together, intermingling, playing off each other. They meld together more as it cools into one great floral bergamotty flavor. This tea is just as amazing as I had hoped!
What was missing from all those other rose EGs was the jasmine, obviously. My favorite lavender Earl Grey also has jasmine in the mix, and I think that it goes a long way toward making the other florals work so well with the bergamot. Thanks again, JacquelineM!
ETA: After reading one of JacquelineM’s previous tasting notes in which she let it “cold steep” in lukewarm water during an office meeting, I filled my cup back up with cool water and let it sit for an hour until lunch. Not exactly “iced” tea, but cool from the air conditioning tea nontheless. The jasmine green was the predominant note in the cup (both the sweet jasmine and the grassy, vegetal green), but the rose and bergamot were definitely present. It was really tasty, and something I’ll definitely try again!
Having a box full of new teas from JacquelineM was too much for me… I had to try one out despite the heat, humidity, and the fact that I don’t often drink tea at night (not for any particular reason, just because I don’t get around to it usually). Obviously I had to do one of the herbal teas, so I tried this one because it really smelled great; sweet and fruity, bright and citrusy. I also experimented with my first iced tea; I brewed it at double strength and shook some ice into it.
I probably could have/should have brewed it stronger and longer, but it was still tasty. A tiny dab of honey brought out the flavors a touch more, and it was tart and refreshing. It really does taste like an unsweetened Italian blood orange soda! I look forward to trying this one hot, as well as iced again this summer! Thanks again JacquelineM!
I’ve wanted to try a Kusmi tea for a while now since they have so many flavors that look just up my alley. And yet, I didn’t come back from Paris with any (there’s a Kusmi store in NYC, so I decided to save room in my luggage for other teas). But I did just get a sample of this tea, which I definitely wanted to try, from Jillian!
Brewed, this reminds me of the other almond green I’ve had, from Upton, though this one lacks cinnamon. Still, the almond manages to evoke an almost bakery-style aroma. The flavor is primarily a somewhat grassy/vegetal green tea initially, and the almond blooms into that nut-meat almond flavor. Again, not a marzipan, but nutty raw almonds. It’s a combo that works well with a Chinese green, I think, though I think my cup is a tad overdone (time, temp or leaf amount, I’m not sure which). I’m still enjoying this tea quite a bit. It’s similar enough to Upton’s almond green that I’m going to have to try that one again to refresh my memory for comparsion. Thanks again to Jillian for the generous sample!
I really am kind of compulsive about trying all the new teas I haven’t tried yet before going back to the rest of my cupboard. I’ll occasionally return for something specific (see: yesterday’s jasmine tea), but not too frequently. Thanks to Jillian for sending me another Earl Grey to try! I love a nice traditional EG, but I also tend to really enjoy EGs with extras like lemongrass and other citrus in them.
Brewed up, this one smells citrusy and lemongrassy. These notes give the flavor an extremely bright edge; you can rarely hide lemongrass in a blend, and that’s the case here. Fortunately I like lemongrass! But if you don’t this isn’t the tea for you. The bergamot in this is still a featured flavor, but everything else added means that it’s very citrusy and fruity. There’s a faint hint of astringency and bitterness, but not enough to bother me for this cup. All in all, a nice “alternative” Earl Grey and one I might consider keeping around for those times when I really want a lemony, citrusy Earl Grey.
Jasmine tea has been on my mind for a while now. Specifically Harney’s jasmine pearls, but I didn’t want to have them this late in my work day since I wouldn’t be able to get as many steeps out of them as they deserve. So I went for this jasmine to satisfy my craving for the moment. Certainly not as sweet and jasminey as the pearls, but still with a good dose of lovely floral jasmine.
Of course it’s kind of not working because it’s making me want the pearls more, but oh well.
Well, this is actually the last of the teas I brought back from Europe that I have yet to sample. I want to love Rose Earl Greys because I love both flavors, but I haven’t quite found one for me yet (admittedly I haven’t tried many!). I admit I’m a little worried about this one potentially having the same black tea base that I disliked on Tea Palace’s Earl Grey St Clements, but we’ll see. It certainly smells amazing dried: bright and citrusy bergamot, slightly sweet, with the floral rose undertones. The mix has lots of rose petals, some partial buds, and also bits of citrus peel in it.
Moment of truth (when it comes to the aroma at least, since I can usually tell if the black tea contains whatever mystery black I dislike)… not what I expected, but not bad either. The black tea base is what I smell here, with perhaps a hint of rose, but the bergamot has gotten lost. This isn’t the English Breakfast black tea base that the St Clements had, though, this is warmer, with spicy notes, perhaps with a bit of roasted grains. I’m still wary, but only a taste will tell.
Not bad. Not my favorite cup of tea, but certainly drinkable, and likely enjoyed by someone for more of a taste for unflavored black tea than me. I’m not really getting any bergamot or Earl Grey flavor at all, just a light, herby rose at the end of the sip and in the aftertaste. The primary flavors are from the black tea (origin unknown, unfortunately): a bit of pepper, some bright note, a roasted flavor, and a rather prickly mouthfeel. I’m afraid I’m pretty terrible at separating out all the myriad of notes that many people get out of a black tea, so sorry for the paltry description.
So I think I can pretty safely say that Tea Palace’s Earl Greys aren’t for me. At least I was able to get samples of them instead of buying more on aroma of the dry leaf alone (I’m really not sure how that strong of a bergamot aroma can just completely disappear, but it does).