2067 Tasting Notes
I wasn’t feeling an oolong this afternoon so I decided to dig out my big box of MBSC samples and try something I hadn’t had before. Of course this one jumped out at me as fairly seasonally appropriate. It is getting chillier, though overall it’s not really as cold as might expect for this time of year.
The smell of the dried leaf on this one is very orangey/appley, and surprisingly not very spicy. The steeped tea actually takes on the aroma of mulled cider, with a little black tea added in (actually that gives me a fantastic idea… black tea in the mulling spices for cider!). It actually smells really good, but I worry that I’ll get disappointed expecting mulled cider taste, especially the sweetness.
Wow, I really really like this one! Even though right before I take a sip it seems like I’m going to be drinking mulled cider, and afterward it’s clearly not. The actual flavor is similar enough to mulled cider yet different enough that I’m not disappointed. And the big apple chunks in the blend do lend a light appley sweetness to the tea. The spices in this are not individually distinct in the flavor but definitely add up to a nice blend, and I think that adds to the mulled cider feeling. I think I get a faint hint of rose in the aftertaste, but it is barely there.
I haven’t been super impressed by the blends I’ve gotten from MBSC not because they were bad, but rather because they just weren’t fantastic and I’ve been drinking some really fantastic teas lately. Also their black tea base was a little meh, which I can tell is the case here as well, but there’s enough other things going on here that it’s not as distracting. I do wish this blend had a higher quality tea base, because it’s one of my favorite “winter” blends I’ve had so far. It should be called Spiced Apple Cider!
This is another green tea that I requested from Teavivre with my samples based on its description so that I could broaden my tea horizons. So thanks again to Teavivre for providing me with these!
The dry leaf has that kind of “green tea” scent that I associate with a standard green tea. The leaves are fairly long and twisted but they also are relatively curly so they pack fairly well and I think my measurement of them should be fairly accurate. They are dark green when dry but after steeping they have turned a very bright yellow green, and the liquor is a medium yellow color. The steeped tea smells really good, and not like I would associate with a green tea. The description mentions chestnuts, and I definitely am getting the kind of nutty aroma I might associate with them. Also maybe roasted sweet corn? It is a scent that is familiar but that I’m having trouble placing. As it cools a definite buttered cooked veggie aroma is coming more forward.
I definitely get sweet, nutty, buttery, cooked vegetable notes in the flavor as well. It’s a hint bitter, so I’m wondering if I used a tad too much leaf (or maybe I should have done a 1 minute steep). Either way, it’s not too bad and I definitely love the other flavors going on. This one actually has the same combination of flavors that add up to a cookie-type note like I experienced with Verdant’s Jingshan green (in a blend), which is totally unexpected for me but I really like it. If I can figure out my optimal steeping parameters for this tea I might just fall in love.
I just finished putting all my french teas into brand new tea tins, so I grabbed this one to have this morning while it was out. I really do love the combination of aromas in this tea with the citrus/bergamot, strong vanilla and floral jasmine. However, I have found that the combination of vanilla and jasmine, which sounds awesome, just tastes a bit odd to me. It’s not so odd here as in Golden Moon’s vanilla jasmine tea, possibly because it’s tempered by the bergamot and orange.
Also I can’t seem to make this tea not bitter, which again makes me wonder if it’s Mariage Freres’ black tea base that I just can’t deal with. This is a black/green blend, which are usually tricky anyway, but I brewed it basically like a green this time and it’s still slightly bitter to me. Then sometimes I think it’s just that vanilla jasmine combo that is giving it an off, bitterish flavor. Whatever it is, I’m not sure that these type of blends are really for me, even though I do love the idea of them.
After an afternoon of jasmine tea I didn’t really feel like another floral or somewhat floral tea; I wanted something nutty or sweet or… caramelly. Yup, that works. Now I’m finishing off my sample of this tea.
The fact that this one has a medium-roasted formosa base gives it that nutty, appley flavor that I’m really coming to appreciate. This one isn’t so appley as apple-skin, actually, and I do think I’m getting chestnuts this time, though I’m not super familiar with the flavor of chestnuts. And then over everything a caramelized-sugar flavor. I’m really enjoying this one and I bumped it up a few notches. I don’t know if it’s a rebuy (maybe if it came in quantities less than almost 4oz), but it’s a possibility if I’m already ordering other things.
Back to floral teas, eh? I am very excited to try this one because I loooove jasmine pearls. My favorite so far has been Harney & Sons, but I honestly haven’t gotten to try too many different ones (which is partly because I am so pleased with Harney’s I don’t seek them elsewhere). Thanks to Teavivre, I get to try these pearls!
And it seems like I’m in for a treat; when I opened the package I was greeted by the most amazing jasmine aroma. Seriously honeysuckle aroma there, and rich, heady florals like sticking your head into a jasmine bush in full bloom. Yum. The liquor steeped to a pale golden yellow color, and it retains that honeysuckle-jasmine aroma, though in a more subdued way. There’s also something different about this jasmine aroma that I can’t quite articulate. Let me try: most jasmine seems “high” and “bright” in the aroma, like the equivalent of a soprano voice, but this jasmine has some serious “low” and “dark” notes in the aroma, like the equivalent of an alto or tenor, in addition to the usual high and bright notes that really make it a lush experience.
I was writing all that about the aroma, but it holds true for the flavor as well. The soprano notes are present right at the front of the sip, while the tenor notes grow at the tail end and in the aftertaste. The jasmine is lovely and fresh, and not overpowering or perfumy at all. I always look for a natural sweetness in the tea that reminds me of eating honeysuckle nectar, and it is lightly present here (especially as the tea cools), but not as much as I would have expected. Still, these are top notch jasmine pearls, and at just over $3/oz, they seem to be a bargain for the quality.
Added note: I had three extremely flavorful and tasty steeps (12oz each) of this tea before I got jasmined out. This tea definitely keeps going strong!
Winter really does put me in a spicy tea mood, I guess. All this summer and fall I’ve gotten really into green oolongs and floral teas, which is pretty much the exact opposite of a spicy black. This offering is another thanks to maisonlula. It’s another in the orange-and-spice genre of teas, and this time the spices are ginger and cinnamon, both of which I can smell distinctly in the dry tea along with the orange. There’s supposed to be some vanilla as well, but it’s not obvious in the dry leaf.
Steeped, the tea smells very gingery… I haven’t yet had a ginger black tea (most of my ginger teas come in the form of lemon-ginger greens), so I am intrigued. It definitely smells very spicy. The flavor is less spicy than I would have expected. I can taste the ginger, but I don’t really get a bite from it or anything. Unfortunately a bitterness from the tea base here seems to overwhelm other flavors besides the ginger/cinnamon notes. Even then, I would wish for those notes to be stronger. This may be a tea that is a good candidate for taking home to drink with additions so I can brew it really strong and still drink it.
I got a small sample of this tea with my order from ZenTea, and I was pretty sure I’d want to drink it with milk and sugar because it smelled quite spicy. Actually I might not have had any issue with drinking this straight, but I decided I wanted to have this fairly Christmasy tea (cinnamon, clove and orange, which is standard Christmas-tea fare) with additions anyway.
The spice bend is pretty nice with both cinnamon and clove distinguishable and robust but without being overpowering. The orange isn’t super strong and instead just adds a light fruity note, which is fine because it keeps this tea as one focused on the spice, instead of one focused on the orange. The black tea base seems pleasant enough and it is certainly a major player in the flavor. Overall a pleasant spiced black tea and a nice holiday cup of tea.
Of course I’ve wanted to try this one for a while now, so I was glad when it came back in stock after being out of stock for so long, and even more glad when I got a fantastic deal on samples on cyber monday. I finally got airtight pouches that I can put this tea in after I open my sample pack, so I was finally able to break into this one. A lot of people really love this tea, so my expectations are high!
The dry tea smells much like other milk oolongs I’ve tried, with that buttery, creamy, slightly caramely, condensed milk aroma. I have to admit that I’m busy and was distracted drinking this one, so maybe it wasn’t the best conditions for a review, but also it kind of says something that I was able to somewhat distractedly drink this one. I wasn’t wowed. The flavors are a little weak, so I’m wondering if a steep temp closer to what I usually use for oolongs (~195°F), or a longer steep time would improve it. What’s there is nice… a little buttery, a little peachy-creamy, with a nice sweet taste, but I just can’t really get excited about it. It doesn’t blow me away like I was expecting. I have a decent sized sample, so maybe another time.
This is another tea from my swap with The DJBooth, and another Teavana tea for me to try. Thanks so much!
I often find that almond “cookie” teas like this aren’t nearly as almondy as I would like. Of course, I want super intense almond flavor, so it’s not to be unexpected, but a lot of times all I taste is cinnamon or other spices and not enough almond despite the slivers in the tea. I don’t know if my expectations are slightly different or if the blend of this tea is a bit better than others I’ve had, but I’m really enjoying this one. I feel like it has a nice balance of almond, which is present but not at marzipan-grade intensity, and the cinnamon-cookie flavors. The black tea base is a little meh; especially as it cools I’m getting a hint of bitterness right at the front of the sip but then it goes away, so I’m not quite sure what is going on. Still, a very enjoyable cup of tea.
It’s been quite an up-and-down day, and certainly a busy one without time to stop for tea yet. I’ve been at work all day and I am just now sitting down at my computer at 4pm. Crazy! Anyway, I wanted a tea I knew I would love, but I wanted something new. I also wanted an oolong, and luckily I have a boatload of new oolongs to try still. This tea is kind of a compromise between old and new because I’m pretty sure I’ve had it before from Butiki Tea (how many rose violet calendula oolongs could there be?), but this is from my Naivetea sampler pack.
The dry leaf smells fantastic. It’s a lush, thick combination of florals, which of course I love. Rose and jasmine are the two most common florals for tea, yet they are so infrequently put together. It seems like it’s because of the rose=black and jasmine=green dicotomy… well leave it to an oolong to bring them together. I love the combination, which really comes out in the aroma of the steeped tea. I’m not as familiar with the individual aromas of violet and calendula (though I know violet a little better than calendula), but they definitely add to the thick floral aroma.
If you don’t love floral teas, do not even try this one. I am a floral nut, so I love it, but this particular cup borders on perfumy even for me. I know! Maybe shorter steeps or a rinse would yield less strong florals, but I don’t mind of course. This tea does have that light natural sweetness to it that I love as well. Whenever I’m in the mood to drink a bouquet of flowers, this is the tea to go for.