1851 Tasting Notes
I was going to try one of my new tea samples today, but then I really needed a comfort tea after finding out that my credit card information has been stolen for the second time in 6 months! And that the thief apparently has a duplicate card, because it’s being used to buy gas and groceries (but my card is still in my wallet). Ugh.
A second cup of this tea solidifies it as one of my favorites. Floral and almondy and tropical mango-y… it’s the perfect nexus of flavors for me. Thank you, Dammann Freres, for making this tea because right now I need it!
Even though I rarely drink unflavored teas, the praise that this tea has gotten intrigued me, and happily JacquelineM was kind enough to send me a sample to try! The aroma of the brewed tea is so interesting… a little bit roasted, definitely honeyed notes that others describe, and yes, perhaps some caramel notes as well.
As I said, usually I’m not an unflavored tea drinker, especially when it comes to blacks. Of course, I haven’t exactly explored all the options, and this is a tea that definitely has broadened my horizons. This is a plain black tea I can drink! It’s lighter and definitely tasty with its honeyed notes and just a hint of roasted flavor. As it cools the caramel notes come out more; this is certainly the most delicious unflavored black tea I’ve ever tasted! I think I need my unflavored blacks to be fairly light; for instance, I tried Golden Snail at Harney Soho and while I liked it ok, I definitely prefer this one. Thanks so much JacquelineM for sending me a sample of your precious Golden Monkey! :D
This is my second bottle of Teas’ Tea iced tea; since I liked the Mango Oolong I had last time, I decided to try this Crispy Apple Black this time. A big difference here though is that the Mango Oolong was “Low Calorie”, i.e., only lightly sweetened, whereas this one is “Classic”, which means lots of sugar. It’s sweet enough to basically taste like somewhat thin apple juice (though not quite as sweet as actual apple juice). I can’t really taste the black tea at all, but at least the apple is actually well done; it’s juicy and full flavored like eating an actual apple (perhaps a Gala), not like some apple juices which can be fairly bland. I would like it if they offered this one in the lightly sweetened category, because I feel like with less sugar the tea might come through more.
Golden Moon is one of those tea companies that I’ve wanted to try tea from for a while now, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. Until today! Thanks to JacquelineM I have a sample of one of their teas that interests me most. Jasmine is rapidly becoming one of my favorite tea flavors, and I always love a good vanilla, so this tea definitely seems like it will be up my alley. The dry leaves smell variably primarily like vanilla or jasmine each time I stick my nose in them, but the other scent is always there as well.
Brewed, I get a lovely blend of the vanilla and jasmine notes in the aroma, with some slightly vegetal tea notes as well. Neither seems to really reign over the other, instead they each bring out complementary notes in the other. An early sip while still very hot (too hot for me to actually really pick up in my handleless cup), yields a satisfying blend of both flavors: jasmine at the top, a solid tea base providing the bulk, with the creamy, rich vanilla underlying it all. Cooled a bit, the flavor is much the same, although I feel as if the jasmine is fading away somewhat and I’m getting a somewhat weakly flavored vanilla tea. I think I’ll be experimenting with brew times/temps with this one (fortunately I have enough to do so thanks to JacquelineM!), as between all of the tasting notes on here there is quite a variable range. Still, a very nice tea and I’m glad I finally got to try a Golden Moon tea!
Thanks to Utopia Tea for sending me a free sample of some of their teas! I requested this one because toffee, chocolate and hazelnuts? Yes, please. The samples came in large sachets. I wasn’t sure exactly how much water it was appropriate for, but it seemed like more than a cup, so I went ahead and brewed it in my 16oz teapot.
The brewed tea smelled roasty and sweet and nutty, like you might expect. My boyfriend asked if I was having caramel tea… close enough! I brewed it for only 3 minutes like I do all black teas I’m not familiar with, but it probably could hold up to more without getting bitter, and I think more of the chocolate notes would probably come out. The individual flavors are fairly hard to distinguish, instead combining together pretty well. I can pick out the sweet, caramelized taste of vanilla toffee, along with a nuttiness and the light roastiness often seen in chocolate teas. The black tea base is light (possibly because of the steeping time), and slightly woody. Overall a tasty tea, and I definitely enjoyed my pot of it.
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!