2157 Tasting Notes
I bought a whole tin of this a while ago, and I’m just now getting around to having some. I can be really weird about my teas sometimes. I get so wrapped up trying all the new teas, I hardly go back to my favorites. Today I saw this one in the drawer and wanted it, but then thought that I should try to drink up a sample instead. This tea kept nagging at the back of my mind, so I pulled some out. Like some others on here, I’ve had an up and down relationship with white tea; a lot of times I just can’t seem to get the steeping right. I’ve had good success with Harney’s whites though, this one included. I love the coconut-almond-vanilla blend in this that almost tastes chocolatey.
Coming back to this one has made me think that maybe next week I should do a return to all my faves, at least the ones I haven’t had recently.
‘Monterey Berry Blend’: 1.75tsp each blackberry, black currant and raspberry black teas from Monterey Bay Spice Company.
This cold steep was surprisingly really tasty! I worried that it wouldn’t be because the Monterey Bay black teas have generally tasted low quality to me, and sometimes that can result in nasty cold steeps. But this seems to indicate that the flavorings are of decent quality, it’s just the black tea base that’s not so great. Cold steeping tends to smooth over ills in tea bases, and so it has here. This one is definitely very berry flavored; they all mesh together very well, but I can also pull them out individually. The blackberry, which was kind of odd hot, here provides a nice earthy, berries-from-the-bush note that is very pleasant. Glad to know that these cold steep well, and I’m looking forward to playing with blending these!
Oh this tea, the tea I want to love but never quite lives up to my expectations. It is neither chocolatey enough or bergamotty enough for me, and those jasmine flowers listed in the ingredients always tease me but never deliver. Actually now that I brew it at 4 minutes it’s probably chocolatey enough, but I want more of a sense I’m drinking an Earl Grey, not just a chocolate tea with some lemony citrus. Nevertheless, it’s still a perfectly decent cup of tea, and I have no problem drinking it. I just had such high hopes for it!
I had some problems with consistance early on in my sample of this tea, but this cup seems very similar to the last cup I had, so maybe I just wasn’t getting a good mix the first times around. This cup is rosy and lemony with a hint of ginger, all with a pleasant green oolong base to back it up. I’m really, really enjoying this one and if my last cup of the sample is as good as this one, I think I might have to order some more… this flavor combination doesn’t seem that common!
I have to begin this tasting note with a caveat that I don’t usually like blueberry flavored things. I’m trying this one this morning because I have a groupon-style deal to this company that is expiring in the not-too-distant future, and I’m trying to decide what to order. It’s really tough! This company has a lot of blends that look tasty, not to mention the create-your-own blend option, but they don’t sell samples so I have to choose only a few. I’ve had one other tea from this company, the Brown Sugar Fig, which was also black, but I want to know how their Earl Grey base is. Also I need to try out their black tea base again… it’s a Assam/Ceylon blend, and I’m not the biggest fan of Assam.
However! This cup is very pleasant. The black tea base comes through as robust, but also very smooth and not bitter. It’s malty and plays well with the bergamot, which is bright and citrusy. The blueberry is omipresent and really the main flavor, but it’s not too overwhelming and I can still enjoy the cup. Of course now this only makes my ordering decision more difficult!
When I made my groupon order from this company, I ordered a sample of nearly every fruit-flavored black tea they offered. So far I haven’t been very impressed with the low-quality black tea base they use, but I am getting pickier and pickier. I don’t think I’ve ever had a blackberry flavored tea, but I do love to eat blackberries… they are one of my favorite berries. This tea doesn’t smell great, though. When I smelled the dry tea I thought maybe it was just some cross-contamination from other teas in the box, but the steeped tea smells like it too. It’s hard to place or describe, but suffice to say it’s not good.
The taste is… odd. It’s not bad, let’s start with that. The tea is very slightly bitter (curse that low-quality black tea base), and the flavor is I guess blackberryish. I guess. It’s just not what I was expecting. Now I want to go get some blackberries and make sure I’m not going crazy.
After a somewhat disappointing tea experience I don’t usually brew the same tea up again because I usually just want to move on. But the aftertaste that this tea had left in my mouth was so pleasant that I really wanted to be able to drink this tea and enjoy it. So out went the bitter cup and I brewed up another, this time with a shorter steep, and lo, all the bitterness was gone. All those nice flavors I mentioned in the previous note are there but they’re at the forefront this time. I also get more of the “alcohol” note, which is always sort of weird with tea, but all the alcoholic drink based teas have it, because I guess without it this is just grape/raisin flavored, right? Wow, that was a runon sentance. Anyway, the point is that it’s very pleasantly ice winey now.
I was pleased when I smelled the dry leaf of this tea that the scent of the flavoring wasn’t super overwhelming like some of the teas I’ve gotten from this company. It does have a nice juicy sweet grapey aroma, which in the steeped tea is similar but definitely a more winey note. Ice wine is so sweet and raisiny, and that’s born out in the scent.
This seems like it would be delicious… if it wasn’t bitter. Argh, I can’t seem to drink a black tea these days without finding it bitter. I am hopeful, though, because aisling of tea brewed this at 2 minutes and liked it, so I think I will definitely have to try that. Beyond the bitter it had nice grape/raisin/ice wine flavors that seemed natural. I do have an aftertaste as if I had been drinking ice wine, but without the alcohol. Better for work, that way!
Apparently I’ve had this tea twice now, though I only remembered having it the first time. Both times I did short steeps, since that’s how everyone else had steeped this one. Last time I wanted to steep it longer but chickened out; this is the last of my sample, so I said heck with it and decided to steep it how I would steep most other green oolongs.
It smells incredibly sweet with floral and fruit tones, overlain by sweet-cream milky aroma. The flavor is nice and floral with a heavy helping of buttered cooked greens and the faintest hint of creaminess. Live and learn: 3 minutes is a little much for this tea, and the vegetal flavors are outweighing some of lighter notes. As I’ve experienced before, these notes, along with the natural sweetness, do grow as the tea cools. Even a little overcooked this is a tasty tea.