2183 Tasting Notes
At some point on this trip, I regained my taste for plain black tea. What I mean is, when traveling, whether on an airplane, bus, or train, or at the included breakfast at a hotel/hostel, one is often given the choice for coffee or tea, and the tea that comes is a plain black tea bag. This was one that I had at my hotel in San Juan, Argentina today. Earlier this year, I pretty much couldn’t drink this tea. I had been able to before, but at some point I couldn’t stand the taste of it. Even slightly higher quality English Breakfast teas were completely unpalatable to me. This trip, I started out declining such tea when offered… but then one morning I decided I needed a caffeine boost (and I absolutely don’t do coffee), so I got the tea bag and dumped tons of sugar into it and drank it. Now I add less sugar, but sometimes I feel like I need sugar to make it taste like anything. As it is usually I find them way too weak and steep them for a long time. Sometimes when I order tea I use my own tea sachet that I have brought with me this trip, but only when I get a small pot of hot water; a teacup of hot water would be way too little for a whole sachet.
Anyway, I’m glad I can drink them again, because even crappy tea is better than no tea at all, for me. Now so far it’s only been tea produced in Argentina, and maybe they don’t use some variety of black tea that others do that I dislike. But maybe the world of unflavored blacks is opening up to me once more!
Edit: I also wanted to add that Argentines apparently do not like Earl Grey. I have seen one Earl Grey offered anywhere since I’ve been here! Glad I brought my own…
My choices are pretty limited: this or Tower of London, and I have less of Tower of London so I want to save it a bit. I don’t mind, though. When I’m at home I almost never drink the same tea every day, so while I might think “oh I could drink this every day” when reviewing a tea, it’s never put to the test. But you can’t go wrong with a pleasant Earl Grey for an afternoon tea (at least in my mind!)
Mm, afternoon tea. I’m not disappointed that I bought this Earl Grey to bring with me, because it’s quite tasty. When I go through these sachets, I might have to consider picking up some of the loose version of this tea. Very smooth, nicely bergamotty, tasty tea base. It goes without saying that this is much nicer than some of the tasteless teabags I’ve been having lately!
I actually just had this tea after lunch, so this isn’t even much of a backlog! This one came from the collection of one of my gracious hosts. I don’t know that I’ve ever tried a chocolate mint tea, mostly because while I like chocolate mint as a flavor, I rarely want anything minty. It’s just not something I reach for often, but it was one of the more appealing choices today, so I went for it. The tea bag smelled pretty chocolate-minty, but once brewed I feel like the flavor kind of disappeared. It was bland and a little dusty tasting, with a hint of mint and no chocolate. So I did something I rarely do and dumped a small spoonful of sugar into the cup, which made it emminently more drinkable. The sugar brought out the chocolate and mint flavors and masked any weird staleness. Not a tea I’d go for again, but I did enjoy the chocolate mint tea flavor combo.
Yesterday morning I was pretty exhausted, so I had another cup of tea not long after I had the Tower of London. This time I chose a local tea, and went with this orange flavored one. It’s not the most awe-inspiring tea in the world, but it was very orangey, and it never got bitter. The orange flavor was just that: orange flavor, and it didn’t really have that fresh squeezed orange juice flavor you get from some orange teas, but it was smooth and pretty easy to drink.
I have had very inconsistant internet access for the past couple of days, so I’m doing a bit of a backlog. I’ve been running around Argentina like crazy, and I’m happy to sit in one place for a few days! I had a cup of this from my stash that I brought with me yesterday morning at the bus station. I brewed it for a while because I needed a good strong cup of tea to keep me awake! It’s comforting to have something familiar like this tea when you’re traveling so much, and far from home.
First an earthquake. Then a hurricane. Now a volcano?!?! Ok, so the Chilean volcano has been erupting for months now, but that doesn’t mean that it didn’t just cancel my flight from Buenos Aires to Trelew, Argentina. Sigh. Now I’m booked on an overnight bus, and I’m chilling at a cafe with wifi in the bus terminal until it leaves. What to do but have a cup of tea? I brought sachets of this tea with me to Argentina to have when my tea options were thin. I already had one pot of flavorless argentine black tea earlier today, so I busted out one of these for one. I haven’t tried a lot of the bagged teas in the supermarket, so I took a gamble and grabbed this one.I’d say it turned out pretty well. It’s a pretty nice basic Earl Grey that satisfies the craving. The black tea base is nice and smooth (Ceylon, my favorite for an EG), slightly malty, and it pairs well with the bright, citrusy bergamot. The bergamot in this isn’t bitter or astringent, but it’s also not shrinking into the background either. This is an EG that I could easily drink regularly, which is good because I have the rest of a box of it!
Greetings from Argentina! My most recent world travels have brought me to Buenos Aires, and then on to a number of small towns throughout the country. I ended up being delayed a day in my arrival because of Hurricane Irene (no damage to our house, but we still don’t have power!), so today was a crazy day of trying to make up lost time. Tonight I went to one of the big malls here to get a sim card for my cell phone, and spied a cafe where people were sitting with tea pots. Score!
I chose this one, which was intriguingly labled as Inca Rose, subtitle “Italian Bergamot Black Tea” and then later Earl Grey scented with Rose Petals. I was shocked to see it here on Steepster already! It’s apparently an Argentine tea company.
I brewed this one for 4 minutes, then left the tea bag in the pot for the second cup for an extra minute. I’m pretty sure the water wasn’t boiling when I got it. The tea bag smelled strongly of rose with a hint of bright bergamot, and that was born out in the tea itself. This tea was really primarily rose scented black, but that was fine with me because it was very tasty. It was definitely a sweet rose flavor. With the second cup, brewed 5 minutes, and as it cooled, the bergamot made itself known in a subtle way… it added a brightness to the end of the sip, and a hint of citrusy flavor. All in all, a very tasty tea, especially for a bagged tea, and I want to try and find more of their teas while I’m here. And here I thought I wouldn’t find much selection besides maté!
Last dark oolong sample from China Cha Dao! I really appreciate the opportunity to sample all of these teas, it’s been very educational. While I’m not head over heels for Wuyi dark oolongs, I have definitely come to appreciate them through this little experience. Thanks again to Jerry Ma for the samples!
Anyway, this one brewed up dark! One of the darker ones from the sample, it’s a deep slightly reddish brown. It smells, not shockingly, very roasted… this is definitely one of the more toasty varieties. Definite erring on the side of burnt/charcoal. There’s also a distinct sweet smell behind the roastiness, but it’s kind of shy and fleeting. There’s another kind of odd aroma that I can’t quite place, and it’s only getting stronger as the tea cools. It shows up in the taste as well, and it’s almost coffeeish, actually. Yup, definitely getting coffee flavors from this one, along with a smokiness.
I’d have to say that I’m not really taken with this one, primarily because of those coffee/smoky notes, but I can see how they would appeal to others with different sensabilities!