2098 Tasting Notes
For once in my chronology I actually remembered to have one of the teas that live at home while I was home on the weekend. More than one, even (more tasting notes to come).
I made myself a nice milk-ice-matchaccino blend today to have with lunch, and it was delicious. Why don’t I drink this more often? I really should be making it on my super early mornings that always make me drag all day. It’s really not that much effort to blend it with some milk in my single-serving blender. Caramelly, sweet but not too sweet, generally delicious! I have two gigantic bags of it so even if I drank it every morning it would probably take me forever to get through it. Must drink more matcha!
Next in the chronology! Today I got the crazy idea to steep this one as I might steep an unflavored dragonwell, which is to say more leaf and less time.
And wouldn’t you know it, it was really quite good! I love that this really tastes like pumpkin. So many pumpkin teas (including others I’ve had from 52teas) just taste like generic “pumpkin spice” and only the spice part, but this is actually pumpkiny. The dragonwell provides a nice buttery base. The only thing about this one that I don’t really get is the toffee; to me, it’s a nice pumpkin dragonwell, but a caramelized toffee doesn’t quite come through in the flavor. All the same, it’s one of the better pumpkin teas I’ve tried, and I will have to try to remember to drink it more frequently (maybe this fall; it’s not really pumpkin season anymore!)
I have stalled out on my “cupboard chronology” tasting after getting a number of new teas I really wanted to try! But I really should get back on track, which is what I’m doing now. Actually this one is all out of place; it should have been back with the other Tea Spot teas, but I accidentally removed it from my cupboard at one point and had to add it back, so it got out of chronology. Ah well.
I almost never go for this tea because I have so many others that I love more, but that’s not to say that it isn’t a very tasty tea. It is! I wish I could cold brew it because I would drink it more frequently, but the licorice root gets super nasty in the cold brew. Hot brewed, it just adds a faint sweetness to the cup that is pleasant. This is a nice creamy, vanilla-y, and most importantly bergamotty EGC, and I it’s nice to have around for if I ever really want an EGC. Although I don’t seem to crave those all that often.
I had an early, exhausting morning of teaching and now I’m in a semi-awake afternoon slump. I needed tea! Not just any tea, though, tea to get me going! Full steam ahead? Thanks to Sil for a sample of this one!
At first I was a bit meh about the flavor of this one. While it was still quite hot it was a bit flat and had a bitter edge. As it cooled to warm it got better and better. Suddenly the bitterness is gone and instead there is a nice depth of flavor. It reminds me of a black dragon pearl, except not pearl-ized, so I would guess that this has its roots in a Fengqing black tea. A bit chocolatey, a bit malty, a hint of grains. Overally quite tasty once it cooled, but I am going to ding it a bit for the not so awesome hot flavor. We’ll see how the next cup goes, maybe it’ll get adjusted. But definitely a nice tasty black tea.
Another big thanks to Sil for a sample of this one. I never drank eggnog until relatively recently; my boyfriend loves it so I learned to enjoy it as well. Also, good news is that my kettle apparently can stop at green-tea temps, but is having trouble shutting off at temps between ~180°F and boiling? We’ll see. But it did work for this tea.
I admit that I didn’t quite follow the steeping instructions as I only left the tea in for 3 minutes, not four. I will be good and steep it for four next time because I didn’t get too much eggnog flavor from this. It is a pleasant, lightly creamy green tea with a hint of spice that does remind me of nutmeg. I certainly enjoyed my cup of it, and will happily enjoy another.
I do appreciate the base tea on this, which was a little buttery and overall quite a nice green; I really only like flavored greens these days when they are done like this, which is to say with an eye to how everything (including the base tea) goes together, and not just throwing any flavor on a sencha base and being done with it. But I wouldn’t expect anything less from Butiki.
Hmm, I am not sure what to make of this tea. I brewed it at a hotter temp this time to try to bring out more flavor (not boiling, though not quite sure what temp; more below), and it backfired on me. It’s not bitter or astringent or anything, but it’s like a mild mannered person who is really sweet and then you make them angry and they surprise you. This cup has a burnt-toast/burnt-rice/burnt-nuts scent and flavor that actually reminds me of coffee. Um, what? Where was that mild-mannered caramel vanilla tea again? How can these be the same teas?
I’m rating this based on a combo of my two experiences. Steep it like a green tea, and it is sweet and caramelly, but lacking depth and body from the base teas. Steep it closer to a black tea, and it turns into some kind of weird caramel-flavored weak coffee. So although I wouldn’t turn down another cup or the chance to go for it again, this isn’t really doing it for me.
Finally, the reason I don’t know what temp this is really at is that my Adagio UtiliTEA kettle may have finally kicked the bucket. It worked this morning but when I tried to make some water at ~195°F, I noticed that it was just boiling forever without shutting off. It boiled so hard that I lost probably two ounces of water out of the pot through boil-off. I stopped it, let it cool for a bit, and then ended up putting in a bit of room temp water to top off my cup since the water had boiled off. Will have to try going to a lower temp and seeing if it works that way; otherwise I may be in the market for a new office kettle.
I’m really glad Sil sent me a sample of this tea even though I didn’t request one. I have always been curious because this one is always compared to my beloved Organic Chocolate “O” from The Tea Spot, and it seems like most people prefer this one. I remain skeptical, however, because most of those people are puerh drinkers, and I am not.
That said, for anyone who is scared of puerh or is looking for flavored puerhs that don’t really taste like puerh, do yourself a favor and get some of this tea. The puerh here is unobtrusive and basically just adds a very slight earthiness to the cup.
Mostly this cup tastes like chocolate. I would say that if Organic Chocolate “O” is milk chocolate, this tea is dark chocolate. Not super dark chocolate (I’ve had teas that were darker, more bittersweet). Maybe 60% cacao dark? It’s quite tasty, and if I didn’t know about the Organic Chocolate “O”, it might be my favorite chocolate tea because it is a quite authentic flavor. However, I am a milk chocolate person, so the “O” ranks above this one in my heart. Glad I finally got a chance to try it, though, and satiate my curiousity. Thanks Sil!
Thanks to Sil for sending me more samples of TTC black teas! I still have never gotten around to ordering tea from them, so it’s nice to try some more. I’ve tried #147 before (also from Sil), so I decided to try this one and see how it compares.
I am out of practice brewing these long, spindly Taiwanese black teas. At one point I had a decent eye for dishing out leaves but apparently I’ve lost it. I decided to use the entire sample in my mug, but I probably should have split it up a bit. Actually a shorter steep by only a minute might have solved it. The tea was ever so slightly bitter and just overall very strong (I realize this may be how some people like their teas, haha), but I thinned it with a bit more hot water and it smoothed out most of the rough edges incurred by steeping that much leaf.
I found this tea to be overall quite tasty and a pleasant cup to drink. A bit fruity, a bit malty. I didn’t have the same reaction to this one as I did to #147, but to be fair my steeping may have something to do with it. This one has more of that character of most Taiwanese black teas that I don’t particularly care for; that je nais c’est qua, but not in a good way. It’s not enough to make me dislike the tea and I would happily drink another cup, but it’s not something I love. Glad to have tried this, though!
I asked Sil for a sample of this tea and she was nice enough to oblige! Quite a while ago Nina’s offered some samples and I got some, and did not find them to be to my taste. But then Nina’s blew up on Steepster and people started loving on them hard, so I thought maybe I should give them a second chance. This is one that a lot of people love, so I thought it might be a good place to start.
This is a good reminder to check a tea on Steepster before brewing. I assumed this was a green tea, not a black/green blend, so I brewed it probably too cool. Well, I have enough for another go so I’ll have to try it a little hotter. As it is, the flavor is nice but rather light. I do get some nice buttery caramel and I can certainly see why this one is popular. Will wait to rate until I try it again at a higher temp.
Thanks to Sil for this surprise sample! I haven’t had too many Kenyan teas (although I have had tea in Kenya, haha) so I’m always interested to try some out. This was a tea bag version of this tea, and I used both tea bags in my 12oz mug. I steeped it on the cooler side knowing that these types of teas tend to get a little overly robust for me.
This turned out rather pleasant. There was little bitterness in the cup as brewed, although there was a bit of a “kick” in the back part of the sip. I did put a splash of milk in after a few sips to smooth it out a bit. It had a nice malty flavor with some hints of grains. I also got a bit of powderiness, probably because of the tea bags and tea dust likely present in them.
This would be perfect for those mornings where you really need a kick in the pants. I remember the last time I was in Nairobi, I was having tea after a night of nearly no sleep (red-eye flight), and these types of teas have a certain comforting and jolting effect that can really set you straight in a situation like that. Not something I would reach for often, but it certianly has its place. Thanks, Sil!