Another sachet I brought with me while traveling this holiday weekend. Having it this morning with a homemade apple cider donut, and it’s definitely taking the edge of a headache incurred after rocking out too hard at a They Might Be Giants show last night (why don’t I ever learn that I get dehydrated at concerts?)
1229 Tasting Notes
A little while ago I was wondering about a mangosteen flavored tea because I love mangosteen. There aren’t many out there! This is one of the few, and so when I found a bag in my boyfriend’s mom’s tea stash, I grabbed it to try. It’s definitely not steeped under the best circumstances… water that’s probably too hot since I don’t quite know how long to wait for the water to cool (I’m so dependant on my variable temp tea kettle).
Of course, this isn’t merely a mangosteen flavored green tea… it’s full of other things like lemongrass, hibiscus, orange, rosehips, and pear. That’s a lot going on! Still, the flavor is nice. Sweet and fruity and tart but not too tart. I do get a mangosteen flavor overall, but there are definitely identifiable pear and citrus flavors. I do get a slight sweetness to this tea as other have noticed. I wish that it was just mangosteen and green tea, but it is a very tasty tea nonetheless.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I’m spending the weekend with my boyfriend’s family, so I have a reduced tea selection for the weekend. But this one is one I always bring with me whenever I travel! One of my absolute faves. I can never mess it up and it’s always delicious.
From dark and rich to sun-shiny and fresh today. This is my second tea that features a large number of somewhat indistinct mixed florals + fruits, but they have totally different characters. This really is a “blue sky” tea… it makes me think of springtime flower-filled fields and ripe, juicy orangey-yellow fruit (you know, citrus, tropical fruits, the like). The green tea base just adds to that fresh feeling. An all around delicious, if slightly unseasonal tea!
Mm, I love the rich florals over the fruits in this tea. The citrus and the fig and the lotus and the rose all blend together so well. There’s something so luxurious about it; I think it’s partly the fig, which grounds what might otherwise be bright citrus notes, and partly the rose/lotus, which I think in general are pretty “thick” florals. This is no light flowery tea… these are heady, intoxicating aromas and flavors. Definitely recommended for fans of floral teas.
This morning as I was driving to work I had a bag of new tea samples in my car, and one of the teas in the bag was emitting a powerfully chocolatey aroma. It was tempting to try it, but I said I would be drinking my faves now, not new teas, so I grabbed Florence to fill the craving. It definitely worked… this tea is so chocolatey and nutty and delicious, like chocolate hazelnut cream in tea form. It’s also robust enough to serve as a good wake-me-up breakfast team, which is good for this morning since I am dragging. Go Florence go!
Going back and trying all of these teas is amazing because I’m pretty sure I forgot how awesome they were in the intervening time, but I also feel like have nothing to write for my tasting notes. But I still write them because I like tasting notes.
This one is almost sweet today… it’s a tantalizing, lingering sweetness that isn’t as much in the sip as in the aftertaste. The main part of the sip is mango-y and a bit floral and lightly almondy (like a macaron, of course), but I can taste the vegetal grassiness from the Sencha as well and it’s a nice grounding note. They combine well but also remain distinct, as if you were eating a macaron and drinking a cup of green tea at the same time. Delish.
This is one of my top top teas, and I haven’t had it in forever! Yet another one of those “but it’s kind of expensive so I don’t want to use it up too fast” quandries. Not to mention I’ve been wandering the lands of tasty floral green oolongs for a while, which has generally filled my cravings for floral teas. There’s just something about jasmine pearls, though… it’s been long enough that I think I didn’t remember exactly what I was missing from a tea that was really all about the jasmine, not jasmine + other flavors. Oh that honeysuckle sweetness! This is really a tea I would be happy to drink every day if it was feasible.
Last Friday I said that this week I would be revisiting all my favorite teas, which I haven’t drank in a long while. Of course, this week I will only be around my stash for two days before traveling for Thanksgiving, so perhaps I will need to stretch my “favorites” resolution to after this week. In reality I’d like to revisit a lot of teas that I haven’t gotten around to in a while, not just my absolute faves, so I’m going to try to mix things up a bit in general.
Anyway, what better way to start out than this one? So almondy and floral. This is one of the few teas I’ve encountered that really does give me that sweet almond marzipan flavor I look for in an almond tea. I love this tea but I don’t want to drink it up so fast because I have to order it from France when I run out! On the other hand, that means an order to Dammann Fréres in which I can order all kinds of other teas as well. Maybe I should drink it up to make an excuse for myself! :D
This is definitely one of those teas that I wasn’t super excited to go back to. This one less because it was bad than because it just didn’t wow me like expected. But everyone also says that you have to try this one with milk and sugar because it’s like strawberries and cream and so delicious… so I had to bring it home and try it!
I think I do enjoy it more with the milk and sugar… the strawberry flavor is very nice, and I actually get more florals with it this way, which I wouldn’t have expected with the milk. The milk helps to smooth out the odd tartness that I taste with MF black teas. Overall a very tasty pot of tea.
So I never put milk and sugar in my tea, partly because I drink most of my tea at work and I don’t have those things there, and partly because I like drinking my tea straight. A tea has to taste good on it’s own for me, without additions. That’s not to say that I haven’t come across several teas that I didn’t love straight, and then never get around to drinking them even though they would probably taste good with milk and sugar. So I finally brought some of these teas home to have on the weekend with additions.
This one is tasty with milk and sugar. It wasn’t horrible without it, but it was kind of lackluster. Now it’s way more nutty and a lightly chocolatey, and the slightly bitter tea base is smoothed out and covered by the milk. I think the weekend milk and sugar teas will definitely be a way for me to use up teas I wasn’t very fond of straight.
This tea is mind-bendingly good. It is almost unbelievable! I went through my first steep so quickly because I couldn’t stop drinking it, I was surprised when it was gone! Thankfully I can get lots of steeps out of this one because I am going to need them today. It gets especially delicious as it cools down to just warm, and that incredible buttery, caramely sweetness comes out. I have yet to rate a tea 100, but this one has joined the ranks of my 99s, which are the teas that I truly and utterly love. And now it’s out of stock! I am eagerly awaiting the reblending.
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 tried cold steeping this one this one to see what I might get from it, but unfortunately all I got was cherry candy. Which would be not so bad if I liked cherry candy, but I do not. A hot steep was better for this tea.
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.
I thought about posting this in the “Chance Combinations” listing, but really it was mostly Paris, so I’ll put it here. I had part of a sample pouch of Paris that I ordered from Harney ages ago that I had never used up. It wasn’t quite enough for a cold steep by itself, so I threw in an extra teaspoon of rose black, using up the rest of my sample from Golden Moon. Turns out rose is a nice addition to Paris! It complemented the existing flavors without overwhelming them. What I didn’t even think of is that Paris has vanilla notes in it, and here they play well with the rose, whereas I wasn’t as fond of the pairing in the Vanilla Rose from Zhi Tea this morning.
Yesterday afternoon I completely reorganized my tea drawers. Yes, I used to have only one (these are very large, deep drawers), but my tea collection has rapidly expanded. It’s a good thing I have an office with a lot of space! Now I have one drawer for large pouches and tins, and one for samples. Anyway, as I was going through things I realized that I hadn’t yet tried this sample that was sent to me by SimplyJenW, which clearly got lost in my jumble because a vanilla rose tea is definitely something I want to try. Thanks Jen!
I never realized that vanilla and rose would combine to form some aroma that is both evocative of both but also distinct in its own right. It’s an interesting combo, and I guess one I’ve never experienced before! This tea is an Assam, and I don’t know how much I like Assams (though I suspect they are not on my list of faves), so I’m interested to see how it plays out in this tea. Overall it’s pretty nice, but there’s something about this rose, or perhaps the rose combo with vanilla, or perhaps both with the Assam, that is throwing me off a bit. This is the first rose tea I’ve had that I really think tastes a bit perfumy. To addess the Assam, well for me even at this low temp it is bitter and too strong for me. I’m pretty sure at this point that I dislike Assams in general. C’est la vie, they are not for me who has a sensativity to bitterness. Maybe I can brew them really weak and see how that goes, heh.