1806 Tasting Notes
Backlog from this morning. I love hazelnut spreads and liqueur, and even though I’ve fallen out of love with Harney’s Florence and have had only mediocre luck with nutty teas lately, I ordered some of this because it sounded so tasty. Unlike the typical pairing of chocolate and hazelnut, this is vanilla and hazelnut!
Man, I’m glad I ordere some because this is delicious. The hazelnut really reminds me of Frangelico, and these awesome hazelnut creme candies I made with Frangelico last Christmas. The vanilla is sweet and creamy and a tiny bit caramelized-tasting. And the tea base on this one really complements the nuttiness. Definitely very pleased with this one!
I decided this herbaceous blend could be a good one for my still somewhat oniony breath. I certainly don’t want to try any new teas today and risk flavor contamination.
This is quite nice, as usual. I really love Verdants TGY blends, partly because I really love their TGYs. But David has such a deft hand with flavoring, and I really think it comes out in these blends. The frankincense is odd but its uniqueness is part of what makes this tea memorable. I always look forward to seeing what he will think up next.
I had an oniony lunch and I have a doctor’s appointment later. What was I thinking? I decided may a robust tea with rose might help to negate the bad breath. After looking through my collection I settled on this one, which I restocked in Paris recently.
What’s funny about this flavor combo (orange, vanilla, rose) is that I have had it or similar in other teas, but I never liked it. But here it’s lovely! I don’t know if it’s in part changing tastes or just a proper balance in this tea, but I’m happy to have found it. Now I can daydream about afternoons in Paris while stuck in my office… sigh.
Here’s how you know you have too much tea: I bought 2 oz of this tea about a year and a half ago in a sale at the Tea Spot, and when I pulled it out this morning I realized that the bag has never been opened. Yup, still heat-sealed closed.
Fortunately being sealed preserved it. I brewed this a bit hotter than I have in the past, more like I’ve been brewing white teas lately with Teavivre’s instructions. There is this western sense that white teas need to be babied, have to be brewed really cool, but that’s really not true. It’s kind of like the false notion that white teas are low caffeine and relaxing, when to many people white tea makes them wired! I certainly feel energized by a cup of white tea. I like how when they are brewed hotter they get more robust, more bready, and sometimes even a kind of cocoa-y note comes out.
This one reacted similarly. The rose and jasmine play well together here and are lovely, if you love florals. The white tea definitely had notes of hay and grains and yeasty bread. I must make an effort to drink this one more often (obviously).
This morning I needed some raspberry leaf (if you know what I mean). I have these bags of raspberry leaf but I prefer to actually just throw a bag in my mug underneath an infuser basket filled with other tea, and rose blacks are my favorite for whatever reason. The raspberry leaf has this odd sweetness to it (not sure if it’s the actual leaf or something else in the bag), and a slight fruitiness. I often pair it with Harney’s Rose Scented, but today I went for this one.
The last time I had this I brewed it near the low recommended temperature but it was kind of thin. Fortunately I read my other tasting note before having this again. This time I steeped it at boiling and it was delicious. I will hold off adjusting my rating until I have it without the raspberry leaf bag, but I think it will be going on. This is kind of like Bergamot Rose Laoshan Black with out the bergamot. The black tea has a similarly awesome flavor profile. Definitely pleased with this one.
I just found out that one of the new grad students in my current department is a tea drinker, and even a loose tea drinker. Cool! We were talking about tea, I showed her my astounding amount of tea in my office, and then she came back with a tea that she said I might not have tried. She said it was a green tea from Vietnam and it smelled amazingly like vanilla, which she claims is all natural, not flavoring. So I grabbed a cup’s worth to try. But she just had it in an unmarked ziploc baggie, so I have no idea about what it is! The leaf dark green and somewhat broken up and it had a ton of stems in it. She warned me that it is most vanilla-y early on and gets bitter later, so I steeped conservatively at 1 minute (because it looked like it was done).
And man, do I need to find out what this is. Flavored or not, this is delicious. If it’s actually unflavored, it’s astounding. Almost like a milk oolong, but definitely not a milk oolong. It’s vanilla-y, but also a little creamy. Oh I think maybe toasted coconut? (It’s really interesting to try a tea “blind” when you don’t know what it’s supposed to taste like). Definitely toasted coconut. This has got to be flavored somehow, but it’s really well done nonetheless. It’s actually gotten more creamy and coconutty as its cooled and I haven’t had a problem with bitterness.
What a great tea! I will definitely have to figure out where she got it.
Thank you so much to Angel and Teavivre for sending me samples of this tea. I am always intrigued when a jasmine tea is on an unusual green base… actually I’m not sure what base jasmine greens usually are, but they aren’t usually specified. But this one is! It was cool that the leaf was kind of half-rolled, almost like an oolong.
This was quite a nice jasmine green tea, with perhaps a bit more oomph from the green tea than a regular jasmine green. Bi luo chun is often kind of green-beany, and it comes through a little. This is less sweet than some other jasmine greens and lacks the honeysuckle notes. But that’s not to say the jasmine is light! It’s quite robust, it’s just matched by the green flavor of the tea as well. I definitely look forward to trying this one again, maybe in close comparison with some other jasmine greens.
Even though I have a pile of other DF teas to try that I haven’t had before, this one was calling my name this afternoon. This is one of those teas where my mouth starts watering the minute that the pouch opens. So much buttery toffee goodness.
And so much buttery toffee goodness in the flavor too! I would agree that this is perhaps more toffee than straight caramels, but it’s really a continuum anyway. It’s a tea that tricks my brain into thinking its sweet, even though there isn’t any actual sweetness to the tea. The black base is present in this one, but to me that’s a good thing. Glad I restocked this one!
Almond is one of my absolute favorite flavors. Marzipan is perhaps my favorite candy, and I love amaretto. And although I have been able to find a number of good teas with almond as one component of it, I have yet to find my perfect almond black tea. I’ve actually pretty much given up on finding one. I think part of my problems has been the base teas… they’re never any good. But I really enjoy Dammann’s standard black base, so this one has obviously been on my list for a while, and now I finally get to try it out.
Dry this smells a lot like some of the other marzipan/almond teas I’ve tried. Which is to say, not unlike amaretto. Steeped, the base tea really comes out more, although thankfully the almond is still a prominent note. And, unlike many almond teas, the almond is a sweet, prominent note in the flavor as well. For some reason in a lot of almond black teas the almond flavor doesn’t come through strongly, but that is not the case here. But it’s also go enough of the base to remind you that yes, you are drinking black tea here. For whatever reason the standard Dammann black base seems thinner to me in this one, and I would love it to be a bit more robust, but otherwise its quite lovely. Very smooth, no bitterness, nice almond.
This was a free sample that came with my Instant Thé order. Like Ysaurella, I haven’t heard of this company before, but the samples they sent sounded pretty good. This is very similar to the Lemon Drop tea I have from California Tea House (and also to a large number of lemony-ginger green teas), except this has some mint and licorice root in it instead of chamomile and orange peel.
I find these teas make good stomach-settlers, which is why I chose this one this morning. I am already feeling better than I did earlier, but I figured having some of this one will probably help anyway. I am enjoying this blend… definitely lemony, but much of the other flavors just kind of blend in to a kind of herbal background. The licorice root provides a sweetness to the aftertaste that I find pleasant. Nice, but it doesn’t really stand out from the crowd of other lemony green teas.