1957 Tasting Notes
Once again, I am posting my review of the reblend of this tea in the original listing because other people have been doing that as well, and splitting off a new one now would be difficult. But I have to distinctly say that this is the reblend because I still have some of the original blend in my cupboard!
So first off, holy crap fresh Gardens of Anxi is bowling me over. Just the smell of the dry leaf is astounding. SO much orange and jasmine and loveliness. It is potent, especially compared to my old stuff. I will say that the old blend has more leaf and less “stuff” than the new blend (since I can compare them directly). But the new one just smells amazing.
Because of all the “stuff” I ended up using 3 tsp for my mug instead of my usual 2, just to make sure I got enough TGY in the cup. This is lovely, and still deserving of my super high rating. 99 is as high as I go (I’ve never rated a tea 100), and this was always one of my loves. This totally has the lovely candy-like quality I remember about the original blend. Buttery jasmine caramels. MMmmmm. With a good dose of bright, citrusy orange. Such a beautiful blend with a beautiful spring TGY. Thanks again to Verdant for letting me buy some of this tea so I can have a fresh version in my stash!
Flavors: Butter, Honey, Jasmine, Orange
This is a note for the reblend of this tea, which I almost feel should get a different listing (especially since I’m not sure what the base tea is in the reblend? Zhu Rong?), but people have been logging the reblend here so I’ll put my note here too. I was so excited to hear that this tea got reblended. It was one of the first blends Verdant offered, back when they called their blends line “Alchemy” (I was one of the first people to try it!) and I loved it. Then it got retired, and I was sad. I was doubly sad when I cancelled my blends club just before they reblended two of my faves. But because Verdant is the best, Lily offered to sell me some of what was left of the blends. Score! I almost went crazy and bought a lot, but I remembered how long it takes me to drink up my teas and just bought 2oz of each.
This smells amazing in the dry leaf. Lots of bright bergamot and citrus, with a rich, bakery-esque base. That smell also carries over to the brewed tea as well. It is SO citrusy, almost like a lemon drop. And the base smells a bit chocolatey and a bit like toasted grains. The original blend wasn’t really chocolately at all, so that is a new addition to this blend, but one I definitely like. The Yunnan Golden Buds in the original blend gave it honey-caramel notes (according to my original tasting notes!), which are not as present here. Nevertheless, this is a blend that lives up to my fond memories of the first one. The flavor is very citrusy, with a rich dark-chocolatey base, a bit of toasted grains, and a smooth creaminess. Very nice. The inital sip is very lemony and generally citrusy, and then the bergamot kind of peeks out from the back and says “hi.” I think I could probably drop to 2tsp/12oz of water and be happy with this one (Zhu Rong is a bit more robust, and there isn’t as much “stuff” in this blend as some others).
MMmm this is SUCH a great Earl Grey. Please add it to your permanent blends, Verdant! I know it’s a bit simpler than some of your blends, but every tea company should have a straight Earl Grey, no? :D At least I have 2oz of this one, which should last me for a while.
I’ve been absent for a while but that’s because I was moving! Almost settled in now, though I need some tea storage for my new place. I’m back at work this week (for just this week, though! Then I’m off traveling again), and thus back to the majority of my tea stash. I now have central AC at home, though, so I can drink hot tea in the summer! Woah!
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Grain, Lemon
It’s Harney Tribute Day (as proposed by mj1851 in the forums), to honor the passing of John Harney Sr. a couple of days ago. I cannot think of a better tribute to Mr. Harney than this tea, which is the catalyst of my tea obsession.
I’ve told this story before in a tasting note, but I will tell it again: I bought this blend first at the actual Tower of London in 2009. I had gotten out of drinking tea regularly, but I decided the little tagalong tin would make a good souvenir (along with a little mug featuring the Tower ravens in beefeater uniforms!). Turns out that I loved the tea: a bit of bergamot, rich stone fruits, sweet honey. I was really sad because I was sure it would be nearly impossible to get in the States.
Then I looked up the tea company that produced it for Historic Royal Palaces and was shocked to find out that it was an American tea company. Located in NY, where I lived at the time! What a thing! I started exploring their website and their samples, and I fell in love. With Harney & Sons, and with tea in general.
I was going to say that Tower of London is my most logged tea, but that honor (by one note!) actually belongs to another Harney tea, Paris. It helps that I rely heavily on their sachets while traveling. It’s always great to have a tea you love when you are far from home. Thank you, Mr. Harney.
Flavors: Bergamot, Honey, Stonefruits
Yesterday I drank this one and I was originally not going to log it, but I want to be better about logging the teas I drink since I do like the idea of my “most drank” teas to be accurate.
Originally I was thinking about drinking an older tea, or even another cup of Caramel-Toffee to drink what’s left of it down before I order 100g of it, but this one called to me. Delicious, delicious cup of caramel, chocolate, stewed-fruits goodness. I am also excited that this year I’ll be visting Prague in the fall! Not quite Noël in Prague, though.
Saaaad sipdown. Although not as sad as it could be, because this tea is soooo old. Over 3 years I think? I have been cold brewing it regularly and finally used up the last of it today. All that was left of the flavor was some green tea and a hint of mango, but it was still tasty enough, so I used it up.
This is the kind of tea that makes me wish I could buy a smaller amount of these teas. Black teas last for a long time, but greens fade fast. I would totally buy more of this one, but only in some future world where I don’t have a lot of other teas, so I would have a hope of drinking it faster. Until then, adieu!
Hmmm, I think the flavor on this one is finally fading. I’ve had it for forever, so I suppose it’s not surprising. Trying to drink down older teas is the name of my game these days, and all of my Tea Spot teas are high on that list.
I wish there was an option between 0.6oz and 3oz on the Tea Spot’s site for this tea. I would get more, but probably not 3oz of it at a time because I (obviously) just don’t drink it that fast. Ah well, I have a lot of straight black teas that have nearly as strong chocolate notes to them, so I will just drink those instead when I am done with this one, even though I do love this one a lot.
Flavors: Chocolate, Grain, Molasses
The other day I thought about this tea again and it dawned on me that it might make a great cold brew. Root beer is usually drunk cold, afterall.
It came out pretty well. The sarsaparilla flavor was nice, although the cold brewing brought out a bit more vegetal-ness from the oolong than I would have preferred. I may drink the rest of this up via cold brew this summer; it might also make a decent tea soda.
I am exhausted after an early and packed morning of teaching, and a large lunch including a alcohol. Nap time?
I saw this one peeking out of my stash at me and decided I had to have it. And now it’s brewed and smelling delicious and being too hot to drink. Mmm so much coconut macaroon. I had a HUGE one the other day at an art fair, and this is so much like it. Thanks again to OMGsrsly for my sample of this one!
Once I have moved (so, after July 1) I am planning a Dammann tea order for a limited blend and a couple of new ones I just came across. I am also thinking that I will need to order refills of this tea and Fleurilege, since I am almost out of both of them! To be fair, I only had 50g to start, but it’s kind of amazing to me that I have almost completely blown through them. I mean, I could use the time to finish up other teas, but where is the fun in that? Plus if I am paying for shipping from France I might as well throw in a couple of extras.
Unlike Sil, I am still hopelessly in love with this tea. For sure my perfect caramel tea.
Flavors: Caramel, Toffee
A little bird told me that this tea was reblended for this month’s blends club… the month that I cancelled. Of course, I knew that would happen! One of my favorite blends ever, and I cancelled right before it was reblended in a very limited capacity. It is just about enough to make me rejoin the blends club, especially since I’ve been fairly successful in selling off the ones I don’t like lately. I mean, it’s only $17/month.
This is an elderly tea for sure. You can sit on many black blends for a long time, but that’s just not the case for oolongs and greens. I’ve been cold brewing through a large stock of a green Dammann blend that has lost most of its flavor, and it’s kind of sad. This one has hints of greatness around the edges still. Lovely florals, notes of butter and candy. The are just weak.
Much as I don’t want to just “get through” this blend, I’m wondering if I should cold brew. It’s certainly not getting any younger.