1104 Tasting Notes
I got this as a free sample with the magazine, which seems like a common occurrence. Unlike some of the samples I’ve gotten this way, this tea sounded right up my ally so I made it immediately.
Carol doesn’t taste like Christmas to me beyond that I think it would make a good crowd pleaser at a party. The strawberry and cream notes are mellow and inoffensive, but definitely present in the background; nothing about it blows me away, but nothing stands out as particularly bad either. I like it just fine.
I wasn’t thrilled to get this in a mystery bag as I’m not usually a fan of chocolate in teas and haven’t been impressed by any other honeybush I’ve tried, but it turned out to be an exception!
The scent is strong, distinct oranges, leaning more toward authentic than a fake cough syrup orange — I can smell the rind! — but there’s a slight medicinal edge. No chocolate to be found here! Nonetheless, I like it a lot.
It tastes more or less like it smells, although in flavor the honeybush peeks out from under the orange and there’s a slight unpleasant bitter edge. I would have never guessed there was chocolate if it wasn’t in the name!
Flavors: Orange, Orange Zest
I’m pretty easy to satisfy as far as jasmine green teas go, so choosing this as a sample from Yezi felt like a safe bet, and as it turns out I was correct.
Opening the packet, there’s a really nice jasmine aroma, just purely floral and fairly strong. Upon brewing, the same aroma persists — they’re not playing around with the jasmine here!
The actual liquor has a surprisingly light taste considering the strength of the scent — it’s not bad, especially for a tea that’s advertised as being good for multiple steeps, just more subtle than I expected. It stands on its own without sweetener, which I don’t always find true of floral teas, probably because the green tea isn’t the slightest bit bitter. Just a nice soft, smooth jasmine.
I don’t feel like this is dramatically different from other jasmine greens, but it’s an excellent version and one of my favorites.
Flavors: Floral, Jasmine
I was not expecting the smell of this; as others have said, it’s a very strong fruity/candy scent with only a hint of green tea! I like it a lot, I’d love to be able to buy a perfume that smelled like this.
The scent of the liquor is similar, except far more on the green tea side of things — I’m inclined to call it mainly sencha, but I’m really not sure. It sips like the liquid’s smell, not the dry. I can distinctly pick out the berries, including some sweetness, even without any sugar added, but it very much tastes like a green tea.
I like this a lot! Probably the best sample I’ve gotten from Lupicia’s magazine thus far.
Flavors: Berries, Candy, Fruity, Sweet
I’ve had the sample pack of this tea (unopened) for a few years now, which admittedly might have impacted the taste, but I thought it was getting around time to try it and that a tasting note wouldn’t be amiss.
The first scent I noticed from the dry leaf was tobacco, but after a few more sniffs I can also pick out a leafy smell — it reminds me of the woods in the fall. Not generally what I expect from tea, but I’ve never had houjicha before.
1st steep – boiling water, 30 seconds:
The liquor smells like tobacco too, but in a surprisingly pleasant way. A lovely golden color! I’m glad I’m using a clear mug. There’s not much that surprises me about the flavor, honestly — it’s got a smoky kind of flavor, although much weaker than I get from, say, lapsang souchong. There are some definite woodsy notes as well, and the flavor lingers in the throat after swallowing.
2nd steep – near boiling, 60 seconds:
There’s a pretty similar flavor profile here, although it’s less complex now. The leaf notes have now really taken over.
Ultimately this isn’t really my preferred flavor profile (I do enjoy smoky teas, but I’m not so fond of the other notes), but it’s a very interesting sipping experience and I’m glad it was included in the sampler! I can see it being particularly pleasant to sip on a cool fall day.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Smoke, Wood
This tea is good at being what it is, which unfortunately means that it’s not really to my taste at all. It’s very strong and quite bitter, even when brewed normally, and the flavor is fairly malty. I always have to add milk and usually also sweeten it — I’m finishing it up with some vanilla creamer right now, and for me it needs that to make it easy to drink without wincing from the bitterness. On the flipside, if you like strong black teas and want to be able to add a lot of things to them, you’ll probably love this. (Although perhaps unsurprisingly, I haven’t tried many teas similar to this one and I can’t really directly compare it.)
Flavors: Malt, Tannin