1105 Tasting Notes
While on vacation, I happened across a small store selling locally-made goods, including a few small bags of Always Summer Herbs’ teas. The others were things I expected to dislike, but I did pick up this one due to the cheap price.
The dry leaf smells very much like a Laffy Taffy: sweet, fake banana. Not a bad scent, but definitely not something that I particularly want to have as a tea. Oddly, however, the liquor has no such smell, instead just reminding me of a generic, dull black tea.
As I sip it, I wish that it had captured that Laffy Taffy smell in the taste, because what it turned out to be is much more disappointing. For the most part, it just tastes metallic, although there’s a very light touch of raspberry and banana, in both the sipping and the aftertaste. Very disappointing, I’m glad this was only an ounce.
Dry, this seems like a pretty unassuming tea — not surprising, since I tend to think of Ceylon as “normal” black tea. Steeping gets you a nice dark cup with a fairly strong smell, woodsy and almost smoky. I wasn’t expecting much based on the dry leaf, but this is getting exciting!
As I sip, I immediately notice that this isn’t the least bit subtle in flavor, which is, as usual, a plus in my book. Toasty is definitely a good way to describe it, and I think my earlier declaration of woodsy still applies. It’s somewhat astringent, more than I’m personally used to tasting, and almost sour. I’m not getting any of the sweet or berry-ish notes that others apparently are, and in fact it’s more bitter than I’d like.
Taking this one for a second steeping, I’m getting a similar albiet milder taste. The bitterness is mostly gone now, but it seems to have taken a lot of the tea’s character with it. This time I tried a pinch of artificial sweetener (I don’t have the recommended raw sugar and milk), but it seems to mellow out the flavor some more more than anything else. Not a bad cup, though; it reminds me a lot of Twinnings’ very basic ceylon.
A very nice choice if you’re a fan of strong, full-bodied black tea, especially if you might like to finish off with a milder second steep! I might choose this as a coffee substitute if I needed one, as while it doesn’t taste like coffee at all, it offers a similar experience. On a personal level, it’s not a favorite due to the bitter and woodlike qualities, but it’s lovely for what it is and I might consider getting it again if I wanted a more permanent ceylon in my stash.