1954 Tasting Notes
Oh, the weather outside is frightful! This was a day for staying in, but freezy drizzle re-jiggered plans and we had to make a farm run to batten down the hatches and deliver groceries to housebound elder family members. Put down ice melt, covered vents, insulated pipes, fought our way through Walmart on Barton County Shop-With-A-Cop Day…so when we finally slid into home, my one overwhelming urge was “FUDGE!” Which, fortunately, is currently in stock at our house. This Bigelow tea was the chaser.
This isn’t my favorite Bigelow flavored tea. It leads with plenty of coconut; not much caramel follow up. Not spectacular on its own, but with milk and a good sweet treat beside it, it’ll do on a cold day.
I know this sounds improbable, but I was running low on tea at work—there’s the big random tin where I keep odd ducks and scraps and last-bags-in-the-pack, but sometimes you just need Just Plain Tea. Un-goofable Just Plain Tea that’s hardy enough to survive less-than-pristine mugs, an impotent work microwave, and sitting untended during the million petty interruptions that make up a “normal” work day.
This fits the bill. Smooth, didn’t get nasty when I accidentally oversteeped, not too sharp and acidic. Nothing stellar, no singular stand-out flavor, but I think it’ll Do What Needs to Be Done.
We did our family-tradition run to Branson for Christmas lights, musicals and my annual Christmas Cry (Little Altar Boy gets me every time)…and my souvenir from the trip is a good old-fashioned nose-drippig, sneeze-induzig, throat-scratching cold that has kept me at about 30% power all weekend. (Aw, shucks. Didn’t get to finish raking the back yard.)
So, at this point, flavor, delicacy, and nuances would be wasted on me. Full throttle, strong-as-you-can get ’em tea is needed at a time like this. The weekend menu has included, in order of strength:
Bigelow American Breakfast (heavily caffeinated, but not a biting flavor)
Bulk peppermint leaf, steeped a good ten minutes
Good Earth Sweet and Spicy (tastes just like cinnamon red hots)
..and this morning, Twinings Irish Breakfast spiked with a spoonful of Bulk Assam. If that doesn’t clear things out, I’ll just have to try Drano. I have a roomful of 10-year-olds to talk over this morning!
Been a few Christmases since I’ve had this. Its description now reads:
A jubilant blend of black tea, oolong, jasmine green tea & hints of peach.
Memory may be failing (my family would instantly confirm that), but when this was first released, I recall it being primarily green/black without the more delicate peachy, oolong-y highlights. Still a good sip, just a different one.
At our house, we’re suckers for free samples and dollar-off coupons. That’s why there’s a new little looseleaf jar of Pure Leaf on the kitchen shelf.
It’s definitely a waker-upper. There’s the cat-scratch sharpness of the Ceylon on top of each taste, then you get the deep breadiness of the Assam—you know, that floor-reverberating thump of a big dog’s tail. Milk makes them play nicely together.
Walmart was giving away free sample bags last weekend. The first thing I noticed about the pyramid bag was how fresh and sweet it smelled. (I don’t have the adjectival chops to tell you how I differentiate between fresh and not-so-fresh, but it was.)
Steeped, even with the disadvantage of water from a work microwave, it has the pastry-cookie vanilla sweetness of Harney and Sons’ Vanilla Comoro, which I know is often held up as the gold standard for vanilla tea. The Pure Leaf jars run a little pricier than boxed grocery store favorites, but this one earns its keep!
After weeks of too-warm weather, break-yer-neck schedules, and two wearying sojourns out of state, it was pure bliss to tool around the yard on the mower mulching up leaves and watching the sun through the oranges and yellows still on the trees. It was even chilly enough I had to warm up when I came inside! Bliss.
This was my warmer upper. Not stellar, but respectably decent. The chocolate flavor is mild, but you can detect it. A little half and half accentuates it nicely. And after clutching the cup for a while, I can feel my fingers again.