1855 Tasting Notes

As a candidate for president of the HHH society (Heartily Hate Hibiscus), I will confess to scrunching up my face in preparation for eye-stinging tartness when I stirred a quarter teaspoon of this bright red powder into a chilled pint of water.

Surprise! Not one sting, not one tear, not one grimace: just a nice cool sip of fruit and flowers. Lovely cold on a muggy day. I was light on the powder, but even strengthened a little, the rose keeps that pushy H from taking over. Nicely done!

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Simply due to the season, I’ve been trying my Chi Whole Leaf samples chilled. Still a couple to go, but this is my favorite so far. The rooibos and spices play nicely, with nobody obnoxiously clamoring for attention. Cold, it has a little bit of a root beer vibe to it. I can see this as a lovely latte when the weather cools down, and there’s a lot to be said for the ease of prep. No muss, no fuss, stir and get on with it!

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Shake, shake, go! That’s nice at work in a travel tumbler with ice. Green tea with mint make a nice afternoon eye-opener; the added eucalyptus adds a little tingle and tickle to the blend.

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
1855 tasting notes

Can’t find this with a search or on the Shang Tea website at the moment, so I’ll just make a note here that the Shang Holiday Red Tea Nicole sent a while back is excellent. After more than a week of slugging down whatever, as long as it was icy, the morning was cool enough to enjoy a slow and decent cuppa.

About four minutes yielded a dry and cocoa-y flavor that just made me go ah-h-h-h-h-h-h.

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
1855 tasting notes

The problem with random tea alchemy is the likelihood that you will never be able to hit on that particular combo/proportion again. In this case, had two quart jars of cold-brew in the fridge: one of my favorite Good Young strawberry black tea, and one Yorkshire Gold in which we’d dumped half a “squoze” lemon after juicing it the other evening. Two-thirds strawberry, roughly, to one-third lemon. Fruity Saturday afternoon goodness that I may or may not be able to replicate exactly.

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The samples Chi Whole Leaf kindly sent sparked off a fun childhood memory—-Mom would let me make the pitcher of Nestea. Measuring and stirring…why, that was like real cooking to four-year-old!

Fortunately, Chi’s whole leaf powder is much more elegant that the old powdered Lipton stuff that you had to stir forever to blend in—quick whisk in water and you’re good to go! Smooth and silky with no clumpy lumps.

As far as this particular flavor goes, please chalk my remarks up to personal preference and ineptitude with good powdered teas. Did 1/4 teaspoon (high end of the recommended measurement) in a 12-ounce cup. The yerba mate flavor I like—reminds me of “leafy” coffee—came through, but with a serious wallop of licorice, which I prefer in microscopic doses.

Licorice likers, this is for you more than me. But the product itself is quite good, and I still have flavors to try…no doubt I’ll find a favorite!

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drank Decaffeinated Black Tea by Red Rose
1855 tasting notes

Yep, we’re there. It’s so hot and humid I don’t care about any tea characteristic other than COLD. This is an acceptable cold Mason jar steep when you don’t care about being finicky and are putting away cold drinks by the gallon. Red Rose in general is a little less acidic than U.S. counterparts; the decaf version is milder still.

ashmanra

Heat index 105F here. I think that is about 39C? Maybe 40C? Fortunately, my a/c is chugging along and I can enjoy a cuppa early in the morning and late at night. Just not by day!

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drank Huckleberry Tea by Market Spice
1855 tasting notes

As SUMMER has hit with a vengeance—110% humidity and absolutely soupy outside—I couldn’t resist this at the new little gourmet store. Huckleberry. Doesn’t it just sound like a picnic? Made a trial mini-batch of sun tea in a pint jar. I don’t know what makes a berry taste like “huckle,” so I can’t assess the accuracy of the flavor, but it is fruity without being cloying. Maybe like a cousin of a ripe blueberry.

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
1855 tasting notes

I miss a blend called Wake-Up Call that I couldn’t find on my last run to Savoy tea in Arkansas—-it was a light, pleasant green tea/ginseng/mate blend with a great morning wake-up punch.

So, this morning, rogue inspiration hit and I did two parts of an anonymous early 2014 white tea a friend brought back form a China trip + one part mate leaves. Close! Wasn’t in the blend I was hoping to replicate, but I’m thinking a little mint from the back step wouldn’t be amiss next time.

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drank Cherry Almond by Stash Tea Company
1855 tasting notes

ashmanra sent me a sample of the Stash version of cherry almond to compare with the Market Spice equivalent. Both are nice, but I think quite different (didn’t do a side-by-side). Stash leads with the almond; I think the Market Spice leads more with the cherry. Either would be nice, I think, chilled on a warmish afternoon. (We haven’t had many of those of late!)

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Somebody asked me once when I became a tea junkie; I think it dates back to college when I needed caffeine for a 7 a.m. class but chose not to do coffee. My favorite teapot is a medium-sized Brown Betty given to me by my Mema; the painted flowers are chipping off, but the size and feel is perfect. I rejoice when I get a morning to brew a pot of loose tea starting with a kettle; not a bag and a hot pot.

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Southwest Missouri

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