208 Tasting Notes
Thanks for this sample, Cameron B.! This is another Assam I’d been curious about but hadn’t wanted to commit to, since it’s only sold in one—very large—size. It’s strong and malty—though not quite as strong and malty as I’d expected it might be. There’s a strong raisiny note, with a fair bit of astringency thrown in to keep the sweetness in check. This is a nice Assam, but since there are other good options that can be purchased in smaller quantities it’s not necessarily something I’d purchase—4.4 oz. is a lot!
Thanks so much for sending me this sample, Cameron B.! Chestnut isn’t the kind of flavor I tend to go for in teas—it’s usually all about the fruits and florals for me—but the rave reviews piqued my attention. Plus, I do love roasted chestnuts. This sample comes at the perfect time, both because we’re getting into chestnut season and because I’ve just finalized my plans to go to LA for Thanksgiving! Century City Lupicia, here I come!
So, this tea. It doesn’t really taste like chestnut to me. It’s sweet, with maybe a bit of caramel, but there’s nothing as rich as chestnut here. This blend reminds me a little bit of Nina’s Japon, which I liked well enough but didn’t fall in love with. The sencha base is, predictably, somewhat grassy, and it comes through pretty strongly; as in Japon, it goes better with caramel-ish notes than I might’ve guessed. It’s not bad, by any means, but not what I’d hoped for either.
Lupicia fans: do you follow the official instructions to use boiling water with every tea, or do you steep their greens at a lower temperature? I turned my kettle off just before boiling, and I’m wondering if the high temperature was too much for this one. Fortunately I have enough for a second cup to test my hypothesis.
My first green Assam! I wasn’t really even aware that anyone was producing green Assams until donkeytiara offered to send a sample of one in my swap package. Naturally I had to try it, Assam fan that I am. And it’s pretty good, though not at all what I expected. It’s on the lighter side, yet still quite vegetal. It’s more like one of the grassier kinds of Chinese green than it is a sencha, I think. There’s quite a bit of astringency—even by my astringency-loving standards!—and I think it could easily be too much for those who prefer more delicate greens. What there isn’t is any resemblance whatsoever to a standard black Assam. I don’t know why I expected there would be, or what kind of similarities I was expecting, but it’s not here. Nonetheless, this makes for a pretty good cup, and while I wouldn’t go out of my way to get more of it—there are plenty of other greens that tick the same boxes this one does for me—I certainly wouldn’t object to drinking it again. Thanks for letting me try this, donkeytiara!
Very sweet, with a hint of raisin and lots of caramel. I can see why this is a favorite for so many on here, but, weirdly, I prefer my black teas on the harsher side—this Assam actually reminds me of some of the popular Chinese blacks I haven’t cared for on grounds of having too much in the way of sweet dessert notes going on, though I can’t think which ones exactly. Thanks for the sample, Cameron B.! I’m happy to be able to knock this off my wish list, since it’s a tea I’d been curious about for a while.
This is bright and sweet and very lemony—there’s something almost candy-like about the lemon, though it’s in no way artificial. The base is smooth and works well with the crispness of the bergamot. This is one I’d definitely consider picking up when I need to replenish my Earl Grey stash, and from a company I’d like to support too. Thanks for the sample, Nicole_Martin (I think)!
I got this from moraiwe in a swap over a year ago but am just trying it for the first time now—whoops! I’d been curious about this one because I adore jasmine but have never tried it paired with a black base before. In this case, the base has that typical Yunnan chocolate thing going on. Though I know it’s a favorite for a lot of people, it’s not for me. Still, this tea is pleasingly well-rounded, with some nice malty notes and a hint of pepper to balance the cocoa out. There’s a bit of astringency, which I don’t mind at all. And, while I think I do prefer jasmine with a green or white base, I’ve got to admit it works surprisingly well with the Yunnan. I’m really enjoying this cup quite a bit, and it’s been the perfect thing for a lazy weekend afternoon of soup-making and sorting out how to prepare freelance invoices. It’s just as well I haven’t fallen in love with it, though, since thepuriTea is long gone now.
This isn’t a subtle tea, or a nuanced one. It doesn’t taste like sweet potato or chocolate or freshly baked bread. It just tastes like tea. As others have noted, PG Tips really is England’s Lipton—albeit a bolder, deeper version. It really is quite strong—my general stance is the more kick the better, but this one can be a bit much even for me if steeped too long. This has been my wakeup beverage of choice lately, and it’s just the thing for those fuzzy early mornings (and really, when are early mornings any other way?) when you’re not aware enough to appreciate a more refined (or pricey) tea and just need a serious caffeine infusion ASAP.
I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying this tisane! I’ve always had it in my mind that I’m a decided non-fan of fennel and licorice in teas, but I’m realizing that maybe what I really don’t like is when those ingredients are used to add sweetness in blends where they really don’t belong. Anyway, this is quite strong on the fennel, and rather sweet. I could’ve done with more cardamom—I love cardamom—but I’ll take what I can get. I’ve been trying to expand my decaf collection lately, and this is something I can see keeping around.
I really wanted to like this one, but I just can’t. It has a weird and off-putting chemical aroma, and while that note’s much subdued in the flavor it’s not entirely absent. Otherwise, I’m mostly getting what seems to be a slightly smoky base (or maybe that’s the whiskey flavoring?). I don’t get sweet potato, or much in the way of sweetness. In fact, I’ve had unflavored teas that tasted way more like sweet potato than this one does. It could be that I’ve let this sample sit too long, but whatever the reason this one isn’t doing it for me at all. Thanks to Dustin for letting me sample it, since I would’ve been pretty disappointed if I’d ordered a whole bag!
I’ve been slacking off on my sample stash this summer. While I’ve been dutifully chugging through a couple of teas I’d acquired in massive (well, 3 oz.) quantities, I’ve mostly only been drinking tea at work. And I don’t like to try anything for the first time at work, since I can’t do much in the way of timing or controlling temperature there. I have been drinking copious quantities of iced corn, corn silk, and barley tisanes I picked up from HMart at home, so there’s that.
Anyway, now that it’s getting cooler, I’m more inclined to reach for hot tea, and today I decided to break out this sample of African Chai I’ve been hanging onto for the better part of a year. I picked this up from someone—maybe Nicole_Martin?—at one of the now-defunct NYC meet-ups. And while it’s not my ideal chai, it’s pretty good! I’m enjoying the base; it’s got just the right amount of astringency and malt for my tastes.
There’s a nice natural sweetness to this chai. It’s a little heavy on the cloves and light on the everything else for my taste, but it does taste pleasingly gingerbread-y. I’m not generally a fan of fennel or liquorice in teas, but while I do taste them they’re subtle enough not to bother me here. I was intrigued by the inclusion of rose, since I love the one other rose chai I’ve tried, but I can’t taste it here. All in all, this is a nice fall tea, and a great way to cap off my brunch of pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin butter. I’m not sure if it’s something I’d want to pick up more of, but I have enough left for another cup to mull it over.