291 Tasting Notes
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.
This came to me via Nicole_Martin at an NYC meetup almost a year ago. It’s a nice, basic jasmine green. The jasmine is quite strong, which is fine by me, but the green base comes through reasonably clearly as well. I love watching pearl teas unfurl, and this one was no exception. I’m happy with most any quality (read: not artificial and soapy) jasmine green, so naturally I enjoyed this cup quite a bit.
I was in London visiting my boyfriend a couple of weeks ago, and naturally I had to check out the Mariage Frères shop in Selfridges. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and they have what I’m pretty sure is their full lineup available, with samples of everything available for sniffing (but none for tasting, alas). After smelling ALL the teas, I decided to go for Lune Rouge (which I haven’t gotten around to trying yet; it smelled amazing though—roses and ginger and honey with a green base) and my boyfriend picked this, which we had with breakfast a couple of times.
It’s an unusual choice for a breakfast tea. It’s not very strong, and it’s quite rich and sweet. I’m surprised to learn the primary flavor is meant to be chocolate, because to me this blend was all caramel (or possibly toffee). These dessert flavors aren’t honestly my favorites, and this isn’t a tea I would’ve picked out myself (and especially not for drinking at breakfast). Still, it’s nice for what it is, and I’m glad to have had the chance to try it. And my boyfriend liked it—and will, I hope, continue to think of my American self while working his way through the rest of the bag.
Another tea from my ancient Verdant sampler. I can tell this is a good tea, but light TGY is emphatically not my thing. Those honeysuckle notes send me running every time, and this is no exception. I pretty much knew this would be the case going into it, but I couldn’t resist trying just in case. At least my curiosity is satisfied now, right?
This is one of the teas from the Verdant sampler pack I ordered last summer (I think?). Although I tried Laoshan Black ASAP to see what all the fuss was about, I’ve been avoiding the rest of the set ever since. It’s not because I wasn’t eager to try the remaining teas, but because I’ve given up on gongfu-style steeping—I just don’t enjoy it—yet sometimes feel like I’m wasting good tea with my lazy Western-style ways. Anyway, today I decided to get over it and jump back in with a (single, large) cup of Autumn Harvest Laoshan Green. And I’m very glad I did. It’s rich and creamy, redolent with flavors of spinach, green beans, asparagus, and even edamame. This is definitely one I’d consider picking up more of at some point.
This is a pleasant tisane, if not an outstanding one. It’s light and very sweet, even without any sugar added, and I’m getting vanilla frosting more than cake itself. I do wish it had more in the way of pastry notes, but as it is it’s still an enjoyable caffeine-free option (if not a standout like Butiki’s Peppermint Patty).
This is a tea Nicole_Martin shared with me at a Steepster meet-up almost a year ago. The NYC meet-ups seem to have died off, but they were nice while they lasted! Anyway, I’ve had it a few times between then and now but have never gotten around to logging it. It’s a little bit sweet and generically fruity—I do get berries, in an indistinct sort of way, but I certainly couldn’t pick out anything that especially struck me a passion fruit, which is too bad since passion fruit is a favorite of mine. The fruit flavors don’t have that artificial candy taste to them; I’ll give it that. The base tea is definitely the dominant flavor here, which seems unusual with these sorts of fruity teas. I’m a bit surprised to see that it’s an Assam; I’d assumed Ceylon before checking the reviews. It’s brisk, and it almost strikes me as vaguely smoky (although I think that may just be me misinterpreting the interplay between the base and fruit flavors). I’ve tried it both hot and iced (cold-steeped), and I like it much better iced. All in all, a pleasant tea but not one I’d buy, since there are plenty of similar teas I like better.