262 Tasting Notes
The dry leaf smells just like hazelnut-flavored coffee – alarmingly so, in fact. Fortunately, the flavor’s much subtler. I’m having a hard time picking out the individual elements – coconut’s the strongest, surprisingly – but the overall effect is sweet and creamy and only faintly nutty. The green base works well – it’s smooth and buttery, and not too assertive. Walnut Brittle strikes me as a bit of a misnomer here, but it’s a pleasant blend all the same. Thank you for this sample, Fuzzy_Peachkin!
I got a bag of this as a sample with my most recent Lupicia newsletter. This tea has the standard Lupicia black base, which I’m not crazy about. Although the dry sachet smells quite fruity, once steeped I’m mostly just getting the base. There’s a faint, generic fruitiness to it, but that’s all. I only steeped for two minutes, which I’d thought might be little enough time to keep the base from taking over. This probably would have been better cold-steeped, but I only had the one bag and didn’t want to bother for such a small quantity.
I’ve always struggled to pick up baked good notes in teas, and this one’s no exception. There’s nothing particularly reminiscent of cookies, oatmeal or otherwise. And while there is some sweetness to the tea, it’s nothing I would’ve identified as raisin.
What I did get from this tea is cinnamon, and lots of it. Too much, in fact. I like cinnamon well enough, but this veered perilously close to Red Hots territory – at least in the first steep (3 minutes); it was down to an acceptable level by the second (5 minutes).
The base seemed pretty standard. I don’t have much to say about it either way, although I did get a hint of bitterness from my first steep. I wish I’d liked this one more, but I’m very glad to have had a chance to sample it since it’s a blend I’d been curious about for some time. Thanks for the sample, Fuzzy_Peachkin!
I got a bag of this from Nicole Martin at the NYC meetup this week, and I’m drinking it at work right now. It’s a very straightforward black, and fairly robust. I am catching some very faint honey notes on occasional sips, and there’s also the tiniest bit of grassiness. I would’ve guessed it was an Assam; according to the company’s website, it’s actually Assam blended with Nilgiri. I’m enjoying this, although I don’t think it’s something I’d buy (just because there are so many more distinctive black teas out there).
I received this as a sample from Teajo Teas several months ago and am just now – very belatedly! – getting around to trying it. I didn’t do the stovetop thing (although I’d like to try it sometime); I just followed the instructions on the packaging: 1 tsp. in 8 oz. boiling water for 3 minutes.
I mostly tasted the assam – it’s a very nice, high-quality base, without any bitterness. The pepper also came through quite strongly. Ginger and cinnamon are detectable, but faint. I couldn’t pick out any of the other spices. I love ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom, so I was a bit disappointed not to be getting more of these in particular. About halfway through my cup, I added a generous splash of almond milk. I thought it might bring out some of the hidden spices, but unfortunately it just overwhelmed the chai.
This was very pleasant, but I do prefer a more assertively-spiced chai. Reading the other reviews, though, I’m wondering if I may not have done a good job mixing up my bag – I did give it a good shake beforehand, but I’ll pay more attention when I make my next cup.
This is one of my favorite hibiscus-based herbals. Although hibiscus is the strongest flavor here, I can also taste both cranberry (more) and cherry (less, although the aroma of the dry blend is all cherry). It’s quite sour, which I like. I’ve had this hot and iced, and while it’s good both ways I think it works better iced.
I bought a quarter of a pound of this in a sale back in February but hadn’t gotten around to drinking it – bad, I know! Anyway, I decided to cold-steep some of it. Darjeelings are some of my favorite teas to drink iced, but I’m pretty new to cold-steeping and hadn’t tried it with a Darjeeling before. I’d read some instructions, on the forums here I think, to let Darjeelings steep for four days, and I thought I’d try that method.
And I’m glad I did – this is fabulous! And so different from Darjeeling brewed the regular way. More delicate, and sweeter, and less astringent. It’s light and crisp, and very smooth. I’m getting strong bergamot notes – this could almost pass for a delicate Earl Grey, even! There’s also some honey. I usually dislike black teas that taste like honey, but here it’s so delicate and melds so well with the other flavors that I’m finding it very pleasant. The whole experience is, oddly enough, reminding me of Earl Grey ice cream – one of my favorite things in the world. I think this will be going on regular rotation for the rest of the summer.
There’s a decidedly minty undertone to this blend – I’ve never had tulsi before, but I’m assuming that’s it. I’m unabashedly not a fan of mint in my tea (or tisane, as the case may be), but this is actually okay – pleasantly refreshing, even.
I can taste the spices, but for the most part I wish they were a bit stronger. The ginger does come through nicely, though, and I think that’s what’s saving this tisane for me. It’s reminding me of ginger cookies, actually, which is never a bad thing! And the rooibos isn’t too strong – I’m not getting that tobacco flavor I dislike.
It’s not outstanding, but this is a decent caffeine-free option. I can see myself enjoying this in the evenings. I’m drinking it plain now, but I’ll certainly be trying it with a splash of soy or almond milk.
The dry leaf smells SO cocoa-y. One steeped, the cocoa’s somewhat subdued. It’s still empathically present, though. There’s also some malt to this one, and a bit of sweetness. This is the same general profile I’ve gotten from all of the Chinese black teas I’ve tried so far – there haven’t been too many, as I’ve only begun experimenting with these recently – although I’d say this one’s a bit lighter than others.
I’m feeling more and more that while I can certainly appreciate Chinese black teas, they’ll probably never number among my favorite varieties. I know that puts me in the minority here, but that’s okay. I do think I’d enjoy a cup of this or something like it once a while, and, as I said in another note for a tea with a (to me, anyway) similar profile, I wonder if I might get into these intense chocolate-y teas a bit more in the winter.
Thanks to Rie for this sample!
Eggnog (well, more like Silk Nog… the real deal’s a bit rich for me) is one of my favorite parts of winter, and I couldn’t imagine how the flavor and texture could possibly be translated into tea form. As it turns out, they’re not, quite. I’m not getting a true eggnog flavor, but I am reminded of sweet wintry treats—which is close enough, I think. The flavoring is reminding me a lot of Celestial Seasonings’ Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride herbal, which is one of my favorite holiday blends. The flavors are fairly subtle, but they’re definitely present.
All good so far. But I’m not entirely sold on the way the sugar-cookie flavors are working with the Huangshan Mao Feng. While it is pleasingly creamy, it’s also quite vegetal. I know that’s intentional, and while I see that a lot of people enjoy the interplay between the sweet and savory flavors in this tea, this particular combination of base and flavoring is not quite right for me.
I think I would’ve enjoyed this more with a different base – a white or an oolong (like the base used for Butiki’s Maple Pecan Oolong, maybe?) seem like strong contenders. Still, I’m glad to have had the chance to try this creative tea – thanks to Shelley_Lorraine for the sample!