326 Tasting Notes
Well, I finally made it to Yumchaa in Soho today! It’s a really cute place, and a nice place to stop out of the chaos of central London. I was torn between this and a few of the fruity rooiboses (and I’m sure I’ll be back for those soon enough), but in the end I couldn’t help but fall for the impressive array of fruits mentioned in the description. It didn’t quite live up to my expectations—the fruit flavors were neither as strong nor as distinct as I might’ve liked, especially the rhubarb—but the green base was smooth and pleasant and the faint berry flavor that did come through added a hint of something extra. I’m glad I tried this tea, and I wouldn’t be averse to drinking it again—it seems like the sort of blend that might be better iced, anyway—but it wasn’t quite the transformative tea experience I’d hoped for. Still, very much looking forward to trying more from Yumchaa now that I’m in London.
Sad Butiki sipdown. Though this isn’t as strong as my usual breakfast blends, the Darjeeling—which I love—comes through nicely. There’s a hint of citrus and some very faint cocoa. This one pales in comparison to Heaven’s Trash, but nonetheless it’s a blend I would’ve liked to be able to get some more of.
This is another old sample of unknown origin. It’s a really solid blend, but I think my interest in smoky teas has wanted since I requested this sample. Fortunately the smoke isn’t too overpowering; there’s a lot of earth and malt and cocoa and maybe even a hint of sweetness. It reminds me a bit of a smokier Keemun. I’m enjoying this cup, but at this point it’s not a blend I’m likely to restock. Maybe someday my tastes will swing back to the (mildly) smoky, though, and if they do I may give it another go.
This is a very old sample (so old I no longer remember who sent it to me), and I can tell it’s the worse for it. There’s a lovely, smooth base, but beyond that I’m getting only whispers of peach. It seems like a delicate, natural peach, rather than the gummy candy sort of peach flavor you find more often in flavored teas. I’m not getting any thyme, which ruins the effect somewhat, but even in its diminished state I’m still finding this makes an enjoyable cup. I can only imagine it’s much better fresh, so I’m rating it partly for potential.
I was a little apprehensive waiting for this one to steep, since it smelled rather unexpectedly of chamomile. Fortunately, the flavor is true to the name—it’s (slightly weak) apple juice with a hint of elderflower. It’s nice, even despite the licorice. The flavors are on the delicate side, but that’s alright. I bet it would be good iced, too.
This is a pretty nice tisane. Unsurprisingly, it mostly tastes like hibiscus—which is fine; I like hibiscus. There’s a hint of strawberry candy, and the sourness from the hibiscus is somewhat evocative of rhubarb. I was hoping for something a little more distinctive, but this is really just your standard fruity hibiscus blend (albeit a pleasant one).
What a wonderful blend this is! Where the breakfast blends I’ve been drinking lately are blunt force objects, this one is a positive symphony of flavors, each perfectly in tune with the other. There’s a lot going on—malt, honey, cocoa, stone fruit, that perfect hit of astringency—but it works. And I suppose it’s no wonder, given that it contains two of my favorite straight blacks: the inimitable PTA and luscious Giddapahar Darjeeling. Teas like this are the reason I still miss Butiki. If I could get my hands on more, it’d be a definite restock; as it is, I’m going to savor my last few cups on long, slow weekend mornings like this one.
This one was a little different than I expected it to be—the rhubarb is definitely raw rather than cooked, and with all of the sourness you’d expect of straight rhubarb sans sweetener or strawberries or anything to mellow it. It’s about equally as strong a flavor as the ginger, and, unsurprisingly, this classic flavor combo doesn’t fail. It’s quite strong, in its way, between the pungent ginger and puckery rhubarb. I appreciate the simplicity of the ingredient list—just rhubarb and ginger, nothing else. It seems like it’d be a nice tisane to have around for sick days, and probably a healthy one too.
This is a pretty good blend, if not quite what I expected. The flavor is mostly rooibos, but it’s the good kind rather than the medicinal tobacco woodchip variety. There is some fruitiness to it, though nothing really identifiable as rhubarb. It’s a nice caffeine-free option, if not quite the revelation I’d hoped for, rhubarb-lover that I am. Very pleasant iced.