420 Tasting Notes
Sample sipdown (109)! I steeped this one in a clear glass this time in order to actually see the tea (last time was in a dark mug). It is a clear, light yellow concoction, which for some reason was surprising to me. I guess I just didn’t know what to expect of it. Anyway, I think I like this best when it is piping hot and the honeydew flavor really lives up to the intoxicating smell. As it cooled down, I could taste my weird chlorine water peeking through, but the smell was still wonderfully delicious. I think that I would like this one better using better water. And perhaps as a cold brew as well. I’m definitely thinking of restocking because I think this may be my favorite caffeine free blend!
Backlog. I had Lupicia on my mind after reading through that discussion thread about peoples’ fav Lupicia teas, so I decided to cold brew this one. I actually had to dig through some of my boxes to get to it, and it was totally worth it. The candy peach flavor really helped mask my new chlorine-y water. Also, I left it in the fridge over 24 hours by accident, but I think that the longer steep helped bring out the oolong a little more to remind me that this is indeed a tea, and not just peach water.
Wow. I’ve never been a fan of rooibos, so I was hesitant to try this sample that I’ve had for a while. But then I realized I had only ever tried red rooibos and this one has green rooibos. When I opened up the bag, it smelled like delicious, juicy honeydew with no medicinal rooibos smell. Off to a good start! After steeping it, there was a slight medicinal smell, but that may have been a bit psychological. The taste of the tea is purely juicy honeydew. It reminds me of this Korean popsicle I had as a kid that totally defined my summers. I’m very delightfully surprised with how much I like this one. The one criticism I might have is that it does run on the sweet side, so I have to be in the mood for something sweeter. I bet it would also make a really great cold brew, but sadly, I only have enough sample left to make one hot cuppa later. Perhaps I will pick some up when I get back to California. I’m really tempted.
Ok, so I originally intended to cold brew this one to mix it up a little, but then I realized that it might be difficult to do because the tea is tightly rolled up into pearls. So I kind of used two techniques to steep this one. First, I used warm (not boiling hot) water to pour over the pearls to encourage them to open up a little. Then I stuck the whole thing into the fridge for quite a few hours (6-8 ish? I’m very back at keeping track of time). It was a very inexact method, and I clearly can’t even remember much about it, but it turned out pretty nicely!
At first, there is that typical malty sort of taste that you would expect from a black tea. However, it was less strong than I thought it would be. Instead, there was this nice honey flavor that brought some sweetness to the tea. I think there were also some cocoa notes there, but I don’t fully trust my taste buds to figure out flavors, haha. Anyway, I think I enjoyed this tea as iced over hot, surprisingly! Good to know :)
Okay, I know I’ve been on a tea buying hiatus, but as soon as I found a decent boba place in Boston, I moved all the way across the river from it. These sticky humid days have really made me crave a nice cold milk tea, so I caved and bought a box of these at an Asian supermarket. It’s not a perfect substitute for my beloved California boba, but this milk tea will do the trick well enough. I will say, though, that the black tea base can be overwhelmed by the added sweeteners, so if you’re looking for a tea that really stands up for itself, this is not your cuppa. If you love milk tea/boba/bubble tea/etc, this tea will do just fine when you’re in a boba desert.
Cold brewed this one again. I accidentally forgot about it and left it in there for about 20 hours, whoops! Anyway, I just wanted to add to my previous note that the tea itself actually does taste minty. Last time, I thought it was because I was eating something minty while drinking it, but the tea itself has a minty note about it at the beginning of the sip that turns into a grassy flavor. I don’t recall thinking it had a minty flavor when I drank it hot, so it’s quite interesting that I pick up on it now. Another curious cold brewing experiment!
Edit: As the tea warmed up to room temperature, it suddenly became super bitter. I guess that’s what I get for leaving it to cold brew for almost an entire day!
Sipdown (108)! Alas, the oddly cool weather has passed and it has returned to sticky humidity again. Though that deters me from hot tea, I do love cold brewing, so I used up my final tablespoon of this one in a cold brew. The flavors did not change much from when I tried this one hot: mostly roasty/smoky flavors, very smooth, and no bitterness. While I am sad to see this one go, I take comfort in my large stock of the dark roast of this houjicha, which I prefer anyway. Plus, it’s one less tea I have to worry about when I inevitably move again in a couple months.
I’m totally taking advantage of the cooler weather to drink up some of my favorite hot teas. Like I probably stated in previous tasting notes, this houjicha is on the heavier/smokier side compared to other houjichas that I’ve had. Now, I usually am not a huge fan of smoky teas, but in this case, it works really well with the roasted flavor that is present in all houjichas. Also, it’s really working today in particular because my new apartment has chlorine-y water, so the strong flavor of the houjicha helps drown that out.
A sad sipdown (109). Today’s cuppa was a bit weak because I only had a very loose teaspoon left of these leaves. This is one of those black teas that has such complexity in flavor ranging from sweet and honey-like to bold. I’m so glad I got to try this one out, and I’m sad to see it go. Whenever I come off my spending ban, I will likely place a reorder from Teavivre, and this will definitely be on the list!