573 Tasting Notes
Sipdown (110)! Well, sort of because I used the one bag I had, but I still have a pretty full pitcher of this to work on for the next couple of days. I decided to rebel against the given instructions and just cold brew this baby. I stuck it into the fridge for about 5 hours, which is a little short for me, but I was impatient! First impressions are that it is a very candy watermelon flavor rather than straight up fresh, juicy watermelon. I was a little disappointed by that but not too surprised. The black base seems a bit weak, but that may be because of the short cold brew time. I may just embrace the candy-like flavor and add some sugar to it later to make it like Southern sweet iced tea (or as they call it just “iced tea”). I will come back and update this note if I do, or if my feelings about it change as I get through the pitcher.
I was really hoping to like this because I saw Frank’s moving sale and really wanted to help out! Even though SBT & 52teas flavors are so inventive and fun, I just don’t think they’re up my alley as I continue to stray away from flavored teas and toward straight teas. If you like your flavored & sweet teas, though, you should definitely check it out!
Next day edit: So I sweetened a little using a simple syrup, which did seem to enhance the candy watermelon flavor. I also realized that the off-putting flavor from yesterday was a bit of a medicinal flavor. After this realization, I couldn’t bring myself to finish the cup, sadly.
Sipdown (111)! It’s an exciting sipdown because it’s the first from my new apartment! Ok, that’s probably not terribly exciting to others, but it is to me. Of course, most of this was sipped down when my mom came to visit and fell in love with hojichas, but couldn’t really tell the difference between them. I do feel a little bad about just feeding her my least favorite hojicha, but she still very much enjoyed it. And even though I won’t be reordering this particular hojicha, it was a very good tea anyway.
About 90% of my tea is still boxed up in various places around my new apartment, and this is one of the few that I actually have handy in my sample drawer already. Also, I’ve inadvertently chosen one of my mugs as my go-to mug for roasty oolongs. Anyway, my opinion of this tea hasn’t really changed, so rather than repeat myself, I will just refer you to my previous tasting notes. Ah, laziness at it’s finest ;)
My 400th tasting note! And the first tea that I am steeping up properly in my new summer apartment. Honestly, I didn’t put too much thought into it. I opened up my tea box, and there it was sitting at the top. The first couple of sips were gloriously sweet and smooth, probably having to do with the fact that I haven’t made myself a proper cuppa in weeks. As the cup cooled and I got down to the bottom, it suddenly became really bitter. I guess this tea was a little more sensitive than I had thought. Nevertheless, a solid choice for this morning. I really needed it because I’m surrounded by boxes and my new roommates don’t seem like the cleanest of folks (but they are nice!). I would probably not repurchase this one just because I have so many other green oolongs that pull ahead of this one, but the sample was nice to have and taste.
Backlog. This is one of the teas that I picked up from Fortnum & Mason in London because for me, breakfast blends can never go wrong. That being said, this was a pretty decent breakfast tea, but nothing too spectacular. I think I would have preferred if it were a bit stronger. It would probably help to use more leaf and tinker with it some more, but alas, I had to leave it behind in California because I had too many other souvenirs to bring back to Boston as gifts for others. I will return to it soon, though!
Another back-back-backlog from afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason. This tea reminded me the most of my beloved breakfast blends: bold, smooth, but not bitter. Other than that, there were no other special flavors or anything that jumped out at me. It was especially good when paired with the scones & jam or the desserts because of it’s strength.
Back-back-backlog of this tea. A couple weeks ago on my trip, my mom and I went to high tea at Fortnum & Mason in Piccadilly Circus. This was the tea that she chose, purely because of the description about Prince William & Kate Middleton, haha. It’s very light for a breakfast blend. It actually reminds me more of the afternoon blend from Fortnum & Mason (that I happen to be sipping on right now). I think it paired nicely with the finger sandwiches, but was a bit weak to accompany the desserts and scones.
The really good thing about this tea was that it didn’t get bitter quickly. And considering the fact that the leaves were just left to sit and steep continuously in the teapots, this was a very good attribute for our high tea adventure.
Alas, my great European journey has come to an end. I actually refrained from buying a ton of tea because a) not enough room in my luggage & b) family & friends not so patient with my tea habits. Anyway, I had high tea at Fortnum & Mason in London, and picked up two teas afterward: Afternoon Blend & Breakfast Blend. Of course, the first day I’m home, I’m breaking them open for a spin!
Afternoon blend is surprisingly light compared to the look of the tea leaves. I actually thought it may have been too light, so I steeped it a little further, which resulted in bitterness. It kind of seems like a weak breakfast blend to me. Next time, I will try with more leaf/water ratio. This tea also seems like a good contestant as a base for my fruit-infused cold-brewed iced teas. I have a whopping 4.4 ounces to play around with, so I can’t wait to experiment!
I steeped a teapot full of this tea even though it was after dinner, and I probably should have cut off my caffeine intake at that point. But my mom requested black tea, so who am I to deny her request? She was surprised at how sweet this tea was compared to black tea bags. Cue long conversation in which I explain to her the differences between tea bags and loose leaf and why tea bag tea can be so bitter in comparison.
Anyway, this time around, there was still that mild malt flavor, but I also finally put a finger on the sweetness of the tea. It tastes just like honey. I’m not sure how I missed that before because it was so obvious this time. It’s definitely a mellower black tea, but that is probably a good thing since I drank it so late in the evening. There was some astringency, but it wasn’t too off-putting. I had a pretty lovely time with this tea tonight, and I’d consider repurchasing when I run low on straight black teas (which is going to take a while).
Edit: As the cup cooled down, the honey flavor definitely popped up and became even stronger. Perhaps this would be a good tea to cold brew? I’m putting it on the list.
My taste buds are still a little out of whack today, so I went with this oolong that I’ve had a bit of a roller-coaster relationship with. Most likely due to my dampened taste buds, this cuppa was pretty sweet and simple with a hint of bitterness at the end. The most important thing for today was that it was smooth and soothing for my throat. When you’re simultaneously plagued by allergies and a cold, a smooth cuppa can go a long way.