104 Tasting Notes
I’ve only got 2 black tea samples left to try and of the two this is the one that called to me more. I was really interested in seeing how it stacked up to Santa’s Secret and Read my Lips (both of which I love for different reasons.) But I have to say that first sniff really didn’t draw me in like I was hoping… the peppermint was very strong and almost harsh in it’s scent, while the coconut (I think) was giving it an odd tang that didn’t quite sit well for me. Deep underneath I found a few chocolate notes too but aside from that I didn’t get a lot from the black tea.
The brewed tea was a clear medium brown and I found that the peppermint basically took over the scent profile. At one point I got a hint of chocolate from the black tea and there’s a touch of creamy coconut way at the “bottom” but you really have to “look” for it to find it.
Flavor wise; lots of peppermint (which is great I love mint) but it’s a bit harsher than some of the other peppermints that I’ve had from DT, just not as smooth. I don’t really get much from the corn flowers and the coconut is a bit odd to me, there but not and it’s leaving a not very pleasant tang in my mouth that isn’t quite covered over by the peppermint. The black tea is nice though, dark and rich as promised but I have to hunt for the flavors a bit, it’s definitely more of a “base” tea rather than an equal ingredient in the blend.
Overall though? I’m not a fan, and while it’s certainly not a horrible tea, it will be going on my swap pile.
I love salted caramel so a tea that (supposedly) tastes like it? Oh ya I’m all over that! So then the question became which caramel should I get, the black tea version or the rooibos? Well time to do a bit of a taste test and see. Now I’m not doing this side by side so I’ll eventually get to the rooibos blend but I had this one at work with me today so it’s first up.
I get a lot of caramel in the dry scent, mixed in with the slightly darker notes from the toffee which is great. The coconut confuses me a little and there’s some mild malty notes from the black tea. But more importantly there’s an odd tone in there that I can’t quite place, it’s really artificial and almost off putting. I’ve actually smelled it in other DT teas (usually ones that have coconut in them) so I’m wondering if it’s a particular additive that DT uses? Not sure but I’m a little hesitant about trying it now…
The murky brew is appropriately caramel colored and has a film on top from the various caramel/toffee additions so I’ll need to give my mug a good wash afterwards. The aroma is darker now, the malt notes are more in the forefront and it really starts to smell a bit more like toffee than caramel but I like both so I’m not complaining. I can’t find the coconut at the moment but that artificial scent is still there, though it is milder.
Taste wise it’s a bit of a disappointment; it’s salted caramel (sorta, really I get toffee more than caramel but that’s probably the influence of the malt from the black tea) but it doesn’t have any rich, creamy (or even buttery) notes to complement it which this tea really needs. And that odd scent is still sticking around and is now leaving an odd aftertaste in my mouth. It’s also not very sweet for a desert tea.
In the end I added 1.5 packets of sugar and 2 of creamer (for 10oz of tea) and that helped. It’s still got that odd artificial note that I don’t really like but then again the last caramel I had we made at home and homemade flavors are always better than the store bought stuff. As of this moment I can’t see stocking this in my cupboard but I’m willing to give it one more shot before the remaining 15g go in my “to swap” pile.
I wasn’t sure what to think of this tea when I read about it online; pu’erh with oolong? The ginger I could see but the orange? And what in the world is eleuthero root?? But when I got into the store and had a chance to take a quick sniff of it I could see where it all started to come together. The scent was filled with sweet orange notes; under laying that was a bit of spice from the ginger and the earthy notes of the pu’erh. I couldn’t catch much of the oolong but there were a few floral scents hovering in the background that were most likely coming from that. I was really surprised at how the orange and the pur’eh complemented each other, I never would have guessed/thought of that combination.
The steeped liquor came out a deep orange-brown and the scents darkened significantly. The orange was still there and was the highlight of the profile but the earthy (almost loam like) notes from the pur’eh were out in full force. The ginger seemed to serve as a bridge between the two scents, melding them together in a very interesting way. The floral notes from the dry scent are still there but aren’t as noticeable as they were previously.
As for the flavor, this is definitely a pur’eh but it’s not as earthy as others that I’ve had in the past, the oolong (and the rest of the blend) certainly helps to lighten the flavor profile of this base. Like with the scent profile the ginger definitely helps to bridge the pur’ehs loamy flavors with the bright citrus notes from the orange; it also leaves a pleasant tingle in my mouth (I love ginger!) There’s a touch of creaminess that could only be from the oolong and I can definitely get the floral notes on the back end of the sip.
In all I was really surprised by this blend, dark and compelling but with some lovely orange highlights. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s “good for me” too! I can definitely see myself keeping some in my cupboard.
Tasting note 101! I totally didn’t realize that I cracked 100 yesterday! :)
Another tea I picked up in my “sample” buying spree the other week. I’ve never had Genmaicha (from anywhere) before but the description sounded very interesting, especially since I really like the flavor of roasted and/or popped rice.
I was really quite surprised at the amount of roasted rice in my package; it looked almost to be half and half with the green tea which was great to see, but there were only a few popped kernels so it wasn’t quite as visually stunning as the images on DT’s site suggest. The smell though… I had to go back to it a few times… at first all I was getting was the roasted rice. Then after the second or third sniff I started to get some notes from the green tea, bright vegetal notes with a few floral hints mixed in.
The steeped liquor came out a light yellow-green and the aroma was filled with deep notes from the roasted rice. There were some sweet tones from the green tea as well which had a bit of a fruity scent now, though I still found that there also was the more “traditional” vegetal scent as an undertone. As for the flavor…. It carries over from the aroma quite nicely. I find it filled with dark puffed/roasted rice notes with slight vegetal hints from the green tea and every once and a while I get a few floral notes on the finish. It’s not astringent either which is good since I accidentally over steeped this a bit.
I have to admit though, I keep looking for a molasses/malty flavor to go with the puffed rice notes and I haven’t even had puffed rice squares in years! It’s a good, solid tea; but definitely one that I’d have to be in the mood for.
(PS I had a hard time finding this tea to log… When I searched for “Genmaicha David’s Tea” it took me to a (basically) empty page with no notes or ratings on it which I found odd so I went hunting further and eventually found this page. Weird)
Next! So I’ve heard tell that some feel that this tea is fairly similar to DT’s Sugar & Spice (Fall 2013 collection) so since I missed out on getting S&S prior to its discontinuation (though now that I look it’s seems like they might still have some left… hmmm…) I thought I would give this a shot.
Dry this tea is very… well if bling-y was a word that’s what this tea would be, visually anyways. Black tea with gold sugar balls and sugar crystals (plus the bits of lemon peel) make for a very eye catching tea. Scent wise the sweet sugar and vanilla are the main notes with some undertones from the cloves and lemon peel to help break things up. I don’t find much from the black tea though.
The slightly murky, orange-brown liquor has a similar scent profile, though the sugar has toned down and instead I get more from the cloves. There’s the odd citrus/lemon note but it’s not very prevalent. As for the flavor… I could sum it up in one “word” (I’m into making things up as I go today!) Meh. The clove melds nicely with the malty notes from the Chinese black base and the vanilla is the icing on the cake of that combo but aside from that it’s very one-note. I’ll get a hit every once and a while from the lemon but it almost comes through (for me anyways) like detergent lemon rather than the bright citrus that it “should” be. And it’s almost too sweet for my tastes, a bit cloying really.
In the end, I’m glad I tried it but I won’t get it again. Oh well, I can’t love them all!
Backlog from yesterday. Ok back to trying some non-flavored teas. I’ve been holding off on this particular sample for a while now and this afternoon is the perfect one to give it a shot. Since I only have one sample package, and I was hoping to have enough leaves left to brew this up a second time, I used only 4g and modified the gong fu method that was listed on Teavivre’s site. It worked out pretty well!
The dry tea is very light and wiry, while the scent has many floral notes, along with some deeper sweet tones. After a quick rinse I steeped my first cup for 25 sec; the aroma of this first cup was filled with honey notes and floral undertones, both of which were also present in the flavor profile. The mouthfeel was warm and rich with a slight astringency at end of the sip.
My second cup was steeped for 50seconds and while similar to the first I found the floral notes to be much higher in tone while the honey flavors became almost creamy. The third cup (70 sec) was deeper in both scent and flavor, with fewer floral notes while still being rich and smooth.
I had 3 more cups after this (85 sec, 1:40min and 2 min) and the scent and flavor profiles continued to get softer. After the fourth cup the soft floral notes made a bit of a comeback where as the honey notes, while mild, stayed somewhat consistent throughout. I did also notice a few darker, almost spicy notes staring to come out in the later cups.
In all it’s a really lovely tea, lighter than I was expecting for a chineese black, but not my all time favorite. Though it is one that I would be happy to have again in the future.
I’m apparently on a (blue)berry kick these past few days, not that that’s a bad thing (I actually really like blueberries) I just don’t usually have them blended with my tea. So next up? A herbal blueberry tea, probably the only one of DT’s spring collection that really called to me.
Dry this blend is visually dynamic with a bright, clean but yet sweet scent filled with berries. The pineapple and lemongrass lend a very refreshing tone to the profile as well though I don’t get much from the cornflowers.
Once brewed the blue-purple infusion gives off a slightly milder version of the dry aroma. I find the lemongrass to be slightly more present at this time but it blends well with the pineapple and berries.
Flavor wise it’s very similar to the scent profile, berries mixed with a blend of pineapple and lemongrass. It’s a nice light, refreshing mix that goes well with the season. My biggest criticism comes from the candied pineapple, the fruit itself works well with the blend but the sugar from the candy-ing process leaves behind a certain flavor and aftertaste that I don’t enjoy.
Aside from that it’s a pretty good tea, one that I could see cold brewing in the summer too.
So yesterday I tried DT’s Superberry and it was good (surprisingly actually since I was expecting a bit more artificialness to it) but I don’t want to have too many of the same “flavors” in my cupboard so today I’m going to try this tea. It’s actually been on my “to try” list for quite some time so I’m rather excited to see if it lives up to the hype.
Dry the tea smells exactly as advertised… packed with blueberries and sweetness. That said there are a few scents in there that I don’t typify as being part of “blueberry jam”, raspberry for one. I can also pick out a hint or two of the elderberries but that is much closer to the “proper” jam scent that it doesn’t stand out as much. I also get a few dark notes from the black tea but again not too many so I’ll have to see how the base complements the tea once it’s brewed.
The liquor comes out brown but with a certain distinctive bluish-purple tint which could only be from the blue and elderberries. There’s a definite loss of blueberry scent at this point (actually of berry sent in general) but what remains is warm, dark and a bit malty. Honestly it’s almost been transformed from blueberry jam to blueberry syrup to my nose. It’s certainly different.
Taste wise the blueberry is very subtle (especially compared to the dry aroma) and still sweet but not overly so with just a bit of tang from the raspberry flavoring. The maltiness from the black tea really makes me think more flavored maple syrup than jam and I don’t get much from the cornflowers.
In the end I think I prefer Superberry more… I find that if I’m in the mood for fruit I like to taste the fruit. (or maybe that’s just the mood I’m in today… I’ve got enough to try a few more cups to see if this holds true) but for the moment, while it’s a good tea, I can’t see myself stocking more of it.
Another morning, another new (for me) tea. This one wasn’t originally on my to try list, but I’ve heard good things about it so I thought I’d give it a shot. I wasn’t sure that it was what I wanted this morning either… I wasn’t really in a sweet mood but everything else was just not right for today. Anyone else ever have those mornings that it doesn’t matter what’s available, you don’t want any of it but you want/need something? That’s been my morning, from breakfast to now. And it’s not just food either… sigh ah well
Dry this tea smells very sweet and filled with berry scents. The rosehips also standout and, combined with the safflower petals, give it a nice floral scent that mixes well with the fruity berry-ness of the tea. There’s a few darker notes from the black tea but nothing that really stands out to me at the moment.
The clear orange-brown liquor has a much deeper scent profile; the (previously almost overwhelming) sweetness has mellowed out and now blends nicely with the rest of the aromas, while the berry notes have become darker but still with that tart fruitiness to them. The floral notes from the rosehips and safflower have also evened out and now serve as a lovely base for the berries. I can also detect a bit of malt coming from the black tea which should prove interesting if it transfers through to the flavor profile.
Speaking of the flavor… I don’t know that I’ve ever had a berry tea that has had so much berry-ness to it without being overly artificial. There are some slight artificial notes to it but I don’t find them particularly off putting. The juniper berries complement the blueberries quite nicely and both stand out in the tea, while the rosehips and safflower serve as subtle highlights giving it a bit of a dynamic tone. I can catch hints of the acai powder every once and a while but not often and the darker malt notes from the black tea form a nice base for the rest of the flavors.
A very interesting tea… I’ll have to see how it differs from DT’s Blueberry Jam before deciding if I’d like it in my cupboard but for right now it’s a potential. And I could see it being good iced too.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted about a new (to me) tea… But considering I went and got a ton (well only 21, so not a true ton!) of DT “samples” from my local store I’ll be posting a bit more frequently again :) Course the whole point of doing this was to get the perfect mug infuser for free so there’s a bonus for that too (more on that at a later time.)
So this morning I pulled 5 samples from my bag to take with me to work and first up is “Some Velvet Morning”. I wasn’t sure about this one since I’ve never had dandelion root or schizandra berries but the dry scent convinced me to give it a shot. Filled with bright, fresh citrus notes the aroma pulled me in. There was a certain sweetness to it as well that kept the citrus from being harsh and the couple of notes from the green tea helped to round out the scent profile. I also got a few darker notes that I’m guessing are from the dandelion root but I’m not 100% certain on that one.
The clear yellow-orange liquor wasn’t nearly as citrusy as the dry leaves were and the darker notes from (again I’m guessing) the dandelion root and the berries really start to come through. There’s also a few grassy notes mixed in there. Overall I find the scent a bit muddled at this stage; not as fresh, but still compelling.
The flavor… not bad. A bit on the astringent side, and a touch muddled but not bad. The lemongrass and orange work well together as a lovely high noted, fresh component and the berries and dandelion root fill in the dark notes nicely, but it’s missing some mid-range notes to make it well rounded and fully balanced. I also find the green tea to be a bit overwhelmed by the citrus, it’s really hard to pick out any distinct flavors from it. Sweetness wise it’s pretty good though; it could use just a touch to help even out the citrus but otherwise not bad. I’ll have to try this again at home with a touch of honey, that might also fill in some of those mid-range flavors too.
BTW has anyone seen Spring around recently?? If you do can you let it know that I’d like for it to come and visit me soon!