108 Tasting Notes
So after trying this for the first time last night (hot) I decided to cold brew a serving in the fridge overnight.
Somewhat murky and pink (must not have had much beet root in last night’s steeping), I found the scent to be more subtle than when brewed hot, still caramel corn but just not as in your face about it. There’s also quite a few more fruity notes too.
All of that carried over to the flavor… I found it to be less dark then the hot tea that I tried last night but for a cold brew that works just fine for me. The caramel is subtle and mixes with the fruit in a rather interesting way. I also wasn’t expecting to find it as refreshing as I did which was also a pleasant surprise.
(PS. One note that I didn’t make last night that holds true to both the hot and cold brews that I’ve done with this one… It’s very sweet, like dessert tea sweet. Which when your in the mood for it is great but I’ll need to keep it in mind for the future.)
I have to say this whole summer series really made me a little unsure; Root Beer, Cotton Candy, Caramel Corn… I really doubted they could pull it off, but the first time I was in-store I took a quick sniff and was pleasantly surprised at how well they replicated their “real world” inspirations. So eventually I picked up a bit of them to try out.
First up is Caramel Corn… We’d just spent the day cleaning out our new main bedroom walk-in closet (we’ve recently switched rooms from the largest room with the smaller closet to the middle sized room with the walk-in; seriously who builds a house like that??) and with how hot it’s been we had the doors and windows open to get some airflow. Now it’s raining and cool out and we wanted something different.
Visually this tea is quite appealing, all the different dried fruits, caramel and bits of popcorn make for a very dynamic appearance. As for the dry scent, it’s sweet and has a few subtle popcorn notes mixed in, but what confuses me a bit are the fruit notes from the currents, apples and pineapple. Despite that it definitely smells like caramel corn.
Brewed the liquor comes out a clear, light caramel color, but the smell… Oh the smell, is that ever nice. Deep caramel notes mixed in with some definite popcorn scents; it is sweet and deep, but yet the scent has a certain lightness to it.
Like most herbals it takes a good long steep to get the full, rounded flavor but once you get there the flavor was quite lovely. Again, those deep caramel notes mixed with the popcorn flavors but there are a few lighter hints from the pineapple and apples, especially as the tea cooled. There is a certain creaminess to the flavor profile as well which really complemented the tea nicely.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this herbal tea; great scent and a nicely full flavor. It will be interesting to try it cold as well, I think I’ll put it together and let it steep overnight in the fridge. Even if that doesn’t work out though I’m definitely going to go back and get a bunch of this before it’s all gone. (Oh and even better! My partner really loves it too!)
(This one turned into quite the monster post, so if you just want to read the bit about the tea jump down to “begin tea log”)
First post in forever I know… It’s been a busy couple of months; coordinating weekend sessions, upgrades and new projects at work, the usual medical fun… Oh and let’s not forget the best one of all, a “surprise” special assessment (for those of you don’t both live in Canada and in a condo/strata location; a special assessment can be levied when there is work that needs to be done to the common property (roofing, siding, pavement, etc) whose cost is greater than that budgeted in the maintenance/reserve fund. Extra costs are then levied through the use of a special assessment to the strata owners (in this case myself and my partner) to cover the extra expenses. Fun times… Not).
On the plus side we just got back from a 12 day vacation (planned just over a year a go now, so we’ve been looking forward to it for a while :D) and we had a blast! Did 5 days out in Portland, OR and then another 7 on Vancouver Island. Which, incidentally, is what prompted this post; as while we were in downtown Victoria we stopped by Silk Road Teas. (great place! I highly recommend anyone passing though the area to take a look at it!)
While there I couldn’t help myself and picked up a few “mini-tins” of teas to try. One being this one. I had my first Lychee tea experience a few months back, it wasn’t bad but I had been hoping for something less “in your face” than the one that I tried. So with hesitant hope I took a quick sniff of the sample for this tea and decided yep I’m gonna give it a shot!
begin tea log
The best part about this tea for me is that it contains just two “simple” ingredients: Chinese black tea, and lychee extract… That’s it, no artificial flavors or anything, so right off the bat I had great expectations. The scent of the tea helped to back up those expectations; sweet and fruity with just a slight floral note, the lychee was pleasantly there but not overwhelmingly so. In fact I got some good hits from the black tea, which let the dark, rich malty notes counter balance the bright super sweet ones of the lychee.
Once steeped the liquor was dark caramel brown in color and clear. The scent remained subtle but still presented some lovely lychee aromatics, sweet and almost floral but like in the dry scent, not overly so; and unlike the previous lychee tea that I tried not it was not perfume like or cloying. The darker notes from the black tea nicely complemented the lychee notes.
The flavor in this is quite interesting, the sweet bright notes from the lychee really work well with the malty notes from the Chinese black tea. There’s no bitterness or astringency and the flavor is well balanced. The finish of the sip is where the lychee really shines through but it doesn’t hang heavily at all. The mouthfeel is warm, rich and creamy, it almost coats my mouth.
I have to say that I really, really like this tea; sweet and fruity, yet dark and malty at the same time, it just really speaks to me. I definitely consider this to be an indulgent tea, for those times when I’m looking for something special.
OK I fully admit I’ve been bad at keeping up on my tealogging… I’ve tied 4 or 5 new teas and haven’t written a word, but I just haven’t been able to get in the mood to write so shrugs oh well.
But I’m back for the moment so onto the tea! At first I wasn’t going to get this one but every time I read the description I thought “well maybe…” In the end I decided to try it, if only to see if maybe it might be something my partner likes. The dry scent was a bit… overwhelming; very limey (is that even a word?) and somewhat artificial. I couldn’t really catch much else aside from the occasional apple note (which by the way I was really surprised at the amount of dried apple in this.)
The brewed tea was a murky yellow-green and maintained the lime scents from earlier but now there was a definite “tartness” to the scent, which worried me as I’m not a big fan of tart teas (or really tart anything.) Still didn’t pick up much to really suggest “gelato” but it’s definitely lime. Taste wise? Yep it’s a bit tart, almost sharp in its tartness, but I get some good lime notes and a bit from the lemon grass too. There is a bit of a “creamy” taste to it but I find it more in the finish of the sip rather than the front end and I’m really not getting much if anything from the green tea.
In the end? Not for me… I even tried adding a bit of sugar to smooth out the tart notes and, while that did work, it just ended up highlighting the artificialness of the flavors. So we’ll see if my partner likes it and if not then it’s to the swap pile for this one!
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.