725 Tasting Notes
1 tbsp. of leaf to 16 oz. water. Milk and sugar added.
The smell of this was VERY coffee-like tonight, more so than I remember. But it has been awhile, so that could explain why. I tasted a small amount plain before I put in milk and sugar, and I really got the cocoa/mocha taste. I also got the slightly woodsy taste of mate at the end of the sip…I’m not sure that I really like that flavor, but the chocolate flavor makes this palatable. Also, a 5 minute steeping time seemed to play up the Assam more and diminish the mate taste as well – a definite plus that I’ll have to remember when I use up the rest of this.
It won’t be a rebuy (I’m trying to extricate myself from Teavana as much as possible) but I’ll definitely use the 3 or 4 servings I have left to keep me awake for my last few exams as a nursing student!
Today was a great day for tea!
I received a sachet of this to sample with the Cranberry Autumn and it smelled so good that I had to have it tonight. Good thing I don’t have a sensitivity to black tea, as I’ve just had two cups of it back to back!
I LOVE this. How is it sweet when there’s no sugar?! It’s just a hint, granted, but it is enough. The spice is ALL cinnamon but I love cinnamon so that’s okay. It is very warming, which is perfect for tonight, and it smells pretty much like Big Red gum (yum!).
I may need to get my hands on more of this….
So, my master plan for this tea was to brew up a gallon iced and sweetened in the same way I normally make my iced tea. and serve it with Thanksgiving dinner. It’s why I decided to take the leap and buy 4 oz. (well, that and I had a gift card to Amazon, so that made it pretty cheap).
But of course when I got it in today, and it was 50 degrees outside, iced was not going to be the first way I tried this. Boyfriend (hater of flavored teas that he is) actually sniffed the dry leaf and asked for some, which surprised me because I actually would not have wanted to try this based on the dry leaf smell. It had hints of orange and cranberry and black tea, yes, but there was something off about it; and the steeped tea retained that ‘off’ odor.
The flavor is pretty much what I hoped it would be, though; black tea with hints of cranberry that get a little more tart as it cools. I didn’t get so much of the orange, but I think that the tart/bitterness could be from rind pieces I saw floating in the mix. Unadulterated it was a good balance of tea and fruit, so I added some sugar (since I will be sweetening it a little bit) to see what happens when I do.
Straight up, this turns into black tea and cranberry juice! The tartness is still there, but it’s a good tart – the tart you feel when you’ve had cranberry juice or cranberry sauce. A realistic tart, I guess is what I should say. I could almost see why people assumed there was hibiscus in it, but it definitely is just the cranberry behaving like a cranberry.
So, to sum: I think the only thing I wasn’t fond of where this was concerned was the smell. And in iced tea scent tends to be weaker so I’m thinking my original idea of a Thanksgiving iced tea was pretty freaking genius. I can’t believe it’s only 2 weeks away!
Made latte style.
So I had class today, and it seemed like a good portion of my classmates were unprepared enough to look really stupid. It was one of those days where the lecture was twice as long because everyone couldn’t stop asking questions.
But luckily, I had made this to bring with me.
It kept bringing me back to my happy place- strawberry and the cinnamon crust notes with a nice creamy texture because of the added milk and sugar. It hit the spot on a slightly chilly morning. It saved a few people from dying early deaths.
Job well done. Upping the rating a few more points.
I’ve never really done gong fu style steeping before (isn’t that what you’d call multiple short steepings? Correct me if I’m wrong!) but I had this packet left over in my sample collection and really wanted an oolong today, so I gave it a shot. I only managed 3 6 oz. infusions (used the whole 7 gram packet) but it was my inaugural attempt at this, so I’ve got to practice before my body can accept that much liquid that fast!
*Followed Gingko’s directions on the pre-rinse and steeping suggestions.
1st infusion: 30 sec. steep. Very vegetal, buttery green. I got notes of spinach in it, which I like. Liquor a yellow brown, reminiscent of a green tea. Texture was thick to me (in a good way), but I expected that because this is a lot higher leaf to water ratio than I traditionally use. No real ‘roasted’ notes this go around.
2nd infusion: 30 sec. Color is still a yellow brown; scent is buttery vegetal; this doesn’t appear much different than the first infusion, so far. Flavor is much lighter on the “green”; seems more buttery, less spinachy. There’s a roasty note now – genmaicha-esque. (It tasted kind of nutty and rice-ish.) The roasted note is also more prominent in the smell now.
3rd infusion: 30 sec. Much lighter yellow color, the taste has faded too – less buttery, but still a vegetal green flavor. The roasted taste and smell are gone again. I like stronger flavors so I think this is as weak as I’ll go – I could definitely see how on further infusions a longer steep time would be required.
I waited to try the gong fu method largely because I didn’t trust my ability to discern the taste changes between steepings. Maybe this was just an easy one to figure out, or maybe I’ve gotten better, but I found the whole process really fun! I liked how the toastiness was so fickle in this – it was like drinking two different types of tea.
I would guess this is more of a green oolong, though I have had little to no experience with oolongs to really know for sure. I suppose that oolongs will be my next area of tea education….
Cold brewed for about 27 hours.
I wanted to try this hot, but it was recommended to be iced – so much so that hot steeping directions weren’t even on the package. I took that as a sign, since I like cold tea anyway, put in the requisite 1 tsp. per cup, stuck it in the fridge and left it alone for a day.
The scent of the tea steeped is purely floral – you definitely have to taste it to know there’s even tea in there. And it brews up a lot lighter brown than most black teas I drink, but then most teas that I drink are in mugs, not tumblers, so that could have something to do with it too.
Taste-wise, this particular steeping was very heavy on the rose – but there was still a good balance of black tea underneath. It was quite smooth, which is normal with a cold brew, but I really noticed just how polished it tasted. I think that Upton was right – I can’t imagine a hot brew of this blending as well with the rose. I drank this down with no additives very easily.
Floral teas really aren’t my first pick when it comes to a flavored blend, so I probably won’t order it once I run out of the sample. It was really very good; I just can’t seem to shake the idea that flowers are for perfume, not food. However if flowers are your thing, I would definitely give this a shot.
Finished off the last sample of this tonight (after just having it this morning!) because boyfriend only drinks “plain” teas and therefore vetoed my coconut cheesecake honeybush selection (urgh – I’ll have to have that one tomorrow).
At least I get to decupboard something, though I am sad to see this go. It is a very nice “plain” (as my boyfriend would say) black tea.