360 Tasting Notes
Wow. I’m an idiot.
Mr. Keychange was kind enough to pack me a lunch this morning, and I grabbed it off one of the shelves in the fridge on my way out the door. Pried the lid off the Tupperware container to find a container full of cheesy scalloped potatoes instead of the Cajon chicken sandwich he’d made. I mean, these are also leftovers from dinner last night, and they were delicious, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting. Ah well, that ought to remind me to lift the lid to confirm before I just grab random things in the fridge.
But that has nothing to do with this tea. Creamy, milky coconut followed by a light raspberry sweetness at the end of the sip. Hard to screw up, and also so flavourful.
Why don’t you pull up a chair (unless you’re already on one in which case you can skip this step) and I’ll tell you a little story.
Once upon a time I joined steepster, after being introduced to David’s tea and falling in love with not only the tea, but with everything it implied: a sense of peace, the act of preparing it, the almost spiritual experience of tasting it, the anticipation, everything. And then I read reviews and saw that people were swapping and I wanted to be a part of the craze!
Not to worry, said dexter3657, I’m your girl! So she very kindly packages up a million teas to send to me. In the meantime, I placed an order with Dellaterra, and sat back and waited for my teas to start rolling in.
Got a package in the mail, and instantly messaged dex.
Me: Omg! thanks! Just got the tea! I’m on my office floor, in fact, surrounded by all this lovely tea!
Me: yeah! best feeling ever!
Dex: Um, keychange? your package is saying it’s still in Manitoba. It isn’t supposed to reach you for like another few days at least.
Me: Horse hockey! It’s right here in my office! It’s in…lots of little zipped bags…that are sealed.
Dex: My packages are different sizes and all that sort of thing. Are you sure it isn’t something else?
And then it dawned on me. Of course this was my sampler from Dellaterra! whoops!
So there’s a good little blind story for you guys.
So five thousand years later, I got around to having a friend help me make labels for all my samples, and this was the first one I wanted to try. I’d read some really good reviews for it by other black tea lovers, so I had this with breakfast this morning. Dex was very generous with the sample, so I can enjoy a few more cups of this also!
The dry leaf smells a lot like black tea. I couldn’t glean too much more than that, because you know how it is with swaps and such—although I don’t think I was picking up on any other smells, it wasn’t the same as sticking my nose into a tin or anything like that. But I also love the smell of black tea so that wasn’t a problem. I brewed it up and let it steep for four minutes.
And wouldn’t you believe—it’s almost a dead ringer (in my opinion) for Queen Catherine! If I concentrate really hard, I think this blend has a touch more astringency, and a slightly (very very slightly) drier mouth feel, but that could all just be in my imagination. I’m getting the slight smoke from what I’m assuming is keemun, and I wonder if there’s some assam in here to explain the slight malt/dryness. Either way, I gulped this right down because anything that tastes like the queen is mighty fine by me. I’m delighted to have more of this to sip at, but thankfully won’t have to make the A and D purchase (which I hear has insane shipping to Canada), because I don’t need two queens: only one LOL.
Thank you so much, dex, for sharing this with me. You were the first person on steepster to so generously send a bunch of tea my way, and I’m sorry it took me so long to get around to sampling them! You’re awesome.
That’s pretty much all this tasting note needs, as far as I’m concerned, because isn’t nom the whole point? if nom can be achieved, what else even matters?
Seriously, I hope this tea isn’t at risk of being discontinued, although the fact that it isn’t listed on David’s site anymore doesn’t exactly bode well.
So the smell and the taste actually reflect one another perfectly: so if you don’t like the way this tea smells, you certainly won’t like the way it tastes. Either way, you get a fresh blast of jumbled berries, mostly blueberry and raspberry, I feel. I can also very distinctly taste the acai powder. By that I mean that I haven’t tasted actual acai (I’m not even sure what it is), but it tastes like other things that are flavoured with acai. There’s a bit of tartness in the aftertaste, and I imagine this comes from the juniper berries, which you can’t directly taste while you sip. The whole composition also tastes as though it should be a bubble tea with tapioca balls in it, because that’s what I was instantly reminded of when I began sipping. I honestly don’t know why this tea has such low ratings. I mean, I doctored it up with some milk and sugar, but it still tastes exactly how it smells. It would seem that today would be the day for berry tea!
I think I’m starting to become obsessed with this tea. I wasn’t going to have it with breakfast this morning, but then I remembered the delicious blueberries and raspberries that I ate at the baby shower I went to yesterday, and realized that I pretty much had no choice in the matter: this tea was going to be had this morning.
Remembering that I oversteeped a bit last time, I steeped for about four minutes this time, and it resulted in what felt like a perfect balance between the black tea base and the fresh, juicy blueberry. I put in a touch too much cream, which doesn’t feel like a good idea with this blend in particular because it’s more like blueberry juice and less like blueberry milk (the best blueberry milk tea is from Dellaterra). Oddly enough though, this tea makes an excellent latte, so maybe I have absolutely no idea what i’m talking about (wouldn’t be the first time, that’s for sure).
Anyway, I’ve also realized that I’m not a fan of pre-sweetened tea. I wish companies wouldn’t under estimate my ability to load in as much sugar as my little sweet heart pleases. Because it isn’t even the fact that I don’t like my teas sweet (because I often do), but it’s more that I prefer my sweetener of choice, and don’t want, like, there to be a sweetener-off going on in my tea while I drink it. Having said this, it ultimately results in my using half the amount of sugar i’d ordinarily use, so I suppose that’s a good thing.
Anyway, I’m glad I have an unopened tin of this blend, because I want every blueberry tea ever mmm blueberry juice!
Had this tea with breakfast this morning. You know, every time I drink it, I’m still fleetingly brought back to that time in October (I think it was) when i would drink that tea several mornings in a row while reading “Night Film”. I love how it can have such a transportative (that’s a word now) effect.
To date, this remains my favourite bergamot tea. I can only enjoy bergamot when it’s been put in tea with a light hand, and such is the case here; besides, the vanilla always rescues it for me. Unlike an EGC, this will not rev up your various engines and make you feel equipped to take on the world. But that’s ok. I went to a baby shower today, so there was nothing to really take on. Just a lot of good food and company and adorable miniature things to enjoy!
I was actually going to go to dt with a friend today (what? she wanted to buy a mug! I had nothing to do with it…), but she ended up cancelling (totally fine by me, obv), and so I came home and had this instead. Apart from the fact that I think I brewed it too long and thus getting a bit of sharpness or tartness that I didn’t like as much, it still yielded a comforting and refreshing cup of fresh blueberry essence. What was also neat was that I could taste the base tea and I’m always so pleasantly surprised when I can a) taste the base in flavoured blends; and b) when it works so harmoniously with the flavours. I didn’t have it with breakfast this morning, but could actually see myself having it with breakfast sometimes. Mmm, now I want blueberry waffles. But tonight, Mr. Keychange and I are going to bake iced sugar cookies (recipe courtesy of our very own josie jade!
I could probably have finished my timolino full of this, but I didn’t want to.
I don’t really know what the problem is. My throat seems to feel scratchy when I drink this tea, and perhaps it’s a sensitivity to rose. i don’t have this problem with Stacy’s rvc oolong, although that’s a combination of a few flours. I even underleafed just a tiny bit this morning so as not to overwhelm my cup, but yeah, somehow it’s only ok. Perhaps I need more than one floral in my tea to avoid throat scratchiness.
It’s ok, though. I could still see myself enjoying a cup of this tea every now and again in the summer, and I’m also happy to share it with others.
And my god it’s hard to keep myself awake at the moment. So so hard.
Honestly, someone needs to create a drug and call it “waking up just isn’t so bad when you’re doing it on a Friday morning” because it’s the truth. I slept soundly last night for the first night in a while, and had a delicious bagel and cream cheese breakfast with Mr. keychange this morning. I was actually debating between this and dt’s blueberry jam, but Mr. keychange rightly pointed out that blueberry tea probably wouldn’t accompany an herb and garlic cream cheese bagel all that well. I bet the jury’s still out on that one, but I chose this one anyway. The more I drink it, the more I get a general sense of creaminess, instead of a specific vanilla taste. I’m mostly ok with that, although I think I was hoping for more of an authentic vanilla flavour. That being said, this is probably the only EGC I can handle, as I find many of them to be a bit too heavy on the bergamot.
Despite the original high I felt this morning, I’m crashing, and wish I’d had a second cup of tea before leaving the house this morning. Oh well: up next, Rose Scented!
Yeah so I screwed this one up tonight. I thought I’d be all minimalist and have it with cinnamon honey only, only I think I put in too much. The result was a mess that was both too bitter and too sickly sweet in the way only honey can be when there’s far too much of it. Either that, or it’s a bad combination, because I think I had a fairly enjoyable cup this morning, when I didn’t have any honey in it at all.
Ah well, you live and learn. Perhaps this honey’s destiny is on my breakfast toast after all. Or in another tea.
Today (and much of this week’s tea-drinking, actually) has been a day to drink light-hearted, gentle teas. No kick in the pants; no tea that adds “zest” to my life or inspires me to accomplish great feats. Right now is all about keeping my head above water, and this tea helps accomplish it perfectly. I have had it all ways: with cream only, with sugar only, with sugar and cream, and with nothing—and all ways I find it to be excellent. I hope Butiki never stops making this tea. So typical of me, upon loving something, to instantly fear losing it.
Anyway, try this tea, guys!