416 Tasting Notes
Well I definitely have an obsession. Last night, I dreamed that I drank this tea and didn’t like it, and I was so disappointed for not liking it because I’d wanted to like it so badly. Then I woke up and realized it was a dream LOL.
I poured the entire sample the ever so wonderful and generous JustJames sent me into my basket, and steeped for four minutes. I took some time to smell the tea after it had brewed. I could definitely pick up on the fruit, and although I don’t know that I would have immediately identified it as red current and raspberry, it definitely didn’t smell like the typical cacophony of fruit you might find in French tea (stone fruit etc). The raspberry is very clear in the sip though, and so is the base. I can’t say I’m terribly familiar with the taste of red current, although the fruit didn’t taste entirely of raspberry to me, so I imagine it was there. I got a bit of a generically sweet and vanilla end-sip before the relatively strong flavour of the base, which sort of suggests to me that I should have shortened the steeping time by a touch. I’m not sure that I necessarily got caramel though, but that might have been my own rock sugar obliterating that a bit.
I can really imagine myself enjoying the sweet raspberry deliciousness during the summer months. I still think I’m slightly more wowed by Pour Maman, but this would probably make it into an order. That order will probably be placed soon though, but I need to get through some of my h and s teas first. But yeah, definitely a winner here.
Thanks again, JustJames, for not only very generously sending me these samples, but for putting differently shaped/different variations/patterns of raised stickers on them so I could tell which tea was which without any sighted assistance at all! The world is a better place because you’re in it.
Oh yeah baby, getting down with my h and s samples before busting open the tins. I still don’t have a system of attack regarding how I’m going to open them-I don’t want to savagely tear into everything simultaneously (despite the temptation) because freshness problems, but then how do you decide what to do and all that stuff? man, problems!!
I’m always on the hunt for a vanilla tea, and vanilla Comoro was a pretty significant let-down for me, because I could barely taste anything. I read reviews for this tea while I was at work today, and got kind of excited when I read a few people say it was like a smoky vanilla, because that sounds like a perfect combination (someone needs to do a vanilla keemun one of these days). Anyway, when I opened the package, my nose was immediately assaulted with the sweet scent of baking vanilla, but also a hearty dose of something chemical and distinctly alcoholic. It was like unscrewing the lid to and inhaling the fumes from a bottle of vanilla vodka (which don’t get me wrong is wonderful, definitely soothes the soul and all that sort of thing, but I don’t want that shiz in my tea). But whatever, I set to work and steeped it-a teaspoon for eight ounces of water, four minutes.
When I lifted the basket out of the mug, I instantly thought “I’ve smelled this before! where have I smelled this?” and then I realized that it smelled similar to many of Frank’s banana blends (butterscotch banana, and banana pudding). definitely not a bad association, but definitely a bit of an unusual one. A few seconds later, however, the intensity of the scent dissipated and I could smell gentle vanilla paired with a fairly noticeable but nondescript black base.
My thoughts as I finished the cup:
1. Hmmm. Not what I was expecting. Too much base, and somehow it doesn’t work well with the chosen vanilla, but I can’t quite say why. No smoke, though.
2. I should put this in my swap pile. I wonder who’ll want it. I’m sure there’s someone.
3. Mmm this is pretty good, actually. I’m going to have another cup tomorrow, perhaps.
4. This would be terrific with a bit less sugar in it, you know.
5. Ugh. There’s something cloying about this one. The vanilla is too…something. Cloying. I should give this away.
6. Great cup! last sips were excellent!
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s had an experience like this while drinking the same cup of tea. Oh, the internal dialogue. It’s probably not a bad thing though, ultimately. I think it speaks to the fact that we’re determined to give the tea a fair shake, are appropriately self-deprecating when there aren’t fireworks at first steep, and generally want to like a new tea we’re trying because liking things is a good feeling.
So yes, definitely glad I didn’t purchase a tin of this, and as to whether or not I’ll finish the sample pack, it just depends on my mood in a given second. ha.
Also, I received like nine million swap packages in the mail today. Thank you to all of you who sent something. I don’t have access to functional eyes at the moment, but as soon as I do, I’ll set to work labelling samples and thanking those of you who sent them along! but unlike me, you know who you are, so thank you!
I’m in the midst of frantically putting together a memo for my boss at work, complete with trying to state case law eloquently and succinctly, with an attempt (note the word attempt) at mildly intelligent analysis thrown in in an effort to justify my career choices, and then…then I began sipping this tea. The work on my memo faltered, then I wrote sparingly, and then everything kind of came to a grinding halt because I’m overcome by how awesome this tea is. You see, I’ve had this tea with milk before, and I always felt as though the flavour was somehow muted, or weighed down some, and so this morning, I thought i’d try the tea with only a bit of sugar and no milk whatsoever. And now i’m being hit in the face with an intense blast of warm, tingly cinnamon that burns in the gentlest way possible as it slides down my throat. Who knew there was so much power lurking in the depths of these leaves? I know for sure that this “recipe” won’t hold true for many of my favourite blacks—I like most of my breakfast teas sweet and creamy, but this tea absolutely does not benefit from it. If it was a winter staple before this morning, it’s now pretty much on the instant reorder list. Having said that, I’m glad that I order 4 ounces at a time—any more than that and I’d worry that I wouldn’t cycle through my teas quickly enough to guarantee freshness. But man, this tea is so damned zippy and perfect! whoa!
Ok, now back to trying to sound smarter than I feel.
I had a hard time deciding what tea to have this morning, especially since (as I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen) my h and s order arrived yesterday. It’s here. It’s really here! And do you guys want to know what I got? do you?
Queen Catherine (oh the royalty; her beauty, simultaneously simple and complex, can make me sink to my knees, and make me feel as though tea has its very own language)-she says it’s great with one of those hearty, greasy diner breakfasts, and we all know how delicious and much-needed those can be)
-Soba-cha buckwheat (on the recommendation of many a steepsterite, and I’m always on the hunt for more evening appropriate teas)
-Eight at the fort (like 8 oz of it! It only came in that denomination-well it was either that or like buy out their entire stock pretty much, so I threw caution to the wind and loaded up my cart with reckless abandon as we tea-lovers are prone to do)
-Big Red Sun (Ifjuly told me to get this one
-Scottish Morn (supposed to be their strongest breakfast tea, which i’m down with).
And I also got samples of: vanilla black, mother’s bouquet, and Russian Country (I’ma play with smoke, baby!)
Oh, sorry, Stacy, for highjacking your tea’s tasting note with my excitement for h and s. The good news is that my heart is massive, and my bank account only too delighted to spend money on your teas also, so there’s room for everyone here! In fact, my cup of CVA this morning delivered, as it always does. I’ve often said that the flavours are blended so expertly that I hardly consider this a flavoured blend. And my god how buttery it tastes. I never thought someone could make a tea taste buttery, but you did it and you won and we all love it. Delish.
And of course, I’m more than willing (how can you be more than willing though? like maybe you’re determined?) to share the teas I’ve acquired in my new haul, so request away! :)
Ugh. Just no thanks. Somehow this tea isn’t cutting it for me. it’s weak, I don’t get pancake flavouring, but I know this is a huge steepster fave so I know I can give it to a home where it’ll get more love. This tea isn’t awful or anything, but as I continue to collect teas that I am extremely fond of, I feel less inclined to drink teas that I think are just alright. This one falls slightly below that threshold and so it just isn’t worth it to me to force myself to finish the package. Not when UPS says that my H and S order is on the truck for delivery today!
It could also be that my timolino needs a thorough cleaning, complete with denture tablets.
I woke up like two hours before I needed to this morning and lay there annoyed for a while, and then decided I might as well just wake up and turn off my alarm…only I hadn’t set it, so i suppose my waking up early was a bit of a blessing in disguise. Only a bit of one, though—let’s not get carried away or anything. Waking up while the sky is still dark feels wrong on so many levels.
But oh my gosh this tea. I actually think part of the reason I slept fitfully last night is because I was excited to have it again (please tell me this happens to you too? please?). I remember liking it so much the first time, and when I picked it out last night to have this morning, I re-read my initial tasting note for it and got excited all over again haha.
In the bag, I couldn’t really decipher all that much, because I’ve been storing this with other samples. I just dumped the remainder of the sample into my steeping basket (JustJames gives very generous amounts!), and brewed it up for four minutes. After I lifted the basket out of the water, I could smell the tang of fresh, just-picked strawberry, set against a rather airy vanilla. I can’t tell you just how fresh the strawberry scent is in this tea-it is so evocative of summer breezes (well to be fair, no summer breeze where I live smells like strawberries, but a girl can dream—this is in an ideal world, nkay?). The taste of the brew was consistent with the smell, right down to the slight tang of the strawberry and weightless vanilla. The rose in this tea makes a rather understated appearance, so floral-fearers need not get worked up in advance. You get the gentlest hint of rose as you swallow, although it’s more akin to a breath freshener if anything, because it isn’t an adult, sophisticated rose; rather, it’s a very delicate, slightly coquettish presence and it completes this tea perfectly.
I do wish i’d put slightly less sugar in this cup, but alas, that rectification shall have to wait for when I place my first Ninas order. I have yet to try japon (which is being sent to me by the lovely VareaTea, who hates it oh so much…kidding!), and there are a few more NP samples I have here from Just James, and then I think I’ll be ready to order! woohoo!
Ok. So thanks again to JustJames, whose tasting notes and private messages I miss deeply. Thanks for introducing me to Ninas!!
Alright, tasting note 300!
This was a wonderful tea to come home to. It won’t knock your socks off; instead, it’ll kneel at your feet, remove your socks kindly, and then give you a hug. And it’ll smell of good things: home, innocence, laundry (laundry? shut up, keychange!). Ok ok, so it doesn’t smell like laundry. But how can a creamy cup of coconut tinged with raspberry not be comforting on a day that makes you feel as though winter has taken up residence in your very soul and will be there forever and ever? I hate all these layers of clothes; I hate feeling like a graceless sausage as I try to cram legs into leggings and then dress pants just so I can freeze at the office anyway. I hate having to walk so gingerly so as to not slip and fall, which given that I seem to have terrible balance at the best of times, is bound to happen nonetheless. And I hate the fact that I get cold so quickly—like I’ll be standing outside for ten seconds and then start shaking violently as if I’m having a seizure, and like, no thanks. How needlessly dramatic. But this tea really does make me feel as though a coconut and sun-screen laden summer isn’t terribly far away.
And those are my deep thoughts for the evening. Back to bitching about the cold and being annoyed at having to wake up early tomorrow morning.
I think it’s safe to say that this tea has earned itself a spot in my winter collection, because although I’m certain there are many teas like it, this one is easy to stock and can easily be accompanied by my other favourites from this company in another order. I must say that I need to try this tea without any milk whatsoever, as i’m noticing that it has a relatively heavy and full mouth feel on its own (because despite the fact that it’s a straight-up cinnamon, you definitely get the feeling that a lot is going on), and I think the milk only mutes it or weighs it down, when it seems to prefer to be more buoyant. It travels well though, and is incredibly warming on a freezing cold Monday.
It’s been a while (and by that I mean a few days) since I’ve made tea to enjoy, as I was visiting my parents in Toronto this weekend and packed minimally. My mom did make me Indian-style chai on Saturday though, and drinking it instantly transported me back to my childhood, and I missed it with an aching ferocity. I foolishly thought that if I had my mom’s chai again, I’d probably be all snobby and needlessly analytical about it, but nope-it was spicy and milky and delicious, and I just wanted to live in that bowl forever.
But this tasting note isn’t about that chai, right? right. Sorry.
I’m opening my 52 tea blends one at a time so as to preserve freshness, and this was next up. I have to admit that the scent of the dry leaf did not evoke pancake associations for me. it did smell delicious, but it also bore an uncanny resemblance to butterscotch banana, both in smell and taste. There certainly wasn’t any prominent banana in the smell or the taste, but nor did I find too much banana in the butterscotch one either.
The sip was likewise not overwhelmingly pancake-esque. I did get a buttery bread taste, drizzled in something I swore was chocolate, which really threw me for a loop. Like so much of a loop in fact that I’m going to get a sighted person to confirm that this is indeed my pancake breakfast tea (although I facetimed with my sister last night which is how I learned this was pancake breakfast in the first place). How odd.
Anyway, good cup of tea. I steeped for three and a half minutes, because I’m coming to realize that to steep Frank’s blends any longer results in the base just taking over and drowning the other flavours, and we can’t have that. I shouldn’t have any trouble sipping this down, although it wasn’t quite what I was expecting…you know, if this is indeed the right tea. Ha.
Off to work now!
Oh my gosh. i read roswell strange’s tasting note on this yesterday and realized it had been ages since I’ve had this. For some crazy reason unbeknownst to me, I somehow thought I was getting over this tea, but this morning’s cup was a resounding reminder that this indeed was not the case. I nearly gasped out loud after I took my first sip, and quickly pushed the cup toward Mr. Keychange to have a sip.
“My gosh!” he exclaimed, “What flavour is this one?”
“Aha!” I exclaimed on Stacey’s behalf, “it isn’t flavoured! this is just the great Taiwanese wild mountain black! doesn’t it taste like waffles?”
“Wow, so the tea just tastes like that?”
Which is exactly my own awe at this tea. I don’t know if there’s any left to order, but I sure hope there is, as I’ll be topping up very soon. Mmm. Creamy, honeyed waffle deliciousness, with the signature taste of black tea aftertaste. I seriously don’t know what was stopping me from having this more often!