2410 Tasting Notes
Cold-brewed 10g of this in about 500mL of water, and it’s pretty good (but could be a bit stronger). This works out to $1.20 per “cup”, which I suppose is rather expensive… oh well! I also discovered that I should have mixed it, as it was sweeter at the bottom than the top (I cold-brew in a cup and then pour through a strainer.) Whoops :D
Darn… computer died and I lost the tasting note I’d written up.
Anyways, I picked this tea up as part of the ‘Explore Kenya’ sampler pack, which I bought on a whim – my Masters project is focused on health-beneficial phytochemicals in asparagus, which include flavonoids (which is what the anthocyanins that make this tea purple are a subset of), so ever since I began my project my interest in foods containing such things has been piqued.
Visually, this tea didn’t look particularly purple to me – it looked more blackish. I’ll have to look more closely under better lighting though. The steep temperature seemed awfully low, but I went with it, and stuck to the lower end of the time range, which gave me a cup of lightish yellow/amber liquor (that’s the best I can do – it’s in a green cup!).
It tastes much like green tea to me, with a bit of an mild astringency showing up briefly (but it’s very mild). It’s a touch sweet, and has a definite tea aftertaste, kind of green/oolongy (like I said in a previous post – perhaps they’re actually all the same, and I just associate it with the tea I’m drinking at the time!) Good, certainly, but nothing particularly special. I would have been more intrigued if the liquor had come out purple :D However, I would love to know if there’s a greater health benefit associated with drinking this tea… one of the professors on my advisory committee did some research on antioxidants in green tea; maybe I should look things up/ask him!
ETA: 175F/way too long, for the second infusion. Tastes… rather like a black tea, actually. Can’t believe that it’s so lacking in astringency though, given that it seriously must have steeped for about 10 minutes or more. There’s some but it’s quite bearable. I will have to try a proper second (third, fourth?) infusion the next time.
Ahhhh, reunited at last. This is delicious, as I remember. Light, but deliciously creamy with a juicy cantaloupe flavour and wonderful lingering aftertaste of white tea and creamy cantaloupe. This is an absolute must-try for melon lovers.
Ohh… my cup’s gone already :( Guess I better go re-steep… good thing I have a glorious 2 oz. of this one now :D
So guess what greeted me when I came downstairs this morning…… my huge Butiki order had arrived bright and early!! It’s seriously some sort of miracle – she sent it out on Friday, there was a national holiday in Canada on Monday, yet I still managed to get it on Wednesday. Unbelievable (well…. except that I’m totally drinking this tea right now!)
So on with the review!
The brewed tea smells like a delightful combination of buttery oolong and sweet concord grape juice, although the grape is fairly subtle. Taste-wise it’s subtly grapey with a lovely oolong aftertaste. Upon a few sips, both flavours strengthen quite nicely. The grape definitely does not overpower the delicate flavour of the oolong, which is exactly the way I like it! Not sure I’ve ever met a tea that so accurately tastes like it is supposed to (except perhaps for Cantaloupe & Cream) – my problem with most flavoured oolongs is a lack of oolong flavour, or at least aftertaste, which kind of defeats the purpose of using an oolong base, for me. So big, big points for that, and now I’m super excited to try the Strawberry Oolong as well! That will have to wait for a while though – so many other things!
(Side note: as I have been swallowing this tea, I noticed that my throat is sore! Not scratchy-sore, but lump-in-throat sore, which is sometimes a precursor to sickness (or the result of crying, but no tears yet for me today, so it isn’t that). Really hoping I’m not headed for a cold…)
ETA: Second infusion (175F/4:15) is pretty much the same. Yum. Glad the grape flavour is lingering through this infusion.
ETA again: Third infusion (175-180/~4min) still has grape flavour!! And oolong, but that’s perhaps disappearing a bit more. I used about half the water for this infusion.
ETA: Fourth infusion (175-180/infinite) is grapey and has some astringency (not surprising). I think this one can get to four good infusions, as long as the leaves are removed a touch sooner… they have been floating around in my cup for about an hour – oops! Oolonginess very limited in this infusion, sadly.
Now this one’s a teabag courtesy of one of my roommates (who is away for the summer).
Brewed aroma here is definitely more fakey-cherry. Cherry cough syrup-y?
Flavourwise, I’m again getting a similar sort of sweetness. It comes up a bit sooner though, and doesn’t linger as long, so it’s much more bearable. The hibiscus is also done reasonably well in this blend, with the tartness not overwhelming everything, even though this steep is just as epically long as the other. I’d have to say that the Tea Forte version, comparing them side by side, has a more tart berry sort of flavour, whereas this one is more of a sweet berry flavour. Both blends have the tartness of hibiscus of course, but the berry flavour itself is different.
I have to say, both definitely have their merits – I’m more familiar with Celestial Seasonings, so their ‘zinger’ blends typically taste “right” to me, but the Tea Forte version was interesting and different. The sweet aftertaste would therefore probably be the only reason I’d pick one (CS) over the other (TF), in general.
Fun experiment – I’m definitely almost asleep now.
I really need to go to bed early tonight… I actually fell asleep in yoga tonight :\ So I pulled out a couple herbal teabags and re-steeped my Creme Brulee from last night. Funnily enough, I pulled out two teabags of similar blends from different companies, so I get to do a bit of a comparison.
This one is courtesy of LiberTEAS – thank you!
Steeped, it smells quite delicious and berry-like! I’m pleasantly surprised! Since I left the teabag in for eons, the hibiscus is definitely present, but I like it. The berry flavour is quite apparent and the hibiscus is providing tartness but at a completely acceptable level. The strangest thing is the sweetness I’m getting, which makes me think licorice as it’s late-sip, but I don’t think it is. Maybe there’s stevia or something in here, though? The aftertaste kind of makes it taste like a fakey candy, whereas initially it’s an authentic berry flavour.
Really quite a good bagged tisane with pretty good use of hibiscus. Were it not for the strange sweetness, I’d probably look into picking some of this up to ice it.
Mmmmm, sweet and only lightly tasting of rooibos, which works well. Perhaps not quite creme brulee though, to be honest – it just tastes kind of caramelly. Which is ok with me. I definitely seem to lean more towards artificially sweetened creamy/sweet/caramelly rooibos blends (e.g. Birthday Cake, Alpine Punch) than fruit-flavoured ones.
Anyhow, dropping the rating a few points on this one simply because it was one of my first-rated teas, and compared to other rooibos, it’s not at the top, and I had it rated rather high. Big plus for it, however, is a lack of little candies floating around in it that make the tea scummy.
Trying the last of my original sample tonight in a western-gong-fu sort of style (e.g. 15 second infusions). I used about 4g of leaf in my little glass teapot, and filled it halfway with ~205F water each time (so maybe about 5oz.?) Some of the infusions crept to closer to 20 seconds.
1: Woah, so sweet! A little toasty and nutty, but a delicious sweetness, and an oolong aftertaste that takes a while to show up but is perfect. This is amazing, seriously. Only marred by the aftertaste of ginger/galangal still on my palate after the Spiced Elderberry Pu’er (whoops).
2: Lost some of the sweetness now and is more grounded. It’s getting to that woody flavour that I find with oolongs, but it’s taken a sidestep off the beaten path as there are some fruitier, rounder notes in here too. I suck at descriptions. Lovely though.
3: Oh crap. Got an initial flavour of soap in this one, and it’s somewhat stronger (pot sat with wet leaves between 2 and 3). I’m wondering if the cup wasn’t well rinsed. Argh. Second sip not so soapy, but I’d blame the cup, not the tea. There’s some astringency coming out here, perhaps because the leaves sat. Maybe I need to reduce the infusion time after the leaves have been sitting (it was only for maybe 5-10 minutes, but still). I’m getting fruity notes now that I seem to have washed the soap off the rim of the cup by drinking it (blech). Still strong and woody-ish, but quite good. Just wish that astringency wasn’t there.
4: Back to reduced astringency (although still present a bit – I think these last two infusions were also closer to 20s, so maybe I need to watch that I keep the time to 15). Moving ever-more towards that woody profile.
(I might continue and update later, but stomach getting full and my mouth is revolting against the astringency).
It seems that, by contrast to a lot of other people on here, I tend to enjoy the first infusion quite a bit more than subsequent infusions (in most teas, including greens and oolongs). I don’t know if that’s because they tend to be sweeter and less astringent, or I just prefer the initial flavours, but I guess that’s just the way it’s going to be! Glad my Huang Zhi Xiang experimentation is finally working out, and thank you SO much to David Duckler for supplying me with some extra leaves so I can give it another couple attempts!
When I pulled the brew basket out of the water, I smelled such an interesting aroma. Definitely reminded of thai food, which is probably the ginger/galangal.
Although I rinsed it kinda twice, I just ran water through the infuser basket, and am not sure this is appropriate. I still haven’t looked up how to rinse a tea properly. Anyhow, I’m getting a bit of a fishy smell from it. Which oddly works with the ginger/galangal, but is weird to smell from tea. Hopefully I haven’t ruined it by a lack of rinsing!
Tasty and spicy, I can taste both the ginger and galangal, but neither is overwhelming – I have to say that this is probably the best use of ginger in a tea I’ve ever encountered. There’s also a berry note, which must be elderberry. A lingering savoury flavour remains on the tongue after one swallows, which is quite nice. I can’t pick out the pu’er in here, but it’s obviously tying everything together. Once I have a better idea of what straight pu’er tastes like I might be able to say a bit more as to that aspect.
Overall, I’m finding this to be a very savoury, interesting tea. The spicing is very well done, with everything blending together perfectly and nothing sticking out or overwhelming the rest. Definitely would help with a craving for thai food, imo. Probably not something I’ll keep in stock, but a fabulous tea to have tried!
ETA: Second infusion (same parameters): A little weaker perhaps, but the spices are all present and I can pick up the pu’er now (possibly because of a bit of an oversteep – it may have had more like 3.5-4 minutes as I got confused when the timer went off and thought I had water in the microwave… yeaahhhh). Still smells a little fishy, but it doesn’t carry over to the flavour. Just makes me think of fish sauce here though (as I said above, it works with this flavour combo).