2756 Tasting Notes
Haven’t had this since sometime in July, when I gifted the remainder of my packet to my aunt, who quite liked it! Wanted a flavourful black (i.e. caffeinated) tea tonight, and a chai sounded perfect! Brewed up quite strong, with some milk and maple syrup (I have got to find some other sweetener… this is an expensive use for maple syrup, and the flavour is mostly lost!) Absolutely wonderful for in the lab (I mean, uh, sipping outside the lab door, in the hallway, because it’s against the rules to have food or drink in the lab…). Spicy, and strong (and sweet) and fabulous! I don’t even notice the smokiness anymore, but I’m sure I’d miss it if it wasn’t there! One of the best chais I’ve ever had, for sure!
Frankly, I’m too lazy to create a separate listing for my Madagascar Vanilla/Green Apple matcha cold almond milk latte blend from a couple days ago. it mostly tasted like apple anyhow (it had more vanilla, though), and was quite delicious! Sweetened it with a touch too much maple syrup. Pretty darn good!
Backlog from Friday night.
I’ve heard pretty good reviews about this one, especially from a coworker, so was pretty excited to try it out! The dry tea is definitely VERY cocoa-y, so much so that the other ingredients are rather difficult to distinguish, coated in a layer of cocoa dust. I brewed it up in a filter with slightly larger holes than usual (i.e. not a Finum brew basket) to allow the cocoa to actually make it into the tea. As I’ve heard from other people, this looked like hot chocolate when brewed up, as it was brown and opaque, and smelled like cocoa and cinnamon. I can’t remember specifics, but it smelled pretty good!
Unfortunately, the taste wasn’t quite what I wanted. I liked the cocoa-y base, and the roasted mate worked well here (as in, it wasn’t overpowering, and surprisingly, also wasn’t banana-flavoured! See my other reviews of roasted mate for an explanation of that…) However, the cinnamon wasn’t quite right for me. Apparently I’m a bit picky on cinnamon in teas – I adore DT’s Glitter & Gold, but disliked Hot Lips, and I found the cinnamon here to be more on the “red hot” side than the warm, soft sort of cinnamon I prefer. I really don’t know what exactly the difference is, perhaps it’s artificial cinnamon flavouring vs. actual cinnamon? Or different types of cinnamon?
Either way, this wasn’t bad, but it didn’t really do it for me. Perhaps it could work quite nicely if sweetened, but I’d rather now. However, this is a great concept, using cocoa in a tea blend (especially with mate), and I hope another tea comes out using this same idea!
So last night, I made myself a strong matcha latte to take to work and keep me awake while tediously grinding samples, and realized while I was making it that I actually hadn’t ever actually reviewed the caramel matcha! In spite of having drank it probably about 3 times (meaning there’s not much left in my packet, as I tend to make rather strong, large lattes when I do make one). I picked this matcha up for the obvious purpose of blending it with the Green Apple Matcha I already had received, to make caramel apple matcha lattes! This is the delicate flavouring, starter green matcha variety, which can be purchased here: http://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/caramel-matcha.html
The aroma of this one is nothing short of intoxicating. While the Madagascar Vanilla and Green Apple matchas smelled good, this one I swear I could sit there with my nose in the bag and sniff all day! I love caramel, and this definitely made me think of those little Kraft caramels I used to get trick-or-treating, that were soft and chewy but would stick to your teeth, coating your mouth in delicious caramel goodness… until they melted entirely and you had to pop another in your mouth. Anyways, I have to say I was by far the most excited to try this one, after smelling it! I used probably a solid 2-3 tsp of matcha, unsifted (I know, I’m learning that sifting is important! I did it yesterday but not with the straight caramel matcha), whisked into hot milk and then mixed with a generous portion of cold almond milk. The result? Absolutely amazing! Caramelly goodness (even without sweetener), and an aroma to die to for. What gets me the most is how I can nearly fool myself into thinking I’m eating caramels, when instead, I’m having a matcha latte containing almost no sugar. Awesome! Definitely will be purchasing more of this one!
Since I failed to keep up with writing tasting notes on all my matcha adventures (probably because I usually make matcha lattes before heading off either on a long drive or to work, and therefore am not at my computer while drinking it), I’ll summarize my caramel apple experience here as well. Unfortunately, my first attempt at blending caramel and apple together didn’t work quite as planned – I used equal amounts of each, and the green apple completely overpowered the caramel (which was unfortunate because if anything, I probably wanted it the other way around, you know, would you like some apple with that caramel??) The second attempt, with probably a 2:1 caramel:apple ratio was better, but I still didn’t manage to achieve what I wanted. That’s fine though…. this one’s pretty darn amazing on its own!
Ok…. I swear I’m reviewing this tea, brewing up a mate and making a matcha latte and going to work for at least a few hours, if not an all-nighter. Being a grad student sucks, especially when you promised your advisor you’d have all your samples ground by the end of September, only to realize that you still have 116 hours of grinding (at least!) left…. :(
Anyways! Enough whining. This sample was given to me by the lovely Sil during our awesome tea & pizza meetup a few weeks ago!
I honestly am not sure what to be expecting here, as I can’t recall reading anything about this tea. The aroma is a bit chocolatey, a bit “generic black”-y. Wow, is this ever smooth! Definite chocolate notes and… woah, there’s a sort of sweetness in here that I completely wasn’t expecting! A dark sort of sweetness, like with dark oolongs… intriguing. So chocolatey, kind of almost a… buckwheat honey sort of sweetness, and no astringency. This is my sort of black! I do wish there was a bit more chocolate (only because I love that flavour in black teas), but the sweetness more than makes up for it! Delicious! I’d definitely buy this one to drink again, this is pretty good! Thanks Sil!
I tried this previously as a sample from Stacy, and enjoyed it, although at the time wasn’t looking to pick up any more flavoured blacks. However… then it went on sale. So here I am, with an ounce of it!
The aroma is divinely chocolatey, as is the flavour. I’m not getting as much raspberry as I did previously, but I also don’t think there were as many raspberry chunks in my infuser as when I tried my sample. The tea is absolutely smooth though, and devoid of bitterness/astringency, which is important to me! This is another tea I really need to try sweetened, to see what it does to the flavour. I’m reasonably happy drinking this unsweetened, but would really like some more fruitiness, and perhaps some sweetener would kick that up a notch. Still tasty though! Tiny ratings bump.
ETA: Added rock sugar on a whim to the second infusion… yum!! Perhaps a touch too sweet (whoops!) but I have high hopes for a sweetened first infusion!
My bad, I really should have sweetened this. As is, unsweetened, it’s a pretty tasty generically flavoured black, with an aftertaste that I can make out to be tamarind. Mostly, though, it tastes like a fairly smooth black tea with vanilla and other flavours mingling in every now and again. There’s a low level of astringency (but I did oversteep this one a little, oops), but it’s very tolerable.
I’d definitely drink this one again without sweetener, just as a black, but I’m kicking myself for forgetting to add sugar when I was brewing it earlier! So curious about the tamarind soda flavour everyone’s raving about!
ETA: WOW Stacy, are you ever right that rock sugar makes all the difference here! Put maybe 1.5 tsp into my second infusion, and I definitely taste tamarind now. However, of course, since this is a second infusion of a black, no less, it’s not bad, but not great either. That said, I’m super excited to try this again properly! It’s crazy what a difference some sugar makes. Not that I intend to make this a habit, but if nothing else, it’s interesting! Will have to try with the Watermelon Dragonwell & Watermelon Xylophone for sure.
There’s something to be said for actually setting a timer that makes a noise when steeping a tea…. ah well. So this one got 13 minutes (yes, over quadruple what I intended). Luckily, it’s not ruined, but the milky notes are being overshadowed by vegetal oolong flavours.
I almost feel like the quality of this oolong dropped before I picked up my most recent batch (and before the dramatic price drop); it’s just not nearly as good as I remember…
ETA: In spite of yesterday’s epically long infusion, I did a 4-minute second infusion today and ended up with a pretty fabulous cup! Smooth and milky, and with that lingering oolong flavour (which I don’t recall as much from yesterday, perhaps oversteeping killed it a little). I may yet take back my grumbling about this being lower quality than I remember.
Ok, after reading Awkward Soul ‘s note on this oolong, I was worried that my ’ice wine’ tasting experience last time was a totally one-off experience. Therefore…. time to try and repeat the deliciousness! I went with probably about 1.5 level teaspoons of tea for about 8-10oz. of water, and infused for 8 minutes at 180 degrees. And, I am happy to say that the tea definitely still has the same notes that remind me of the ice wine I sampled most recently. It’s not as jarring as last time (because the ice wine memory is a touch farther back), but at least to me, it is unmistakeable, and delicious. The aroma doesn’t betray this deliciousness, mostly being of a warm, slightly sweet, woody oolong, but the flavour is just fabulous, with a sweetness that builds until the end of the sip, hitting that intoxicatingly sweet ice wine flavour which lingers in the mouth after swallowing. Amazing!
This will definitely be in my next Butiki order, which is growing quickly! Apparently I can curb my restraint in tea ordering to some degree, but when it comes to Verdant, Butiki, and DavidsTea, I’m totally helpless…
ETA: Second infusion of this today, also for 8 minutes… still getting that sweetness that makes me think ice wine, however, there is bitterness this time as well. Not intolerable, but enough to make me consider a bit of a shorter second infusion. Or perhaps, 183F was too high (3 degrees Fahrenheit making a difference? I hope not, but who knows.)
A sample of this one from Azzrian this time! A bit of a burnt/toasted aroma upon brewing, and in the flavour as well… but I like it! Definitely caramelly too, so just what I was looking for tonight. Perfect! I think I like the DavidsTea version better, but this works just great right now. Thanks Azz!