2244 Tasting Notes
Oooh… finally trying this tea. Massive apprehension due to the star anise (honestly, I contemplated picking it out, but figured that would be rather silly of me…)
The aroma is pretty much chocolate/coconut/star anise. Thankfully, the anise isn’t a super strong aroma, and I’m hoping it stays that way in the flavour as well (I think other people’s reviews have said that it’s not too bad??)
Yep, turns out they were right… but I still don’t love the tea! It tastes as described, chocolate, coconut, and a touch of star anise… but it’s not really working for me. I can see how other people love it, and I should love it… but… I’m not. Perhaps it’s that there’s almost a bit of cinnamon in there, and it’s coming off to me strangely… ah well. I tried!
ETA: Second infusion is a weaker version of the first, with a bit more anise. After this infusion, the leaves smelled just like star anise…. so into the compost they went.
Thanks to Piccolo at Teajo Teas for such a generous sample of this tea!
I’m still not super familiar with the flavours of different black tea types, but assam seems to be one that I lean towards a bit more than others, so I was interested to try another version of it to train my palate a bit! I have to say that the tea tastes pretty much how I would expect. It’s malty and only just slightly astringent, with a bit of a raisiny finish (that part was unexpected and lovely!) I think I will try my next cup of it with additions, as I think it will hold up well.
Generally, I’m not the biggest fan of straight black teas to begin with, so it’s pretty tough to crack the ranks of teas I’d like to drink on a regular basis, and this one doesn’t make the cut for me, although I’m sure that any assam lover would be quite delighted with it!
Sipdown! Thanks to Raritea for a sample of this tea. It’s not something I would have picked myself, but it smelled good and I saw no objectionable ingredients in the blend, so figured it was worth a shot.
The aroma is tangy and quite tasty-smelling… I can’t quite place what I’m picking up, but it’s almost a little bit fruity, maybe a bit minty or something? I kind of like it though. And the flavour is actually just about as good as the aroma! Fruity but with a fair bit of complexity and additional flavours. It’s like an explosion of deliciousness in my mouth! (I just wanted to say that, heh). Anyways, I feel like I’m picking up mango/peach flavours, along with a savoury note that I can’t place. And then an intermingling of other flavours that present themselves randomly during the sip. Yeah… I kind of like this blend! I pretty much never like wellness blends, because they always contain obscene amounts of fennel, licorice, or some sort of mint… but this doesn’t have any (or if they’re here, they’re in very low amounts).
I’m not sure I’d drink this blend super often, but I’m pretty impressed! Thanks again Raritea!
ETA: A re-steep is still pretty good. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m liking the combo of ingredients in here.
Sipdown! Thanks to Marie and Sil for giving up a cup of this one :D
I can’t even begin to explain how incredibly delicious this one smells. Sooooo divine. Like… cheesecakey, sweet, peppery, chocolatey… yum! I was trying to think of what the aroma reminded me of, and it’s actually reminiscent of Della Terra’s Chili Chocolate Truffle. However, the flavour is not the same as that tea. There’s a dark background note, kind of like coffee, with a sweetness and delicious creaminess, topped off with a bit of spice. The spice is a bit odd to be in a tiramisu blend, IMO, but oh well. I think the flavour wouldn’t be as good without it. I do think that this blend is one that smells better than it tastes, however the flavour is pretty good. I’m not the biggest fan of spiciness, so I don’t think I’d reach for this tea frequently, but I would definitely seek it out if the mood struck! I’m curious as to how this would taste sweetened…
[Uh, perhaps I should read what’s in tiramisu… espresso! Which explains the coffee note! Go me, for picking up on a flavour! Also – the black base is pretty decent here. Not really any astringency; I think what I am feeling is just the spiciness.]
Thanks for the sample, girls!
ETA: A re-steep in half the water turned out a less flavourful version of the above, with pretty much no spiciness. Reasonably tasty. I do like this blend!
Sipdown! Thanks to Sil (and indirectly, Piccolo at Teajo Teas) for a sample of this tea. I opted to request a sample of the straight assam (which is brewed up and ready to review beside me), so it was great to be able to swap samples and try two teas instead of one!
The aroma of this tea was strangely rather floral, to me. I was expecting a stronger fruity/mango aroma, but it was more floral/fruity… and unfortunately I like my fruits to be juicy and verging on tart, not so floral. I was hoping that the flavour wouldn’t be the same, but it appears it is. I’m getting a floral, mangoey flavour (it does taste somewhat like mango, I’ll agree) paired with what I’ve have to say is a great black base, which is smooth and malty. I’m just not really a big fan of the flavouring, and that kind of ruins the tea for me :( I’d love to try the base paired with other fruits, so maybe sometime in the future when we inevitably make a Teajo order, I will get to try some of that!
ETA: I oversteeped (and therefore threw out) my re-infusion, but the leaves definitely had enough flavour for 1-2 more infusions. Just a bit too much on the floral side for me.
Alright, giving this one a shot using my “normal brewing parameters” (i.e. 1.5 tsp, ~8oz) to see how it fares (thanks for the sample, Sil!)
The aroma is sweet and almost caramelized sugar-like, which I think is actually a very sweet strawberry flavour. On the sip, the most prominent note is strawberry… and that’s about all I’m getting, along with a side of light astringency. I should note that this tea is lukewarm, as I drink much of my tea, so perhaps that’s influencing the flavours. I can, however, be convinced that I’m tasting crust flavours in here, along with the barest hint of cinnamon. Any trace of rhubarb is escaping me, though.
Overall, this is a fairly decent strawberry pie black; not my favourite, but that’s probably because I’ve noticed that I have a strong preference for fruit teas with cream, so cream may be something I’m wanting here. One big bonus here, though, is that with those crust flavours, this tea does not taste like a standard strawberry black. So it is pretty yummy, but not quite ‘strawberry rhubarb pie’ for me!
Thanks to CHAroma for a sample of this tea :)
So… I’m still feeling queasy from Chocolate Malt and S’mores Genmaicha, so hopefully this goes down ok. I didn’t really get any aroma from the leaves (this has been sitting in a baggie for a while), nor the brewed cup, but flavour-wise it’s definitely better. I got a nice-sized cherry in my infuser, and consequently (unless it’s flavouring I’m tasting), I’m tasting a wonderful sour cherry flavour! Really quite tasty, actually. I think I’m just getting hints of creaminess from the coconut, and the chocolate isn’t particularly noteworthy, but this is actually pretty tasty, and I imagine that when it was freshly blended, it would have been quite the treat! As is, I’m enjoying it. The black base is also fairly nondescript but enjoyable, and not astringent. Overall, this is certainly the best cherry black I’ve had (no floral – YAY!), and I kind of wish I had more of this!
ETA: Re-steep was nothing to speak of, but I stole the cherry from the infuser and it was amazing, and now I’m contemplating a custom sour cherry Butiki blend…. (maybe 2014 bday present?)
So, you guys are ALL going to think there’s something wrong with my tastebuds/nose, but this tea smelled funky to me too!! It smelled delicious in the package, all sweet mapley sugar and yum, but once I popped the infuser into the hot water, it smelled kind of weird. I probably should have let the water cool down a touch more, so it’s my fault.
Anyways, luckily weird smells are gone once the tea’s a bit cooler. Unfortunately… most of the maple smell is gone too! :( However, the flavour actually isn’t too bad. The black tea base is fairly prominent, but actually kind of tasty (argh, I wish I could identify it a bit better!) and there’s definitely some mapley sweetness in here, although not as much as I would like. I may be somewhat biased, though, by the two maple rooibos blends I’ve had, which are very much MAPLEINYOURFACE (Autumn Leaves/Della Terra and Oh Canada/DavidsTea). So really, this is actually a fairly decent maple black. I imagine if sweetened, it would probably taste even better, so I’ll have to give that a shot.
Oh, and as for the base tea – I think what I’m being reminded of is the base of either Butiki’s Tamarind Pop and/or Raspberry Truffle. I’m not sure why; those are just coming to mind.
Also as kind of an aside, I think it’s really hilarious how this tea is called “Canadian Dream” yet the source of the maple syrup used for it is New England…
ETA: Re-steep was weird. I dumped it.
Split a package of this one with Sil, as I had previously had a sample from momo which I absolutely loved (I still have the other half of the sample left; I saved it so I could try it side by side with this batch, since I’ve seen mixed reviews).
Anyhow, unfortunately this tea also had an “off” aroma to it. And no, it’s not my nose or anything, as I can taste smell/everything just fine. It’s just the tea :( Unlike the genmaicha blends, however, it’s more of an alcoholic chocolate aroma, and though somewhat undesirable, considerably less unpleasant than the chloriney aroma I was getting from those blends.
Flavour-wise, this tea is better than I expected (given that I went into this feeling like something was quite off). The tea is somewhat sweet, and I’m kind of getting a bit of malty chocolate flavour… but it does not mesh at all with my recollection of the previous blend of this tea, which tasted like milk chocolate. There is certainly no milk chocolate flavour here.
Anyways, I’ll give this another shot side-by-side with my remaining sample just to make sure I’m not totally crazy, but… I’m pretty unimpressed :( Luckily, my sniffs of the other 52teas’ blends that I picked up around the same time were ok, because this and S’mores Genmaicha (and Browncoat Genmaicha) are pretty huge misses for me.
Letting the rating stand for the moment, but if I were to rate this new blend, it would be about a 35-40.
Bleh. So, I’m torn as to whether my issue is with the genmaicha, or 52teas’ cacao nibs/chocolate flavouring, which must have changed, because I’ve never previously had problems. This packet had the same “off” smell as Browncoat Genmaicha and Marshmallow Treat, although it was definitely more similar to BG. It’s almost a chloriney aroma, and it’s really offputting to me (and I don’t quite get how nobody else is picking up on such things :/)
So, brewed up, yeah, this one still has the off aroma. And the flavour? Bleh, I’m actually really not much enjoying this. I can’t breathe in while the cup is near my nose, otherwise I gag a bit, and there’s a bitterness in the flavour that’s not working for me (and my brewing parameters should be just fine). I can taste the chocolate… ish… but there’s a chemically flavour, and I can’t taste the genmaicha, or any lapsang souchong whatsoever. I am honestly completely confused as to why I seem to be the only person disliking these blends, when I know I love Marshmallow Treat, and I previously have tried Cherry Cheesecake Genmaicha, which was also delicious. I have Chocolate Malt Honeybush on standby as well, because it also has a really off aroma (which is why I’m uncertain as to whether it’s the cacao nibs/chocolate flavouring or the genmaicha… or both).
So, this is better than Browncoat Genmaicha, but… I really do not like it, which really, really sucks. I guess I’ll try it again later…. and then maybe swap it away to all you Steepsters who seem to enjoy it.
ETA: Opened up my package today to let it air out a bit, as was recommended. I am no longer smelling the chloriney smell (although I am sick, so take that with a grain of salt), and therefore it does smell somewhat appetizing to me. I will leave it to sit open overnight and perhaps give it a shot tomorrow. I need to dig out my package of Browncoat Genmaicha and try the same thing, because it was definitely worse. (Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha and Chocolate Malt HB will be getting the same treatment).