1673 Tasting Notes
My wife always asks when I receive a box of samples for review, if there is anything in it she can drink. She cannot tolerate caffeine. Today is her lucky day. This tisane comes from Amsterdam. It is loose leaf. There are a lot of ingredients in the blend. Normally that scares me, especially in something called wellness tonic. This sounds like one of those horribly medicinal cheap teabag teas hiding on the bottom shelf at a grocer near you.
Fortunately, these people take their herbal very serious. This is 100% organic and loose leaf. The aroma of the leaf smells like my wife’s herb garden in the summer, except she cannot get chamomile to grow. I could make out rosemary, thyme, and sage. My wife said she smells turmeric. I checked. It’s in there.
The taste is interestingly complex. Usually a lot of ingredients means a muddy mess. Here the flavors blend really well together and you can pull out individual notes. The taste is savory, not too floral, and sweet enough. It feels nicely cooling and airy. I’m guessing that is the sage. Nicely relaxing as well. An interesting tisane.
Ingredient list (because using Steepster’s ingredient box frustrates me):
Lemon Balm*, Chamomile*, Nettle*, Rosehip*, Echinacea*, Ribwort*, Ladies Mantle*, Turmeric*, Elecampane Root*, Sage Leaves*, Blue Mallow Petals*, Rosemary*, Thyme*
*100% Organically Grown
Many of you may recall my complaints about Starbucks people not understanding tea. That does not change the fact that I love the green tea frap. So when my wife mentioned the limited time Cherry Blossom Frap, I had to try it. Let me start by saying it was delicious. Next let say my mind is boggled. Why is this called cherry blossom? There is no, zero, zilch, nada, cherry or cherry flavoring in this thing. Instead it is strawberry and cream with white chocolate and matcha sprinkled over the top. It, like most stuff, is overpriced but if you get the chance, give it a try before it is gone. It could be a new favorite for me if it stayed on the menu. It does need a name change.
My son wanted to download a game on his computer and I have been wanting to try out a rather large mod for my Kerbal Space Adventure game. We both have metered connections so, yeah, Starbucks it is.
I asked for an Earl Grey iced with a shot of vanilla syrup. She rang it up as a London Fog and charged 4 something for it (seriously $4 for iced tea in a disposable plastic cup? but I digress). Sat down with it at the table and my wife looks at it and says, “That’s not what you ordered”.
“I know. That’s just the price you pay for ordering tea in a coffee place.”
Apparently a London fog has milk in it making it a pricey latte. I didn’t order a latte and probably should have said something, however, it was actually pretty tasty. So much so that I will make this my own self for about one tenth the price at home and I get to use a fancy non-disposable tupperware tumbler. Nothing but the best for me and uncle Si. That’s a fact Jack.
Part of the Revitalize Teaser Box from Free The Tea. Includes 4 samples – each about 5-7 servings and an infuser (tea ball with handles).
This is aimed at new to loose leaf users.
It is listed as containing premium organic green tea is blended with organic peppermint and dashed with organic spearmint leaves.
3 minute steep in 175F water produced a honey colored cup with a healthy mint presence. By the ingredient list, I expected a peppermint tea with notes of spearmint. Instead I get just the opposite. I’m not a spearmint fan. Here is works OK because the peppermint tempers it and the green tea melds with it nicely.
Couple not exactly complaints but I do wish I were able to separate the green tea taste out more. I think this is just the nature of mint tea. The other may just be my sample but much of the leaf pieces are very small. There are a few bigger pieces and the small ones are big enough to work in a tea ball. I think here I have just become accustomed to big whole leaf. On the whole as good or better than most entry level teas.
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down. Not really cause I love a rainy night and besides I’m no longer workin’ 9 to 5. Actually even though I am no longer working, DST ‘spring ahead’ still kicks my butt. I’m running on caffeine trying to adjust. I would never make a world traveler. Jet lag would kill me in a matter of days.
I need to be digging into my back log of to be reviewed teas. I have no brain for that today. So I reached for my comfort Earl, then put down the green tin and grabbed the red one instead. This is a very fragrant but not soapy bergamot tea that I find quite smooth for a Ceylon base. Ashmanra found the pre-Ceylon base (that’s Ceylon, not to be confused with Cylon) to be much smoother to her liking. My usual tea has a great deal of bite so this in comparison is much more refined.
This is probably a brand Picard would want in his replicator – stern but refined. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.
Another of the infuser teas from Petit. These are single serve aluminum sticks. They come 12 in a box and each contains 2.5 g of leaf.
This smells so good to me. This from someone who normally just tolerates chai. It has all the typical spices but it just comes off different to me. The cinnamon is warm and sweet, reminding me of some gooey treat. The clove and cardamon blend in well without dominating or overwhelming.
Without additions this tasted lighter than expected. To me, it had almost a light rose note along with the gentle spices. Next I added some sweetener. This brings out a pepper note that wasn’t fully developed before. Finally, I added a splash of milk. Yes, definitely add the sweetener and the milk. So smooth and good that my cup was empty before I realized it. That never happens with me and chai.
This was yesterday’s tea. I’ve enjoyed these crystallized packets. Not just because they are convenient to the extreme. They also taste pretty good. They don’t have all the nuances of brewing some fine leaves yourself, but are better than bagged or any RTD that I have tried.
This one surprised me. All of the others have had a fairly sharp edge – almost tart. I like that but not everyone does. This blend is Assam and Ceylon. I expect a brisk bite. Instead this is smooth malt. They call it earthy. My mind interpreted it as woods and leafy. Fruity. Maybe a little floral. The color was dark orange leaning heavily towards ruby. At the end just before the aftertaste it develops a nice edge that breaks the smooth mold.
I next tried it cold by adding a packet to a 12 oz bottle of icy water. What is interesting to me is it had more edge iced. This works perfect for me. I like my hot breakfast tea to bring me evenly into the day rather than with a jolt. I want my iced tea to be more grrrr. This does both and pretty well.
These Pique teas are not pre-sweetened. They don’t need sweetened, but they take it well if you so desire.
I really had no idea what to expect. It kind of boggled my mind trying to picture LS without the heavy smoke. Would it be more like a Jin Jun Mei or Bohea? It is pretty much neither. When I first sniffed the open bag, I got a light note that seemed kind of grapey like a Nepalese tea. This quickly passed and was replaced with a hefty roasted aroma along with subtle cocoa notes.
3 minute steep in 195 F water produced a deep orange cup with ruby undertones. While the mug had the roasted aroma the taste was more woods and deep forest leaves. The roastiness is much less hardcore than the aroma. No bitterness and only a mild briskness. Hearty and rich came to mind.
Halfway through the mug I added a tiny amount of sweetener. It took it really well. Burnt sugar and cocoa notes are more obvious now. I did not try but would imagine it would handle milk well.
Contemplating trying this again as an iced tea.
I start every day with a heaping spoon of matcha and cold milk lightly sweetened. In the past year I have been privileged to try dozens of different matcha. I can honestly say I just don’t get most of them. I tried them prepared as close to traditional as I could manage, and by my preferred method, as here, a cold latte.
There were a handful I thought were really good. The Connoisseur matcha from Red Leaf comes to mind as one example, and it is a middle tier tea. It tasted good on its own, which they rarely do to me, and stood up to milk in a latte. Now, I could taste the difference with the very expensive stuff but to me it just wasn’t enough difference and besides I could never justify the $$$. Some are scary expensive.
I’m always going to try the house version to see how it stacks up against the name brand. I had been using Tradition brand matcha. It is a harmless and rather plain tea that is so cheap it turned me into a daily user. I’ll not be going back to it any time soon. This entry level version from Red Leaf blows its doors off. It would be very difficult to find anything better at the very bottom of the price range. The color is more yellow green than the better stuff, but the flavor stands up to milk. It is fruity and leafy tasting. For how I use it, this works really well. Which is a good thing as it is sold by the pound. Recommended for novice matcha drinkers, bargain hunters, and those among us who just don’t get it.
I received a box of this tea for review. It contains 25 nylon sachets/bags. Each is individually sealed in a protective envelop and contain 2.25 g of CTC. I probably have already lost 1/2 of you by mentioning bag and CTC in the same sentence. I personally use a lot of bagged tea and find if you are selective there are some jewels to be found. They do sell it in loose form though it is CTC. That is normal for nearly all tea originating in India.
Dry this has a pleasant malty aroma that only intensifies when steeped. The brew color is a truly beautiful cherry mahogany. I steeped for 2 1/2 minutes and the first sip was intensely eye opening brisk – just like a good breakfast tea should be IMHO. After the initial shock, I got the malt notes along with woody, fruity, and slightly sweet. Just as is it is pretty good.
For fun I added a little Splenda. This civilizes the savage bite, if you are in to that. I will admit it gave the malt and other notes a little more room to display what they had to offer.
Next, I did something for science I never try. I added a splash of milk. Brilliant! While it destroys the beautiful color, it totally surprised me otherwise. To me, milk normally muddies up the cup making all the notes indistinguishable from one another. Here, while it added nothing really new, it did marry all the flavors together while they remained separate notes. I don’t know if that even makes sense. What I know is at this point the cup became empty very fast.
Final analysis – I really enjoyed this and look forward to drinking more of it. In fact, I am going to try it iced in a few moments.