1696 Tasting Notes
A few days ago I bought a dorm refrigerator for my den. So now I have ice cubes and iced tea easily in reach while I type. I prepared some iced black tea the other day that I poured into a clear glass 1/2 gallon container. I was blown away by the beautiful red ruby color. Somehow pouring into a white mug does not give the same effect.
As a result of the iced tea incident I found a clear glass mug (Walmart – $2) for hot tea. This is the first mug of tea in the clear glass. The liquor is a gorgeous light honey color. Along with that light jasmine flavor and the subtle notes of the white tea I am in Heaven.
I almost always use a clear glass press to steep the leaf so I can watch the dance and observe the color, but the mug adds so much to my sensory experience and pleasure. This cup is flawlessly clear.
This leaf is nearly a year old and it is still just exquisite!
No rating. It looks like this must be around three years old. So I think it has just lost its zing. When I steeped it and put it in the glass container it was the most beautiful ruby red. The sip was definitely mango but lightly so. It was cold and refreshing but nothing memorable. By the reviews, it was very good back in the day.
I’ll be posting a full review on my blog in the next week but I can’t wait to talk about this one. It totally surprised me. Here is a snippet:
This cup is perhaps the heaviest smoked Lapsang Souchong I have tasted but it is not ashes. This is fully developed sweet pine smoke. It actually tastes like pine to me. It is sweet without the bacon or pork BBQ notes. While it is heavy it has layers of taste as you sip.
Count me a fan!
From Empire Tea Services, I have tried Earl Green, Earl White, De La Creme, and a couple with bergamot as a light touch ingredient. Somehow, I missed a straight black tea Earl Grey.
This like all their versions of Earl Grey is not for the faint hearted bergamot haters. There is absolutely no question what the main ingredient is here. The orange peel turns the flavor slightly away from ‘normal’ but not in a way that would annoy EG lovers. I hate getting an EG that has a bunch of other junk in the mix or so little bergamot I have to check the label. Call it something else if you are going to do that to your tea.
With this one the first cup is Bergamot/Orange with the Ceylon only revealing itself late in the sip as the cup cools. Intense.
The second cup is less intense. It adds a peppery note. The base is more present. Pleasant.
The third cup is lighter and reminds me of Twinings. Halfway through the cup I iced it and it made for a refreshing ending. It might have gone a fourth cup but I didn’t try.
I have learned that ETS blends tend to be very potent when you first open them. Sometimes I mix them with a straight tea for a while other times if you just let them age they will calm down. Today I did neither.
How did they do it? How do you get this much flavor from such tiny tiny pieces of leaf? This starts lightly sweet, then passes through green and leafy, on through fruity and wine, down into toasty before ending in a nice touch of bite. It is very smooth – even the bite at the end is not harsh. Just a very nice cup.
This was labeled as Taureau on the sample. My first review was eaten, amazingly not by Steepster this time but my crappy internet connection. Sigh. Short version: To my fellow Steepsterites who weren’t sure they wanted to try this one because it’s rooibos – you really need to reconsider. First sip reminded me of a light cup of wild strawberry. Not tart. Instead it is kind of mildly green. At this point I added sweetener – OH WOW! I don’t care if you normally don’t you need to sweeten this! Totally amazing. The cup explodes with strawberries and cream. I do get a woodsy touch of rooibos in the aftertaste but it blends so well even rooibos haters probably won’t mind. This is a caffeine free tisane I would actually look forward to sipping.
I have a stack of samples needing opened for review on the blog. This morning I just haven’t cared. This one was easy to grab and I don’t have to think. Hoping it motivates me.
This tea is like meatloaf and mashed potatoes. It isn’t fancy or the best but to me it will always comfort and satisfy. Speaking of meatloaf – my wife makes it with oats instead of bread crumbs, and chili sauce instead of ketchup. It’s awesome. Last Sunday we had a pitch in dinner at church. One of the ladies made her meatloaf with BBQ sauce. It was also pretty awesome. I think I have an idea for supper… Man Fuel!
I hope to have a full review on my blog maybe tomorrow but couldn’t wait to mention this one. Tea Temptations appears to be the retail name that Empire Tea Services is now using. Maybe they always did and I didn’t realize it. ETS is focused mainly on wholesale, or at least that is what I think. This is the only tea business within a 100 miles of my home. Fortunately it is a really good one.
This, by my standards, is not Earl Grey but then they don’t call it that. The bergamot is light and adds only a light citrus breath towards the end of the sip. This is primarily a LS blended with Ceylon. The combination produces a sweet, moderately smoky but totally smooth, cup of rolling flavor. I don’t know how else to describe it. Maybe it is the addition of safflower and thistle but this keeps your senses guessing.
A nice change of pace for smoky tea lovers.