616 Tasting Notes
So, admittedly the only times I’ve ever had elderberry anything was in liquor. (Sambuca and St. Germain) so my experience here is hugely limited.
But that doesn’t matter, because this tea is pretty stunning anyway!
The dry leaf smells really tart and citrusy, and once steeped it retains that citrus but there’s also a little bit of sweet berry depth.
This tea tastes like it would be amazing iced. And I will absolutely be getting on that. But it’s also pretty good hot. There’s a tart nectarine flavor initially then a sweetly tart berry flavor hits that reminds me a little bit of blackberries and lemon zest. It’s really refreshing and a perfect summer tea! Yumyum.
I’m cold steeping some Jasmine Pearls for milk tea tomorrow. Fiance was super excited, and wondering if just maybe we could have it tonight. I’ll finish converting him yet!
I know I’m close because I got him one of those refillable Keurig cups last week as they have a Keurig maker thing at his office. The first thing he tested in it was the tea he has at work. I’m so close. :D
But onto the actual tea!
I did four steepings in total, 8 ounces each, using 1.5 tsp of leaf in a standard gravity steeper.
3 min, 3 min 30 sec, 4 min, 5 min
Initially it looks like a pretty standard lightly oxodized Taiwanese oolong. Then it has the familiar flavors of sweet cream and floral, but also has a little apricot-like lift at the end of each sip. The finish is sweet and lingers, which lends itself well to the next sip and it seems to build over the cup. The osmanthus strictly complements the oolong with neither overpowering the other.
By the later steepings (4 specifically), there’s some serious atringency going on here., though.
The osmanthus makes this a really pretty tea. Once the leaves are unfurled, the tiny, delicate white petals on the dark green leaves is really stunning. I could absolutely see myself serving this to company in a glass pot.
Honestly? This tea isn’t great. The leaves are really smashy and there’s stems in the mix. When brewed, the base is forgettable and mediocre. And the flavoring is kind of artificial. But what this tea has, and why I keep drinking it, is a huge nostalgia trigger.
My grandparents on my dad’s side were first generation Italian immigrants (Sicilian) and while my nonna broke every stereotype about good Italian cooks, she could bake up a storm. So, every other Christmas, we’d head over there and we’d have a horrible dinner but it was completely worth it for the dessert. And we’d have cannoli with pistachios and stuffed fig cookies and the ones this tea reminds me of, Pasticcini di pasta di mandorle or cookies made from almond paste. She’d do half of them traditionally with maraschino cherries or dried citrus but the other half she’d partially dip in dark chocolate and coconut rasps and ohmygodweretheygood.
Both are passed now and the cookie recipes were stolen by one of my relatives (we know who you are), so we don’t get these awesome cookies anymore. And I haven’t been able to duplicate this particular one. So, yeah. Nostalgia tea.
I got this as a sample with my Shincha, and was pleasantly surprised with it! It’s not a super lively green tea (think fireplaces and snowflakes), but it has a fair amount of natural sweetness and a nice hay-like flavor. I’m actually curious about cold water and allergy easing potential here. Probably enough to snag some on my next order.
Excuse me while I rummage out my personal tea tartness scale. This tea smells like fruity juiciness and hibiscus so I fear I might need it.
10 — MY FACE IS IMPLODING FROM TERMINAL TARTNESS
9-5 — almost undrinkable, sugar needed stat!
4 — I guess this is okay, but sugar would make it better
3 — Now we’re getting somewhere
2 — Just a little bite
1 — Wait. Tart?
There it is!
This tea before adding anything, falls at about a 4.5. It was drinkable to me without my mouth feeling like it was getting sucked into itself from my expression alone, but it was definitely on the tarter side of drinkable. I also couldn’t get much past the taste of the hibiscus to get anything else. Hibby and I don’t work great as a pair.
A spoonful of sugar helped the medi—-er tea go down much smoother. After that I taste a pineapple forefront with sweet mango accents ending on an almost floral tart note (but only about a 2-3). It has a nice juicy quality overall and the sugar really amps the natural sweetness.
I’d guess this would be fantastic cold-steeped with sugar (or agave) and just might have to try that.
Thanks BrewTEALly Sweet. I may yet grow to like tart blends.
Oh man, I think these leaves need a proof they smell so much like Brandy. Oof!
That being said, I think I like this one more than the Della Terra version.
The raspberry flavor here is far more natural tasting; less candy, more fruit. The chocolate isn’t so much milk chocolate either as it is a bittersweet flavor note that is reminiscent of dark chocolate. The actually tea flavor is a little muddled, but seems to pair well with the dark chocolate type flavors.
I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the liquor flavor wasn’t quite as aggressive once the tea was steeped. Instead it was a really nice note that blended well with the raspberry/chocolate and really pushed it to gourmet truffle level for me.
This is a sample sipdown, and I’m kind of sad to see it go!
If this were a Chardonnay, I would probably review it like:
“Fragrant, delicate, hint of spice. Touch of melon and citrus. Pure and fresh and delicate. Creamy and pleasantly warming on the palate. ‘Happy wine’. Very aromatic for Chardonnay. So supple”
but it’s not, so I’ll review it like:
“Fragrant, delicate, hint of spice. Touch of melon and citrus. Pure and fresh and delicate. Creamy and pleasantly warming on the palate. ‘Happy tea’. Very aromatic for a wine inspired tea. So supple”
And thank you so much QueenOfTarts! This is really an outstanding tea.
So, last night I found all these bagged tea in my cupboards.
It’s old. Not like. Expired old. But ‘Huh, where did you come from?’ old. Which means it’s probably creeping up there, because I don’t think I’ve seen it since Fiance and I moved in together two years ago. So, I knew this was gonna be a treat.
I cold steeped this, so if it was terrible, at least it wouldn’t be crazy bitter terrible.
The good news is that the Jasmine aspect of this doesn’t taste like soap, which I was worried about. It does however taste like some nondescript floral I can’t place and am not sure I like. I can just barely taste the orange over it, but what’s there isn’t terribly natural tasting. And the tea is mediocre (expected).
And somehow it’s still better than some looseleaf blends I’ve had.