141 Tasting Notes
I bought this tisane for my wife but I thought I’d do some quality control before I gave it to her.
As the name indicates, this is full of the best the islands have to offer- ripe, juicy tropical fruits and fragrant, exotic blossoms.
I can’t sufficiently describe the appearance of this so I have to let a picture be my 1000 words. This is simply a work of art. http://twitpic.com/29b5mc
The fragrance is incredible. You’re first hit with lemon and banana then the rest of the tropicals (pineapple and papaya) work their way up. At the bottom, you can just make out the hibiscus, chamomile and rose. Towards the end of the cup, I thought of bubble gum.
Initially, the lemongrass seemed to overpower everything else in flavor. Let the cup cool a bit before you dive in (and you may literally want to dive into this cup) and all the fruit flavors start to mingle together. You’ll picture yourself in one of the small Hawaiian roadside markets sampling the produce while surrounded by native blossoms.
This is another winner from Souvia. I know my wife is going to love this- almost as much as she loves the massage by the same name.
You definitely get your money’s worth out of this tea as it holds up to multiple infusions.
In the tin, the tea has a strong melon (honeydew and cantaloupe) fragrance. The leaves are tightly rolled and are gravel-like in appearance and they have a very bright green color.
After the first infusion, the tea had not completely unfurled. In taste and smell, the fruit characteristics of the tea hold up. There was, however, a very slight astringency, almost like vinegar, in the first few sips. This diminished over time. The tea leaves a lingering sweetness like a light, floral honey.
On the second pass, the tea had completely unfurled. This resulted in leavings of mainly partial leaves and approximately 25-30% stem material. It’s possible that this was the cause of the very subtle initial bitter spike.
As the number of infusions increased, the fruit profile began to wane. You do reach a point where that bitterness returns and the cups are no longer enjoyable. This was somewhere between the fifth and sixth for me.
I’m in another Russian Lit phase. (I’m currently reading Turgenev.) In keeping with the theme, I wanted to pick up a really good Russian Caravan. Usually I drink Lapsang with my Russian tomes (War and Peace required over 100 grams) but I don’t need to feel like I’m in front of a campfire when it’s 110 degrees outside.
Russian Caravan should be a mix of Oolong, Keemun and Lapsang Souchong. When I first opened this bag, it was so smoke laden that I thought they had mispackaged their Lapsang into this bag. Once brewed, however, it mellowed and the plumy and vegetative qualities took precedence and there was just a faint smoke finish to the tea. There was also a lingering sweet aftertaste.
This is by far the best RC I’ve had. It was balanced, flavorful and had no bitterness. The tannins were virtually nonexistent. If Lapsang is a bit too strong for you and Keemun is too simple, this might be a good compromise.
I have to admit that I only had a small sample of this tea, but it was so good I wanted to make sure I at least recorded my initial impression.
Pear is one of those delicate flavors that’s really difficult to get into a tea without resorting to artificial flavors. This green tea does an excellent job of highlighting the flavor.
The tea itself is (for lack of a more masculine way to describe it) pretty. It’s a vibrant green with flecks of yellow and gold and contains small nuggets that look like gemstones. These are the candied pear bits.
Prepared, this is a smooth green but maintains some of its pleasant grassiness. You can taste the pear and it’s a clean, crisp version. It’s not artificial or overly pronounced.
When I first read the description of this tisane, I thought ICED!
I went to Souvia and the two very friendly and helpful ladies working there were patient enough to brew up a batch and ice it down for me to try before I purchased a bag. It was everything I expected and more.
This tisane was visually appealing. It was vibrant, full of color and had readily recognizable ingredients. The fragrance is of a chai with faint hints of lemon and an underlying mellowness most likely from the apple and chicory.
This is such a complex mixture that it will probably taste a little different every time I make a cup. In the iced preparation, the spices pop to the top and are really refreshing. The apple and chamomile cool down and take the edge off the “hotter” components. The cardamom provides a bit of mouth-tingle and makes you feel clean and fresh. The tea finishes off on subtle notes of lemongrass and berry.
What is truly remarkable is that if you concentrate, you can mentally pick this apart into the most subtle notes of black pepper and even the rose hip. This blend obviously had a lot of time put into its design and it shows the craftsmanship behind its maker.
I’m looking forward visiting Souvia regularly!
I’m a sucker for a great name and cool packaging. While not a huge fan of bagged tea, this one hooked me with both.
Opening the tin, you find that the tea is packaged in bleached, round wafer style tea bags. The fragrance is a dusty chocolate with a very faint note of mushroom.
From the name and description, this green tea should have some indications of a chocolate-cherry flavor component. After steeping for 4 minutes as recommended, you’re left with a straw colored liquid with very little character. In fragrance, you can barely sense some cocoa but the flavor is merely that of a very light, mild green. Once the cup cooled, the chocolate presented itself, but very faintly. Goji completely missed its curtain call.
I’m a marketing manager’s dream in that I’ll drop $10 on a tin of tea because of the packaging. However, I’m also their nightmare because I’m vocal when I don’t like something. This tea was the epitome of all that fails in a bagged tea.
It’s a bit unusual that this tisane is offered by a cosmetics company, but I suppose it fits with the tranquil spa aura their products are intended to evoke.
This is packaged in a large brown glass pharmaceutical looking bottle. Upon opening, you find what appears to be the leavings from a wood shop floor or possibly the material you use at the bottom of a hamster’s cage. It’s very woody and you need to mix the top few inches fairly well to bring up the finer herbs that have settled.
When I prepared this, I used twice the recommended amount because I wanted to be REALLY comforted. The infusion smelled strongly of peppermint overlaying wood and dirt.
All the snarky adjectives aside, this is actually a really good tisane! I was surprised by the intense natural sweetness which is enhanced by the licorice. If you typically sweeten herbals, try this straight up first. There’s a pleasant cooling effect from the mint and the overall combination of herbs truly is calming.
This infusion proves that looks can be deceiving. I really enjoyed this and will keep the big medicinal looking bottle around. (Hidden in the pantry, but it will be used.)
One important note, you MUST like licorice if you’re going to drink this as it’s very “up front.”
This is a staple in my tea bar. The tin contains curled black and yellow tea leaves. They’re not quite pearls but more like tiny nuggets. (Snails per the merchant) The fragrance they impart is what I would describe as “aqueous”- like clean, fresh water.
When brewed, the leaves unfurl to partial and full leaves and produce a bourbon* colored tea.
This is one of the smoothest, most mild black teas I’ve tasted. It’s mildly vegetative with no bitterness and is quite sweet for an unflavored black tea.
*Steep responsibly and remember- friends don’t let friends drink bad tea.
It being so hot here in the desert, I drink a lot of iced tea. It breaks up the monotony of just water and it’s an excuse to drink more tea!
This is one of my favorites for iced tea. It’s uncomplicated, consistent and very smooth.
The vanilla in this tea holds up very well in both fragrance and taste. There’s just enough to round off any lingering bitterness that may have snuck into the green tea through imperfect brewing. If the glass gets watered down a bit, the tea flavor dissipates and you’re left with something that resembles a watery cream soda. However, a glass rarely lasts long enough to reach this point.
An important iced prep note- make it stronger by using more tea leaves. Keep the steep time short and water temperature low.
I just opened my bag of this tea and I’m already on my second cup. There’s all sorts of interesting alchemy happening in there.
Opening the bag, you’re first hit with smoke and cinnamon. The smokiness quickly dissipates and you have a pleasantly scented cinnamon tea. Keeping my nose in the bag, I next picked up on the raisin and, I have no idea how they do it, there is a very subtle note of toast! There’s something else too. There’s a slight heaviness, for lack of something more descriptive, that my brain translated to “butter.” If I was unaware of the tea’s name, however, I’d never make this connection in a million years. Visually, this is a really appealing tea.
In the prepared tea, the cinnamon wins out on each sip but it’s not overpowering. You get an occasional tart fruitiness from the raisin and everything else just hangs out in the backgroud to support the main characters.
I tried adding a touch of sweetener on the second steep to see if I could bring out more of the raisin. I used agave and its maltiness actually enhanced the toast flavor and brightened the fruit as well. The second cup is as far as I would push this tea. There are too many subtle flavors that would be washed out after this point.
To strain a metaphor, there was “magic” in this cup. It’s a really odd combination but it simply works.