New Tasting Notes
Vahdam Advent Calendar – Day 5
Ooh, an Earl! Definitely an unexpected choice (at least, for me) for this calendar. I was excited by the name, but looking at the ingredients, this appears to be a plain Earl with just black tea and bergamot. Not that I won’t enjoy it, but I assumed the mention of citrus meant orange or lemon or something. Oh well!
It’s a tasty Earl Grey. The bergamot is strong but not over-the-top, and has a lovely citrus-floral flavor. I also taste a bit of something evergreen-like here, though that could be flavor contamination again from one of the spiced teas. A hint of clove or cardamom maybe?
I will say, I wish I was getting more from the base tea. There’s a bit of malt I suppose, but otherwise not much going on. I wonder if I should use more leaf, or perhaps steep for an additional minute… Next time!
Overall, it’s fine but a bit boring for me. I tend to prefer my Earl with additional citrus or other flavors added in. This one needs a bit more from the base to keep it from tasting like bergamot water.
(today’s advent teas: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIbA7q0g6Fu/)
Flavors: Bergamot, Cardamom, Citrus, Clove, Floral, Malt, Pine, Smooth
Advent Day 5
Green tea sounded good, then I poured the tea into my steeping basket to find it is a mate. Aw. Mates aren’t often my thing. They end up tasting like ash to me, which is always a disappointment. Fortunately this has enough mint to mask the ash! I sipped through most of this cup when eating breakfast. Mint is the main flavor, but the finish has a slight licorice sweetness and feel to it. It’s subtle. Another acceptable tea that I wouldn’t rush out to buy.
So… I am reliably (I hope) informed that this is held as a ‘standard example’ for daily drinker shou (or shu?) devotees. I also hear that you’re meant to break these cakes up and let them sit for a few weeks to bring out the character. Which… I haven’t done.
So, I have some in a jar (I bought a stack of 5), but here are my first impressions:
It was also recommended to brew this ‘strong’ so I did a 1:10 ratio (9g in a 90ml pot).
First infusions start out thick, smooth and creamy. The flavour isn’t what I’d describe as strong (coming from sheng) . Very little bitterness. Very ‘approachable’.
High viscosity in the mouth. It’s still a bit flat on flavour. Later infusions (from steep 4 onward) are still buttery on the tongue and have mild bitter cocoa in addition to the milky mouthfeel. Wet leaves smell mildly of malt or dried apricot.
The smell on the bottom of the cup has brown sugar, but it isn’t really present in the taste.
This is quite savoury. I don’t detect any sweetness or woody / earthy flavours. Just a pleasant ‘wholemeal’ bread and subtle minerality. It’s a rich mellow ‘tea’ taste reminiscent of a savoury malted bun.
Weirdly after a few steeps one flavour that comes to mind is the pulpy inside of a banana peel. That very slight bitterness.
I’ll let the other tuo chill and breathe in the jar and we’ll try again in a few weeks. Not bad so far.
I can see why people could use this as a coffee replacement in the mornings. It is somewhat reminiscent of an Americano (espresso and hot water) if a little smoother.
People who like a nice milky English Breakfast tea might also enjoy it, to be honest, it tastes like it might be nice with milk/sugar (blasphemy I know).
As someone who’s used to drinking sheng, this is completely different stuff. Less complex and in a way less interesting, but nice in its own way.
3-star tea for now.
I’d recommend it and it’s cheap enough (right now) to say it’s worth a try. I can understand why people enjoy it. I’ll update if there are any big changes with the jarred broken tuo.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Toast, Butter, Cocoa, Creamy
CuppaGeek Advent Calendar – Day 5
I made this earlier and then got stuck acting as a human gate responsible for keeping the dog in the house while my sister stood in the doorway socializing. So I made it but only got a chance to drink it cold.
It’s good. Vanilla and peppermint are clearly the stars. And while they are nice in flavour, something is creating an oily mouthfeel that I could do without.
“What are you brewing that late (8 pm)?” my dad asked me.
“A black tea.” I have answered
“A black, you don’t plan going to bed?”
“It’s decaffeined. I don’t know, nor want to know how it’s made. They write they used ethyl acetate.”
“Oh… chemical. I wouldn’t drink that.”
“I will give it a try.”
It steeps super fast. I used boiling water and after two minutes it seems being brewed completely. It’s OP? Nah, it’s fannings. Just a dust. One of the smallest particles in. Not really looking forward.
Brew is copper. Pretty much common descriptor of blacks. But that smell. Blergh. Super tannic and somehow chemical as well. Burnt notes as well. Like the tea “leaves” were put in fire and took away. Not smoky!
The taste is very tannic (oh, how far-sighted doing short steep!) and pretty much bland. Pretty much expected. There isn’t autumn leaf pile note :D
Overall; glad to have another tea bag in collection. Tea is okay considering caffeine-free, but I will rather drink some fruit/rooibos blends than DECAF tea.
Flavors: Tannic, Tea
Thank you, Brenden!
This is becoming a new favorite. I’ve done this western and Gong Fu. I have a slight preference gong fu so that I can enjoy it slower flavor by flavor, but it smoothens out well with longer steeps. I was surprised how small the leaves are, though it’s like looking at hairs from black sheeps golden fleece. In essence, pretty.
It does bear similarities to the original blend in all Brenden’s favorite profiles of cocoa, chocolate, cherry, un-added vanilla, CARAMEL, but this higher grade of leaves does make the blend more refined. The original had some rougher edges with occasional, but highly desirable astringency, bitterness and dryness. The Imperial blend has rye dryness, but not astringency or bitterness. Instead, it’s got malt done right-there where times where I had to remind myself that this was not Scotch. I personally got some present barley notes with butter, stonefruit and caramel. The fruitiness is very faint, but again, likes a scotch, serves as an accent.
I am glad I decided to get two oz since I am almost done with the first. It’s a perfect breakfast tea for when I don’t want to wake up. I like it as a soft lunch-rejolt, but it’s so great looking out at a cold, auburn and grey Michigan morning.
Flavors: Butter, Butterscotch, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Cocoa, Malt, Roasted Barley, Rye, Scotch, Smooth, Stonefruit, Sweet, Vanilla
I’m so far on the backlog….
Since I’ve been teaching so much on the computer, I’ve been trying to take breaks from technology. Now that I have a moment of respite, I wanted to get back some reviews of some of the teas I’ve hoarded from whiteantlers.
There’s one black tea that I’ve deeply enjoyed, but don’t know quite what it is. It’s only got Mandarin on the package, but if I were to guess, I think it’s either a Tongmu/Wuyi or Tie Guan Yin type black since the leaves are smoothened out with few to little gold tips and a longhan aroma, or it could be Taiwanese because it’s sickeningly sweet and fruity. I have had fruity Chinese and Fujians for sure, but they are usually limited to apricot, citrus, berry and cherry for blacks while the flavor is usually more savory. Taiwanese blacks in my experience are thicker and fruitier, especially leaning into more tropical and stonefruits.
Going into this tea, it’s a sugar bomb-I’ve questioned whether or not it’s been roasted with sugarcane because it’s that immense. Lychee, Longhan, Chocolate, Cherries, Brown Sugar, and Light Malt is what I get, but then it dies off after steep three western, and five if I really take the time to gong fu it. There were times were I’ve wondered if the tea has raised my bloodsugar because of how sweet it is.
I don’t know how else to describe it in terms of notes, but it’s one of those teas that I want to drink all the time, but I get overpowered by cloy if I do. I LOVE it, because it does have some depth and layers underneath all the sugariness, but it pack a punch. Whiteantlers, you might be able to define it?
Anyway, it’s one of the teas that I’ve drank the most so far. I’ve been occasionally trying my new teas if its a sample, but I’ve mostly drank Hugo’s Jasmine Green, What-Cha’s Li-Shan Black, Hugo’s Earl Grey, What-Cha’s Amber Gaba Oolong (SO SMOOTH), Unytea’s Jasmine Black, and Whispering Pines’s Imperial North Winds…which I’ll add today for notes. The rest I’ve already added from what I’ve listed-go check them out!
Selfish side note-Heavily missing my lack of Alice…
Smoothie Sipdown (233)
For the first time in a long time we had a breakfast smoothie. My plan was to add today’s advent smoothie into it but that wasn’t really an option. So instead I tossed the last of the peach matcha from yesterday into my strawberry banana smoothie. It was good but the peach flavor was lost a fair bit among the other fruit flavors.
David’s Tea Advent Day 1. I knew with three advents I was going to get behind quickly!
I genuinely didn’t know this was a green tea until I read the profile. I think there’s just too much going on here in addition to the tea. With one perfect spoon in 8 oz, it makes a rather weak brew that still somehow manages to be extremely sweet. I definitely get the white chocolate/custard vibe up front, with just the barest hint of spice that I can’t quite discern. This was fun to taste and I wouldn’t turn down a cup, but it’s not for me.
Flavors: Custard, White Chocolate
New tea! A can’t resist a flavored hojicha, especially not a seasonal one. This does not disappoint. The hojicha is rich and caramelly, and the cloves/cinnamon/cardamom are present but not overwhelming. There’s perhaps a bit of a chocolatey note, but nothing distracting or artificial tasting. So cozy!
Bird & Blend Advent Day 5 (5-December 2020)
Hazelnut rocher! I opened our sachets and picked out all the glittery pieces and then steeped this loose leaf. There is a very subtle chocolate smoothness here with all marzipan at the end of the sip. Shockingly, I’m actually enjoying this. Shockingly, because I usually cannot stand marzipan XD. The scent is very marzipan-y too. It all just mellows together to be a delightful cuppa.
I seem to be behind on my advent, my excuse is that I was traveling this week. This is strawberry with a slight edge. If it had a salty taste I’d say it was a margarita, but this is sweet like a a strawberry pop tart. Festive for this time of year, I could see this in the punch bowl at an office Christmas party. If I still worked in an office, or we could still have Christmas parties.
This is from a Tea Club earlier this year, but I don’t remember which month. I was immediately struck with how thick and floral the first infusions were; heady magnolia, elderflower, peony and lilacs but mixed with sweet, dewy sugar snap peas and vegetal edamame. Almost a bit too perfumed; like being slapped in the face with a bouquet of lush Spring flowers. It settled, and the later half of the session felt very calm and serene – much more enjoyable. Ultimately, I feel undecided on whether I enjoyed this white tea as a whole…
Plum Deluxe Advent Day 4
Ended up drinking this late last night, to get me through the last bit of a later shift. It’s exactly what it says it is- black tea with a hint of lemon. Definitely not something that I would purchase, but a pleasant cup nonetheless. The black tea is smooth and lacks any bitterness. While the lemon is mild, it tastes authentic and not like a lemon candy, which I appreciate.
Belated #matchamonday post…
I meant to try this one all fall, and then I realized this morning that tomorrow was December 1st and we’re officially moving into advent season!! It’s absolutely incredible how this year has simultaneously felt so long and so fast! The matcha is pretty nice; similar to the Chocolate Matcha I’ve tried from Adagio it froths up incredibly well and has a smooth as silk mouthfeel, though I think the flavour could be stronger. I’m getting a lot of warming, cozy cinnamon but not nearly as much apple. I have another Cinnamon Apple matcha from UKIYO Matcha, and I think that one is much nicer.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUiG-uqR6I&abchannel=ANTI-Records
The other new one from this past week!
As y’all know, I don’t really like to talk about Wellness Teas for the thing that “makes them a Wellness tea” because I am, definitely, a flavour first kind of tea drinker – so that’s how I’m approaching this tea…
It’s basically meant to be a new take on the old Hangover Helper blend. For the record, I do like Hangover Helper – though I think I may be in the minority in having that opinion. The two teas really don’t taste like each other at all, and they’re not intended to. I see how there could be confusion about that given the names, though…
So, what does this tea taste like!? Actually, it tastes (to me, anyway) like what I always want Goji Pop to taste like! I’ve you’ve seen any of my Goji Pop tasting notes you probably know that one of my biggest frustrations with that tea is that is smells so good but just doesn’t taste the same way – to me, at least. This tastes like the sweet red fruit, berry, and bright lemon notes that I feel like I get from the Goji Pop dry leaf aroma scent. It’s a touch herbal, but mostly it’s just a nice medley of mildly sweet, bright fruits. Not really any frills here; just simple and straight forward. I like it a lot hot because it’s not like a “level 10” flavour blast of fruit, but it’s smooth and flavourful all the same.
I don’t really drink anymore, so I certainly don’t have the need for a Hangover blend but I do think there’s a place for this in my cupboard all the same. Plus, I’m excited to see another mate! That category needs more love.
Friendly reminder that I do not numerically rate DAVIDsTEA blends as I’m currently employed there and it would be an obvious conflict of interest. Any blends you see with numerical ratings were rated prior to my employment there. These reviews are a reflection of my personal thoughts and feelings regarding the teas, and not the company’s.