Featured & New Tasting Notes
It appears I’m the first to taste this, and sadly, it appears I may be the last.
I went to look for this tea on The American Tea Room site, and I can no longer find “Berry Noir” available for purchase. There are other berry teas available from ATR now, but not a single-flavor blackberry.
Which is a shame, because the first thing I noticed when I opened the sample packet was the big honking dried blackberries among the tea leaves and a singularly amazing blackberry smell.
Alas, the poor blackberry. It seems to get short shrift in the berry world, taking a second seat to its more popular cousins, the blueberry, the raspberry and the strawberry. I will admit to putting it in my grocery basket as an afterthought when I’ve been berry shopping. And yet, I’m always very happy when I eat a really juicy blackberry. Though I can’t conjure the taste of blackberry in my mind in the same way I can with its little friends. Perhaps that explains the fate of this tea.
Would that it were not so. The tea’s steeped aroma is a deep, luscious blackberry peacefully co-existing with a mild tea base that I suspect is Ceylon. The liquor, in any case, is very similar in color to the other single fruit blends I’ve tried from ATR.
The taste is remarkable. Really, truly, like having a mouthful of sweet berries with each sip. And since they’re not blue, rasp, straw, or any lesser known berries I’ve tasted, I’m comfortable with the idea that they’re blackberries.
This would definitely go on the shopping list if only it still existed.
I’ve been drinking tea for a long time, & I’ve always had a tea cupboard. The teas I collected have changed & increased over the years, but I have to confess that this is the first tea I ever hoarded! From my very first sip, I knew without a doubt that I never want to run out of this one. I know that absence makes the heart grow fonder. That’s one of the reasons I don’t drink the same tea every day. But if I can help it, I’ll always have this sitting I my cupboard, & in my backup stash (along with a few others that I obsess about), & in the backup to the backup stash. So now you know.
If ever a tea famine hits us (god forbid), you’ll find me in my bedroom on the third floor, guarding my tea stash like it’s my life, electric kettle full of hot water, cup in hand, sipping & muttering, “my precious…”
I think there should be a law against making people work at 7AM on a Sunday morning (or any morning for that matter).
I don’t think I should be drinking good samples that yyz generously sent me. Really this morning all I’m doing is pouring in caffeine, not really taking the time to enjoy the tea.
What I do know, is that this is going down nice and easy (working on cup 4 right now) – maybe a bit too “bright” for my tastes, but nice and smooth. All in all a nice cup that is fulfilling my caffeine needs this morning.
More lavender experiments
1 TSP lavender
Few slices of ginger
Cinnamon (@1.5 inches crushed)
1/8th TSP licorice shredded licorice root.
@ 16Oz mug
Cinnamon and lavender dominate scent.
The flavour is a little thin for the amount of water I used. Next time I might add more ginger and slightly increase the cinnamon and lavender. The licorice root is perfect. However, the flavour does intensify while you drink it.
Warm slightly spicy tea, with a touch of sweetness, and a bit of brightness from the ginger and lavender. Not overly floral, the lavender and cinnamon kind of blend into each other, with the lavender only slightly dominant.
This week has been pretty busy for us. We just got back from vacation mid week which was really a work vacation and will start prepping for another office closure as we will probably be taking off for another 2 weeks in about two weeks but this time for a real vacation. Also, we received in a ton of tea, including many new teas. We are also changing up a few teas. Here is a sneak peek of just a few of the many changes:
Adding: Hattialli Golden Paw (very similar to our Hattialli Golden Lion)
Changing: Irish Cream Cheesecake. Based on the reviews, we are thinking the base is just wrong for the flavoring. We used our everyday Sourenee, which is very good but also very fickle. It can be pretty challenging to get that tea to its sweet spot and it can turn astringent if the water cools too much.
Changing: Sourenee. We are exchanging the current everyday Sourenee for a very high quality limited edition Sourenee.
Adding: Hello Sweetie. It’s coming soon but first we will be doing a promotion with it.
Changing: Da Yu Ling. We moved too slowly on the Da Yu Ling for the winter harvest but the Fu Shou Shan is a fantastic replacement!
Adding: A baked Ali Shan.
Mi Xian: Just a little warning. We are low on Mi Xian right now and will not be able to get more when we run out as it is scarce at the moment.
These are just a few additions and changes. There are many more to come and many more flavors in the works, including the Custom Blend Contest tea which is getting close to finishing the recipe. We will also be removing a few flavors and teas that just aren’t up to the standards of the rest of the teas. I would love to hear any suggestions from anyone who believes there is a tea that should be removed from our collection.
On to the tea! This harvest has a slightly deeper dark chocolate note. There really isn’t much difference from this harvest and the last harvest but the chocolate is stronger and the malt is slightly stronger. There are less stems, which is fantastic! The upgrade version on the other hand has some cherry notes that were not detectable in the previous version.
Another one I keep meaning to write a note about but the jug is gone before I bother. Bayswater makes really good fruit blends for cold brewing, and this is no exception. It may not be my favourite of theirs, but it’s refreshing, easy to drink, and not too tart from the hibiscus.
I get mostly berries with some hibiscus, and then something vaguely tropical fruity. While I wouldn’t be able to guess that it’s pineapple and papaya, they give this blend a tropical punch vibe.
Backlog from last night.
I’ve been waiting to dig into my sample of this since getting it, but I didn’t want to have all my matchas samples open because I thought that would probably A) be bad for the matcha and B) be a little overwhelming. However, I’m done to about 2 cups worth of Pineapple Matcha and maybe 3 worth of Eggnog Matcha now, plus I was having an awful day yesterday so I decided it was finally time to try this one out. I love caramel and that is definitely what I was in the mood for – plus, Tre had made brownies to make me feel better and I thought cold, caramel milk would be something that would go fantastically with that.
I guess that you’re supposed to use 1 tbsp. of MATCHAccino for a cup as opposed to the about 1/2 tsp. one would normally use with regular matcha. To me, that seemed like a lot so I just went with 2 tsp. to kind of compromise.
Sweet baby Jesus, it was yummy! It was very, very smooth and like drinking liquid gold! I never want to be without this ever again! For a caramel lover, I was just in absolute heaven. That said – despite being super delicious it was a little weak, but that’s probably completely from my being stubborn and under leafing – so next time I’ll go with the proper instructions and measurements.
Another sample in my swap from TerriHarpLady :)
I love “pearl” teas. I love watching the agony of the tea, as it writhes and unfurls in the hot water.
This one is super malty, so obviously I am going to love it. It is bold and creamy. No astringency but there is a bit of a creamy aftertaste. I am also getting hints of a metallic earthiness, or something like that. There is a natural sweetness to the tea, and I almost think I get of a hint of spice, maybe like clove or something, but not sure. I used 4 pearls for this steep but I think I would like to use more next time.
Why there you are, you delicious dark chocolate indulgence in a cup. Where HAVE you been? Oh that’s right, i’ve been saving you, to savour every last drop of you. well today, i just wanted a taste. Just a reminder of the sweetness between us. The way your rich, dark, chocolate goodness surrounded me. You make any day incredible.
In an attempt to see if I can get my tastebuds back, I’m having more of this. Not the best tasting tea, however it’s medicinal, and I kinda enjoy that sorta thing, especially when in this weird place of fighting something when I feel dandy. Other than my sleep… that’s been off kilter for a while now.
Anyway. Eucalpytus is in here, however it’s faint. It more clears the sinuses than anything, and has little flavor. There’s a mint in here, some dandelion perhaps, fennel… a real mélange of herbs.
Large Pinch of dried lemongrass
4-5 slices fresh ginger
It smells wonderful, a bit like lemon pound cake.
It tastes quite tart. I was going to add some licorice root, but I misplaced it. I suppose I could add sugar but its drinkable as it is. The coconut and ginger create a blend of cream and warmth under the lemony note. The lemongrass is both the first and last note when drinking this tisane but the ginger lingers.
Can I just start by saying I smiled way more than I should have when I saw MissB had marked this “for VariaTEA”. I like to think that when she tries teas she thinks of me and that is why this one was specifically sent. I know that is probably not the case but let me dream :)
Anyways, as for the tea itself, I don’t get ginger or pumpkin or cheesecake. What I do get is a very pleasantly sweet honeybush with a hint of spice (perhaps very faintly akin to candied ginger?). It is pretty tasty but definitely falls short when it comes to living up to its name. That won’t stop me from enjoying my sample. So thank you MissB for sharing! I certainly would have been disappointed had I bought this (as it is not ginger pumpkin cheesecake) but trying it I am very pleased with the taste (though I don’t think I would order this as there are other honeybush blends by Frank that I prefer much more).
Montreal is freezing! As in I-got-brain-freeze-and-my-legs-went-numb-in-the-20-minutes-it-took-to-walk-home freezing. So, when I got home at 5:50 from class, I had to make the decision to turn around and be responsible and go to Body Pump or to walk in, start my weekend early, and drink copious amounts of tea. I chose the latter. I dumped the cold mug of Cinnamon Chocolate Brownie into a glass and started the kettle to brew two fresh cups.
While I waited, I remembered I haven’t had any milk today which meant MATCHA. Specifically this one which I have been thinking about all day! Cavocorax, I honestly don’t know how I can thank you for sharing this with me because it is truly amazing!!! I taste caramel more in this than I did in the plain caramel matcha. And the popcorn just adds a layer of butteriness and flavor that just makes this sooooooooo goooood. I am in love! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
Oh and a side note. My sweats are all in the laundry so I put on the next warmest thing I own…a batman onesie. Complete with cape and cowl. So that sort of elevates this a tad as well :P
Sipdown! So i have to say, I tried this a while back and liked it a lot but then forgot about it because it’s a green tea and i don’t drink those often. VariaTEA sent a sample to me, which i opened up today in an effort to get ahead with my sipdowns since now i might not have the weekend at all for tea drinking!
…We’re driving to Detroit on Friday night, Chicago on Saturday, and then all the way back to Toronto on Sunday. Because we can. lol…
I love this even more than the first time. Something about the vanilla and caramel REALLY makes me happy. it’s deliciously creamy and wonderful and now i want more. So maaaaybe i can convince my friend to trek up to Miami in February heh :) Thanks variatea!
Dry leaf aroma initially reminds me of raisins, but once brewed becomes incredibly deep and floral.
Taste is just slightly malty with a wonderful, rich floral sweetness that fully remains even on the second steep. This is so lovely, and it’s like the tea has been softly scented with red rose petals; very smooth, fragrant and sweet.
This is my first experience with puerh of any sort.
After rinsing, the aroma is reminiscent of seaweed, which unfortunately is not pleasant to me in a culinary sense, and the brewed color is surprisingly dark. Tastes also of seaweed or perhaps more of moss, with a somewhat lingering clean juiciness. Tried a second cup after more rinses (amazing how dark this is), and could not get past the earthiness of this even when not breathing in the aroma.
Interesting, and glad to have tried it, but don’t think it is for me.
Backlog: I got this as a sample a few months back when it was still a mystery tea in search of a name. It has been a few months but I remember it tasting pretty good. I recall thinking it was very reminiscient of a York Peppermint Patty. Today I saw it was released for sale as “Mint To Be”. Had I not forgot my wallet at home, I think I would have ended up heading to DAVIDs to pick some up as I recall enjoying it and would be interested to see if my impressions remain the same now that it has been a few months and a few hundred teas since I had it.
Ok, confession time! I’ve always enjoyed this tea, but it’s never been a knock me off my socks sorta tea. You know what I mean, right? But I wanted to really like it because I like Sil and ButikiTeas.
Anywyas,this has gone from a 78 to an 88. I figured out what I needed – a longer steep time. Maybe 5 minutes? I want MORE flavour and this is just great now. Lovely rhubarb, slightly tart, slightly sweet and a bit of graham in there to weigh it down. YES. FINALLY I GET IT NOW.
sipdown! mwahahah because the other half of my sample is going to go in to Terri’s box so that she can try this one as well. I have to say, these leaves are pretty darn big once they expand through brewing :) this is on the sweeter side of things, without being as distinctively sweet as some of the teas from TTC that I’ve had. it still comes across as a bit of a malty sort of tea but not to the extent of say, Tiger Assam. I am really enjoying this because it’s just a bit different than similar teas that i’ve had.
Norbu (greg) included this one for me because i was trying to find a similar tea to the one i fell in love with from Norbu that they have since stopped purchasing because of the lack of demand in the US. SHAME ON YOU US! :) While this IS a tasty tea, it doesn’t hold the same power over me as the other one. Still though, i enjoy this one a bunch.
Norbu has some excellent customer service for anyone interested, and until the end of January they’re having a 25% off sale :)