3889 Tasting Notes
So, I broke some rules at work yesterday. But, it didn’t really hurt anyone so it doesn’t count, right?
Basically – I go in to work every Saturday to work in my department because I get Tuesday’s off for classes. Normally, my department works 7:30-4:00 weekdays and then gets weekends off. I’m literally the ONLY exception to this rule, so when I come in on Saturdays I’m literally the only person in the back warehouse/production area when there’s usually 35+ of us. It’s very lonely/boring having no one to talk to for eight hours, and in the case of yesterday it was actually ten hours since I was putting in some overtime. So the rules I broke were that one I brought something other than water into the back to drink on shift (tea, obviously). And two, I was listening to music on my iPod when we’re not allowed to have them with us on shift. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, no?
Starting with the tea – I’m actually floored at how much this really did taste like peanut butter and jelly, especially since it doesn’t have peanuts in it. I can’t remember who’s review I saw – but someone said this was better cold brewed so that’s what I made it as and I have to say that any hesitation I had about the flavours not delivering was quashed. The first flavour to really hit me with each sip was the raspberry. And, I think it’s important to note that there really is a strong flavour difference between raspberry jam/jelly and fresh from the garden raspberries. It’s something about how the sweetness hits you, and the acidity/tang. This was 100% raspberry jam and not just a more generic raspberry flavour.
It transitioned really nicely with the peanut butter notes which made up more of the mid sip and the super, super nutty finish and aftertaste. This was the element I was most skeptical about because peanuts are a hard flavour to emulate; but I totally got it. I really, 100% felt like I could have been nomming on a PB&J while I was working – even though that would be FAR from advisable givent he amount of dirty/unwashed donations I handle in a day on shift. Yuck.
Now, here comes the criticism…
Does this tea nail the flavour? In my opinion, absolutely. Is it a flavour that translates well to a beverage? I’m not nearly so convinced about that. I mean, it wasn’t bad in any way but it was really, really weird and I don’t know that it’s something I’d want to drink on a really common/casual basis. I’m probably just so used to eating PB&J in that one specific format: on bread. I’ll have to see if I can break out of that preconceived notion a bit the more I drink this.
This is a ‘new to me’ band that I’m liking a lot so far – and I had my iPod filled with their music to just sort of get used to it/learn it and figure out what I do and don’t like. Stumbled upon this song which I barely knew/had only heard once while drinking this tea and was like “Damn, fucking nailed it!”. I’m sure if you take a listen it’s very obvious why these two go together. Like, in your face obvious – but obvious pairings can be good pairings.
I will say, I saw the music video for it for the first time while looking for a link to post in this tasting note though – and while the video is fitting for the song in it’s own way, it IS a weird ass fucking video though…
This is a queued tasting note.
Mostly sweet, soft and supple notes of hay/straw with a delicately fruity undertone. It’s a weird thing to say, but as I took sips of this the flavour profile was so fragile that I somehow felt like I was going to ‘break’ it. So, I drank this slowly and tenderly, so as to treat it as delicately as it deserved to be handled.
Someday, when I’ve drank this tea like ten times I want to put together a playlist of all the songs I’ve paired it with because, so far, this is my third time trying it personally and the three songs I’ve listened to while enjoying it have all been SO different style wise. And yet, each time I’ve gotten something different from the experience that has worked perfectly in the moment…
Here’s my song pairing this time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztGPYPArAyE&index=4&list=WL
I like Bright Eyes – and this is a song that I’ve loved for a long time. For some context though, I had a particularly memorable evening last week
in a good way and for days afterwards I was kind of swimming in this really happy haze that just followed me everywhere. I was blushing at work for no reason, and singing to myself WAY more in the shower than a normally do, and way worse than usual as well. And I played this damn song probably thirty times over those few days before that happy haze finally started to wear off a bit.
I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you…
Trying to finish this one off now that summer is done…
Had it hot, and was unsure whether or not I’d get the nice, mellow version of this that I like or whether I’d get the cloying, stevia bomb that sometimes comes out to play. I actually ended up getting something in the middle; a sweeter pomegranate flavour rather than a more mellow one, but without that insanely cloying, stevia rich flavour that really kills the brew. The lemon notes were also stronger than usual, and quite lovely in the finish as they lingered in the aftertaste for a long time.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd9p4n5hLEg
Cold Brew Sipdown (126)!
Welp, my roommates have finally caught on to the fact that there’s constantly a pitcher of cold brewed tea in the fridge that they’re more than welcome to drink – so I’ve been making pitchers of cold brew more frequently now that I’m not the only one drinking it. Downside, however, is that it means enjoying less of the really good teas – and that particularly hurt with this one because it was a sipdown, and a sipdown of a tea that isn’t the most easy to get a hold of on top of that.
It was so good though! Personally, I find the persimmon in the blend comes across really strongly as a more citrusy/mandarin orange sort of flavour and that’s just so tasty. The mandarin is sweet and well rounded, and it kind of has that same sort of sweetness that tomatoes or foods with tomatoes in them have. So, like, the best medley of orange/tomato goodness. Add on top the slight cream element from the yogurt drops and you’ve got yourself one hell of a unique, summer/fall transitional type of tea. I will say, that cold brewing does bring out the rooibos base a bit too so this has a little of that woody quality – but not much in comparison to the other good flavours.
I’m glad I took the risk getting this one when I did – and I’d happily get it again.
Drank this one hot the other day…
Mostly, I was just really craving the grapefruit in the blend. I’ve been on such a huge grapefruit kick as of late: Fresca everyday for lunch, along with canned red grapefruit, and I just bought a really yummy smelling grapefruit body wash. Not sure why the sudden cravings; I’ve always liked grapefruit but not nearly as much or as intensely as this week…
Anyway, the tea was great. This is a softer grapefruit without a lot of the acidity you sometimes get from grapefruit teas/tisanes. It’s sweet and quite smooth, and then the additional vanilla really softens the profile and turns it into something somewhat ethereal and whimsical. Sometimes the mint in this blend is a strong presence, but in this cup (perhaps because of a more light handed steeping time used) the mint was mostly just a nice refreshing cooling element on the bed of my tongue after sips.
I know I sent this one to VariaTEA for her song/music pairing sampler and I also paired it then with a different MGMT song. I don’t know why, but I find this artist and this tea are just a very nice pairing – their music is almost on a different plane. Probably because they’re high like 90% of the time and that drug culture is pretty ingrained in their music. But the ethereal nature of the tea kind of just matches that “good times” high/buzz that gets worked into their music. To be fair though, this song doesn’t exactly maintain that “feel good” quality at the end, though…
Today’s cold brew!
I never really realized how much Rhubarb and Custard was a British thing/flavour pairing until Laura, Sharla and I went to Churchill’s (the British food store in Saskatoon) yesterday. I saw so many variation of that pairing in the store: like three different kinds of hard candy, a taffy with the same flavour combo, and a chocolate bar with a rhubarb and custard filling! I then thought of this tea, and remembered it IS in fact from a UK based tea company. I feel like I’ve made some sort of worldly/cultural discovery.
It does taste AMAZING though as a pairing, so I definitely get it. The rhubarb is sweet and the custard is creamy and tempers some of the tartness that rhubarb often has. It’s really satisfying and the right balance between natural sweet and pastry sort of sweet.
Now I can’t help but ponder what other flavour pairings are cultural that I’m not aware of. At the same time, what are the Canadian flavour pairings that I just know and think of as normal that aren’t in other areas of the world?
Food, or tea, for thought…
So this weekend after we went to Sask Expo, we stopped at Churchill’s in Saskatoon. It’s basically a British Foods store, and Laura REALLY wanted to go because she’s British and it’s one of the only places she can conveniently find a lot of the foods she grew up with.
I’d actually never been before, despite having previously lived in Saskatoon and walking by the store many, many times. I personally ended up grabbing some Pineapple Jam and Red Currant Jam, which I’ve yet to try. I also grabbed the big beautiful Elephant tin of this tea! I remember a while back on the discussion board this company was being discussed, and everyone was in love with the tins. They’re so much prettier in person, and I’ve never seen them anywhere else before (in person, that is) so I took advantage and bought one. For bagged tea, it certainly wasn’t cheap but this is definitely 100% one of those cases of getting a tea purely because of the packaging.
I tried it first thing this morning, and as far as Earl Grey goes (and bagged EG in particular) I actually thought it was pretty good. My understanding is that the difference between Williamson’s Duchess EG and their regular EG is that this uses Kenyan tea as the base? I wouldn’t say you can necessarily say the base is distinct enough that you’d know it’s Kenyan tea without the prior knowledge – but Kenyan black tea is actually quite citrusy as is, so I think that only helps/strengthens the profile of the bergamot in the blend.
I’d call this rich, and just a little sweet with the perfect balance of bergamot and no astringency. It’s smooth, and I’m sure would probably take milk well. That makes for a pretty convenient early morning tea – with gorgeous packaging to boot.
Well, I’m back from Sask Fan Expo!
It was a really fun weekend filled with a lot of cool things; road tripping with my friend/coworker Laura and her wife Sharla was great! We kicked things off with some Timmy Hoes and a group sing-a-long of the Once More With Feeling soundtrack from BTVS. I scooped up some peppermint tea while we were at Timmies; I figured as far as bagged tea from a coffee shop was concerned this was likely a safe option.
And it wasn’t bad; standard peppermint tea, essentially. Sadly it was the only tea I drank all day because the day was just filled with so much other stuff.
Honestly, we spent most of the expo in lines – but I wouldn’t change that at all because I got to meet and get autographs from three awesome, beloved celebrities. The first and most important one was obviously James Marsters. I’ve met him before at C4 but he was just as great this time. My hands were so sweaty/clammy when he shook them. We talked about Tom Holland’s portrayal of Spider Man and how much of a fan he is so far and about how we’re both excited to go and watch Homecoming. It was wonderful!
Next up was Tom Felton’s line – we were early to the line so we ended up waiting almost two hours for him to show up, but we were like fifth in line so we got to meet him right away. I got him to sign my copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard and he was so charming. When we got up front there he was fumbling to start some music to listen to while signing autographs and he ended up playing some really cool jazz music. Of the three people we saw, he was definitely the least chatty – but still it was very cool meeting him.
Finally; I got to meet Bob Morley (from The 100). I didn’t expect to be as nervous as I was, but the closer I got to the front of the line the more shaken up I got. The 100 is easily my favourite show still on TV right now – and it means a lot to me. His accent was fucking amazing; every time he talked I melted inside. And, he was definitely very engaged with everyone! Of all the people signing autographs he was the only one not sitting behind a table and who was, instead, out in front of hugging fans and having longer conversations. He gave everyone the chance to get their autographs personalized however they wanted, and let everyone ask him one or two questions – similar to how you would during a panel.
When he asked me if there was anything I wanted to know about him or the show, I panicked a bit because it was just so unexpected and I was so flustered. I managed to squeak out “What kind of tea do you like?” to which he paused and answered “Earl Grey and Peppermint, though I’m more of a coffee guy. Tea is great for sitting down with a book or a game of chess, though”. His autograph was the only one I didn’t get made out to me though: instead I had him personalize it for Kyle because The 100 is our show together, and it’s the first thing we ever watched together/did together even before we started dating (part of why the show means a lot to me). I figured it’d be a good gift for him, especially since we’re coming up on six months together in less than a week now…
Otherwise, we looked at the vendors and I ended up nabbing some Fallout stuff for Kyle. Didn’t grab anything else for myself; meeting all the celebs and getting their autographs was enough of a take home for me.
Such an amazing time/experience, though!
Cold Brew Sipdown (128)!
As a cold brew, the bubblegum notes I observed in the first (hot) cup I tried of this are even more apparent and in your face. Downside is that the cherry is less sweet and well rounded, and sadly it gives off a bit of a medicinal/cough syrup sort of quality. The green base was more masked as well; in a way I think that’s a plus because I disliked the base in the first place. However, it’s also a drawback because it means there’s less flavour to counterbalance the medicinal aspects of the cherry.
Overall it wasn’t terrible; I did finish it afterall. However, there are some areas where improvement is definitely doable and needed in order to make this better. As is, I wont be buying it again.
Also, Bad Suns’ new album is out! I’m really loving it so far – there aren’t really any tracks I dislike although some are definitely better. It’s been fun learning the new songs alongside cups of tea and trying to work out pairings for songs I’m just now exploring.
Pairing for this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFSvLf0hU00&list=LL1M1wDjmJD4SJr_CwzXAGuQ&index=5
I was experiencing some pretty bad cramps earlier in the week, so I broke out the raspberry leaf again and I’ve been enjoying the occasional cup throughout the week. It’s so hard to say whether or not I feel like it’s actually doing anything – but I like the flavour and it’s not making things any worse so I think I’ll continue to incorporate it into my tea drinking routine when I’m feeling crampy…
One of the more interesting cups this week was late at night with some added in coconut milk: it was supper buttery in addition to having its usual comforting vegetal and herbaceous notes and underlying sweetness. It felt really warming; like a big hug from the inside out, and it was really smooth and tasty.