2834 Tasting Notes
I just realized that every tea I drank today (including the one I have left to log) was a green tea. That was definitely not intentional, but kind of hilarious given how much I’m always blathering on about how that’s my least favourite type of tea.
This is actually so much better hot than it was cold brewed, so I’ll definitely be upping my rating a little bit from the 50 I initially gave it – the roasty notes are much more on point; a little like a normal/regular Genmaicha instead of that burnt gnarly mess. It’s just the pineapple in the blend that’s… Weird.
I remember not loving the Pineapple Barley from Lupicia; the dichotomy of roasted notes and pineapple in that one was off too. So maybe it does have a little less to do with DT’s pineapple than initially thought though. Regardless, still disappointed I didn’t love this blend though. I so wanted to.
From my latest RLT order;
I picked up a 30g size at distinctive level flavouring because I’ve found that’s what I enjoy most of my matcha at. I don’t actually know why I chose apricot though; I want to try a new fruit flavor, and I guess because this doesn’t have many reviews it seemed like an interesting gamble. The smell of the dry matcha was… Concerning.
There’s a very fake/artificial presence to it and my immediate thought was “Oh no, distinctive was definitely too strong of a flavour!”. It’s not really an uncommon thing for RLT fruit based flavours to taste very chemical, especially at the higher flavour levels. And, I also had no idea what sort of prep method would be the best one to use here. Ultimately I went with cold milk in the hope that it’d maybe mute the flavour of the matcha a little bit and taste creamy; I’ve had some really good creamy apricot teas so I know that flavour pairing can taste great is executed well.
Honestly; it’s not as bad as I’d have expected just based on the smell of the dry matcha. It doesn’t taste natural but it’s not overly artificial or chemical tasting either and I’m going to consider that a win! However, even though it’s not terrible there is something off about this. Fruity milk in general is so hit or miss though. If it was creamier, with perhaps some vanilla added in I think it could work splendidly but just plain milk? No.
Next time I make this I’m going to try a different prep method; hot water, making added in to cake or cookie mix? I sense there’s promise here – I just have to find the way to best utilize this flavour of matcha.
Another sample generously provided by Will at Chi Whole Leaf!
Chamomile is, well, not my favourite thing. Fortunately; this blend isn’t entirely chamomile and the rest of the ingredients in the blend are ones I’m pretty ok with. So despite not loving the namesake of the I’m not skeptical about the tea itself.
Much like Floral Herb, I prepared this hot using a 1/2 tsp. of the powder – it was very quick, and very convenient to make. The exception being that I added a splash of milk because I wanted to prepare it the same way I would a cup of chamomile (on the rare occasion I drink straight chamomile). For me, that’s usually late at night with milk as a sleep aid…
This definitely tasted pretty solid; I thought the chamomile was lovely straw and honey notes and was just slightly more present than the peppermint and then everything else just contributed a sort of blanket background flavour that neither added or detracted from the flavour. The milk made the mouthfeel much thicker, and added a lovely soft creamy taste.
Overall, I found this blend very soothing and calming; a perfect late night tisane! My one complaint is that the ‘leaf’ had a hard time staying suspended while I was drinking this and by the end of my mug I had some definite sludge at the bottom and the mouthfeel started to get grittier. If you’re drinking this fast that might not be a problem though.
Cold Brew Sipdown (111)!
Finally finished this one off today; it was actually slightly more pleasant than expected given just how old the tea is – the green base tasted a little off; it was very sharp with “lawn clipping” kind of notes. However, the spearmint and ginger flavours were just as lovely as I first recall them being, and even though the strawberry was very much over powered I thought the fleeting flavour of it was nice too. I’m happy I finished this one off on my own though; we the age of this tea I’d have felt pretty bad passing it on to someone else.
…And, I think this means I’ve officially sipped down all of my Della Terra blends!?
They were the very first online retailer I ever ordered from: Cherry Chocolate Cake, Perfect Pear, Strawberry Zest, S’mores, and Monkey Bread if I recall correctly? It’s funny thinking about; if I were to make a Della Terra order again (supposing their website was still up) I’m pretty sure that none of those blends would make it into an order.
Not a true sipdown since I’m going to pass of the last of this to someone else; but I finally brewed up a good brew and knowing how inconsistent I’ve been feeling about this blend I thought it better to end on a good memory.
I inadvertently used much cooler water than planned, and a longer steep time when I made this in my timolino – but the result was liquor with just a fraction of the normal concentration of sweet, licorice-y ginseng. There were woody oak and tree bark notes, and a bit of nuttyness; very natural tasting and rich but without assaulting levels of ginseng. It brought me back to the first few times I tried this blend.
In other news, I got my mark back for Part 1/8 of the Sommelier course I’m taking…
I scored 93/100! That’s pretty good; I lost one participation mark (from the class I was horribly late to), and a couple marks from the written/multiple choice portion of the online exam. I did perfectly on the blind cupping and the Skype presentation!
Definitely continuing with the course – since, now that I’ve done part one, I can do the remaining seven parts in any order I’m going to be doing “From Bush To Cup” next. I submitted my registration last night. This is the course outline:
Tea Production Process
Tea Type Production
Organic & Social Responsibility
Things kick off in August, so I get a little break – but I’m very excited overall.
This is queued tasting note.
I made a big travel tumbler of this iced back when I was still in Regina; I had hoped to try it cold brewed, but ran out of time that afternoon before the drive back, so I settled for trying it iced. When my Step Mom found out I don’t actually own an icecube tray (so I NEVER make iced tea at home; only when I can take advantage of people that do own an icecube tray) she was quick to correct that; so I now officially own an icecube tray!
One of the first things I did when I got home was make ice cubes, actually…
I’m noticing that cups of this brew up very consistently; the same mellow earthy notes with a bit of a metallic tinge to them, same semi-sweet tart strawberry and rhubarb notes and that little hint of creaminess. Icing this didn’t change the flavour dichotomy; and I actually preferred it hot. Maybe I wont actually try this one cold brewed…
Tragic Sipdown (113)!
I finished this off a few nights ago with a tiny splash of milk in it. It brewed up the perfect creamy maple flavour with brilliant notes of oak, buckwheat, and pecan. I’ve grown to love this blend so much and I was so torn when Stacy announced Butiki’s closure about whether to bulk up or not. Ultimately, I decided to focus on the greener oolongs that I love too, and I didn’t get any more.
I kind of regret that given how much I’ve been drinking darker, more oxidized oolongs this year over green oolongs. This might just be the first Butiki sipdown that has really, really hit me…
Unrelated but very much worth sharing:
Someone in London has launched an IndieGoGo campaign to bailout Greece. They’re encouraging everyone to donate 3 pounds. If everyone in Europe did that they’d meet the 1.6 billion pounds necessary to bail them out. I think it’s incredible we’ve progressed to a place where this is even a possibility – it’s amazing. Thom, the person who started the campaign, is using Fixed Funding; for those not familiar with IndieGoGo that means that if the goal isn’t reached everything that’s been donated will be refunded. So basically if you skip buying yourself coffee (or in most of our cases, tea) for a day you can possibly be a part of such an amazing act of kindness and hope, and give back to the Greek people who don’t deserve the situation they’re in.
So far approx. 1.2 million has been raised; that’s a long way left to go. I’m trying to spread this to as many people as possible – Greece is such an amazing country with such rich culture. Personally, I’ve always wanted to visit. If something doesn’t turn around for the country that might become even harder to achieve in the future.
Oh! And of course, there are funder perks: a 3 pound donation will get you a postcard of the Prime Minister, 6 pounds will get you a Greek salad delivered to your door, and many others. If this actually works, all of these perks/rewards will be made in Greece to give back to the community, and to help bolster their economy even more!
So please guys, check out the campaign and consider donating!
I just saw Liquid Proust’s comment about wanting a Ghost Pepper
though Carolina Reaper would be worse tea in this thread:
I actually thought to myself “I’d totally try that”, but then I instantly remembered that I drank this one cold brewed today at work and it was so hot that it made me want to both vomit and chug a 2L of milk at the same time. I don’t do spices at all. I’m too much of a wimp. So realistically, a Carolina Reaper tea would be a nightmare for me.
But I’d still totally try it just to say I had.
Oh well, at least that’s a little less of this blend in my cupboard. I refuse to throw it out…
I keep wanting to call this matcha…
Honestly; I was a tiny bit scared to try this one. Hibiscus is one of three ingredients in this one, but frankly the entire thing looks like ground up, powdered hibiscus and unless you’re really into hibiscus in the first place that sounds pretty horrible.
That said, after the hot water hit the powder in the bottom of the mug and I had this all whisked up all of that fear melted away. The aroma is very floral and feminine but maintains a wonderful delicateness. How often do you get to call a blend with hibiscus delicate!? Not often – that’s for sure. More so than anything else I thought the rose was the most flavourful component of this tea but it’s not even close to the intensity necisarry for this blend to come off tasting chemical, artificial, or even perfumey. As a whole, it’s actually delightfully mellow.
Maybe it’s because hibiscus is so often paired with berries, but in addition to the sweet and supple floral notes I feel like there’s a hint of watered down berry flavour. The jasmine is the hardest part of this for me to taste; it’s blending in with the rose very well. I really enjoy this blend a lot. My only word of caution would be for people who dislike overly floral teas; but even they might like this because it’s been tastefully done. Even people who are generally turned off by hibiscus would likely like this. Bonus points for being quite affordable; $10.00 for 100g, and it really doesn’t take much at all to make a mug – approximately 1/2 tsp.
Also, many thanks to Will at Chi Whole Leaf tea for sending me the full range of teas currently offered on their site for reviewing! He was very quick to ship things, and in addition to the tea itself he included a very informative pamphlet that broke down the ingredients of each tea. I look forward to trying the next rest of the set!
So happy I took this one up with me for the trip; it let me finish it off finally. I hate that sometimes this comes out so brilliantly tasting like Saskatoon Berries because that makes me want to love it so badly because Saskatoons are SO GOOD, but then sometimes it’s muddled berry or hibiscus overload such as was the case with this brew…
It took me all morning to finish the cold brew, and because of that I didn’t have enough time to do a proper cold brew of Butiki’s Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake like I had planned (because I made this in the only brewing vessel large enough for a decent cold brew at my Dad’s house), so I had to settle for doing it iced instead.
Maybe I’ll revisit this one just ‘cause it’s really nice to be able to share Saskatoon Berry tea in swaps ‘cause it’s like giving people a little taste of home – but hopefully I can find a better Saskatoon Berry tea in the future.