2379 Tasting Notes
So I got my family into The 100! I’m trying to remember which Steepster users also watch (OMG! Wasn’t the newest episode SO good!? I love the casual mention of Lexa’s former female love, and the comparison between Gustus/Lexa and Clarke/Bellamy was beautiful!). We’ve watched four episodes so far; and this most recent one was the one where Raven drops down to earth, and the Murphy/Charlotte drama goes down. My brother kept squirming around; and has decided he hates this show and we have to watch as many more episodes before I leave tomorrow. Hah. He’s hooked; and now he can experience the rollercoaster of feelings that I went through!
Anyway, this was my morning tea! Mostly dewy, kinda mossy – wet Earth, scrumptious guayusa was a raw apricot flavour. Very yummy; but not different than anything else I’ve observed before. I meant to share a little with my Mom, but drank it all…
One little blurb-y tasting note before I retire to the couch for bed!
- In cold milk
- Made with my new bamboo whisk!
- Super, super frothy and that definitely made the experience better
- Creamy with coffee and cocoa notes
But yeah guys! I’ve officially evolved from mini kitchen whisk to bamboo whisk. And a lot of you know that I’ve been looking pretty seriously at purchasing a chawan as of late. Well, today I gave my Mom links to my two favourites I’ve seen and she all but promised I’ll be getting one of them for my birthday! Hooray!
These are the two:
I like the Persimmons one better, but she seemed very uncomfortable about ordering something from Asia, so I have a hunch I’ll be getting the birds one. Either way, they’re gorgeous and I’m a happy, excited (but sleepy) slug! Woot!
So yay impending chawan!
One of two bedtime “Mini Cups” of tea. I packed this with because it’s new to me, and I’ve been fascinated by it since first seeing it – and now that it’s actually in my possession I think it smells really lovely dry; and I needed to try it sooner rather than later. This trip to Regina seemed like the quickest way to sample it.
I’d really like to write a longer, more thorough review but I’m super tired and it’s late, and I know my little sister’s gonna wake me up as soon as she can tomorrow morning. So I’ll be briefer than I want to be.
I was planning a shorter steep time, but my little sister’s Dad stopped by to drop some stuff off for her that she left as his place before heading to Mom’s for the weekend – and I ended up talking to him for nearly eight minutes while my tea sat in the kitchen steeping. I hadn’t seen him in over a year, and it was good catching up. We maybe have a weird relationship because he and my Mom got divorced when I was about… 13? But for nearly all my early childhood memories he was as much “my Dad” as my actual Dad was, sometimes more so. But after he and my Mom got divorced I no longer saw him on a regular basis – just whenever B (I’m gonna not reveal my sister’s name – not that I don’t in general trust Steepster people, I am after all very open about my name and life and such, but she’s really young/underage) was around.
But the point is; this is quite a forgiving tea just like is claimed in the tea description. It got very, very close to a ten minute steep albeit at a lower temperature, and it’s not bitter or astringent at all. In fact, it’s very sweet! I get incredibly prominent honey notes and a rich silky mouthfeel, as well at light notes of hay, oats, and rosemary. More of a sweet rosemary than a savory rosemary, though. I’m also drawing comparisons to the Corn Silk tea I tried not too long ago; I am definitely experiencing a sort of “corn chip” like flavour to this, but I don’t see anyone else has observed crazy that so I feel a little crazy admitting it.
I’ve been wondering lately if the way I view “pine” as a flavour is different than how others do; because when I think of “Pine notes” I think of the sort of pine flavour that’s so strong and common with Juniper berries; crisp, clean, a little woody? There’s no way I’m tasting that here; and I’m disappointed because this is the second WP blend I bought on BF described with “pine” as a flavour, and I’m just not getting it.
I loved this though! Despite seemingly absent pine notes and relatively different observations than others. Maybe my prolonged steep time messed with the flavours present? Or the balance of flavours?
And hey; despite trying to be concise in my wording this ended up long winded afterall. Darn!
This is the second Prairie Berry blend I’ve ever owned, though this one is a fair bit different than the DT blend by the same name – for starters, it’s a tisane. Also, in addition to Saskatoon Berries I believe it has cranberry, chokecherry, blueberry, raisins, and elderberries among other ingredients. I’m honestly not looking right at the bottle or the ingredients list for this one or DT’s Prairie Berry though; so I might be remembering things a little wrong.
This one was a present from my Mom for Christmas which I just received today. She also gave me another blend by the same company that features Saskatoon Berries primarily, not just a whole bunch of local fruit/berries. Rather thoughtfully, her intention was for me to have something to add to swaps for the people who aren’t familiar with Saskatoons. And if you’re not, you should try them if you ever get a chance! I live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – and the berries are so common and popular here that my city is named after the berry, and not the other way around.
This was the family’s second “Tea Soda” of the day. My sister wouldn’t try it because of the hibiscus though; she’s not a fan, and this honestly does have a lot of hibby in the blend. I did make the concentrated batch into a sweetened syrup first though; still, she wouldn’t try it! What a stubborn ten year old. Even floated in a litre of soda water, this was the colour of Doctor Pepper – basically black with a slight red tint. Maybe a little more of a burgundy for this one, though.
Hmm, taste wise this does have lots of straight hibiscus flavour; even sweetened and with all the other berries in the blend. I’m sad to say the Saskatoons are really hard to pick out; and I imagine it’d be even harder for someone not familiar with them in the first place. Other than hibiscus I think I taste chokecherry more than anything else? I do like chokecherries though (especially in jam), and this sweetened up it’s a little bit like a cherry soda? But with more natural tartness.
I’m very worried about trying this one hot; I know the hibiscus is going to be more than dominant; it’s gonna pull a Christian Grey and just fucking abuse this tisane. Yeah, I just made a jab at 50 Shades of Grey – I hate the series though, and I weep for everyone who goes to see it on V-Day and mistakes this abusive relationship for a healthy BDSM lifestyle. It’s so bad; even my ten year old sister today said she wants to see the movie. I mean, she wont because it’s rated R and there’s no way either Mom or her Dad are gonna let that happen; but the possibility of that kind of abuse being romanticized for her troubles me.
Yeah; that’s huge tangent – sorry. All that to say next up wont be a hot brew; it’s definitely gonna be a cold brew. Hopefully that keeps that gnarly hibiscus in check.
Maybe I should be making tea in smaller cups more often? I feel like using these tinier cups I’m noticing different flavours than I usually do. Or maybe I’m just brewing better cups?
Anyway; the hazelnut was the shining star of this cup! I’ve never tasted it as strongly as I did tonight while playing Dalek/Doctor Who themed Yahtzee with the family. Yaztzee was fun; hadn’t really played a game like that in a while; I had a blast though! As for flavours other than the impressively captured hazelnut one, I tasted the usual butterscotch I’ve come to know and love, as well as cream, malt, and super light stonefruit notes.
I gave the last sip to my Mom and she really liked it; for her she was actually able to taste the mocha which I usually don’t pick up on myself. I’m not too surprised though. She’s more of a coffee drinker than any other beverage and the other tea she’s liked the most that I’ve let her try this trip has been DT’s Espresso Yourself blend. So, coffee stuff basically.
It’s quiet in the house again; everyone’s gone to bed except my Mom’s weird boyfriend/roommate/casual fuck buddy Carmen (there’s a story here; I wont get into it though because it’s long and it boils down to everyone fucking hates the guy except Mom) who’s hiding out in his room…
Got in several more teas today; gonna try and do short notes for them and maybe one other one from my queue and then it’s bedtime for me. It looks like we have plans all day tomorrow.
I take back what I said with my first review about this not having a lot of cashew flavour. Maybe my balance of ingredients measured out what just drastically different this time, but this had such a lovely, rich nutty cashew flavour. And I also picked up kind flakey, buttery pastry notes. Pretty sure mentally there was a separation between the cashew and the butter because I’ve never actually had cashew spread/butter, but I feel like this was a pretty good indicator of what it’d taste like.
Raspberry was present too; just not as much as the cashew and since I couldn’t taste the cashew last time I was definitely focusing more on that flavour anyway.
Soda Streams are fascinating things; I kind of really want one now.
I brought my whole 15g sample bag of this one with for the trip, I was actually anticipating cold brewing it because my brother likes cold brewed/iced tea, but everyone was fascinated by the idea of tea soda so I used most of the sample to make a litre of tea soda. First I made the tea into simple syrup first though, of course. Same recipe/method as usual but a larger batch since I was making soda for four people.
So we all got a little bit of tea soda; some people were greedier than others though
Mrs. “Three Cups to everyone else’s One”, mother of mine. It was tasty though, there is definitely a lime tea! It reminded me of lime sorbet, refreshing with a slight creaminess to it. Also tasted a tiny, tiny touch of lemon – and this obviously had the colouration of hibiscus though I think a combination of the citrus elements of lime and lemon and the sugar used to sweeten the syrup kept the hibiscus in check.
I didn’t realize there was rose in the blend when I was drinking it, and I observed a weird taste that I was having trouble identifying; couldn’t tell you, even thinking back now, if it was rose. I have enough leaf left for either a hot cup or a small cold brew; I’m gonna keep an eye out next time for that weird note – I want to see if it’s rose. Rose and lime seem like a really great contrasting pairing!
Flavors: Cream, Lemon, Lime
Just finished making the tea infused simple syrup, we’re waiting for it to cool down now before we float it in the club soda. Figured I’d get in one of the longer reviews from my queue that I’ve sort of been putting off doing…
This sample comes from VariaTEA!
I tried this one blindly, by which I mean I didn’t look up any of the ingredients or the tea description prior to trying it. For me, doing this is like a challenge to see how on point my palate is – I like to compile my thoughts and then go back and see how many of the nuances I picked up, and how accurately I was able to identify the ingredients/flavourings in the blend.
Dry; I can tell this is a fruit blend of some sort – but based on dry smell alone I can’t really narrow down what ‘type’ of fruit; berry, tropical, stonefruit, etc. I am pretty confidant it’s not going to be a citrus blend, though. I didn’t get any of the usual citrus tip offs like sour or tart tones.
Taste wise, this was more flavourful than I was anticipating. All my other Mariage Freres experiences have been mildly disappointing, and I’ve found the teas to be very subtly flavoured. As such, I expected this to have the same really subtle flavour. It was distinct, though. There was a really sweet jammy quality, but not something simple like strawberry or raspberry. This reminded me strongly of grenadine which to me has a distinctly rich pomegranate or cranberry like quality; but sugary sweet. This strong jammy/grenadine cross reminds me of a fancy Monk’s blend. For those who don’t know, I love Monk’s Blend a lot.
Yeah, there’s not really much about this blend that’s really complicated or fancy, but it’s really enjoyable and smooth with such a great, sweet flavour! And it’s so smooth; no astringency or bitterness at all! I’m impressed by this one more than probably any other Mariage Freres tea I’ve had and I greatly enjoyed my cup. Gonna go back now and see how accurate my interpretation was…
…Red Fruit. Spices. Vanilla.
Well, I can see how the combination of red fruit and vanilla definitely read as similar to Monk’s blend to me given a traditional Monk’s blend is grenadine and vanilla. I really didn’t taste any indication of spice though; whatever they’re adding into the blend must be very subtle. Next time I have this I’ll keep more of an eye out for the spice in the blend.
EDIT: My family is such a horrible distraction! I’ve already finished my tea soda – they were too impatient to wait for me to finish writing to try it out. And then my sister got in from school, and we had to open Christmas presents. I got two new tisanes; a Saskatoon Berry one that I’ll be sure to include in some swaps and a Prairie Berry one that smells really strongly like Chokecherries to me. Probably gonna make that one into tea soda since we blew through the Key Lime soda.
It took three times as long as usual to finish this note though…
Flavors: Cranberry, Grenadine, Jam
One of a few teas in my Mom’s tea cupboard that actually relatively interested me, so I stole a couple of the teabags from the cupboard and made one to drink with lunch.
This had a fancier box than other Stash teas I’ve seen, and it’s not one we carry at my store (and we carry a lot of Stash teas) so I’m wondering if, based on the flavour, this was a seasonal/Christmas blend? There’s really no smell to the dry teabag; if I concentrate maybe a little apple. It’s very weak though; I hope the tea itself has more flavour.
Sipping on it now; and there definitely is more flavour than what the dry leaf led me to believe. It really does taste like apple cider; good apple cider too! Just the right balance of sweet, tart, and spice. And speaking of that spice, there’s obviously cinnamon but the nutmeg in here is a really nice touch too. That’s the first wave of flavour but then it eases a little into the maple; it’s a little raw and unrefined tasting with a sappy quality. A like it! It makes the cup sweet and layered, and I like that this one doesn’t feel completely put together, with the ’T’s crossed and ’I’s dotted. Sometimes a little reliable inconsistency makes a tea good. If that makes any sense at all.
There are also a few other interesting notes here; I’m picking woody-cedar like notes too! Maybe it’s a trick of the mind because of the raw, sappy maple or maybe part of it is from the rooibos – but it’s very enjoyable regardless. Actually, now that I think of it the more I’m sure it’s from the rooibos. I love how natural and earthy this tea tastes though; for once the wood like quality is contributing something that enhances the tea flavourings!
There’s surprisingly a lot going on with this tea bag. Colour me quite impressed!
Flavors: Apple, Cedar, Cinnamon, Maple, Maple Syrup, Nutmeg, Sap, Wood