4452 Tasting Notes
This was one of the two Teas of The Day at DAVIDsTEA today.
My mom and I took a trip downtown tonight so she could grab the Winter sampler and I tagged along with the intention of finally getting my cracked Milk Bottle exchanged, which I did. Now that I know it hates ice I’ll be a lot more careful with it. But basically, we walked into the store which was dead and my mom spent way too long looking at the different samplers and advent calendars. Of course, we were ‘pounced on’ by an associate who offered up those little cups of the tea of the day. Since I like this tea, I happily took it – it was very orangey, not a lot of spearmint flavour. I was surprised though; after giving us our freebie samples and commenting on my tattoo (the Shel Silverstein one, and not the Camellia Sinensis one) she backed off. No “advent calendar” or Christmas tea spiel at all. I was so mentally prepared to shut her down if she started getting pushy…
I didn’t just replace my milk bottle though: I also grabbed samples of Hot Chocolate and Mulled Wine, the two blends that I’m most interested in from this collection, to try later this week. Everyone’s reviews made me want to get in on the fun, too! As well, I picked up a hot To Go of Banana Nut Bread, but I’ll review that one on its own.
This is a sipdown, though there’s not a number change since I drank it before it was added to my cupboard…
Anyway; my first set of tea pets arrived today! I was really, really impressed with how carefully and thoroughly they were packaged as well. Seriously; so much bubble wrap. Since Crimson Lotus was kind enough to add this free sample in with my order, I felt it was only appropriate that the first thing I fed my two lovely teapets with was this tea! So, for a few hours, I just brewed this tea – every now and then feeding an infusion to my new dragons. They’re super cute; when you pour tea over them they blow little “snot” bubbles from their snouts – and my tea tray just looks and feel much happier and complete with their addition. How anyone could not have a tea pet to keep them company during a Gong Fu session baffles me.
Of course, you have to name your pets right? So when my little sister got home from school I had her help me come up with names for the pair. We initially were trying to come up with something Chinese but in the end we settled on “Zak and Wheezie” from the children’s show “Dragon Tales” because they’re brother and sister twin dragons.
http://dragontales.wikia.com/wiki/Zak_and_Wheezie Cute, right?
As for the tea…
I got a whopping 14 infusions from this tea before I felt like the flavour was really degrading past the point of my wanting to to drink it. I’ve been getting a lot better with resteeping tea, and drinking a lot more teas Gong Fu style but even still 14 infusions may actually be the most I’ve ever done of a single tea in one sitting? My Pu’erh knowledge is still fairly limited and I’ve definitely tried the least Pu’erh of any tea type (except yellow tea; but the difference between the two types isn’t actually a lot) so I know my palate is not as refined here as it is with most types. For me to break down the subtle differences between each infusion would be impossible at this point.
What I can say was that this tea was incredibly lovely and have an overall thick, and smooth mouthfeel and rich, full bodied flavour. While the notes present in each infusion changed ever so slightly throughout the session depending on the infusion the overall taste and prominent notes were wet earth, clay, dark baker’s chocolate, leather, smoke, and wet wood. Overall, just very dark and natural – like a forest floor, almost? But with a subtle sweetness and richness to it. Yummy!
I really, really need to put as much of an effort into Pu’erh as I’ve done this year with Oolongs because when I do take the time to have a long Pu’erh session I really enjoy it. It just seems like such a broad tea type to tackle. But I’m getting there, albeit slowly.
This review is for the Birthday Cake infused White Chocolate Bar!
Birthday Cake was the first loose leaf tea I ever drank, and my introduction to loose leaf tea in general so it’s pretty special to me even if I’ve kind of out grown the tea itself. But, when I saw that they’re infused it into chocolate (and white chocolate, at that) I just had to try it. It was the perfect excuse to revisit this tea in a different way.
First off; the flavour translate well to white chocolate. It’s basically vanilla, buttery white chocolate with sprinkles. Not much else to it other than that, to be perfectly honest. The ‘rest’ comes in when you take the texture of the chocolate bar into consideration. First off; there are way more sprinkles added into the chocolate bar than are in the tea itself. They’re pretty find to bite into and chew up though: you get to here that sort of “pop” noise as they’re bitten. I did run into a few that were like rock hard, and kind of impossible to chew though and that sucked. But in the whole bar, that was maybe like three or four sprinkles out of what was easily over a hundred.
The other main “texture” thing was the rooibos/honeybush in the bar. DT loves mixing actual tea leaf into the chocolate bars which is alright I suppose. Eating straight up tea leaf will always be weird to me. But this bar, there’s definitely a higher percentage of actual tea leaf than I’ve experienced in any of the other tea infused chocolate bars. Of course, there’s no “crunch” when you bite into rooibos because it’s so fine so that’s not a concern. But actually chewing? I ended up with so many little rooibos bits stuck between my teeth which was not fun.
Overall? The taste’s solid, the texture is questionable.
My final Quarter To Tea sample, for now…
I think my mistake with this one was drinking it cold brewed: I thought it would be a nice apple flavour with caramel sweetness which would translate well into a cold brewed dessert type tea but when I actually tried it I realized that the flavour was a little more subtle than expected and perhaps better suited for hot preparation.
That said; while I feel I didn’t get the most out of my leaf I did enjoy the cold brew! I thought that the oolong base was probably the strongest flavour but had a kind of sharp, semi-sweet “apple” flavour near the tail of the sip and the finish. Like a Granny Smith apple, but a lot less tart. If that makes sense. The start of the sip was softer; I definitely picked up on cinnamon notes but the caramel didn’t translate well into any part of the sip. I think I just wanted that flavour to be much richer and apparent, and not just a “sweetened the whole sip” kind of generic flavour?
But overall this was still good! I’d drink it again (hot) but probably wouldn’t order it again because I think unless the hot version is just mind blowing, this mostly just feels a little average to me? It’s probably exactly what some people want out of a Caramel Apple type oolong: subtle hints of flavour over a nice oolong base. I was just, personally, craving something a little more rich and ‘in your face’ like the Cherry Chocolate Latte Oolong was. Of my three samples, that one is absolutely my favourite.
NON TEA RELATED:
I’m such a proud Canadian citizen today!
Today Justin Trudeau was sworn in as our Prime Minister officially, and that in itself would be enough to put me in a good mood because to me it signifies the end of an era that was suffocating Canada and brings with it new hope. However, I was moved to tears when I saw the list of his cabinet members! For the first time in Canada’s history, like he promised, there’s proportional representation. Not only did he select more woman as MPs than ever before, but a true ‘half’ (15 of 31) are woman!
Not only that, but we have the first ever Aboriginal justice minister in the history of Canada (Jody Wilson-Raybould). Our minister of Democratic Institutions is now Maryam Monsef, who came to Canada from Afghanistan as a refugee fleeing the Taliban in 1996. Her place in our cabinet is incredibly moving! Our minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities is a legally blind paralympian!
And the rest of the cabinet… Incredibly well appointed.
Our new minister of National Defense is Harjit Sajjan a retired colonol who was the first Sikh to command a Canadian army regiment and who also served in Afghanistan (not to mention Punjabi is now the third most spoken language in Canada and we have proportional representation of that on our cabinet now too; four elected MPs speak Punjabi with the majority of the others being split between English and French, the two national languages). We have a cabinet filled with immigrants, refugees, woman, people of colour, multiple faiths, scientists, astronauts, teachers, people with disabilities! Truly representative of our country.
Today is a good day to be a Canadian.
So, I just hit a really cool Steepster milestone… 1000 Teas Rated!
Realistically, I hit that a while ago since I have things grouped under the same tasting notes (such as the teas I drink for my Sommelier courses) but now I have the numbers to actually say “I’ve drank over 1000 different kinds of tea”. That’s pretty cool.
So this tea, number 1000, comes from OMGsrsly and is my second “Anne Era” 52Teas blend. As a Canadian, I feel like I definitely have the right to be very critical of the ‘maple’ in the blend. But honestly, the thing I’m most interested in when it comes to this blend is actually the pear. I sure do love a good pear tea!
Cold brewed, of course, and this definitely smells like both maple and pear. Probably a little more like maple though, honestly. It smells “sticky”, at least as much as one can smell a texture that is.
As for the taste? I like it! There’s both a lot going on and really a very simple flavour profile. Basically, here’s how I break it down: The initial flavour is overripe pears (Bartlett) accented with a slight taste of cinnamon, then the cinnamon fades and you just taste pear. As an “overripe” pear there’s a slight sharpness to the taste with is pleasant as is creates a note that punctuates the rest of the sip. The finish is a maple/cinnamon duo and from there the aftertaste is a long lingering sweet, sticky maple flavour. What the maple reminds me of is “Maple Taffy” which, for non Canadians, is basically just maple syrup poured over snow and rolled onto a stick. The whole drink has a faint honeybush undertone throughout.
Only in Canada, right? The maple is getting the “Canadian Seal of Approval” though, and the pear gets the “Roswell Strange: Pear Fiend Seal of Approval”. Definitely enjoyed this tea a lot! Perfect for satisfying those after supper sugar cravings.
When my Ontario Tea Friends here on Steepster all met up back, uhh, whenever that was they all tried this tea together and
not gonna lie I kind of felt like I missed out on a cool experience getting to do a group tasting with people actually interested in tea to the same caliber I am. So, when I got OMGsrsly’s package and saw this tea included I made sure it was the first tea I steeped up because I just had to know what it was like not only because it’s the first 52Teas blend by Anne I’ve tried but because they all got to try it…
I made my mug with milk, by the way. I still have enough of OMGsrsly’s sample to try it plain if I want to, but milk just seemed appropriate to pair with this one. Initial thoughts: The black base Anne’s using is DEFINITELY an improvement upon Frank’s. Frank’s base just had this incredibly strong and distinct flavour that was really unpleasant. I always want to describe it as “starchy”. But this is smooth with a lovely bouquet of malty notes. I absolutely love that not only can I taste the base really well, but it also doesn’t seem to be competing with the flavouring and isn’t drowned out by it either.
On the flip side; one of my favourite things from “Frank era” 52Teas was his banana flavouring. I will never forget Keychange and I discussing on tasting notes how much we “loved Frank’s banana”. Something about the way he conveyed that particular flavour was very well executed and while I enjoy the banana in this tea quite a lot I have to begrudgingly admit that it’s really not the same. This is sweet and accurate to “Banana Bread” but somehow not as… lively?
Other things worth note: There’s a nuttyness to this tea which is super pleasant and accurate to banana bread that also does a wonderful job adding dimension to the flavour. Also, the “Buttered” part of the banana bread isn’t really coming through for me, but at the same time I don’t particularly feel it’s needed to convey the idea well and in a tasty, appealing way. Overall; as my first taste of “Anne era” 52Teas I think this was a success and it definitely makes me feel better about backing the kickstarter and the order I’ll be placing… Eventually.
Seriously; I swear I will place an order eventually! There’s just only three teas I’m interested in currently and that shipping is kinda killing me…
Thank you Liquid Proust for the sample! It kind of took me a while to get to it, but when I finally did I made sure to really get the most out of it that I could. I had a nice informal Gong Fu session with this one after work in the evening earlier in the week, and while I didn’t really go out of my way to pay attention to infusion times or the number of infusions I did I greatly enjoyed the tea itself – you were correct in saying that this is a truly phenomenal tea! I’m happy you passed it along.
As I drank this, I was reminded in a lot of ways of Butiki’s Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black which is naturally a very sweet tea as is this one. The two also share a lot of flavour notes such as raisin (but not overwhelmingly so), honey, malt, caramel, and baking bread. The biggest and most important note these two have in common, however, is sweet potato! That flavour in black tea just makes me weak in the knees. It’s divine in a way I can’t even begin to describe. Even just thinking about it now nearly has me drooling. And man, this tea certainly knew how to bring those sweet potato notes! Somewhere in the middle of my session, whatever infusion that was, I hit the sweet spot. The ‘sweet potato spot’, if you catch my drift.
That’s a bad pun, ignore it.
It makes sense that this had a lot in common with TWMB though – they’re both “Assam Style” Taiwanese black teas…
One other thing worth noting: The first few infusions do have a bit of ‘bite’ to them. Not in a bad way – there’s no bitterness or soul sucking astringency. The flavour’s just quite brisk initially, or so I found.
Awesome tea though, really.
Just ordered more samples from A Quarter to Tea! The Smoky Sweet Potato Keemun really sold me on doing so; I mean, there were several that I was really curious about but the idea of that one had me salivating – and I don’t even like Keemun! So, I should probably get my reviews up for the blends from A Quarter To Tea that I’ve already tried…
This is my second sample from A Quarter to Tea! I chose it for a couple reasons; the big one was that the other two samples I picked out were oolongs and I wanted to get to taste at least one of Lauren’s other tea types. However, I was also interested by the fairly unique ingredients. I’ve never seen Sangria with blueberry, for starters. Finally, I wanted to find a Sangria tea that was an improvement on the other two I’ve tried. DAVIDsTEA had a seasonal Sangria blend which I didn’t mind but didn’t love, and Red Leaf Tea has a Sangria flavour of matcha I currently own but don’t particularly like. And the idea of Sangria with a white base sounds awesome, too!
It was hard to form much of an impression of the tea dry: I could see several chunks of the dry ingredients in the blend, but there wasn’t a distinct aroma. Part of that, I feel, is that in the package Lauren mailed to me the Cherry Chocolate Latte was really a dominant flavour and I think possibly may have contaminated the other teas it was packaged with or, at least, “cancelled out” their aromas – which weren’t as potent/strong. Since Lauren suggests on her Etsy page to ice this and since Sangria really is a drink best consumed cold I decided to go with a cold method of preparation. However, instead of icing I went with cold brewing because that style of preparation is a favourite of mine.
I do find this tea to be very mildly/delicately flavoured overall, with softer and less prominent notes of apple and blueberry and a jammy stonefruit quality which I suppose is the cherry. I want to point out that mild and subtle isn’t actually a bad thing, however Sangria doesn’t have a ‘delicate’ flavour to begin with so it’s not reading as the most accurate flavour profile. Plus it’s a little odd for me to neither taste “orange”/citrus which is such a common Sangria flavour or the wine/rum. As such, while I really like the flavour that I do taste, I find it very hard to drink this and think of it as ‘Sangria’ flavoured. The name just doesn’t seem to match, you know?
I’d be interested to see this tea rebranded as another flavour, maybe even some kind of ‘punch’? This is a refreshing, light, fruity cuppa but in my ‘quest’ for the perfect Sangria tea my expectations just haven’t been met.
Slightly tipsy on a Tuesday afternoon…
I made myself an (unsweetened) tea soda today using Just Peachy, but in addition to fizzy club soda goodness I also added in some gin. Perhaps too much gin. I don’t know; I didn’t measure it – I just splashed it into the cup and started drinking. I’m feeling the buzz though, and my fingers are all jumpy and not typing too nicely.
It also took me way longer to pull this up in the database than it should have because I kept looking for a DT tisane called “Fuzzy Peaches” which totally isn’t the name. It is however the taste! And it’s a yummy taste, at that. I can smell the gin, but can’t actually taste it which is lovely. And the tangy peach isn’t too sour either. Just pleasantly sweet.
Tea Cocktails are greater than regular Cocktails
Likely my penultimate cuppa. I wonder what the odds of this returning in the “Holiday” collection are? Since it’s obviously, at this point, not made a reappearance in the Winter Collection, like I’d hoped for…
Regardless; thick mouthfeel, prominent notes of apple and vanilla.
I realized after I’d finished my morning cuppa how incredibly tired I was feeling despite waking up feeling really refrshed and alert. Wonder if the chamomile in this blend can be blamed for that.