4139 Tasting Notes
So, I live in/rent out a basement suite – obviously there are stairs, right? Well in the year+ I’ve lived here we haven’t actually had railings. Not a big deal or anything, but they just didn’t exist. I’m quite sure about this because I remember when my Grandma came to visit she had a really, really hard time getting downstairs without something to grip.
I just walked out of the living room into the hall space that links to the bathroom and laundry room and our stairwell and… Railing! When did that get there!? When Tre gets home tomorrow I’m gonna have to ask if it was there when he left for Regina last week. I can’t imagine myself to be so unobservant to have gone a whole week without seeing it. Maye our landlord put it up Friday/Saturday when I was seriously out of it ‘cause of weird work hours? But even then, wouldn’t I have noticed leaving for work today or getting home?
It’s very obviously shiny and new…
Thank you TheLastDodo from the sample – this is a Teavana blend I haven’t tried yet, and while I know Teavana isn’t wildly popular here on Steepster I’ve had a few successes with their blends. Plus, where I live it’s actually really hard to acquire their tea so it was exciting receiving this one.
Dodo recommended trying this one cold brewed, and I was more than happy to oblige! I had the first half of it today at work, and I’m just finishing off the second half now. The plan was the drink it right when I got home, but then I got distracted by baking and had a beer with supper instead of tea.
Dry this smells pretty orange-y with not much else other than perhaps a faint but generic floral quality. One could almost say it’s the faint, natural floral tone of a fresh orange though, and nothing else.Taste wise it’s a little bit underwhelming, not gonna lie. First flavour is an unsweetened but arguably very realistic orange note. It actually reminds me a lot of most Blood Orange teas I’ve had. It’s accompanied by a less overwhelming but kind of bitter grapefruit flavour. And then, there’s also a hibiscus edge to it – and it’s not all that pleasant, though tolerable at least. It reminds me a bit of the oddly beet like flavour the hibiscus took on for me in DAVIDsTEA’s Queen of Tarts blend. Bleck. It’s definitely not as strong though.
Once the orange and hibiscus welcoming committee leaves, the flavour transitions into something a lot more floral; but rather a generic floral tone and less so anything specific. The oolong base is kinda weak when compared to the flavourings used here – but it’s obvious floral too, and I’d say greener with maybe some mineral notes? Finally, call me really crazy here but I’m also tasting the faint licorice flavour of fennel!?
I just read all the reviews – no one else has mentioned fennel, anise or licorice so I’m just gonna chock it up to possible scent contamination? I really do taste it though.
If I were to drink this again, it’d likely be with waffles or some other kind of breakfast food – but I think to be anything other than average at best this blend really needs sugar, and as someone who doesn’t sweeten their tea that means I’ve just lost all interest in having it again. That’s perhaps harsh considering this isn’t bad; it’s just not good either, and if it needs sugar to be good then it’s not worth more of my time.
Sorry TheLastDodo – I loved getting to try this, but it’s not one I love. Perhaps that’s for the best; like I mentioned at the start of this review it’s hard to access Teavana blends where I live.
Tre gets back in from Regina sometime tomorrow so I thought it’d be nice if I made cupcakes tonight so he’s coming home to something sweet. It also doesn’t hurt that it’ll probably help with him feeling less ticked off that he was gone a whole week and a still haven’t done the dishes. For anyone curious, I made Butter Pecan Zucchini Cupcakes with a chocolate frosting! Instead of a cup of water, I used 1/2 of milk and 1/2 cup of Southern Butter Pecan creamer, which has only made them even more over the top rich and indulgent. Mmm; moist and yummy!
I am both the best and worst roommate.
Anyway, this was the tea I brought with to work today! I’ve only had it once before; cold brewed, and I think I felt pretty impartial to it – you know, it wasn’t necessarily really good but it wasn’t awful either. Hot was quite nice though!
There are a lot of ingredients in this blend, and so the combination of flavours is a little bit overwhelming. You’re tasting so many at once, and in different proportions – but it comes together to make one nice flavour. For me, I greatly tasted the sweet, floral rose among other floral notes from the oolong base and cinnamon, pineapple, coconut and a dulled down cranberry flavour. It kind of reminds me a little of DAVIDsTEA’s Alpine Punch blend if I’m being honest – but a touch more tropical and with no marzipan flavour. It’s like drinking a really, really good potpourri?
I’m confused about what time of the year/temperature it’d be appropriate to drink this though; it has the sweet fruity flavour of a summer tea (I mean common; Pineapple/Coconut) but the warm, snuggly comfort factor that a good winter tea also possesses. Have I sent this one out to anyone else? I’d really like to see what other people think of it…
Anyway; it was better the second time around! Gonna play around a little more with hot preparation styles since I have lots left and now know I prefer hot to cold with this one.
Big huge thank you to Tea Ave for sending out samples to me along with an amazing tasting and aroma cup set! I think most people on Steepster have by now either seen the thread on the DB where we were discussing the packages or read some of the reviews that have been posted, but if not I need to again emphasize how all out this company went!
Not only did I receive three awesome looking samples with very clear and well formatted information on the packaging (seriously guys; probably the most information I’ve ever seen incorporated onto the packaging for a tea; sample or otherwise) but it didn’t feel crowded or overwhelming either. And, I know this isn’t a big deal to a lot of people – but the fact that cold brewing instructions were added made me really, really happy. Not “Iced Tea” mind you, but actual cold brew instructions. It was a small detail but one that made a big impact to me.
They also included a very nice tasting and aroma cup set with an oak tray – this review wont have anything about them in it really because I drank this cold brewed because, at this point, I hadn’t practiced with the aroma cup let and wasn’t confidant in my ability to use it properly. Everything was packaged incredibly elegantly and it made me feel like I was getting a really expensive and classy gift. I haven’t received such a beautiful sample package since I got my pre-launch contest reward package from RiverTea; and this may even be better than that!
My only point of criticism is that one side of the packaging for the samples has a clear side; but honestly with something as small as a sample it’s not really a big deal at all because, it’s sort of assumed, you’re going to drink the tea quickly and light exposer wont really be an issue. I just hope that when it comes to buying larger sizes of things there wont be a clear side to the packaging like some companies (52Teas was the first that came to mind) do.
Anyway; like I sort of already said I decided that I’d try this one cold brewed first, though I made sure to save enough leaf to do a hot cup Western style later for comparison. Since Tea Ave included cold brewing instructions on their packaging (again; this small detail excites me so much) it feels right to do at least one cold brew anyway.
Out of the three samples I received from Tea Ave this is the one that I was least excited about; I don’t really like ginger a whole lot. But I went into this with as open of a mind as I possibly could and I’m really glad I did because if I’d assumed things prior I think it would have really tainted the experience I had – and it was a good experience.
This is a really sweet oolong; surprisingly sweet. It reminds me of the almost extreme but pure, raw and natural sweetness of ginseng. Not that in tasted like ginseng – to be perfectly clear here, that level of flavour is just really comparable. With the greener oolong used here and the unexpected presence of strong butter and cream flavours I was immediately reminded of the really good, higher quality Milk Oolongs that I’ve been lucky enough to try. I’m kind of thinking Mandala’s milk oolong here; which I know is pretty popular here on Steepster and the only Milk Oolong I’ve actually debated getting more of.
Side Note: I wonder if it’s time to explore Milk Oolongs again; it’s been a while and I know my palate has changed considerably.
In addition to having similarities with milk oolongs, this is also very obviously a floral tea. During my time drinking it I was able to pick out very distinct notes of not only lily but peony and orchid as well. It was kind of like drinking a bouquet of Spring flowers with honey drizzled on them – and I know that doesn’t sound appealing, but I liked it. A lot.
And now that ginger flavour…
Again, keep in mind that I don’t actually like ginger so despite having an open mindset when drinking this I do have a bias. Now that we’ve made that clear; I liked the ginger. Yeah, I was shocked too. But, I really liked it. To me it was mild and light handed, and definitely much more of a sweet flavour than a spicy one, like I see other reviewers have noted.
How does this all tie together? I guess I’d describe the ‘order’ of flavour as a consistent and steady “milk oolong” background flavour atop the initial flavour of ginger that transitions to in the middle of the sip you taste both ginger and the floral components and then just the floral by the end. Obviously a higher quality oolong base being used here, and good, natural flavourings. I was really impressed.
Very curious whether people who actually consider themselves ‘ginger fans’ would find the ginger too light for their tastes (I thought it was mild; and usually it’s the ingredients you dislike that you notice the most – or so it seems) or whether it’d really work for them. Ginger fans who’ve tried this one, weigh in please!
I’m so excited to try my other samples now! Monday’s my next day off, so I think now that I feel comfortable using the aroma cup, Magnolia Oolong will be the next one I go for. Already anticipating that it’ll be good…
Cold Brew Sipdown (122)!
Couldn’t help but think of Anna when drinking this hedgehog-y tea. It comes from the lovely MissB though. I’m loving drinking these samples from your travels abroad. Gotta thank you and the H&W for including me even though I’m far off in Saskatchablah.
I admit; I had to look up what Quince is supposed to taste like. I didn’t have a clue what it was. I’m incredibly proud of my taste buds though because I when I tasted this I thought it tasted incredibly akin to very ripe apples and Bartlett pears and, after looking Quince up, I learned it’s supposed to taste like an apple/pear cross. Score one me! Seriously; I was tasting the quince before I even knew what it was.
I also thought that there was a light floral undertone to the flavour too though; it rounded the tea out and made it feel more layered in flavour though there were moments where with the fruit it tasted borderline perfume-y. The green base was…
Well, it was green. Really green actually in that sort of colour equals taste way – but I couldn’t break it down further for you. I was focusing perhaps a little too much on figuring out what the quince was and less on the backdrop for the flavour. I didn’t mind it though; it all went together very well. I’m not big on green teas in general; but fruity is the way to go with flavouring them, in my opinion. Kinda hard to mess that up (unless the base itself is shit).
Thanks MissB – this was surprisingly really lovely! I almost wish I hadn’t passed on my last little bit of it to someone else (though I’m sure she’ll love it). I’m curious how this one would have done hot…
So this is a sample I got from Stephanie.
It is a tea…
I drank it. Umm, I forgot to write anything down and I recall absolutely nothing except that I kinda liked it. But really; I couldn’t tell you anything about what it tasted like. Whoops. But thankfully I’ve got enough for another cup, which I will most definitely actually pay attention to next time!
Sucks though; ‘cause the whole point of my requesting this one was that I wanted to explore more straight Keemun’s since I feel like I’ve tried so few plain ones. Straight assams are much more my jam…
Kinda bummed I didn’t write any tasting notes yesterday; the “word of the day” was a really fun one – Scuttlebutt (rumor/gossip). I really wanted to share it – which I guess I’m doing now, but it feels a little like I’m cheating? The word of the day is outdated! I can’t think of why you’d use this one instead of rumor though – unless, like me, you just really like saying it.
Anyway; the “actual” word of the day today is trajectory which is “The curve that an object travels along through space (such as a bullet, a rocket or a planet in its orbit)”. Not nearly as fun a word though, in my opinion.
Supper tonight was alfredo with green pepper and little cut up
vegetarian hot dog chunks. It was kinda borderline kiddish, but guys can I just say that I’m really proud of myself for eating more healthily this new year. I’ve added so much fresh fruits and vegetables to my diet; easily tripled the amount I used to eat, and double the amount of tofu/soy based food I used to have so I’m considerably less iron deficient than I was (I’ve been iron deficient pretty much non-stop since I switched to a vegetarian diet ten years ago). Plus, I’m also either eating a daily thing of yogurt or having a smoothie – or both. Big changes for me. And I feel better, too.
Plus – just from dietary changers alone, and no added exercise or anything, I’ve lost about 8 pounds in the last month and a bit. That maybe doesn’t seem really significant, by my whole life I’ve NEVER been able to lose weight, ever. Only maintain it – so it’s a big deal for me.
Anyway – this is a queued review.
This is the last tea I had to try from January’s Amoda box. I actually drank it the same day as TheLastDodo did because her review encouraged me to actually try it, but I’m behind on writing tasting notes a little.
I have to agree with both people who’ve already had this – it’s a little weird, for sure. Not your average white tea by a long shot. I cold brewed my sample, which I think neither reviewer before me did – I kind of wish I’d done it hot now, because they both seemed to enjoy it better than I did and I’m wondering if that’s the difference.
But, my first, unfiltered opinion was that this had very strong, robust notes of orange rind and burnt hay. But after finishing my 25 oz. brew I think calling it “burnt hay” is maybe a little harsh; it was just really strong, and there was also a malty note present that, with the combination of hay and orange rind was doing some weird flavour things. I also tasted a very crisp, vegetal flavour that reminded me a lot of cucumber, but cucumber with the peel. It’s hard to describe the taste of cucumber peel – but it does have a distinct flavour. I don’t know; maybe mineral and bitter kind of apply to the flavour?
I’m a little sad I didn’t taste the melon that Dodo and LiberTEAs did, because I have a hunch orange/melon would work together a little better than orange/cucumber; but melon (especially green melons) and cucumber do have a comparable taste, so I see where they were each coming from.
Overall; this was fascinating and I think worth trying just because of how different it is but it was a little too weird for me, I was intrigued but a little uncomfortable drinking it and so, unless I was maybe trying it hot, I wouldn’t have it again – and I wont be purchasing any more.
Funny Side Note – if you look up the wikipedia page for cucumbers one of the sections is “In The News”. And while there is something reasonable under the header, all I can picture now is my local news dude reporting on the days stories and saying something like “…And when we come back from our next commercial break we’ll get to today’s breaking story; cucumbers!” What about cucumbers Mr. Anchorman!? What about them!?
Thank you TheLastDodo for the sample! I’m surprised how quickly your package made it to me; usually things from the States take longer to arrive. Crossing my package makes it to you as efficiently!
I have to say, the mix of teas you sent me is both exciting and intimidating. Tons of new to me things; especially all the green teas. Probably like 8/10 of the samples are things I’d have never even come close to picking for myself; but that’s not a bad thing AT ALL because I know I’m gonna learn so much from trying different things! I’m actually dying to try the Tai Ping Houkui but I’m struggling to figure out what to brew it in; the leaves are HUGE…
Suggestions would be appreciated!
I’m drinking this one Western Style with a splash of milk since the tea description mentioned it going well with milk. I wouldn’t have thought so, ‘cause of the Lapsang but it actually does work really nicely. I have to admit; my palate has seriously changed over time because I am loving Lapsang right now. It actually bothers me I don’t have any straight Lapsang stocked right now, because I’ve certainly been craving it. Tre calls in “Gentleman’s Tea” which I think is super charming and adorable, and I’m gonna start doing it too. But yeah, I was really happy to see this in my swap package!
I can tell I’m in a ramble-y, wordy mood so I’m gonna try and keep this short and sweet. But we all no I’m terrible at “run on” tasting notes…
But, it’s obviously smokey from the Lapsang – more of a campfire smoke though than an ashy, tobacco smoke. There’s a lovely, but light, malty note coming from I assume the Assam as well – and an unrefined earthyness from the Pu’Erh, which is probably only exaggerating the “Campfire Smoke” taste. I’m curious is this would taste a little brisker without the milk; thankfully I have enough leaf to revisit and try it again plain! Honestly not sure what the oolongs contributing here; I don’t think I’d know it was in the blend if I hadn’t read it in the description.
Really good though! Thanks so much Dodo! It was nice to come home from work today and brew this one up, since I went without my morning cuppa…
Gonna work on a few tasting notes for a little while; I’ve done a bad job writing the latter half of this week – but I had super weird and polar opposite hours that ‘caused my sleep pattern to get SEVERELY out of whack. I’ve all the last 72 hours, aside from getting ready for work, bussing to work, and actually working, asleep. No free time…
The one exception being when I woke up yesterday at 1AM (after sleeping for ten straight hours following a File Maintenance shift starting at 5AM) and watched Soul Surfer on Netflix super early in the morning (1:30AM until like 3AM?) and cried like a little baby. I don’t know why it made me so emotional; I mean I’ve read her book and I didn’t even cry that much at the book; but the water works were GOING. Thank God Tre’s still out of town – I’d have never lived down that much tears.
But then after that, right back to sleep until 9:30AM when I was woken up by a phone call; I was supposed to start work at 9:00AM! There’d be a communication when I was getting my schedule though, and I’d written down someone else’s shifts (one of the other Kelly’s who work with me; there’s four in total for our department). I didn’t think I started until 11…
So rough start to my day I guess; but it’s gone really well otherwise! I obviously didn’t have time to make any tea while getting ready for work – I wound up there makeup less, without showering, in an unwashed uniform. Barely had time to grab some things from the fridge to make a lunch before my cab had arrived. Thankfully I had this one cold brewed and prestrained; so I wasn’t totally tea-less!
You know what though? As tasty as this one was, it wasn’t really really similar to the Saskatoon Berry tisane I have from the same company. Really, you could go look at my tasting note for that one and it’d convey almost everything I experienced with the cold brew for this one.
And I guess that makes sense, they do have really similar ingredient lists but I was hoping the different proportions of stuff in the blends would make for some more noticeable contrast. The one sort of justifiable and significant difference is very pleasant though; this blend has Chokecherries in it, and the Saskatoon Berry doesn’t. You can taste them in here too; and they’re sweet and almost jammy. But I think a little more like a sweet and tart compote. Subtle difference; but still different.
Still haven’t tried either of the two blends hot yet; the hibiscus scares me. What’s the middle ground between cold brew and hot cup? I need to do that next, I guess…
Flavors: Berries, Cherry, Hibiscus, Tart
Had to run some errands today; the most important of which was picking up new work shoes since the soles of the ones I have now are cracked so I made a mug of this to take to the mall with me. Added a little splash of milk; mostly the cool it down so I could drink it right away, and less so for the flavour.
The tea itself was very, very good – I’m getting down to my last few cups of it sadly. I’ll really miss it when it’s gone! Today’s cup was rich and creamy with some malt and sweet potato notes as well as a warm hot honey flavour. It didn’t last very long; maybe half the bus ride to the mall? Definitely long gone by the time I’d actually arrived.
I went and got new work shoes at Target, and picked since they’ve got everything on sale ‘cause they’re liquidating (bye bye Target – it was sorta nice having you in Canada while it lasted) I got another pair with a really cute floral pattern just ‘cause as well as a fancy pair of socks with a skateboarding pug on them. They’re silly, so just my style…
I could have probably spent a lot in Target but I restrained myself and left with just those items. I knew I was probably gonna end up spending money at some of the other stores in the mall anyway, so it was easier to just walk out with the three things.
Need to go to bed, but I’m on a really good tasting note roll right now…
Anyway thanks again Stephanie for the sample! I used extra leaf this time around since my biggest complaint with the last brew was that the flavour was weak and watery. This cup was a little less bland and had some notable differences; it was sweeter with a much more distinct and present vanilla flavour though to me it came off just a touch like artificial vanilla extract and less so like, well, actual vanilla.
There was still a fair amount of cinnamon – that part was definitely consistent. But where I gained vanilla flavour, I definitely lost the cooling, refreshing flavour of the mint. I think I just slightly prefer the vanilla flavour being present over the mint, despite the fact the mint was more natural, but having both present would be ideal. I mean this is Vanilla Mint and not Vanilla or Mint, right?
The earthy Pu was very subtle; most present in the aftertaste. It read to me like damn soil, with a light sweetness to it. I think I’d have really enjoyed the flavour if it was more present.
So to summarize; this was better than the first cup but only slightly. I just want more flavours from this one – more of all the flavours (except maybe the cinnamon). I think it could be really good, if it weren’t so light.