2836 Tasting Notes
Hope everyone kicked off the Easter Weekend with some good teas! I spent the day working (hooray stat pay!), but I’ve got the next four days off as an Easter ‘vacation’ of sorts! And, I’m very lucky to get to spend those four days with my little sister who’ll be staying with me for part of her school break.
This time I definitely thought ahead and remembered that an integral part of having people stay at your house (especially minors) is FEEDING THEM. There’s so much food in the house right now; I totally over did it. To put it in perspective; my sister’s favourite food in the world is Watermelon so I’ve got an entire shelf in the fridge just PACKED with sliced watermelon to munch on!
However, one downside of having her stay over is gonna be not getting to update tasting notes that frequently, so I’m gonna try and power through this ‘mini queue’ I’ve built up over the last few days so as to not put myself even further behind…
Many thanks to Sil for sending me the rest of her pouch of this tea; I’m hard core wishing I’d stocked up – it’s easily the best Lapsang I’ve ever had. Just the right amount of smoke with some natural sweetness.
This time when I made this one I was inspired by OMGsrsly who likes to add maple whipped cream to her Lapsang. I don’t really have maple syrup or whipped cream (though I suppose picking some up wouldn’t be a hassle since I work at a grocery store) but what I do have is Cinnabon flavoured coffee creamer, so I added some of that since I figured it’d be similar enough in concept.
And it was SUCH a good idea; I was impressed how much of the tea’s flavour profile was untouched – it was still pretty smooth with well defined smokey and wood notes. It just had an added kick of sweet cinnamon and gooey icing/glaze! I’d absolutely drink it again; although I definitely still very much enjoy this one straight as well. Both ways are EXCELLENT options.
Sample comes from MissB!
Man, the pear in this is a total lie. I cold brewed my sample hoping for something that tasted like the nice cinnamon dusted, poached pear-like rooibos blends I enjoyed around winter this year but this is kind of a flop. It’s taken me almost all of the day to even half finish it; and it’s not disgusting or anything but there’s just no appeal either.
Here’s a flavour breakdown for you guys:
33% Chamomile (bleck!)
33% Cinnamon (which is just too much cinnamon)
33% Wood Chippy Rooibos Base
And… 1% Pear
I’m gonna toss the rest I think; it’s taking way too long to finish this.
The ‘original’ tea I started drinking today; and if we’re getting really technical I actually started it yesterday – though I only had a sip from my timolino after getting home from work before popping it back in the fridge.
This one comes from MissB though, and because it smelled really fun and fruity I cold brewed it! It definitely smell quite lime-y. I’ve got to admit that I was kind of naive in that when I saw “Cacao” in the description I just assumed, like, chocolate without even realizing that cacao is an actual fruit with a flavour separate from chocolate. It wasn’t until I actually tried it today and didn’t taste chocolate that I took the time to do a bit of research.
Taste is pretty good; it’s super lime-y with a little bit of bitterness and pith; but not enough to make it unpleasant or affect the mouthfeel in any way. I also taste other tropical fruit flavours like guava or a really punch-like orange? And, my first impression was slightly tart raspberries – though the more I drink the less raspberry like this tastes. I don’t actually know what the cacao fruit is supposed to taste like though? Anyone who does know want to fill me in, because I feel like I’m missing out on a pretty integral part of what this tea should taste like…
But overall it’s good, if not a little perplexing. I don’t really taste the base at all which I know would be a negative for some though for me it’s almost a positive. I don’t understand why this is “Christmas” themed though. NOTHING about it makes me think of Christmas; it’s actually a borderline piss off. You can’t just go “This is my Blueberry Muffin flavoured tea – I’ve named it Halloween Scare” and not an explanation to back it up. Just ‘cause it might ’go well’ with holiday food doesn’t seem good enough to me. I think apple juice is tasty with stuffing – I don’t call AJ a Thanksgiving beverage…
Flavors: Guava, Lime, Orange
Drinking this one currently; though to be fair I’ve got two other mugs in front of me as well that I’m also drinking. I started the day with one, and gradually I’ve just been getting up to steep something new without actually finishing anything off. I’m hoping doing the tasting notes for each respective tea will be enough motivation to finish the mugs.
I wasn’t feeling this one at all as a cold brew but it’s a little better hot; the berry flavour is more distinctly blackberry and more powerful than the cream component which I wasn’t feeling at all the first time around. However, part of this new distribution of flavours is a sharpness coming from the tart hibiscus in the blend. It’s not the worst thing ever, but it doesn’t work with the cream. The cream somehow seems to be less artificial and chalky hot than cold brewed so I’m sorta seeing why other people have found this one to be really good; but that unappealing multi-vitamin sort of taste is brought out in the aftertaste in which the cream component lingers more than the berry. The rose doesn’t seem as noticeable to me hot, but it’s still here as well. More tied in with the berry, I’d say.
This is definitely a step up though, and maybe this one will end up growing on me. For now, probably just gonna finish it off hot and then after that I’ll be done with this one.
It’s been a super lazy day around the house so far; we washed a bunch of dirty dishes ’cause the ones in the dishwasher had been sitting around so long they were starting to grow mold, and I painted my nails a really pretty matte cherry red – but otherwise not much has been accomplished by me other than clearing my queue of posts.
Tre actually went grocery shopping; so for the first time since like August there’s food in the house that’s actually his instead of me sharing my food (usually in exchange for him cooking it) or him just ordering in like has happened the last half a year. I actually had to make fridge space; which was weird. Of course, 90% of what he bought was TV dinners, chips, ice cream and other junky type stuff…
A few weeks back I mentioned buying a bottle of grenadine in an attempt to jump start yet another ‘project’ or ‘operation’, if you will. Instead of “Operation: Birthday Cake In Everything” I’m going to be moving forward with “Operation Make Your Own Monk’s Blend”! Traditionally, a Monk’s blend is black tea with grenadine and vanilla so I figured it’d be fun to try experimenting a little with the straight blacks I’ve got currently since neither grenadine or vanilla is particularly hard to get a hold of.
So, Trial #1:
I used about 1 1/2 tsp. of Grenadine in my timolino worth of this tea. My fear was actually that I may have been starting out with too much grenadine since it’s very syrupy, sweet stuff. I find the grenadine I’m using in particular (Rose’s Brand) doesn’t actually taste much like pomegranate (which is what grenadine is actually traditionally supposed to be) but has a more generic “red fruit” flavour, almost cherry or strawberry.
This came out… Interesting.
It’s kinda drying and astringent with some really smokey notes from the Keemun. The grenadine is present, but not at all as much as I thought it would be. What I’m taking away from this is that smoke and grenadine don’t mix together in a satisfying way and that I’m probably going to need to use at least 2 tsp. of grenadine next time, if not possibly a tablespoon (though that just seems like so much grenadine). It did “pop” a litter more as it cooled down, though. And it certainly was drinkable overall even if the flavours clashed a bit.
Thank you MissB for the sample!
Cold Brewed this one; I have a lot of experience with Gin (it’s my hard alcohol of choice), as well as some experiences with Gin Fizzes, and my opinion is that Gin should be consumed cold and only cold. So that’s what I did with this one!
Overall, it was a pretty big flop. Not that it tasted bad; it was just really subpar with bland, predictable sort of flavour notes: Ginger, lemongrass and lemon/less distinct citrus in particular. It had that super distinct licorice root sweet finish; but I don’t see any mention of there being licorice root in it though. I find that hard to believe.
Yeah; didn’t remind me of a Gin Fizz and had just an average at best flavour; this one wasn’t a winner for me. It’d have been one thing if it didn’t taste like Gin Fizz, but was really unique or tasty. Such was not the case though. You can’t love ‘em all though; thankfully I don’t seem to be in the minority here…
Today’s word of the day is: exorbitant! Exorbitant means ‘going beyond the limits of what is fair, reasonable, or expected’.
Flavors: Ginger, Lemon, Lemongrass, Licorice
My tattoos are so damn itchy; and I know that’s an entirely healthy part of the healing process and I haven’t caved at scratched/picked at them because I’m determined to make sure they heal well; but man my will power is being tested!
This was the tea I made for the way to work though; I had it in a new ceramic double-walled travel mug I bought for myself (it’s got lots of vibrant spring coloured flowers on it and it’s really pretty) because I thought I’d lost the leaky glass double walled thermos I normally use; I had forgotten it at work, and when I couldn’t find it anywhere in the staffroom I just assumed some asshole had stolen it. Funnily enough, when I got to work I saw it sitting on the counter so I snatched it back up and now I’m back to two travel mugs (other than my timolinos; I still use those, but these guys let me drink my tea immediately). I guess whoever took it saw me looking for it and brought it back?
Anyway, this sample comes from – of course, MissB! It’s one of what seems like few black teas from her – not that I don’t appreciate the greens. Black tea is sorta my jam though; and this one certainly sounds interesting if nothing else!
The smell of the dry leaf and as it steeps is more floral than anything else; definitely kind of rosey but I was totally getting more of a softer lavender vibe than violet. Somehow, the sort of dry bitterness of grapefruit translated into the smell? I don’t know how it did that – but it’s absolutely what I was thinking of.
The taste is on point for me though; it’s quite soothing and pacifying with a sort of daintiness about it, and the floral notes match the tea related cravings I’ve been having the last few weeks as we really transition from Winter to Spring. I would call it a good “bad day” tea.
While I still picked up on some lavendar like notes as well as the obvious rosey ones, I did start to see the violet as well. And, the fact that this doesn’t taste like drinking perfume despite all of those floral notes impressed me.
The real star is the grapefruit though; I’ve actually not had many grapefruit teas to my recollection and I don’t really eat a whole lot of the actual fruit, in fact I can’t even remember the last time I had a grapefruit – because I typically find it much too bitter, but this somehow managed to very authentically capture the sweetness of the fruit while keeping the bitterness at bay. It was present just enough to kind of affect the mouthfeel and add more dimension and layers to the tea but without detracting from the experience of drinking this one. However, I know I was also very reserved with how long I let this one steep, and I can see a longer infusion bringing out some very negative traits; too much floral and too much bitterness being the worst offenders.
But overall this was, not so surprisingly, very good – I was impressed how well the floral notes and citrus cooperated while still maintaining some juxtaposition and the black base was smooth. If I have any criticism it’s probably that I would have wanted a smidgen more grapefruit flavour.
Queued Tasting Note.
Ok, last tasting note of the night for realsies this time!
This is from the February Amoda box – it’s the last one from that box that I’ve got to try. I saved it because after doing some exploration with other Keemun blends I’ve kinda concluded that it’s not really a tea type for me. And I’ll be honest, it is kind of a relief (especially on my wallet) to have a whole ‘class’, if you will, of tea that I can essentially just write off…
But givin’ this one a go anyway ‘cause I’ve got it now and I might as well. It’s actually much lighter in flavour than I expected; primary flavour notes are smoke, some kind of sweeter bread, honey and raisins. The smoke in particular is very strong – and that part, at least, I like. It’s just that, with everything else, it’s just not so great. Why do I always have to pick up on the raisin notes in Keemun too? I know they’re sometimes present in other tea types, but I usually don’t notice them. Such is not the case with this class of tea…
I also thought that this one was a little bit floral; that was kinda nice, but weird with how smokey it was. Who wants to drink gently smoked flowers? I’m not gonna rate this one ‘cause I think I’m maybe a little biased about it.
Final, non-tea related note for the night: BB Can houseguests are currently talking about the pros/cons of bagged milk versus milk in the jug. I know bagged milk is a Canadian thing, but I just have to point out that I live in Saskatchewan and I’ve never actually seen bagged milk in person in my entire life. The entire concept of bagged milk is SUPER weird to me and I 100% emphasize with the Canadians in the Big Brother house who, like me, live in provinces where bagged milk isn’t a thing.
I know that’s it’s more cost effective to make/produce and buy, and easier to transport and all that jazz but it just weirds me out so much. I would NEVER have a ‘bag of milk’ in a pitcher in my fridge. I know that realistically it’s no different than a pitcher of, say, orange juice – but it seems kind of unsanitary? And I’m totally being unreasonable and irrational about the whole thing but it’s SO WEIRD. Common ’mericans – back me up here! If I was in the BB house, I think having to have bagged milk would likely bother me more than being on slop. I need Zach to get in on this bagged vs. jug milk debate! He’s from Saskatchewan like me; I’m like 95% sure he’d share the same anti-bagged milk opinion I have.
Queued Tasting Note.
Thank you MissB for the sample! I did a blind tasting with this one, and based on the obviously minty smell I decided to cold brew it because iced/cold brewed mint teas are so refreshing! And really just perfect for the nice Spring weather we’ve been having.
The green base used in this is pretty mild, and really takes backseat to the added flavourings. I thought that maybe it was a little bit nutty in addition to the vegetal taste, but mostly just like a regular green. Visually, I’m guessing it’s Gunpowder? It looks pretty similar to most gunpowder teas I’ve ever seen. I’m seeing now that, in the reviews, you guys think it might be a greener oolong? I definitely didn’t think it tasted like oolong…
This has some solid, kind of “mid range” spearmint notes to it. I say mid range because they were strong but not enough so to cover up the base entirely or mask the other flavourings. Mint can be unwieldy if it’s disproportionate and this one didn’t reach that level for me. This had a very weird finish for me; and it’s pretty much only in the finish that I tasted the weird flavour notes.
They were definitely quite peppery; like cracked black peppers and I also tasted some subtler gingery notes as well as maybe fennel? Something a little bit sweeter, anyway. Honestly my first thought was that this sample had been contaminated by something else it was being stored with because I was pretty sure this was just meant to be a high quality Moroccan Mint blend – but I couldn’t really recall having anything Chai-like where I was keeping it, so I didn’t know what was the ’cause of the weird flavour notes. I was actually kind of shocked when I finally looked up the tea/read the description because I was so sure this was just meant to be Moroccan Mint. Turns out I was very dead on with calling this one peppery.
As for the bergamot, though, I just don’t see it! Or, taste it I should say. Nothing about this gave me any indicator of citrus – and bergamot is usually such a distinct flavour, too.
Overall, this one wasn’t bad – but it sure as hell was weird! I’m going to conclude, now having read the description, by slightly altering my initial ‘closing thoughts’: It’s basically an unconventional/non-traditional take on Moroccan Mint. Worth a try; not worth stocking up on.
Last tea of the night; I’m sporting a pretty killer migraine and my left eye is twitching like it’s at a rave so I’m thinking it’s time for bed. That’s a shame too; the BBCan houseguests just got all the supplies for a pool party, so you know that tonight’s gonna be pretty interesting…
I bought this bagged tea in December… Of 2013.
Back then, I REALLY liked it but since then my tastes have changed so much and I’ve hardly touched it at all. Even now, it’s taken me like two hours to get through three quarters of the 12 oz mug I made myself. And, it’s not that it tastes bad, because it doesn’t, but it’s just so unoriginal and underwhelming now. Forgetting loose leaf momentarily, I’ve just been exposed to bagged tea that’s SO MUCH better. And I love Stash, I really do, but this blend can’t compete. The strawberry is almost too tart (hibby I blame you) and what’s even up with the rooibos!? It’s peppery, woody, and buttery – all the things I hate in rooibos, with the exception of medicinal. Thank God it doesn’t go there – all four ‘negative rooibos traits’ would be a nightmare.
But I’m done with it now though; I brought all the teabags but this one (so I had something to drink/review/record final thoughts with) to work for my Tea Pleb coworkers to drink, and all those teabags I passed their way are officially GONE now! It took less than a week for my coworkers to sipdown 100+ teabags!
I saved myself so many dull cups of tea.