1811 Tasting Notes
Damn you work; since I had to get up at 6AM yesterday to open the store I was exhausted when I got home – I am not a morning person. Usually at 6AM I am sound asleep, having just gone to bed two(ish) hours ago. And so because of exhaustion I fell asleep at about 8PM only to wake up an hour ago at 8 AM. Fuck. Why. I don’t want to be up this early, but now I am…
If this is what normal people do every day, it’s awful!
Anyway, I cold brewed this yesterday and that cold brew finishes off the leaf that whatshesaid was so nice enough to give me! I can’t thank her enough – it’s because of her I got to enjoy a few more cold brews of this and then finally reach a place where I feel I can move on.
Honestly? This last cold brew just wasn’t super satisfying; it was good when it was ice cold but after it started to warm up it just tasted weird and funky, like the coconut in it was just starting to turn. But that made me realize that I’m ok with this being the last of this one – I was crushed when I ran out the first time, but now I’m accepting that I had a good run with this one and now can move on to enjoying something else!
Look at all the sipdown progress! Which is good, because Camellia Sinensis finally restock Le Tropicale so I put in the order I’ve been wanting to make for the last two months! And it’s a small enough order too; three teas. But it feels good to have an actual order in coming, even if all the teas are new to me and in 50g quantities. I know that if I dislike anything there are plenty of people here to share with.
As for this blend (which is the last one in my queue btdubbs) it was really interesting! I honestly anticipated not liking but I was intrigued by the idea of a grapefruit tea (I don’t think I’ve had one or, at the very least not a memorable one) and I remembered 52Tea’s Brown Sugar Grapefruit Shou Mei so I tried pairing something relatively similar. Sorry Frank; I ripped off your brain child on this one.
Anyway; it was good – at first. It was strongly and specifically grapefruit but without a lot of bitterness or tartness to it. I think that’s what the maple really contributed: it sweetened the whole thing up and kept things upbeat. On the whole I was reminded of breakfast? Well, not my take on breakfast because for me that’s usually microwaved pizza hastily eaten before running out the door for work. But like, rich people/movie breakfast where someone brings you a platter of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice in bed with a fat stack of maple waffles and sausage links accompanying it. Not my kind of breakfast; but kinda idealistic and nice.
Except then the cup cooled and it started to taste really funky. The grapefruit just kind of built up in my mouth and tasted spoiled – like someone had left out that “perfect breakfast” for a couple of days and I was picking at the leftovers. Ew.
So I don’t know if this is a success or not. It was very on point at first, but then it turned bad. I guess on the whole it was better than I thought it’d be, though. I suppose I just have to say to drink this one hot? Anyway, I’m rating a little conservatively because of the latter half of the mug. But seriously; when this was good, it was good.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Citrus, Grapefruit, Maple, Maple Syrup
Another one from VariaTEA – we are both out to try as many Monk’s Blends as possible it seems, so I absolutely appreciated the pass on from her. I did something a little bit different with this sample though; I cold brewed it.
I sipped on this most of the day (I didn’t do much tea drinking today – I spent most of the day eating leftovers and trying not to pass out instead, seeing as I need to go to bed at a “normal” time since I work early tomorrow) and it was enjoyable enough. Despite being cold brewed, there was still this weird sort of astringency with the black base that felt off the whole time. I’d have been totally ok with it though if the grenadine was sweet enough to compensate – but this sorta wasn’t.
It just never got to the level of sweetness that I felt it should have. I mean, yes it was definitely the flavour of grenadine but just barely. And then, there wasn’t any rich vanilla either to push it further.
I think my overall conclusion is that Monk’s Blend is a tea best served hot.
Taken with milk. I thought maybe that’d push this one to be more flavourful, especially since I really over leafed this mug to use up the rest of the sample from 221Tea but somehow the opposite affect was acheived.
Instead this came off as lukewarm, slightly oily milk with a bit of extra sweetness. Really, really mediocre (at best). But at least it’s done now, right?
Right. And I have better banana teas anyway.
So this one came way of MissB about half a year ago in the 12 Days of Christmas exchange. At the time I held off on making it because I was intimidated by the quantity you have to make at one time for a bag of this. But yesterday I just sorta went “nope, fuck it” and set one of the bags up to cold brew overnight.
What a mistake that was.
After an eleven hour steep this was the same intense dark brown colour as Rootbeer or Coke, but without the fun bubbles and carbonation. I feel like it was at that point I knew I had made a terrible mistake. I really did make an effort to drink and like this one, but honestly all I got from it was the taste of really, really burnt toast. Like, black charcoal toast.
By some miracle I convinced Bobbi to try some at work and she made the biggest face I’ve ever seen her make in regard to any tea I’ve had her try. She was maybe a little nicer about describing it though; she called it “burnt coffee”. Either way, we agree it tastes very burnt.
I have one more pouch of this left – I will probably cold brew it just to get rid of it (I debated passing it on to VariaTEA but I really feel like she would not enjoy it) but with a significantly shorter brew time.
Flavors: Bitter, Burnt, Burnt Food, Char, Toast
So Design a Tea’s Tropical Snowflake put me in the mood for this one, and I was more than willing to steep myself up a cup and satisfy that craving. With the more than agreeable state my cupboard is in right now, making what I want when I want it is a satisfying luxury I feel I can afford.
It’s been a while since I had this one I think, and when I opened the tin I was blasted with the strong and INTENSE aroma of rich, sweet apricots! And then steeped up this was perfect; creamy, rich and buttery coconut with juicy “ready to explode with juice” apricot. And yes, despite the intense flavours going on this one still manages to real all of that back in and maintain a soft, delicate but full flavour.
When you want apricot; nothing tops this one.
Flavors: Apricot, Coconut, Cream, Honeysuckle, Vanilla
You can never have too much pear tea; and caramel pear? Hot damn I’m all up for that! So of course I had to include this as one of my five blends, and because I actually like rooibos that’s the base I chose because I thought it’d compliment the caramel and I’ve had other successful pear rooibos blends before.
This one was sweet but not over the top. Both the pear and caramel flavours were really present, but I think the pear just slightly more so. It came off as a just slightly overripe pear in flavour the same way the RiverTea’s Sweet Helen did but I think this worked a little better for me because it had the caramel to sweeten it and the rooibos to act as a little more of an “anchor” and add another layer to the flavour so it wasn’t just overripe pears.
This is another one that I’m going to call a success, though I’m confidant that there are much better caramel/pear blends out there. Still it was enjoyable and struck all the right cords while I was drinking it!
So this was an extra sample added in to the set of teas I made for myself! That’s really cool that they added in something extra and, just based on what it was, I feel like they really took a look at the flavours I had used in my samples and tried to pick something I’d like.
Steeped up, this had the same smooth but in the background black base as my Cranberry Rum blend did, but differently the Rum in this blend was much stronger and in your face as was the coconut which equaled the rum in intensity. That made for a very flavourful and aromatic cup enriched by sweet, supple fruit notes. Whether they were strongly apricot is a little harder to pinpoint. I’d say I was reminded of a cross between Tim Horton’s Peach Juice and Apricot Jam. It worked though, and kept things fun and tasty.
However I have to say that if and when I need an Apricot fix I am likely going to turn to Tea Desire’s White Angel which, like this blend, has a lot of rich creamy coconut in addition to a more flavourful apricot – just TD’s kinda showcases the coconut and apricot flavours more equally. Which is a good thing.
Still this was an enjoyable extra sample! Definitely worth trying.
So my Design a Tea samples (plus extra sample) arrived on Thursday when I was home sick. Of course I was very excited to try them all but I patiently waited until late in the day when I was feeling much better before I steeped a few up. Since this was the first I “designed” it was the one I started with.
There was probably more “specific” thought behind this one than all the others if I’m being honest, and that was that I’d already tried a Design A Tea blend with Cranberry in it and I had really enjoyed that aspect of the tea so I thought I’d do another as a “safer” gamble. I don’t know why I picked Rum to pair with it – I just thought the two would work. And really, it definitely did.
The black base was very smooth and hid in the background well enough to let the flavours I had chosen really shine; and I appreciate that. While I did choose the black base, I am ultimately most interested in seeing how my selected flavours combine.
The cranberry was definitely a much more dominant flavour than the rum and it stood out loudly as very ripe, sweet and juicy. That’s not to say that the rum wasn’t present though; I think it just came off as lighter overall because it was sweetening up the cranberry and keeping it from getting to be very tart.
On the whole; this was really enjoyable and for whatever reason brought forth strong connections to Christmas and “Christmas Dinner”. I am going to proclaim this first combination as a delightful success!
Flavors: Cranberry, Rum, Vanilla
Cold Brew from Thursday.
I ended up calling in sick on Thursday; I’m 90% sure I had food poisoning. I ordered Chinese instead of my standard pizza the day before and then when I woke up I felt like I was gonna die. So next time I’ll just stick with my go to pizza options. I’ve got a pretty restrictive selection as is. The only things I’ll get on my pizza are (in addition to standard cheese/sauce) Feta Cheese, Spinach, Pineapple, and Red Onion. I’m a picky eater.
So I drank a cold brew of this in the morning and watched Gossip Girl (I’m on season 3 now!). Didn’t really eat anything all day. This was delicious though: it was very robust, juicy guava with piercing apple and mango notes atop an actually relatively light hibiscus tartness. The whole thing was refreshing and sweet; not tart and “mouth puckering”. It definitely helped a lot with feeling better.
Flavors: Apple, Apple Candy, Guava, Mango