2828 Tasting Notes
This is a queued tasting note.
This made for a really delightful tea soda; the light vegetal flavor of the white and green tea used came out very fresh, and almost bamboo-like. I’ve done bamboo tisanes as soda before, and I have to say that I really enjoy that light flavor carbonated. It makes me feel like a big panda sipping on my tea.
_Fun Fact: Did you know that giant pandas eat, on average, 84 POUNDS of bamboo a day!? _
There were also a lot of fresh fruit notes; rhubarb, strawberry, to a lesser extent cherry, and then lemon from the lemon myrtle. It was very light; like fruit infused water but much more refreshing and sweet. It almost reminded me of fresh cut fruit salad – in the best way. I’m definitely really impressed with this one as a tea soda!
True story; every time I go to search for this one I write out “Random Sampling”. Don’t ask me why my brain can’t comprehend that that’s not the name…
This is pretty well just my backlogged summary from last week’s Tea Class though; the focus was on visually identifying different grades of black tea. We did a PF, BOP, CTC, FTGFOP, and SFTFOP – personally I thought it was way too many broken grades. I mean, realistically, I think it’s more valuable to be able to differentiate the whole leaf/orthodox grades…
That said; the BOP and the SFTGFOP were my favourites. The FTGFOP was the same Orthodox Black we’ve been doing every week and it was alright as well. The other two broken leaf grades were hardly even drinkable to me. Far, far too bitter and astringent. Of course, they were sure to drill into our memories during class that a better grade doesn’t necisarrily equal a better taste which is definitely true; but I think in this case it was safe to say the better grade teas were also the better tasting.
This week is exam week! I have to do a blind folded cupping and identify five teas (gonna have to get my Dad to help with this; thankfully I’m visiting for the next three days – if I wasn’t I’d be screwed ‘cause Tre’s on vacation), and then a written exam before Tuesday and then a presentation on Skype. So, three part exam. But I’m confidant I’ll do well.
I’m revisiting this matcha; I tried it over a year ago. Here are some of the highlights from my old tastings/reviews just to see if my observations are consistent:
“…there’s also a slight vegetal taste in the first part of the sip”, and
“…in the aftertaste you get more of a true cotton candy flavour”.
The first time I tried this was in cold milk, but for this tasting I’ll be using cold cashew milk like I have for all the other flavors so far from RLT’s sampler. Dry, I think this smells pretty rich but in a generically sugary way; it’s hard to capture a smell that’s clearly cotton candy when, realistically, all cotton candy is just hot, spun sugar.
Funnily enough, my initial impression/observation is true to my old review: I think the first thing you taste is a very grassy top note which eventually does lean into a more sweet body flavor. It is very generic for me though; I don’t think if I was trying this blind I’d be able to pinpoint it as cotton candy flavor. That said, I did actually like it and I appreciate the nice balance between the flavor of the matcha and the added flavors. It’s not as accurate as it could be though, so that is a bit disappointing.
I’m happy I revisited this one though! And I look forward to trying out the last sample to see if my observations from a year ago are also accurate for that one.
Steeped this one up as a hot cashew milk latte for class last week. I was a little scared that the cashew milk’s distinct flavor might over power the vanilla notes but the tea did a good job keeping up with the milk.
It was actually very sweet; almost cloying actually and I really didn’t expect that. I was sure this would be a nice, creamy beverage with subtle vanilla flavouring. But I’m not disappointed it was really sweet; it was a good surprise! Obviously the vanilla notes dominated, with the extra kind of ‘exotic’ presence/feel from the Tonka Beans. Liquid Proust should see if he can find a source for Tonka Beans; I’ve yet to see another company use them (and I know they’re supposed to be near impossible to find in the states) and I’d love to try them in another blend. Maybe with a black base…
But overall this was super comforting and enjoyable; though perhaps better suited for fall/winter?
This made a surprisingly very lovely cold brew, and I have to admit I only cold brewed it out of lazyness; I had just finished straining my last cold brew for work and I wanted to start the next brew using one of the teas already in the kitchen instead of going to raid my tea closet but the only tins in the kitchen were straight blends, so I just grabbed the nearest one…
It was very rich, with decadent dark chocolate/baker’s chocolate notes creating a strong current of flavor throughout most of the sip. Honestly, it was the most chocolatey I’ve ever gotten this blend to taste. Then, there was a ripe dark cherry notes that kind of rode the top notes and together with such intense chocolate notes it reminded me of a very decadent truffle.
Other lesser notes were a roasted barley flavor trailing behind the chocolate and a bit more present in the aftertaste and a light handed molasses note that was a bit more of a top note like the cherry. This definitely seemed like an appropriate combination of flavors for an “Alice In Wonderland” themed blend; darker flavor notes but with a fruity/whimsical side? Yes please!
10/10 – would repeat this cold brew again.
I can’t believe I haven’t done this one cold brewed yet; the flavor kind of screams “drink me cold”, but nope! Or, at least, if I have it wasn’t a memorable experience. So, that’s how I prepped this tea this time around; sadly when I opened up the tin it wasn’t nearly as full as I thought. I was sure I’d done a good job hoarding this one. It brewed up a surprisingly light colour. Almost a yellow gold sort of shade? It reminded me a bit of green tea, rather than black. But it smelled so good; rich vanilla and sasparilla notes. I definitely made a good decision cold brewing this one.
The taste was awesome though there was a bit of a duality type thing going on. I was able to taste the ‘sum of the parts’, or rather ingredients, which made for this super lovely and bold rootbeer flavor but at the exact same time I was tasting the ‘parts that make up the sum’ as well. Distinct notes of vanilla, white chocolate, cinnamon, sasparilla, and this kind of cocoa butter-esque note. Mentally, I was flipping back and forth between tasting the ‘big picture’ and each individual flavor pretty well every other sip. It was like that “Do you see the goblet or two faces” optical illusion – at first you can only see one but then once you’ve seen the second you can’t help but flip between seeing both.
And while I appreciate being able to break down the flavor, I kind of wanted to just sit back and drink this without, I guess, ‘over thinking’ it…
I wasn’t going to write any notes tonight ‘cause I’m feeling way too tired but I had to comment how happy I am about the Supreme Court’s ruling today! Seriously; I am never ever ever going to forget this monumental date! For everyone in the LGBTQA+ community in the states, I am so happy for you all! I wish I’d had a tea in my cupboard that seemed specifically ‘themed’ for the day. What happy news to wake up to though, honestly. It made my day. Actually no, it made my month! I just hope everyone realizes that the fight for equality doesn’t end here; you’ve all made a GIANT step forward but we’re not done yet.
As for the tea soda; the guayusa flavor was VERY strong but in a good way; big notes of rich, damp earth and moss and an almost herbaceous sort of feel. It was a little weird drinking a carbonated version of that but in a good way.
The papaya and peach flavors were secondary to the guayusa with the peach standing out just slightly more than the papaya despite the very, very large chunks of papaya in the measured out dry leaf. It didn’t taste like candy, which is good, but more of an unrefined/unwashed “stony” kind of peach flavor. I’m not really sure how else to describe it. Peach pit? Who knows…
Definitely very tasty, though!
And again, I am SO happy for everyone in the states right now.
Thank you TheLastDodo for the sample! Sorry it took a while to get to; I was trying to save it for a special occasion but eventually gave up on that. Then, in this week’s class, my instructor mentioned this blend specifically and said it was actually on of Teavana’s better straight teas and worthy of a taste if we wanted to try a not ‘half bad’ yellow tea. Since I already had a sample…
Visually, the dry leaf of this blend looked like somewhat tarnished, lightly browned Yin Zhen (Silver Needle tea) but a little more twisty. Steeped up, the liquor is a very flat, dull golden yellow. It’s very beautiful, even if it’s not a more lively looking liquor. Personally, I’ve only had three or four other plain yellow teas and they’ve been prepared in blue teaware, so I can’t really use my personal experiences to say whether this colour is normal for steeped up yellow tea though. The aroma is interesting; it’s soft with a bit of a buttery vegetal smell and some malt and sweeter notes as well.
Drinking this, it was really apparent to me that the nuances of flavor take after traditional Yin Zhen and Green Tea (perhaps a more Chinese green than Japanese based on the notes I observed) pretty equally; of course that makes sense given that yellow tea is halfway between white and green tea. On the greener end of the spectrum, I noticed very gentle smokey notes, buttery vegetal notes, a bit of a peppery flavor leaning towards lemon pepper more so than black pepper (or the actual vegetable; bell pepper, etc.), and some less distinct herbaceous notes as well. That lovely peppery quality definitely falls in line with other yellow teas I’ve been lucky enough to sample.
On the whiter side of things; there was a lovely supple sweetness that reminded me of honey or, combined with the weaker floral tones present, honeysuckle. A more vague hay-like flavour was present, and a flavor that kind of crossed over between malt and cream with a soft fruity edge; very similar to some of the Kenyan white teas I’ve gotten to try. I like to describe that flavor as kind of tasting like a Hot Cross Bun/Easter bun, in a way.
This was a super interesting tea, and I loved all the flavors present that bounced off one another; I’ve only gotten to try a few different yellow teas, and this isn’t my least favourite but it’s not my favourite either: so far Camellia Sinensis’ Meng Ding Huang Ya is my favourite. Both this tea and CS’s heavy big price tags; but with the quality difference I’d go with CS’s yellow tea. However, I think this is definitely worth trying if you get the chance because it WAS lovely.
Damn, what a tea to be using my 2800th note on…
Continuing with the exploration of Guayaki drinks, this is the one I was most skeptical about of the three I picked up. I’ve tried a few yerba mate and spearmint blends, and actually have one stocked right now so I know that it’s not a terrible pairing; in fact it’s a pretty popular pairing. It’s actually the honey aspect of this that scares me; when it comes to more commercial tea beverages, ‘honey’ usually means very sweet.
However, because Revel Berry maintained a respectable level of sweetness I was open to this one; hopefully it would do the same. I was poorly mistaken in my assumptions, however. This was assaulting; the spearmint was ridiculously strong and sweet in and of itself; like those Spearmint leaf five cent gummy candies that come in giant bulk bags. I’ve never been a fan of those. They taste so fake. On top of that the sweetness of the honey was equally as intense. The yerba mate, while pretty drowned up, did come through a little bit but it felt kind of grimy, and yet at the same time all three notes together conjured up the image of neon green slime.
To me, it tasted like one of those five cent candies dipped into a bottle of raw honey and then sprinkled with a little dirt. Why would you willingly put that in your mouth? I struggled through a third of the can and then finally called it quits and tossed it. It makes me more skeptical to try the third, and last, one I bought now knowing just how big the range between ‘hit’ and ‘miss’ from this company can be. Personally, I’ll be avoiding (and internally wincing) this flavor every time I pass it in the aisles at work – but if you’re feeling bold enough, and you like super sweet mint flavored things, I guess giving it a try couldn’t hurt.
Today’s cold brew…
It reminded me a little bit of Strawberry Colada which made me feel a little dumb ‘cause how did I not put the similarities together earlier? Though they do have differences; this has I think a more sharp hibiscus and strawberry initial taste, and then level out more in the middle. This time around it smelled very yogurt like and creamy, but that didn’t convey as well in the taste.
I failed at being a productive person today as well; I’m gonna have to do all five of my cuppings for class on Tuesday, because I didn’t do a single one today. Fuuuucccckkkk.