2920 Tasting Notes
PONOinfusions is a company I only very recently discovered thanks to a sample from Liquid Proust. So far, I love everything about them from their use of organic and fair trade certified ingredients to the incorporation of Hawaiian ingredients in their blends, creative themes to their teas, incorporation of Hawaiian culture and most importantly the strong emphasis on the fauna and flora in Hawaii which are endangered or at risk. On each tin you can see some of these species highlighted in the packaging, and a portion of their sales go to support working to sustain and preserve Hawaii’s natural resources and plant and wildlife.
As described on their site, ‘pono’ means ‘the right thing to do’ and my first impression here is that Alex and Andrea are certainly doing their best to do that for Hawaii! I am very excited to get my first taste of one of their blends.
The tisane I’m trying today (and not all of the teas in their line are tisanes) is called “Wai” which means fresh water, and the feature fauna and flora on their package’s design are the Hawaiian damselfly and uluhe fern. As I taste this for the first time, I’m definitely keeping the intended ‘theme’ in mind and will be seeing how the flavour compares to it.
My first impression of the taste is that it’s very familiar in a really comforting way. Breaking down the flavours I can see why; a lot of the ingredients are ones I like a great deal individually and they’re working very well combined. The body of the flavour of comprised mostly of the mint in the blend. I know this uses both peppermint and spearmint, but the spearmint is definitely more of a dominant/concentrated flavour than the peppermint is. Layered under that is the raspberry. It’s not raspberry in a really obvious way; but a gentle, subtle soft hint of raspberry that provides contrast from the mint. The nettle leaf is a little earthy and unrefined, it seems to roll in and out of sips as a flavour that I’m noticing. Finally there’s a floral aspect that finishes the sip. It reminds me of a mild jasmine though as far as I’m aware there isn’t actually any jasmine or floral ingredients in the blend.
While none of these ingredients individually make me think of fresh water there’s something about the way they interact with each other that’s very calming and tranquil and reminds me of seafoam, and skinny dipping with friends in the middle of July as the sunsets. Additionally, I remember reading a poem not too long ago that compared the ocean to a womb, first and foremost giving life and that’s the kind of feeling I get from drinking this tea. I want warm waves to wash over and cradle me.
Overall, I really like the overall taste of this tisane but more importantly I love the way it makes me feel. I haven’t been this excited about a newly discovered company in a really long time, and I’m excited to hopefully try more of their blends (in particular I’m hoping I get to try Nahele) and I very, very much recommend checking out their website! Definitely a cool company, and I think they deserve a little more attention.
Also, I’m very happy that this is my 2900th note! It seems like a good tea to be my next ‘100’ milestone. I guess this means I need to start planning what my 3000th tea note will be for; that’s gonna creep up on me before I know it…
Recently I placed a What-Cha order for myself, and one of the things I was looking for was a Houjicha to stock up since it’s one of my favourite kinds of green tea and while I currently have a Genmaicha stocked that I really like there’s a hole in my cupboard where a good Houjicha should be. This one comes from Australia, and personally I’ve never tried an Australian grown tea before though I was aware that they were produced. Australia is one of those regions that isn’t typically thought of as a tea growing region among people who aren’t more learned tea drinkers the same way people don’t realize tea is grown in places like Kenya or Hawaii and I’m very excited to get my first taste of an Australian tea, especially considering how affordable this blend was. It was an easy thing to gamble on.
I do think this was worth the gamble. While it’s not as straightforwardly roasty as I tend to prefer from a good Houjicha there are some very, very nice subtle nuanced flavour notes that more than makes up the different. For starters, there’s an interesting nutty notes that seems to make itself known in each part of the sip in a different way. With that first initial taste it’s light lightly toasted nuts, and then in the body it weaves in and out between the other flavours. In the aftertaste, you’re tasting the shadow of the nut flavour which once was.
There’s also some really nice sweeter notes like caramel and cocoa which gently stretch out across the surface of your tongue, creating this really nice, smooth body flavour. The finish is lightly smokey, and leaves you wanting to go back in for another sip so you can experience the flavour dynamics all over again. Overall it’s a very warming and welcoming cuppa.
I definitely think I’ll clear my purchase of this easily, and will probably go back for more after that. More than that, this only gets me even more excited to try more of what Australia has to offer!
Thank you Liquid Proust for passing along this sample of one of your creations! From the few teas you passed along to me, I definitely get the impression you like peach or, at least, peach teas.The sample was so generous that I’ll be able to enjoy multiple mugs in addition to passing some along in a swap to someone in Europe – hopefully the person who received this tea will enjoy it as much as I did and you’ll be able to branch out a little into Europe!
I probably would have never thought to pair Peach and Earl Grey/Bergamot, which is I guess why Liquid Proust is the blender and not myself. The idea is intriguing though; and I have to admit I’m incredibly happy to not see apricot or mango thrown in here as well; I get so tired of those flavour combinations. It’s been done time and time again, and it’s refreshing to see something else. The oolong base is really innovative as well; with it’s characteristic fruity flavour Formosa is a fantastic choice.
The dry leaf smells really incredible! You can get a sense of the bergamot as this grounded, lofty sort of flavour but then the ripe, plump aroma of fresh peaches seems to bounce off it! It smells juicy, and I can’t help but picture taking a bite of some sort of fantastic peach/orange hybrid and having the sugary juices running down my chin like some sort of gluttonous child gorging themselves on fresh picked fruit.
In traditional Earl Grey fashion I made sure this was my first tea of the day; however because I got the impression this was going to be more naturally sweet than a lot of EG I’m familiar with so I iced it instead of having it hot. True to my suspicions this was pretty sweet but in a very natural way that was realistic to the sweetness of fresh fruit. The bergamot was actually a lot milder than I would’ve guessed it to be base on the smell of the dry leaf. It ran like a citrusy current throughout each sip, consistently merged with the body of the sip. The peach left me breathless; there was something unnatural about it, but not in an artificial way or anything like that. It was more unnatural in a “how can this taste so plump, rich, and juicy!?” sort of way. I’m not really a fan of actual peaches, but if they all tasted like that I’d go through a crate of them a week. The bergamot and peach compliment each other to a tea; similar to what I was getting from the dry smell the bergamot is this lovely stable flavour and the peach seems to jump off it.
The formosa base was a great choice; while there’s a really faint but of astringency it doesn’t detract and the natural fruitiness of the oolong contributes even more lively fruit flavours. What I specifically observed was a really rich stonefruit like flavour in line with cherry, but a little more of a cocktail cherry type of note, which just goes incredibly well the peach. Plus, oolong means more solid steeps and so more bang for your buck.
As someone who is neither anti-Earl Grey or Peach but who doesn’t seek out those flavours I want to own this. I think I could drink it often; and with a growing list of Liquid Proust Teas that are blowing my mind Andrew is slowly wearing me down to the point where a LP order is probably in my near future despite the poor state of the Canadian dollar. Definitely a blend worth trying!
A final note though, in the battle of bergamot vs. peach I think peach wins…
I really wanted to try this out either hot or as a latte (or both) but I liked the cold brew so much that without thinking I dumped the rest of my sample in my mason jar to finish it off that way.
It tastes so good; like banana candy, fresh whipped cream, and chocolate syrup. I can’t get over the rich, sweet and accurate flavour – not sure when I’ll next be at a DAVIDsTEA store but I hope it’s in time to pick up more of this because I’d really, really like to continue experimentation with it. I have a lot of ideas for ways to play with it.
For the record, I hate that I love this one so much though. It has added sugar in it, which I’m so vehemently against, but it works so well here…
Wow, this was certainly an unexpected sipdown! I was measuring out the leaf to make a hot mug of this and to my surprise I didn’t even have enough left for the size of mug I originally had intended to make. So I made a smaller mug, and enjoyed drinking this hot. The clear, smooth Bartlett Pear like flavour was fun and whimsical – it even kind of reminded me of the “juicy pear” Jelly Bellies I love so much, but slightly more natural tasting. It was a good caffeine top up as well; I’ve felt so spacey all day…
I’m super sad to be done with this one, but on the other hand it’s a small relief knowing I’ve finished off some of my older matcha and that there’s less in my stash. I’ll likely reorder this again sometime in the future as well, and knowing that makes it much easier to finish it off.
Mango isn’t always a flavour that appeals to me, but I’ve tried a few paired with a white base and they’ve all been pretty enjoyable. On top of that, I really like pear though honestly I’m unsure how the pairing will do. It’s not one I’ve seen done often, and I’m worried that the mango may mask the pear if it’s not over the top.
I made this one as a cold brew, and honestly I’m not loving it though I don’t hate it either. The white base is acting as a very good blank canvas for the flavour; you can hardly taste any contributions from it except for maybe some lighter honeysuckle notes. Whether that’s good or bad would I guess depend on your personal tastes. The main reason I’m not all over this is that it might as well just be a mango tea; I can’t taste the pear at all. The mango is nice though; it’s got a light ‘spritzer’ kind of vibe to it, and is tropical but almost in a citrusy tangerine sort of way. I’m enjoying what I’m tasting, it’s just totally not what I was hoping for.
That’s alright though; you can’t love every tea and somewhere out there someone’s looking for an organic mango tea on a white base and this is probably perfect for them.
Finishing this one off cold and whisked into cashew milk ‘cause I thought that would possibly make for an interesting iced chai type drink. It actually tastes really good; way better than the hot version did. It’s sweet and creamy with cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon notes that combine in a way that makes me think of Christmas baking?
However, I’m encountering major problems with getting the powder to whisk nicely into the cashew milk. No matter what I try it instantly separates and seems to float up to the surface of the cashew milk creating this gross mess. Nice taste, but not worth the fuss.
Sample comes from Liquid Proust.
Pomegranate and green tea seem to be a fairly common pairing, and I have to admit it’s not one I’ve explored often enough given how much I actually like pomegranate – but the dragonfruit in this blend? That was the nail in the coffin, and the aspect that got me really truly excited for this blend. I absolutely adore the subtle pear/kiwi like flavour of dragonfruit and I used to buy quite a lot of it, but it’s really expensive ($3 a fruit) so I had to cut down.
This cold brew definitely puts more emphasis on the pomegranate though; it’s very sweet and juicy, with a really round and robust fruity flavour that just dominates over the entire drink. There is a little ‘extra’ fruit flavour that creeps into the end of the sip and aftertaste though. It reminds me quite a bit of a mild or more tame kiwi flavour which is definitely the dragonfruit. I didn’t really taste the vanilla for most of the drink. It wasn’t until the last few swigs that I thought it stood out as more than just additional sweetness.
As for the base, I struggled to taste the white tea, but the green was slightly present as a crisp, clear vegetal background note. It did a good job of being subtly present without cutting into the flavourings, which are definitely meant to be the focus of the blend.
This is definitely an enjoyable blend, well suited for summer.
Another cold brew.
This tisane has a special place in my heart for being one of the first I ever purchased, but it’s starting to taste a little less appealing to me now. I love the citrus notes like tangerine and grapefruit and the hibiscus compliment them perfectly, but the strong herbaceous eucalyptus finish just felt really disjointed this time around. It’s still incredibly hydrating though.
Maybe I’m getting sick of this because I’m brewing it up in the same ways – I just skimmed through like 10 old reviews of this tea, and nearly all of them were cold brews: I’m thinking I should try a different approach next. Maybe try a tea soda again since I’ve greatly improved my approach to tea soda since the first time I tried that with this tisane…
This is a queued tasting note.
Had this one iced in a timolino with a little bit of cashew milk added in earlier on in the week; it tasted shockingly like a Starbucks iced coffee type drink, but more watered down and less artificially sweet. I was a little surprised how much I loved it, especially with the more simple but light cocoa and nut notes.
However, looking at my current rating for this blend (94) while I do think this is delicious and one of the best Adagio fan blends I’ve had to date I think I may have over zealously rated it the last time I had it, so I’m adjusting my rating to a more appropriate number.