411 Tasting Notes
Finishing this one off. I’ll be sad to see it go, but chances are I will buy it again next year (either that, or pick up Stash’s Christmas Morning—it’s always a contest).
I’m also finishing off an oolong on the side, but it’s not in my cupboards as it’s of unknown origin/company. It was a gift from a friend.
As always, there’s black tea in the smell. Same with the taste, a bright (and astringent) black, though it’s quickly followed by the oolong, I think. And then there’s a faint peach, though that’s more in the scent.
On a side-note: My stack of empty teatins is now larger in number than my currently-in-use teatins. It’s a shame most of them have company logos and teanames on them. I’ll have to sticker over them or something, so I can get more use out of ’em.
I didn’t pay too much attention to this cup, so I’ll do a more detailed note later.
What I can say though, is this: It’s mint. Not vanilla. There’ a bit of a vanilla taste in there as well (and you can see pieces of vanilla bean in the tea), but, as I was warned when buying it, it’s most prominently mint.
Also the base seems more like a black than a puehr. I only steeped it at three minutes (they recommend five), but… It LOOKS like a puehr dried (but steeped quite light), but doesn’t have the token smell.
The dry leaf includes vanilla bean and some curled green leaves of mint (I assume; looks like it).
Nice cup so far, though. Will put off rating it for another day.
When I opened the tin, I got fresh, crips bergamot. Brewed this up, and the bergamot is warmer now, mixed with tea and jasmine. Not getting much smoke in the scent.
First sip is bergamot first followed by jasmine. Not particularly smoky, though the base seems solid. I thought I smelt smoke when I walked into the kitchen to pick this up, but it was just my toast popping.
I think I’m getting a nuance of smoke in the aftertaste, though it might be a bite from the other flavours in the tea. It is a bit disappointing, I was hoping for a smokier blend (hmm, if not a lapsang or caravan base, why not keemun and bergamot…?). But it’s still a solid earl grey (even if I’m not a huge fan of jasmine in my earl).
I broke my promise not to buy any new teas until I’d slimmed down my cupboard. I picked up this after I’d crashed a new teashop that opened nearby (about 4-5 months ago) but which I hadn’t heard about until now (makes me feel out of the loop). It’s actually a very incredible little teashop (a lot of teashops have been popping up after Davids came to town—I like to refer to it as the “DavidsTEA Boom”—but this was a very modern-with-traditional-values shop. Gaiwans and yixings as far as the eye can see (which isn’t far because it’s a rather small space, but).
Both myself and the guy working the counter at the time were excited for this encounter. I guess more on that once I get around to reviewing the teas I picked up there.
As for this one. Harney and Sons likes to be deliciously subtle, they’re good at balance, and this is balanced, and definitely fills the craving for earl grey that I’ve been having recently. Fills that void in my earl greyless cupboard.
But I do wish it were a tad smokier. Maybe it’s there and the jasmine’s covering it. Hm.
Also’d like to try more earls with China bases.
Edit: As it’s cooled, I’ve been picking up a more prominent smoke in the base. Once it reached room temperature it was considerably more smoky; wish I could have enjoyed it more, but I had to rush out the door to class.
Can’t remember if I wrote a note for this before, but this is the last of it, so I’d better do so now.
This is a definite improvement on Davidteas’ now-discontinued “Vanilla Oolong”. This oolong is nice and subtle, and the vanilla goes well with it, I think. There isn’t the muddled, harsh citrus like the other blend. The vanilla in this is a tad strong, masking the oolong a bit, but Davidstea is more about “flavoured teas” than “flavours paired artfully with teas”.
Still, the oolong comes through. It’s a different base than the original blend, I believe. Tad floral. Adds to the creamy vanilla.
Steeped at 2 minutes this time (I seem to alternate between two and three), so the vanilla isn’t quite as strong. Also keeps the oolong from stewing.
Finishing this sample off, and I think this is actually my first Note on it. I’ve been neglectful.
This was my free sample with order. I’m not usually big on jasmine, but I’ve actually been enjoying this one. It’s not as strong and floral. The jasmine scent is pleasant, there but not overpowering, the green tea light and savoury, and mixes well with the floral.
I’d probably keep some of this on-hand for those days that I’m in the mood for something floral, since I already know I like it.
It’s that time of the year again, so I picked up a box of the full-leaf from Starbucks yesterday. Checked out Tazo’s fancy new website (redone for the launch of the standalones, I suspect?), and noticed that it describes Joy as having “peachy notes”.
Didn’t think much of it at the time, as it could just be describing one of the teas in the base as having a fruity note to it.
Picked it up from Starbucks and returned home, opening the tin to take a whiff. And getting… a strong peach scent. Confused, I looked it over—still Joy, still black, green and oolong. But looking at the “ingredients”, I found “natural flavours”.
I’ve had this tea many times before, last year. My brother worked at Starbucks back then, and he brought me home the full-leaf bag, which is what introduced me to this tea. I got it many more times after that, and I don’t remember any peach.
This is the second time I’ve made a cup from this tin. It’s definitely lighter than I remember, less unforgiving with steeping parameters despite being green, black and oolong. And I’m getting definite notes of peach. But I don’t remember any peach before.
I could have sworn this tea didn’t have peach in it last year. Am I going crazy?
I googled for an article about blend changes. Maybe this is the first year they’ve added peach? But I keep coming up with no results. So I don’t know (then again, when they switched from earl grey fannings to full-leaf, didn’t they throw lavender into the mix without saying anything too?). Maybe, because I had always had this tea from an already-opened tin, the ‘peach’ flavouring had dissipated before the tea made it to me. And since I bought a fresh tin…? But the tea overall is lighter.
Seriously, am I going nuts? I checked Steepster’s “Joy” reviews for any mention of “peach”. I found that the ONLY mention of peach was from a review from a few days ago—from this year’s release of Joy. No mention of peach in any reviews from last year or earlier, that I could find.
I feel like I missed something. Maybe I just suck at finding news articles. It’s an all-right tea, but definitely not the tea I remember (and loved) from last year. Peach just doesn’t do it for me in this (and peach is a fine tea flavouring—I have a peach white). I loved this tea because it was a black-green (and oolong) blend. My favourite.
Not changing my rating from last year. For now.
Last year’s tasting note, for comparison: http://steepster.com/supermoon10/posts/55853