16 Tasting Notes
This was a sample with my most recent order—was stoked, as this was the blend I was most excited to try out of the new fall teas. The dry smell made me smile-cringe simultaneously, reminding me first of that delightful apple-y smell you find in orchards / pick-your-own farms, and second, of … apple gum? I think I’m thinking of Trident’s layered gums? Yikes. It brewed up a pale gold colour not unlike apple juice, and then I sipped and . . . well. There’s a zippy tartness to it, followed by a really chemical taste that lingers in the throat. And I’m saying this as someone who usually has no problems with artificial flavourings. But damn this was strong.
One of my housemates during my Queen’s days introduced me to Celestial Seasonings, and I have super fond memories of both her and of those long ago days. This tea is warming, spicy, and alarmingly sweet—in other words, it’s a nice and much more budget friendly option for anyone who likes Hot Cinnamon Spice. I like to drink it plain in an overly large mug, and with the bag permanently steeping.
To all past reviewers who said this was Earl Grey-ish? High five, y’all. Totally on point! This tea has a light, citrusy twist that reminds me of a cup of Earl Grey with a wedge of lemon squeezed haphazardly into it. It’s a delicate, fragrant tea—the scent, when I pop open the tin, is kind of Nestea-ish, or like Bath & Body Works’ London Calling candle—and I’ve learned that a short steep is the way to go. Still, there IS a dryness to this tea, no matter how you leaf / brew. The aftertaste makes me think I just sucked on some fresh lemon peels: really mouth puckering, but fresh and pleasant, all the same.
Sooooooooo. Smooooooooth. Like, hot damn, Catherine. Way to be stepping it up like a true Queen. I finished the last of my H&S English Breakfast the other day, and if comparing these two, there’s really no competition. This is sweet and smooth and more of a gentle poke in the morning, rather than a full on slap to the face. A great morning cup. I’m especially loving the slight smokiness at the back of the sip.
Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees my H&S order finally came today!! My very first experience ordering from them, and overall? Would do again! The processing time might have been a week, but when it finally got to the shipping stage, I had tea at my door within two days. Impressive, I’d say.
I splurged on quite a few tins—I’m justifying it with, “Well! September is my birth month and and and this is the year of An Official Quarter Life Crisis! I DESERVE TEA AND HERMITHOOD, I JUST DO!”—and this is the first tea I broke into. Oh my goodness, the smell is amazing. So toasty! So coffee-ish while still being TEA! (Note: I’m usually on the fence about coffee-imitating teas. DT’s Coffee Pu’erh / Jumpy Monkey were . . . okay, but there was no incentive to re-buy.) Taste-wise, this is delicious: a nice, full mouth-feel, super roasted wood-y/bark-y, and so naturally sweet.
I’m going to be tearing through this tin like no tomorrow. Good thing this has a lower caffeine content than other greens . . .
Happy Mid Autumn Festival to any and all those who are celebrating it! Not going to lie, moon fest has always been one of my favourite holidays, second only to Christmas / Lunar New Year. (Okay, THIRD, if you want to get technical, yeesh, give a girl a break . . . !) My dad’s been going kind of crazy with the moon cakes, which has led to my kitchen table being stockpiled with different kinds/brands. For all that the clutter is giving my OCD leanings a bit of a tug, I honestly don’t mind, because moon cakes come around only once a year, and every time they do, I get these simultaneous pangs of nostalgia and excitement. The moon festival is traditionally a children’s festival in Vietnamese culture, and I have fond memories of dressing up in my tiny red ao dai and playing with my paper lantern. Good times, indeed.
So! Today, for my late afternoon cup, I’m drinking this corn tea. It’s light, uncomplicated and not too sweet, and goes well with the wedges of snowskin mooncake I’m noshing on. Om nom noms.
Er. Yeah. About that.
I have a confession to make: I am a sucker when it comes to marketing strategies. Mention pastries! Mention France! Mention potential swooning and hearts-for-eyes (or at least imply)! I’m basically a goner if/when all that happens. Which is how I ended up blindly buying this tea in my first Tealish order. Woo boy. Granted, the first time around, I don’t think I was being very fair. My sister, brother-in-law and I had gone for a late afternoon ice cream run, and when I came home, I brewed up some of this tea, hoping for a continuation in decadence.
It might have been the dairy in my body already. It might have been the heat. It might have been any number of factors. But my throat basically decided to do its best Gandalf impression and threw up its arms, all “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” I am not exaggerating when I say I got through that cup by pinching my nose, closing my eyes and taking large, quick gulps. And I still gagged every time.
Later outings with this tea: on some level, my body wanted to like it. There’s a pleasing sort of warmth to it as long I didn’t focus too much on the heavier, savoury spices. But God, they sit on the tip of the sip and just dangle their legs, all “Hey! Hey! Hey! We’re here! Do you see us?” And then I get all conflicted because this tea would be SO GOOD, or at the very least, MEDIOCRE AND DRINKABLE, if it wasn’t so much like a mouth punch. I kept drinking this tea in the hope that it would get better. It did not. When I finished my stash, I breathed a sigh of relief. Sweet, sweet relief.
I first tried this tea last year (a thoughtful, giant bag from my sister, bless her heart) and from the first sip, I thought I was caught—hook, line and sinker. I dutifully rationed it out until just a couple months ago, and when I found out Verdant was bringing this back? Well. SOLD. Got myself a tin of this, and . . . and oh no. No no no no nonononononononononono. Sweet God, what am I doing WRONG?! This isn’t love! This is like, the FIRST STAGES OF A CRUSH, OR SOMETHING. This batch tastes roasty and toasty and and and . . . flat.
It tastes like it’s confused, to me. There’s none of that malty, chocolatey taste I’ve come to love in Laoshan Black, and the rice doesn’t seem to be doing anything for me. As it is, every sip just wanders around in my mouth, trying to figure out what direction it wants to go in. I feel like I need to play Celine Dion in the background and go stare woefully into my teapot.