63 Tasting Notes
The first time I had osmanthus-anything was at a kbbq place in Hamilton, last summer or so. We ordered everything they had on offer for dessert, without really looking, and it was a pleasant surprise when among the tiny dishes of green tea / red bean / vanilla ice cream, there was also a plate with a small rectangle of gold-white pudding/jello. And YUM. Yes. Definitely the best dessert. It reminded me of the steamed yellow cakes we get at dim sum—floral, subtly sweet, and tea-scented. The only thing was, I had no idea what tea it was. Not lotus, orchid, jasmine or chrysanthemum and I was stumped. My mom was stumped. The waitress said osmanthus with a question mark at the end, and we were further stumped.
Whatever. All I knew was I needed it. Now. Pronto. Gimme. Grabby hands! etc.
Stalking the local Chinese supermarkets, I’ve seen huge tins of Osmanthus Green or Osmanthus Oolong—some of which went for about 250-350g, ranging from 5-10 dollars, and that was tempting, but man, do I ever not need 350g of a tea I might not love. Luckily, when I popped into Square One yesterday, I hunted down Ten Ren’s, and grabbed this 150g packet. Still a large quantity, yeah, but manageable.
And I’m so glad I did. This is so nice. Smooth, lightly floral, and surprisingly reminiscent of a milk oolong. It’s buttery and chock-full of dried apricots and oats, and it gives me some serious hankerings for warmer days and sunlight. You know Quaker’s Peaches and Cream instant oatmeal? This tea is like Apricots and Cream. Crazy!
I didn’t want to admit it. I really didn’t.
It still tastes like wholemeal bread, subtly touched with molasses. And on subsequent sips, it is very much like taking bites of raw, earthy sweet potato. So there’s that. However, the most dominant note I’m scenting is cannabis, and it’s sinking my love, and sinking it fast.
The list of ingredients for this tea is so confusing. I’ve never been a white tea fan (too thin) and licorice is a longstanding nemesis of mine . . . and yet! And yet. I love this tea—confusing ingredients and all. It’s smooth and mild, and there’s a really nice mouthfeel, considering the white base. Opening up the sample packet I picked up, I’m hit with nut butter. Creamy, sweet, nut butter. And that’s exactly what it tastes like, too. If there is actually licorice here, it’s remained undetectable, and I would really appreciate it if it stays that way. I also don’t get goji berry at all, but that’s okay, because this is absolutely my favourite of all the nut-teas I’ve tried. And, because of the lower caffeine content, I feel a teensy bit better about drinking it in the evenings. Score! Definitely a staple in my cupboard.
Been a while since I tried this, so I grabbed 10g of it when I was in store. From what I remember of my past experiences with this, sometimes it brewed up really . . . thin. I think past!self liked it, but not enough to keep it in on rotation. That remains true. But! Today, this tea was a nice surprise. It’s a strong, pleasant cup (I might have deliberately over steeped). A bit dry, but I find I don’t mind it so much here. It’s also sweet and soothing, and given how cold it is in my kitchen right now, the cinnamon is lovely.
On the downside: this tea always refuses to glitter for me. Why do you hide your light under a bushel, G&G? Why???
Just the smell of this tea alone is enough to relax me. It’s a whole body experience: I open the tin, and as soon as that milky floral scent reaches me, it’s like my body just releases a pent up sigh. I have no idea why. But it’s certainly not unwelcome! I’m still getting over the flu from hell, but every day I seem to get a teensy bit closer to feeling somewhat human again, so. Progress. This tea is creamy, very lightly floral, and silky, and I’m so glad I finally splurged and got a tin of it. (Previously, I’d been slinking into this trendy, vegan-GF bakery and getting cups of it to go, and I always felt a tad guilty when I turned down an offer for a baked good. I swear I don’t love you just for your tea! Well, okay, maybe a bit? Ugh, sorry.)
Captain’s Log: Day 5 of Terrible Illness, Day 5 of miserable limping, and Day 3 of antibiotics. I have dumped 3 cups of tea, and can’t even bring myself to mourn their losses, because they tasted absolutely vile. I can’t taste much, and when I can, I have to fight my gag reflex. Even Hot Cinnamon Spice went down the drain because it smelled overwhelmingly like toothpaste and had a taste not unlike cough syrup. Thankfully, Yorkshire is good for any and all occasions, and can even be endured by wildly changing, drugged up tastes. I wouldn’t say it’s making me feel better—raises eyebrow at antibiotics—but it IS just what I needed. Definitely my favourite bagged-black for a reason.
Woweeeeee! I first tried this tea … two years ago? Three years? I don’t even remember. Much like I really didn’t remember how this tea tasted, just that my impression of it at the time was “No thank you”. I made it to one of the stores over the weekend, and decided what the heck, I’ve been meaning to drink more greens this year, might as well give this another go. It smelled DIVINE in the tin, which helped matters along quickly, and I grabbed 25g. This is toasty, nutty, and subtly sweet. The pineapple isn’t out of place like I feared it would be. Definitely not a tart tea (phew). There’s some light vegetal-grass-green coming out at the back of the sip, but overall, I’m kind of loving this? Is it my cold? Is it making my taste buds change? Or is it just time? Either way, I think I’m going to have to grab more of this! It’s kind of everything I wished Forever Nuts was. Warmly nutty and still tea-like, as opposed to crazy pink, artificial, and weirdly tangy-sour from too much fruit. Shudder.
I tried it as a latte before I left for the week—decided I’d leave all my nut teas home—and oh goodness. So much happiness. I brewed it half in water, half in almond coconut milk, and added in a spoon of honey. Mmmm. And . . . now I’m craving it. Drats.
Mild debate: do I take this OUT of my cupboard, because this cup is my last of CoEG, or do I leave it in, because the likelihood of my re-stocking this the next time I make an order is . . . ridiculously high? Oh, the dilemma of a tea lover-and-logger. GRANTED, I have a sample packet of Sloane’s Heavenly Cream, too, and I’m eager to tear into that. I’m always on the look out for a good, creamy, vanilla-y earl grey (forever in my heart as my [first] Tea Love), and if Sloane’s version proves to be as delightful as its name promises, I might get a tin of that instead of this? Again, dilemma!
Anyway, I’ve been unsuccessful in my fight with the sore throat, and I woke up today feeling like I swallowed a cheese grater. Argh. Milk and honey it is, then.