454 Tasting Notes
Yes, another violet tea! This is the second I’ve tried, Kusmi’s being the first. Anyway, I got this in a trade with JustJames. Thanks, James!
This stuff is powerfully fragrant! My entire tea corner of the kitchen reeked of sweet, sweet flowers. I had to keep it out on top of the microwave so it wouldn’t contaminate my other teas. Goodness. It’s a lovely-looking tea. Tiny, fine black leaves mixed with little dried flowers – pale brown with a hint of the purple they used to be.
As it steeped, my kitchen started to smell purple. You know what I mean. Like some purple candy tastes, but not like artificial grape. When the tea was finished, a fully-formed violet flower had risen to the top and was floating on the surface of the dark brew. It smelled soothing and very, very floral. Upon tasting it, I see what James was talking about. The black tea base for this one is milder and less sharp than the one Kusmi uses. The flowers take the forefront, of course, in an exotic and spring-like way. Something about it also reminds me of hard candy.
If I make an order with Dammann Freres, this is something I’d definitely get again.
Mmm, Earl Grey. One of my absolute favorites. As far as these teas go, this one smells great as it steeps. Pretty heavy on the bergamot oil, but not quite as heavy as what I’ve been drinking from Harney & Sons.
It brews up to a nice dark reddish brown and has a smooth black tea base. Nothing too harsh or bitter. The bergamot is lemony and pleasant. Not overpowering, but it does leave my mouth tingling a bit. Overall, this is a very satisfying Earl Grey. I admit it’s not a very stand-out version, but I like it.
Just Organic Tea’s Kickstarter is in it’s last 5 days! If you can spare a few bucks to help these kind folks out, please do. They’re still about $1300 short of their goal.(https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/justorganictea/just-organic-tea-the-very-best-tea-delivered)
Flavors: Lemon Zest
Quick review because I’ve got to get to work. I got this in a trade with JustJames as a bit of a surprise! Yay! I love raspberry tea!
First of all, it’s a black/rooibos mix. While rooibos and I don’t get along, I don’t mind it if it’s blended with other stuff. The scent of the leaves is very, very strongly chocolate. But, of course, it’s not a very authentic chocolate scent. I’m starting to think all chocolate teas are going to be this way. Or maybe I just don’t like chocolate teas… I just like teas that naturally have notes of cocoa, like Fujian blacks. However, there is a strong, sweet raspberry scent that gives me hope.
Anyway, getting down to the actual flavors of this tea. This stuff tastes like straight up Tootsie Pops. The ones with the maroon wrappers. The candy-like raspberry flavor is in the forefront, followed by that somewhat artificial Tootsie Roll chocolate. It also sort of reminds me of a cherry cordial. While this isn’t bad in any way, I think it could have been executed better. I’ll definitely be finishing what I have, as I do like candy… though I don’t necessarily want to drink it.
Flavors: Berries, Chocolate
A local kitchenware boutique, Taste, went out of business recently. I saw that they were having their final clearance sale, and couldn’t resist cleaning out their tea section. This was the first thing I picked up. I took all three remaining envelopes, mostly for the picture of the moose. And because of chai, of course.
Sadly, though, I’m pretty disappointed with it. First of all, inside the pretty paper envelope with the old-timey art, there’s just a ziplock of tea. Seriously, just a clear plastic baggy.
The mix looks nice enough. A few cardamom pods, lots of cinnamon, bits of ginger root, mixed into a lower-quality black tea. Pretty standard. It smells alright, sort of weak on the ginger and no real cardamom scent. It’s mostly just cinnamon. The flavor is even more disappointing. The spices aren’t very potent, and there’s some sort of weird earthy flavor. Like they mixed a little bit of dirt or something into it. Or maybe it’s just really stale. Who knows how long it sat on a shelf until I bought it? Either way, I’m glad I used it all up so I can move on to something better.
Second snow day in a row! I’m resting up now because tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and if anybody else here is in the service industry, you know what that means. Non-stop crazy busy all day!
Anyway, this is a lovely tea. Calendula petals mixed into short, dark brown tea leaves with little green flecks of lemon myrtle. It smells more like apricot than peach to me, but that’s not a bad thing. I love apricot things! The scent mixes well with the bright, clean lemon myrtle aroma. It’s like sweet lemonade or lemon candy.
The flavor is very fruity and juicy. It reminds me of jam, especially after some sweetener. This would be a great tea to have with buttered toast. While I can taste peaches, I still mostly notice apricots. The black tea base is very mild with zero bitterness and very mild astringency. Nothing about this tastes artificial, which is a problem I encounter a lot with peach teas. No, it tastes real, and I’m really enjoying it.
Edit — Also, signal boosting Just Organic Tea’s Kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/justorganictea/just-organic-tea-the-very-best-tea-delivered
Flavors: Apricot, Lemon Zest, Peach, Wood
Snow day!! I went from working a double today to laying around playing Minecraft and drinking tea.
Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve had a straight up black tea with no flavorings. I’ve been drinking Earl Grey and such for like six months. This is a nice change. The flavor reminds me of an Assam. It’s malty with a touch of molasses and stone fruit. It’s not bitter, but it is a little astringent. Dries my mouth somewhat. As far as black teas go, this one is pretty straightforward without much complexity. Would be a good tea to start the day with.
If you haven’t already, check out Just Organic Tea’s Kickstarter here: (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/justorganictea/just-organic-tea-the-very-best-tea-delivered)
Flavors: Malt, Molasses, Stonefruits
I’ve been meaning to review this tea for days! I am stereotypically drawn to anything pumpkin spice, and when you add that to another one of my favorite things, which is chai, I get excited.
Anyway, this smells delightful. Bright ginger, warm cinnamon, spicy clove and something very sweet like a dessert. I can see large pieces of cinnamon bark mixed into the black tea, whole cloves, and something round and seed-like that I can’t identify. Neat! As it steeps, the clove scent really comes out and combines with the cinnamon. It smells a lot like Constant Comment! (I mean that affectionately.)
Once it was ready, I added a tiny splash of 1% milk and some of the organic sugar Just Organic Tea provided in my sampler. Now, I generally use zero-calorie monk fruit sweetener. So having real sugar in my chai is a bit of a treat for me. As I sip it, I find it a little mild for my taste. I can taste a hint of the pumpkin flavor, and it’s nice, but not as much in the forefront as I would have liked. Same with the spices. Overall, I like it, but I would need to double or triple-up on the amount of leaf I’d use.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cloves
I’d like to thank the folks at the startup company Just Organic Tea for this sample! (Check out their Kickstarter here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/justorganictea/just-organic-tea-the-very-best-tea-delivered) The’ve got some very tempting stuff!
First of all, this smells great. Very fragrant cinnamon aroma with a hint of dried citrus. Perfect for a cold, windy night at home. Mixed into the dark brown leaves are bits of orange peel and generous chunks of cinnamon bark. The moment they hit the water, I found myself going “Mmm” at the spicy scent. The water darkened quickly, making me think this is going to be nice and strong.
When it’s done, the tea is a lovely reddish amber. The resulting flavor is much smoother than I anticipated. The black tea base is gentle with zero bitterness and hardly any noticeable astringency. Cinnamon is the strongest flavor, while the orange rests in the aftertaste. I’m reminded of cinnamon candy, almost like RedHots. Unlike many spiced tea blends I’ve tried in the past, this one does not completely mute the actual tea aspects. I think if I had another chance, I’d go with a longer steep time. Altogether this is a very nice cup – not too strong, not too heavily spiced.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Orange Zest
This is another sample from a friend that picked it up at the Asian market. He said a lady shopping in the same aisle recommended it.
It smells kind of exactly like I expected. Like tree bark. Wood chips, or paper, sort of. Or cardboard. The instructions said to give it five to ten minutes, so I went with 7:30 since that was in the middle. I’ve never had a tree bark tea before, so I at least have a new experience to look forward to. As I read up on it, I see that it’s also apparently good for your blood pressure? At least that’s what some companies are claiming. Also, Yogi uses it in one of their teas. Hmm.
The brew comes up to a brownish gold one would expect from a milder black tea. It still smells like wood, but it’s not as harsh in the steeped tea. The flavor is surprisingly not unpleasant, just new and a little strange. It almost tastes like black tea. It’s hard to describe. I guess this sort of tastes like tree bark.. it’s mild and kind of reminds me of the smell of wet paper towels and printer paper. Or a book. You know, that’s sort of what this tea tastes like – drinking a book.