457 Tasting Notes
I got a sudden craving for chai tonight, so I made myself an iced cup.
This kinda another dud by Peet’s as far as I’m concerned. I was happy to see the cinnamon bark and ginger pieces when I made it, but their flavors are weak. The coarse black tea they used overpowers it. When I go for chai, I go for something heavy on the spices and complex. This will do for now, but it’s making me really miss Adagio’s Thai Chai.
A few days ago I went back to Cozee Teas because they seem to have the best selection of bulk loose leaf teas in my area. (And bubble tea!) The place was looking nicer, more organized, and was beginning to get that Decatur feel with local art for sale on the walls. I hadn’t planned on buying anything when I went in, as I mainly wanted to take a peek at what black and bubble teas were available. But two of the teas caught my eye and at a very reasonable price, and I had to have them. So I picked this and a Raspberry Litchi black. And I’ve got my eye on their Vanilla Chai Spice.
When I opened the package to sniff, I was reminded instantly of Adagio’s Earl Grey Moonlight. It smelled like a strong Earl Grey with an equally strong scent of vanilla. That vanilla was not hiding in the background. The taste is very much similar. Lemony vanilla with a black tea that stands up for itself. Ceylon, I think, but it’s hard to tell over the vanilla. Anyway, I’m having it iced and lightly sweetened and I’m really looking forward to trying it hot.
This is another one I’ve had my eye on for a few months. I was thrilled when it was offered to me by Angel at Teavivre. I’ve previously tried their Keemun Hao Ya, and I loved it. While it was smoky, this doesn’t smell smoky at all.
The dry leaves are particularly dark, almost black, and extremely thin and long. Like brittle spider legs as I measure them above my slightly cooled water. They smell very strong, pungent even. Once brewed, the tea smells like honey and wood with a hint of something that kinda makes me think of pumpkin.
The taste is intriguing and delicious. This is a rather strong black tea as far as Teavivre’s lineup has been so far. It makes me think of a malty puerh. I’m going to give it maybe three minutes and thirty seconds next, in hopes of making it even stronger. Must experiment. But for now, I think I liked the Hao Ya better.
I had to have some more this morning, so this was my take-to-work tea of the day.
The first time I reviewed this, I was drinking it hot. Today it was cloudy, but still very hot outside, so I went with iced. It takes on a whole new dimension when it’s cold! When chilled, a distinct honey flavor emerges, and the fruitiness takes a front seat. I was reminded, strangely, of pineapple at first. I’m not sure where that was coming from, but I liked it. The following fruit flavor was a little more indistinct. Fruity, but not a specific fruit I could name. Anyway, if you haven’t tried icing or coldbrewing this tea, I think it needs to be done before you run out!
My third round of Teavivre teas arrived today! I couldn’t wait to get home and get started.
This is my first Golden Monkey. I know, right? How could I be such an avid black tea drinker, but missing out on this? Anyway, I opened the packet to smell it as the water heated, as usual. Faintly smoky, with hints of cocoa, hay, fruit, and malt. So deliciously promising.
Even after only two minutes, the tea was a dark red amber. It smelled less smoky and more malty, still reminding me of fresh clean hay. The taste, of course, is fantastic. It reminds me a lot of some of Teavivre’s other black teas… they all have a distinct cocoa-like taste that I’m starting to think may come from their tea region itself. It’s delightful, and I haven’t tasted it anywhere else so far. But it’s difficult to describe. I know it may seem weird, but it kinda tastes the way a new, clean piece of printer paper smells. I’m also getting the yam/sweet potato taste others have mentioned, and I really like it. This is such a savory, satisfying black tea.
This is another sneakily nabbed tea from the pub where my boyfriend works.
It’s been a while since I’ve had darjeeling. This one is rather peppery, especially in the scent, and sort of herbal tasting. The muscatel flavor is definitely there in the forefront, along with a taste that reminds me a bit of oolong for some reason. Like a faint nuttiness. There is a bit of fruit flavor hiding in there, too. It’s actually a lot more complex than I was expecting.
The packet said to brew it for 4 minutes, but honestly, I would maybe do 3:30 instead to cut down on the nutty, slightly oversteeped taste. It would keep it from getting harsh or bitter in the finish. Mine hadn’t exactly reached that point, but I could taste it getting there.
Ok, this was a rushed decision at 3 AM in the grocery store with the boys. I needed a plain black tea for making pitchers, and this was under $3. And somehow, when I read the words “black” and “pearl”, I thought this was going to be actual black pearls. Like tea rolled into little balls, like decent tea companies do. I didn’t read the package, okay?
But no, this is black tea that’s crushed but with little dust. Even after almost five minutes, it… kinda tastes like nothing. It’s, as one of my brothers called it, just brown water. It’s also kinda faintly bitter and astringent. It kinda smells like black tea?
Also, “long-leaf”? Is that something Lipton made up?
I gave this another go today, iced as usual. It still doesn’t taste much like gingerbread to me, but it does sort of taste like a cookie or graham cracker. It could use some vanilla, I think. And next time I make it, I’m going to add milk. Milk or whipped cream would make this pretty yummy first thing in the morning.
I wish this was more gingery, too. Hmm, maybe other brands are doing this better. I should do some research.
This is another tea I got in a trade with Spencer. I made it iced and lightly sweetened in one large batch to share with my brother.
The leaves are very dark for a golden tip. And they were really crushed up. Not by fault of the trade, going through the mail, or whatever. This was very uniform, as if the leaves had been shredded tiny before being processed. Or during the process, I’m not sure.
It’s slightly astringent, but not bitter even after almost five minutes. A little malty, with an aftertaste that makes me think of cheap tea bags for some reason. Kinda average as far as Assams go, nothing really stands out about it to me. But it packs a nice punch of caffeine.