555 Tasting Notes
I am so behind on my Nuvola reviews. I feel pretty bad about that, so I think I’m going to finish them today. Curse my tea ADD.
I admit, I’m a little afraid of this one. I’ve had a few orchid scented and flavored things before and I’ve hated them. However, the tea leaves I have here don’t smell like that at all. They smell like a nutty oolong, with a hint of spring grass. They’re dark green, and they look like they were rolled very gently and loosely.
The tea brews up to a pleasant pale green, and suddenly, the strong aroma of flowers is very evident. It reminds me of fresh gardenias. There’s also a bitter scent that puts me off a little bit, but if I know anything about oolong, I know I shouldn’t be scared away by that. And I’m right! The flavor is surprisingly delicious. Vegetal and floral at the same time with sweet creamy notes. The orchid is much more subtle than I expected, which is nice. It’s like a little decoration on an already good oolong. Very satisfying!
I added more of this to my stash yesterday. Quite pleased to have another cup on National Hangover Day. Mine’s not that bad, just a headache, but I do kinda want to stick with something soothing and light today. No chai or puerh, thanks.
Mainly, since I’ve written about this tea already, I just wanted to mention that with a longer steep time, more cucumber flavor surfaces. That’s exactly what I was hoping for. Of course, the mint gets stronger, too. But that’s definitely not a bad thing.
I did end up returning to EcoDenizen, as their prices are very similar to Tea Forte’s online ones. It would actually be cheaper for me to get my teas there because of the website’s shipping charges. But sadly, they don’t carry any of the black teas or chai I’m after.
So this is a green and rooibos blend? That’s certainly new to me. But strangely, it works. The cherry compliments the green, while the almond compliments the rooibos. And I’m really liking the cherry. Plus, the rooibos gives it a little boost of strength that almost reminds me of a black tea. It leaves a bit of bitterness in my mouth, but I like that in a tea.
My only regret is steeping it for three minutes. The packaging said three to five minutes, but I erred on the side of caution. Four minutes next time, to see if more fruit flavors come out.
The bag smells gorgeous as soon as I open the packet. Again, I am reminded of Bath and Body Works, but in a good way. It smells so clean, fruity, and lightly minty. I’m also getting hints of lime. I wonder why the art on the packaging doesn’t show any blueberries, though. They’re a pretty ingredient! Wouldn’t that be something enticing to show off?
The liquor brews up to a yellowy tan and smells more strongly of spearmint than the dry tea did previously. The flavor is similar. Mint is the first thing I taste, followed by sweet cucumber and blueberries. Again, the green tea aspect is very muted and just barely there. It’s a little hint of sencha in the aftertaste. (But I’m a little weird about green tea, so this is fine with me.) I’m really enjoying this stuff. It’s something I can see myself drinking year-round. Again, I am impressed by Tea Forte. Eco Denizen will be seeing me again soon to get their little variety pack, I’m sure.
I also want to note that I’m getting a pleasant feeling in my sinuses from this tea. I think it might be the soothing effects of the mint? Either way, I’ll have to remember this tea next time I get sick.
So, in midtown there’s a cute little shop called Eco Denizen that had a variety of Tea Forte’s offerings for .50 a bag. I nabbed one of each because I couldn’t help myself.
The dry tea smells wonderful. Like sweet, bright fruit and warm, realistic coconut. None of that weird vanilla coconut you smell in scented candles. It’s like a Bath and Body Works scent, only drinkable. Once steeped, it comes up to a darker tan color than I was expecting. The scent of the tea is mostly coconut now and very soothing. I’m surprised I’m not smelling much lychee anymore… its perfume usually hits you in the face above everything else!
After tasting it, I realized that this is something I’m going to want more of. The lychee flavor is very pleasant, but it doesn’t remind me of the real thing. It tastes more like some kind of generic “red fruit”, but I like it. You know how lychee can have a sort of strong, peppery, rose-like quality? Well, there’s none of that here. This stuff is smooth sailing, and the coconut is great. Very real. I can’t say much for the white tea base, since it’s mild and covered up by the fruit flavors. But anyway, I’m loving this tea. I’ll probably get more tomorrow.
Completely unrelated to this post — today I learned how to steam gyoza on my stovetop and I’m quite proud. I see many dumplings-and-tea lunches ahead of me.
Anyway, I’ve been meaning to give this a try and the reviews here were even more encouraging. People can be kinda harsh about Bigelow, but they didn’t seem to hate this one as much.
The bag smells like tart apples. As the tea steeps, it goes from the a faint green tea color to the color of strawberry applesauce. Oh, hibiscus, I know that’s you. It does give it a cheery pink/red hue that someone might mistake for the pomegranate’s influence, though. Clever. The scent of it brewed still smells predominately like apples and rosehips. The flavor, however, is a little weaker than what I was expecting. It basically tastes like a Celestial Seasonings Zinger to me. Fruity with a lot of stuff going on in the background, but none of it being flavors from actual tea. This is meh, but probably alright iced.
This is the last of the new teas we’re carrying where I work. I had sort of been avoiding this one because it was herbal and I’m not really a fan of orange teas. The bag smells very strong, like mint, ginger, and especially anise. That licorice aroma! It’s powerful and a little scary.
As it steeps, the water turns pale green, then eventually a sort of murky greenish brown. I know for a fact that there’s no fennel in this, but it sure smells like it. I detest fennel. The taste is not much different from the smell. The most dominant flavor is tingly anise, followed by orange, then mint. As usual with The Republic Of Tea, the ginger is barely noticeable, which is a disappointment I should expect by now. Essentially, this tastes like watered-down medicine and I will not touch it again.
Another afterthought — The combination of spices in this reminds me of oregano. I’m thinking pizza sauce here.
This tea was a favorite of mine when I was in my late teens, right before I switched to loose-leaf. I first discovered it in Rutherfordton, North Carolina at a combination coffee shop and bar called Legal Grounds. I distinctly remember my father having a sip and making a dad-joke about it not being “his cup of tea”.
So, anyway, this is my first time trying it again after maybe six or so years. It smells delightful and familiar, light on the sage but strong, sweet blackberry. It makes me think of gummy candy. And purple. It smells purple.
The taste really takes me back. Mildly astringent black tea for a base, and complimented by the sage. Those two go very well together, and I would be curious about trying them without the fruit flavor. But the fruity blackberry is nice, too. It’s not the most realistic it could be, but it’s not bad, and even ends on a slightly tart note. I can’t say I love this as much as I did when I first discovered it, but it’s nice to have it again for nostalgia’s sake.
Detox…? Well, I suppose it couldn’t hurt. The little pillow of herbs smells like mint and chamomile the most, and something strong like anise. Something about it reminds me of summer, strangely. Like being outside in the summer. I’m a little apprehensive. But it has red clover in it, another ingredient I’ve been meaning to try out. Maybe clover is the “summery” smell?
I gave the reddish tan infusion a minute to cool, then tasted. The peppermint and licorice combination is enough to leave my mouth tingling. After another sip, I realize there’s something in it that tastes a little too strange for me. It’s woodsy and not in the pretty, floral way. This is too medicinal for me to be enjoying for the taste. I suppose that’s not what it’s meant for, however, so I finished it for the herbal content. Never again, though.
An afterthought — this would be much better with honey.