513 Tasting Notes
My thanks go to Just Organic Tea for this sample! They’re about to release a line blended specifically to be served cold, which is perfect because iced tea season is in full swing here in Atlanta. Sorry, my northern friends. It’ll be there soon.
Now, the sample I’m trying is bagged. I understand that there will be a loose leaf version when this line launches. What I’m kind of impressed with is the size of the bag. For once, there’s actually enough room for the tea leaves to expand! It smells nice, too. The aroma reminds me that I should really try more Ceylons. They’re plain, yeah, but they’re comforting and reliable. And they remind me of all the sweet tea my grandmothers have made over the years.
As it steeps, it gets really dark. Like, alarmingly dark. It’s dark brownish red and I am suddenly not afraid of adding a lot of ice. And sugar — real sugar, for once. I’m going to do it up right. The instructions call for a quart of water per bag and now I understand why. No guesswork here. Just fill your glass with ice, pour, stir, and it’s done.
As far as flavor goes, I guess it’s exactly what I was expecting. Like an Irish Breakfast. Malty, faintly raisin-like, only lightly bitter, and familiar. The strength of it holds up well against the ice. I find myself wanting to put a lemon slice in it. That would just be perfection.
Finally getting around to reviewing this. I think I ordered it back in November, so it’s been waiting for a while.
The dry tea is well-decorated with raspberry leaf. I don’t know exactly what it tastes like on its own, so I’m not sure if it adds anything to the flavor of the tea or not. It could be like cornflowers for all I know. (No flavor, just decoration.) There are also little chunks of dried cranberry mixed in. A nice touch. I’m tempted to pick them out and eat them, but I will refrain!
Steeping, the tea has a very raspberry-like scent. So fruity! It reminds me of Tootsie Pops. You know, the ones in the dark red/maroon wrappers. Definitely not smelling cranberry. The flavor is pretty much the same. The berry flavor is vibrant and up-front without any tartness. However, I don’t think I would have made the distinction of it being a cranberry tea unless I knew ahead of time. I definitely would have guessed raspberry. Not that it’s bad in any way. I was just expecting something that tasted more like cranberry juice, I guess!
Flavors: Berries, Berry, Cranberry, Fruity, Raspberry
Remember about 3 months ago when I was wondering about why Harney & Sons couldn’t make a decent chai? Well, here we go. Rest in peace, Indian Spice, you have been replaced by a spicier newcomer.
The first thing I notice is that the spices have been ground very finely. So much that I feel like I need a coffee filter to steep it. A lot of the cinnamon falls right through the holes of my infuser to the bottom of my mug.
Flavor-wise, this is a pretty standard, no-frills chai. Cardamom is the strongest spice in the bunch, followed by cinnamon and ginger. I added a splash of 1% milk and they hold up well against it. The black tea base is pretty muted by the in-your-face cardamom. Anyway, while it is well-blended and balanced chai, it’s not my favorite. It’s just really… standard.
500th Tasting Note!!
I knew this wouldn’t sit unopened in my tea corner for very long.
Now, I know this is going to be full of not-so-authentic stuff, but I don’t care so much, honestly. Most of the Thai tea I’ve had growing up has been the orange powdered junk, but I love it anyway. That said, I was still kind of alarmed when I spilled a little on the floor and it was BRILLIANT orange.
The aroma before I add milk and ice is very strong. I’m getting a very potent vanilla-like smell with a hint of spices I can’t identify. Something about it smells bitter, too, but in an enticing way. It instantly brings back memories of trips to the Asian markets and Thai restaurants in the outskirts of Atlanta with my mom as a teenager.
I added two good handfuls of ice, some sweetener, and a splash of 1% milk. Even after that, it is still bright, carroty orange. Still, I fully expected it to not be strong enough since I only used one bag and a somewhat short steep time (which the instructions told me to do). I was right. While it’s not bad at all, it’s just a little weak. Next time, I’ll be going with a longer steep time. Maybe five minutes instead of three. Or just two bags instead of one.
It really does taste like what they serve in Thai and boba places. It’s very creamy, but not quite as creamy as restaurant-style because they use watered-down sweetened condensed milk. Anyway, this is something I’m going to play with until I get it the way I like it.
Flavors: Creamy, Spices, Vanilla
Shame on me. I picked this up a month ago in a coffee shop in Rutherfordton, NC and I’m just getting around to trying it. I don’t normally pick up bagged teas, but Numi seems respectable enough. And the word “yunnan” always gets my attention.
This is one of those teas that darkens the water pretty much instantly. By the end of 20 seconds, it looks practically done. The packaging said to give it 4-5 minutes, so I went with 4. The aroma as it steeps makes me think of puerh. It definitely has that aged, somewhat musty-sweet scent. By the end of the 4th minute, it’s as dark as coffee. Also like a puerh. Hmmm. Not what I was expecting.
So, after tasting it, I’m definitely feeling like I’m drinking puerh. Numi’s description says it’s made with yunnan tips, but that’s not what I’m getting. I can only kinda taste that raisiny goodness. It’s smooth like a puerh, too, with just a hint of astringency and bitterness. The more I drink it, the more I notice a nice maltiness. I’d love to see what this does with a splash of milk.
Flavors: Bark, Bitter, Malt, Musty, Raisins, Sweet, Wood
I’ve been meaning to review this one for ages! I got it from u/RedSpaceMagic on Reddit months ago. It’s perfect for this morn— er, afternoon after helping host a bonfire party.
Now, I love Whispering Pines. They have tons of truly unique blends. I’ve seen ingredients on their lists I’ve never seen anywhere else, and I’ve liked everything I’ve tried so far.
This blend is no exception. Although I would have never mixed rooibos with lapsang, I think it works! The rooibos isn’t strong enough to leave that weird aftertaste in my mouth, so I’m happy. The cedar is also a very nice touch. It reminds me of the fresh cut logs used in Carolina barbecue. I know those are usually hickory, but it’s a similar scent. The clove could be a tad stronger, but then again, I got this tea second-hand. It might be more noticeable in fresher batches. And the smokiness, it’s very well balanced. Again, I’m getting a sort of bacony, briskety smoke, but I love it.
This is definitely something I’d get again. It’s hearty, warming, and wonderfully smoky with just a hint of spice. Now I kinda wish I didn’t have like 3 ounces of Adagio’s lapsang to get through!
Flavors: Campfire, Cedar, Cloves, Smoke
Last tea in my Teavivre oolong tasting. Then it’s back to tasting random things, I guess!
The little leaf nuggets of this tea are tiny this time. Itty bitty, super tightly rolled leaves. They still expanded to reveal they were mostly complete, however. As they steep, the water turns bright greenish yellow. A very cheerful color!
The scent is pungent and a little nutty, but the flavor is neither. It’s so creamy! Buttery, even, with a sort of slow-cooked vegetable taste. However, in the exhale and aftertaste, I’m getting flowers. Maybe gardenia or hyacinth. Even after four minutes there is no astringency or bitterness. Just lovely summery notes.
This oolong has a lot going on, but it’s a harmony. I keep saying “this is my new favorite oolong” when I try these teas, but I feel that way each time I try a new one! Sad to see my Teavivre oolongs go. Maybe once I get through more of my stash, I’ll reward myself with more.
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Flowers, Vegetal
I know I still have one last Teavivre oolong to review, but I am in the mood for something strong, smoky, and spiced.
I blended this tea with good intentions. The idea of a lightly smoky caramel chai seemed like heaven when I was adjusting the ingredients. 70% decadent caramel, 20% gentle vanilla, and 10% lapsang souchong. Just 10%! Literally the least I could add. Then it’s topped with ginger and cardamom. If I could have added cinnamon, I would have, but I ran out of options.
When I opened the pouch, a familiar but unexpected scent hit me. Barbecue. Yep. Something about the sweet caramel aroma mixed with the lapsang’s smokiness smells like ribs. Ribs and cardamom. Oh. Oh no. What have I done?
However, the flavor is not as scary at all! I added a splash of milk and a little sweetener. It really is a nice caramel with a finish of vanilla, braced by ceylon and campfire. The cardamom and ginger don’t shine through too strongly, unfortunately. The lapsang definitely does add a sort of “meaty” taste to it. Like well-done bacon. If I could blend this again, I think instead of the lapsang, I might go with plain cinnamon tea. Hmm. It’s good, but it’s a little odd.
Not going to rate it because it’s my own blend. But if you’re really, really curious, here’s the link: http://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/blend.html?blend=79023
Flavors: Campfire, Caramel, Smoke, Vanilla
Another lovely sample from Teavivre. I feel like I’m getting a proper oolong education through them. Thanks again, Angel! The packaging is very attractive – metallic maroon and gold foil, vacuum-sealed tight.
Now, this is a dark one. The leaves are not green at all, in fact, they’re dark brown. They smell sweet and nutty, like a dessert! Reminds me of baklava. When hit with water, the aroma intensifies. I’m getting a sort of nutmeg and walnut scent. The water changes to a color much like a black tea, sort of ambery brown. By the end of the steep time, the nutty scent was accompanied by a rather strong roasted smell. I am so curious – will this be like a bracing black tea? A mellow dessert? Maybe dark and woodsy?
The instructions on the packet gave a 3-10 minute steep time. I thought that was a pretty wide range! Staying on the lighter side, I went with 4 minutes. Upon first sip, I taste roasted seaweed. Not exactly what I expected, but still nice. I’m also getting notes of toasted sesame seeds. It reminds me of these little crackers I used to get at the Asian markets when I was a kid. There is some nuttiness to the taste, especially in the finish, but I’m mostly getting sesame and I like it. Definitely taking the rest of this pot to work with me.
Flavors: Nuts, Nutty, Roasted, Seaweed, Sweet, Walnut
I snagged this from the office at my apartment complex. They have a little coffee/tea station in the waiting area. I admit I’ve abandoned a few bagged teas I didn’t like there. I hope they were used…
Anyway, it’s cold, it’s raining, and it’s too late for caffeine. Now, rooibos and I still do not get along. I do not purchase rooibos blends ever, though they still find their way to me every now and then. On the other hand, if they’re flavored (especially with cinnamon), I tend to like them.
Orange peel is the most dominant flavor. It’s not super authentic, either. Kind of reminds me of liquid Motrin or Flintstones Vitamins. Ick. Cinnamon is the second flavor, and it’s pleasant. Not too hot, natural-tasting. No grittiness from it. But mostly, this is a VERY orangey tea. So, in summary, this kind of tastes like medicine and would not get a re-visit. If I want a cheap cinnamony rooibos, I’ll pick up Tazo’s apple thing.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Orange Zest, Rooibos