501 Tasting Notes
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.
I received this as a free sample with my last Adagio order. It was originally supposed to be Green Anji, but that was sold out. (In fact, it still is.) I’ve been putting off reviewing it because unflavored green teas and I have a shaky relationship.
But this smells nice. Inside the pouch there is a noticeable amount of fuzzy leaf dust clinging to the sides. The leaves themselves are mixed light and dark green and very narrow, tightly rolled into little string-like bits. They smell mildly sweet, much like dried grass or fresh hay. I’m also smelling honey-like notes. There’s also a faint hint of the ocean, like seaweed.
Short steep time as recommended on the packaging. It brews up to a very light greenish color. The pungent seaweed-like aroma is much more noticeable in the steeped tea. However, the actual taste is much milder and actually pretty nice. Vegetal with a hint of honey and roasted seaweed. The exhale and finish have a faint hint of nuttiness. This is much more satisfying than I expected. A good, straightforward green. No frills.
Flavors: Butter, Grass, Honey, Seaweed
Absolutely loving the new update. The new rating scale that actually shows the numbers is awesome! The new fonts, all the little details we can add to the tea pages and our reviews. I’m seriously nerding out over here. I’m going to have a lot of fun filling these things out! But the bottom part – “What flavors and scents do you notice?” Is that like the TL;DR section? Kinda defeats the purpose of a review… or maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, this tea was another gift from*Kaliska*. I absolutely love Earl Grey creme teas. Vanilla and bergamot together with a strong black base? How could I resist?
Upon opening the package, I am instantly hit with a cupcakey, lemony vanilla aroma. Mmmm. If any of you are familiar with Adagio’s Earl Grey Moonlight, this smells almost exactly like it. It looks beautiful in the pouch, too. Very dark leaves mixed with pretty blue calendula flowers and some other silvery flowers that aren’t listed on the webpage. When steeped, the mystery flowers opened sort of like a dandelion. I’d also like to note that there was no oil on top of the tea this time. I wonder if it was coming from the chocolate Della Terra uses.
The black tea this is based on is certainly potent. Quite astringent and maybe a little bitter. But the bitterness is complimented so sweetly by the vanilla and citrus of the bergamot. It’s somehow hearty and soothing at the same time. The creme flavor is especially apparent on the exhale. I think this would be a good tea for first thing in the morning… something that both consoles you after leaving your nice warm bed, but also packs a punch to help get you started.
Flavors: Cream, Flowers, Lemon Zest, Vanilla
This one was a gift from Kaliska after we spent some time checking out Della Terra’s rather unique lineup.
The first thing I notice about this tea is that there are actual little chunks of toffee mixed in. I absolutely love toffee. Also, coconut flakes, which are usually a plus. There’s a lot more to this tea than the name implies. I’m seeing butterscotch listed as an ingredient, too. Yum.
Just like Chili Chocolate Truffle, there is a considerable amount of oil collected on top of the brew. It’s a little cloudy, too. It smells very strongly of chocolate, but not quality chocolate. More like the cheap artificial kinds of chocolate, like Tootsie Rolls or Little Debbie snacks. The rest of the ingredients smell great, however, if you can get past the fake cocoa. I have such a weakness for caramel that I am willing to see past it.
The black tea they used for a base is not very strong compared to all the other ingredients. It’s hardly astringent, and doesn’t do much to add flavor. The strongest thing I taste is chocolate, but in a Swiss Roll kinda way. The caramel, toffee, and butterscotch come next, plus notes of honey. I don’t taste the coconut at all. Overall, I think this tea would be great with everything but the chocolate. I’ll finish the sample, maybe try some experiments with milk, but it’s not something I’d want again.
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate