519 Tasting Notes
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
My friend gave me one of these to try. He said he found it at the Asian market, but he wasn’t very specific. I can’t say I’ve seen it at the one I frequent.
Now, when I open the foil, I realize this isn’t a traditional tea. It’s instant. There is no tea bag, no loose leaf to be found here. Just tiny brown granules. Honestly, it looks like fish food… not the flakes, more like the kind you feed to bettas. However, it smells delicious. The scent is like maple syrup. It makes me want French toast or pancakes. There’s also a nice spicy scent of ginger. I have a feeling I’m going to like this.
The instructions say I can add hot or cold water, so I went with hot. (There’s still snow everywhere here in Atlanta, after all.) As soon as the water hit the granules, it darkened to an almost coffee-like color. Very dark and with a strong gingery aroma. I didn’t add any sweetener because the package listed honey and glucose in the ingredients. I figured it would be sweet enough anyway.
Good lord! This is some strong stuff! Maybe I didn’t add enough water. It says 220ml and I used a regular sized mug. I know this mug holds at least 8 or 9 ounces, which is more than 220ml. So this could be what it’s supposed to taste like – so much ginger that it burns. It is pleasantly sweet, and you can definitely taste the honey. The brown sugar rounds out the ginger a little bit, adding its addictive syrupy taste. This would be so good if I had a cold. I can imagine it would work wonders for the sinuses. Maybe I’ll add a box of this to my medicine cabinet.
Now, this has been in my cabinet for a few months. I bought it in a little tub that’s lasting me a very long time. I’ve been mixing it with sencha and sipping it iced to try to mimic Tazo’s Zen. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s still good. (I think I need to add lemongrass to make it better.)
When they reference Ceylon in the name, I think they must be referring to the region. These are just plain crushed peppermint plants otherwise. No actual tea.
Anyway, I decided to review this on its own instead of using it as an additive. It’s icy and horrible outside, yet I still want something refreshing. It has a nice, long-lasting mint flavor. As long as you keep the steep time around three minutes or less, it doesn’t start tasting bitter or medicinal. Sometimes mint teas can have a hint of dill flavor to me, which I am repulsed by. This one doesn’t as long as you don’t use too much leaf or steep it too long. It does well for what it is, but it’s pretty unremarkable.