502 Tasting Notes
My thanks go to Angel at Teavivre for including me in this tasting again! I always get so excited when I see I have a message from her.
It looks like this time it’s all oolong! Which is great, because I’ve been very impressed with everything I’ve tried by Teavivre in the past. As I open the sample packet, I get the sweet scent of flowers and spring. There’s also a gentle nuttiness. The leaves, to me, don’t look roasted at all. They’re dark green, rolled into little clusters. They must be only lightly roasted?
I followed the pack’s instructions and used boiling water. It says I can let it steep from anywhere between 1-5 minutes, so I went for dead-center at 2.5. I loved watching the little nuggets bounce in the in glass teapot as they unrolled. The water slowly changed from clear to a greenish yellow hue. The spent leaves look like a serving of spinach in my infuser, fully unfurled.
The scent is very different from the dry leaf! It smells like nutty bread, almost. Or cereal! Sort of like plain Cheerios, oddly enough. The flavor is delightfully satisfying and smooth. The hints of floral flavor are still there, but not in the forefront. I can certainly taste that this was roasted instead of dried more gently like other oolongs I’ve tried. I suppose the loss of the fruity/grassy/floral flavor comes with that kind of processing. Which makes it come out tasting warmer and heartier. I like it! It really makes me think about the subtleties of harvesting and preparing raw leaves.
So, my mom went out of town on a business trip to the suburbs of Denver, Colorado. She asked if I wanted anything while she was out there, so of course, I asked for tea. Well, she didn’t end up finding anything fancy, so she went with something weird.
The package is almost entirely in Spanish. And it’s by McCormick, the same guys who make steak seasoning and gravy packets. Also, I’ve never had anything with linden flowers in it, so I have no idea what to expect. I have to say, the bag didn’t really smell like anything aside from paper. And the scent as it brewed was strange and mildly unpleasant.
After three minutes, the tea was a pleasant peachy orange color. The flavor, however, was foreign and might take a little getting used to. It’s floral but not bitter, and only a little astringent. There’s something in the flavor that makes me think of spring and fresh cut grass, but sweeter. I know this might be a country thing, but have you ever pulled up a stalk of wheat grass and chewed the white part at the end? It tastes kind of like that.
Not sure I like this. Does anybody else wanna try some? I’ll mail some out if you do. I’d feel bad throwing it away.
I got this sample back in the summer from Kaliska, but I decided to keep it sealed and save it for winter. It’s not actually cold here, but I suppose tonight is as good of a night as any.
The leaves are lovely. They’re mostly flat green pieces with some rolled, brown, narrow leaves mixed in. I can also see a few fuzzy silver tips here and there. To an Earl Grey lover like me, they smell so promising and soothing. The bergamot scent seems much sweeter with a white tea base! There’s no sharpness about it at all.
The brew comes up to a nice light tan. Upon first sip, I realize what I’ve been missing. Without the boldness and astringency of black tea to compete with, the Earl Grey flavors have a real chance to flourish. Backed with the light, sweet, and fresh taste of Mu Tan that reminds me of a mild darjeeling almost. Harney & Sons’ bergamot… there’s just something different and wonderful about it.
I shouldn’t have waited so long to taste this! It would be lovely any time of the year.
Over the years, I’ve grabbed a sample of this flavor several times. (Between 2005 and now.) Each time I’ve bought it, it seemed better than the last. As if they tweak it for the better with every new batch.
This time is no exception. The caramel taste is so strong it’s almost too much! I made a pot to share with my husband tonight and it made the whole apartment smell like I was baking a caramel cake! The flavor keeps the aroma’s promise, too. Sweet, smooth, sinful.
On the next chilly morning we have, I’m going to make this with one part Caramel, one part Lapsang Souchong. Smoky caramel experiment!
Two firsts in one go! My first tea by Kusmi, which I’ve been meaning to get into for years, and my first violet tea. Now, where I live, we have wild Viola sororia which has no scent. They look nice, but because of them, I had no idea what to expect. I just knew that I wanted it.
I bought a box of the sachets because I wasn’t sure if I would like it, and the sachets were the smallest amount I could get. I’m pretty impressed by them, though! They aren’t dusty little paper things. They’re soft, white cotton mesh with whole leaf tea inside.
The scent and flavor, as I expected, are very floral. It reminds me of rose tea somewhat, but without the peppery finish. It also tastes… “purple”. Not quite like grape flavoring, but “purple” comes to mind. Sort of like candy. Or the way kudzu flowers smell. The black tea aspect adds a little astringency and strength to the flowers, but doesn’t overwhelm them. The violet is definitely in the forefront.
Anyway, this is really interesting. Not something I’d want to drink every day, but it will get finished for sure. I look forward to exploring more Kusmi teas!
So, at 3 am last night, I decided to put the herbal content of this tea to the test. I needed to get some sleep but had been restless all night.
I took 3 bags of this stuff and steeped it in about five ounces of water for 10 minutes. When it was done, I threw in some sweetener and ice and drank it all at once. Even with the ice, the brew was dark. Strangely, it wasn’t too strong. I guess it tastes a little bit more like caramel once you triple the leaf.
The resulting sleepiness I got from the tea reminds me a lot of melotonin or Neuro Sleep. A strange heaviness and sort of comfortable feeling. I fell asleep hard and had some detailed, if somewhat stressful dreams until my alarm went off. I was still feeling the effects throughout my first shift of the day. It was very slow to wear off, leaving me really sleepy at work. So, the medicinal content works, no doubt.
Finally getting around to tasting this one. I had opened it up to sniff, fully intending on making some, then I promptly forgot about it. Also, I’ve been concentrating on using up other teas that I have a lot of. I am so tired of Whittard’s Earl Grey, guys. You don’t even know.
Anyway! The dry leaf’s aroma is fantastic. Bright, sweet citrus, almost exactly like starfruit! Sure, it smells like mango, too, but a little sharper and more tart. As it brews, it smells so much like Adagio’s Guanabana. (Which makes me happy, because I love that tea.) It also reminds me of Adagio’s old Mango flavor, the one they used to sell in the mid-2000’s. They’ve changed it since then and I don’t like it as much.
Despite how dark the brew gets, the black tea aspect is actually pretty mellow. No bitterness and hardly any astringency. It has a sort of perfumey quality, mostly in the nose, but also a bit in the aftertaste. The mango flavor is not tart at all like I was expecting. It’s like the inside of soft, ripe mango. This is definitely going to get reordered. Most realistic mango tea I’ve ever had. I love it.
Ok. Lost my post 2 times now. Starting to go crazy. Here’s the gist:
I wandered into the grocery store looking for Tazo’s Rest, but couldn’t find it, so I settled for this despite previous negative experiences with Yogi teas. When selecting bedtime teas, I usually go with blends that contain valerian root, which this doesn’t have. Plus, I don’t even like rooibos, but here I am, tempted by the promise of caramel.
I gave it the full 10 minutes, as the packaging says to steep for 5-10. The tea brewed up to a dark ambery brown, like black tea, and reeked of chamomile. To be short, it doesn’t taste like vanilla or caramel. The main flavors I detect are chamomile, rooibos, nutmeg, and cinnamon. This is followed by that general “Yogi” herbal taste that I’ve noticed in everything I’ve tried by this particular brand.
As far as herbal effects go, I do feel a bit of a sleepy, comfortable feeling. I can’t tell if it’s the placebo effect or not, but I do feel more relaxed and ready to fall asleep. It’s not as strong as Yogi’s Bedtime (which contains valerian), but it still has an effect. Maybe I’ll steep two bags at once next time and see what happens.
My love for vanilla and chai spices overrides the fact that this is a rooibos tea. Also, it’s two in the morning and my friends wanted tea. I figured this would be a good choice since there’s no caffeine.
While it steeped, my brother commented that it smelled like Christmas. It certainly does, especially with the orange peel, clove, soft vanilla, and cinnamon. I served it sweetened with a splash of 1% milk, which added a very nice creaminess that blended with the vanilla. Still, the spices provide a bit of a bite at the end. They also cover up any sort of rooibos aftertaste. I honestly wouldn’t know this had rooibos in it if it wasn’t in the name and description. It’s more like if vanilla masala chai and Constant Comment had a baby.
I’d say this is another rooibos that passes in my book.
I found this in the clearance section of my grocery store and just couldn’t leave it there, even though my tea cabinet is delightfully stocked. I’m always curious about an Earl Grey I’ve never tried, and this one was 50% off!
This is my first tea from Whittard of Chelsea, and from the taste of it, it is a good first impression. The black tea base tastes more like Chinese black tea, though it’s a blend of Indian tea as well. It’s robust but not too bitter, and a tad astringent. A good morning tea.
The bergamot is nicely balanced. Not blaringly lemony, and not too strong to be the only flavor noticeable. It’s actually pretty smooth, and despite the strength of the tea, it’s soothing in a way. I should mention that I made this iced, but I’ve also had it hot and the experience was also very pleasant. Though I prefer the Greys I’ve had from Harney & Son’s, this will probably be my go-to if I just can’t wait for shipping!