492 Tasting Notes
Finally got around to doing an iced tea steep off between NMTC’s Lady Londonderry and Metropolitan’s. They are very close, but I think NMCO is the winner. Metropolitan’s seems to have stronger flavor overall, but it is muddled; NMTC’s has a slightly lighter, brighter note, and it’s easier to pick out the lemon strawberry flavor. Neither one, though, is as strong on the lemon strawberry as I would like. They both smell absolutely heavenly in the bag, and while I do taste the flavoring, it’s a pale comparison to the aroma.
This is my last cup of Metropolitan’s Monk’s Blend, so it’s my last chance to do a steep off between these two versions.
First off, these teas have a lot in common with each other. To the point where, if I was choosing between them, I would probably just buy whichever was most convenient at the time.
They both have a vanilla cream note and a vaguely fruity note. I don’t feel that either one nails the grenadine flavor. Yes, the fruity note might kind of sort of be cherry / pomegranate, but if no one had told me that, I don’t think I would have guessed it. They also both need quite a bit of sugar (a heaping teaspoon) before the fruity taste comes out at all. And letting them both cool slightly also helps. The base tea is not particularly distinctive in either — probably a good choice, as anything strong would overwhelm the added flavors.
The main difference in these teas is just where the balance of powers lies between the flavors. Metropolitan’s version has a lot more of the cream vanilla flavor, and this gives it a smoother feel overall, while NMTC’s has a sour-tart note from the fruit. Somehow Metropolitan’s doesn’t taste tart at all.
In the end, I can’t really say I have a preference, though I might choose one over the other depending on whether I’m in the mood for creamy or tart.
All this thinking about tea though did spur me to re-work some of my teacup designs. I always loved the silhouettes of the designs, but the colors of the different cups weren’t meshing, so I tried them out in a soft watercolor palette and also in all black:
Sipdown. This was a nice one — the almond and coconut work great together — but it falls into that category of Sure I Would Throw This In The Cart If It Was Offered By Someone I Was Ordering From Anyway But I’m Not Paying All That Postage For This One Single Tea.
It’s good, but not that good.
So far only Coconut Oolong and Brioche have achieved That level.
Sipdown. So all the time I’ve had this I’ve been steeping 1 tsp. per cup and thinking it was pleasant enough, but on the light side and over all nothing to rave about. But for this last cup, I could see I was down to the dregs, so I just poured it all in. About 1.5 tsp, or maybe slightly more. It has SO much more pizzazz this way. The extra little bit helps enormously.
And now it’s gone. The irony.
This was good, but I’m finding it difficult to describe. There WERE lots of different flavor notes, but they were all quite subtle and melded together and I can’t really but my finger on what they were, except I could identify a sort of eucalyptus note. So I would say this is advanced level tea, whereas I am still at intermediate level (at best). Also was never convinced I was preparing it properly since I only have a small gravity steeper, none of the gongfu equipment that was recommended.
Received this as a sample in my ATR order. It is pleasant, but not something I would seek out. Despite the Nilgiri base, it seems on the mild side. I taste the blackberry — the blueberry, not so much. If I were a blackberry tea fan, I might be more excited about this as it tastes very natural, but there are really just so many other fruit flavors that I prefer.
Got to visit the New Mexico Tea Company shop in person! It was super cute, and of course smelled amazing. I picked up a sample of this because I wanted to compare it to Metropolitan’s Monk’s Blend. I haven’t done a side-by-side test yet, but I think I’m leaning toward this one, mainly because of the base. It’s very smooth, and Metropolitan’s seemed a bit on the astringent side. The vanilla and pomegranate flavors are nice and strong, but still blend well with the base.
Flavors: Grenadine, Vanilla
I’ve never tried Whispering Pines before, but I’ve heard lots of great things about their tea, so I was super excited to try the $5 sample pack deal. Today the box arrived :) First up, this lovely Jin Xuan. It’s not a really ‘buttery’ milk oolong, and I can’t detect the pineapple and coconut notes listed in the description, but it does seem slightly fruitier than the average milk oolong, and the flavor and mouthfeel overall is very smooth. Nicely done!