5 Tasting Notes
I’ve tried both lengthening and shortening the steeping time, and nothing seems to help. The base of black tea is positively blunt. This is labelled as an “aromatic black tea”, which I suppose is accurate – you can detect by smell that there must be other ingredients, but your taste buds are helpless to find them. Since I recently found a chocolate mint blend that I really enjoyed, I was looking for that same warmth, and was interested to see how it would combine with the lighter floral ingredients. But both chocolate and flowers seem to be present mainly on the label.
“Tea in the Sahara” has some lovely blends and a nice gimmick, but “Vivaldi” needs serious revision.
The full name of this tea, according to the canister, is “Memories of South Africa Rooibos Citrus Spice”. That’s right, Canadians, it’s an effort by your friend and mine, President’s Choice. Given that the “Memories” collection is usually a matter of seasoning, dressing, and sauces, it may make you a little leery of the company’s efforts to branch into tea. If you have your doubts, you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as I am – this is a very good blend. It’s also very tricky to find it in stores, so your best bet is to order it online via the President’s Choice website.
The packaging claims that this is a “Flavourful red tea with a citrus scent and a blend of sweet, fragrant spices.” Ingredients include rooibos leaves, spices, camomile flowers, a little soybean oil, orange peel, rose petals, orange flowers, peppermint leaves, lemon verbena leaves, safflowers, cornflowers, and lemon peel. Normally when a blend has that many ingredients, they’re at odds with each other, and the resulting flavour is confused and indistinct. What I would like to know is what those mystery “spices” are. I would have sworn that there’s some ginger in the mix, because the taste crackles and the overall effect is very warming – but without being really earthy. The floral and citrus ingredients play off of each other beautifully, so it’s neither pucker-inducingly sharp nor sleepily mellow.
It’s difficult to describe this tea without resorting to emotional analogies. It’s bright, rather optimistic, calm, pleasant tea. It’s like the friend you want to sit with you while you talk about the disaster you’ve made of your life, and who says exactly the right thing to bring you out of your funk.
I find this to be a perfect morning blend. It’s no caffeine shot-in-the-arm to pry your eyelids open against their will – but it’s a nice deep breath, a steadying hand on your shoulder, a soothing but firm voice saying: “You can get through this. And at the end, you can have a nap and stay in your pyjamas as long as you want. And I will not judge you. But first… the world.”
One of Teaopia’s “Wellness” teas, Calming is quite pleasant. The dominant taste is lemongrass, which is soothing enough on its own, but the fruit and floral ingredients give it a softer, more variable flavour. For some reason there’s a bit of nuttiness about the aroma, but no justification for this in the ingredients – so it must just be some kind of coincidental combination that reminds me a little of coconut. The greatest test would have been to try it when I was having an anxiety attack and see if it calms me down. Difficult to say whether it’s actively calming, but I’ll try it the next time I have a vicious headache and see if it has an effect. All in all a restful tea with a subdued flavour.
One of my go-to teas for snowy days (like this one). Black tea with mint leaves and chocolate pieces with mint flavour. You don’t really taste the chocolate on its own, but it darkens the mint to a lovely earthy tone. Perfect for people who find peppermint teas too bright and perky. Lingers pleasantly for quite a long time after you drink it – would make a wonderful after-dinner tea, and a good alternative to hot chocolate for fighting off the winter chill. Mint teas can often come off as too sweet, but this blend keeps things on a mellow palate.
I’ve tried this company’s Blueberry Tea in the past (and liked it!), so I was curious to sample this blend. It’s a Ceylon tea, so not a lot of room to move, flavour-wise. I tried it with and without milk; the addition of milk softens the flavour, but doesn’t significantly alter it.
This would be a good one to try if you enjoy pomegranate or cranberry teas, as the flavour is similarly tart. What is pleasant about Partridgeberry is that there’s a sort of… musty quality to it, which was enhanced by the fact that I got distracted and let it steep for a while. Very cozy, and more soothing than the aforementioned teas. I also enjoy the freshly-picked quality to the fragrance.