50 Tasting Notes
Normally, I really, truly hate fruity teas because they always wind up tasting artificial. This, however, was an absolute delight and I have no idea where it comes from. My friend works in one of our campus cafés, and I snuck behind the counter to steal a pyramid bag of the only good-smelling tea they had. Snuggled away secretively in a green plastic bag: no labels, no tags, nothing. You would never know!
Sweet, slightly herbal to counterbalance, but totally rich in flavor without being tawdry. (…Just how I like my women?) Best of all, no bitter aftertaste, and it actually smelled and tasted like strawberries, rather than making me choose which sense is more crucial. Damnation, I need to know where this tea comes from so I can try it with just a teensy bit of sugar next time!
After having spent much of the afternoon with my great aunt and mum discussing how I have developed a selective tongue for tea, we raided my aunt’s tea cabinet. It was incredibly tempting to pick up her Mariage Frères package, but I kept digging for something I hadn’t seen before. Lo and behold, I found a tin of loose formosa oolong from Twining’s!
Hell knows if they make this anymore, because I sure can’t find it? It may be precisely because it was so old (it smelled alright, but the leaves did look a little more dead than usual, and we pried the lid with a screwdriver) that it didn’t sit too well. Even when using a very fine tea infuser, bits of tea were filtering through to the bottom, so I reckon the leaves had been broken badly up over time. Either way, added a little more than usual, and brewed it with just-boiled water. Definitely didn’t let it sit too long, either, because it got very dark very quickly, which I found unusual. I always drink oolongs straight, too.
The scent was straightforward, and kicking up associations with black tea over green tea in that it wasn’t vegetal. As you all probably know (I dare not lecture on tea, since I’m newbie enough), most oolongs move from bitter taste to sweet aftertaste. While I was picking up smoky and woodsy notes on this one, the sweetness definitely didn’t kick in, unfortunately. And as I already noted, it was darker than I’d expected.
Had I more time, I probably would’ve tried a couple more steeps to see if it would soften up a bit, but maybe this is a matter of the leaves more than me. My aunt told this story of how, in college, she’d sent her mother a card with a picture of a pencil on the front that said “You may call this a pencil,” and on the inside, “But I call it a hint,” because her mother rarely ever wrote her. After much serious contemplation, my darling great grandmother sent back a card of someone climbing up a rock wall, with the front saying, “You’re trying, trying, trying…” and the inside said “…Very trying.”
I suppose this is my attempt at trying tea something!
Okay, so, the first time I tried this, I’m not going to lie, it was AWFUL. It was watery, weak, and barely smelt of anything it promised on the box. It was pathetic, and the one thing that was supposed to make the Grammys bearable [tea solves all my woes, ’kay?] just made it worse, haha.
But. I have been looking for a nice, spicy chocolate blend for ages because I am trying to cut down on my chocaholic tendencies. Since I have no concept where to begin online, figured trying something boxed might be a good start…
There is hope! Today, I steeped it in a smaller mug, double-bagged, for ~10 min., added a dash of milk, and some real sugar. Can’t say it is suddenly a gift from the tutelary Mayan Tea Gods and Goddesses or anything, but it is definite improvement from last night and means I may even be able to finish the box. I taste more of the spice and smell more of the cocoa, which is not exactly the desired balance, but quite tolerable. All of the flavor tends to sit at the bottom of my mug, but I believe in the power of my white chocolate strawberry scone to combat the powers of evil. A new hope? If double-bagged mixed with some chai, it should be even better. I have tried to salvage this tea!
To be entirely honest, I probably should be giving this a lower rating than I am. It is Sunday morning, and in my desperation to wake up, I shuffled my freezing feet to my parents’ cupboard full of bagged tea and rummaged through all of the boxes until I found something new. Never again, I tell you. (Though I will probably do it later today.)
Anywhos, tea. Tastes mostly like a boring, unrefined black tea. There’s some fruity flavoring, but I wouldn’t single it out particularly as mango, and it’s very artificial tasting. Even the smell didn’t entice me, either when I sniffed the bag with suspicion, nor in my mug as it brewed, which is unusual for teas that aim for fruityliciousness. The coloring was warm and quite dark, but again, nothing unusual.
When trying to think what it reminds me of, I can only conjure the image of something soggy, which has been left out too long. Yetch. To be remedied with Sufjan Stevens and more tea. Let’s hope this isn’t going to predict the rest of my day…
Pleasant! Didn’t let it steep long because of the hibiscus and rosehips, but there is a full bodied quality I feel in my mouth when I sip this that I don’t normally taste from flavored, fruity teas. And that makes me pleased. Maybe not what I expected, but still enjoyable.
A bit too sweet for my tastes, and if I had added sugar, it would be like liquid candy. I can taste a bit of the raspberry when I put my mind to it, but it strikes me as a bit tart, and more like a substitute, generic berry than anything specific. What darjeeling there is seems overwhelmed by the hibiscus and rosehips (which frankly, I think we should ban altogether from tea), but it works better for this tea than I have tasted in other berry blends. No bitter aftertaste, but leaves my mouth feeling dry the way I do when I drink pink lemonade..?! It is biting cold outside, so I’m just happy to have a warm mug and tummy.
As you may have noticed, I haven’t updated a lot lately, and I will tell you my reasoning: unless I find something particularly interesting the following times I drink something, I most likely will not log it. May give the impression I don’t drink much tea. More like I require VARIETEA. (Har har, look at my pun.) cough Anyways.
Waking up with a cup of bagged Lady Grey, because I needed something light and citrus-y to fill my nostrils and taste buds! It’s very forgiving on steep times and temperatures, and I drink it straight because it never strikes me as bitter or too bold. Personal preference would normally lead me to Irish Breakfast, but this is a lazy morning that requires the power of tea and fruit in one cup, rather than soothing milk that will paralyze my senses until I am prepared to realize that I am, in fact, quite conscious. Today, I am off to Sotheby’s with my college twin, so I have to look lively!
Egads, I am starting to think I will remain ill forever! So, here I am, prepared. Ginger snaps, tea, and Alan Moore’s Black Dossier by my side. Scoured my parents’ tea for something to drink whilst ill, and this was it. If I had more energy, maybe I’d even call this my “excited” mode.
By this point, I have probably killed the tea. I dunked two fairly large chunks of young Australian ginger into this steep, just to make it all the better for my sickness, and two large spoonfuls of honey. Needless to say, it is pretty delicious now. But when I tasted the tea beforehand, I was not so impressed, nor did I taste the pear. Considering I can barely smell at the moment, this may not be saying much. Primarily, I think of this as a green tea before all else. Perhaps it needs a shorter steep and lower temperature, but I won’t go into all that now. For now, I will soak it all up and sleep!
This tea smells like Florida at dusk, if you’re sitting by the ocean, and just able to taste a bit of the salt off of your lips. In taste, though, it is very light and floral, and the contrast is really pleasant in combination. Has the coloring of a light oolong, smells like green tea, and tastes like jasmine. Definitely more steeps to come!
Drank some with a halibut-shaped sugar cookie (adorable!) at the Acapelicans concert the other night. Couldn’t bring myself to drink any of the other offerings on the table, so I went for my good old classic!
The scent is so refreshing. Reminds me of Typhoo in its strength, but is obviously an Irish Breakfast blend instead. Super quick steep, and didn’t become bitter although I left the tea bag in and never added milk or sugar. Probably downed the mug-ful in no more than 10 minutes, which is plain crazy. I put this on par with the Twining’s blend I’ve been raised on, as it has so many sentimental connotations for me…
My darling Becky bought me a glass teapot for Christmas (early) along with a sampler of Primula teas! This was the first one we tried.
Very light coloring, and I was worried about that. The first steep was too weak, the second was too strong, and hopefully I’m getting it right this time. The jasmine seems to soften the green tea, which I appreciate, but it leaves my mouth dry, which I did not get on the first steep (then it seemed a little more buttery). I can taste the flower(s), but they don’t seem very particular, something like chrysanthemum. Light and yummy enough, but I feel like there’s some quality that reminds me of how dirty fog is tainting this. My guess is the tea may have been sitting too long on a shelf. Also, unpleasant fuzzy residue in my mug from this tea. Whut.