157 Tasting Notes
So, I’ve FINALLY gotten to taste this one, thanks to the sampler pack from Frank’s fundraising efforts! I’ve long wondered what this one is like, since it’s an award-winner. :)
My first sip was a very positive impression! The honeybush has a good flavor here, not so medicinal or astringent. The pineapple could be stronger, as could the coconut, but somehow the combination of the three flavors melds together to make a totally unique taste that’s so impeccably addictive… I think I maybe set the mug down once or twice between start and finish.
SO! This one came in the mail today, along with two others, and even though it’s a red rooibos, I just had to tear it open and have a go at it. I’m currently on a very brief but very strict diet that does not allow caffeine, so I’ll have to set the other teas aside until it’s over, but I can have this one! The diet’s working splendidly, so I’d hate to cheat, much as it pains me every time I pass my tea shelf. I need to take some time to separate out the teas I can have, so I won’t have to peruse the whole lot every time I want a cuppa.
Anyhow, the initial brew smells very much of rooibos, with a great deal of enticing apple scent, which is good! There’s maybe a hint of cardamom, but not a whole lot. Surprising, since there were two pods in my steeper. Oh well.
I didn’t sweeten this one, because after the first few sips, I didn’t feel it really needed it. The apple is coming through just fine. I don’t find the red rooibos flavor as offensive as I normally do. I took the advice of a fellow Steepster and added some almond milk, but it doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference. Maybe it would have if I had sweetened it? Dunno. I will have to play around with this one. However, my first impression is very complimentary!
I completely did not mean to drop off the face of the earth for so long… but it kind of happened. :( It started when I went on multiple back-to-back trips during the Christmas holidays (two of them were planned, one of them was not!), and it got a bit out of control. I’ve missed y’all…
Anyway, I finally got to go visit my hubby up in CHILLY Great Lakes, Illinois, and while we were there, we ended up in a Teavana, and saw that this tea was part of the Heavenly Sale. So it came home in my suitcase. :) I wish that was the end of the story, but it isn’t. My suitcase was delayed on the way home and did not make it to me for another FIVE DAYS. I was overjoyed to see it when it was finally delivered to me, but not so overjoyed, upon opening it, to find that the brand new tin of this tea that we had JUST BOUGHT (see above), which had been COMPLETELY FULL (I think it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 or so ounces of tea?), had spilled all over my luggage. There was only about a tenth of the original content left in the tin. I salvaged what I could… but the rest just had to go. I did manage to get the majority of the tea back into the tin, no worse for wear. Lucky I didn’t pay full price for it!
Now, on to the review. I’m not getting as much fig as I’d like, and since I’m a really big fan of the fig, that’s kind of disappointing. It is a yummy herbal tea, though. The caramel notes come through quite well, and the floral notes are pleasant, though I can definitely detect the presence of hibiscus, singing just loudly enough and slightly off-key…
Soooo, my last experience with this tea was, um, memorable, to say the least. One might also call it completely horrifying, but the tea itself was not in any way responsible for that. Let me tell it from the beginning.
I didn’t have all that much left of this tea, and it had been a while, so I pulled it out and steeped myself some. I noticed some weird looking white things in the strainer, but I didn’t think anything of it at the time. After a few sips, I decided to look up the ingredients online, and when I found nothing that might fit the description of what I saw, I opened the tin back up to get a look at the dry leaf.
What I found there still gives me the heebie-jeebies.
THERE WERE BUGS IN MY TEA. THOSE WHITE THINGS WERE LARVA. AND I HAD DRUNK SOME.
I proceeded to have myself a nice little flip out, clamp the lid back on the tin, run outside, and dump it in the grass on the other side of the carport. Then the rest of what I had brewed went down the drain. I have no idea how they got in there, since it was in a sealed tin, just like all the rest of my teas, so I then had to go check every single other tea that was on the shelf with that one. And then all the others, just for good measure and peace of mind. It was the only one that had been infected. And it’s not like I just got it, so I can’t assume these bugs were in it when I got it. The only thing I can think of is that at one point when the tin was open, one bug got in and had itself a nice time, and… little bugs. shudders
Well, now I REALLY can’t wait for my husband to have some time to come home for Christmas, because he will LOVE LOVE LOVE this tea! He’s mostly the reason I had to snag it, because he is a big fan of tiramisu and oolong, so it seemed perfect!
The dry leaf smelled very creamy and custard-y, with hints of chocolate and coffee. Very promising! I steeped it for only a minute, because I do intend to try resteeping it later (when my baby is not sleeping on my lap). The brew smells very much of green oolong, a somewhat astringent nutty smell. The coffee and chocolate seem to have disappeared, but I know smell isn’t everything, so I sweetened it a little, to help those flavors out. I had meant to add milk, but I forgot to do that before I sat down to nurse, and, well, it got left out. I think I will like it better when I can add milk, because I can taste hints of the chocolate and the cream, but they’re not quite strong enough, and the coffee is nowhere to be found. I am not going to rate this one, because while I know this review didn’t turn out very praising, at least part of the issue is the way I prepared it. I’m going to make this taste right, later. And when I have, I will rate it.
Backlog from… I don’t know when. It’s been bonkers around here lately, what with Thanksgiving and then my hubby getting delayed at boot camp, and traveling all over creation, and Christmas shopping… just nuts. I have been drinking my way through the Bestsellers Sampler that I got from the ill-fated Kickstarter, and this is just one of many back logged reviews you’ll see from me in the near future.
Anyway! The tea. This one smelled pleasantly rice-y, with some nutty notes and grassy notes and then, over it all, the creamy sweet marshmallow scent. Not sure if it all rolls together to create “marshmallow treat,” but I’m definitely getting marshmallow and rice smells from the dry leaf, so we’re on the right track!
The brew was… WOW, sweet. As in, I assumed it would need sugar, so I added half of my usual amount, and it was SO sweet, I almost couldn’t find the green tea at all! I won’t be making that mistake again! It definitely did not disappoint, as it tasted very much like a dessert at that point. :) And I love dessert, so, yeah. Probably this is not one I will keep stocked, but it was nice to finally see what all the fuss is about.
This morning, I decided to raid my friend’s tea stash (again) and found this tasty-smelling gem. It smells like breakfast—spicy, orange-y, biscuit-y breakfast. I don’t get any strawberry in the aroma of the loose leaf, but perhaps it will make itself known in the brew? I steeped a teaspoon full for about 2.5 minutes, and added sugar and a little whole milk (figured that would help give the “scone” flavoring a boost).
Mmm, yep, good choice. I definitely got the scone flavor, and the orange comes through nicely, with some spice, perhaps? There’s a little sweetness in the forefront of the taste that might be the strawberry… but I can’t really be sure. Strawberry is a tricky flavor, though, and usually gets lost when combined with other flavors, especially one as potent as orange. So I suppose this is as good as I could expect! (Honestly, I’m not even sure you’d be able to taste the strawberries in an ACTUAL strawberry orange scone. I almost never bake with strawberries, because there’s just something about the process of baking that makes them turn into flavorless mush. Anybody else have that experience?)
So, all in all, not a bad tea… but a little ambitious, methinks.
Oh my goodness, this is caramel cappuccino awesomeness in a powder! I didn’t have my matcha whisk, because it’s in storage, but I made do with an egg whisk (don’t shoot me, it’s all I had!), and it seemed to work just fine. I brewed it up in 3 parts water and 1 part milk, and sweet hallelujah, it was so delicious!! I just kept sipping and sipping and sipping, completely unable to put it down until it was gone. It didn’t need sugar one bit. I’m so glad I’ve finally gotten to see what all the fuss is about with Red Leaf’s flavored matchas. This one, at least, gets an A+! If they have any more of this, I will be ordering it.
Backlog from last night.
Boy, did I need this one last night. My husband, who is in basic training at the moment, called me at 8:50… and I missed the call, by mere nanoseconds. I knew it had to be a business call, because it was so late, but I thought he’d at least try again, or leave a voicemail. He did neither, because (I heard later) he had someone standing over him, and he only had about 90 seconds to get a family member on the phone and relay some information. He managed to get his mom, and she called me to tell me what he said… but I was still pretty bummed that I’d missed him. My bestie, who is a very empathetic person, bless her, saw how sad I was, and without saying anything, began to brew a potful of this tea. We had a good long chat over tea, and I felt better, but I later regretted drinking two cups of black tea so late at night. We went to bed around 11. When 1:45 rolled around, I was still lying there, unable to fall asleep, my mind blazing along from one train of thought to the next. I was still glad to have had it. It just sucked that it kept me up.
Backlog from yesterday. I decided to go with this one in the morning, because I wasn’t feeling very adventurous (took a small break from the traveling tea box, but I’m just about through trying everything I wanted to try from it, and I can’t ship it until Saturday anyway, because I’m not at home, so I don’t really feel any rush about it). My little girl was awake for a lot of last night, which put me in a pretty bad funk. I am not fun to be around when I haven’t gotten the sleep I need. So this tea was a nice little cup of “hey, it’s a new day, take a deep breath, and carry on.”