249 Tasting Notes
I remember receiving a chocolate tea from a friend, where the tin had to be opened twice. Those tins were a little difficult to open, but not as difficult as the tin that encased this tea. Both covers were hard to get off, as it wasn’t so much they were stuck, just the way the tins were made.
The tea itself isn’t much. Full curled brown to black leaves, with a lightly woody aroma.
Steeping gives it a better texture, very earthy and dark.
The liquor gives you that very familiar pu-erh rich earthy aroma, as well as that very handsome deep thick color. I have likened myself to smokey and strong teas, and pu-erhs are some of the best teas you can have.
The flavor is not as strong as you would like it to be. There is that earthy and smokey flavor, like a fresh forest, but it isn’t as rich as I can recall other pu-erhs to be. It is quite rich, don’t get me wrong, but not a brilliant richness as, say, Imperial Organic’s bagged pu-erh.
Nonetheless, you get a nice cup of pu-erh that is full bodied and rich.
Tea bag time!
As with all teabags, the aroma is very faint. There are hints of freshness, as the ingredients read natural fruit and vegetable pieces, but you mainly find the lemongrass dominating.
Steeping gives you a more fruitful aroma, with the lemongrass not too far behind. I think the apple pieces are dominating, which lends to it’s sweetness.
The brew is a deep and cloudy green, with a mixture of rouge tones, possibly from the orange peel and rose hips.
As I had suspected, it is quite a blend, with the rose hips and lemongrass seemingly fighting for dominance over the fruit. It is appropriately sweet, but there is a darkness to it, with the lemongrass brightening slightly.
Notice I haven’t mentioned cucumbers once, as it is nowhere to be found in aroma or flavor. It’s quite disappointing considering I bought it mainly because of the cucumber, but if I had read the ingredients beforehand, I would have suspected this would not be a cucumber flavored green tea, with just too many other flavors in the mix.
Nonetheless, it is an acceptable bagged green tea.
So, you’ve probably heard of the Champagne of Tea, but have you ever heard of an ice wine tea? Certainly not I, and certainly not before two days ago.
It was a happy surprise to find out that a long time specialty shop in Terrace actually sells loose leaf tea. What was quite amazing was the variety of teas they offer, and how relatively obscure the fact of them carrying loose leaf tea was.
In any case, the ice wine tea intrigued me. I haven’t really heard much about quality or experiences, but the fact that there was an ice wine tea was enough for me to purchase.
Upon opening the bag, you’re met with an overwhelmingly sweet and fresh pear and grape scent, not so much fruit but simply refreshing. It is actually very interesting, as the grape and pear make up most, if not all of the leaves’ aroma, as you cannot find one bit of tea scent. The leaves are a typical long and rolled black tea, with very dark tones.
I have taken heed to previous tasting notes and decided to steep a minute less my typical 3 minute black tea time. During the steeping, the black tea is brought right out with a very strong aroma. I have also taken heed to the bag’s recommendation of adding sugar, only adding half a teaspoon of rock sugar. Deeper inquiry to others’ past experiences make me think I should have added more sugar.
The brew appears very dark and very wine-ish. The color is deep and clear, the aroma strong yet fresh and subtly fruity. It’s a really soothing aroma, one I would imagine from an actual ice wine.
I also regret not having a wine glass handy at work for this tea.
My first initial sips allow me to understand the strong warnings of how strong the black tea can get, as I instantly taste the strong tea pushing through the other flavors. I am thankful for keeping my steeping at 2 minutes, as I could see this brew turning bitter.
The fruity notes are harmonized with the black tea, giving a wine characteristic of sorts. The grape is quite obvious, but there is also a hint of green apple, as I would imagine as there is also some sweet pear. There is a slight astringency, but due to the shortened steep, it is almost undetectable.
Overall, this is a refreshing and lovely blend. For these wet winter months, this is quite appropriate tea to enjoy casually. I wouldn’t mind sharing it iced with close friends… while watching Girls on HBO.
One of the first things that jump out at you when you first catch the scent of the leaves is lemongrass. It is quite dominant, and very refreshing. A slight creamy texture compliments the more subtle aromas, mainly fruit, in this extremely interesting blend.
I am indeed very intrigued, as steeping gives more of the lemongrass, more of the same of the creamy texture, and strangely subtler aromas that swirl around. The brew is a cloudy blonde color, and very bright.
There is a satisfying surprise in the flavor that you don’t really expect. It is not what you thought a lime gelato tea would taste, as the flavor has a light creaminess. There is a very lime flavor mixed with the sweet essence of other fruit, followed by the lemongrass. The sencha finishes with a subtle astringency that appropriately closes the blend.
It is quite a smooth flavor, pleasing to the last drop, and, I can imagine, a thousand times better iced.
On my second visit to the Prince George location of David’s Tea, I had requested suggestions of new teas for the season, which I have not yet tried.
Again, normally, I wouldn’t be interested in a rooibos blend, especially if it is mainly rooibos; but, it’s scent had enticed me. The leaves give off a ridiculously coconutty aroma, with hints of sweet spices.
Unfortunately, it is still predominately rooibos, as it is a rooibos blend, so upon steeping, the leaves are very red, and the cloudy liquor’s aroma is very rooibos. To be safe, I added half a teaspoon of rock sugar.
The flavor is surprising, as I had expected to taste rooibos. The spices and ginger are very present and very delicious, as is the coconut. There is a certain pale grounding to the flavor, which the rock sugar has sweetened to be less distracting.
I was extremely surprised, as I had not expected this to be as good as it is. The spices give it an appropriate kick, but the blend overall really works to take you to a very alpine place.
Oolong tea can already have a strong scent, which is usually woody. This oolong is combined with ginseng, which makes for an extremely strong dry leaf scent. The rolled leaves have a soft and powdery texture, which gives an interesting appearance with it’s dirty green color.
Steeping provides a less ginseng and more wooden oolong aroma, with a wonderfully deep and clear bamboo tone.
The flavor does have a familiar woody oolong, with a bit of sweet aftertaste that creeps up behind your tongue. It is quite strange, as it is almost a biting sweetness that, at times, can extend to the back of the roof of your mouth.
Aside from the sweet biting aftertaste, this is an oolong without any surprises.
The instant you open it’s packaging, the light and almost fresh scent of mandarin oranges brush upon your face. It is an interesting aroma, not quite as strong as I had imagined it would be.
The leaves are lightly contained within the mandarin orange peel. It is so light that upon opening the peel, the leaves just fall right out. The peel gives a dark detail, which mimics the tea leaves.
Steeping gives a familiar and very strong earth aroma to the wet leaves. The leaves themselves held together quite nicely after steeping, although I can see some twigs.
The liquor itself is also extremely earthy, in both scent and appearance, very clear with an extremely deep reddish tone.
Although I cannot find the sweet oranges, the strong earthy and damp moss flavors are very prominent. It is quite refreshing and such a great delight.
Normally, some stores do not carry full leaf tea, as it is a particular market. In a rural area such as here, stores tend to carry what most of the customers buy, which are tea bags.
It was a little surprising to see more full leaf tea being stocked around here. It is quite surprising itself that a store which sells products for full leaf tea doesn’t necessarily sell full leaf tea.
During the last minute holiday rush, I found more tea leaves to try, which included this one. It is a strange brand, as I could not even find it listed here. The tin design is reminiscent old tea tins, complete with a printing of a mountain and plantation photo.
The leaves are rolled, much like Twinnings’ gunpowder green tea, but without a strong aroma. Very wooden, with a tinge of freshness.
As directed on the tin, I rinsed the leaves with boiling water for about two seconds before the initial steeping. Beyond that, I followed my own experience of green tea infusion and cooled the water for a bit before steeping for a minute.
The liquor is a stronger wooden and fresh scent, with a lean toward the vegetal side. It is a deep auburn color, and very clean.
The flavor is that of the aroma, which is vegetal, a little wooden and fresh. There is a light astringency, but overall is very clean.
For the price, this is a nice tea. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but a good clean cup would make this tea a pleasant discovery.
Knowing the pale and bitter truth, I decided to steep with less time, and add equal amounts of rock sugar.
The result: a less bitter, less pale, sweeter chai. There is a certain quality to it that gives a simple strong flavor. Very dark and oddly powdery.
Despite, it is still bitter and pale. The sugar improved, but just slightly.
I had just found this tea place called Empress Tea House, hidden away within Prince George on Nicholson Street. Despite being located quite near to Pine Center mall, it was an adventure to find it, especially in the late 2012 snowfall.
Apparently, they have been there for close to six years, but their website shows them established in 2004, which is more close to ten years. Despite, I had never heard of this place until I asked a taxi driver if there were more tea places other than David’s Tea in Pine Center.
The word penetrating doesn’t come up describing teas often, and seeing as I haven’t really purchased a chai in quite a long while, this particular one intrigued me.
The leaves give off a fairly familiar Masala chai scent, not as strong as I would anticipate, but strong nonetheless. Rose pedals concern me, as I associate that to a pale flavor, but it doesn’t seem to be present in the leaves’ aroma, which left me slightly reassured.
Steeping the leaves, though, brings out that hidden pale floral scent. I had also forgotten to add maybe equal amounts of rock sugar, so let’s hope the penetrating spices penetrate the unnecessities.
The first initial sips reaffirm my concerns. This chai is not penetrating enough. The pale characteristics overwhelm a potentially interesting blend of spicy and “sensuous” ingredients, as the flavor is attempting strength, but ultimately cannot go further.
I would expect rock sugar would improve the dull flavor, but probably not by much.
It is a shame; a good chai, the right chai, can be hard to find.