241 Tasting Notes
Sweet Jesus H. Corbett, this is really something.
It took me a few sips to put my finger on exactly what I was tasting beyond a darkly fruity sweetness, but I got there by about a third in, and what a revelation it was. The flavour is an inspired confluence of roasted pumpkin, dark treacle, and abura-age, those savoury-sweet tofu pouches used to make inari sushi. Every sip opens up new dimensions of beauty to me. It’s magnificent.
Whoops, I kind of fell off the radar there for a bit. To be fair, I also wasn’t drinking nearly enough tea, and was mostly drinking PG Tips when I was down in Oxford (where I stayed for an extra day, whoops) and then I started my new job, so yeah. Busy bumbly bee.
Remind me to bring a small pantry of teas next time I’m down at Gentleman’s for the weekend. I can’t take it anymore. Plus, I practically half live there already, so it’s only right I have my teas with me!
As for this one, a gift from the lovely sil in our exchange. Oh hellooooooooo, baby. It’s actually been a few days since I had it and hadn’t had time to write up a note, but its beauty has stuck with me. What a cozy, delicious wonder. There’s a very true vanilla and lovely hazelnut that sit in perfect balance over the base, and it’s creamy and comforting. And then there’s this sort of lovely, perfumed almost fruit flavour that’s hiding under there, that’s really difficult to describe at this distance from it, but MAN, it was like a hug from the inside, like a really gentle party in my mouth. You know, the kind of party where it’s just three or four of your best friends just chilling out on the patio of an evening with soft music and conversation that stretches on far into the night. That kind of party. That’s this tea. Yeah, it’s a good ’un.
BLERG. My allegies have hit something fierce, even though I’m taking allergy pills every day. A combination of cat and springtime is killing my senses. Ughhhhhhh.
That said, I filmed an episode of Coronation Street on Friday, and it went really well. I do hope they invite me back to reprise my role sometime. I can’t say much more because spoilers, but hopefully I won’t forget to check when it’s on! Anywho. Hoovered about 5 cups of this throughout the day, and as far as basic tea goes, I do prefer it to some. It’s quite strong, so to be honest I only brew it for a minute while stirring my sugar in and then dump the bag. It’s not got that sort of cardboard taste you get with some basic black teas that I find really blech. It’s pretty strong and smooth.
Also, on an almost totally unrelated note, yesterday was Gentleman’s birthday party, and along with the vegetable lasagne and roast and vegetables and salad and garlic bread and everything, I made a Doctor Who Death To The Daleks quarry cake. It was a dark chocolate and tonka bean sponge sandwiched with tonka bean buttercream, enveloped in dark chocolate ganache, and scattered with a cascading landslide of cornflake-marshmallow cookie crumb soil, and the TARDIS and a small army of Daleks dotting the landscape. I’m stupidly proud of this thing.
You know when you know it’s almost bedtime but there’s that thing you really wanted to get done before bed, so you start doing it, and before you know it, it’s the wee hours of the morning and you’re staring down your laptop while a progress bar advances at almost undetectably slow rate and you just want to sleep but you can’t?
That’s a good time for a cup of chocolate mint tea. This is another very comforting taste for me, and this one is just as a chocolate mint tea should be. The chocolate is warm and creamy and smooth, and the mint leaves a refreshing finish. Sometimes I get more mint, sometimes I get more chocolate, most of the time it sits in balance. I do love a good creamy minty tea. Mmm, good.
Big hugs to Sil for sharing this one!
This was a tough day, this day, but I survived. I had a job interview this morning, and it seemed to go well, but it became clear not far into the interview that I am super not suited to this job at all, and while the staff there were really sweet and nice people, there’s no way I could do that job. As evidenced by the hour of shop-floor trial run they had me do, wherein I was very politely told off for attempting to help a customer slightly further than I was technically qualified to do. A valid point, to be sure, but asking me to interact with the customers while not actually allowing me to do anything other than say hello and ask if they need help – when I can’t actually help them myself – seems a bit pointless. Just means an hour’s worth of customers had to repeat their questions to two different shop assistants. I think they could tell I was feeling a bit not okay with it. As evidenced by the fact that I was meant to get a call by the end of the day to schedule a second interview, and I haven’t heard back from them. I don’t think I will. It’s a relief, to be honest. Gosh knows I need the money, but still. It would have been a BAD job for me.
To that end, major comfort tea is needed tonight.
This is one of those comfort teas I could drink forever and ever and never tire of. The sprinkles in the mix poke out here and there, providing little moments of colourful joy. The tea leaves themselves smell just like a chocolate orange. It tastes like a chocolate orange too, but so much more than that: the rich flavours are softened in brewing, flanked by complex, earthy background notes, soft tannins, and a subtly creamy texture that is brought out further with a little sugar and milk. A highly agreeable, comforting full-bodied tea, where all flavours sit in perfect balance. I’d rate it as a good choice as well for folks who want a Doctor Who fandom blend, but aren’t fond of Adagio’s black base, as the Mambo tea that forms the backbone of this blend is a VERY different beast to the standard Ceylon, and itself has prominent smooth cocoa and slightly peachy notes that are brought out and heightened here. A fitting tribute to an underrated, yet decidedly awesome Doctor.
Good ol’ Rose. I do like her, you know. And this is nice and cozy. Light on the bergamot and lavender, and nicely raspberry. I like this raspberry in blends, it brings a sweet freshness you don’t get from a raspberry-flavoured black tea, that blends well with the subtle floral background notes here. I wish there was a little less of the ceylon texture in the background, but it’s a very comforting flavour.
Thanks again to the wonderful Sil for sending this my way!
I’m not a big fan of Earl Grey on its own, but ordered this with a shot of hazelnut syrup and it was nice! Kind of tasted like marshmallow.
BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, MY UK TELEVISION DEBUT IS CURRENTLY AIRING and you can also see it on youtube:
You can see my fat face from about 6 seconds in on the right. Lordy.
Wow, my head hurts. I should probably sleep. I have a million things to do (okay, a million CVs to email) tomorrow!
I probably wasn’t quite in the right mood for this one when I made it, as it’s a bit of a cold-weather tea for such a mild spring day, but it’s definitely pleasant. I also can’t say I got much distinctive cranberry flavour to it, but it’s definitely a nicely fruity chai, with emphasis on the cinnamon, clove, and a whisper of orange, and it’s warming and cozy with a little sugar.
(Though I still think I’d have liked Amy better if they’d made her an actual police officer instead of a kissogram.)
Big thanks to Sil for sharing!
Catching up on some weekend backlog, as I spent most of the last few days alternately whinging at Gentleman about my lack of employment and, well, making googly eyes at Gentleman like the disgustingly cute couple we are.
If we were anyone else I’d be barfing at how schmoopy we are. It’s cloyingly gross.
Moving on. Not cloyingly gross is Vicki blend tea. Vicki’s lovely. I’d been on a real kick of both chestnut things and cardamom things, having had Nine tea shortly before this one, and making cardamom creme caramel for fancy late dessert when Gentleman came up from Oxford Friday night. I’ve done baked custards and flan and stuff before, but never a creme caramel, so I was chuffed to bits when I released the custards from the ramekins and they’d set perfectly with a pretty pool of runny caramel sauce surrounding them! Heck yeah! And cardamom marries so well with caramel flavours.
To that end, the tea. The leaves’ fragrance begins with that gorgeous cardamom warmth, moving into a lingering, almost buttery caramelized nutty sweetness, reminiscent of lovely, freshly-baked Scandinavian biscuits. When brewed and served with milk and sugar, the Irish Breakfast keeps the flavours from becoming overwhelmingly sugary, while the cardamom offers a lively counterpoint to the almost maple combination of chestnut and caramel. It’s every bit as bright and warm and lovely as one would rightly expect from Vicki.
I’d meant to get this review in much earlier, but then, I’d also meant to get up and put the kettle on about three hours before I actually did. But hey, I applied for three jobs before actually getting out of bed today, so surely that must count as a bit of a win, yes?
I’m also meant to be at a comedy show tonight, but felt too maudlin to do any good at a venue full of giggles. Yeah, so that job I’m meant to have? Pretty sure I’m actually going to start sometime soon, so they say (it’s only been a month since I was offered the position, after all) but there was some kind of hassle with HR not being able to get in touch with either of my references? Gosh dammit! Managed to sort out an email from my old-old job today, but as for my last job, sent an email to them, but who knows. I really don’t want to have to ring them. Or go in and see them. Or anything. My contract ended so abruptly (I was told they weren’t renewing it on what turned out to be my last day, and just sort of had to awkwardly spend the rest of the shift organising baby clothes and feeling shellshocked and trying not to cry) that I’ve just sort of avoided having to actually talk to anyone there, except the one or two people I’m still friends with. Oh, somebody get HR onto my new job’s HR people or something! MY KINGDOM FOR A HASSLE-FREE TRANSITION INTO EMPLOYMENT!
Ok, so my point is, I really, really like Nine. I like Nine himself, and I like this tea. The leaves smell like cozy, fresh-baked goodness, and I just wanted to bury my nose in the bag. Brewed, it’s dark and strong and warm and sweet. At first, I couldn’t taste aniseed at all, instead getting a hint of cinnamon warmth beneath a cozy blanket of sweet chestnut. This was fine for me, as I’d been worried about whether or not I’d like aniseed with the other flavours. It emerges into the aroma and taste as the tea cools a little, but it’s harmonious. If anything, this tea reminds me of taai taais, those soft cookies I used to treasure when they’d emerge in the Dutch supermarket around Christmas time, somehow one of the very few foods where I actually really love that aniseed flavour. I love it here, too: there’s a real nostalgic warmth to this for me, it’s a celebration of comforting flavours put together in an exciting new way, just like Nine’s season was a celebration of how wonderful Doctor Who is, nostalgic and beloved, but also exciting and new. It’s nice to be able to relive that. This is good.