255 Tasting Notes
Earlier this afternoon I had the Samurai Chai Mate from Teavana, and the grittiness left me with a desperate need to grab something to wash out the little granules it had left behind. The smoothness of this tea was a refreshing succor, while its taste was perplexing.
When I see a tea with lemon in its name, I can’t seem to avoid comparing it to Lemon Zinger. This was nothing like its lemon-drop effect – in fact, it’s difficult to even taste the lemon. All I can identify is a slight aftertaste. From the name, I was expecting something a little more in your face. But that’s okay – it’s nice and soothing, and that’s exactly what I was looking for this afternoon.
The skies are going crazy. Between the thunder and lighting (who just got a song stuck in their head?) and the tornado warnings throughout North Texas, I really need a calming cup.
Our school let out early today because of the storm, so I’m home hours before usual. My husband’s college is out for the summer, so I thought I’d find him lost in the Mists of Pandaria. Instead, I discover he’s gone walkabout and is still walking around in the sheeting rain. One fetched husband later, we’re both soaked. He from his walk and me from the simple journey to and from the car. We both need to warm up quickly.
Enter the tea. I used 2 tablespoons of tea and 2 tablespoons of sugar in my 3-cup pot. I noticed right of the bat that this was stirring up differently than the last batch. There is such an odd mix of big and little pieces in this tea that it needs a good shake before brewing in order to even it out. I didn’t take the time today, and it’s obvious. There are a lot more little pieces (maybe the mate?) that made it through the filter and are floating around on top. I’m not so thrilled about that part, but a generous dollop of cream later and it’s tasty, if a little more textured than I’d usually enjoy. But ohhh…. even with the rumblings and roars up above, it’s soothing.
Eeew! I typed too soon. A bunch of those little floating pieces drifted to the bottom of the cup, and I just swallowed a very unfortunate, chewy sip. Oh, they’re stuck in my throat! Yuck!
Okay, I’m going to go drink something else. Quickly. I don’t think this one, with it’s grainy grossness, is going to be replaced when we finish it. It’s really too bad, because I love the taste, but I’m not willing to deal with this nastiness again!
I threw this into the teapot tonight because I’m trying to use up some of my bagged teas before payday – when I can actually build up my loose leaf collection. I’ve learned from experience that to enjoy Zhena’s tea I need to use two teabags, so I threw those into my 2-cup teapot and let them steep.
This particular batch is a little syrupy, but that’s probably because I ran out of Sugar in the Raw and lost count of of the sugar cubes I had to use instead. I’m glad I decided to use two bags, as this is still pretty light-tasting. The camomile is the strongest, but a faint licorice aftertaste follows in its sway.
All in all, I’m glad I pulled this down from the shelf. It’s been a hectic day – the end of the school year is upon us, and my seniors are all going a little crazy about graduation. But now most the papers are graded and I was even able to leave the rest at school. This cup is a fantastic transition for me – a sweet reminder that part of the day is over, and now it’s time to cuddle with the cats (Akasha and Mei-Mei – we’re nerds!) and curl up with a book. An unheard of luxury during the school year!
That’s no light task, and I’m impressed this tea managed to pull it off!
As I sip this, I close my eyes and travel back to my semester in London. I’m back in my homestay, with two young boys tearing around a kitchen in Harrow while their mother bakes toast in the oven and yells at them. While it may sound like a trope, that truly was my introduction to morning tea. I’d had Lemon Zinger before, and the random herbal, but coffee was always the way of the morning in my parents’ household.
I’ve been living on teabags for too long, and going back to loose leaf is a wonderful experience. Reading the other reviews, I know this isn’t a huge favorite but my palate is adjusting to the change, and right now I find this soothing and just plain wonderful.
Jake had to leave early, so instead of breaking out the teapot and tiny cups we went for the big pottery mugs – all the better to caffeinate you, m’ dear! I used about 1tsp tea with 1-1/2 tablespoons Sugar in the Raw and a dash of milk.
Sipping it now, I am surprised at the licorice aftertaste. It’s not something I remember, so I’m left wondering if it’s unique to this tea. Other than that small outlier, it’s a wonderfully smooth cup that lets me slide fully into consciousness and prepare to face the day.
My husband treated me to a couple samples of Teavana, so we’re enjoying this tea tonight and the Earl Grey tomorrow morning.
It was Jake’s first visit to a Teavana, but after watching what happened with my mom and reading some of the stories here we were prepared. We left the cards at home and only took the cash with us that we intended to spend. We were very up front about a $10 budget for tea samples, and it was so funny to watch the shop girl get more and more frustrated as she tried to push the $16/2oz teas!
But moving on to the actual review ;)
For the preparation, I used about two tablespoons of tea and two tablespoons of Sugar in the Raw in a 2-cup teapot, then a nice dash of milk once I’d poured the tea into our mugs.
From the start I was surprised at how mild it is – not exactly the fierce warrior brew I’d expect based on the title. Although my tongue does tingle slightly, it’s not exactly a kick in the mouth. The cinnamon overwhelms most of the other flavors, and I can’t really pick out the fruity elements. I can understand why other people have described it as tasting like Big Red. It’s actually kind of true.
I also can’t detect the mate element. I didn’t realize it was a mate when we bought it – there was absolutely no vegetal smell – and I was worried about it when we got home. Luckily (for me at least, because I have yet to enjoy a good mate experience) the taste is not present at all.
Sipping this, I can easily picture myself putting together the elements of a new story but I’m not exactly ready to strap on a cuirass and go to war!
Okay, this just shot up in my esteem! Last time I made it, it was in my 3-cup pot with one teabag and about 2 tablespoons of honey. This time I made it in my 2-cup pot and used Sugar in the Raw with two teabags. Add a dash of milk and it really tastes like I’m sipping a chai latte at Starbucks. Maybe it’s because when I go there I’m a 6-pump chai girl – I just like it RICH and very sweet. I can’t go tea-shopping for another week, so I’m delighted that we have something I can enjoy in the meantime!
I tried a different mix this morning, adding a teaspoon of cloves and a pinch or two of cinnamon bark. in addition to the usual honey dollop. This is the most I’ve enjoyed this tea in a long time! It makes a much, much better base than a stand-alone tea – I can’t believe it took me this long to figure that out! Thanks, Steepster, for some great new ideas!
Whenever she sends us packages, Mom likes to fill the space with things from her cupboard she thinks we’d like. When we got this tin, it was about a third of the way full. Since then, we’ve managed to bring it down to less than a sixth. What can I say? She called it! With a nice dollop of honey it’s a nice even tea, perfect for cloudy afternoons.
Today’s morning cuppa was at work, so I had to rely on water microwaved in a cup. I can only guess at the temperature. The smoky taste is still a bit overwhelming, and I think I’ll try adding some cloves, cinnamon, or cardamon tomorrow. We’ll see what I find in the bulk section. Oh, darn, I need to pick up some new teas, because I’m getting too tired of this one!