411 Tasting Notes
My It’s all About the Leaf review
Blood oranges fascinate me. I know they are becoming more popular (like the surge of pomegranate flavors over the last 3 years), but they still seems exotic, unusual and downright fascinating. It’s the dark red color of the fruit’s flesh combined with the bright citrus flavor that just get my mouth watering!
My first impression is that this tea smells awesome; dark and sweet and tangy. And upon the first sip, the taste lives up to the smell. I brewed this up in my zarafina tea maker at work, and added half a packet of sweetener and the first cup disappeared within minutes. So did the second cup. And the third. Additionally, it withstood a second brewing quite well. Which is a little unusual for a highly flavored black tea. This helps in making this tea a good value for your money – always a bonus!
I’d recommend this tea to anyone who likes black teas and citrus flavors. It tastes great and is a good value.
A tale of woe, from It’s All About the Leaf
Dear Tea Companies,
Your packages’ brewing instructions matter.
Let me explain. I have run into many a situation where I’ll get some amazing sounding tea. I’ll read the instruction on the label, and do what it says. I have to trust that the company who gives me a tea, knows how to make it the best. It will look lovely, the leaf will smell lovely, and the brew will be the most beautiful color ever.
And then that first sip will make me cry. Wonky preparation details will take my little cup of heaven and make it undrinkable.
Such was the case with my first experience with Royal Garland by Samovar. Many of my on-line tea friends experience heighten states of being when they have Samovar teas. So I was really looking forward to the experience of this tea. And then I got it, and read the package where it called for 2 tablespoons of leaf being steeped in 5 ounces of water for 3 minutes. MEH?? I know some teas, especially the fluffier ones, break that 1 cup = 1 tsp golden rule, but this sounded really funky. And everything I’d read says that more leaf = shorter steep. This just couldn’t be right.
But, I decided to trust the tea company. The leaf was gorgeous and smelled amazing. But when I tried that brew… Oh, when I tried that poor abused cup of tea, I almost sprayed the room. It was horrid. Bitter, astringent, and just plain awful. And it was a goodly portion of my tin, since it had called for so much leaf. It honestly took me a good few months to think about trying the tea again.
But, luckily, this tea story has a happy ending. I, after asking around for suggestions of brewing parameters, played with brewing some additional cups. And I’ve gotten the brew to where it’s pretty darned good. It’s a light yellow color, with a clean and slightly astringent flavor with overtones of cashews. I can get multiple yummy steeps out of the same, much smaller, amount of leaves. This is a really nice oolong. Just don’t use the preparation techniques on the container!!
Alas my yummy friend, you are gone. You are gone, I have too much other tea, and my cupboard is too full. I may replace you, because you are an awesome tea. You remind me of autum leaves and are a great tea for the pre-winter months.
However, it will be a while until I could replace you. So long! Farewell. Be well until we see each other again.
Yum. Smoky, but not overly so. This doesn’t remind me of campfires or feel as strongly masculine as Caravan by A&D does, but has a nice husky flavor. I tried this both unsweetened and lightly sweetened. In both, there was a inherent sweet flavor at the end of the sip that very much complimented the smokeness of the brew.
Nice nice tea. I need to go find myself more Kusmi teas! (time for a Dean and Deluca run I think)
So, I made the mistake of reading the other reviews before drinking the tea and I was a little worried…. I’m the lucky person to get the rest of Angrboda ’s sample, and almost expected to see an actual grandmother in the tin once I opened it.
And wow – it definitely smelled like soap when I sniffed the leaf. Woo – SOAP. Soapy-soap-soap. But once brewed, I didn’t get that at all. In fact, I only vaguely got a floral taste. (Mind you, I did sweeten immediately – I didn’t even try unsweetened.)
I’m getting a diluted Earl Grey with a general floral undertone. Not bad, but not great.
Not Grandma, maybe Aunt Doris instead?
NOM! Ok, I’m liking this a lot. I’m not tasting the individual fruits (possibly because I’m also eating some of this amazing cranberry grapefruit sauce I made at the same time) but I’m really liking this. Smooth, fruity, flavorful.
I wish I had more so I could try this with cream and sweetner. Must find some of this!!
Interesting tea. I only really liked it when it was sweetened. But I didn’t get enough rose with all the fruit. The rose flavor only really popped out occasionally, and one time, popped out as a soapy flavor. Which I didn’t really enjoy.
Overall, not a bad tea, but not one I’ll reach for again.
Now, on to another Angrboda tea… :)