432 Tasting Notes
I don’t know why I don’t drink more mate, I like the kind of mellow alertness it tends to leave me with, different than the buzz I tend to get from coffee or strong tea. I suppose It has to do with a bad experience I had with a jarring tasting lemon mate I had once, where it tasted harsh and unpleasant. However my other experiences were positive. My first experience with mate was at the debriefing after a contract I had in Ecuador. One of the other people I was with had been in Rosario, Argentina and she shared a pleasant sweet tasting mate with us while sharing stories of riots in the streets after the bank collapse there. In Ecuador I had very little tea but I did have some great coffee, even the chain coffee was great. Anyways that first experience was pleasant and mate is a really nice tea to share among friends.
Anyways, I think this tea has helped to cure me of my mate aversion. It is really quite a pleasant and balanced tea. Once brewed the tea has a scent of green tones from the lemongrass and the mate, and hints of ginger, lemon, and of something floral from the calendula. It brews to a nice light amber yellow.
Flavour wise it has top notes of lemongrass and lemon (creating a toned down baked lemon flavour), and ginger. There is a sweetness provided by the mate and calendula. These notes are all over a sweet and savoury vegetal note. Everything is done to a nice balance, neither the ginger, nor the lemon or the mate over power each other. Ginger provides a light bit of warmth but not too much heat and the lemon and mate help to create a sense of alertness and clarity. I am quite enjoying this cup and it would probably be nice cold as well.
This is a really nice banana flavoured black tea that avoids the traps of
tasting artificial or overly sweet. Throughout the cup it tasted of green fresh bananas, a banana smoothy and a good quality banana muffin. It’s really tasty, but still lets the qualities of it’s base shine through. Thoroughly enjoyable.
A more thorough discussion of this tea is below.
The dry leaf is black and wiry with pieces of fruit and some pieces of calendula petals. It smells lightly fruity, but not of distinct banana, and has an almost chocolate like smell.
I steeped this tea for around 3 minutes.
Brewed tea is a copper colour.
There is a scent of chocolate, a slightly savoury spice like rosemary from the calendula, and dried banana.
At first sip there is a taste close to slightly green fresh bananas, or the flavour of a banana smoothy, or good quality fresh banana chips. It is not artificial tasting and not overly sweet. The tea base is smooth, sweet, with a faintly vegetal undertone melding into a taste of a semi-sweet chocolate. The calendula lends a brightness and a spicy taste to the tea and makes it taste like fresh banana. The tea has just enough tannin to give it some body. It leaves a slightly drying feeling in the mouth but is not overly astringent. The flavour compliments and blends well with the tea but does not overpower it. There is a hint of raisin and biscuit in the base. It tastes a little bit like really nice banana muffins towards the end of the cup.
The re-steep has an indistinct sweet baked good flavour with a hint of floral, and chocolate. Pleasant but not really banana. The base looses its astringency.
The cherry taste is there in this tea but I think I had too much hibiscus in my scoop, as this cup tastes too sour even with sugar. I can smell cherry, and a sweet berry scent, part of the smell references cream soda and cherry popsicles, but the taste is hidden by the sour aspects of this tea (ie hibiscus, rosehips, red currants). The sweet fruit accents become more apparent in the tea as it cools as a slightly candyish cherry taste ( similar to the notes found in cherry scented green tea), leaving a bright fruit note. However this taste is still buried underneath the sour notes. I will try this tea again after removing some of the hibiscus and try it cold brewed to try to bring out the cherry notes and reduce the sour notes. It is supposed to be a sour cherry tea but as it is this brewing was so sour that this over shadowed all of the other flavours.
I decided to do a comparison between two supermarket earl greys.
Twinings and Ahmad Special Blend.
Cost Twinings between 5.49-6.99 CAD for 100g tin.
Ahmad 6.99 454g box
Twinings The bergamot smells more of baked lemon with soft powder floral accent, bop leafs are larger and coarser than Ahmads with a light baked goods smell to leaf.
Ahmad The bergamot is slightly lighter and smells of fresh lemon rind with a floral accent(lavender and rose), and ginger, dry leaf bop ceylon blended with other black teas.
The teas both brew to the colour of maple wood.
Scent of brewed tea
Twinings bergamot(lemon foral) over slightly woody, slightly orange scented black tea smell including rind with a hint of ginger and a cinnamon like scent.
Ahmad strong scent, of malty lemony tea with deeper lemon scent with a hint of ginger, and floral notes.
Taste Twinings Tea is slightly vegetal, with slightly malty tone underneath a citrusy top note. Hint of lavender present, mixed with lemon rind taste, It brews lighter than I remember with less of a rich tea taste. This tin tastes like it is using the same base as Lady Grey.
It is thin bodied with a spicier bergamot. I like the spiciness but I wish there was more citrus. It is a light tea. Relatively smooth and relatively insensitive to steep time. It leaves a spicy floral with hint of citrus aftertaste.
Ahmad This tea has a malty undertone, with hints of red fruit mixed with orange (almost a shirley temple cocktail note), not quite as spicy on the tongue as twinings, with a hint of cooked lemon mixed with orange and rind, rose, and lavender. This tea is more tannic. The tea has more depth than twinings. I would like more spice. It benefits from a shorter steep time as it risks getting bitter and astringent. It leaves a citrus aftertaste.
Both of these teas lack either the rich sweetness of the tea base in the cjay earl grey http://steepster.com/teas/cjay-tea/36148-earl-grey or the bright citrus of the big active tea http://steepster.com/teas/big-active/35256-essence-earl-grey-superior-with-rose-petals.
This tea had small entire leaves lightly scented with a fruity smelling jasmine. The brewed tea requires slightly more leaves than I normally brew with (about 1.5 my normal), and a lower brewing temp or the tea brews very dark and bitter. If you use too little the tea base contributes nothing. The tea smells of a light fruity jasmine and a
fruity black tea with hints of berry and cherry, and a heavier undertone like burnt sugar, and is lightly floral beyond the jasmine.
The taste develops its strongest flavour when lukewarm or cool. It might make a decent ice tea. This tea is not for someone who requires
their tea to be hot. On first sip the tea tastes weak, but develops into an interesting mix of bitter, earthy, malty undertone like charred bread toped by a cool floral, followed, by a sweet, dark red berry flavour with a hint of burnt sugar.
The tea is tannic and when brewed at higher temperatures astringent. I might try brewing it for a little longer at lower temperatures again. I find that if I doubled the leaf at boiling the bitter tones intensify and the mouth feel is almost like drinking coffee. The jasmine is quite light it bends into the flavour of the tea and while its smell is quite fruity it tastes more of a cool floral. It does not taste powdery though.
This tea while offering value for the money is not as flavourful as the bagged jasmine black I recently bought. I think I prefer a slightly sweeter, stronger flavoured base underneath the flavouring and I prefer a sweeter fruitier jasmine. The hunt continues for my preferred jasmine black, I’ll keep looking although this is not my favourite
flavour in tea I find it quite sophoric and the other jasmine black I own actually can put me to sleep.
Tastes of hints of popcorn and butter, canned pastuerized pineapple juice, and a cool vanilla that is pleasant but in someways acts to take away the crispness that pineapple can have. The apple acts to add to the sweetness and tartness to the tea. I don’t notice the pepper but then I have eaten Traditional hot homemade curry in Rajhastan and have a high tolerance for hot spice. The white tea does provide a creaminess to the tea and both the green tea and white tea provide a thicker body to the beverage. The base teas also provide a sweetness and a nuttiness. The first 2 steepings atually reminded me a bit of popcorn covered with a fruity buttery coating. Later steepings are more creamy fruit tasting. Nice for when you want something fruity that is not overly tart or sweet.
This tea made a nice introduction to this class of teas. It is yet another one I found at the local Korean grocer and is packaged and sold by a company that controls a Taiwanese grocery chain. It comes packed in plastic within a cream carboard 60g cannister with a green label. The plastic did not seem to contaminate the tea.
The dry tea smells like raisin dominated dry fruit and contains long olive to forest green leaves. I brewed it 5 times but it still had a little life in it.
35s 1st steep – scent- sweet, slight raisin, soft sweet floral and sugar and cinnamon, colour, pale yellow.
– Taste more intense than smell, buttery, sweet cooked apricot and clover nectar. sweetness intensifies as it is held in the mouth and becomes almost candy like, hay, light spice hinting at cinnamon.freshening feeling towards back and top of mouth, Aftertaste of sugar, cooked peaches and clover.
48s second steep- scent -strongerand slightly more of dried stewed fruit.
– taste sweet dried stewed fruit, sugar, hay and strong sweet floral notes like honeysuckle and clover. Tingling ay bak of mouth, still buttery with hints of cinnamon. aftertaste cooling with sweet, floral with slight hint of cereal vegetal.
50s third steep – taste- more floral with a mineral vegetal note that is slightly bitterand a hint of yam. still buttery and slightly sweet. freshening feeling in back of throat and sinuses.
120+ fourth and fifth steep – tastes of a pleasant slightly sweet green tea with a thicker mouth feel, and a slight reference to seaweed and peach. still lots of flavour.
I was surprised how naturally sweet this tea was. On the first steep the sweetness almost tasted like Stevia. However this tea is unsweetened. It tastes pretty nice on its own and this tea is affordable enough that I don’t feel guilty experimenting with blending with it.
Borsapori Estate has a sustainable farm certification given by a
subsidiary of the Rainforest Alliance, which means that it meets
certain standards with regards to fair and ethical treatment of its
workers and he surrounding community, does not employ child labour, and
has introduced several standards with regards to environmental and
wildlife proection, conservation and sustainable agricultural practices. For more information see here:
The dry tea leaves are quite pretty with silvery dark grey brown with a
lot of golden tips that smell of chocolate and raisins. It brews to a
beautifully clear rosewood colour, and smells of milk chocolate and
spice (cinnamon) with a floral note. The tea tastes of bitter sweet
and milk chocolates. It is a smooth tea with little to no astringency.
The tea also has a powdery floral note and a hint of cinnamon and
sandalwood. This Assam has a strong flavour without the astringency,
and leaves afreshening feeling towards the back of the mouth. The tea
develops a faint fruity note such as ripe plum as it cools sweetening
the tea a little, however chocolate remains the dominant note. The
aftertaste is of milk chocolate with a slightly bitter note, and a
The second steep is a little bit more fruity with the chocolate, floral spice remaining dominant. It is quite a nice tea and is robust enough that It will hold up well to milk. I however pretty well always take my tea black.
Having a nice biscuity, raisiny assam base with some body this tea does make a nice breakfast tea as intended. The flavouring is nice with the fruit tasting like cooked berry,paired with the naturally biscuity flavour of the tea it certainly does evoke the taste of some blueberry baked good. To me though the tang in the flavouring evokes the memory of my mothers pancake batter made with yogurt, instead of a cream cheese danish, however this is a good memory. Regardless the tea is delicious. The tea interacts with the blueberries to create a slightly smokey, slightly chocolate undertone beneath the fruit and pastry. I don’t really get any notes of frosting, either the sweetness or the vanilla accents that are often in it, but I suppose if you added sugar you might get these notes, however this is not necessary. The tea is very nice as it is and resteeps well with decent fruit flavour for the first two and a nice tea flavour for the third.
The tea smells like warm raspberry syrup and vanilla, slight hint of rooibos,faint dry woodiness, followed by a cool vanilla cream dominated raspberry, leaving a warm sweetened raspberry coulis aftertaste, leaves a drying freshening feeling in the mouth. Despite my initial description the rooibos is quite well hidden by the flavouring but acts to add depth to the tisane. The flavouring is
not as strong as the almond marzipan and chocolate mint rooibos.
I find that this tea requires a little more leaf than I usually use for Zen Teas Rooibos’, but it re-steeps really well and has a really pleasant flavour if you love raspberry desserts.