102 Tasting Notes
This was a tea from last month. My inspiration behind it was apple cider with sage. I am not sure exactly where I got the idea, but I think I found a recipe for Sage Apple Cider somewhere and it sounded interesting to me because I love sage and while I hadn’t thought of adding it to apple cider prior to seeing the recipe, the idea was certainly intriguing to me and I decided that if it makes for a good apple cider, it should also make for a good apple cider-ish tea.
And I love it. Depending upon how much sage leaf is in scoop when you’re scooping it out, it can be quite sage-y to not very sage-y at all. To make this pot of tea, there ended up being quite a bit of sage so this is quite sage-y – not because I didn’t shake the pouch (I did) but because I actually went in there and fished out some more sage because I wanted it sage-y. Although, now that I’ve just said that – I realize that I shared this pot with Mat and he’s probably going to mention the sage. He’ll say it’s weird. Oh well.
Then again, I like sage much more than he does. He does like my chicken saltimbocca which uses sage – it’s one of his favorites – but he does pick out the sage leaves.
Anyway, back to this tea.
This tea needs some time to cool a bit before you start sipping. I started sipping right away because I’m impatient. The flavor is definitely better as it cools a bit. Now, after cooling a bit, the tea is still hot but it’s reached a drinkable temperature . . . and the flavor is much better now. The sage has softened just a bit and the apple-y notes have emerged. As have the notes of allspice and cinnamon. I didn’t go all out on the spices here because I wanted the sage to be a flavor that stood out. (I really like the flavors of apple and sage together).
This is really nice – warm and inviting – not unlike a cup of apple cider but even better because TEA.
This was the tea of the week a couple of weeks ago. I was in the mood for a chai so I grabbed this one. It might be a bit late for a chai since I’m trying to adjust my sleep schedule but my internal clock doesn’t seem to be cooperating with me.
I was inspired to create this tea a couple of years ago, actually – on “Talk like a Pirate day” – I thought, hey, wouldn’t it be cool to have a pirate inspired tea? So I wrote the idea down along with the flavors that I envisioned for a pirate chai blend. I had planned on blending this last year for Talk Like a Pirate day, but I needed to change the menu for whatever reason so I docked it until this year.
This is really tasty – the rum & coconut give this an interesting twist to the classic chai flavors. It still has a chai flavor – not overly spicy though – but the flavor I pick up the most is the rum. The coconut softens the overall cup a bit (along with the vanilla) – to give this a creaminess which is nice because this is one that I don’t recommend going latte with because the dairy (or non-dairy milk) doesn’t meld very well with the rum notes – and it’s just not the same experience. If you do decide to go with a latte, be sure to brew this extra strong.
Nice – unusual – tasty!
Edited to add: the smoke is pretty subtle with this one. I start to pick up on it more as I reach mid-cup but really, what I notice is that the smoky notes meld with the rum a bit to give the rum a little bit of something. Like I said – very unusual, but I really like it.
This was the Tea of the Week for August 6. It’s become one of my favorite morning teas lately – but my day started a bit late today – so I’m having it at 9 pm. I suppose that will work out OK though because I have quite a bit to get done tonight so it’s good to get some caffeine.
The first time I tried this one, I tried it with no additions and I liked it alright that way, but with a teensy bit of sugar, the flavors pop a little more and the scone notes tasted sweeter, more like what I’d get from my favorite tea room (which is no longer – Myrtle’s CLOSED. sad)
Raisin and orange are not typical scone flavors – at least, I can’t recall when I’ve ever had a raisin orange scone – but when I originally blended this, I was envisioning more along the lines of a tea cake or a panettone type flavor – but when I first tasted it – it reminded me so much of the overall experience of tea and scones so I decided to call it that.
The black tea base has a strong Yunnan flavor which is intentional, I went heavy on the Yunnan because I wanted some of the bready and the honey-esque tones that the Yunnan that I use to be a main focus from the black tea base. I thought that the honey-like flavors would tie in nicely with the scone-like flavors.
A really nice tea that reminds me of my favorite part of afternoon tea – after the sandwiches are gone and the sweet tray arrives! YUM!
This is the Featured Reblend for August – and even though it may have appeared to be sold out for a good part of the day yesterday, there is – in fact – a few pouches of this one left.
This was one of the biggest vote-getters in this year’s 12 Teas of Christmas poll, and I decided that rather than add it to the holiday box, that I’d instead reblend it right now – why? Why not?
This is as good as I remember it being – smooth rum background with a creamy, lightly cinnamon-y, rice note. When I first start sipping on this one (hot) – the flavors don’t exactly pop right away. I taste notes of rum, notes of cinnamon and a hint of cream. But as I continue to sip, the flavors develop – and as the tea gets to a comfortable temperature, the flavor really pops at that point. That is to say – you need to let it cool a bit to fully enjoy the Rum & Horchata flavors.
Nice – I’m glad to have this in my cupboard again!
This tea was July’s Featured Reblend/Retro Monday blend. I’m a little surprised that I had to add it to the database because it was originally a Frank era blend – something that he blended in his final year @ 52Teas, if my memory serves me correctly.
Anyway, I stuck really close to the recipe on this blend – and it was a simple recipe – just tea and bananas! The only real tricky part was making sure I got the right kind of tea – this one utilizes a single garden black Ceylon from the Pettigala estate. After I managed to find the right tea, I knew I NEEDED to reblend this because – BANANAS! It was probably my favorite tea from Frank’s final year (again because – bananas). The lighter Ceylon allows the full flavor of the banana to shine through but because banana tends to be a softer tasting fruit, the Ceylon isn’t completely overwhelmed by the banana – it’s really a good pairing.
This one’s really good. If you like bananas, you need to try this blend. (But we’re almost out – just a few more pouches of it left!)
This week’s Tea of the Week!
This tea has quickly become one of my favorite late night drinks. I absolutely love the aroma of the brewed liquid – floral from the lavender with a bit of blueberry. The lavender is also noticeable in the flavor but it’s a bit subtle next to the blueberry note which is quite a bit stronger. There’s a nice creaminess in the background from the marshmallow root and vanilla bean – and I get a nice honey-ish note from the chamomile. I don’t taste a lot from the rooibos – and I don’t know if that’s because the rooibos is overpowered or if it’s because the fruity green rooibos plays to the blueberry notes and melds with it so it’s less noticeable. This has a lot of flavor!
I know I reviewed this about a month ago, but it has been added to the website so I thought I’d review it again.
Besides, I love this tea and any excuse to drink it . . .
This tea has a wonderful combination of flavors that might not seem like they go together necessarily, but they work very nicely. It starts with a black tea base that’s a combination of several different teas: Assam, Yunnan, Ceylon, Nilgiri & Vietnamese black teas. It’s a smooth base that’s not too aggressive, but it’s solid enough to support the flavors of the cup without being overpowered by them.
I love this tea. It’s definitely one of my favorite blends that I’ve yet to create, and I like to think it’s a fitting tribute to its namesake.
This was the first Tea of the Week for March – it’s also nearly sold out! This month has been absolutely crazy for me – this is the first time that I’ve actually been able to sit down and do something that wasn’t either family related or work related, although some argument could be made that by writing a tasting note of one of my own teas, that’s actually work related.
Oh well. My life revolves around tea and that’s not something I make excuses for and it’s not something that I regret or resent. I love tea!
One of the first teas that I bought for myself when I made the decision to close LiberTEAS was a blackberry sage tea and it’s a combination that I absolutely love. Sage and blackberries seem to be made for one another – I love how the sage tones down a little bit of the sweetness of the blackberry and gives it some balance which allows the berry to be more expressive when it’s not so sweet.
Sage is one of my favorite herbs, I love the sort of rustic, woodsy, earthy note it delivers. It’s savory but because of the presence of the blackberry, this tea doesn’t come off too savory, but instead a unique balance of both sweet and savory, while also allowing the flavor of the rich black tea to come through and there’s just a hint of berry tartness too. It’s a pleasing tea with a beautiful complexity.
Last week’s Tea of the Week – I created this one to celebrate Chinese New Year. I used a blend of Golden Yunnan & an Assamica grown in the Yunnan province as the base. I used my own whole spice version of a traditional Chinese Five Spice as the main flavor profile: Cinnamon, Star Anise, Fennel, Clove & Szechuan peppercorns (I used both whole and crushed peppercorns and cloves) and I also added a little bit of ginger root (not much – just enough to enhance the peppery notes a bit) and mandarin orange.
The spice has a nice roundness to it, with the licorice-y notes of the anise and fennel being what I taste first, but the other spices coming forward just after I pick up those licorice notes. The mandarin comes through and the Yunnan is a nice, smooth background note. I really like this.
I was excited about it from the onset, but also nervous because while I do like to use Chinese Five Spice in my cooking (I use it for short ribs – YUM!) I wasn’t sure how it would translate in a tea – but since I’ve had all of these spices in teas before save for the szechuan peppercorns – I can’t recall ever having Szechuan peppercorns in a tea before. I’ve had black peppercorns and pink peppercorns and long peppercorns but I don’t recall having Szechuan peppercorns in a tea before – but I felt fairly confident that it would come out alright. It is somewhat chai like – but definitely different from most chai I’ve had too. This has a nice balance of sweet, spicy, and savory to it.