93 Tasting Notes
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.
I just reblended about 4 pounds of this tea for the actual Myrtle’s Tea House – http://myrtlesteahouse.com – because they have ordered some. They not only sell it in their tea shop, but they also grind it to a fine consistency and add it to their shortbread cookies that they serve to their afternoon tea customers.
And since I reblended it – I have to test it before I start packaging it up. My inspiration behind this blend is some of my favorite things at Myrtle’s. There is, of course, the tea which is a creamy Earl Grey and their exceptionally good strawberry soup which is made of pureed strawberries, cream and a touch of cloves and cinnamon. Seriously – that soup! You guys … that soup!!!
We’ll be going to Myrtle’s on Thursday to deliver the tea – and they probably won’t have that soup on Thursday since it’s not exactly strawberry season at the moment. But they do have a really good tomato and basil soup too and that might be a bit more satisfying on a cold and what I think may turn out to be a snowy day since we’re getting quite a bit of snow at the moment.
Anyway – back to this tea. This is every bit as good as I remember. Sweet strawberry – a touch of vanilla – notes of cinnamon and clove and of course, that lovely bergamot. After I finish packaging up the tea for the tea house, I just might have a few pouches left over to add to the website!
Taste testing a new batch of Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha as we’ve been sold out for a little while now – I reblended some earlier this month and it’s finally ready to package up – which I shall do in a bit! So, if you’ve been waiting for this tea – it’s back in stock!
As delicious as I remember it – sweet & marshmallow-y. I’m always happy when this tea is in my pantry!
This is the 8th TEA of Christmas – when I first set out to create this blend, the flavor profile that I had in my head was a custard pie with a dusting of nutmeg on top. I love those pies – but I’ve also come to the point where I know I need to avoid the bakery because I will end up buying said pie and I don’t need the pie – and neither does my pocketbook (they aren’t cheap!)
So I wanted a tea that was creamy and custardy sweet like that – but not so much like it that it made me wish for the real thing. I wanted something that would curb my craving for something creamy and sweet without something that would remind me so much of the pie that I had to go out and buy one.
And I think I managed to do that with this tea. It’s sweet and creamy and custard-y. The nutmeg adds a nice dimension to it. But it also definitely tastes like tea. Similar enough to the pie to curb the craving for it without tasting so similar that I feel I must have the pie.
The last few days (the last week, really) has been absolutely crazy for me – and so of course, I’m very behind in posting my tasting notes for the 12 Teas of Christmas teas. This is tea for day 7 – Crisp Cranberry Soda – which was one of the new teas in last year’s box – brought back for this box by popular demand.
This blend is lovely – a pop of cranberry (which pops more if you allow it to cool a bit) with a lemon-lime soda note – inspired by the seasonal sodas that I see on the shelves this time of year. I love the combination of lemon, lime and cranberry. Lots of tart in there (which is kind of surprising for me, actually, because I usually don’t like tartness but here, it’s working for me), and the sweetness of the rooibos is just enough to keep me from feeling a puckery sensation, I think.
A really lovely caffeine-free tea!
The last few days have been crazy for me – so yes, I’m still behind in posting about each of the 12 Teas of Christmas. This is the 5th Tea of Christmas. I wasn’t surprised that this was one of the highest vote getters in the poll over the summer – this tea sold out in record time when I first released it in July of last year.
And this is just as tasty as I remember it being – lots of banana flavor with lovely notes of marshmallow and toasty rice flavor. I think I may enjoy this best while hot, but I also enjoy it a lot iced – I don’t usually enjoy many Genmaicha teas iced, but this one is an exception.
I’m still a day behind – today is actually the 5th day on our countdown but I’m sipping on the 4th Tea of Christmas from our 12 Teas of Christmas box.
I stuck pretty close to the recipe on this one – using an Assam blend rather than my often used blend of Assam, Yunnan and Ceylon. I chose to work with what I call an “Assam” blend – using a malty Assam and an Assamica tea (grown in China) rather than just going with just the Assam because I feel that the Assamica gave the Assam a bit more roundness. The Assamica is rather robust on it’s own and quite malty, but it also is a bit smoother than Assam and I wanted that.
I like this one – nice and fruity but also nicely dessert-y sweet. Plus, with the Assam base, it makes a really lovely first cuppa when you need help shaking the sleepy – which is what I am in desperate need of. (Yeah, it’s still a bit ‘early’ for me.)
After I finish this cup – I’m off for the rest of the day! (I get two days a week with my grandson – and today is day 1 of the two!!!)
Yep, I’m still behind – and I don’t see myself getting caught up any time soon – since Mondays and Tuesdays are my days that I’m away from home for most of the day. But I figured I should at least make an attempt to get caught up with this tea tonight. Besides, it seemed like the ideal drink tonight since it’s late and it’d be better if I watched my caffeine intake.
This is one of my favorite tisanes that I’ve crafted. I love the way the flavors work together – the hazelnut offers a beautiful depth to the chocolate – and the strawberry adds a bright sweet-tart note. The nutty tones of the honeybush add to the hazelnut notes. It’s just yummy!
So, here it is, Day 3 of the countdown to Christmas with TEA – and I’m already behind a day! In my defense, I was gone pretty much all day yesterday, Mat HAD to see the new Star Wars movie yesterday and was even kinda/sorta lamenting that we didn’t go to see it just after midnight. Instead, we went to see it at 10:30 am yesterday. Seriously? Who goes to see a movie at 10:30 am? Or, to put it another way, what NIGHT OWL goes to see a movie at 10:30 am?
Anyway, after that, I went to watch my grandson graduate from his Tiny Tigers martial arts course which is something I wouldn’t miss for the world. Then my oldest daughter and I went shopping for Christmas and I didn’t get home until about 8 pm – and I came home to a hungry younger daughter and Mat – so yeah, not a lot of time to do other things.
Moving on to tea – this was yesterday’s tea in the 12 Teas of Christmas countdown. Holiday Marmalade. You may be wondering why I chose this name. The name didn’t inspire the tea – I didn’t start out with the name already given to the tea. To be honest, this tea went through a few names before I found one that I was content to give this tea.
My original vision for this tea was a spiced orange curd – you know, sort of like a lemon curd only with oranges. And spices. So I built the tea around that idea, with oranges and vanilla bean and spices – but I was never really happy with the name “Spiced Orange Curd.” I think it was the “Spiced” part. It seems like every time I add some fall or wintery spices to a tea, I just slap on the word “Spiced” or “Spice” to it and wa-lah … it just kind of lacked any sort of creativity whatsoever. So then I thought, Holiday Curd? No, I didn’t like that either. I don’t know why but it just wasn’t doing it for me.
After a few other name variants that I came up with and was equally as dissatisfied with I thought: what about marmalade? It’s not exactly an orange marmalade – well, it is, but it’s also got those spices and I didn’t want to call it Spiced Orange Marmalade for the same reason I didn’t want to call it Spiced Orange Curd. So – after some thought, I decided that Holiday Marmalade sounded right. I just liked the sound of it. Then I found this musical jam with holiday music lead by guitarist Jorma Kaukonen which is called “Holiday Marmalade” (as opposed to “Holiday Jam”) and I absolutely LOVED it … so Holiday Marmalade became the name of this tea – more so for this melody of music than for the actual tea. :)