91 Tasting Notes
On the 6th Day of Christmas – This tea is also our Tea of the Week!
I decided to go latte with this cuppa and I’m oh-so-happy that I did. It’s so good. I’ve made a few chai blends since I’ve been doing the 52Teas thing, and I’m thinking that this one might be my favorite thus far.
As I’ve said in my tasting notes on my blog – http://52teas.com/blog/on-the-6th-day-of-christmas-and-our-tea-of-the-week/ – my inspiration behind this blend is a holiday card photo – you know the one – it’s a woodsy area covered in snow and in the middle of the scene is a little cabin with smoke wafting out of the chimney. What kind of tea would I want if I were tucked inside that cabin? Chai of course! And as I’m snuggled up by the warmth of the fire, I might roast a marshmallow or two (or three or four!)
So this tea is created around that idea – a chai tea with the flavor of toasted marshmallow mingling amid the warm ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom and black pepper. There’s some (just a pinch!) of Lapsang Souchong to represent the smell of smoky pine and the charred taste from the roasted marshmallows.
This is really good straight up – I recommend adding a little bit of sugar (I prefer raw sugar) or honey to bring out the flavor of the spices. A splash of milk to make it a latte will add an irresistible creaminess to the cup.
On the 5th Day of Christmas – I gotta tell you, I really wasn’t expecting this tea to do as well in the poll as it did. I mean – I really like this tea (a lot more than I remember liking it from the original batch) but maybe because it’s not quite as – unusual? – as say a pancake breakfast tea, I really didn’t expect it to be one of the winners of the poll.
But I’m glad it was because I love this reblend. This reblend definitely has a bit more coconut than I remember from the original blend – but I love how the coconut melds with the pudding notes. The black tea is robust and flavorful and there’s a lovely banana note.
On the 4th Day of Christmas – I’m running a bit behind on all my posts yesterday/today because yesterday was our ‘Thanksmas’ – which is the holiday we’ve created to combine Thanksgiving and Christmas since Amethyst is grown with a family of her own – I wanted a day when everybody could get together and celebrate the season. We take a look at everyone’s calendar and determine what day would work best for everyone’s schedule and that day ended up being yesterday. So yesterday was the day we have the turkey feast and open presents. Yay!
So today’s tea – the 4th tea of the countdown – was one that won quite an extraordinary number of votes: Coconut Flan Genmaicha! Yum! I was happy to reblend this because it was one of my favorites from this past year.
Creamy and decadent with lots of coconut. I’ve never actually had a coconut flan before – but this is what I’d imagine coconut flan would taste a lot like. Sweet and the toasted rice melds beautifully with the custard-y flan notes. Really yummy!
On the 3rd Day of Christmas – I was a little surprised that this tea did so well in the poll we ran to determine which teas we’d reblend for the 12 Teas of Christmas – happily surprised because I saw this as a tremendous opportunity to work more on the blend. I was very happy with my first ‘reblend’ of this tea last year but I also feel like there was room for improvement and I saw this as an opportunity to do that.
I wanted more vanilla this time and more cookie-like flavor and I do think I managed to achieve that. It’s still got cinnamon – a sweet, non-candy cinnamon (not that hot tamale kind of cinnamon but more like the kind of cinnamon you’d sprinkle on your toast) and the cinnamon is a dominant flavor profile here but I am also getting a nice amount of vanilla.
Really nice for the moment because we have had a bit of a snowstorm up here in the Pacific Northwest (as you may have heard) and this is really nice and comforting to cozy up to when it’s so chilly!
On the 2nd Day of Christmas – here’s our second tea of our Holiday countdown/Advent calendar box. This is the only caffeine-free tea/tisane in our box this year and it’s one of four original teas (rather than a reblend).
I didn’t expect it would be one of my favorite teas that I’ve created thus far – but it definitely has become just that. It’s so good and tastes so much like what I wanted it to taste like. It’s sweet and crisp and light and distinctly cranberry without tasting overly tart.
I admit that most of what I’ve consumed of this tea has been hot – but I really love this one iced – preferably cold-brewed. It’s good without sugar but a little teensy bit of sugar will enhance the ‘soda-ish’ experience. http://52teas.com/blog/on-the-2nd-day-of-christmas-/
On the first day of Christmas – this is the first tea of our Holiday countdown/advent calendar of tea! I was really happy that this tea won a fair number of votes in our poll from a few months ago because I thought it would be the perfect tea to include in our 12 Teas of Christmas box – as the first tea of course!
I used organic Chinese Sencha and freeze-dried pears along with some dried lingonberries. When I googled partridgeberries, I saw that there seem to be two different berries that are referred to as “partridgeberries” – the first are Michella repens and I couldn’t find anyone out there that sold them which didn’t really surprise me since from what I could tell, the berries are pretty flavorless. Who wants to buy flavorless berries?
A little bit more looking into my google search turned up another berry that is known as “partridgeberry” and that is the lingonberry. And HEY – I know that berry! I mean, I’ve been to IKEA. I figured it’d be easier for me to find a Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) than it’d be for me to find the Michella repens.
The berries are actually really small, so if you get something that looks kind of big (like the size of the cranberry) that’s actually a cluster of the berries. I tried to separate as many of the berries from each other as I could but these things are tiny and it became quite a task.
But they are certainly very festive looking amid the rich, green spears of Chinese Sencha and chunks of freeze-dried pear.
I really love this tea – I loved it back when Frank first blended it, and I am enjoying it immensely now. Sweet pear flavor with a hint of tart from the berry. Lovely!
I am sipping on a cup of this – an effort to relax after a very hectic week of getting the 12 Teas of Christmas boxes on their way.
I made a couple of changes to the recipe this year – I still used the Laoshan teas from Verdant – but I also added just a little bit of Assam to the blend to fill out the base flavors a little bit. The malt and the strength of flavor from the Assam helped give the Laoshan teas just a little more – something.
I also added some vegan white chocolate chips to the blend because I wanted a little more creaminess to the cup. I don’t know how much difference the little bit of white chocolate chips added to the cup, really, it gave a pretty almost marshmallow like appearance to the dry leaf which is nice – maybe a touch more of a creamy vanilla taste?
Nice cool, crisp flavor from the peppermint – lovely chocolate notes. Still one of my favorites that I’ve created thus far.
This week’s tea of the week (Retro Monday Reblend!)
I had a couple of cups of this earlier today but I was without internet connection for a few hours today – fortunately things are up and running now and I’m able to print out my mailing labels so that I can send subscription boxes out today! Yay!
This is really good – I think I liked today’s cup even better than I enjoyed the tea when I conducted the taste test: http://52teas.com/blog/tea-of-the-week-for-october-31-2016-retro-monday-butter-beer-black-tea/
Today’s cup was smooth and butterscotch-y with a nice background of root beer. I recently discovered a butterscotch beer soft drink from ‘flying cauldron’ – which seems to be an obvious take on the Harry Potter beverage that inspired this tea as well – and this afternoon’s cuppa reminded me a lot of the soda that I tasted about two month’s ago. Really yummy.
I cold-brewed some of this last night to enjoy today.
And while it’s quite tasty as a cold-brew, I think I prefer this as a hot tea. Cold, I am getting more fruit flavor and a good amount of pumpkin. The spices are a little muted. It comes together quite nicely as a cold glass of tea but I think that the hot cuppa gives this tea a more comforting flavor that is something that I enjoy. My partner agreed with me, he preferred this one hot too, but it’s still quite good and worth a try as a cold-brew.
This is last week’s tea of the week – but the last two weeks have been completely out of control crazy so I’m going to take a moment now to sit down and breathe … and enjoy some tea!
About 2 weeks ago, we had a serious equipment malfunction that put me about 10 days behind. The worst part about it is that I was actually getting caught up! I was going to have the subscription boxes out ahead of schedule! I was getting there – and then my heat sealer breaks on me and I have to wait to get a new one delivered. Ugh.
But, I guess that’s one thing that i’ve learned in the year plus that I’ve been doing the 52Teas thing – that stuff happens and you just gotta roll with the punches.
Fortunately, after spending the last week since getting my replacement heat sealer working hard – I might actually be getting caught up again which is very fortunate since the 12 Teas of Christmas is in progress! (By the way, deadline to pre-order yours is this Saturday!)
Now – let’s get back to the task at hand – this tea! I really love this tea. I had come across a recipe for Earl Grey Cider (a cocktail) and thought it sounded amazing except that I’m not really big on cocktails (or any alcohol for that matter). But I did think that if the Earl Grey Cider was a tea, I’d definitely want to try it. So I decided that i should make my own version of this cocktail.
The bergamot is delightful and together with the lemon in this, it creates a really unique citrus-y note. The apple isn’t particularly strong but it adds a pleasant sweet note to the otherwise tart/tangy fruits in this. And the bourbon notes are not overly powerful but there is a hint of like a warm, caramel-y, barley-like note to the cup.
I haven’t yet tried this iced but I will be cold-brewing it very soon so I’ll be sure to let you know what I think of it – I’m absolutely loving it hot!