470 Tasting Notes
I could have sworn that I logged this before, back when I got it around Christmas, but alas it seems that I did not. Usually Teavana is WAY out of my budget based on the quality, but the Heavenly sale was just impossible to resist. I ended up with 8 ounces of this for something like $6? Okay, actually I didn’t buy the blended version (since it’s been switched for a chai/chai blend I don’t care for) but I got them individually and mixed ‘em up so essentially it’s the same thing.
I’m having this stovetop method, mixed with milk & honey and simmered for a good ten minutes. It’s so good—not to cinnamony like their other chai blend, and with a really nice fruity pop along with a hint of citrus in the background and a whole lot of spice. I know people hate on Teavana a lot but they really do have some gems mixed in with all the overly-hibiscus berry blends. One of my favorite chais!
For months I have been hearing about this mysterious “shake it up in a water bottle” method of making matcha. I wanted to try it since I try to drink a glass of matcha every day, but alas I had nothing to make it in. I drink filtered tap water, and I have been lacking in teaware since I always end up spending my money on tea instead. The lack of a tea tumbler is something I constantly complain about when going out (especially to the movies, how nice would it be to have a hot thermos full of your favorite tea instead of sugary soda?) so my boyfriend surprised me with a wonderful double-walled tea thermos for xmas! Finally, the elusive “shake it up” method is within my reach.
Usually to make a glass of matcha I have to boil water, mix up a starter base with matcha + hot water, and then pour it in a glass with cold water. This way is a lot easier: matcha and water in the thermos, shake it up! Voila! No sifting required, it’s so easy. Today I’m doing it with the Pineapple Matcha I got in a swap with Chuckieroy! It was one I always wanted to order but kind of slipped my mind, so I’m happy to have a shot at it now.
Mmm! It’s softly tropical pineapple, not fake or artificial tasting. It’s just a little bit sweet, and has that rind-y taste I found in the mango matcha. I have enough of this generous sample left to mix it with coconut—homemade pina colada!
I often find that chocolate teas don’t quite live up to their name. Chocolate flavoring, artificial or natural, just never seems really chocolatey to me. So when I reach for a chocolate tea I usually just wind up having hot cocoa instead! So how do you fix that? Well, add chocolate to your tea, which is exactly what this blend is!
This still isn’t as chocolatey as hot chocolate, but it’s close! And unlike hot chocolate, it’s not one dimensional. The oolong gives it wonderfully roasty flavor and some soft floral notes as well. And it definitely curbs my chocolate craving with way less calories! I mean I assume there are some since there’s whole chocolate bits in here, but it’s not a powdered sugary slurry. Thanks Nature’s Tea Leaf!
I hereby dub this tea ‘Vanilla Cupcake’ because that’s what it tastes like. Vanilla and oolong seems to be a popular combination and I’ve tried quite a few: DAVIDsTEA’s Vanilla Oolong (good, a bit artificial), Persimmon Tree’s Mandarin Silk (excellent but more citrus than vanilla), and The Tea Merchant’s Silk Dragon (perfection!). This, though, tops them all.
It’s just SO GOOD. Creamy and rich and so decadent with no sugar at all, I swear this tastes like a fluffy cupcake from Magnolia. Actually I think Crumbs has better cupcakes (blasphemy in NY, I know!) but Magnolia’s buttercream frosting is just like… the god of desserts. And that’s what this tea reminds me of!
But not just cupcakes. The oolong is pretty darn high quality for a blend, with some soft floral notes and a really nice butteriness. And then I think there’s something SERIOUSLY whack with my tastebuds because I swear halfway through the cup it started tasting like… chocolate. I mean, not a little, but chocolatier than the most chocolatey tea I’ve tasted. What is this wizardry?! What ever it is, I like it. Thanks ne14t for the sample!
So, apparently I am allergic to something I ate/drank last night. Half of my chin has swollen up and it hurts so much worse than I ever thought a rash could. ;~; I didn’t have anything strange or unusual, so I think it might have been the 3 root tea, since it had 3 ingredients I’d never tried before. I could always taste it again to find out but… I’m really not about to potentially put myself in so much pain again!
To make myself feel better since I can’t eat or even talk much without searing pain, I decided to make some fancy tea. And what’s fancier than champagne? As I think I’ve mentioned before I love the non-alcohol part of many alcoholic drinks, but not the actual alcohol part since it just makes me sleepy and that’s no fun at all at a party. Have one drink, curl up on the couch and fall asleep (except for sake, for some reason). So teas like Pink Sonoma are my best friend!
As other notes have mentioned, this reminds me a LOT of Buddha’s Blend. Very strong peach and jasmine, and there’s a hint of pineapple there too but it’s not very strong. I get some champagne taste but it’s hard to picture it as champagne in my head because of the lack of, well, carbonation! I have enough of my sample from ne14t to mix some with something fizzy though!
If you live in NYC, you probably know about the dumpling wars. There is a small cluster of dumpling shops on the lower East Side area and there are constant wars about which is better (and no, Momofuku doesn’t count, we’re talking little dive $1 for 5 dumpling kind of joints!). My favorite is Vanessa’s: not the one in Union Square (which is decent) but the original shop. Not just because of the dumplings which, let’s face it, are very similar from shop to shop. But Vanessa’s has these fantastic sesame pancake sandwiches stuffed with crispy pulled pork or even DUCK. And to top off your greasy, delicious sandwich there’s the world’s best Hong Kong Milk Tea.
As amazingly delicious as HKMT is, it’s laden with calories from the sugar and evaporated milk AND condensed milk. Ugg, but it’s so good! I would love to find a lighter replacement, so I was thrilled to see this from Nature’s Tea Leaf. But can it replicate the wonders of Vanessa’s Hong Kong Milk Tea?
Well, of course it’s not thick and creamy from the milk, but it perfectly captures the condensed/evaporated milk taste. The tea isn’t cloudy so there’s no actual milk bits floating around, it’s just flavoring. Magic flavoring! I cold brewed this and without any sugar or other additions it really does taste like milk tea. Creamy, milk, with that distinct evaporated milk taste and a burst of sweetness. Mmmmm. I think I’m in love!
Another generous sample from tattooed_tea! I love coconut, I love mint and I love cream so I’ve been drooling over this blend since it first came out. I’m trying to sample a bunch of DAVIDsTEA blends before I make a big purchase though, so I don’t end up with something icky I don’t like. You never really know with them—most of their blends I love, but some are really hit or miss.
This blend… yeah, I definitely like! The mint is strong, it’s nice and creamy (vanilla maybe), and there’s a smooth hint of coconut in the background. This definitely reminds me of after dinner mints like Andes even though there’s no chocolate, the cream just adds a ton of depth. I do, however, wish the coconut was a wee bit stronger. I’m surprised they work at all though really, coconut and mint is something I never would have though of getting. I wonder who comes up with these ideas? What a fun job, coming up with tea flavors! Especially at DT, since they seem to have some really off the wall blends.
This tea is an odd one for sure. But when I saw it on Nature’s Tea Leaf site I felt compelled to try it. I love mint and it just seemed so unique! And I know a lot of people here are against the pseudo-science health benefits attached to tea but personally I’ve found that at least in terms of digestive issues they’re quite helpful! So why not give a traditional health blend a shot?
The smell of this brings back memories. When I was little I absolutely loved going to Chinatown (not that this has changed at all haha) and my aunt works in the NYC courthouses, which are about 4 blocks away so sometimes she’d take me to work and then to explore the winding streets of Chinatown. Now I know it’s not that big in size, but when I was a kid it was a huge, mystical land full of magic and adventure. Everything was wonderfully foreign and I loved going into the big grocery stores and peering into every jar of spices and herbs. This tea smells like that, medicinal but also quite pleasant and homey.
The taste is… odd. Not bad odd, but it’s really unique and hard to wrap my head around. The mint is very present but not assertive, definitely with the sweetness I associate with peppermint. The 3 roots add some incredibly complex flavors—it’s tart, fruity, with a berry-like sweetness and then a bit bitter (not in a bad way, akin to grapefruit juice) followed by a deep earthiness that reminds me of wet moss. You know the smell of the woods after rain in spring? Like that. Then at the end, suddenly pepper! It’s a whole taste adventure in a single tea.
And, best of all, it definitely did sooth my nausea a fair bit. Hooray! Definitely a winner, if just for the bizarre but pleasant adventure it took me on. Thanks to Nature’s Tea Leaf for the chance to try this!
I had an existential tea crisis yesterday. I was looking for a specific blend (that I can’t even remember now) and I searched through all 3 very large shelves I have for tea, along with the smaller compartments they’ve taken over… and then my 2 huge baskets of sample. And I realized. I have too much tea! So I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off fluttering over what to do about it. Sell big sample envelopes? But I dug through my samples and could hardly bare to part with any because I still want to try them. Ugh! So I stuffed a swap envelope I was preparing extra-full to make myself feel better and went to the post office in a tizzy. Tea is taking over my life! What shall I do! And then I came home to a package form tattooed_tea and quickly my worries were forgotten because hey, new tea to try! Of course this only compounds my problem but it’s hard to beat the new-tea rush (even when it’s only samples!)
I decided to try this first because I love Christmas. I find it a relaxing time of the year (usually… not in 2012 orz) and hoped a big cup of Christmas cheer would calm me down a little! I have floating anxiety that tends to “latch on” to every little problem and make it seem way bigger than it is. So really, the “too much tea” thing probably seems really silly but for a hour or so it filled me with so much anxiety I felt like I was going to burst at the seams with worry.
Ahh, this was just what I needed! It smells like, well, Christmas. Cinnamon, star anise, allspice, cranberry. And while there doesn’t seem to be much green tea when it’s dried it blows up and totally filled up my steeper. Or maybe that’s the mistletoe? Regardless this is a wonderful blend and quite different from other Christmas blends that I’ve tried which usually come down to cinnamon, orange and clove. The tastes here are surprisingly complex and I am loving the tartness the cranberry adds! The one downside is how darn heavy this blend is, it would be expensive to keep stocked round the year!