59 Tasting Notes
What a delicious start to the weekend! I received a nice sized sample of this tea from Upton a few months back, and it was the perfect “something different” in my first few cups this morning. A wonderful convergence of malt and sweetness, the long, dark leaves with their golden tips produced a deep amber cup with just a hint of chocolate as it lingers.
Steeped for 4:45 just short of a boil.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Sweet
When you’re willing to try something again, the second time may turn out to be the charm. That was the case with this tea. Maybe my expectations were off, or perhaps it was the method, but whatever it was, I was not thrilled with my first tasting. Not so this time around! Our good friend ashmanra offered some tips, and I just enjoyed two perfectly steeped cups of a tea I had previously written off.
After steeping these delicious leaves the second time, I pulled this tea up to tap out a quick review. The first thing I noticed is that ashmanra has a history of gifting Zhen Quo to friends, and I consider it an honor to be in that circle.
Full of golden tips , the big fluffy leaves yielded a golden brown liquor as sweet as it is beautiful. I had a similarly flavorful Yunnan Black from Silk Road Teas a while back, and I love them both!
My first of any Russian Caravan, so I can only compare it to itself. The Keemun is delightful and accented nicely by the gentle smokiness of the Lapsang. I wanted a second cup right away. Thanks to ashmanra for the generous sample.
Flavors: Astringent, Chocolate, Smoke
As a coffee drinker, I preferred single-origin, freshly roasted coffees. Not being a snobby purist in any way, I tried many, many coffees that didn’t fit that bill…that’s how I know my preference.
The same is happening with tea. I have discovered single-estate teas are my preference. There are blends I enjoy, and I have several teas with organic or herbal additives, but for the most part, I lean toward something more pure with a flavor I don’t have to hunt for.
After drinking several Assam blends and truly enjoying their unique bursts of flavor, a good friend (ashmanra) sent me a tin of this pure Assam from Grace Rare Teas and suggested I’d like it. She was right!
These leaves yield a beautiful copper cup with all the flavor you’d expect from an Assam tea, but somehow more mellow. While I typically add milk to Assam blends, it’s absolutely unnecessary with this tea.
If you’re an Irish Breakfast fan, try this! You might find out you’re really a fan of Assam tea. I did.
Flavors: Malt, Sweet
I have to hide this one. When I observe the specified water/tea bag ratio, it’s really good. A great cup in the evening, and too many friends and family agree. I am under a self-imposed (though loosely regarded) buying freeze, and I need this to last a little while.
Chocolaty, minty, and deliciously creamy.
Flavors: Chocolate, Creamy, Mint
When I started the coffee-tea transition, I was not a flavored coffee fan, and was pretty sure the same would be true of tea. For my experience, the sweet, spicy and sometimes exotic aroma from various flavoring or additives don’t always translate in the cup.
That said, after dabbling with herbals and simple blends like Morocco Mint, I decided to try some flavored teas and tisanes during the Christmas season. My wife favors decaf options, and you can always offer something that smells awesome to a holiday guest.
With its base black tea, I tried Sip and Be Merry moments after opening the box. It smells fantastic and the bag infuses very quickly. It smells and tastes somewhat fruity; the second most notable flavor is the vanilla. I can see the black tea in the cup, but there’s no real evidence of it in the flavor. Not bad. My guests and co-workers love it. My wife can even drink it early in the day. That’s my positive review as I cleanse my palate with some Irish Breakfast Tea.
Flavors: Sweet, Vanilla
This’ll make you pucker! Definitely malty, not much else to comment on.
Most companies send samples to make me want to buy, and I kinda wonder if Upton was trying to unload some tea that backfired with this sample. This is one of those teas I’m okay to finish but won’t even look up the price for. I love Indonesian coffees, but maybe tea just isn’t Java’s thing. Or, being as positive as possible, maybe it’s absolutely fantastic in blends!
Flavors: Astringent, Malt
I was looking for some herbal treats to share with my wife in the evening, and was happy to find some rooibos-based holiday flavors to add to my cart. Then in a true show of bipartisanship, I smiled, drifted to the OTHER side of the aisle, and found plenty of caffeinated options to agree with. Simpson & Vail’s “St. Nick’s Tea” is the first among them to make it to our cup.
Deliciously nutty with a strong sense of maple, this flavored black tea has just enough of a chocolate edge to make it seem decadent. While it was my first cup on this cold morning, it won’t replace my daily black tea any time soon. Great tea to share with family and friends – holiday or any day.
Flavors: Chocolate, Maple, Nutty
What a tasty surprise!
Harney & Sons included a sample of this Holiday Tea in a recent order, and I love it. We have amassed quite a few samples, and sometimes I don’t feel like going through the effort to brew a pot (lazy, right?), so I’ll grab a sample tea bag. My wife doesn’t do caffeine after a certain time of the day, so when I held out the pre-Thanksgiving offerings, she snatched up an herbal, and I chose this from the remainder.
I’m not typically a fan of clove, but it’s so tastefully woven into the overall flavor of this tea that I was sad to see the bottom of the cup. The almond, cinnamon and citrus were just right to make this a great evening tea, and it would make a delicious dessert or conversation tea at any gathering.
Flavors: Almond, Cinnamon, Citrus, Clove