1906 Tasting Notes
This tea is from my very first 52Teas order and the bag has been siting in my tea cupboard, unopened, for months because I already had so many teas open at the time and I didn’t want any to go stale. It was today that I had a look at my collection and decided “Yeah, today’s a good day for something new.”
I remember being excited about this tea when I purchased it – I love pumpkin pie, and it seemed like such an unusual tea flavour (of course since then Frank has come up with many more odder and more fascinating ones). It certainly smells wonderfully spicy in a way that can’t help but remind me of autumn and Thanksgiving. Unfortunately the flavour itself is rather underwhelming. I can taste the spices – mostly cinnamon – which oddly enough taste quite similar to Frank’s Apple Pie a la Mode. Actually I think they worked better in that tea than in this one; here they don’t have the creamy-sweet vanilla flavouring to take the edge off the spices and they come across as a little harsh. I can’t taste any pumpkin flavour – granted pumpkin isn’t a particularly strong flavour to begin with, but this is basically a spice tea…and nothing else.
From the reviews I’ve read of other pumpkin pie-flavoured teas, 52Teas isn’t alone in failing to meet people’s expectations. I wonder if it’s just that there’s simply no way for the tea industry to accurately replicate pumpkin flavour in a reliable way.
I got my hands on this tea courtesy of TeaEqualsBliss – she was a sweetheart a sent me a box full of teas to try a couple months back, and I still haven’t gotten around to sampling all of them.
The steeping instructions seem to indicate that this tea should be brewed gong fu style – unfortunately since I don’t really have the tea or the tea ware to do it that way I just stuck with the usual 1 teaspoon per mug of tea.
The brewing tea smells distinctly bakey and it lacks the light, floral scent I remember from the last ali shan oolong I tried. The flavour of the first steep (@ 3 min) is bakey too – bakey and toasted, like a piece of toast that just on the very verge of burning. This steep also has a slightly nutty aftertaste.
The second steep (@ 3:45) is less bakey and a much smoother cup altogether with hints fo sweetness as the tea cools, though it isn’t as nectar-sweet as some green oolongs can get (I’m not really sure if this qualifies as a green oolong or not). It also has faint nutty nuances throughout.
It’s been awhile since I drank this tea. I dug out the tin because I’m sending soem to Wombatgirl, so I figured I’d have some while I was at it.
My initially assessment of the tea was pretty accurate as it turns out. This mostly tastes like an earl grey – I can taste the pungency of the bergamot and maybe some other citrus fruit, and I can pick up the vanilla notes now that I added a splash of skim milk to my tea. But as for the caramel and red fruits? Sorry, no dice. Maybe I need to steep it longer.
I originally broke this tea out this morning only to find, after I had brewed a cup, that there wasn’t a drop of milk in the house. Woe! And Jillian was a sad panda. :(
Fortunately the boyfriend went shopping and picked a jug of skim milk up along with the stuff for supper, so I gave this tea another try this evening and based my review and rating on that second attempt.
The spices in the tea were strong enough to tickle my nose when I opened the bag. It’s a good, balanced mix with cardamom, cloves, and ginger being foremost, and the vanilla bringing smooth, sweet notes to the tea. It’s a very ‘classic’ chai taste with the vanilla adding a little bit ‘extra’. It doesn’t take over the tea, but instead acts as a nice accent to the spices.
This would be a good candidate to make a traditional-style chai with, I’m betting. I’ll have to try it one morning when I’m not too rushed. :)
There was an interesting sweetly floral scent that wafted up from my mug while this tea was steeping.
I was full of anticipation over the chance to taste this tea – after all it was another milk oolong that is officially my “Bestest T Evar!”. This tea is….not it. Wait, don’t leave yet! It isn’t a bad tea – I think I might be holding it up to standards that are too high – the milk oolong I had from The O DOR was a $80/100g tea after all!
It has a bit of a harshly cooked, tannin-y, and slightly bark-like astringency to it that I’m not hugely fond of. It definitely tastes more like a dark, roasted oolong than a green oolong to my palate. Interestingly, one way in which it is similar to the The O DOR oolong is that drinking the tea with something sweet helps bring out the smooth, milky quality of the tea. It isn’t the “bursting with honeyed cream” flavour of the latter, but it tastes much smoother and develops a mildly sweet tone, though it can’t seem to completely escape that bark-like tannic taste.
The resteep (@ 4:45) is a bit less harsh and a bit more ‘green’ in taste but overall it’s noticeably weaker.
Steeped this longer than I normally do and added some milk, which I also don’t normally do with Yunnan teas. It mellows the tea out a fair bit and emphasizes a bakey-malty flavour as opposed to the smokey and tannic flavours I can tastes when I take it without additives. Interesting – I think I like it this way. :)
This tea is much smokier than the Keemun I have from the Granville Island Tea Co – it’s almost more like a Russian Caravan tea than a plain black. It’s vaguely bakey and mildly tannic with a hint of bitterness. I’m not really picking out the fruity notes the description touts, maybe I should reduce the steeping time to see if I can pick up more of the subtleties.