1892 Tasting Notes
Sipdown. This is probably one of my favourite classic earl grey teas due to its refined base and that the blender didn’t over-use the bergamot oil. It’s a versatile tea hat I enjoyed with or without milk.
Sadly I don’t know if I’ll be able to get more. The store I got it from originally – William-Sonoma doesn’t seem to carry Mariage Freres teas any longer; but I will definitely be on the lookout for it.
I’ve gotta say that as much as I love Butiki’s other blends I’m really not liking the base they used in their pu-erh blends. It has a bitter, very ‘dirty’ undertone no matter how well I rinse it. It’s a taste that strong enough to alter the flavourings added to the tea making the whole thing taste rather ‘off’. I think I won’t bother finishing off this blend or the Grasshopper Cheesecake. They can go in the garden come spring.
It’s nice having a decaf black tea for when I want a chai to drink in the evenings. There are some half-decent rooibos chais but it’s not the same and they aren’t much good with milk for the most part. Some decaf teas end up tasting thin and watery do to the decaffeination process but this one still has its flavour and robustness. The spice blend is nice and warm with a distinct nutmeg flavour and cinnamon scent dominating.
I was really excited to try this tea because I LOVE coconut desserts. It has a rich custardy flavor combined with sweet coconut and the toasted rice taste of the genmaicha also manages to give an approximation of a baked crust. The whole tea is smooth and it isn’t overly grassy nor does the rice have a burnt flavour like some cheaper genmaichas do. This definitely goes on my list of teas to rebuy if LiberTeas decides to blend it again.
I made up a jug of iced tea with the last bit of this blend that I had left. Unfortunately, despite my hopes, it didn’t really turn out great. Something about icing the tea brought out an unpleasant cloying note that I really don’t care for. I’ll certainly finish the jug but overall I think my feelings are rather ambivalent towards this tea.
It’s nice to see something from LiberTeas teas make its way over to 52teas (I hope Masterpiece Chai makes the move too). My thoughts on this tea are much like the original version. The malty flavour of the base give the tea a nice hint of burnt caramel but the caramel flavour itself could stand to be a bit stronger. Still I noticed that adding sweetener improved the flavours of the original version, so I’ll have to try that here.
I love the base of this tea, it’s robust without being astringent with notes of wood and cocoa. The flavours don’t sound like they should work together much less with a base that has so much character of it’s own, but the flavour blending is deft enough that the it has just the right spiciness, the right amount of sweet vanilla, the right degree of citrusy tang that it just works. It also holds up to resteeping quite well. It’s kind of a shame that Verdant Tea has changed to unflavoured teas (although it’s also great that they’re bringing single source Chinese teas to the N. American market, and area of tea production that has been underserved in my opinion) as I would be totally willing to buy more of this tea.
I received this tea as part of a Christmas gift basket. I agree with other reviewers that calling it a herbal tea is deceptive as the yerba maté in the blend does contain caffeine even if it isn’t from the camellia sinensis plant. The tea smells like maple but the flavour is more like the sarsaparilla which is the first ingredient listed. Sarsaparilla has a sort of herbal rootbeer flavour which isn’t terrible on it’s own, but it really shouldn’t be trying to pass itself off as anything maple.
I had about a spoonful’s worth of this tea saved because I wanted to run a comparison analysis between it and the similarly-named Davids Tea Cardamom French Toast (which I will call CaFT for simplicity’s sake).
Both teas were steeped in 100C water for 4 minutes and immediately one difference became apparent as the DT was much lighter in colour than the 52Teas version (let’s call it COFT – I’m a scientists, we love our acronyms). Taste-wise COFT has a much more robust base which drunk plain is maybe a touch too strong initially compared to the milder CaFT. After they both had a few minutes to cool, more flavours became apparent. One interesting difference between the two is that CaFT has a slight sugary sweetness while COFT tastes like maple. When drank in between bites of something sweet (hey, calories don’t count between Xmas and new years!) other difference became apparent, CaFT has a stronger cardamom flavour while COFT has a more substantial baked/bread- like flavour.
For the next test I added a small splash of skim milk to each cup (this is very scientific, you see) the results were that COFT had its robust base soothed, allowing the background flavours to come out and I could tastes the cardamom and for the first time a bit of coconut as well. CaFT fell a little flat as I find with most DT black tea blends the bases just aren’t very robust and adding milk just makes them taste watery.
The final test was a resteep of both teas at 5 minutes. CaFT unfortunately just tasted like weak tea. COFT on the other hand stood up well to the resteep, courtesy of its stronger bases, it’s milder-tasting but I can still taste the cardamom and the maple in the blend.
Honestly I love both teas, and they both have their strengths and weaknesses. I do lean in favour of 52Teas’ blend however as with a bit of tweaking it had the better combination of flavour and quality and character of the tea base. I can always reduce the steeping time to make a robust tea less stronger but it’s hard to make a tea with a weak base stronger. I also like how the maple syrup came across in the COFT as opposed to the CaFT as it tasted more natural. Please reblend this one at some point LiberTeas!