642 Tasting Notes
I got this as a sample with purchase at the NYC Coffee and Tea Festival. I had never heard of Newby Teas before but apparently they’ve been around since 2000. They had a beautiful display (shameless plug for my instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BR1nIKxjbCK/?taken-by=try.all.the.tea). I ended up buying the jasmine green but picked up a sample of this.
This blend comes in a pyramid sachet. Dry and steeped, it smells like orange hard candy. The flavor of the brew isn’t far off from the scent, but the woodsiness of the rooibos balances out the sweetness of the candy-like orange. As it cools, the rooibos flavor fades and the orange flavor becomes almost like an icee. With a splash of milk, I bet this would taste like a creamsicle. Alas, I drank it all up before I could experiment.
Thanks to Christina for the sample! Happy pi day to all and a happy snow day to everyone in the northeast. I’m wishing you lots of snowball fights and no shoveling.
Honestly, I’m not a big fan of this particular tea. The first steep has a weird, stevia-like sweetness. The second steep tastes more like a generic oriental beauty, but it leaves behind an unpleasant, sickly-sweet film after the sip. I don’t want to go in for steep three. I still have a bit of leaf left so I’ll try cold brewing the rest.
Is anyone else having trouble coming to terms with the fact that it’s been 20 years since the premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? The show was an iconic part of my adolescence. Suddenly it’s 20 years later. When did I become an adult?
In honor of the day we first met the residents of Sunnydale, I’m doing a greatest hits marathon this weekend and drinking some of this Sunny Afternoon herbal tea. This blend came to me courtesy of Phi just last weekend (impeccable timing)! The vanilla flavor is extremely similar to that of DavidsTea’s Vanilla Swirl – sugary, creamy, slightly artificial, almost like vanilla cotton candy. Unlike that blend, this one also has notes of lemon and mango. It’s very sweet and dessert-like and I would not dream of adding anything to it. Quite enjoyable exactly as is.
Sipdown! I still don’t really know what an osmanthus smells like when it isn’t in my tea, but in my tea it’s floral and a touch citrus-y. Other people picked up on an apricot note and I can see where they got that, though I didn’t identify it independently so power of suggestion might be at play here. This was a nice alternative to more typical floral teas like jasmine.
I decided to have something special. Tea Ave sent a sample of this tea with my last order. It came in an opaque blue bag with tons of detail on it – growth altitude, roast level, cultivar, oxidation level, instructions for four different brewing methods, and flavor notes. I love this level of detail! Unfortunately, I missed the part where it’s a teabag and not loose leaf, so I prepped my gaiwan, pitcher, etc. before opening the packet and realizing my mistake. Not a great start, but I am not so easily deterred. I switched to a mug and ended up getting… maybe 6? good steeps out of it. I lost count at a certain point. The teabag itself is interesting. It’s a pyramid sachet but not made out of the same plastic-like material as most mass-produced pyramid sachets. This is more like a cottony paper. The leaf inside is of course proper full leaf. There’s plenty of room for it to expand, and it does. The flavor is exactly what I wanted. Sweet floral honey paired with something else that I can’t quite articulate. It’s thick and rich and savory-sweet and distinctive Apparently I’ve reviewed this before, but it was two years ago so I forgot. Back then, I described this flavor as whole wheat toast (gong fu) and camellia blossom (Western style). That’s close to what I tasted this time, but not quite it. I would be more frustrated by my inability to name this flavor but the tea is too yummy and soothing to let it stress me out.
The observance of Lincoln’s birthday seemed like a better time than most to finally finish reading Coates’s Between the World and Me. This is the tea I drank while doing so. I was not paying full attention to the tea but it seems to have lost some of the chewy mallow flavor that I disliked when the blend first came out. Now it’s more of a creamy lime. While I still find it a little odd, I do like it much better now than I did when it was fresh. This would probably be a good cold brew if the leaf can last until warm weather returns.
Flavors: Creamy, Lime
Sipdown! Thanks to Teavivre for the sample. My notes on this tea are chaotically scribbled all over the package but I’ll do my best to organize them into something coherent. I got 7 gong fu steeps out of this leaf. I used 180-185f temp for all of them, starting with a 20-second steep and ending with a 50-second steep. I overdid the third steep at about 60 seconds and it came out undrinkably bitter. Other than that, the flavor profile ranged from brothy seaweed to sweet water chestnut. Not bad!