659 Tasting Notes
I have the best office mate. I made a comment about being bored with my office teas, so he surprised me by bringing in three new boxes of tea. Adorably, they’re all flavored Lipton teas and he thought they were “fancy”. I opened this one first.
Honestly, this is not nearly as bad as I expected. It tastes like blueberries and green. Nothing actually fancy, but perfectly drinkable. The flavoring falls comfortably between totally natural-tasting and sickeningly artificial. It would probably make a decent iced tea. So thanks, office mate!
Thanks again to Angel at Teavivre for the sample! I finished this one off as a tea soda – hot steeped the whole sample pack in a gaiwan, poured it into a glass, and topped it with seltzer. It came out simultaneously light and flavorful, which is just what I needed on a hot day. The leaf holds up well to a resteep too. I ended up getting four refreshing glasses out of it. Sipdown!
I could have sworn I’d reviewed this tea before. I recall not being too fond of it when I first bought it. It seems to have benefited from age, though. The sweet-tart raspberry and nutty cashew flavors are just right. Evenly balanced and natural tasting. This makes me think of raspberry thumbprint cookies in the best way. Nom nom nom.
Nope. Nope nope nope. I got a sample of this in a Lupicia mailer. I decided to try it out without looking at the ingredients so my impressions would be unbiased. Right off the bat, as soon as I opened the wrapper this smelled unpleasantly medicinal. Like cherry cough syrup. It tasted like artificial cherry until I checked the ingredients. Now it tastes like apricot (which isn’t one of the ingredients either), but still medicinal and just… off. Thankfully, this one’s a sipdown!
Thanks again to Dustin for sending me this lovely blend. It’s bready, malty, loveliness. Not a lot of chocolate flavor per se. I thought it was just because Butiki blends are starting to lose flavor, but looking at my last tasting note it appears this wasn’t especially white chocolate-y to begin with. I love the depth of this one, though. And of course it holds up to multiple steeps and a splash of rice milk quite well. Sipdown!
Another sipdown – ESP’s Genmaicha with Strawberry. It’s not in the database and I don’t feel like adding it right now. Liquid Proust included this as part of the Japan group buy while he was studying there (thanks!). It smelled so strongly of strawberry that I had to separate it from the rest of the teas as soon as I opened the box. I may have waited too long to drink this, though, because the strawberry scent has faded somewhat and does not seem to carry over to the flavor. This tastes like a slightly sweet, very faintly strawberry genmaicha. It is a bit too sensitive for my liking; I suggest steeping it at low temp for no more than a minute. Otherwise it comes out tasting more like burnt rice than roasted rice. It holds up decently to a second steep, though it does lose whatever faint strawberriness there was in the first one. This was nice enough but not something that I’m heartbroken to be out of.
Thank you to Nepali Tea Traders for the sample! I suspect this is the same tea used for the base of their Masala Spiced blend. It’’s delicious. Apparently Nepalese blacks lack the astringency of most other black teas and don’t hurt my stomach. This one is mellow and bready with a faint apricot note. In later steeps, a strong honey note comes to the fore. I’m truly displeased that this is a sipdown. Once I get my cupboard under control, this goes on the keep-in-stock list. Though it seems like I’ve been saying that for years about various teas and my cupboard is still a mess…
Flavors: Apricot, Honey
Sipdown! Many thanks to MissB for sending me some of this unique tea. I can tell you that I quite like it, but I am having trouble articulating why. The problem is that I’ve never had saffron before so my palate can’t ID it and distinguish it from the other flavors. The honey flavor is very tastily strong here. There’s also a sage-like note that I think might be the saffron, and a slight tartness that lingers on the tongue. Although I don’t feel the need to instantly hunt it down and buy 10 boxes, this is certainly a blend I wouldn’t mind having in stock (especially at the office on days when I need a soothing moment).
I was in midtown today for a training, so I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and treat myself. I have been wanting to check out the matcha at Ippodo for a while (http://www.ippodo-tea.co.jp/en/shop/ny.html). The shop is absolutely lovely. Lots of wood creates a serene vibe. I ordered iced usucha. Honestly, it was worth the $4.25. The matcha was prepared in the traditional way and poured over ice. Just watching them prep it was really cool. The matcha itself was just right (at least to my taste buds). It was grassy and vegetal and refreshing. The first few sips left an astringent aftertaste, but that went away and didn’t come back as I kept drinking. I did learn that I can’t drink this on an empty stomach – the energy boost came with a serious bout of nausea.
Thankfully, I then walked a few blocks south and enjoyed a nice meal at Franchia (http://www.franchia.com/). I ordered the dandelion tea. It had a roasted, savory flavor that complemented my meal and soothed my stomach.
To round out the evening, I stopped by the Morgan Library and checked out their Alice in Wonderland exhibit. Highly recommended. Especially on Fridays from 7pm-9pm when they have live chamber music and free admission. :-)
Thanks to Chi Whole Leaf for sending me this sample!
I used 1 tsp of powder stirred into 8 oz of boiling water. Like most powdered teas, the powder settled at the bottom no matter how much I stirred. This tea smells like cozy chamomile and mint. The flavor reminds me of Bonomelli’s chamomile – strong sweet apple notes. This came out a little thin once the powder settled, so I pulled out my trusty milk frother for a better blend. I still ended up with some clumping of the ground flowers. The company warns that this is likely to happen, but it still isn’t exactly appealing in either appearance or added texture in the sip. I like the taste of this but ultimately I can’t get over the weird texture (nor do I have the patience to strain my tea). Sipdown!
Flavors: Apple, Mint