654 Tasting Notes
I spent twenty minutes last night writing up a review of my trip to Alice’s Tea Cup. Then I accidentally closed the tab without saving. So that’s twenty minutes of my life wasted, plus the time I am taking to write this otherwise unnecessary tasting note. Here are the highlights:
My partner and I celebrated our 12-year anniversary with a trip to Alice’s Tea Cup. We like to linger over their unlimited tea service. It’s called the Jabberwocky, because of course it is. We were surprised to see that the price has gone up – it’s now $100 for two people – but we had been looking forward to it and decided to treat ourselves. We ended up going through four rounds of sandwiches, scones, and tea over the course of 2.5 hours. Did I mention we had barely eaten all day?
The sandwiches are fabulous, but you’re here for the tea. I had the Alice’s Tea blend, champagne oolong, French vervain, and Evening Comfort blend. My partner had the Mauritius and one of the berry blends. He enjoyed those teas, especially the berry one, but I did not get around to trying them.
I was completely enamored of the Alice’s Tea blend a few years ago. It was my happy-place tea at a particularly hectic point in my professional life. There’s something about the natural sweetness and lingering rose flavor of this blend that just centers me. I was very happy to revisit it. If I ever get my stash under control (famous last words), I’d like to keep this blend in stock.
The champagne oolong was interesting. I remember thinking that it would probably be better enjoyed on its own, gong fu style so I could focus on the flavor profile and how it develops. It was good though.
The French vervain was a new flavor for me. It tasted like a mix of lavender and lemongrass. Not quite lemon but lemon-adjacent and slightly savory. Not something I would go out of my way to buy but quite pleasant.
The Evening Comfort blend is an herbal combination of peppermint, lemon peel, and ginger root. It made for a good, stomach-settling, refreshing post-meal drink. But the real winner was a blend of the already-steeped French vervain and Evening Comfort. The resulting beverage had the slightly sweet apple and savory notes of a good chamomile up front with a minty note that came in mid-sip and lingered. The savoriness was a little deeper and more complex than chamomile, though. I think this would be really tasty iced.
My precious Butikis! Most of them have been in very careful storage for the past 5 months while we were between places. Now that we’re officially in the new apartment, one of my first priorities was unpacking all of my teas and teaware. This blend is a year old and still fantastic. It’s sweet and savory, floral and soothing, and all around happy-making.
The loose leaf version of this was in my 2016 Happy Bag. I’ve been drinking loose leaf at the office much more often since my office mate got me a steeper mug for Hannukah. I just use the water cooler hot water. I don’t know what temperature it is but it’s hot enough to provide for a decent brew. It’s also cool enough that I can generally get more steps than usual out of the leaf. In this case, I got four good steeps outs of the blend. Each one was grassy and candy sweet but not cloying. This is a nice substitute when I’m craving bubble tea. It’s also interesting enough that I can savor it but not so phenomenal as to distract from my work.
I’ve reviewed this tea before, but it’s been over a year so I am giving it another go. The fragrance of the leaves (both wet and dry) hasn’t mellowed with age. It’s still bold, baked, slightly smoky, hearty bread. The flavor has faded slightly, which is to be expected. The heavy Russian bread and manuka honey notes have given way to a slightly smoky sweet potato taste. The orange brew goes down smooth with a very slight astringency after the sip.
Teavivre’s website says that this is a low-caffeine tea, which is fairly unusual for a black tea but I believe it. I’m not supposed to have caffeine late in the day but I had a gong fu session with this tea last night and still slept ok. It does make my stomach hurt a teeny bit, which most black teas do to me, but if I eat first it is ok. I am having another gong fu session with it now. I started before eating (bad idea) but it complements my Chinese delivery nicely (American Chinese food, not the real stuff).
Thanks to Teavivre for the sample!
I suspect that every restaurant and spa at every MGM property in Las Vegas carries this as their jasmine green tea. At least that was the case at every place I went to when I visited, which was about 6 different restaurants and a spa across 3 properties. Ok, so that’s a relatively small sample size, but I was surprised by the consistency across locations and fanciness of establishment. The company website only lists this as being available in loose leaf and teabags but I’m pretty sure that I had it in pyramid sachets. I don’t want to rate it because steeping parameters were out of my control. This is a pretty solid blend though. Not the most amazing but far from the worst. Just a nice, middle of the road jasmine that’s hard to mess up. It’s not cloying or artificial tasting at all, and the base is pleasantly light.
Wah, I’m home sick! Thankfully, I picked up some of this lovely loose ginger when Phi and I went to the Spice & Tea Exchange last weekend. I have been alternating it with H & S’s pyramid-bagged ginger tea and Trader Joe’s Gingerly Turmeric blend. The blends are nice, but there’s something about the punch of straight ginger that really cuts through the unpleasant symptoms of a cold. It reminds me of Breezy Morning’s West Indian Ginger Root, which I try to keep on hand at the office because it comes in convenient teabags. This loose version pleases me more though – the pieces are big enough that I can get multiple steeps out of one serving.
Woefully, this is a sipdown. It’s probably a year old at this point and the flavors have certainly mellowed with age. In my last tasting note, I said this blend reminded me of raspberry thumbprint cookies. The flavor is much less specific now; the raspberry is more generic juicy berry and the cashew cookiness is a general nuttiness. This blend is still delicious and I got a solid three steeps out of it, but it’s a good thing I have finished it off before the flavors faded further.