364 Tasting Notes
Not much leaf left of this tea now, enough for one more session and then I’m out. As a British tea-drinker, I have a long-cultivated respect for a strong black tea which can take a beating with milk and sugar (not that I take sugar). This is certainly that, and really hits the spot when I wake up in the morning wanting tea but craving caffeine, and not having enough patience to let it brew for more than a minute. At only a minute steeping this tea is so brisk and strong that milk is pretty much necessary, at least for me. It’s one of the few loose black teas I take with milk at this point, actually. Even brewed Western style, I can get a good 4 or 5 cups out of this by steeping it slightly longer each time, with the 5th cup only going for 3 minutes to get it to perfect strength. It’s such an easy cup of tea, and it never steers me wrong.
I’ve been reading some of my old tasting notes, and at one point called my favourite Rington’s bagged black tea my ‘Old Reliable Willow Rosenberg of teas’. I’d like to think that this tea is Willow Rosenberg 2.0, circa season 4-5, if there are any Buffy fans out there. But I mean who wouldn’t be a Buffy fan?
Okay so this is a bit of an atypical one. For a start, I am like 80% sure I wrote a tasting note on this tea a couple of years ago when I had a big tub of it. Not only is that not showing up, but the tasting note section is entirely blank, yet it says ‘10 tasting notes’ at the top of the page. When I click the shortcut to view the 10 tasting notes, it just takes me right back to the bottom of the page where it states that there are no notes on this tea as of yet. Super bizarre… Another thing is that this is an instant tea. High in sugar, and sure it contains black tea, but it’s dehydrated and granulated and not exactly what most people think of when they hear ‘tea’. Still, that’s what it’s called and it does – at least in my mind – qualify as tea enough to be written up on Steepster. It’s pretty tasty! Don’t judge me, guys. So here’s the thing; I had a lovely day trip to Durham today with my boyfriend and his mam. It was lovely but freezing, and on the way back we stopped into a pub and I had a glass of mulled wine. It got me into the Christmas spirit and warmed me up, and when I got back home I wanted a similar drink to keep up my internal warm fuzzies, but I also wanted tea. So here we are. It fits the bill. The sugar is enough to temper the tart fruits, but not overpowering and there is some sourness which I don’t mind. I don’t know that I can pick out the individual fruit flavours – I probably would have just said ‘berry’, but the box says apple and strawberry. It’s nice!
Marzipan sent me a load of this a while back after I fell in love with a sample I’d had, and I’ve hoarded the last ~1.5 cups worth since it’s hard for me to get David’s over here in the UK. I made the rather poor decision to try to stretch this out by making a pot of tea with the leaf I had left, so now instead of having 1 delicious mug of goodness I have a whole pot of underleafed, sad, watery tea. The whisper of Pumpkin Chai is still there, but it’s mostly cloves and hot water. Dang it, why did I do that? This will be an eventual purchase for sure.
Whew, I have had a crazy few days. I visited my brother in Manchester and we went to see Hozier, who was incredible. One thing to tick off my bucket list! I’ve wanted to see him live for at least 4 years now. Then I came back and had some of the most hectic and stressful work shifts I’ve ever done, and now I have two days off and I’m relaxing with a cup of tea and a book (Jane Austen’s Persuasion) in the bath with a Lush bath melt. Ahhhhhhhhh.
Thank you thank you thank you MissB!! After the disaster of a tea I had earlier (liquorice root overload) to say this was an improvement would be a HUGE understatement. I know I tried it and liked it when I first received the same but hadn’t had it for a couple of years and wasn’t expecting the full amazingness to still be shining through. But it totally is!! The pu’erh is an interesting choice but it pairs so well with the sweet, buttery caramel and makes it the perfect amount of sweet without being overpowering. I was worried that it might be too sweet because the scent of the brewing tea was identical to the scent of homemade caramel bubbling away in a pan. I needn’t have worried. This is a tea I will look into getting more of when I’m finally out of my no buy (if it’s still around by then – 270 teas to go, yikes!)
Sipdown 124/395! Do we think I can reach 145 by the end of the year?
Okay I was wondering as I was steeping this tea why the ratings are so low. It sounds delicious to me – chocolate, hazelnuts and oolong, what’s not to love? Turns out liquorice. Liquorice is what’s not to love. BLECH. Maybe I should have actually read some of the reviews before taking a sip and then I might not have been so surprised by the overwhelming liquorice root. Why do companies do that?? Yes it adds sweetness, but it also adds BLECH! It’s a shame because for a split second before the liquorice root assaulted my mouth I actually did get a tasty chocolate hazelnut ‘nutella’ vibe. This tea could have been so much better if it weren’t for people ADDING LIQUORICE ROOT WHERE IT DOESN’T BELONG!!! Sorry.
Thanks and apologies to Janelle who sent me this in our swap.
This is a sample I grabbed from the EU TTB several years ago, and had labelled with only ‘Shangri La, treat like green tea’ so it took me quite a while to find which tea I had. This certainly is an odd tea! I can see why cteresa instructed to treat this as if it were a green tea – it has much more in common with a lot of greens I’ve tried than it does any black. It has a lot of astringency for a black with such a low brewing temperature, and a lot of Darjeeling-like floral notes. It has rather a light colour and a dry mouth-feel. It’s not a tea I would choose again, though I am glad to have experienced such an unusual and interesting tea.
Final goodbye to this one, I am hopeful it will not re-enter my life (122/395).
While I’ve never had any strong feelings about this tea, it has always frustrated me how elusive the chocolate flavour is. I managed to draw it out once in a cold brew, but since I rarely drink my tea this way I wouldn’t purchase it for that purpose. Not a bad tea, it’s actually quite pleasant, but I wouldn’t recommend this tea based purely on the fact that it is a wholly frustrating experience trying to glean any kind of chocolate flavour from it.
Another of my oldest teas from a Hapatite Tea Swap I did with Mina way way back in 2014. I can’t imagine these teabags have been too affected by time, though. It’s a very drinkable tea, though none of the flavours stand out in particular other than the metallic tang of the hibiscus. It has a hint of natural sweetness and when I add just a tiny bit of honey to it the citrus flavour comes out a little, though not much. Not a tea I would choose again for flavour, but I don’t think the flavour is really the main reason anyone would choose this tea. I can’t speak to any skin benefits, but that’s not something that really interests me in tea anyway.
Back to reality today after a lovely long weekend visiting Ryan’s brother and his family down in Norwich. I brewed up a pot of this to kick-start my morning and give me the caffeine boost I needed. It delivered, which I knew it would as always. Poured a cup for my mam who said it was alright and admitted that I might eventually convince her to switch to loose-leaf tea. Hoping to have this out of my cupboard, along with 7 other old teas, by the end of the year, so expect another tasting note soon.