1814 Tasting Notes
Day 17 of the PostTea advent. Today’s blend is fairly unexpected, I would say. There are Christmas Cake blends aplenty, but I’ve never come across one with a pu’erh base before. It kind of works, in a rich, earthy kind of way. My only complaint is that it’s perhaps a little too earthy (and I was fairly conservative with my brew time…)
The flavouring is good, though. Dried fruit, a hint of spice, a touch of almond, and a little background sweetness that’s just about reminiscent of icing. I think I would have preferred a black base, but this is pretty good. While the pu’erh isn’t particularly strong or overpowering, it comes across just a little heavy handed – like the Christmas cake flavours are competing with the base for prominence, rather than working in harmony. It almost works. Would I drink it again? Probably. I don’t think it’s one I’d actively seek out, though.
Day 16 of the PostTea advent. What I’ve learned from this, I think, is that PostTea do really good dessert blends, and that they absolutely nail butter/pastry flavours. This one reminds me a little of Christmas Cookies – also a green blend – because it has a very similar buttery/pastry/biscuit kind of vibe. As far as apple strudel goes, this is spot on. The apple itself is fairly sweet, more baked/floury in flavour than floral or sharp/sour, which seem to be the only three possible options as far as apple teas go. There’s also a dried fruit flavour in the background, that reminds me a little of mince pies or Christmas cake. The three aspects also work really well together!
My only complaint about this blend is that it verges on too sweet, and after half a cup or so it’s really quite cloying. It’s a great dessert tea, though. I can’t fault it for that.
I think perhaps green tea blends are what PostTea do best. Another blend I liked of theirs was a green – I think it was called Drink Me!, a limited edition Alice in Wonderland blend. Then with Christmas Cookies and Apple Strudel, there’s a kind of pattern emerging. I guess I’ll see after a few more whether that’s further reinforced. Happy with this one, though.
Day 15 of the PostTea advent. Like the straight sencha the other day, today’s tea is a straight oolong. Although there have been a lot of flavoured blends included in the calendar, it’s nice to have a few more low-key teas in there too. It’s a nice change of pace. I’m also pleased with the variety there has been – it’s not all black or green teas.
Which brings me to today’s. I’m not the greatest oolong fan, although I’m always willing to try a new thing. I’ve had formosa oolong before from different companies, but it’s not a variety I drink regularly as I’m not over sold on roasted oolongs. I thought I’d prefer them, given that they’re more similar to black tea than green oolongs, but in general I prefer the green. Anyway, as roasted oolongs go, this is a palatable one. It’s fairly sweet, with an almost nutty flavour underlying – it’s putting me in mind of pecans! That brings with it a slight tail-end bitterness, like slightly burnt nut skin, but on the whole it’s sweetish, and ever so slightly malty.
I really quite like this one.
I was looking forward to this one! Candy Cane tea is one of those things that just seems to appeal to me, for reasons I can’t really explain. Fortunately, it lives up to its name, being a pleasant blend of black tea, mint, and just a touch of vanilla creaminess. The pieces of candy cane in the blend aren’t just chunks of larger canes, either. They’re actually teeny-tiny whole mini canes, which is a very cute touch!
I’m drinking this one without milk today, but I can see it working well with milk (more creaminess?) as well, and I’ll probably try it like that next.
Happy with this one! It’s a simple idea, but well executed!
Day 13 of the PostTea advent is plain ol’ sencha, which is fine as far as it goes. It’s smooth, buttery, slightly grassy – pretty much just your average sencha. There’s a slight dankness that emerges as the cup cools, and it begins to turn ever so slightly towards bitter, but that’s perhaps my fault for getting distracted. Should have drank it hot!
This isn’t the most exciting tea, but I’m appreciating it today as a refreshing change of pace. It’s a good palate cleanser after several days of heavily flavoured teas.
I tried the last of my sample with milk yesterday evening, while I wrapped presents and treated myself to a re-watch of Pride and Prejudice. It still makes me cringe (the film, not the tea!), although there are things I like about it.
I worried initially that the milk would wash out the peach flavour, but that’s actually not the case. I gave it an extra minute or so of brew time just to be on the safe side, but it was still wonderfully peachy. The milk did amplify the creaminess a little, although perhaps not as much as I expected it would.
I like this one a lot.
Day 12 of the PostTea advent. This one is a cherry and rose blend with a green tea base, and so the name strikes me as a little odd. It’s right to, I think, because I don’t really get cobbler, or anything particularly dessert-like, from this tea. I get cherry and rose, and that’s fine, but why call it cobbler? I instantly feel like this is as much a miss in terms of name as christmas cookies was a hit.
That’s not to say that this is a bad blend, because it isn’t. It’s just badly named, and sets up expectations it can’t possibly meet. The cherry is nice – quite natural tasting, and not too reminiscent of cough syrup. The rose complements it well, adding just a touch of sweet floral that’s putting me in mind of blossom; flowering trees and spring. It’s a beautiful, ethereal blend, and should probably have been called sakura, or something along those lines.
It reminds me quite a lot of Pekoe’s Japanese Cherry Blossom, which I drank in quantity last summer. It has the same sencha base and cherry/rose flavour combination. The sencha here is smooth, sweet, a touch grassy, and perfectly enhances the “spring” vibe I’m getting from this one. It’s not cherry cobbler, though. That, to me, would be an altogether heavier, butterier kind of flavour. This is light and fresh-tasting. Name criticisms aside, it’s a good cup! I’d happily drink it again.
Day 11 of the PostTea advent. This is a pretty basic chai blend, as far as I can tell. All the usual suspects are present and correct – ginger, clove, cardamon, cinnamon, black pepper. The black base is, I think, Assam – it’s smooth and malty, but otherwise unremarkable. I like Assam as a chai base, though, and it’s a good fit here. The spices don’t come out that well in the flavour, and my cup seems rather mild and muted, a little “flat” tasting. I’m wondering if this is a victim of age again, because some dried spices lose their intensity over time, in my experience. I can just about pick out clove, and there’s a background heat from the pepper or ginger, but it’s hard to be more specific because the flavour just isn’t there. I can certainly smell the spices, though, so the “aromatic” claim is spot-on.
I have mixed feelings about this one. I think it could be good, if a little ordinary, under better circumstances. As it stands, it’s probably not one I’d repurchase. It’s not bad, just thoroughly underwhelming.
Day 10 of the PostTea advent. I was hoping to like this one, because the concept sounds excellent. It turns out I actually really do. This is a perfectly spot-on recreation of soft, spiced christmas cookies. There’s a buttery, biscuitty quality and a level of spicing that leaves a slightly tingly aftertaste. The two aspects work fabulously well together, creating a supremely dessert-like effect. I really like the use of red pepper, which sounds strange but adds a distinctive twist that comes over better than I thought. It’s not as in-your-face as black pepper, but I’m pretty sure it’s responsible for a lot of the warming heat, alongside the ginger and cinnamon. It’s a bit like chai…but the biscuit aspect takes it to another level.
This one is available to buy on PostTea’s website most of the time, from what I’ve seen, and it’s one I would consider buying in larger quantity. I’d quite like to try it as a latte, or maybe iced, but it’s so good as it is that it might not actually last that long…
I’m glad this calendar is picking up, after my initial concerns. It’s turning into a pretty good experience after all.
Day 9 of the PostTea advent. Mayfair Blend is a CTC Indian/Kenyan blend, which is fine with me (although not super unusual or interesting…) I think my conclusion so far is that this advent is a good way to try a decent chunk of PostTea’s range, which is partly what I was hoping, but I was also hoping for some new Christmas/festive blends that aren’t available to buy as part of the year-round main range. A balance of those two things would have been nice, but meh. There are a good few days left yet.
This blend is okay, as far as CTCs go. It’s strong (as you might expect), robust, malty, with a hint of baked potato and a background sweetness. It’s a little brisk, although I kind of expect that a little with a really strong black (and this is really strong). I think I might save the rest of this one for a day when I’m really worn out (like, wishing I was finished work but not quite there, or when I come back freezing from Christmas shopping. Something like that. That’s what it’s suited to, in my mind. I don’t know whether I’d drink it as a breakfast blend, which is the suggestion, because I don’t think it would sit well on an empty stomach. At least, not for me. It would certainly be a decent kick in the pants, though!
This is another I’d not buy more of, but it’s a decent blend.