1917 Tasting Notes
Another Liquid Proust from my cupboard. I have a few, for sure! That can only be a good thing, though, since on the whole they’re up there with some of the best flavoured teas I’ve tried. They’re certainly some of the most inventive.
Blackberry Sage seems like an unusual combination in tea terms, but intuitive in terms of flavour. They’re two things I can imagine pairing really well together. Fortunately, they do! LP’s blackberry flavouring is good. Berry flavours in general seem to be either over or under done, but this one strikes a good balance between being flavour accurate and actually tasteable. It’s not cloying, over-sweet, over-tart, or hopelessly artificial. Instead, it’s rich and fruity with a little sweetness, and perfectly captures the essence of ripe blackberry. The choice of keemun for the base is particularly inspired, because it has a dark, jammy, fruity sweetness all its own that really complements the blackberry flavour, and probably helps to bring it out.
The sage is less distinct, but definitely there in the background. It adds a savoury, herbal flavour that checks the sweetness just a little and provides a depth that would otherwise be lacking. I think I’d like it to be a little more prominent, though, because as it stands it’s hard to identify as sage specifically. I get that it can be a hard balance to strike, though, and I wouldn’t want to sacrifice my current experience entirely just for the sake of more sage. It’s already an excellent blend.
This one has made me feel sad all over again that LP no longer blends regularly.
I bought this one in January last year, and it’s sat in my cupboard ever since. I think that’s largely because it’s such an odd duck, I mean…a tea that tastes like meadow? This was released as the first tea in Bluebird’s Herbfield Series, which presumably never got off the ground since I’ve heard nothing more about it since. In any case, it’s a blend of UK grown herbs – rosemary, vervain, and feverfew, with some marigold petals thrown in for good measure.
It looks like the dried herb mixes you might find in the supermarket, but the scent is more appealing than I expected. It’s like freshly cut grass on a warm day; soft, mellow, and soothing. It conjures up warmth, to me, which is especially welcome on a bitter winter day like today. It’s summer captured in a scent.
To taste, it’s not quite so pleasant. The rosemary is very strong, and there’s a powerfully bitter aftertaste. It’s definitely a savoury tea, no question. After the initial hit of rosemary wears off, it tastes, basically, like grass – very green with a lot of chlorophyll. I’m not quite sure what Bluebird were thinking when they blended this, which perhaps accounts for the fact that no more followed. It’s unpleasant almost in the extreme as a drink, although I could sniff the leaves all day and feel quite happy. Perhaps I’ll use it as an odd kind of potpourri, because I definitely won’t be drinking it…
I made this one up as a tea pop, and it turns out I finally found its happy place. I’ve always loved the scent of this one – it’s so fruity and candy-like. In practice, though, it always turns out too sharp and tart. Turns out, if you add a fuck-ton of sugar, you get something approaching the flavour the scent promises.
Anyway, I added 2 bags of tea to 1 cup of boiling water, and steeped for 5 minutes. After removing the bags, I added 1 cup of sugar and simmered until it dissolved. I used 3 tsp of syrup for my glass, topped off with sparkling water. It’s sweet and candy-like, obviously, and it actually tastes like raspberry. The cranberry is a little lost, but that’s a minor complaint given how much of an improvement this flavour is over a straight brew. The sparkling water takes the sweetness down a little, anyway, so it doesn’t seem as overdone as it perhaps could.
I think this kind of sweet, refreshing brilliance might just make my summer this year!
A sample from LP’s Regional Group Buy, which (like most things…) has been in my cupboard for a while. I’ve tried a couple of similar style teas before, but not from Nepal as far as I can remember.
This one is malty and sweet, with some decent baked bread notes. It seemed a little thin initially, but the flavour deepens considerably from the mid sip. I want to say “molasses”, and that’s kind of correct in terms of texture, but not flavour. The flavour is less sweet than that would imply, and more grain-like. Hopefully that makes sense.
I’m struggling a little with this one today, I think because I probably have the beginnings of a cold. I’ve enough left to try this one again when I’m feeling a little better, though, so hopefully clarity with return before too long! It’s great tea, but I don’t feel I’m doing it justice.
This one’s been in my cupboard for a while (but let’s be honest, what hasn’t by this time?) I think that’s partly because I was in such a funk for a while, and partly because I’m just plain uncertain about this one. I rarely, if ever, drink coffee these days. I mean, I was a teenager the last time I drank coffee seriously.
It’s actually a lot nicer than I anticipated, though. There is a certain “thin coffee” flavour to it, but that’s easy to overlook in favour of its more engaging properties. It’s creamy, for a start, with a light roastiness, and the flavour of peanuts. Added together, it’s fairly reminiscent of peanut butter. I though this might turn out to be a fight between the coffee and the oolong, but it’s really not – they work together far better than you might think (perhaps because they were roasted together?)
This was my first cup of the day today, and I’m really happy with it. Hopefully I’ll get some extra energy from the coffee, because I could totally do with it right now!
Trying the last of my Christine Dattner teas today. While I like them, I wouldn’t say I’m quite as impressed as I perhaps expected to be. I mean, they’re tasty enough but not especially out of the ordinary.
According to the description, this one’s supposed to be a Chinese black tea base with four red fruits – strawberry, cherry, raspberry, and redcurrant. There are a few dried berries scattered amongst the leaf, but not as many as I’d thought there might be.
To taste, it’s “red fruit” but hardly more defined than that – I can’t pick out one fruit flavour over another, which is a shame. It’s sweet and tart in the way of most berry blends, and the black base is lightly malty and a touch astringent. That works quite well with the slight sourness of the berries, although I’d prefer a less drying base on the whole. One thing in its favour is that the berry flavour is natural-tasting, with none of the syrupy artificiality I’ve come across in a few other similar blends recently. That’s a refreshing change, if nothing else.
This one is pleasant enough, but nothing especially outstanding. I might try cold brewing it in the summer.
Figured it was about time I tried this one, since it’s been sitting in my cupboard for literally ages. I loved LP’s French Toast Dian Hong, so I’m pleased to see a return of the vanilla from that blend. It’s deliciously creamy here, and more prominent than I expected. I’d go so far as to say that it’s the main flavour – sweet, heady vanilla. There’s also a fair hit of caramel, and a touch of pecan – and both of those remind me of Swann’s Way, which I finished up recently. Thankfully, the mixed base isn’t as conflicting as I feared it might be. The black sunmoon lake is most noticable to my tastes, but there’s a light, sweet, roastiness from the oolong and a mild earthiness from the pu’erh.
If this is what you get when you mix a few teas together, then it’s something that ought to be tried more often! I can pick out the flavours and characteristics of the original blends, but I think only because I’ve tried them. Overall, it’s more cohesive than I expected – and delicious!
This has to be the weakest of the AU teas I’ve tried so far. I’ve come to expect quite a lot, in flavour terms, but this is just chamomile? I know they’re saying it tastes of rhubarb and custard, but it doesn’t. Not even a hint of it.
As far as chamomile tea goes, this is fine. It’s sweet and honey-like, smooth, and a nice sleepytime herbal to round off the day…but I can get the same thing without the premium price tag and broken promises.
I’m much more comfortable with ripe pu’erh these days, although it still seems to be something that goes in phases with me. I’ll drink a lot for a while, then none for ages, but I know I’ll usually come back to it at some point. This sample has been sitting in my cupboard for a while, in amongst some other Teavivre samples I’d also long since forgotten about. It deserves to see the light of day, let’s say!
In flavour terms, I don’t find this one to be particularly exceptional (although I’ve been spoilt a lot by teas from Dark Matter recently). It’s smooth and fairly creamy, with an underlying earthiness that prominent without being overbearing. A good shou, in my book, but nothing amazing. A flavour like this is generally what I’ve come to expect, although with varying levels of mud/earth. This one strikes a nice balance.
It’s not a shou I’d go out of my way to keep around, but it’s a pleasant addition to my drinking choices nevertheless.
This is one of my all-time least favourite raw pu’erhs, and yet somehow more of it seems to keep appearing in my cupboard. I’m not even sure how it gets there, because I thought I’d polished all of this off ages ago! Apparently not.
It has a flavour to it that I find hard to describe – it’s slightly metallic, but with an undertone of decaying fish? That’s not exactly right, but close enough. It’s kind of briney, but not salty…like brine if it wasn’t salty? This was one of the first raw pu’erhs I tried, and unsurprisingly it put me off them for a long time. I now know that they’re not all like this, but then this one’ll come back around and put me off all over again.
This tea makes me sad. I don’t think we’ll ever, ever be friends.