2137 Tasting Notes
The final sample from my Varieteas box, and one that I’ve been curious to try. It’s described as a herbal tea with orange and caramel, but it actually turned out to be a rooibos-based blend (for some reason, rooibos and herbal occupy separate categories in my head, so I wasn’t expecting that to be the case…) Nevertheless, it’s better than I was expecting once I discovered that. The rooibos is fairly tame; a little brassy, perhaps, but not overwhelming. The orange is nicely prominent, although it’s zesty/pithy rather than juicy. I feel there’s room for a little juiciness here – that would really set this one apart. The caramel is very much a background flavour, but it adds a smooth sweetness that works particularly well with the rooibos. On the whole, I’d say this is a pleasant autumn/winter choice, and I’d not refuse a second cup if the opportunity presented itself.
This is the last of the Cold Infuse flavours I bought to try, and my least favourite of the four. They’re right in suggesting that watermelon is the primary flavour, because it absolutely is. It’s a little too candy-like to really be refreshing, though; there’s a cloying sweetness that’s just too much, especially after you’ve taken a few successive sips. Mint is the secondary flavour, and I don’t much care for it as a flavour in general, so I’m fairly ambivalent about it here. It’s okay, and works with the watermelon (it actually helps to regulate the sweetness a little, so in some ways I wish it were stronger), but it doesn’t freshen things up enough or really bring the other flavours to life. I was hoping for lots of strawberry, but unfortunately, I didn’t get it. It’s fleeting at best, and mostly I can’t really taste it. The watermelon really dominates. I’m glad I tried this one last, because if I’d gone for this one first I probably wouldn’t have bought any more and some of the flavours are really spectacular. I suppose there’s a black sheep in every family!
This was one of my favourites from Adagio’s Sherlock fandom blends. I’ve been promising to myself that I’d revisit them for a while, but, as with most things, I’ve only just got around to it. This one’s a black tea with almond and biscuit flavours, and it’s so comforting. It’s definitely not an “in your face” blend – in some ways it’s rather quiet and innocuous – but it’s definitely the tea equivalent of a hug.
It perhaps doesn’t quite capture her slightly more exotic side, but the spirit of Mrs H is present in this blend. It’s reasonably bold with an edge of sweetness, and slightly fluffy in its familiar maltiness. I’m glad to have this one back in my cupboard!
This one’s kinda cool, in that it’s only available to purchase on days of the full moon. Apparently I’m a sucker for a gimmick, as well as an Earl Grey Cream!
I do love an EGC, though, so I pretty much had to buy this one when I came across it. This one has coconut as an added element, and since I’m not adverse to that either, it was a done deal.
I added a splash of milk to my cup, and as a result it comes across pretty soft, gentle, and delicate. It’s definitely an EG upfront, with a definite punch of bergamot, but it’s not too overpowering. The cream emerges towards the end of the sip, and then the coconut primarily in the aftertaste. The coconut is a touch soapy, but not too bad. I wasn’t totally sure about Earl Grey and coconut as a pairing to begin with, but it actually works pretty well.
My only slight complaint is that there’s a slightly intrusive floral flavour kicking around in the background, which is distracting and unnecessary. It reminds me most of lavender, but I’m not sure that it actually is. It reminds me a bit of potpourri, and comes across as slightly artificial. That aside, this is an enjoyable blend. Anything creamy wins points in my book, but I have a particular soft spot for EGCs and this one’s a tiny bit unique. I’ll happily drink it again, which is good considering I have a 50g bag! Maybe not without milk, though.
The penultimate sample from my Varieteas box, and one I purposefully saved until the days got a bit colder. This one is described as apple, cinnamon and clove with orange peel, but I’ll wager there’s also a significant amount of hibi if the colour’s anything to go by.
I wouldn’t say this one has bags of flavour. It’s mostly tart/sour hibiscus and some fairly prominent clove. I can just about taste the cinnamon, but the apple and orange aren’t really there at all. This one reminds me a little of B&B’s Mulled Wine. I don’t hate it, but it’s not something I’d drink more than occasionally. It’s a comforting, warming, caffeine free option for a cold day, but not particularly unique.
Another of B&B’s Store Blends collection, this time for (obviously!) Brighton. It features an oolong base, with peppermint, butterfly pea flower, and pastel star sprinkles!
Thanks to the butterfly pea, and perhaps also the peppermint, is brews up a delightful shade of teal. It’s super pretty, and I feel like that’s something I don’t often say that about tea once it’s made. Taste-wise, it’s a nicely mineral green oolong with mild peppermint overtones and a hint of creaminess. It reminds me a little of B&B’s Peppermint Cream, although the mint is less dominant in Brighton Rock. There’s a background sweetness, which I think is at least partly thanks to the sprinkles, and a touch of funk from the butterfly pea flower. Butterfly Pea isn’t a flavour I really enjoy, although I can see why it’s included here from a purely aesthetic point of view. Rock is generally brightly coloured, after all!
The overall flavour is vaguely reminiscent of rock, but it really needs to be sweeter if that’s what it’s aiming to replicate. Some sugar might help with that, which I’ll bear in mind for my next cup. I think it probably also needs a bit more mint, although it could just be that my bag isn’t very evenly distributed.
I really like this one, even though it’s not quite able to live up to its name. I’m not a huge fan of strong mint teas, so it’s a blend that definitely appeals to my personal tastes, and there’s enough suggestion of rock to keep me happy. I’m enjoying seeing a more experimental side to B&B – the store blends definitely feel more out there, and they definitely use ingredients I’ve never seen in B&B blends before. Long may it continue!
One of the last few teas from my Varieteas box. This one is a Ceylon with passion fruit and orange flavouring. For some reason, that combination is one that puts me more in mind of summer, but perhaps that’s just me…
The fruit flavouring is stronger than I expected it to be, and the passion fruit particularly is very clear. It comes across as a little artificial, on the whole; very sweet, with an almost plasticky edge that’s a little off-putting. The aftertaste is a little floral, and a touch powdery, which don’t do much to help redeem it.
The base is nice, though – smooth, and lightly citrussy. It works well with the fruit flavouring, but that’s really all that can be said about this one. I found it disappointing – not awful, but not one I’d seek out again.
The mornings are colder at the moment, so I’m finding that I’m drawn to more autumnal flavour profiles. This is a perfect example; cinnamon really signifies autumn in my book – there’s just something about the scent…
This one’s a bagged tea, and one of the last from the Varieteas box I picked up earlier this year. It strikes a nice balance between cinnamon and rooibos, and I have to admit to being more impressed with it than I’d counted on being. The cinnamon is sweet rather than spicy, but by no means overpowering. The rooibos is woody, but at an acceptable level; it’s deliciously smooth, and not metallic or scratchy at all. It pairs nicely with the cinnamon, and the overall effect is pretty much autumn in a cup. One I’d drink again!
I lay the blame for this one firmly at the feet of Arby, whose tasting note for this one meant that I immediately had to seek out a box – fortunately, it was pretty easy to come by. This is a chamomile-based sleep/bedtime blend, but is slightly unusual in that it also features spiced apple, vanilla, and passionflower.
I really like it. It’s sweeter than such blends usually are, and not as obnoxiously herbal. The apple is nicely prominent, and It’s almost juicy, in the way of apple juice (the kind that’s not from concentrate.) The vanilla adds a softening creaminess, which is always welcome, and the chamomile is pleasantly buttery which works well with the creaminess as well as the apple. The spicing is fairly mild, but there in the background. Taken as a whole, I’m reminded quite a bit of the spiced apple juice I made last autumn with another Twinings blend – Spicy Chai.
I haven’t really tried enough of this to comment on its sleep-inducing properties, but I will say that I slept really well last night, which is unusual for me. Long may it continue!
It was a bit of a surprise when I noticed I’d reached 300! I’m surprised how quickly time has passed this year. This one isn’t particularly significant, except in that it’s the perfect choice for a Friday. This is part of Bird & Blend’s store blends collection, and is the tea for Manchester, being a blend of honeybush, yerba mate, chamomile, bee pollen, and lemon. This isn’t a combination I’ve ever come across before, but it sums up what I need today pretty perfectly; energy, and relaxation!
Yerba and chamomile seem an odd pairing, but they actually work together reasonably well. There’s an obvious harmony between the chamomile, honeybush and bee pollen, and lemon fits in pretty well with that flavour profile as well. In practice, I couldn’t really taste any lemon – I mostly get honey, but something beyond that also. Something less sweet, more floral, perhaps even a little bitter? It’s a hard one to describe! The yerba is a little jarring, and seems to heighten the bitterness to a certain extent, but I actually don’t mind the combination as much as I thought I would.
My only real complaint about this one is that it’s a little powdery, and the bee pollen has a tendency to sink to the bottom. It’s enjoyable, though, and certainly an unusual blend! I’ve not tried anything quite like this before, but I’d happily drink it again!