2187 Tasting Notes
This one’s a slightly unusual choice for me, being a blend of rose, chamomile, and lavender. Floral teas generally aren’t my jam, but I’d heard a reasonably number of good things about this one and I figured I should probably give it a try before my challenge ends. It’s so close now!
In the end, I didn’t find it particularly memorable. It’s lightly floral and very sweet. There’s so much liquorice, it couldn’t really be otherwise, but I guess it’s fitting for a tea named love. If it wasn’t sweet, there’d be disappointment. Especially when it comes in a bright pink box. Like, retina searing.
Anyway, the most prominent flavour is rose, followed by lavender. I couldn’t really tell there’s chamomile there at all, even though it’s purportedly the main ingredient in quantity terms. I found it reasonably palatable; more so than I’d expect for a blend containing some of my least favourite things. I’d like it more, except the liquorice really spoils it.
It’s not one I’d buy again, but I had to try it at some point. It’s by no means bad, just not for me.
I’m having a lot of success with matcha shots at the moment, so I decided to make another one! My relationship with butterfly pea flower is a bit hit and miss, which is why I’ve left this one until almost the end of my challenge. Having tasted it, I know now that I really had nothing to fear.
It reminds me a lot of Mermaid Mist, which came out earlier this year as part of Bird & Blend’s Fairytale Collection. If you tried that one and liked it, you’re definitely going to enjoy this. It tastes almost identical. It’s a flavour that’s hard to describe, though, since it bears little resemblance to anything in the natural world. The closest I can get is vanilla cake batter. I made my shot with whole milk, and that augments it perfectly. It’s so soft and creamy, a real delight.
It’s also blue which is never a bad thing, although fairly rare in tea. I believe this one was released as part of B&B’s Rainbow Matcha collection, hence the gaudy colouring. It’s a novelty, though. There’s absolutely no funkiness from the butterfly pea, which was a relief. Just sweet, desserty awesomeness. I need to remember not to be so scared of matcha, since when I drink it I tend to enjoy it…
No issue with this one. It’s fab.
The last of the Vahdam Chai sampler! I’m glad I tried this, since it allowed me to try a lot of combinations I probably wouldn’t have come across otherwise…and maybe wouldn’t have chosen all that readily if I did! I didn’t save this one until last purposefully, but I remember trying another saffron based blend from this sampler and really enjoying it, so it’s a nice way to round things off.
Like many of the blends, this one has a black CTC base. My feelings about that generally are well documented, but they work pretty well so I can’t complain too much. No exception here – the base is just that – a base – and the spices really shine. This particular blend contains cardamon, cloves, cinnamon, saffron, and almonds – the saffron isn’t really a flavour as such, but it absolutely has an influence. It’s a texture, more than anything – the closest I can get in descriptive terms is smooth, maybe a little honeyed. It’s undeniably saffron, even though it’s a really difficult flavour to pin down. Otherwise, the main flavour is cardamom, closely followed by cinnamon. The clove is really subtle, but that works for me! The almond is just about there in the aftertaste, but I feel I have to concentrate to pick it out. Really, this is all about the saffron!
I enjoyed this thoroughly, and I’ll happily finish up the rest of my sample. It’s one I’d consider repurchasing, especially when the weather gets colder!
Prepared this as a shot, since I wasn’t entirely sure how else to approach it. It didn’t seem like the kind of thing you’d drink as a hot latte, and I can’t drink matcha in water, so…
I was a little worried about this one, since I expected it to be very “green”, and that’s not usually my bag. In actuality, though, it’s a lot more palatable than I expected. The main flavour is chili, and there’s quite a burn! Not one for the faint of heart, but if you like your chili, then you need to try this. The kale is a really nice counterpoint, and not overly vegetal. It actually works really well as a combination, toning down the spice just a little, and providing something else to focus on as the chili heat builds…
The milk worked better than I thought it might. Creamy seems at odds with the flavour in theory, but not so in practice. The cool smoothness was really welcome. This is one I’d happily drink first thing on a morning, to help set me up for the day, or maybe with lunch if I’m flagging in the afternoon. It’s nice to have a matcha that’s not sweet; a fairly rare thing in the UK at the moment.
I didn’t think I’d like this one, but it’s actually a matcha I can see myself coming back to. Definitely worth a try!
This one’s been in my cupboard for a while, largely because I don’t tend to gravitate towards chocolate tea in general. Like a few of B & B’s other flavoured matchas, this one brews up a particularly unattractive shade of brown. At first I wondered whether it was actually a green tea base; turns out it is, but blended with white matcha also. That might go some way towards explaining it. There’s also, obviously, cocoa powder. Not a lot, though, if the powder itself if anything to go by.
The chocolate flavour is actually really clear, which is a pleasant surprise. There’s also a roasty undertone, that reminds me a bit of genmaicha. It doesn’t taste particularly of green tea, so it would be a good choice for anyone a little nervous of matcha.
As a matcha, which is how I prepared today’s cup, it’s pleasantly creamy and pretty delicious. Not exactly reminiscent of hot chocolate but close – although definitely more savoury. I’ll happily drink this one again – as chocolate tea goes, it’s one of the better ones I’ve tried.
If you’ve seen my photo on Facebook, you’ll know this turns out the most unattractive colour – for a drink – known to man. It’s brown. Beige-brown, admittedly, but still. I wasn’t sure how this one would work hot, so I prepared it as a shot; ¼ tsp whisked into cold milk. Despite appearances, it tastes nice. It actually reminds me of Haribo tangfastics – the apple and pear flavours are super artificial, but I actually quite like it. It’s sweet and candy-like, and (really speaking) not at all like matcha. There’s no hint of green tea here, which is a bonus if strong, grassy matcha scares you. I know it does me.
I had the same problem with this one that I’ve had with most Bird & Blend matchas – it blends well initially, but seems to separate out pretty quickly. There’s also a strong carob flavour, and it has those white flavouring “beads” that confused me so much when I first tried their Salted Caramel Matcha. It’s a little powdery in terms of texture, maybe exacerbated by my preparation method. I suppose in a shot, there’s a fairly high matcha to milk ratio. The quantity of milk would obviously be much greater in a latte.
I’m happy with it on the whole, though. It’s a matcha I can see myself drinking on a morning, and I could do with some of that at the moment!
Fennel! I love fennel. More than life. I don’t even need the chai, just…fennel. Fennel is love. This is another CTC black base, with FENNEL! and clove, cardamom, black pepper, etc. All the usual suspects. It’s deliciously anissedy, as you might expect, but the cardamon and pepper are a nice – less sweet – counterpoint. I like that this is a slightly more unusual chai blend – I found a few from this sampler a little samey, but this one’s on the more unique side. Not quite as unique as some have been, but all for the good! Fennel’s not a stranger to chai, but it’s more prominent here than it usually would be, and I can definitely get behind that. If you like fennel, and you like chai, you probably need to try this one. It’s epic.
This has been languishing in my cupboard for a while, but now it’s getting colder I finally pulled it out. I don’t know why this one strikes me as a winter blend particularly, but it does. Some kind of association between white and snow maybe? Anyway – this is glorious! The main flavour is coconut, but it’s very natural-tasting and not at all soapy. There’s also a delicious hit of white chocolate; very creamy and decadent. The chocolate does make things a little oily, but fortunately there’s not too much impact on the texture.
I wasn’t sure about the white base to begin with, but in hindsight I actually think it works really well. It’s not as floral as I expected it to be, just sweet and subtle. The overall flavour reminds me a bit of those white Ferrero Rocher – are they called Raffaello, or something like that? Those. This tastes like those.
Delicious! I’ll happily drink lots more of this one.
As the name suggests, this is a pretty straightforward, traditional chai blend. It’s a CTC black base again, which is fine as far as it goes, with cardamom, cinnamon, clove & black pepper. It’s very similar to Vahdam’s Double Spice, except that cinnamon is substituted for ginger. On the whole, that’s a substitution I’m perfectly happy with! It’s pretty spicy; there’s a lot of clove, which isn’t my favourite thing in a chai, and an almost tongue-numbing quantity of cardamom. I can’t taste much of the pepper, but the cinnamon adds an edge of sweetness that helps to lift the overall flavour.
I don’t feel this one is quite as well balanced as Double Spice – that one ticked a lot of boxes for me. This one’s a little heavy on some things (clove, cardamom) and a little light on others (pepper, cinnamon), but the overall effect is nice enough. I just made a western style cup with milk, but it might work better as a latte – I imagine it would be a little more muted that way, and maybe not quite so…intense? That might help. Fortunately, I have a little more leaf to play with!
If you like a traditional chai, this is one you probably ought to try (this one or Double Spice, anyway!) I’ve said before that I’m not sold on the CTC base, but I have to admit that it works well in context, and it provides a pleasantly solid, malty backbone for the real stars – the spices – to play against. It’s not the perfect blend for me, but definitely worth a look.
This one’s described as an aniseed, fennel & cardamom blend, but it also features liquorice and coriander. At first glance it doesn’t sound as busy as some Pukka teas I’ve tried, which is encouraging. I also spent most of Saturday at a beer festival, so it seems fitting to begin the week with a detox tea – despite the fact that it’s not usually my thing. I’m more about moderation, in general.
I’ve tried a few detox-type teas in my time, though, and this has to be one of the nicest tasting I’ve come across so far. Fennel and aniseed are the main flavours, followed by liquorice. The overall effect is very sweet, but thankfully the liquorice isn’t too cloying. Another case of Pukka getting the balance right there, which I appreciate.
There’s not much cardamom at all, and very little coriander. On the whole, it’s a little too sweet for my tastes (when do I ever say that?!), but nice all the same. I’d drink it again, but for flavour more than supposed effects.