1755 Tasting Notes
First day back at work (boo!) and I really, really needed a strong, no-nonsense tea to get me going. Having said that, I’ve been here for 40 minutes now and I’m still not properly awake. Nearly two weeks of lie-ins have made the early start and the whole work thing in general really rather difficult to re-adapt to. Clearly I need to win the lottery, but until then I have this tea.
It’s a CTC, first off. Those wonderful pellets of pure strength that I often overlook when I’m feeling more normal. It brewed up super quickly to a deep red-brown, so I added a decent splash of milk and crawled back to my desk. Here I discovered that it’s strong (very strong) yet flavourful – a good combination if ever there was one. It’s malty in a very thick-tasting, almost chewable way, with some deeper molasses-like notes lurking in the background. It’s very sweet, smooth, and not as tannic as I feared. There’s a hint of caramel and baked bread towards the end of the sip (particularly as it cools), but this one is mostly all about the malt.
It’s not a tea I’d want all the time. It’s not subtle, and there are characteristics I enjoy in black tea that just aren’t present here. For a day like today, though, it’s perfect. Maybe when I wake up, I can see what else I’ve got in my drawer. Until then, this’ll do nicely.
1 tsp, 2 minutes, boiling water. Milk, lots of.
First cup of the afternoon! I’ve not had any genmaicha in a while, so I was feeling the love today when I came across this one in my “soon to drink” box. Also, the idea of a blueberry sandstorm is actually somewhat appealing, for reasons I don’t quite understand.
Both the liquor and the initial sip and very heavy on the blueberry. This pretty much had me jumping for joy, because blueberry teas that actually taste of blueberry seem to be a rare thing indeed. The blueberry here is sweet and flavour-accurate, too – not candy-like, or tart, or sour round the edges. It’s goldilocks blueberry – just right. The toasted rice emerges mostly in the mid-sip, along with a small hit of cinnamon. I’d actually say it’s more of a popcorn flavour than toasted rice, per say – it’s not as heavy or overpowering on the palate as some genmaicha blends I’ve tried recently. It’s a gentle, lightly toasty flavour and it complements the blueberry instead of overwhelming it. Blueberry and cinnamon never occurred to me as a combination, but I’m pleased to discover that they work well. There’s a gentle spicy warmth, the sweetness of the blueberry, and a popcorn/sugar puffs vibe from the toasted rice. It’s a great dessert tea.
1 tsp, 2 minutes, approx. 175 water. No additions.
Another sample from Miss B, and a delicious one it is! I think I’ve only tried a couple of “sugar cookie” blends before, and neither particularly stand out in my memory. I think it’s at least partly because sugar cookie is such a mild flavour anyway – although distinctive in its own right. This tea captures the flavour perfectly. The initial sip is sweet, smooth and creamy, with the almond emerging in the mid-sip and a sweet biscuit flavour running throughout. The almond isn’t harsh or overpowering in the way of marzipan, but soft and almost candied in flavour, just as you’d expect. The end of the sip features slightly malty, brown sugar-like notes. Deliciousness in a cup!
1 tsp, 3 minutes, boiling water. Splash of milk.
A sample from Miss B, from the box that keeps on giving. Seriously, I’ve not found the bottom yet :)
This was my pre-bedtime cup, made up as a latte. I used 2 tsp of tea in half a cup of water, so it brewed up nice and strong before I added the milk. Weak chai is not my thing! To taste, it’s deliciously creamy – and not just from the milk. There are strong notes of cardamon and fennel, which are two of my favourite chai ingredients, plus a warming spiciness from the ginger and a sweetness from the cinnamon. There’s also a light background floral, I think rose, which makes this a little unusual amongst the chai blends I’ve tried.I thought at one point I could taste a hint of chili, too, but that might have been my imagination.
I enjoyed this one. It’s a warming, flavourful chai blend but not too heavy for a late night cup. The rose adds a pleasant edge reminiscent of turkish delight, and a touch of additional sweetness. It also stands up well to the milk. I’d drink this one again.
2 tsp, 4m, boiling water. Latte – 50:50 milk and water.
More tea! There’s no stopping me today :) I made up a cup of this after dinner, and I loved it tremendously. I wasn’t sure at first exactly what I was tasting, but a few sips sorted me out on that front! This is a fairly complex tea, to my mind, at least in terms of the flavour combinations it presents. It starts off smooth and sweet, with notes of blossom honey and a slight saltiness. The mid-sip is all about the chocolate, dark high-cocoa chocolate with some fresh baked bread notes. After this comes a reasonably strong fruitiness – I thought black cherry at first, but it’s deeper than that, and more reminiscent of plum or maybe damson at times. It ends fairly sweetly with a hint of caramel and just the faintest touch of cooling eucalyptus. I found it a very refreshing cup, and incredibly moreish. A tea I could (and will!) drink at any time of day. I’d forgotten how much I liked Whispering Pines, but this has been a timely reminder.
1.5 tsp of leaf, 3.5 minutes, boiling water. Splash of milk.
I’m drinking this one just now. Also, it’s my 1500th tasting note! I bought this with my first Liquid Proust order, largely for the tangerine twist. I haven’t always been the greatest fan of jasmine pearls – many are too floral for my tastes, in a thick, mouth-coating way that I find pretty unpalatable. Not so here. I used 1 tsp of pearls for my cup, and gave them 2 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees.
The green tea base comes out first, with a deliciously smooth and buttery flavour with no bitterness or astringency to be found. The jasmine comes second, right in the middle of the sip, but it’s quite a light and delicate jasmine and not at all perfumey. The tangerine is confined mostly to the end of the sip – it just kind of pops up at the end as a bright, very slightly sweet citrus, with a touch of pithy flavour lingering in the aftertaste.
If I’ve one complaint, it’s that I’d have liked a bit more tangerine. It’s there, but I think the blend as a whole could stand it a bit stronger without losing anything. That’s a small complaint, though, because there is tangerine here and it works well with the green jasmine. I’d like to try this one cold brewed this summer.
I went through my tea box again this afternoon and pulled out some more treats to try while I’m still off work. I get bored easily when I’m not working, so the fact that I’m really enjoying this extended Easter break tells me more than anything else that I really hate my job just now. And obviously I need to do something about that, but that might be easier said than done.
But anyway, the tea. I’ve been curious about this one for a while. I used two of the smaller balls for my cup (my cup is big), but I think with the larger ones I’d just use one. I gave it 4 minutes in boiling water, and then added just a splash of full-fat milk.
I can say from first sip that this stuff is the best. It’s chocolatey and malty up front, with strong vanilla and custard notes in the mid-sip. There’s also a touch of cinnamon/nutmeg towards the end of the sip, but only the smallest hint. What I did notice as my cup cooled was quite a prominent floral note which is a little at odds with the other flavours. I’m sure it wasn’t there to start with, but I certainly noticed it towards the end of my cup. Really, though, the rest of it was so good that I’m not about to let that put me off. I’m impressed with this one, and I’d certainly repurchase once my bag is finished.
Sipdown! Finished off the last of this today, and although sad it’s one of the older teas in my cupboard so I’m also looking on it as an achievement. I enjoyed this one, although it was a little finicky at times in brewing terms. When I got it right, though, it was SO right. I know I’ll miss it in the days ahead.
I allowed myself another Whispering Pines start this morning, because I’m off work and have time for second breakfasts and all that…I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it a good 4 minutes while I pottered around doing a few first-thing tasks. I added a splash of milk, just because.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but this genuinely is full-bodied and flavoursome while also somewhat light. I like breakfast teas that aren’t too heavy, especially if I’m drinking them on a mostly empty stomach, so this one fits the bill perfectly for me. The initial sip is very smooth and sweet around the edges. I definitely get honey and a touch of caramel, with a mildly fruity sweetness reminiscent of apricots. The mid-sip is lightly chocolatey, with just a hint of red berry – maybe cranberry or raspberry? There’s a slight sharpness at this point that cuts through the sweetness and is really appealing. The end of the sip had breadier notes, and tastes a little salty. All in all, totally delicious! It’s one of the more complex breakfast blends I’ve tried in terms of flavour, but I like that about it. I’m glad I chose to try it on holiday so I had time to sit and appreciate it! It’s thoroughly deserving of a much higher rating than it seems to have at the moment – it’s sweet without being cloying, flavoursome without being heavy. Perfection in a cup.
Sipdown! I drank my final cup of this one last night, and it was excellent. Just what I wanted in my pre-bedtime cup. It took me a while to nail the brewing on this one, but as usual I achieved perfection just as I started to run low. Beautiful chocolate cherry vanilla. I’m sad to see this one make its departure from my cupboard.