1755 Tasting Notes
I feel like I’m finally getting back on track with things, tea being one of them. It’s been a rocky couple of months health and work-wise and I know I let a lot of things slip, but this last weekend felt like an improvement on how things have been. I feel more interested in stuff/life generally than I have since well before Christmas. I celebrated that on Sunday by having a tidy up/sort out, which has made me feel better still – fresher and more organised. Part of the sort out involved my tea box – I had a look through and pulled out some older teas, and some in papery packaging that’s been a concern at the back of my mind for a while now. Chief among those were Whispering Pines and Bluebird Teas, so they’re now out of the box and readily accessible for drinking. I’m going to try and start drinking my “proper” tea – by which I mean all my loose leaf special stuff – at home again and not just at work. I’ve been drinking bagged Twinings/Clipper at home in the evenings and at weekends since Christmas, so it’s definitely time for a change. I can cope with making a cup of loose leaf tea when I’m tired, I’m sure. What I’m less sure about is what the hell happened to me over the last 3 months. Now I’m coming out of the fug, I feel like I completely lost track of the things that matter to me, and that make me who I am. It’s odd to look back on a recent span of time and feel like that.
Enough of the soul searching. This is one of the teas I pulled out, and it’s definitely been neglected enough. I used 1.5tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a tiny splash of milk, but only really because I was drinking it late on. Ordinarily I wouldn’t, I don’t think.
I appreciated this all the more given that my tastebuds are pretty accustomed to bagged at the moment. It has a beautifully strong, rich, malty flavour with gorgeous baked bread notes, sweet potato flesh and a distinctive background pepperiness. Drinking this reminded me why I like Yunnan blacks so much – this is a phenomenal tea, flavourful to drink with beautiful leaf to boot. There aren’t the words to describe how glad I am to have this one back in my rotation.
So it’s 9.40, I’ve not been at work long, and I’ve already had quite a morning. Thankfully, none of the drama so far has been work related, although frankly I’m just waiting for that to start. So far, it’s snowed which never fails to cause unparalleled traffic chaos – it took me nearly 2 hours to travel about 20 miles this morning. I was almost home and dry when the de-icer can fell off the back seat of my car on to the floor, where it exploded. It gave me such a fright, I can’t tell you. I know I’m going to have a good old mess to clean up later, but I had to just ditch the can and run to the office, leaving the carnage for later. I was on time, though. To the minute.
Obviously once I got in to work I was in dire need of tea. I had planned to get milk this morning, but that didn’t happen, so I’ve switched my plans and decided to have a pu’erh day. First, though, I made myself a cup of this one while I calm down. It’s a freshly opened pouch of the old 52 Teas reblend version, and it’s pretty good. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water, no additions. It’s a fairly tasty, flavour accurate rendition of a root beer float – complete with ice cream creaminess and root beer earthy-herbalness. I think chicory is probably what I mean by that, mostly, although it doesn’t quite sum up the whole quite accurately enough. Cola nuts? I don’t know. It tastes like root beer, and my brain isn’t working well enough yet to come up with accurate descriptors.
Anyway, I like this one. It’s not quite as strongly flavoured as the 12 Teas of Christmas version I originally tried, but nearly. I remember being able to add milk to that one, whereas I think here it would just wash everything out. No complaints, though. It’s good. My original rating stands.
I feel I have to admit that I often start the morning with this one. It’s sweet, fruity, and almost effervescent, and it never fails to make me smile. This one will always have a place in my heart as one of the best 52Teas blends there ever was. It’s creamy, sherbet awesomeness, and will possibly never be matched. Another one I’ll be sad to see the end of.
While I’m catching up on my notes from the end of last week, I’m going to add another for this tea. The first time I tried it it had the slightly alcoholic tang that some freshly opened older 52Teas have, and I know that affected my tasting of it. This time that’s faded, and I feel I got a more accurate impression. I used my normal parameters – 1 tsp for 3.5 minutes in boiling water, splash of milk. I left it for a bit while I faffed with some work task, and when I went back to the kitchen the whole room was strawberry scented. It’s hopelessly artificial strawberry, yes, but it reminds me of ice cream syrup and I actually kind of like that. The custard flavour is more prominent this time, although it’s reminiscent of the powdered, bright yellow custard you get from a packet rather than freshly made or more up-market stuff. I still liked it – it reminds me of my childhood!
If you’re looking for natural strawberry, you might want to walk on by. If you want a shameless 80s dessert tea, stop right here.
This. Is. Amazing.
Oranges, almonds, and a touch of cinnamon.
It didn’t strike me as a “dessert” style tea when I bought it, but it tastes fairly decadent in the cup. It has a natural sweetness and quite a heavy flavour, but it’s so spot-on flavour accurate that I really don’t mind that at all. This is another RiverTea blend I’ll be sad to see the end of. Tea this good should exist forever.
I’ve been drinking this one a fair bit at work recently, in an effort to sip down some of my older 52Teas blends. I have to say, it’s not my favourite. I get very little in the way of stone fruit from this, except maybe the vaguest hint of apricot. Mostly, it’s a fairly dusty, floral tasting white tea. Fine as far as white tea goes, but not the delicious, fruity concoction I was hoping for.
How have I only logged this once? I feel like I’ve been drinking quite a lot of this recently, partly because it’s one of my older teas, and partly because it’s just so good! I love the scent of the dry leaf – it’s hard to describe why, but it never fails to make me feel at least a bit more relaxed. There’s something very reassuring and just plain “tea” like about it, and please let’s all pretend that isn’t one of the most vague and unhelpful sentences I’ve ever written.
It tastes pretty much like you’d expect. Light, fresh green tea with a juicy, fruity, natural tasting side of berries. Cranberry is a big player, but I think also strawberry and maybe blueberry? It’s totally delicious anyway, and I’ll miss it when it’s finally gone from my cupboard. Fortunately, I’ve got a decent quantity left just yet!
This one came from my Kusmi sampler, in one of the cute little tins they use for those. I’ve had no problem with the others, but I couldn’t open this one, try as I might. I had to get my Dad to take a look, and in the end he managed to pry it off with a spoon. It was a struggle, though, and a little odd. Anyway, this is actually the third time I’ve tried this one now. The first two were in my Timolino, and I didn’t log them because I was rushed and harassed when I drank them, and because I couldn’t recall the flavour very well later.
My third cup is getting a fairer reception. I was expecting an Earl Grey with a combination of citrus flavours, but that’s not really what it’s like. The base tea is a pleasant Ceylon, with its own citrus notes, and it brews up quite strong. I added a splash of milk to make it palatable. To taste, the main flavour I’m picking up is a fresh but slightly bitter lemon. After that comes the bergamot, but not as strongly as I expected, followed by a semi-sweet orange blossom flavour that’s actually very pleasant. There’s apparently supposed to be lime, but I can’t taste it at all.
While I like this one well enough, and find it a drinkable tea, I’m also a little underwhelmed. I wanted stronger, brighter citrus flavours on an EG/Ceylon base, and that’s not really what this is. It’s a half-hearted EG at best, and a little too bitter for my tastes. The initial lemon is nice, as is the orange blossom end note, but it’s fairly blah in between. It’s a tea I could drink any time of the day, but it’s not especially remarkable. There are definitely other Kusmi blends I prefer, not to mention other EGs, other citrus teas…
Forgot to mention that I drank a cup of this – the oldest tea in my cupboard! – yesterday afternoon. My rating suggests that I wasn’t particularly impressed when I last drank it, but possibly it’s improved with age. My cup was pleasantly sweet with clear notes of apricot and a touch of vanilla. It’s probably one I shouldn’t overlook so often, and might make a good cold brew candidate this summer. I’ve increased my rating from 40 to 60 because it’s actually really quite nice.
Matcha latte this morning. At the moment, lattes seem to be the only way I can really drink matcha without feeling nauseous. The irony of that isn’t lost on me, either, because hot milk is sweet and maybe not particularly well suited to early morning drinking. Still, it seems to be working for me. I actually quite like the flavour of plain matcha when it’s mellowed out with milk.