1777 Tasting Notes
I’m drinking the reblended (Anne) version of this tea today, and it’s still pretty much the best thing ever. The dry leaf smells a-ma-zing, like straight-up maple syrup. I gave 1.5 tsp of leaf 3.5 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk.
To taste, it’s almost exactly as I remember. There’s an initial hit of maple that really lingers, followed by a sort-of starchiness (I can’t think of a better way to describe it, although it’s not exactly what I mean…) that’s totally reminiscent of pancakes. I’m trying to think what I do mean, but it’s hard to pinpoint. Batter? Except that’s not really accurate, either. It’s pancake, basically, or as close to it as you can get given that it’s a flavoured liquid and not food. Flavour accurate is one term for this one!
As the label suggests, it’s better slightly cooled. Hot, there’s just a hint of bitterness and the maple pretty much overpowers everything else. Cooled, there’s more smoothness and the flavours are more equally balanced. I wanted to drink this one hot, because it’s delicious, but it’s definitely worth a few minutes patience to get it at its best.
Still a winner.
I’m back at work this week, so I brought some new teas with me (or I suppose what I really mean is “untried” teas…) to ease the pain. Not that my week off was so great – I’m trying to buy a flat (with the emphasis very much on trying), and so in some ways it was a lot more stressful than being at work.
Anyway, the tea. I still gravitate towards black tea and milk when I’m in need of comfort, so that’s what I did today. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk (partly to help with the “zabaglione” effect…) but in all honesty, it would have been fine without. It smells delicious – creamy candy raspberry. There was at least one whole (large!) raspberry in my cup, so that gives me hope. I have memories of my beloved 52Teas Raspberry Cream…
My verdict is that it’s pretty good. I can definitely taste raspberry, and it’s not as artificial/candy-like as the scent would suggest. There’s a tartness alongside the sweetness that’s very much reminiscent of fresh raspberries. There’s also a creaminess, although it’s not as well defined as the raspberry. It’s not making me think custard, and it’s not super dessert-like, but it’s pretty good. Raspberries and cream is what I’m getting from this one, and since that’s what I was hoping for, I consider myself satisfied.
The black tea base works well, maybe better than I thought it would. It doesn’t overpower either of the flavourings, and even though I left it quite a long time, there’s absolutely no bitterness or astringency. It’s a definite contender for Raspberry Cream’s crown!
I’d buy more of this one if I could, but (alas) the nature of 52Teas is such that I don’t think it’s currently possible. If it was to make a return, though, I’d definitely be there!
I think this is the last of my “old” 52Teas samples. It’s also the one I’be been looking forward to the most, because white chocolate and mint are two of my favourite things, more so together, and particularly in tea. There are huge white chocolate chips in this blend, and they take a while to melt. It’s worth waiting, though, because I think they add an extra creamy smoothness, and they really amp up the chocolate flavour (as you’d expect). They do leave an oily scrim, but it’s not too noticable in the mouthfeel. It’s not super icky, anyway. The mint isn’t too strong or overpowering, which is nice. It comes out mostly in the mid-sip, where it’s a refreshing, cooling counterpoint to the sweet chocolate and (frankly) even sweeter honeybush.
That’s my one complaint about this blend. It’s super sweet. It works, in that it produces a really dessert-y vibe, but it’s a little cloying after a few sips. Points for flavour, though – this one’s spot on!
Finally getting there with my older 52 Teas (and with all my teas, come to that – I’m under 150 now!) This one smells great out of the bag – like mildly spiced apple cider. I’m hoping it’ll hold up in the flavour.
The leaf here seems quite fine for shou mei. There are a lot of darker coloured, small-shred leaves, but also a few silver tips. While brewing, the scent is slightly cloying in the way that white tea sometimes has – there’s a lot of sweetness and hay. To taste, it’s pretty good. There are apples, and although the flavour is fairly light they’re also pretty flavour accurate, too. This one puts me in mind of pink lady or something of that ilk, rather than a sharp green apple, but it’s good all the same. The white tea base pairs well, enhancing the sweetness without being overpowering. While I’m enjoying this one, I’m not overwhelmed by it. It’s tasty enough, but that’s about as far as my enthusiasm stretches.
So somehow, I’ve really managed to hurt my back. It’s particularly bad in my shoulders and neck, and yet for some reason I’m still at work. I’m not sure why, or what I’m trying to prove. I think at this point the best thing would be to give up and go home, because it’s horrible to be in pain and at work. I think I feel like I shouldn’t because I can still do my job, which today just involves sitting at a desk and typing (at least it’s not an event day!) I don’t know. I’m odd about stuff, clearly.
I’ve rewarded myself with tea. This is one of my last 52Teas from the “old” iteration of the company. I’m still looking for something to equal raspberry cream, but I don’t think this is going to be it. It smells promising, though!
I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. To taste, it’s pretty good. It’s very obviously raspberry, and it’s even a little tart/sour in the way of actual raspberries. There’s a sweetness too, but it’s not overdone or too candy-like. I can taste hints of white chocolate in the background, but that aspect isn’t quite as prominent as I’d have liked it to be. Still, it’s pretty good. I’ll easily be able to polish this one off!
Second Fauchon try of the day. This one is a CTC based blend, which surprised me initially. It also had a rather odd scent about it…maybe slightly perfumey? I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, which fortunately behaved well in my filter. It’s very fine, but not so fine that it gets through the holes. It brews up quickly and very dark, so I added a splash of milk to round things out. I wasn’t going to do that originally, because apple and milk don’t really fit together in my head, but it wasn’t really an option not to.
To taste, I’m very pleasantly surprised. The initial sip is sweet, almost candy-like, and then there’s the fresh, slight sharpness of the apple. The base tea is a little astringent, although a shorter brew time might go some way towards fixing that. It’s not too heavy in terms of flavour, though, so the “apple” aspect shines through.
What I’m reminded of most, drinking this, is one of those red-glazed candy apples you get at the fairground. There’s a lovely syrupy sweetness to begin with, then apple, then base tea, and it’s deceptively delicious! I took a risk when I bought these, because they’re 100g tins, but I’ll have no problem finishing this one off, that’s for sure!
I brought two of my three Fauchon tins to work with me today, because they’re the next oldest in my stash, and because I’m out of black tea at work. When I’m ill, I really want black tea.
This one smells delicious as soon as you open the tin. We had a struggle for a while, because I didn’t realise the lid slides off. No common sense points for me. Once I managed to get in, though, I knew we were going to get along. This one reminds me quite a lot of Mariage Freres Wedding Imperial, although it’s perhaps not quite as intense. I don’t see that as a bad thing, because Wedding Imperial was a touch too sweet and overpowering for me at times. This one is a little more muted, and to my tastes just perfect. There are actual chunks of caramel among the black tea base (Ceylon?), but they melt easily and don’t leave too much of an oily scrim. I would quite like to sit and eat them, but I won’t.
To taste, it’s pretty straightforward – soft, creamy caramel with a touch of salt. It’s a great dessert-style tea, sweet but not too sweet, and with the perfect balance of base and flavouring. Impressed!
Opened this one today, because Chai is well-known for helping sick people recover. Isn’t it? It fits the bill for what I want in a cold-day, just-getting-over-a-cold tea, anyway. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk. I know this one isn’t supposed to contain chocolate…but I’m sure I can taste it? Maybe it’s just my wonky tastebuds? I can also taste the coconut quite prominently, and for a good long while I was thinking “bounty”. Then I read the label again and realised there is actually no chocolate in here. Hmm.
The spices are well balanced and not overpowering, allowing the sweet, tropical coconut to shine through. I think it’s mostly cinnamon, with maybe a touch of ginger and cardamon. I had hoped the red peppercorns would come through more in the flavour, but they remain very much in the background (and just barely at that).
I’m enjoying this one! Despite the lack of chocolate, I’ll have no problem finishing off my mini tin.
Another find in the office kitchen. I’ve had (probably) the world’s worst cold this last week, and all I wanted today was some normal tea. It’s a thing with me when I’m ill, and I can’t taste anything particularly well at the moment anyway, so…
I used one bag for my cup. They’re individually wrapped in the cutest red, white and blue envelopes. I gave it a good 3.5 minutes, and added milk. To taste, it’s pretty much as you’d expect. It reminds me quite a lot of Bluebird’s Great British Cuppa, in that it has a waxy roast white potato aspect to it. There’s also a hint of saltiness in the mid-sip, which works well with the potato note. The maltiness comes out mostly towards the end of the sip, and in the aftertaste, and adds a pleasant sweetness to round off on. It’s robust-tasting, but not as strong as some I’ve tried – just a pleasing, everyday kind of cup. Just what I was craving!
Sipdown! I really like this one, although I don’t often feel that I have a lot to day about it. It’s an Earl Grey Creme – what is there to say, really, other than that it’s like an Earl Grey but creamier?! This is a good one, I think, probably one of the best. The creaminess is rich and distinctive, and you don’t have to look (taste?) hard to find it. The Earl Grey is pleasantly citrussy, not to sharp or heavy on the bergamot, and it stands up to milk which really only helps with the creaminess…
All in all, a total win.