1731 Tasting Notes
This one came to me from a work colleague, who wasn’t sure about the “old lady/mothballs” flavour. To me, it smells like turkish delight…
This is a bagged supermarket tea, although it’s a silky pyramid get-up containing pretty sizeable green tea leaves and a decent smattering of dried rose petal fragments. I gave the bag 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees.
To taste, it’s pretty strongly floral – more strongly than I typically enjoy (and yes, I did the scrunchy face). It had a pleasant turkish delight undertone, but the level of flavouring could stand to be taken down a notch or two and it would still be good. Better, in fact, because it wouldn’t be so hopelessly overpowering. The jasmine is strong, the rose stronger, and there’s also a degree of initial bitterness that really makes this one a no-no for me.
If I were to try this one again, I’d give it a very short brew time, maybe around the minute mark. I think that’s the only thing that’d recuse this one for me.
Dave and Solomons are a mother and son tea blending company, currently selling their indie creations on their Etsy store. I hadn’t come across them before this sample arrived with me, but it’s always nice to discover a new tea company, if a little dangerous for the bank account! Lavender Dream is a fruit and herbal blend, combining the sweet fruitiness of peach with the light floral of lavender.
Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/10/30/lavender-dream-from-dave-and-solomons-tea/
I can’t remember the last time I drank a Tie Guan Yin, which is something of a surprise as it’s become one of my favourite oolong varieties. I was more than pleased when I came across this one, not least because it’s a good opportunity to reacquaint myself. This particular Tie Guan Yin is from the Anxi Nature Reserve in Fujian Province, a major Chinese tea growing region (although one I seem to associate more with black tea than with oolong, strangely enough!)
Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/10/26/anxi-tie-guan-yin-from-teasenz/
I misread the name of this tea at first, and thought it said “Catnip.” Turns out I wasn’t far wrong, because this blend does actually contain catnip. It’s even more fitting when you consider that the company logo, and indeed the majority of their blends, are cat themed.
Catnap is purportedly a relaxing blend, containing chamomile, mint, lemon verbena, lemon balm…and catnip. In my head, catnip isn’t something I typically associate with relaxation – it conjures images of bright-eyed, mischief-making kittens. Maybe in humans the effects are different.
Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/10/22/catnap-aka-tea/
A sample from Roswell Strange. It’s taken me a while to get around to trying this one, for various unrelated reasons, but today’s the day! I find I drink more matcha in autumn/winter, anyway, because that’s when my energy levels typically tend to slump. I don’t think I drank any matcha this summer, which is surprising now I think about it.
Anyway. This one. I made it up as a latte (because I’ve worked out pretty conclusively now that that’s the only way I can drink matcha and enjoy it.) I used 1/4 tsp of powder, whisked it into about 1.5 inches of boiling water, and then topped off with hot milk. For reference, this is the basic grade matcha with the distinctive level flavouring.
I should probably say upfront that pistachios are my favourite nut. I found the initial sip a lot sweeter than I was expecting, for some reason, but then there’s a distinctive creamy nuttiness that’s almost identifiable as pistachio. It falls a tiny bit short in terms of flavour definition, but it’s definitely nutty, and it’s really almost there, so I’m going to say it’s good with me. It’s more of a pistachio flavoured puddingey, custardy effect than just straight pistachio, but it turns out that’s a delicious thing. I’m pretty sure I have an almond matcha sample tucked away somewhere, so it’ll be interesting to compare when I try that one.
First tea of the morning! Like English Afternoon, this one also appears to be a blend of Ceylon teas. It’s actually very similar to English Afternoon, maybe a touch maltier, and with slightly more muted citrus notes. On the whole, though, I’m not sure I’d be able to tell them apart. They’re both CTCs, both very strong, and they have similar flavours.
It’s pleasant to drink, and it doesn’t require any particular thought or concentration, but I’m not sure it’s different enough from English Afternoon to warrant a different name. They’re basically the same tea.
My tin of English Afternoon only mentions that it’s a blend of Ceylon teas, so it’s not the Ceylon/Kenyan blend that a few others have tried…My tiny tin was part of the Alice in Wonderland themed set, but I don’t know whether that alone accounts for the difference.
In any case, it’s a pretty solid CTC black. It brews up a wonderfully inky black-brown, so I added a decent splash of milk to round things out. It’s malty with a crisp citrus edge, so just what I’d expect from a Ceylon, really. Nothing complicated, just good, plain black tea. I’ve been drinking it after lunch to help me deal with the inevitable 3.00pm slump, but it’d also be a good wake-up blend, it’s that strong. For a CTC, not bad.
Unlike this morning’s Gurana Chai, this one really is minty. A lot minty. I’ve never had a mint-chai blend before, so I’m not entirely sure what to expect. It’s a black base – assam and darjeeling – but with less spices than you’d normally expect – just ginger, lemongrass, and cardamon. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water.
The result is…interesting. Straight off, I’m not sure I’m a fan. I did the scrunchy nose thing, which generally tells me everything I need to know before I even take a second sip. The black base and the mint work. That’s a thing. It’d work even better with some vanilla, and if the darjeeling was removed from the equation. But even with the darjeeling, it would work. Black tea, mint, and chai spices…doesn’t work. It clashes. In all kinds of odd ways. It sounds like it should work well enough. If I think of ingredient pairings in my head, I’m not immediately disgusted. I wouldn’t even question most of them. Mint and ginger, okay. Black tea and caradmon, fine. Ginger and black tea, ginger and lemongrass…it’s all fine. In practice, though…just no. I want this to be either a mint and vanilla black, or a chai. As it stands, it’s a weird halfway and I’m not enjoying it. I wanted to like it…but I don’t. Sorry Bluebird!
It’s cold today, and I’m feeling totally grim for a variety of reasons, so I figured a warming, energy-boosting (apparently…) chai would make for a better start to the day than the one I’m currently having. I don’t think I’ve ever tried a chai quite like this one before – the base tea is yerba mate, but there’s also a lot of gurana (large, shiny brown balls…?) I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water.
The resulting liquor is a medium green-brown, quite swampy looking. It smells just like a regular chai – spicy, heavy on the cinnamon and ginger. It tastes more savoury than the chai I’m typically used to – more like curry powder dissolved in water than anything else. I’d been expecting a lot of cinnamon/ginger based on the scent, but it’s the cardamon, corriander, and black pepper that are most prominent. I quite like that in a chai, so it’s a happy cup so far for me.
I googled gurana, out of interest, and it appears to be a climbing plant in the maple family, native to Brazil. The “brown balls” are seeds from its fruit, and apparently contain twice the amount of caffeine as a coffee bean. It’s used a lot in energy drinks.
I was expecting the base tea to be more evident in the overall flavour, but it’s actually not. I think the level of spicing is disguising it to some extent, which, when it comes to chai, is no bad thing. One thing I absolutely can’t taste is mint, and given that it’s the third ingredient on the list I was expecting to be able to taste it. Not so, although in all honesty that might be for the best. I’m not sure minty curry powder would be a good thing…
I’m enjoying this one. It’s got a nicely savoury vibe, which is unusual among the teas I drink, and as chai goes it’s deliciously spicy. This one’s a winner with me.