1736 Tasting Notes
Yay! More mulberries. This came to me as a sample from KittyLovesTea, and fits perfectly with my current mulberry adoration. This is a herbal blend, containing mulberry leaves and macadamia nuts. As per the recommended parameters, I used 1.5tsp of leaf, and gave it about 4 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is yellow-green (pretty perfect considering that this is a Halloween themed tea!), and smells deliciously sweet and creamy.
To taste, it’s just as wonderful as I’d hoped. There’s the initial taste of sweet, rich caramel that I’ve come to expect from mulberry teas, which is perfectly augmented by the creamy nuttiness of the macadamia nuts. It’s one of those rare teas that tastes as good as it smells, and in this case that’s very good indeed.
I’d happily drink this for the rest of my life, but I had just a one cup sample that’s now gone. On the strength of those I’ve tried so far, Mulberry teas are definitely something I’ll seek out in the future. Absolutely delicious!
A sample from KittyLovesTea. I quite like orange in fruit teas, so I was interested to give this one a go. Interestingly, there’s a whole lot of chamomile in this blend. I can also see pieces of dried orange peel, cranberries, rosehip and hibiscus. Maybe good or maybe bad. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is an odd reddish-grreen, and smells distinctly herbal. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact scent, but I wouldn’t say orange or cranberry.
Similarly with the taste, which is mostly chamomile and hibiscus. The hibiscus comes our first, as it usually does, and adds a tart, slightly sour, overtone. Second to emerge is the chamomile, which is sweet and honey-like. Not a great combination with hibi. I can taste a tiny bit of orange right at the end of the sip, but it’s nothing like as strong as I was hoping. Mostly, drinking this one reminds me of berocca.
It’s not unpleasant, per se, but it’s not a winner with me either. I can’t taste cranberry at all, so it’s mostly a hibiscus-chamomile tea, with an aftertaste of orange. Drinkable, but disappointing.
A sample from KittyLovesTea. First flush darjeeling is one of my favourite things in the world, so I’m always pleased when the opportunity arises to try a new one! The leaf here looks fairly typical – small in size, variagated from dark to light green, with some downy silver buds. There are some tiny leaf fragments. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 1.5 minutes in boiling water, as this is the method I’ve found best suits my tastes. The resulting liquor is light golden brown, maybe a touch yellowish. The scent is fruity and a little woody.
There’s huge fruitiness in the initial sip – I’m thinking stonefruit particularly; apricot and peach. A wonderful muscatel grape note emerges in the mid-sip, and adds a richness and depth to the overall flavour. There’s a slight woodiness right at the end of the sip. While this isn’t an astringent tea, I’d say it’s definitely brisk, leaving a slight dryness in my mouth. The tea itself is smooth and almost honeyed in texture, so it’s a slightly odd contrast, but not unpleasant.
I like this one a lot, which makes me feel a little sad. I wish I’d had the opportunity to explore Tea Horse’s offerings a little more before they closed, but such is life. An excellent, intensely flavourful first flush darjeeling.
A sample from KittyLovesTea. There are few teas as beautiful as this one. The small packet belies the contents, because as soon as it’s opened out tumble whole dried chrysanthemum flowers. There are so many, and they’re so large and springy, it’s hard to imagine how they all fitted in the little sample pouch! There are some loose petals, but in the main these are whole flower heads; creamy yellow in colour, and beautifully preserved.
For my first cup, I gave 2tsp of flowers (about half the sachet) 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. The resulting liquor is a pale yellow-green, and smells very lightly herbal. To taste, it’s a subtle flavour. It’s hard to pin down exactly, but it mostly reminds me of chamomile, with the tiniest touch of mint. I was expecting something much more heavily floral, but it’s not like that at all. It makes me think of daisies.
It’s a very light, refreshing cup. I reckon it would be particularly perfect in spring/summer, or as a relaxing pre-bedtime cup. Definitely one I’d consider purchasing with a future Teavivre order.
I think I’ve finally worked this one out, because today’s cup is absolutely delicious! I can really taste plum, along with a creamy, sweet, slightly spicy/orangey undertone that really does suggest pudding (and Christmas!) I found my first cup a little too subtle, but now I’m wondering why I thought that. Today, it’s perfection!
A sample from KittyLovesTea. Pu-erh still scares me, but I’m determined to keep trying until I understand it. I think I’m making progress with that, slowly but surely! I used 1 tuocha, and gave it 1 minute in boiling water. The liquor is surprisingly light in colour – a golden orange. Many of the pu-erh touchas I’ve tried thus far have verged on dark brown/black even when brewed for a very short time. This makes an encouraging change.
The scent is probably, for me, the worst thing about pu-erh. This one is no exception. The whiff of farmyard at 11 o’clock in the morning is never going to be particularly welcome. Still, I can get past that.
For good reason, it turns out. This is a pu-erh I could actually say that I…like. It tastes fairly mild, but has a warm, earthy, slightly dank flavour, a little like compost mixed with wet mud. I’m not screwing my face up, and I can actually sip this one happily and think about the flavour without wishing I really wasn’t. I guess this is called progress?
A sample from KittyLovesTea. I’ve tried Teavivre’s unflavoured Jin Xuan before, and I enjoyed it a lot. It had a natural butteriness that was very pleasant, very smooth, and very easy to drink! I suspect my heart really belongs to flavoured milk oolongs, though, so I was very interested in trying Teavivre’s flavoured version. At last, the time has come!
I used 1 tsp of leaf, and have it 2.5 minutes in boiling water. I felt bad about the water, but that’s what the sachet recommends, so that’s what I did. The resulting liquor is pale yellow gold, and smells of butter and green veg. It’s a scent I’d expect more from a green tea, but there you go.
The first sip reveals a lovely milkiness that almost borders on caramel, which fades into a butteriness by the mid-sip. The vegetal, green-tasting oolong emerges right at the end of the sip, and lingers in the aftertaste. It’s a fresh, almost mineral counterpoint to the sweet, creamy opening flavour.
I like that the flavouring doesn’t drown the oolong completely, and that it complements the oolong’s natural flavour, rather than just covering it up. I’m not sure I would have liked it had it been the first flavoured milk oolong I’d tried, but now I have a little more experience with oolong (milk or otherwise) I can appreciate it for what it is.
This is a tea I wouldn’t mind keeping around. It’ll definitely make it into a future Teavivre order!
A sample from KittyLovesTea I was intrigued by the description of this one – baked apples and brown sugar sounds divine. I’m not sure that it’s a flavoured black, though. Something makes me think that might be a natural element of the tea itself. In any case, I’m rather enjoying myself! I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.
The initial taste is rather strong, slightly astringent black tea. It lingers a little, but then develops into a wonderfully thick-tasting, rich baked apple flavour. There’s a sweetness right at the end of the sip that’s perfectly reminiscent of brown sugar. I noticed the flavour progression mostly in the early sips, but towards the end of my cup I think I must have developed palate fatigue. Either that, or the flavour diminishes as this one starts to cool. The last few dregs are just strong black tea. I’m not complaining, though. Hot and fresh, this one makes for a tasty treat. Even as a plain black, it would be strong enough to wake me up on a morning!
I’m glad to have had the opportunity to try this one. I probably wouldn’t seek it out, because there are plenty of strong black/flavoured black teas that I like just as much, but it’s definitely worth a try for the apple/sugar aspect alone.
A sample from KittyLovesTea. Like many others on here, I’m not quite sure what to make of this one. I read through a couple of notes after drinking my first cup, because I was certain there must have been some mistake. Either that, or my sample must be ages old/contaminated, which I don’t expect is the case. I say all this because this one smells of paint thinner. Brewing it was actually rather off putting, and I did wonder whether it was something I should be taking a sip of. I did anyway, and it actually doesn’t taste too bad. It’s a little chemically and oddly dank tasting, but there’s a tiny hint of something vaguely resembling carrot cake in there. I think it might be the spicing that’s giving me the right sort of impression, but there’s no cake or frosting to be found. I got about half way through my cup before I dumped it. I’m not sure what’s wrong with this one, but it’s not very pleasant to drink. Life’s too short for bad tea.
A sample from Kitty Loves Tea. I’ve been curious about this one for a while. How can toast and jam be replicated in tea form? Answer: like this. As per the recommended parameters, I used 1 tsp of leaf and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees.
Hojicha isn’t always my favourite green tea, but I will admit that it works here. It provides the perfect toasted flavour; not overdone or burnt in any way, just perfectly golden toasted. The initial flavour is all sweet strawberry jam, though, and it’s utterly delicious. The hibiscus and strawberry pieces capture the tart/sugary/fruity balance perfectly, and then the hojicha base ushers in the crisp toast underneath.
I’m actually quite amazed that a tea can capture a food taste so well. It’s a pretty rare thing in flavoured tea, I think, unless I’ve just been unlucky with the ones I’ve tried. From what I’ve experienced so far, it seems that Tea Horse produced some unique and imaginative blends that were well executed to boot. It saddens me that they disappeared from the tea world after such a short time. Worth a try, if you can get your paws on some.