1784 Tasting Notes
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.
I’ve been drinking this one fairly steadily recently, so much so that my mini tin is almost gone. There’s something peculiarly wintry about cinnamon, at least in my book. It’s warming and festive, and it makes me feel happy. In the summer, by contrast, I barely go near it. It’s an added bonus that it doesn’t need milk, because my matcha lattes are taking up most of that right now.
I’m still not the biggest pu’erh fan, although it’s growing in my estimation. This one is a little fecal, at least in terms of scent, but the cinnamon masks its worst excesses. I think I might miss this one, when it’s gone.
It’s the turn of apricot today. I’m coming towards the end of my matcha samples, which is incredibly sad for one special reason. I was just going to place an order with Matcha Outlet, now they stock sample packages and ship to the UK. That was until I realised that the shipping was going to cost $47, and seems to be flat rate. A few small samples of tea powder absolutely do not cost anything like that to post, and I don’t have that kind of cash to splash at the moment anyway, so that’s off. It’s a real shame, because Red Leaf/Matcha Outlet have the best flavours, and at the moment there’s nothing comparable in the UK. It’s sad face time, boys and girls.
This latte, though. I’m actually liking this a little more than I did last time, although it’s there’s still a touch of soapy floral that’s hard to ignore once you’ve tasted it. Having said that, it’s mostly apricot, and that’s all good with me. It’s not the most natural tasting apricot, admittedly, but it’s pretty good. It’s actually reminding me a little of…something. Some kind of gummy sweet? Wine Gums? Were there orange wine gums? If there were, then that’s what I’m tasting. Sweet, slightly syrupy, artificial apricot. It’s nicer than it sounds.
Finished off the last of this sample today. I made it up as a latte again, because I’m pretty sure last time it didn’t go so well as a result of unexpectedly expiring whisk batteries. Fortunately, that’s not today’s problem.
I used a little more powder than I usually would, partly because there wasn’t a full 1/2 tsp left (so it would be two under-strength cups or one over…) and also because it’s the delicate flavouring level, and I’m finding that I drown the flavour in milk when I use my work cup (which is on the larger side…). So that’s how it is this morning.
Also, I’m bored. I have plenty to do, but I don’t really want to get on with any of it. What I’d really like is a new job with some new challenges, but that doesn’t seem to be on the cards at the moment.
So, the latte. It’s good – it tastes like candy grape. I think the extra bit of powder has amplified that a bit, because it’s a touch stronger than I remember it being last time, although still subtle on the whole. It’s also mildly floral, which could be either the grape flavouring or the matcha itself…it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins, which I think is a good thing when it comes to flavoured tea of any variety.
I’m thinking of placing an order with Red Leaf/Matcha Outlet in the next few days, and this one could well be on the list if it’s available. It’s different, and enjoyable – a good combination!