1390 Tasting Notes
Sipdown no. 25 of 2018 (no. 381 total). A sample.
The packet only contained enough for about 500 ml of tea, the lowest amount I can make in my Breville.
I wasn’t paying attention (I was talking to No. 1 about why he should not eat an entire box of Girl Scout cookies before breakfast), and so didn’t focus on sniffing the packet before steeping. I can’t talk about details, but there was a general fruitiness that wafted from the packet when I opened it.
The steeped tea smells heavily of vanilla. The creamy kind, not the beany kind. There is also a sort of generic fruitiness and an undercurrent of malty black tea. It’s a dark copper color, and clear.
To be honest I’m not sure I could describe the flavor of rhubarb. I know I’ve had it in pies and such, but it’s not like it’s a staple around my house. So I can’t say that this tastes like rhubarb or not.
I can say that the creamy taste is mellower in the sip than in the sniff. It isn’t overpowering, and the underlying tea and fruit flavor are evenly balanced and quite pleasant.
Real big question mark for me as to how to rate this, since I rate flavored teas in part based upon whether they capture the flavor they claim to capture and I am at sea with regard to a taste memory of rhubarb. So I’ll give it low excellent.
Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Vanilla
Pretty sure this is the same tea, except that mine has the number 09-DJ1.
I should have read the label before I steeped. I didn’t realize this was a first flush, so I steeped it the way I’d steep a second flush (a bit hotter). But then I just read an article that said 205 is the right temp for first flush darjeelings that are more than 3 months old. So everyone’s got an opinion.
The tea is consistent with my observations about the difference between first and second flush darjeelings recorded elsewhere. In the tin, in the steeped aroma, in the taste, there’s less sharpness — none of the sharp, high notes that I associate with second flush darjeelings. Instead, it’s more mellow and round. More stone fruit (peach in particular) than grape/wine.
The dry leaves are smaller and darker than some other darjeelings I’ve had, and the steeped tea has a light, peach-gold color and is clear.
In the aroma and flavor, there’s an unusual note that’s reminiscent of a malty black tea.
Definitely a distinctive flavor, and less of the filling, water-logged feeling after drinking this than I sometimes get with first flush darjeelings. Which are all to the good.
Flavors: Grapes, Malt, Peach, Round , Stonefruits, White Wine
I drank this one Sunday, too, so it’s a backlog from before the Great Steepster Freeze of ’18.
In the packet, this was very minty. The chocolate was so much less present that I worried about balance.
After steeping the aroma was a little weird. It had a quality to it that was like the floury residue on the cake pan after baking cake, but with chocolate and mint aspects as well. The steeped tea was dark amber and cloudy. It looked like an amber beer without the head.
As it turned out, the flavor was nicely balanced. It’s a solid chocolate mint tea — not too minty, but could be a bit more chocolatey for my taste. Still the balance was better than in some others I’ve tasted.
I drank this for the first time Sunday, but couldn’t post a note about it due to stuck feed syndrome. So I took some notes and now this is, as they say, a backlog.
This tea has big, curly leaves, like an oolong, but they’re a dark, chocolate brown. In the sample tin, they small like seaweed with a tinge of smoke.
After steeping, the tea’s aroma reminds me of miso soup but not as heavy. It’s tangy and savory. The tea is a light yellow-gold and clear.
I found this to be a light bodied, rather innocuous green tea. It was neither sweet nor bitter. I didn’t find it to be highly flavorful, but it isn’t without flavor. It’s a sort of a middle of the road generic green tea.
This is a sample tin I decided to crack open.
I’m surprised it has had such a lukewarm reaction here. I find it interesting and tasty.
The dry leaves have a touch of something almost smoky in the aroma, and yet it’s also got a remarkable sweetness. It’s juicy smelling. Like sweet grass that’s just been mown. There are also floral and fruity notes, which makes it pretty complex as green teas go. I thought I might be imagining the fruit notes until I read someone else’s tasting note as it seemed unlikely a single green tea could have all of this going on. But I’m now convinced I’m not imagining it.
The liquor is a clear, medium-light gold, surprisingly dark for a green tea. The steeped tea smells like sweet grass with a slightly earthy/smoky note. I detect a touch of this morning’s cinnamon tea in the flavor (it must have survived the washing), but because the dry tea had a sweetness to the aroma I’m betting it’s not just the residuals that give it the sweetness.
It has a touch of bitterness in the finish, but not unpleasantly so. There’s a freshness in the aftertaste that feels clean and cool.
I’m looking forward to trying this again without the cinnamon memory as I think there’s a lot here to appreciate. I’m just not sure I’m fully appreciating it yet.
Flavors: Earth, Floral, Fruity, Smoke, Sweet, warm grass
One of the last, if not the last, as yet untasted Todd & Holland black tea samples. I think I found them all. At one point I had all my sample packets lined up in rows in shoebox sized plastic containers, but I liberated those to store my unrefrigerated Nutrisystem food. When I did that, the packets mixed in with the rest of my tea stash in an unhelpfully disorganized way. I thought I’d found them all, then found this. It’s possible there’s a straggler out there somewhere.
In the packet, the tea smells mostly of cinnamon with a little orange around the edges. The cinnamon is strong — almost eyewateringly so — and reminds me of red hots, or cinnamon toothpicks.
Cinnamon, clove, orange… it’s the Constant Comment flavor profile in the ingredients, essentially. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a soft spot for Constant Comment. The difference here is the flavor balance. I can’t really smell or taste the clove, and I can smell the orange but I can’t really taste it.
It makes a rust-colored, clear liquor that smells strongly of cinnamon. With the heat of the water, it’s less like red hots and more like a cinnamon roll.
The flavor is surprisingly sweet, sweeter than I would have anticipated from the aroma.
This is basically the Todd & Holland version of Harney’s Hot Cinnamon Spice. I haven’t had that in a while, but reading my description of it in an old tasting note, that’s pretty much the same flavor I’m tasting here. Sweet-hot cinnamon.
Harney’s gets points for being direct about it in the name, but this is a good cinnamon tea. It’s a little less hefty than I remembered the Harney being, which can be good or bad depending on one’s mood at the moment.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Orange, Sweet
Not a green tea, but I decided to crack this one open this weekend before I cut myself off from caffeine for the rest of the day.
I steeped 5 degrees hotter than directed.
The dry leaves remind me a little of dragonwell. They have a roasty green smell to them.
The steeped tea has a nutty, sweet aroma. It reminds me a bit of water chestnuts. Weirdly, it’s almost citrusy.
The tea is also nutty and sweet, and reminiscent of hay. It’s like what I imagine white tea ought to taste like, but I can never get it to taste that way.
Definitely more flavorful than the last yellow tea I tried, Rishi Ancient Yellow Buds, but since I don’t have a baseline to compare it to, I’m rating it somewhat conservatively for now.
Flavors: Chestnut, Hay, Nutty, Roasted, Sweet