117 Tasting Notes
For a bagged tea, this isn’t half bad. Presumably, it’s easier to get things “right” when it’s a straight-up tea, unflavoured and not a blend. This is your run of the mill rooibos: pleasant enough, but certainly nothing to write home about. I love rooibos in all its woodsy glory (maybe I was Elven in a previous life—my ears seem point enough for it), and I wanted something simple and caffeine-free, so I’m happy. (I’d have been happier had I not burnt my tongue, but hey, that’s not the tea’s fault. Clumsy Smurf, me.)
Tea amount: 2 bags
Water amount: 16oz./~475mL
Additives: ~1tbsp Demerara sugar
Let’s just call this one “Eau de Clove.” I steeped the sample (in its entirety) in water, and clove is all I could smell and taste. The taste didn’t linger like I wanted it to, either, and the dry mouth factor is on the high side. So ya, not a fan.
That said, I’m still tempted to put this on my shopping list and order it in a small size, because I feel like steeping it normally didn’t do it justice. I don’t have the patience to make proper chai, but I feel like if I did, it would have tasted much better and I would have rated it better. I am tempted to give it another chance.
Tea amount: Golden Moon sample size, one packet.
Water amount: 16oz./~475mL
Additives: 2 level tbsp. demerara sugar.
Back when I used to be able to tolerate caffeine, I used to like coffee (I never got into decaf, dunno why). I never liked the bitterness of coffee, though, just its flavour, so I’d always add a ton of sugar to make it palatable (I can just feel the coffee purists cringing). What I especially loved doing was going to the supermarket and buying these tiny sampler packets of flavoured coffee, much as I now love buying sampler packs of tea. One of my favourite flavoured coffees used to be amaretto coffee. Today, I have found this same coffee in caffeine-free, tea form.
Wait, what? Yep, that’s what I said. If I hadn’t opened the packet and steeped the tea myself, if I’d only inhaled the fragrance and tasted the brew, I would’ve sworn that I was drinking the same amaretto coffee I used to love so much. This rooibos blend smells and tastes exactly like it, and it’s lovely.
This blend should just be called Amaretto Coffea (see what I did there?). It has a bunch of other ingredients that I’m sure somehow work together to give the tea a more full-bodied flavour, but I couldn’t tell you whether it’d make any difference at all if they were absent. It tastes nothing whatsoever like tiramisu, but if you like the idea of amaretto coffee, you’ll nevertheless enjoy this blend.
Does ginseng have a fragrance? I do not know. This CB&TL tea’s dry leaves have a pretty subtle fragrance. They have that fresh, clean, green tea smell, but much of green tea’s usually vegetal aroma is missing, perhaps because of the lemon.
I haven’t had the greatest luck with bagged teas, lately. It seems like no matter how long I steep it, it still ends up tasting pretty weak. This tea is no exception, and I used two bags for my 16oz. mug. The flavour is actually really pleasant, and I would have rated it better if only there were more of it.
In spite of how long I steeped the bags (I meant to do 5-6 minutes, but forgot and left it for about 12), there was no bitterness, which was nice. But the dry mouth factor is middle of the road, a little bit more than my comfort level.
This is one of those teas that I won’t mind finishing, but that I won’t be buying again.
Just a quick note on second-steeping this tea. On the second steep, it’s very cinnamon-y (blech). It’s unfortunate that I don’t have a cinnamon-loving housemate who could enjoy the second steep. I’m going to have to remember this and stick to just the one steep from now on.
Oh, gosh. Steepster tells me that I last logged this tea almost two years ago. How can that be? Honestly, this rooibos chai is like that tattered, reliable, security bankie that’s always there for you. I’ve had quite a bit of mediocriTEA (c’mon, I had to) of late and allergies have been kicking my butt, leaving me hacking like a cat to scratch my throat. All in all, things have been just that side of miserable.
I wanted a caffeine-free, flavoured tea, preferably something with ginger in it. I’ve been making my way through the Golden Moon sampler set, and the few samples I have left are caffeinated to varying degrees and none has ginger in it. For the first time in ages, then, I looked into my stash to see what else I have, and happily discovered a pouch of this tea.
Teavana don’t, in general, blow my mind with their teas, but sometimes they come up with some really great blends. One such blend is their rooibos chai. The dry leaves smell heavenly: rooibos, ginger and other spices, and, um…okay, this is a bit strange, but…a touch of Tiger Balm. I’m not really sure where that comes from, but I swear, I get a whiff of it every time I inhale. The fragrance of the steeped tea is all that, minus the Tiger Balm, which magically disappears.
Mmmm… Every sip of this tea is just what the doctor ordered. The ginger soothes the throat without burning, the rooibos calms the nerves, and delivers warmth to every part of one’s being. If you don’t like rooibos, stay away; but if you do, and you like chai, you should love this. Both rooibos and chai can be tasted and experienced separately, but together. Each retains its individual profile but complements the other perfectly.
Golden Moon’s White Ginger tea is right splat in the middle of the road. Really, all it needs is some oomph to be a lovely, gingery, white tea. Sadly, it is oomphless. It smells like white tea, with a very slightly sweet note on the end that made me think of candied ginger. It tastes like white tea, with a very slightly gingery prickle in the throat as you swallow. If you like ginger, this tea will leave you far short of satisfied. You may be able to give it a bit of oomph by grating some ginger into your infuser, but with so many ginger teas out there, I’m not sure it’s worth it.
I actually tasted this tea yesterday, but I still don’t really function very well on 11th September, so I wasn’t up to writing a tasting note.
There are only a few samples left from my Golden Moon sampler set. I’m very much a “save the best for last” kind of person, and the idea of white tea infused with melon was so enticing that I immediately put it aside so it could be one of the last ones I tasted.
Imagine my disappointment, then, when I cut open the packet, inhaled, and crinkled my nose in displeasure. The dry leaves smell like stale bread. I persisted, and after a few breaths I could discern a vaguely melon-y aroma. But when I reset my sense of smell and went back to the tea a couple of moments later, there it was again: stale bread. Unpleasant.
As off-putting as the tea’s aroma was, I couldn’t just pour it out without tasting it. And who knows, sometimes the taste is a surprise, y’know? Sadly, the tea tasted like a wilting flower. Other tasters have mentioned alcohol, overly ripe melon, a sort of fermented smell, but the one thing I took away from both the smell and taste of this tea is, “spoilt.” The smell of stale bread and the taste of a wilting flower’s sickly sweet smell. Blech.
As with the aroma, continuing to sip for a while improved the experience ever so slightly, but putting the mug down for a while and coming back to it after a few moments pushed the reset button so that I had to endure the whole stale bread, wilting flower thing all over again. That’s just too much work to try and enjoy a nice, hot cup of tea.
Underwhelmed. Mehness. The flavour of this tea does not live up to the promise made by its fragrance. It smells really nice, but the flavour is a bit bland, a bit weak. The fragrance is mostly that of green tea: fresh-smelling, a bit vegetal. There are also some floral undertones here. Given its name (and given that I read only the name, and not the ingredients), I thought I’d get more orchid (I love floral teas), but that’s not the case. There is only the most subtle of floral hints in the fragrance, and even these are mostly absent from the flavour.
I like less subtlety in my tea, so found this a mediocre offering. Next, please.
I steeped this sweetened sampler a second time, adding more sugar, steeping it for hours (like, 12 or something), and finally adding ice. I’ve never made iced tea with loose leaves before, so I don’t know if I did this the “right” way, but it worked. It’s excellent as iced tea: a little mango-y, a little peachy. I didn’t get even a hint of the floral things that are on the list of ingredients, like rose and such; it’s just a really refreshing, sweet, tropical iced tea.
This tea is definitely better iced than hot.