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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m learning that Basilur’s flavor strategy is subtle and elegant. I don’t have an elegant bone in my body but I admire elegance when I see it. In this case, the cranberry sneaks up behind the tea instead of leading the parade. Fruity, not tart. Perfect to savor on a quiet Christmas afternoon. Hope your day was savor-worthy, too.
I’ve had a time chasing down a picture and company-provided description of this tasty afternoon tea—at the moment, what I’ve pulled in to the description is a picture of the gift box in which this is enclosed. What we’ve got is a tasty, not-too-heavy gentle black tea with strawberry and vanilla notes. Something you’d serve in Grandma’s teacups, although it was sufficiently tasty in a mug.
Also something I should’ve served this morning, when I took a tea party to my church kids. Nothing fancy, just an electric kettle and a cherry-wood box of bagged assorted oddments—flavors I thought would appeal to 10-year-olds. The big winners: Bigelow Eggnogg’n, Salted Caramel and White Chocolate Peppermint. (I told you, nothing fancy.) Oh, and one renegade who loved Tazo Wild Sweet Orange.
My girls were priceless when they walked in: “You brought real tea! Oh, and it’s in a fancy box!” Doesn’t take much to let young’uns know you love them. I think I need to do this more often.
Confound it, Tuesday Morning outlet! We went in for one thing and came out with … several … including this tasty little surprise. It appears to be a blend of green tea and authentic milk oolong, with a little flavor. Even though it isn’t a straight-up milk oolong, it was very upscale and toothsome. Juicy Fruit gum with a little vanilla. A nice afternooner.
One of the last few teas from my Varieteas box. This one is a Ceylon with passion fruit and orange flavouring. For some reason, that combination is one that puts me more in mind of summer, but perhaps that’s just me…
The fruit flavouring is stronger than I expected it to be, and the passion fruit particularly is very clear. It comes across as a little artificial, on the whole; very sweet, with an almost plasticky edge that’s a little off-putting. The aftertaste is a little floral, and a touch powdery, which don’t do much to help redeem it.
The base is nice, though – smooth, and lightly citrussy. It works well with the fruit flavouring, but that’s really all that can be said about this one. I found it disappointing – not awful, but not one I’d seek out again.
Another from my Varieteas box. There are at least a couple from this brand included, but this one seems the most ordinary. I could do with a dose of ordinary today, not to mention more black tea than I’ve had already, so it was an obvious choice. I don’t think I’ve tried a specific variety of Ceylon before, or at least not one that was branded as such (so not knowingly, is what I really mean). I don’t imagine it’s going to be a whole lot different from the Ceylon blends I’ve tried, but I’m willing to be proved wrong.
The presentation is ordinary enough – a paper bag containing finely shredded leaf. It brews up very quickly to a medium amber-brown (less than 2 minutes, I’d say). I removed the bag at this point, because I’m drinking it without milk. I’d have left it longer if I’d been adding milk, and I have no doubt that it would have continued to get stronger. Probably considerably so.
Fortunately, it makes for a smooth and lightly citrussy cup. I wasn’t expecting excellent things, but it is actually pretty good. I feel like it has more body than the Ceylon I’m used to drinking, which usually appears as a base in flavoured teas (or occasionally straight in those single-serve Twinings teabags you sometimes get in hotels). It’s malty as well as citrussy, and is more engaging somehow than I was expecting. It’s not a tea that’d stop traffic, but I did look back at it after taking my first sip. It was almost as if I could believe this flavour had come from that cup.
There isn’t a lot I want to say about this one, other than that it’s clearly a quality Ceylon. It has a real depth of flavour, and more personality that I thought it might. I’d happily drink this again if the opportunity arose, and if I were looking to keep a bagged Ceylon in stock then it would be a strong contender. I might even choose it over some loose leaf – Adagio’s Ceylon Sonata has nothing on this, for example.
A pleasant surprise, considering it came in a bag.
Very strong, almost intoxicating aroma. Too much scent it overpowers the taste and smell of tea. Maybe they want to cover it on purpose? Because although claimed to be high quality Ceylon leaves it tastes rather flat and average.
Flavors: Berries, Bitter, Dust, Floral, Red Wine
Merry (belated) Christmas and a happy New Year! I’m still lurking around here somewhere. I really want to review my teas more again so I can figure out which ones to keep in the cupboard and which to not.
Anyways, I’m finishing up a small sample sized bag that I got almost a year ago from the TO tea festival. Up until this cup, I’ve quite enjoyed this tea. Didn’t have any issues with it and really loved it. Nice and malty which is what I enjoy.
Today, I’m not really enjoying it. It’s probably because I forgot to time my steep.
I had the loose-leaf version of this one. So, yes it’s good. Today’s cup wasn’t…
On the whole, I don’t think I would get this one again. I have others I enjoy a bit more.
A very pleasant cup of tea this was. I had a cup with me in my travel mug as I made my way to and through a singing class. Brisk raspberry and a bit of tartness from the rosehips buoyed me up and settled my nerves as my first solo performance took place tonight. I had decided some time ago to do something that terrifies me every so often. So far, it’s going well. Gotta shake things up.
Flavors: Raspberry, Rosehips, Sweet, Tart
GCTTB DAY 5
Drank this one for my morning tea at work today. The heat is actually working! Apparently it was broken again early morning, but seemed to be a quick fix today. At least it was warm by the time I got in, thankfully!
This tea was a delightful surprise. Bold and smooth black tea base with a fragrant sweet raspberry note. There was a very slight herbal aroma/flavour that seemed quite familiar to me but I couldn’t put a finger on it. Not that it was bad, I really enjoyed it – I just couldn’t think of what it reminded me of. I couldn’t detect too much of the rosehips, the raspberries were the dominant aroma and flavour; however, the tea did a have a certain fresh fruitiness mixed in with the sweet creaminess of the raspberries that I really enjoyed. I think I found another keeper. :) I’ve tried two Basilur teas so far and loved both! It seems to be that I like the way certain companies blend and produce their teas. I’ve discovered I have a certain dislike for Mighty Leaf Teas, because for whatever reason none of their teas I’ve tried have really meshed with my personal tastes. So it’s refreshing to discover new companies that I really like for possible future shopping options!
GCTTB DAY 1
Third sample tea today, and I finally got lucky! Mm, this one is quite yummy. I knew pretty much as soon as I sniffed he dry leaf that I was in for something good. The strawberry and kiwi are not overpowering to each other but are nice in combination, fresh and lively. The Ceylon base is a little bold, I’m glad I didn’t steep it longer than a couple minutes. It’s just on the border of getting too astringent, but thankfully still on the delicious side! Quite happy with this choice. Tasty afternoon treat!
Very pleasant budget tea.
This tea had a very noticeable floral aroma, but it was not at all overpowering. I appreciated the balanced flavor profile of this tea, it is perfect for an afternoon “pick me up” at the office.
Flavors: Floral, Jasmine
From the Great Canadian Tea Box Round 5
I like the smell of this one. It’s this super strong artificial strawberry smell that reminds me of gummies…I keep thinking of the haribo pigs, were those strawberry flavoured? The taste is less intense, but I also find it kind of soapy and bitter. I might have over-steeped, I tend to go for 4 minutes for black teas, but maybe I should have stuck with 3 for this one.
I feel like this might taste better cold than hot, so I stuck it in the fridge to cool off a bit and I’ll probably add some agave or something and see how things go
NEVER MIND i tried to put it in the freezer to speed things up and dropped it on the floor. oop.
A new friend came home with me today, a new fishy friend, specifically a Gold Gourami. Sadly and recently my Betta left me for another plane (yes, Niv-Mizzet the Firemind became a Planeswalker, only explanation) and after a bit of science I determined I give up on Bettas. The water is too hard and acidic and I think that is why my Bettas kept dying when all other water parameters were fine, it also explains why when I lived in PA with its softer water I was able to have a colony of them. Gouramis like water to be a bit on the acidic side and hard, so that is my new friend. She is quite pretty and amusingly curious, inspecting every single plant and piece of decor in great detail, and whenever I am next to the tank she comes to inspect me, I think she and I will get along wonderfully.
Today’s tea comes from Basilur Tea, a company specializing in Ceylon teas, and I am looking at their Special Tea Caddy. Before I get into the tea itself I want to point out how awesome the packaging is, when I first opened the box I saw the lovely tin with the island of Sri Lanka embossed on its lid. I had a moment of apprehension that I would open the tin and it would be an explosion of loose tea everywhere, but nope, the tea is safe inside a ziptop foil bag with the print of an old style newspaper all about a few of the estates Basilur sources from. It is a neat bit of packaging, but considering this is the company that has book shaped tea tins I am not surprised.
The tea itself comes from the lower elevation of Ceylon, though I do not know specifically which estates it is sourced from. It is of the FBOPF1 grade, so lots of fancy tips that appear silvery rather than gold, an interesting contrast with some of the other teas I drink. The aroma of the little tips is quite pleasant, sweet and rich with an underlying briskness. notes of gentle plum and citrus blend with malt and a touch of woodiness.
After steeping in my steeping aparatus, the now plumped up leaves has a malty and brisk quality, with woody and citrus notes. Underneath there is a touch of plum and a tiny bit of metallic. Not sure why but frequently Ceylon teas come off a bit metallic to me and whether or not I find this pleasant largely depends on the individual tea. The liquid is sweet, brisk, and woody with an undertone of citrus and a touch of malt.
I have had more Ceylons that I found undrinkable than probably any other tea, so I (unfairly) approach all new Ceylons I try with a bit of trepidation, but luckily this time my fear was very misplaced. This is an iconic Ceylon, in fact I shared this with Ben (who drinks a lot more teas in this style) and he said if he were to close his eyes and picture an iconic Ceylon this would be it, and I can’t help but agree. It is brisk and smooth at the front and dry in the mouth towards the end, but it lacks astringency. There are notes of oak wood and sweet potato, plum and lemons, with a metallic finish. The aftertaste is sweet though it does not linger long, just a pleasant memory. I enjoyed this tea, it will be one to enjoy in the afternoons or mornings when I want a mug of tea and not my usual gongfu sessions.
How i got it: Bought it
Experience: This tea’s aroma is soft and delicate, and is hard to define it at first “glance”. It has a Ceylon background with caramel notes, but with a lighter character and herbal/honey hints, tending to smell similar to teas like Nepal and Darjeeling. Its taste is smooth too, departing a little from the usual Ceylon strenght, but mantaining the caramel notes classical in Basilur. Has a spiced and wooden to the end of the sip. Well defined and lasting. Very good!
Would i buy it again?: Most probably, yes
[Good to be here after a long recess! =) I been storing entries for months, so let’s go for those first 100 tasting notes, hehe]
How i got it: Bought it
Experience: Spiced and slightly wooden, mild-intensity aroma, and a bit stronger taste than what you could have guessed from the smell. Its notes depart a little from the typical caramel-like, Basilur-Ceylon-trademark ones to be more wooden and malty, although there appear fruity hints from time to time. Good definition, duration and richness. Spiced notes in the middle of the sip, and more bitter to its end, plus some astringency in the aftertaste. Maybe it doesn’t show the complexity that Basilur’s Special does, but a good tea, no doubts!
Would i buy it again?: I give it good probabilities.
This is one of the teas that I picked up at the tea festival yesterday. I like it. The flavours of strawberry and kiwi are straightforward. The strawberry is brisk and the kiwi presents itself as tanginess. Enjoyable cup.
The second steep is nicely flavourful as well. More so than I had anticipated.