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Recent Tasting Notes
Made a small batch of cold brew into popsicles using this tea a few days ago.
I wanted to make them, initially, with a puree of fresh mint leaves, watermelon and agave but my mom ended up using all the fresh mint for a mint milkshake and my sister at like 90% of the watermelon so I ended up only using the tea – no extras. I think that was a mistake because texturally these were basically just GIANT ice cubes and as far as flavour goes they were oddly bitter, even though I tested the cold brew before pouring and it tasted perfectly fine.
So far I’ve had one of the batch which has tasted good – and it was pretty mellow, with a slight watermelon taste and then a more cooling minty sort of finish. It was refreshing but just not what I was really going for…
So the city I live in hosts a yearly art festival in the summer for a week, with the final day having this giant street fair with tons of food trucks, local artists, and creators of all sorts. It’s a beautiful gathering of community, and a really fun time!
I got a decent haul this year:
- Perogies from my favourite local food truck
- Some locally made bath bombs
- Lemon & chocolate bagels from my favourite baker
- A new matcha bowl from a local potter
And of course a little bit of tea from Cuppa’T – they have a lot of their regular summer flavours, many of which I’ve tried before and I already have my favourite one stocked up. This was the only one I saw that seemed new, and it smelled really good so I decided I’d grab 50g and see what it’s like iced or cold brewed for the summer.
I really wish I’d grabbed an ingredients list because I know there’s a lot going on in this one, but one thing I remember is that it actually didn’t have any sort of melon in it but it did have apple, spearmint, and morninga leaf among other things that I’ve just forgetting. Taste wise, it’s quite nice and smooth though – definitely has the crisp, cooling feeling and sweetness of the spearmint quite strongly. I really enjoy this spearmint and fruit pairing as well as the spearmint and white tea combo. It does convey watermelon though, albeit in a sweeter and clearly ‘replicated watermelon’ (not natural). I still really like/enjoy it though!
Basically, sweet watermelon, apple, spearmint, and slight floral undertones. It’s REALLY good, and sort of unique. It all works.
I’ll probably email the owner for an ingredients list, though…
So I was messing around with my Divination tea a week or so ago, and just having a bit of fun with tea lead reading. It’s not something I personally put stock in as far as genuine belief goes, but it’s always something I’ve found interesting and kind of wanted to learn as a cool “party trick” or whatever…
I like using this tea for it because it’s a CTC grade and works really well in terms of clumping/sitting in the cup in a way that can be interpreted. Huang Pian is definitely not the worlds best tea leaf reading type of tea, if you know what I mean. I also just really like this one because it’s a very smooth blend that takes a while to pick up astringency/bitterness – and when you’re drinking from a cup of tea with the leaf just loose sitting in the bottom that’s a very good trait to have.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cream, Malt, Vanilla
With cashew milk and pumpkin agave.
This was delicious; very full bodied and rich with creamy malt notes and then of course the beautiful, sweet added flavours of the aforementioned milk and agave. It’s a solid cup though! It made for a really nice late night mug to sip on while curled up on the couch. Very peaceful!
With milk and pumpkin agave.
I honestly feel like all kinds of basic drinking this; it’s so pumpkiny. However, pumpkin is the epitome of fall, and I’ve been leaning into fall flavours/teas so heavily as of late. Plus, I just really enjoy that it’s so full bodied and smooth, with a great mix of creamy malty flavours and sweetness. Can’t beat it.
Song Pairing: https://youtu.be/H20BWllOyWo
Gotta pair it with some equally Autumn feeling music.
Cuppa’T had a flash sale recently for the beginning of September, so I stopped in to see if there was anything I wanted – I ended up restocking my favourite herbal that they carried this summer and picking up 50g of this for myself, and then because I’d bought 100g in total I got another free 50g of tea as part of the sale which I also used in this tea so that I could give 50g to the boyfriend.
I actually like Irish Breakfast a fair bit, and generally prefer it to English Breakfast or all the other ‘breakfast tea’ derivatives. However, my boyfriend really likes Irish Breakfast. Prior to meeting me and having his tea world explode with possibilities, Irish Breakfast was actually the only tea he owned and drank regularly and even with my introducing him to a whole bunch of other options it’s stayed a favourite. He goes through it like no bodies business, so I thought it might be nice for him to have something similar but just a little different on hand to play with/alternate in between different cups so that he doesn’t go through his Irish Breakfast quite as quickly.
My first impression of this one is that it’s nice but not mind blowing. Certainly, like Irish Breakfast, it’s a VERY full bodied, bold and brisk flavour. I thought the creamy element of this one might soften it a little, but not the case. I’m undecided on whether or not that’s good or bad. It is creamy, not as in your face as anticipated? The dry leaf smells creamier to me than the steeped tea actually tastes. The biggest thing that personally I was “meh” about was the fact it was really astringent? Like, almost uncomfortably so.
I can’t help but wonder if that’s because I made this in my tea press and it sat for a while? However, that’s 100% not been an issue for me with other teas with more finicky bases so I can’t be certain. I think, in my case, the best thing to do is going to be to retry it the exact same way as before – except in an infuser mug rather than the press. Then, I’ll know for sure if it’s the tea itself or the method of making it.
As for the boyfriend, he tried it today and while he liked it he said it definitely needed some sugar. Also, he always adds milk to his teas, so his cup wound up with milk and sweetener though I drank mine completely straight. He does prefer the traditional Irish Breakfast, though.
Anyway – for now, I’m holding off on rating this one.
Hot, with chocolate agave and cashew milk.
I really feel like the name of this tea should reference the cardamom in the blend in some way because it’s definitely the strongest flavour in the blend. Even after adding in even more chocolate in the form of chocolate agave, the ‘ranking’ of flavour notes in this blend was still cardamom, chocolate, and orange. It’s nice though; very sweet and silky cardamom notes and with the nuttyness of the cashew milk and general sweetness I kept thinking of halva. Really tasty…
This is only “meh” as a cold brew; I mean nothing is inherently bad about it I just think the flavours here are a lot better suited to hot tea. It’s very, very cardamom heavy and that note kind of masks all of the other ones to a pretty large extent. However, underneath that cardamom is a hint of milk chocolate creaminess and some orange peel/rind notes. The sweetness from the chocolate actually gives the cardamom a bit of a candied/chocolate coated vibe that makes me feel a little bit like I’m snacking on some sort of gourmet treat.
Yeah – very much getting the vibe from this that someone who really enjoyed it would be a bit of a ‘gourmand’. It’s just got a fanciness about it from the mix of very rich, indulgent/decadent flavours. I wish I enjoyed it more as a cold brew, but it is what it is. I’ll finish it off, and try to make the most out of the cardamom notes that take up so much of the profile. Cardamom is just better hot, that’s all.
Hot tea from yesterday.
I remember this one being a lot richer the last time I had it as opposed to this time around; it was very light bodied, and I know that it wasn’t underleaf and it got a pretty standard steep as far as herbals go…
I mean, the orange was tasty and I got some nice, but very light, cardamom notes so the combination there was pretty solid. Where was the chocolate, though!? The whole sip I felt like the chocolate notes that were present were an aftertaste. Like, the main flavour had already passed, and this was just the shadow that remained. Of course, that meant that the actual aftertaste was pretty well nothing. Just a full stop, flavour wise.
I wanted to find this sweet, enjoyable and relaxing but mostly this time around I just found it to be pretty bland.
Another new Cuppa’T edition to the stash!
Yesterday I decided to take a venture down to the Farmer’s Market on my day off; I ended up with a pretty solid haul which I’ve been enjoying throughout the weekend! In addition to a pouch of this tea, I ended up nabbing:
- A sack of locally grown potatoes (very excited to cook something with these)
- Some homemade cookies for the not-boyfriend since he had kindly requested some
- Two loafs of lemon dill bread from my favourite baker
- Some vegan friendly, stone ground flour chocolate chip cookie mix
- The worlds BEST pineapple/mango salsa
- A jar of garlic infused honey (not sure what I’ll use it with, but excited to figure it out)
- A bottle of creamsicle turmeric nut milk (SO GOOD)
- A bottle of “Vitamin G” fresh pressed juice; it’s orange/cucumber/ginger/carrot/lemon
- And a homemade raspberry mint ‘freezie’ to enjoy while I shopped
I mean, that’s a pretty fucking good haul.
The bread got snacked out throughout the weekend, the salsa used today with some nachos I made for the family, the juices drank and enjoyed, and the first set of cookies given to the not-boyfriend and now it’s time for me to enjoy the tea! I’m starting off with a cold brew, because it’s hotter than the underside of a nutsack today.
This one jumped out at me because I don’t really have a herbal tea on hand with chocolate and orange and I thought it might be nice to since I do really love that flavour combination. Initial observations about this one drinking it cold brewed are that it’s REALLY heavy on the chocolate though. Like, easily the most prominent flavour is the chocolate. There’s some orange going on here, but mostly in the background and it’s hard to pick it out until the finish of the sip when the smooth, creamy and intense chocolate notes are subsiding.
Apart from that, this one does seem fairly straight forward: lots of chocolate and a little bit of orange. It’s smooth and sweet without tasting cloying or artificial. Cold brew may not have been the best way to go about making this for the first time but if I can accept that this is just much more chocolate than it is orange I think it could be a pretty tasty tea to have around in the meantime – especially for evenings.
Hot straight, because I wanted something tart.
Not “kill me now” level of tart though, so I only steeped this for two minutes which was enough time for the liquor to get an impressive pink colour but not enough time for my tongue to feel like it was shriveling up and receding into my mouth when I took the first sips. I recently had “balsamic white wine beets” at a restaurant, and weirdly enough as I sipped on this that was all I could think about flavour wise. Just tart, acidic and vinegar sort of sour…
And now I just want salad – with hibiscus balsamic dressing on it.
Begrudgingly made a cup of this one earlier in the week – I need to work on drinking down some of the teas I have a fair bit of that I don’t particularly like…
Honestly, in the last four years hibiscus has grown on me to a point where I genuinely don’t hate in in most blends so long as it doesn’t completely cover the other flavours going on in the blend. However, I’m still not a big fan of it in its pure, unadulterated form. It’s too tart, and has this weird quality to it that reminds me of a mix of sheer sourness, beets, and blood. Barf.
Thankfully my coworkers like it more than I do, and they helped me finish off most of this mug. I may just use the rest of the hibiscus I have left for cooking, or maybe even see if I can grind it up and make like a lip stain or something out of it. You know, alternative uses that don’t involve drinking it – ’cause bleh.
Iced. Tea Press. Honey.
Still working on, slowly, finishing this one off…
100% I was pretty scared to try this one out as an iced tea; I was ready for a blast of intense, horrific tasting tartness. However, I think by adding honey and keeping the steep time very short and controlled I was able to actually crank out a pretty solid iced tea! It was sweet, and yes tart as well but not overwhelmingly. If anything, it tasted like some sort of sweetened berry kind of drink. Really refreshing, actually.
Normally I wouldn’t have bought straight up hibiscus for myself because I’m really not a fan, but it was a gift so I’m trying to find creative ways to use it where I don’t have to experience the taste of straight, pure hibiscus…
The first attempt at that was with a homemade hibiscus brown sugar syrup! I was making ‘two ingredient pancakes’ (the ingredients are banana and egg) and I didn’t want standard syrup with them. I also added some fresh sliced kiwi to the plate, as well. I think on its own this syrup would have been too bold, fruity, and tart to work with the pancakes which ARE very banana flavoured and sweet, but not so much in a way that would work with the sourness of hibiscus. The kiwi was a good bridge between the flavours because it’s also fruity and works with the banana, but has an acidity to it that ties in with the sweet, sour syrup.
Overall, as a dish, I think this worked – and the syrup was easy enough to make as well: concentrated hibiscus brew mixed with ground cinnamon and brown sugar and reduced until it has the consistency of a typical syrup. Easy enough!
Finally had a somewhat decent sleep last night. I was only woken once by the neighbours, by the baby, I assume. And yay, I feel almost human. I just might be able to function at some capacity, just maybe. There’s good reason that sleep deprivation is a torture technique.
Oh what a wonderful thing sleep is!
I had forgotten about my remaining samples from tigress some time ago, and today, now that I have an extra brain cell or two, I pulled them out. This is the first one my hand got a hold of.
Good choice. Brisk malty base with a good healthy layer of maple on top. A real pleasure.
Thanks, tigress_al, for popping this one into the bag.
Flavors: Malt, Maple
Tried this one hot for the first time,
Iced/Cold brew is definitely the way to go when making this one. It didn’t taste bad/was perfectly drinkable on the whole but I think brewing it hot drew out a lot of tangyness and exaggerated the tomato notes in the tea quite a bit to the point where they were actually the main flavour. And I can get on board with tomato tea, but when you have things like lime and hibiscus notes I think that more umami/savory aspect works much better as like an undertone supporting the fruit notes and keeping them from feeling over the top cloying. Definitely not as the primary taste.
Probably gonna switch back to drinking this one cold brewed in the future.
Made this one at work a few days ago; the whole staff was thoroughly freaked out by the notion of a tea with cucumber and tomato but when they tried it they all agreed that it was surprisingly delicious! Lots, and lots of sweet orange and apple notes and then a cooling, crispness from the cucumber. It’s vegetal, but very softly and in a refreshing way. Also, between the orange, cucumber, and tomato notes in the finish it’s also surprisingly sweet! I mean, overall it’s a challenging flavour to describe; but it just works!
I also made this in a glass cup for the first time ever so it was the first time I got a completely clear look at the liquor colour and it was really pretty! Just a soft, sunset like sort of peachy colour with a bit of like a red ‘blush’ sort of tint to it? Mostly orange, though. Just stunning to look at, though!
Currently sipping on this one; it’s pretty refreshing and fruity! Main notes are cucumber and orange, which is a really nice pairing! I love, love, love the bright juicy citrus and the refreshing, cooling cucumber combo together. It also has undertones of sweet tomato goodness, and a finish that’s quite apple-y. It’s kind of hard to explain WHY the mix of fruit and vegetables works so well but it does – it’s just sweet and tasty!
Now that I have more of this one on hand, after restocking during Cuppa T’s flash sale, I’ve been thinking of other ways I might be able to use this one and I think it could make a REALLY interesting base for a cocktail. Imagine it as the base for a sweeter, fruitier Ceaser? Two or three parts Market Fresh cold brew, one part Lapsang Souchong if you wanted more tea flavour or one part Mezcal if you want more booze but still SOME smoke, one or two parts vodka depending on how strong you want it, maybe some muddled cherry tomatoes to increase that aspect of the flavour? Rim a glass with some sea salt, garnish was a celery stick? I think that would make for a REALLY interesting take on a Ceaser.
But I don’t know – what other kinds of cocktails do you guys think this might work in?
So, I revisited this weird tomato tea today.
It’s been hot/sweaty enough inside our house today to melt a man’s nuts off, so I definitely opted for an iced tea over trying this one hot – though I definitely want to try it that way too, eventually. Like an idiot I forgot to measure when I was scooping the leaf for my concentrated hot brew of this before pouring it over iced. Obviously my guesstimation was wrong, because when I did pour the hot brew over ice to make my finished product it was WAY too strong/intense.
Honestly, I hardly tasted the tomato this time around at all! What I did get was a punch in the face of intense, sweet apple and orange notes with hints of lemon lime and a refreshing, pulpy vegetal cucumber note. The cucumber was actually my favourite part of the blend; I’ve just honest to God never found a cucumber tea I didn’t love. It’s just cooling, and refreshing and one of the most hydrating tea ingredients, point blank. Oddly, I think because of the cucumber as well, this had an almost melon like taste too. I think that’s because the white part in watermelon rind and cucumber skin sort of taste the same? So, they’re a little interchangeable flavour wise.
So yeah, this still had some great things going on for it flavour wise – but bottom line it was just too strong/intense, and the fruit notes were really sweet.
Saw this at Cuppa’T and I HAD to own it. Why?
I’ve only ever tried ONE tomato tea and it was really fucking weird. Not bad though, just weird. It was also a savory tea, and this one is certainly meant to be sweeter/more fruity, what with the lime and apple in it. I wish I’d taken better notes when I drank this cold brew because there was some interesting complexities to this one, but alas my jot notes and shitty and don’t do the layers of flavour real justice.
- Top notes are really fruity; lime and apple with a soft tartness
- Body is still mildly fruity, with a refreshing ‘break’ in between the fruity from the cukes
- The tomato IS there too; but it blends into BOTH the tangyness of the fruit
- As well as the refreshing, vegetal taste of cucumber
- The mouthfeel is very smooth but the flavour of cucumber & tomato pulp is strong
- So, it’s sweet, tangy, umami, and a little savory
- All while being REALLY refreshing and juicy
Honestly, my feelings were ALL OVER THE PLACE while drinking this one. I liked it, but I kind of hated that I didn’t feel at rest while drinking it – if that makes sense at all. I don’t know what I expected though, honestly.
I think it delivered?
So, before I added this to the GCTBB I set aside one of the bricks for myself so I could try this Western style to contrast against the Gong Fu infusion of it that I have previously tried. You know, I thought this would be more appropriate as a Western infusion but ultimately I liked it better Gong Fu.
It’s not that it tasted bad Western, but overall I just thought it was much weaker in regard to overall flavour than my Gong Fu experience was. Sure, it was vegetal/grassy from the green tea and the rose itself was nice, smooth and natural but the whole thing was just kind of watered down tasting to me.
Still made for a calming cup before bedtime though.
Purchased these ones from Cuppa’T because I was looking for one, more interesting thing to take home and these “bricks” were pretty unique and inexpensive, plus I recalled Lala writing a review on them at one point a while back…
I ended up trying them out for the first time Gong Fu, but in a split session because I started it on Christmas Eve in the evening but then we went out to eat supper at a really fancy restaurant for my mom’s birthday before I could finish the session. I ended up finishing it when we got home, though.
The first half of the session was really lovely, and interesting. The rose in the tea is actually way more strong and well defined than I would have imagined it to be – in fact for the first three infusions it was pretty well all I could taste. Honestly, I didn’t mind though because it was fresh and realistic tasting – no gross chemical/artificial quality to indicate it was someone trying to imitate the fragranced sweetness of an actual rose. After the initial wave of rose it gradually mellowed out and I could taste fresh, crisp vegetal notes from the green tea – snow peas in particular.
After that we went to supper – which was wonderful. I got a baked brie dish with the most amazing red pepper jelly and basil pesto toppings. It literally felt like it was dissolving in your mouth as you ate it, and it was just incredibly satisfying. After that, I moved on to a salad that was… interesting. The only ingredients in it were iceburg lettuce, diced tomatoes, and a very nice herb and buttermilk dressing. What made it really unique, though, was that they literally served it as a third of a head of lettuce. So, still intact. Then they dressed that third of the head with the diced tomato and buttermilk dressing. So, I had to cut pieces off my head of lettuce. It was really unique, presentation wise, and actually I kind of liked having control of the bite size thanks to cutting it…
When I got home, I finished the session. It wasn’t nearly as good; possibly because it was later infusions but also maybe because the leaf had been sitting a while. I try to avoid splitting up sessions, when I can. More vegetal than anything else though; less sweet/fragranced and more of a semi bitter grassy character? That is, until it started becoming watered down enough to not taste like much at all.
EDIT: For the record, I also used two bricks for this session because it was a larger gaiwan and also the bricks are relatively small/tiny so two seemed a lot more appropriate than one.