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Recent Tasting Notes
Queued post, written April 23rd 2014
I’ve learned, relatively recently, that a ‘monks blend’ is often something that involves vanilla and grenadine. Well. Isn’t that really all the justification I need to nab this one out of the EU TTB round 2?
Vanilla and a relatively tart sort of fruit seems to generally be a winner for me. There is the fabled Late Summer blend from AC Perchs which has vanilla and cranberry, for example, and the very idea of vanilla and grenadine in tea (who am I kidding? In anything! ) holds a great appeal to me.
This one smells both tart and sweet. I can easily tell that there is vanilla in it and the grenadine is equally clear and easy to detect. I can’t pick up anything of the base, though, which is a shame.
Gosh, this stuff! This is very similar to the aforementioned late summer blend, actually! It’s just grenadine instead of cranberry, and to be entirely honest with you I don’t think there is that big a difference between those two things to begin with.
I’m tasting primarily pomegranate-y grenadine. The vanilla smooths everything out and adds sweetness before the pomegranate comes again in spades on the swallow. I should have liked to have a little more vanilla in this, but it’s very good already as it is. It’s weird with flavours, really. In almost anything flavoured I want to be able to taste the base as well as the flavour. Except vanilla. There is always room for more vanilla.
I was skimming other people’s posts about this one, and came across one written by Anna. She didn’t like this blend very much but she wrote that she thought it would probably be something for me. I laughed when I saw. How right you are, Anna. How right you are.
I think I’m going to keep trying this tea. I’ve had it two days in a row and I can’t seem to get the steeping parameters correct. I tried this morning to steep it for 3 minutes, and it was a nice smooth black tea but not much fruity goodness. I added a bit of sugar and milk, and that definitely improved the taste! I was hoping to find in this tea a nice strong black tea that didn’t need sugar or milk, but I guess I should be happy to drink it like I drink all my other black teas. It certainly is a great tea for it’s price point!
I think I was spoiled by Short and Stout’s Monk’s Blend – it is much more syrupy sweet, which is a plus for me.
This is a very nice, drinkable, medium bodied tea. I oversteeped it accidentally this morning, and was able to cure that with a little sugar and some milk. I think I prefer this tea milked and sugared anyway – British style! But, with the milk, and the oversteeping, I mostly taste black tea, and not much if any bergamont and almost zero jasmine. That’s fine with me today, as I am drinking this one for its strength. I will write another review later, where I steep it correctly. I’m also anxious to try this one iced.
A very finely chopped CTC. But that’s OK because as long as the tea is fresh, I find that the finely chopped Assam teas tend to be very robust, and that’s just what you want from an Assam. Just don’t oversteep it!
And this is a very hearty Assam. Lots of gusto, a strong, malty, rich flavorful Assam. Would be perfect as that first cup of the day. Nice caramel-y undertones. Good with milk and honey, or my recommendation would be to put a cinnamon stick in your teacup when you pour this tea into it. It won’t add a huge cinnamon taste, but just a hint of it … and it would be a really enjoyable, zesty contrast to the richness of this tea.
Went through so many little pouches of this that I bought a giant amount and now I’m afraid I’ll never get through it. Oh well. Every once in a while I get the urge for Lasang and this fits the bill nicely. A strong smoky scent and a very light tasting tea.
White tea antioxidants with black tea flavor? Sign me up. This tea is genius. It is so close to classic British black tea, and is strong enough to stand up to milk and sugar. I drink this when I don’t want too much caffeine but want the comforting taste of a nice cuppa.
I received a very generous sample of this from Marcel Duchamp. I had been wanting to try another companies version of Lady Londonderry so I was really excited when I saw this one.
This was a sweet strawberry/lemon tea. It was very light and fruity with a hint of floral. I had this hot this morning but I think this would also be very good iced. The last version I had of this tasted to me like plastic, this version was wonderful. I am glad I did not give up on Lady Londonderry!
A black and green blend … I wish I realized that before I brewed it! I really gotta start making a habit of reading a description of a tea before I brew it so that I formulate a brewing plan. I don’t like to read the descriptions ahead of time though because I prefer to base my opinion of a tea on my own palate, not what I’m told to taste by the company that sells the tea.
Even brewing this green and black blend with boiling water … it turned out pretty good. Sweet and maple-y, nice blackberry notes, and the Assam is malty and rich. The green tea is a little difficult to place and I suspect it might be easier to taste it if the tea was brewed at a lower temperature.
There is some bitterness to the cup which may be because of the Assam or it could be because the green tea scalded a bit.
The maple is prominent though and I do enjoy that.
This will be an uncharacteristically short tasting note, because this is so nondescript. It both looks and smells good in the bag – nice big leaf with petals, vaguely sweetfruity scent.
In the cup, though, it just sort of… sits. Sure, there’s a vague fruitness about it, and a subtle vanilla I think Angrboda might possibly like, but then there’s also a slight burnt note I don’t like at all. I think it’s the tea base. The aftertaste is the best part of the sip, but no, this is not really for me. I don’t like fruity blacks much in the first place, but I will keep sampling, because there has to be one I enjoy.
Just not this one.
Thanks for sharing, KittyLovesTea!
[Sample from the second round of the EU Travelling Box, spring 2014.]
Thank you Courtney for the chance to try this tea. I am finding something very strange about this cup though. It is almost nutty in flavor. This is very reminiscent of Stash’s Vanilla Nut Creme for me and I was not a fan of that one. Nonetheless, I am glad I got the opportunity to try something new.
2/16/14 Morning pot. 3g/6oz/212F/5min 5 minutes was a little too long for this tea – too much astringent/bitter is overpowering the berry. Still drinkable, just less then ideal. I forgive myself – it’s probably been over a year since I’ve brewed this tea.
1/27/14 3rd in an Earl Grey tasting. 1tsp/6oz/212F/3min. 1tsp. sugar. 3min cool. This tea is rather old, and the light leafing and short steep of the standard worked against it. The brewed tea had a faintly citrusy day old cookie dough kind of scent, and was a brown/amber. The taste was slightly watery, with a faint trace of bergamot and an understated pepperiness from the base tea. Once the sugar came into play it was a very drinkable, if weak, cup.
Brewed hot, this was pretty lackluster to me. I tried a few times, once with nearly double the amount of tea recommended. Still blah. However, when cold-brewed (6 T./1 gallon water) overnight, it’s fabulous! The savory notes really come out, where they just tasted flat in the hot brew. Great for cold-brewing and I’m glad I have a lot of it!
As some of you may be aware, I tend to be a bit nervous when it comes to smoky teas, but I’m coming around to the point where I can say that I like them now, so long as they’re brewed properly.
This has a strong smoky note with caramel-y undertones. Sweet yet rich and robust. An enjoyable Lapsang Souchong.
Accidentally oversteeped this. Woops! Anyway, count me among those that bought this tea just for the literary reference. As a side note, this tea does not come with a painting of yourself that ages, while you yourself stay forever young.
Because of my accidental oversteeping, I’m not going to bother rating this tea yet. But even oversteeped, the flavor is pretty comforting. The flavor is undoubtedly Earl Grey, but I don’t really detect any caramel.
This one of the more well-balanced Earl Greys I’ve tried. The bergamot is definitely there but not at all overpowering.
Picked this up mainly for now odd the combination sounded. Very enjoyable tea, though. Very creamy with a bit of milk and sugar. The toffee flavor is in the forefront, with the woody mustiness of the pu-erh trailing behind.
If you like bolder dessert teas (more along the lines of coffee) I would give this a try.
Tea #5 for Traveling Tea Box C
I’m always hesitant about green teas. On one hand, I have some I absolutely love, but on the other, most I’ve tried have not been very tasty to me. However, this one had such an interesting name that I even give it the chance to open the bag and take a quick sniff. And it smelled amazing! I was scared that if I brewed it hot, the green would make everything taste terrible, or the cherry would make everything tart or cough syrup flavor, or the rose would be way too floral. You can see how finicky I am with greens!
So instead, I cold brewed this one over night. There wasn’t much left of this one, and I used up what was left. I tried to make the water about the right amount, but it still ended up a bit weak. I could still taste it though! My first thought with this was “Wow! This tastes like bubblegum!” But as I sipped more, I could pick apart the flavors. There’s the green tea base, here’s the rose adding some floral notes, there’s the cherry, not cough syrup flavored. This is one that I would have loved more of.
Tea #2 from Traveling Tea Box C
I didn’t expect to get another tea in last night, as I work until midnight, but the entire campus locked down due to a nearby crime scene and my boss drove me home from work.It was waaaay too late for caffeine, so I decided to go for one of the caffeine free options. This one had a really intriguing name and a tasty sounding list of ingredients.
It smells strongly like rooibos, both dry and steeping. If you’re put off by that smell, avoid this one. It definitely tastes like rooibos as well. It’s the predominant flavor. I didn’t get a lot of vanilla. It seemed to more so smooth out the tea overall. I got the cinnamon as a slight tingle in the back of my throat. This is one that I would like to try different times and temperatures on to see what I get. I may keep this one.
Hmmmm. This chai was a little on the ho-hum side of average, and I didn’t really get any vanilla in the flavor… but then, I also didn’t notice the steeping instructions on the page here, which are a little different than my usual method of making chai. So, I will reserve judgment until I try it again their way! It sounds promising! :)