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Recent Tasting Notes
Served this yesterday at my afternoon tea party as the caffeine-free option. It was a total hit, and I had to make three pots of this! Pairs well with any high tea food (scones with lemon curd and clotted cream, cucumber sandwiches, pumpkin muffins).
It smells amazing. Personally I like this with milk as it’s a bit flavourless on its own. Doesn’t need sugar but I might try adding sometime.
Rating: 89 for being a crowd pleaser.
Lupicia has a way with melon. Their white melon was quite wonderful. This is another success.
You wouldn’t know it from the dry blend — it has an intense, pungent smell that was mildly disturbing in its intensity and somewhat chemical. But all that goes away with the steeping.
The aroma is just honeydew — no distracting other flavors, and even the rooibos is undetectable. Fortunately, that’s also the case with the flavor.
It’s a little subtle, but not too much so, nor does it taste like the run off from a melon. It’s got a nice balance, a touch of sweetness, and a fascinating freshness to the mouthfeel. The liquor is a pretty astonishing intense orange and clear.
Definitely a keeper.
Sipdown no. 56 of 2018 (no. 412 total).
I’m disappointed in my recent sipdown count. I think I need to sip down some samples to make myself feel a bit better about it.
On the upside, the last four or so were full sized tins. So there’s that.
This is notable because it’s the third lapsang I’ve sipped down of my full sized tins since project lapsang sipdown began. I haven’t decided which one is up next. I am thinking of trying the Tea Trekker against the Golden Moon to see which I prefer first. I might also throw the Mariage Freres into that mix. Oh what the heck, maybe I’ll pull them all out and taste them against each other.
This one was good. I just don’t need more than one lapsang in my life, or two at the most.
Today, I did not over steep. Not surprisingly, steeping for only three minutes vastly improved my experience of this tea. So much so that I now prefer it to the Tavalon that I recently sipped down. While it still doesn’t have that sweetness that I appreciated in the Kusmi and Leafspa, it is mellower than the Tavlon and less ashy. Bumping the rating.
Next in line for project “lapsang sipdown.”
The dry leaves have a smoky, salted meat smell. I’m hoping for mellowness here.
Alas, I won’t know for sure about this one until next time because I over steeped. A friend signal boosted a story of mine on Twitter, which inspired me to send some work out for the first time in a long time. I put this in to steep and then promptly forgot about it while struggling to find a market for the last story on my list to send out.
Even with the over steeping, the aroma of the steeped tea isn’t nearly as scary as the dry leaf aroma. Much less salted meat, much more appealingly aromatic campfire. The tea is a dark amber and clear.
And fortunately, even with the over steeping, this isn’t too intense. It isn’t resiny, though it does have a flavor reminiscent of pine wood. And it isn’t meaty, thank goodness.
Still, it doesn’t have the sweetness in the finish that I liked in the Kusmi and the Leafspa, and it’s a bit more ashy than mellow.
I’ll reconsider when I taste it again tomorrow but for now, I’m rating it a bit lower than the Tavalon.
Flavors: Ash, Campfire, Meat, Pine, Salt, Smoke, Wood
I absolutely love lavender, and tend to grab any lavender teas that I can find, but as I discovered with this tea, unlike bacon you can definitely have “too much of a good thing” in the case of my favorite floral. I ordered from Lupicia for the first time recently (I couldn’t resist the lure of sakura teas!) and when I saw Lavender White on their site, it seemed the perfect kind of tea for a lavender lover like me.
I made it the other morning, coming off a four-day long migraine that was trigger during a bought of food poisoning. It was such a strong lavender flavor I thought that maybe I had used way too much leaf (I tend to use a bit more than average with white teas, because it is so light and fluffy; I was at work and didn’t have a tea scale available, so I usually wing it by using two teaspoons instead of one to account for the light fluffiness of the leaf on the spoon). The taste was a bit too overwhelming for me, but I will say it did an amazing job helping to kick the remainder of that waning migraine out of my head.
I thought maybe a cold brew might be better suited to it, so when I got home, I measured out the leaf on my teascale and let it cold brew for around eight hours in the refrigerator, then strained the tea. It had a much lighter, clearer color, and I was hoping it wouldn’t taste so strong. I did enjoy the taste better iced, it didn’t have the sort of acrid/bitter aftertaste that the warm cup had from such a strong lavender infusion, but the flavor still came off really strong and less of the light and delicate floral touch that I enjoy so much; I think the white tea is just too light of a base and there is so much lavender in the blend it is just too strong and overwhelming here. But I still wasn’t willing to give up!
So I — quite literally — decided to make lemonade of the situation! I added a few teaspoons of frozen lemonade concentrate to the mason jar of iced tea, gave it a brisk stirring to mix it in and dissolve it, and… perfection! There was enough lavender flavor to hold up against the addition of some sweet lemon notes to the brew, so the iced tea tasted just like a lavender lemonade. It was icy cool, super refreshing, and the two flavors complemented each other wonderfully.
For as much as I love lavender, I definitely will stick to lavender in blends; a little goes a long way! But I’m happy I’ve found a very tasty way to continue to drink this tea; I’m looking forward to the pitchers of iced lavender-flavored lemonade in my fridge once the warmer months set in!
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Lavender, Mint
The small balls of tea resemble Irish Breakfast and for that reason I was very wary in steeping this one as Irish Breakfast steeps fast. Go over and it becomes bitter quickly. Thus far I’ve tried it hot and cold. But I like how it smells the most. Harhar. All joking aside I think I enjoy it most when it is cold steeped. The strawberry flavor is definitely the main attraction but the black tea helps really round it out nicely.
Chestnuts and I have an odd relationship. When I lived in New York, I used to love the smell of the sidewalk vending stands that sold bags of roasted chestnuts in the winter time. But then when I actually ate the chestnuts, I was always just a little disappointed. I think it’s a texture thing primarily, but it could also be that the flavor isn’t like that of other nuts and I expected it to be more like the typical.
So I wasn’t sure what I’d think of this. As it happens, I like it. I’m not sure how to rate it though. I don’t know that I’ve had other chocolate/chestnut teas to compare it to. So I’m giving it somewhere in the excellent range but it’s a soft rating.
In the tin, the tea smells like baking chocolate with some other smell mixed in that I wouldn’t identify as chestnut. But after steeping, the tea smells a lot like those roasting chestnuts on the street corners of NYC. The chocolate seems to add a bit of roastiness to the aroma.
The tea is dark red and mostly clear, with some floaters (likely from the chocolate). The flavor grew on me over the course of the cup. It has just the tiniest bit of papery taste to it which keeps it from getting a rating in the 90s, but is otherwise a nice, balanced flavor, more roasted chestnut than chocolate.
Flavors: Chestnut, Chocolate, Paper, Roasted nuts
Wow, this is really nice. I forgot that green rooibos, when done well, can be an excellent delivery vehicle for fruit flavors.
There’s a really nice mango smell upon opening the packet. The liquor is orange — a really orangey orange, which was somewhat surprising. It is almost Orange Fanta orange, but not quite. I’m glad for that, as it would be startling. It’s not opaque so it has a softer hue.
After steeping it’s not very aromatic, but it has a very nice, primarily mango flavor with a touch of orange. The rooibos isn’t noticeable taste-wise. I think it’s main impact is to cut any tendency toward over sweetness, which is actually a good thing.
Flavors: Mango, Orange
Apple Brandy. If it is as good as this tea is then I really want to try some. The dry and wet leaf have a light fruity smell. Not quite an apple smell but maybe cooked apple? It’s just a guess but I believe the black base used is English breakfast. Somewhat woodsy with different earthy notes popping up here and there. A unique blend with the fruity notes that come from the apples. Surprisingly I do not taste the brandy but then again alcohol is very hard to detect in tea even when brewed correctly.
I haven’t had rooibos in a while and this one was a good pick to break the trend.
The dry blend smells really intensely of rum and less of caramel. It’s pretty amazing smelling. The BF walked by while I opened it and said he had to have some.
The liquor is a clear cherry red. This is where it gets weird. The aroma is funky after steeping. The funky smell is more caramel than rum, but a kind of hot plasticky caramel.
And yet, the taste has none of that. It’s both caramel and rum in equal measure, and the rooibos basically is just a flavorless delivery mechanism for the caramel and rum, which is how I like my rooibos. The rum isn’t overly alcoholic tasting, either.
It’s rather hearty, and I’m not sure I’d drink it in hot weather. But on a chilly day when I may be coming down with a cold, it’s quite nice.
Flavors: Caramel, Rum
Finally got around to doing my yearly order of Lupicia, (Though might be able to make one this summer, I hope!) this order was pretty small, sadly. Mostly reordering some favorites like Cookie, Sakurambo, Rhubarb &Strawberry, and 2 new teas…this one and Sakurambo Vert, plus an asked for sample of Cassis & Blueberry.
I am not sure why I picked this tea to try out, I’ve never tried rum in my life (As I dislike most alcohol. ) Though come to think of it, did really enjoy Caramel &Rum rooibos from Lupicia.
Overall this tea is an ok cup, but I am not wowed about it. Thinking of letting it cool down and drinking more then, like others have mentioned. I can see why some have called this a dessert tea.
Flavors: Raisins very faintly, and I guess the rum. Seems to be a hint of something else that I can’t identify, but tastes familiar.
This came as this months sample…appropriate considering Valentine’s day.
I can count on 1 hand the number of times I’ve drunk wine, the times I’ve had it, didn’t like any of it. I do however, enjoy many teas that have a wine like flavor, though have tended to get tired of them somewhat quick. This tea, while I’ve enjoyed the cup, I highly doubt I would be inclined to buy more…I mean having more samples around would be terrific, but sadly Lupicia isn’t interested in selling their samples.
Tastes: Strawberry, hint of grape, and a brief aftertaste of wine.
Cold Brew Sipdown (520)!
It’s been a while since I’ve done a ‘true’ blind taste test – basically a taste test for a flavoured tea where I didn’t look up what it was supposed to be flavoured like prior to trying it. So, I figured since I knew nothing about this tea I’d do that and test my ability to figure out what it’s supposed to taste like.
I do know it’s a black tea, but that would be apparent based on the taste even if I hadn’t seen the dry leaf to be able to visually identify that. Flavour wise it’s very tropical and intense with a nice sweetness to it. The finish reads as just a touch artificial to me; but not aggressively or unpleasantly so. It’s actually reminding me a lot of Hoku, which is the other Lupicia tea I recieved from Kittenna. That one was pineapple/guava, so because they taste so similar it makes me feel like this one also has one of those two flavour notes. I’d wager pineapple over guava though; this doesn’t have the flavour that I normally associate with guava blends.
It’s not just pineapple though – what I’m getting is like floral, rosey undertones and then like a passionfruit sort of quality in the body, minus the tang/acidity that sometimes comes along with passionfruit blends. So I guess I’d say overall that my ‘guess’ is that this is pineapple/passionfruit? Regardless of whether I’m right or not it’s quite smooth and tasty though, and it would make a lovely tea to have around in the summer for iced or cold brewed tea.
Alright, moment of truth; time to look up what was actually in the tea!
Pineapple, Mango, Guava.
Huh, guess I was a little off with my guess – but to be fair I didn’t think the guava was strong in Hoku at all either. The mango I totally missed though; but in hind sight as I’m sipping on the last little bit of my brew I guess I can see how this would be mango instead of passionfruit. I don’t know – this is always just a fun little experiment, and it’s always neat seeing how accurate I can get with my guesses.
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
Many thanks to Kittenna for sending some of this my way! I was very excited to try it; Lupicia teas are certainly not the most convenient thing to get a hold of in Canada which is so sad because they’re generally SO GOOD. This one in particular really seemed like something I’d enjoy though; an oolong with pineapple and guava!
Honestly, the most interesting thing about this tea for me may actually have been the super unique looking sugar sprinkles/crystals in the blend. I’m usually pretty neutral about sprinkles in my tea, but these things were damn stunning! I did take a photo for my Instagram and I think you can kind of see them in the photo? But very unique, for sure.
Flavour wise… This was pretty good!
I wasn’t actually sure if I liked it at first because it does come off initially as very highly floral, and those notes can be a little overwhelming right off the bat. However, once I had kind of acclimated to that wave of floral top notes I was really able to get into the rest of the profile and deeply appreciate the tropical fruit notes. This one is certainly pineapple flavoured – that much would be very obvious even if I didn’t know what was in the blend prior to steeping it up. It is weird though because it was a very sweet, and almost candied tasting pineapple but at the same time had a lot of the freshness and natural taste of pineapple juice. So, sort of like having a foot on either side of that line.
As for the guava, I do think it was present in the profile but certainly not as heavily as the pineapple and not in a way that I think would be clear if you weren’t already familiar with the ingredients. It was certainly more of an undertone, and I think if it did anything at all it was just add a little contrast to the floral aspects and depth to the overall tropical profile. Still pleasant, but not the star and those guava notes, in my opinion, shouldn’t be the reason you get this tea because I think if you’re hoping for those element then you will be disappointed.
Overall? A very nice tea though! I greatly enjoyed the cup and it’s something I’d really happily drink again if it was more available to me from here in Canada.