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Recent Tasting Notes
Had this a few nights ago!
There’s something so intensely familiar tasting about this tea, but I just genuinely couldn’t put my hand on what it was. Definitely mint forward but with a pretty lingering and coating sweet finish and aftertaste. I taste a lot of sarsaparilla which I know isn’t for everyone, but I enjoyed it – especially with the cooling menthol of the mint. I felt the licorice root in texture more than I got it in taste, and for that I was thankful.
The cinnamon comes through too, but with everything else going on I actually felt like it pretty seamlessly slipped into the background.
I really wanted to like this one, but the flavour composition just disagreed with me. It did have a nice rum note that I thought worked well with the coconut, but the mix of coconut and lemongrass was giving me strong sun screen lotion type vibes. Not from it being sour/rancid or anything like that, but just that kind of weird and fake-y coconut and citrus scent those lotions sometimes have. It was also a little strange since the mouthfeel was so buttery and creamy from the fat in the coconut shreds. I did finish it, but it certainly took a while and I just wasn’t an overwhelmingly positive experience.
Side note – I definitely expected a much greater presence of oolong in the blend. Especially for a company like Steven Smith Teamaker, the fact this was majority lemongrass was pretty unexpected. I feel like they might as well have just skipped the oolong and just went for an herbal blend.
I know I was a little bit less than enthused about this tea the last time I had it, but I think something must have subconsciously resonated with me because I have not been able to get it out of my head. I ended up making another mug of it while working from home yesterday and it really resonated with me. Gently toasty with a light and almost citrusy freshness to accompany a very aromatic, delicate rose note. I was just really impressed, and the bergamot didn’t bother me at all this time around.
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cz4fs9mOA2Y/?img_index=2 (2nd Pic)
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAQNnd7QIkk
I love the idea of this tea… minus maybe the bergamot.
Steeped up I had such an enjoyable time drinking this cup. It was the perfect amount of deeper, toasty brown rice notes with a very fresh, fragrant taste and aroma of roses. It made me feel a little like I was walking through a rose garden at sundown. Weirdly romantic and poetic feeling.
I did, however, feel like the entire time I had this back of my head feeling that I was enjoying this tea in spite of the bergamot and not because of it. I’m for sure going to need future cups of this tea to really process how I feel about that ingredient inclusion.
I keep wanting to call this tea Agave Sunrise as if it was named after a Tequila Sunrise cocktail. Except that’s not the name, even though it’s clearly loosely the inspiration. Missed naming opportunity, IMO.
The tea itself was really interesting. It’s made with tequila infused Darjeeling, in addition to a few other ingredients like citrus and nectarine flavouring. Tequila is one of my least favourite spirits, but I still needed to see what this was like. It does, both surprisingly and unsuprisingly, taste very alcoholic. Strong tequila flavour but without the burn of real alcohol. It’s one of the strongest notes in the brew, alongside a hint of stonefruit and citrus and the more floral leaning black tea. It felt very much like I was drinking a cocktail made using tea, which is definitely the intention Steven Smith was going for so we’re basically looking at a 10/10 for nailing the concept.
Still a little on the fence about whether I enjoyed it. I didn’t dislike it but, as I said, I don’t love Tequila. It feels like it would nice in a giant pitcher during the heat of Summer at, like, a pool party or BBQ. More of a situational tea.
This is such an infamous blend from Steven Smith Teamaker, and I’ve wanted to try it for like five years now. So, when I placed this recent order, it was a MUST TRY for me. Even though that meant blindly getting 4oz of it.
I will say it was a little different than expected. I knew it wasn’t going to be sweet the way a lot of ice cream inspired blends are because that’s not really SST’s style when it comes to blending. However, I will say I thought it would have a more discernible vanilla flavour or, at the very least, more of a custard-like creaminess. Instead I would say that the primary flavour was butter. Not as fake-y tasting as so many flavoured/scented milk oolongs are, but with the added salt in the blend it really did read more like a very freshly churned salted butter over anything ice cream like.
I still enjoyed the mug a lot – especially the floral undertones of the oolong. I think I’ll enjoy it more the next time I have it, since my expectations will be much more inline with how the blend actually tastes. Ice cream feels like a misrepresentation, though. Especially with all the imagery SST uses to market this blend. It’s more accurate, IMO, to call it just a really nice interpretation of a buttery milk oolong. A little more classic.
A gift from a friend visiting from PDX.
Filtered/boiled water allowed to cool. Infused for ~3.5 minutes at 179F. Followed up with a couple more infusions closer to 200F for 20 – 40 seconds.
Verona green/citrine/honeydew gradient.
Sachet was perfume-like with bergamot and rose up front. Nutty pan-fried Mao Feng, faint toasted rice, and mellow grassy sencha appear when the tea is brewed.
On the palate, the green tea takes center stage – mild, sweet, nutty/toasty flavors give way to the floral/herbal/citrus notes. Very faint umami at the edges in the finish, but the grassiness of the sencha and the vanilla/floral/citrus notes from the bergamot are present long into the aftertaste. Vague hints of aspirin and elderflower perhaps.
Light bodied, low tannins.
Flavors are alternately competitive and complimentary – a delicate but creative blend.
Solid ice tea backlog. I liked this one. It’s more citron heavy than pina colada in my opinion, but the orange coconut combo works pretty well. The rum is a little bit overpowering smelling the leaf, but it’s cohesive and subtle in the background behind the citrus. It does sometimes overstep the coconut, which is my issue. I like citrus, but the lemongrass and orange overpower the coconut imo for it to be a pina colada. On the other end, it works pretty well and is very refreshing. Coconut milk can beef up the pina colada coconut quality to cut back on the rum. They’re low calorie mocktail recipes are kind of cool too for this one too.
I like it, yet don’t love it. My biggest gripe is that you need to add more ingredients to get a true pina colada feeling.
Flavors: Citrusy, Clean, Coconut, Fruity, Lemon Zest, Lemongrass, Orange, Rum
Sipdown! (26 | 223)
The only one from the Steven Smith holiday trio that I’m not a fan of. I like cinnamon and peppermint, but did they really need to add licorice root, blackberry leaf, and stevia? I guess they wanted it to be candy cane-like, so they were trying to make it sweet without sugar. But the cinnamon already makes it not taste like a candy cane, so I don’t get it.
Not for me.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Herbaceous, Licorice, Licorice Root, Mint, Peppermint, Stevia, Sweet
Another sipdown from today. I’ve been wanting to try this company for a long time, so I was very excited when a friend brought me back a sachet of this tea from a hotel stay! I am pleased to report that it did not disappoint. This is a tea for jasmine lovers, certainly. As soon as I opened the packet, a beautifully sweet jasmine perfume wafted up from the dry leaf. It wasn’t sickly sweet or artificial at all, but it was assertive. Brewed up, that sweet jasmine perfume softens a little bit, and there’s also an aroma of green beans and butter. The company’s website lists jasmine, steamed greens, and brown sugar as the tasting notes. I don’t know about the sugar, but the jasmine and steamed greens feels exactly on point. I got three extremely solid steeps out of this.
I’ve been drinking a lot of T2’s China Jasmine lately, and it just completely wilts next to this tea. This is one I’d be happy to revisit given the opportunity.
Always a sucker for a dessert flavored tea, I initially balked at the price, but went for it in the last iteration because this flavor seems to sell out and isn’t always available. The scent of the dry leaf (and even while brewing) is very butter-forward. Like, seriously butter. A little vanilla sweetness is detectible as well. But upon tasing the brew, it’s very underwhelming. Heavy butter scent, super mild butter and vanilla taste. Really subtle. I may try brewing longer next time, because I feel confident that I did not underleaf.
Here’s the weird thing: I decided to have this tea after dinner with a couple of gingersnap cookies leftover from when I made a peach tart earlier in the summer. For whatever reason, taking a small bite of the cookie and then a sip of tea made it really delicious! Odd, since I didn’t think it would go together, but there’s an almost toffee-like aspect to the cookie that not only compliments but greatly enhances the dessert flavor of this tea. Go figure. So, a win, I guess? It was very enjoyable with the cookies, but the milky oolong base of this tea is a no-show.
Flavors: Butter, Vanilla
I had been wanting to try out this blend for quite some time, and finally decided to take the plunge.
I ordered the sachets, as I know from past Smith Teamaker experiences that I really like their little box of neatly organized sachets. I was very annoyed to have received a box of 15 teabags, not individually packaged (the other box I ordered came in the traditional packaging and the website doesn’t state that they aren’t individually packaged like the rest of their products). This is a first world problem, I realize. But, having such a large collection makes it hard to drink through things quickly, and having a bunch of unwrapped teabags isn’t ideal for longterm flavor preservation.
That annoyance aside- this tea is good. Really good. Annoyingly good.
This is the creamiest, most delicious bowl of vanilla ice cream you’ve ever had. It’s a milk oolong cranked to 1000.
Ugh, it’s been a long time that I drank a new tea that I got this excited about.
Flavors: Cream, Milk, Rice Pudding, Vanilla
Early in my tea journey I didn’t like Breakfast Blends, but I am warming to them now.
This is fairly nice. Strong, but not so strong that it affects the taste. Its just the sort of gentle hand I like to ease me into a morning.
I rarely have tea with milk or sugar in it, but i think it would taste really nice with this tea. Maybe I’ll have to try it.
Another from the TTB. I taste a lot of different herbal ingredients here. The strongest one is definitely mint, but I sense something savory too – maybe the pepper. Everything combines in an okay way, though it’s not great. There’s just a lot going on. It’s best cold. There’s something that lingers – maybe the licorice and/or echinacea.