Todd & HollandEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
This is a sample I tried once before but never wrote about.In the packet, the leaves are twiggy, vari-colored green ranging from forest to silver. It smells like sweet hay. The aroma of the steeped tea is only slightly less sweet.
It’s a yellow-gold color with a bit of a haze to the liquor.
The flavor is delicate, grassy, sweet, and even has a tinge of butter to it with a slightly bitter (but pleasantly so) finish.
Refreshing, but calming. Flavorful, but in a subtle way. It will make a good work tea because it doesn’t call attention to itself.
Flavors: Hot hay, Sweet, warm grass
Sipdown no. 9 of 2017 (no. 290 total). A sample.
Okay, I’m cheating a little — I am planning to have the very last bit of this tomorrow to take to work, but I won’t have time to record it then. I feel 99 percent confident that it will be a sipdown tomorrow, though, because I’ve already got it in the Breville, primed to be steeped in the morning.
My first note on this one is only a few days old, and I expect there’s not a lot I’ll have to add to that one.
Todd & Holland doesn’t have this on their page anymore, so I can’t provide a picture or a description from them for this entry. This is a sample I got a while back. It was sealed up and never opened and has been in a cool dry place since I got it, which may be why it has preserved its aroma and flavor.
The dry leaves are quite beautiful. Deep, rich green, with a very fine, silky, soft-looking texture. In the packet there’s a juicy “green” smell, somewhere between grass and vegetable.
The tea is a medium yellow, sort of a light gold, and clear. The aroma is of warm, sweet grass.
In trying to describe the taste, I find myself thinking in synesthetic terms. The tea tastes golden, not silver, by which I mean it’s a warm taste rather than a fresh one. It’s a snuggly flavor. Very pleasant, but delicate to the point where it is probably best drunk alone. Strong flavors in food, such as marinara would not pair well here.
It’s too bad that it’s no longer on the site. It’s a lovely tea.
Flavors: Grass, Sweet, warm grass, Vegetal
I seem to have two sample packets of this, and I’m trying to open up some alternatives for my green teas to take to work so cracked open one of the samples today.
This is a surprisingly complex sencha. Often they seem to me to have a single note of grass or hay, but this one smells like rice and edamame in the packet and like all sorts of things after steeping. There’s a salt note that’s interesting, a salty flavor but without actual salt. It’s more vegetal than most senchas I’ve had, and a bit more astringent. There’s definitely a drying to the mouth in the aftersip.
It’s light yellow in color in the cup.
A very enjoyable tea. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be available from Todd & Holland anymore.
Flavors: Bok Choy, Grass, Marine, Rice, Salt, Soybean
Opened up a new sample packet of this just now. Wonderful smell in the packet. Almost chocolatey, earthy, a little bit like dark chocolate baked goods. The steeped tea aroma is smooth and a tad sweet. It’s like the standard American notion of black tea, a bit reminiscent of Lipton.
The liquor isn’t as reddish as I generally expect from Ceylons. It’s a sort of brown-orange.
The flavor is quite mellow and smooth, not what I’d call “brisk” really though there is some astringency. It has a slightly metallic note, which is interesting. And though there is a honey note, it isn’t particularly sweet in the sip.
I like this one a lot. I think it would make a great iced tea as well.
Flavors: Honey, Metallic
Sipdown no. 27 of 2016 (no. 238 total). The rest of the sample.
Started the new job today! I didn’t have much tea today because I haven’t brought any into the office yet, but it’s on the agenda.
This is my after dinner drink tonight. I didn’t mention in my previous note that I have never had Pear Helene (the dessert) to my knowledge, so I can’t say whether this is true to its name.
I can, however, say that I quite like it.
I haven’t had that many pear teas or tisanes, but this seems to me a very true pear flavor. The blend has some things in it that look like chocolate chards. It is pretty much all chocolate and pear all the time, from the smell of the dry tisane, to the smell of the steeped tisane to the taste.
If I make a Todd & Holland order, this will definitely be a part of it.
Flavors: Chocolate, Pear
Sipdown no. 20 of 2016 (no. 231 total). A sample. This is a chunky blend, and the sample was really only enough to yield four cups. The BF was interested in trying this so I just made the entire thing.
In the packet I definitely see the apple and the almonds. The smell from the packet is very similar to that of T&H’s Amaretti Cookie, and I’m wondering whether it will turn out to taste like that. I hope so.
It has an unusual colored liquor. Peach, or maybe melon? A light yellowish-pink. The aroma is wonderful. Very like the Amaretti Cookie/Almond Biscotti/Brioche profile.
The flavor is way more interesting than the aroma would have led me to believe. There is citrus (lemon?) on the front end of the sip that rapidly dissipates and spreads out into a gently flavored tisane that is in fact quite reminiscent of the various almond pastry teas. But it’s not as simple as that; there’s also a freshness and lightness to the tisane that makes it extremely pleasant to drink late at night. It’s not something that sits heavy in the stomach. The cinnamon, fortunately, while tasteable, isn’t overpowering.
I’m really impressed by this one.
Flavors: Almond, Cinnamon, Citrus, Lemon, Pastries
Sipdown no. 23 of 2016 (no. 234 total). The rest of the sample.
Another weak tea day (as in the consumption of tea was weak, rather than the tea itself) because of further house cleaning and a rather lengthy nap this afternoon, followed by the baking of cookies (I found as part of the cleaning a jar of cookie mix that a neighbor had made as a holiday present a while back that never got made and now has been) and the cooking of dinner while the Democratic debate was on in the background.
The BF wanted an herbal and I started down the list with a Todd & Holland Pear Helene sample that we haven’t tried yet, which he nixed. This was the second one I mentioned and I was sort of surprised he picked it, but also sort of glad as it means another sipdown.
It’s definitely got a medicinal thing going on, and is mostly peppermint, but if you’re in the mood for a truly herbal herbal rather than a rooibos or a fruit blend, or are looking for a palatable tummy soother, this isn’t bad. I probably wouldn’t drink it often and would likely save it mostly for tummy upsets so I doubt I’ll order it. Refresh by Tazo is a better mint in my view, and mint alone is plenty soothing when I have an upset stomach so I’m not sure I see the need to add this to the cupboard permanently.
Backlogging from last night. Another tisane sample cracked open.
The BF’s tummy was upset and this looked like a promising tummy soother. It seemed to work for him.
Flavor wise, it’s mostly peppermint. The ginger and lemon are discernible, more ginger than lemon, but it’s more about the mint than anything else.
It was nothing special flavorwise, but gets big points for being soothing in a medicinal sort of way.
Flavors: Ginger, Lemon, Peppermint
Sipdown no. 28 of 2016 (no. 239 total). The rest of the sample.
The BF was disappointed in the small amount of Pear Helene in the pot, so I made four cups worth of this, which was what was left in the sample pouch.
Not the best of the Todd & Holland tisanes, but a nice orange. I agree with my initial assessment that it isn’t fakey fakey in flavor or a weird orange like baby aspirin.
Breaking open a new tisane sample. I’m getting close to the end of my tisanes, which will open up all sorts of buying opportunities. LOL
This is a chunky fruit blend. The orange “edges” are the biggest chunks, followed by the strawberries. I can see the lemongrass as well.
It has a pretty decent orange smell in the packet. Not medicinal, not tang-like. The hibiscus gives it a gorgeous garnet color. The aroma is orange, and pretty tempting.
The taste is pretty interesting. There’s a slight bitterness, but it doesn’t taste like it’s from the hibiscus. It tastes like it’s from the orange peel. I wouldn’t call it particularly sour, or particularly sweet, but it’s actually pretty pleasant. The orange flavor isn’t as strong as I’d like. I taste the strawberry in there, and I wish that I didn’t, or alternatively that it was billed as orange-strawberry. If there was more orange, I’d be totally sold on this.
I’m weird in that one of my favorite flavors for things is orange. Since I don’t often see orange flavored tisanes, this might be one for the buy pile.
Flavors: Hibiscus, Orange, Strawberry
Time to try a new tisane. I have a few samples left, as the collection continues to get whittled down.
In the packet, it smells like some sort of baked good. Gingerbread, maybe? It’s not so chocolatey that I’d identify it as a chocolate aroma. The mixture looks heavy on the chocolate and caramel pieces and light on the honeybush and rosebuds.
Steeped, it smells boozy. A liqueur smell. Kahlua, maybe, though it has been a while since I had Kahlua. It has a tea-colored liquor that’s remarkably clear given the various sugary things in it that undoubtedly melted when steeped.
Fortunately, it doesn’t taste boozy. Well, at least not in the sip. There’s a bit of liqueur flavor in the aftertaste. The sip is mostly caramel, with some vaguely cocoa notes. It’s smooth and tasty, and a bit on the subtle side which I think improves it over what it might taste like if it was the sort of thing that hit you over the head. I can’t really taste the honeybush, which is a plus.
I was going to say I couldn’t really taste the torte, either, which would be a minus. But as it cools, I do get a suggestion of baked goods. Not as strong as the one in the Amaretti Cookie, but it is there.
This is the sort of thing I would have gone nuts for a few years back when I was marveling at the fact that a drink could taste like a decadent dessert without the calories. It’s good enough that it’s tempting me back toward desserty non-fruit tisanes tonight.
For that I rate it high, but I’m not sure it’s enough to make me completely buck my trend of late to crave fruity tisanes instead of desserty chocolate, caramel, cake, etc. ones.
Flavors: Alcohol, Caramel, Chocolate
Sipdown no. 6 of 2016 (no. 227 total). The rest of the sample.It tastes particularly brisk and bright today, with honey in the aroma and in the finish. The assam throat grab is barely present. It teeters between being a great tea on the surface and something that has a bit more depth.
So here’s a question. When you’re tasting tea do you ever perceive distance in taste? I know some people taste colors, etc. but I noticed that I taste depths and heights. I find myself often saying something is “deep” or “on the surface” or has “high” notes. It’s like taking a VR walk through the taste, I guess, or it feels a little bit like that. Hmmm.
OK. This time I’m going to be a bit more systematic about what I noticed about this tea.
It’s got tippy leaves that smell earthy in the packet, and not smoky, though there is keemun in this. The steeped tea is a clear, reddish chestnut color, and has a malty, sweet aroma. I recall it being smoother the first time I tried it. Today I’m getting a bit of assam throat grab, but not enough to be bothersome. There’s some astringency in the sip, but the aftertaste is more cooling than drying.
I am working on a project to clean up my home office and right now it seems sort of insurmountable, though I’ve definitely made progress. Good thing I’m binge watching Veronica Mars, so I have something to do when I can’t take the organizing any more.
Happy New Year! I hope everyone has a happy and healthy 2016. As for 2015, I am glad to see it go. Good riddance.
We decided at the last minute to go away for a few days so I’m getting ready for a short trip and don’t have a lot of time to do a proper note here. Fortunately, I have more of this so can give a more detailed account at another time.
I will say that this was quite yum today. Very smooth, very hearty, sweet yet perky, malty yet clean. Great with scrambled eggs and toast.
I am going to try the Irish version at boiling next time because I think it may need it. This would probably have seemed a bit washed out at a lower temp.
Anyway, I may not be on for a few days as I don’t know what the tea situation will be where I’m going, and I also will only have my phone and tablet which isn’t a fun way to write tea notes.
Have fun and play nice. I’ll see you when I get back. :-)
Sipdown no. 3 of 2016 (224 total). The rest of the sample.
This one grew on me over the few days I drank it. Ordinarily, I would expect to prefer this to the English Breakfast simply because of the yunnan in the mix, but even though I like this better than I did when I started, the English Breakfast still has an edge. They’re both really solid, tasty, enjoyable teas.
There’s a distinct cocoa note to this one today, with honey in the finish.
Well, it seems I did steep this at boiling last time, unless I misrecorded the temperature. Don’t know why I thought I hadn’t.
I know that I definitely steeped it a boiling today and it was very enjoyable. The English Breakfast may be more to my taste, but today, a rainy cold day and the first day back after a mini-vacation, this is hitting the spot.
Yesterday wasn’t as mega-productive as earlier in the week, though I did get a few things done (dental appointment, paid some bills, took care of some other personal business). Today started with working out (yay me), followed by some clean up work in my home office that I’ve been meaning to get to forever. I’m in the midst of it now, punctuating it with things like figuring out where I can take my car to get some paint buffed out of it after a close encounter I had with a pole at a gas station (I am not proud of this, but in my defense, I was terribly stressed, and the station was more crowded than I’d ever seen it requiring me to try to squeeze by a pole to get to the pump and I didn’t quite make it), and submitting claims for medical bills I forgot to submit and hope they will get paid.
This is a nice companion to such work. Its a solid, full bodied blend that is almost, but not quite chewy. Yet it’s fairly smooth and not very astringent. No assam throat grab, and a sweet aftertaste. A nice yunnan-y brown sugar and malty aroma that also shows up in the flavor. Dark red-brown, clear liquor. Earthy smelling dry leaf.
It’s one of those breakfast blends that I enjoy drinking but don’t find overly distinctive. There’s nothing that stands out about it. On the other hand, I’m not sure every tea has to stand out. Sometimes you don’t want to think about what you’re drinking, you just want to taste it.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Malt