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Ashmanra’s Sipdown Challenge | March 2023 | A shelf staple tea
Call me basic, but I love having candy cane tea in my stash! I think the Wegmans version is a pretty good dupe of the classic Celestial Seasonings original. It’s creamy, fluffy, peppermint-y goodness. Easy to drink and light on the stomach — kind of like an after-dinner mint. I’m sure I’ll restock at some point!
2023 sipdown count: 28/75
Flavors: Creamy, Mint, Peppermint, Vanilla
Day 4 of my Steepster homemade advent calendar from Kelmishka. This comes out as a creamy, slightly cinnamon-y mint tea. Which is very much hitting the spot for this mild migraine I have at the moment. Always nice to get to try Wegmans teas, since we don’t have Wegmans in my area! If I was explicitly looking for a Candy Cane tea, I might still reach for Celestial Seasonings in the supermarket aisle first, but this is a solid and enjoyable entry in that category. And points for not unnecessarily adding stevia!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cream, Mint
Miss me with that sack of tea-leaf stems and sawdust, bruh. Just leave it in the dust pan and walk away…
Dry notes: Spearmint, basil, woody leaf stems, passive aggression.
Wet notes: Green wood, green nuts, notebook paper, sadness.
Finish: Couldn’t come fast enough.
An impulse buy it was. There are a lot of bulk teas at Wegmans ( a large American grocery store chain) and from time to time I try them hoping against hope to discover a hidden gem : they are very inexpensive and you can get as little as you want.
No luck this time as well. This tea as all the previous ones I tried proved to be rather meh. It has large twirly leaves that look decent but the only flavor they give off is of roasting. The taste is pretty basic, with heavy roast and smoke pre-dominating and very subdued notes of baked bread, berries and honeyed sweetness in the background. The aftertaste is VERY lingering but it is just intense roast that is not particularly pleasant at all.
But wait, there is more: the second steeping (western style) came out still pretty dark but lost almost all of its taste and was pretty close to a typical tea bagged generic Chinese tea.
It is a very one-dimensional and rough at the corners tea that manages to successfully misrepresent Wuyi Oolongs. I am afraid that quite a few people that have had not anyprevious experience with Wuyi Oolongs will never even attempt to buy any other tea labeled as Wuyi after trying this one. Sad.
Flavors: Berries, Bread, Honey, Roasted
The leaf is quite broken: good look trying to brew it in a gaiwan. The aroma is fresh but not very complex, the same can be said about the taste. It looks that the white tea used in the blend is not of a good quality. As a result, it is not horrible but particularly good either.
Flavors: Apricot, Grass, Mint, Peach
This is the rooibos blend that has been slowly growing on me. Apple, oranges and cinnamon flavor blend well with the rooibos and enhance it quite a bit. I am drinking it now in a cold office and it does cheer me up . It is a good alternative to decafs with a bold, in-your-face flavor profile.
If you are watching the daily caffeine intake this blend is a welcome addition to your arsenal.
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Orange, Sour
This tea is probably produced by roasting kukicha: quite a few of stems and stalks are plainly visible. Nevertheless, it is a pleasant unassuming tea. The aroma has the notes of spices, vanilla and baked bread. The taste is less complex but comforting: sweetness and roastiness on top of a customary kukicha/bancha taste.
It is perfect for a before-the-bed cup of tea, with a low caffeine content coming as an added bonus.
15: first taste is a dark sort of musky mud/soil. Fishiness that is barely discernable. The orange presents in the center of the tongue as dark heavier round taste than I’m used to in citrus pu-erh. There a light-fishy-yellow flavor that develops after it cools some. During this all, the citrus is transforming into a tiny zing that grows in size and shape til it is almost a burn that settles in that same center tongue area but also the very front inside lips and center roof of the mouth.
That zing/burn is not unpleasant, just of a sort of tea sensation I’ve never had before at all. It’s oddly unique.
The ginger develops in clarity at the point where the tea sips become cold. Until then it just develops that feeling described above with the orange. The citrus leads the way with the ginger being it’s support, unnoticed and hidden until the temperature drops. Then it shows itself clearly.
Another weird one for me these past couple days.
The fishy isn’t strong but just a tone to that musky/muddy.
I’m not a fan of the strong fishiness some pu-erh has so that rocks.
First steep is nifty.
10 sec: fishy mud is stronger but not very much, still, and ginger zing is more and more cleanly ginger. Orange rind is very strong and black and surrounds the outside edges of the back of the mouth…a range of over the tongue, up the insides of the cheeks, and then nestles into the back of the top throat, that gap that goes slightly upward behind the roof of the mouth stops and the throat extends a bit (maybe where others still have there adenoids?).
As it cools is all blends together into a more balanced taste, something whole rather than a ton of separate experiences. It’s somewhat thick and round in texture with a flowing sense to it.
Darker and more complex steep, unsurprisingly.
10: this one seems almost like water except the ginger hits the mouth a moderate amount. Totally worthless one to me.
I tend to only report on three steeps, so it may develop more as I do more and up the time now, but that’s where I stop writing today beyond to say that the pu-erh flavor isn’t clear or defining in this tea. It’s a meh item for me, but I might change my mind. So far lackluster.
Flavors: Citrus, Earth, Fishy, Ginger, Mud, Peppercorn, Round, Thick, Wet Earth
the aroma of this tea both steeped and just in the bag are devastatingly delectable. I mean, it would make a beautiful potpourri, it really smells that good. however, the flavors of the tea after prepared are terribly subtle to my palate unless steeped a bit longer than recommended, which bothers me because I like my tea quite hot. for its aforementioned shortcomings, it still is a pleasant tea. its better in my opinion with sweetener, though I generally prefer teas that do not necessitate sweetener to realize their full potential. If less expensive, I’d probably buy with more frequency. As is, I’ll definitely drink that which remains in my tea cupboard, though I am not convinced I’ll repurchase when I’m out.
Flavors: Almond, Apple, Candy, Caramel, Cinnamon, Oats
Full disclosure: this is the first Lapsang Souchong I’ve ever had. I’ve been curious about it for a while and finally decided to try it.
This tea is not for the faint of heart. At first sniff, it reveals a formidable aroma of smoked pine. I was overwhelmed and somewhat put off at first by the intensity. However, the smell itself wasn’t unpleasant, and after getting used to it, I was able to pick up the refreshing scent of pine beneath the smoke, which I found very pleasant.
The liquor is a surprisingly clear, light rust color. The intensity of the scent and dark dry leaves led me to expect a very black brew. The flavor is at first very earthy and woody, but the significant trait is the lingering smoked pine that sticks to the back of the throat, reminiscent of campfire smoke that gets into everything. This pervasive smokiness could either be a very bad or very good thing, and it leads me to conclude that this tea, for my personal preference, is best consumed alongside food with flavors that are enhanced by the smokiness. After trying it a few different times by itself, I finally had mine with a goat cheese, roasted vegetable pizza. It was delicious. I had some of the tea after it had cooled down for curiosity’s sake and I must say that this tea is terrible cold, as one might have guessed. All I could taste was soggy wood.
Final verdict: Intense, smoked pine aroma can be polarizing. Delightful paired with the right foods (and likely disgusting with the wrong ones). I would not personally like to drink this tea by itself right now, but I could see growing to like it enough for that. Avoid drinking cold at all costs.
Flavors: Earth, Pine, Smoke, Toast, Wood
I have added several new teas to my list of favorites recently, but Japanese green teas were my first love and will always be on top of my list. I have not had genmaicha in a while, and I was excited to see a genmaicha/matcha mix in the loose leaf tea section at the Wegmans near my sister’s house. The roasted brown rice/popcorn flavor is dominant, as with all other genmaichas I have had, but the matcha adds to the smoothness and creaminess of the tea, and it makes it a nice dark green. I think the matcha also helps to round out the tea as well, as that roasted flavor is not overwhelming, like it can be with straight genmaichas. I purchased 4 oz, but I may have to go get more before I head back home! Wegmans always impresses me, quite a high quality neighborhood grocery store chain!
This past week was awful so I finished up this one as a pick me up. I accidentally steeped it for not quite long enough but used my Ingenuitea so there was no going back (normally I try to take a small sip out to taste it before but forgot.)
Nonetheless, this was wonderful at always, creamy – I noticed that someone said eggnog before and I could totally see that. It’s definitely sweet and I taste the cookie flavor, a little more almond might be nice but hey, now I’m just being nitpicky :P
Flavors: Cake, Cookie, Creamy, Eggnog, Sweet