358 Tasting Notes
Another taste note, just to add, that brewing this hot, it´s OK, interesting. Brewing this cold, with long steep times, it goes very very bitter. Cold steeping this for short (one hour) and then sweetening it, this is very very nice. Citrusy, herby and energizing (in a different way than regular caffeine).
Now this is a multiple personality tea! The rest of Anna´s sample and she had warned me she had been baffled by it. I tried this first cold, and cold brewed and sweetened and it was FABULOUS. But Anna had tried it hot and not liked it, but seriously if so good cold how bad could it get when made hot? I decided to try it hot.
And I really really do not like it when made with boiling water. A total Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tea. It is sour somehow (how?!?), there is a very strong peach (it should be mango, mango is what they say but it tastes like peach to me!) flavour bordering on artificial and a orange rind taste (maybe this is the culprit). I truly did not like it
I am going to leave the rating as it was, because a tea should be judged by its optimal brewing method – but if I had to compare I would rate it about 85 when cold brewed and maybe 40 or 50 when brewed hot. Isn´t it weird?
A tea from the euro travelling box, and I think I am getting close to having tried all the samples – though for a couple I need a second tasting.
I am not a Darjeeling person. Though maybe that is because of lack of knowledge of those, due to only having tried not so good ones (Mariage Freres, can not quite forgive you for Arya Rose). Altitude tea, or at least tea from the himalayas seems to be quite a different beast to the black tea I am used to, even with all the variation encompassed by “black tea”. There is the astringency, for example, which is always there.
But recently just learnt to love a Nepal tea, and testing more Darjeelings is always interesting to me. This was a small sample I took out from the travelling box, and I might have ruined it with too long a steep, since I got distracted. Yep, astringent. But ignoring that (and rightfully so, because it is my fault) this is delightful and I can get the so-different character underneath. It´s floral and musky at the same time, like winegrapes. Nice even when tortured…
The astringency, ah, at normal levels maybe I can learn to like it. Maybe. Will test more Darjeelings.
Another of Anna´s surprise samples, and this is indeed a surprise and interesting. I love walnuts and can not remember ever tasting a tea with walnuts. I was doubtful if would work – walnut kernels go rancid fast, and the thin inner skin is bitter. This dried leaf showed little kernels of some nut (almond according to the site description) without skin and some other bits and pieces (after googling, must be the dried pineapple and coconut).
I was very cruel with this, by making it impulsively without googling it first , water too hot and too long. It survived it graciously, though if anything my problem with this tea is its base being a bit anonymous. There is a lovely walnut flavour, and something else in the background, a hint of strangeness which was not bad, just a bit surprising. I could not ID it on my own, but googling it, thereis dried pineapple and coconut here, and that is the tropical strangeness I was detecting. The flavours go together better than i would think, and quite well with the green tea, but they go against my expectations of what I would want in a a walnut tea (maybe something more pastry like: caramel, maple, pecan, cinnamon or just plain lovely walnut).
The tea base, sencha according to seller, is not unpleasant, but totally anonymous IMO. I guess the best way to describe this would be one of those german blends – in the surprising fillers and combinations and weak tea base, though a nice example of a certain kind of tea.
Another (and still a few to go!) tea from the euro travelling box, this just seemed a perfect tea to celebrate spring equinox.
It is a lovely, very pale (I must have underleafed, will try again) green oolong. Small leaves, a sweet wild flower flavour, just as expected. Maybe a hint of a cinnamon like woodyness as well? A nice tea, must experiment with the rest of the sample
Another of Anna´s what-do-you-think-of-this surprise samples, and I am impressed with myself, trying 3 different teas in one day. Though I started preparing this yesterday so not sure it counts – Anna had warned me she had loved this when iced, and thought it awful when hot, so I decided to cold brew this. About 24 hours ago I put one of her samples in my trusty cold tea container ( which some might mistake for an old yogurt flask with a lid), added water conservatively, and put it on the fridge. I think I might have shook it a couple times since yesterday. Today I sweetened it generously (iced cold brewed tea needs sweet) and strained it. And two things:
- this is lovely! Very fruity but in a very elegant way and a natural seeming way. Supposedly mango with citrus, which i agree with but reminding me of peaches or apricots as well for some reason. Really intense flavour without being too much, which is rather miraculous.
- and so, this is non-rooibos rooibos. Rooibos for rooibos haters. I like very much green rooibos, my first rooibos was green rooibos, and am always interested in the so rare flavoured rooibos (and make my own, very simple mixes using plain green rooibos I got at hand). The green rooibos is there, I know that, since this is more than flavoured water, but I can not spot it at all. Not sure if i am disappointed about it – it is just lovely as it is. But the rooibos, should I be missing it or not … Unsure.
Now I am unsure if I take the other sample of this and try it in boiling water for comparison (I am curious) or just make another glass of this deliciousness. And cold brew iced tea season is officially here!
I had never been a big chamomile tea (tisane, if you insist) drinker. I had stuck to teabags and often it seemed like a kind of dusty taste. But was wondering about trying again a better grade of chamomile and the other day in the bio supermarket I was intrigued by their own brand organic herbs. The dried chamomile flowers were really quite huge (and almost grotesque), and even through the packaging there was this nice cosy (much nicer than teabags) chamomile scent. Costing about 2 euros for a big huge package (50 grams? 100? it looks huge because of the volume), I bought it.
And it is a totally different, so much nicer, tisane than the other kinds I had before. Yep, I finally get chamomile and love it as well.
Just a quibble, or warning – this is about the messiest tea ever for my gravity infuser, even worse than rooibos. I just use a small teapot and strainer, or go lazy and fill a make-your-own teabag.
This, or some kind of it, is going to be a staple for me.
This is from a swap with Courtney, a swap to expand a little my tea horizons. Because this is really not my type of cup of tea, but I find myself really interested in this type of tea. Not sure it will be love or if they will overcome my beloved afternoon-type teas, but I am definitely intrigued.
This is presumably a black tea from Java. I never had indonesian tea before, so not sure what quite to expect. Maybe something Ceylon-ish? And somehow that was what I got, though a bit more delicate, flowery (and ok, thinner bodied) than I would expect of a Ceylon tea. It had that some copper-y (I can not think of any other way to describe it. Kind of metallic but not unpleasant?) feeling I associate with some ceylon teas. I think it had some wood (besides floral) notes, and a bit of tannin as well, which was not unpleasant. Sadly not quite as much body as I wanted of a first-thing-in-the-morning tea, but I can put this in afternoon service with please. Really interesting. Thanks Courtney!
This is a sample Anna so kindly sent me. I wonder if it´s another of those german blends which cross Europe and show up a bit everywhere in every small tea shop, or if it´s something specifically spanish.
This is kind of a generic black tea with red fruits (and little bits of herbs? strawberry leaves?), and while I am interested in trying it (trying everything), it´s pretty much a dud with me. I prepared it more or less like normal, and while it brewed I was doing a couple other things, I poured it and absentmindedly sipped. For a few seconds I could not remember which tea this was and was thinking it was some tisane, but no. It´s got a really really weak body, and a kind of tartness astringency I do not like, plus the berry flavour is a chewing-gum berry flavour (I´m trying to call it artifical, I guess). It does not have much fillers, so i do not understand how it came out so well, wimpish.
Thank you very much for the intention anyway Anna – this is interesting, seriously, and helps me to appreciate more other teas (like for example Dammann´s, yes Dammann´s !, 4 Fruits Rouges tea which is a so much better at all levels version of this. Dammann, all is forgiven!)7
Edit – and it cooled down, and it´s even worse, bumping down the rating (Anna, sorry! I think it is not your puppy I am kicking, but still feeling guilty)
This was a sample which Anna, very kindly and out of the blue sent me! She picked some things I am finding very interesting (Jardin Sauvage, am getting there, maybe I will cold brew it overnight).
This tea looked pretty familiar, it smelled familiar, and it is tasting familiar! I think there must be a blender somewhere selling it to independent tea shops across Europe, because I swear it is precisely the same as this one
which I got 100 grams of in Lisbon a couple years ago. I am liking Anna´s sample a bit better than what i remembered, isn´t that perverse? But maybe my memory of my tea is of the last times I drank it when it was already more aged and less flavourful. I am finding the piquancy not quite as hot as I remember though, but I suspect my parameters for hot teas were recalibrated by (the glorious) Winter Fire.
So a chilli tea, with some chocolate underneath and a musk-like note which could be the pepper, but somehow reminds me of coriander seed (or am I just somehow associating with those swiss coriander filling chocolates they make for christmas? dunno ). A very interesting tea, which seems to pop over all of Europe.