2201 Tasting Notes
This afternoon is our departmental holiday party (yay!) but that means I have a lot of work to get done this morning before it starts (boo). So I chose a tea I wouldn’t have to think about too much. Bonus points for holiday-ness! I really forgot how sweet this one is. And it’s almost more clove-y than cinnamon-y. I don’t crave spice blends a lot these days, but this one is a really great one for the upcoming winter.
When I was putting my Naivetea order together I almost went ahead and ordered 2oz of some oolongs I was sure I would love (passion fruit, lychee) instead of the infused sampler pack, but I really wanted to try this tea so I went for the sampler instead. Plus as much as I may want it, I don’t really need that much oolong in my stash right now.
I read that this had a grapefruity aroma/flavor, and that’s certainly what I smell from the dry leaf, but it also reminds me of some other less common (in the US at least) citrus fruits that I occasionally find in the grocery store. Pretty sure I’ve never found yuzu though! The steeped tea smells incredibly sweet-butter-creamy with a hefty dose of florals. I don’t get so much of the the citrusy yuzu in the aroma now.
Flavor-wise, this is another top notch tea from Naivetea. This is definitely the most subtle of the flavored teas that I’ve tried; the grapefruit/yuzu citrus notes are hard to distinguish and seem to blend into all the other flavors of the tea. They do seem to give the tea a certain something that just makes it taste a bit different, though. Otherwise, the tea is a little buttery, a little vegetal, and a little sweet, with big floral notes. All around a very nice tea.
Definitely love this one. I think the golden buds base is just a fantastic match for the citrusy bergamot. Lately I feel like I’ve been running up against black tea bases for flavored teas that are at best uninteresting and at worst taste bad. I would love it if more tea bases were like this one!
I wasn’t feeling an oolong this afternoon so I decided to dig out my big box of MBSC samples and try something I hadn’t had before. Of course this one jumped out at me as fairly seasonally appropriate. It is getting chillier, though overall it’s not really as cold as might expect for this time of year.
The smell of the dried leaf on this one is very orangey/appley, and surprisingly not very spicy. The steeped tea actually takes on the aroma of mulled cider, with a little black tea added in (actually that gives me a fantastic idea… black tea in the mulling spices for cider!). It actually smells really good, but I worry that I’ll get disappointed expecting mulled cider taste, especially the sweetness.
Wow, I really really like this one! Even though right before I take a sip it seems like I’m going to be drinking mulled cider, and afterward it’s clearly not. The actual flavor is similar enough to mulled cider yet different enough that I’m not disappointed. And the big apple chunks in the blend do lend a light appley sweetness to the tea. The spices in this are not individually distinct in the flavor but definitely add up to a nice blend, and I think that adds to the mulled cider feeling. I think I get a faint hint of rose in the aftertaste, but it is barely there.
I haven’t been super impressed by the blends I’ve gotten from MBSC not because they were bad, but rather because they just weren’t fantastic and I’ve been drinking some really fantastic teas lately. Also their black tea base was a little meh, which I can tell is the case here as well, but there’s enough other things going on here that it’s not as distracting. I do wish this blend had a higher quality tea base, because it’s one of my favorite “winter” blends I’ve had so far. It should be called Spiced Apple Cider!
This is another green tea that I requested from Teavivre with my samples based on its description so that I could broaden my tea horizons. So thanks again to Teavivre for providing me with these!
The dry leaf has that kind of “green tea” scent that I associate with a standard green tea. The leaves are fairly long and twisted but they also are relatively curly so they pack fairly well and I think my measurement of them should be fairly accurate. They are dark green when dry but after steeping they have turned a very bright yellow green, and the liquor is a medium yellow color. The steeped tea smells really good, and not like I would associate with a green tea. The description mentions chestnuts, and I definitely am getting the kind of nutty aroma I might associate with them. Also maybe roasted sweet corn? It is a scent that is familiar but that I’m having trouble placing. As it cools a definite buttered cooked veggie aroma is coming more forward.
I definitely get sweet, nutty, buttery, cooked vegetable notes in the flavor as well. It’s a hint bitter, so I’m wondering if I used a tad too much leaf (or maybe I should have done a 1 minute steep). Either way, it’s not too bad and I definitely love the other flavors going on. This one actually has the same combination of flavors that add up to a cookie-type note like I experienced with Verdant’s Jingshan green (in a blend), which is totally unexpected for me but I really like it. If I can figure out my optimal steeping parameters for this tea I might just fall in love.
I just finished putting all my french teas into brand new tea tins, so I grabbed this one to have this morning while it was out. I really do love the combination of aromas in this tea with the citrus/bergamot, strong vanilla and floral jasmine. However, I have found that the combination of vanilla and jasmine, which sounds awesome, just tastes a bit odd to me. It’s not so odd here as in Golden Moon’s vanilla jasmine tea, possibly because it’s tempered by the bergamot and orange.
Also I can’t seem to make this tea not bitter, which again makes me wonder if it’s Mariage Freres’ black tea base that I just can’t deal with. This is a black/green blend, which are usually tricky anyway, but I brewed it basically like a green this time and it’s still slightly bitter to me. Then sometimes I think it’s just that vanilla jasmine combo that is giving it an off, bitterish flavor. Whatever it is, I’m not sure that these type of blends are really for me, even though I do love the idea of them.
After an afternoon of jasmine tea I didn’t really feel like another floral or somewhat floral tea; I wanted something nutty or sweet or… caramelly. Yup, that works. Now I’m finishing off my sample of this tea.
The fact that this one has a medium-roasted formosa base gives it that nutty, appley flavor that I’m really coming to appreciate. This one isn’t so appley as apple-skin, actually, and I do think I’m getting chestnuts this time, though I’m not super familiar with the flavor of chestnuts. And then over everything a caramelized-sugar flavor. I’m really enjoying this one and I bumped it up a few notches. I don’t know if it’s a rebuy (maybe if it came in quantities less than almost 4oz), but it’s a possibility if I’m already ordering other things.
Back to floral teas, eh? I am very excited to try this one because I loooove jasmine pearls. My favorite so far has been Harney & Sons, but I honestly haven’t gotten to try too many different ones (which is partly because I am so pleased with Harney’s I don’t seek them elsewhere). Thanks to Teavivre, I get to try these pearls!
And it seems like I’m in for a treat; when I opened the package I was greeted by the most amazing jasmine aroma. Seriously honeysuckle aroma there, and rich, heady florals like sticking your head into a jasmine bush in full bloom. Yum. The liquor steeped to a pale golden yellow color, and it retains that honeysuckle-jasmine aroma, though in a more subdued way. There’s also something different about this jasmine aroma that I can’t quite articulate. Let me try: most jasmine seems “high” and “bright” in the aroma, like the equivalent of a soprano voice, but this jasmine has some serious “low” and “dark” notes in the aroma, like the equivalent of an alto or tenor, in addition to the usual high and bright notes that really make it a lush experience.
I was writing all that about the aroma, but it holds true for the flavor as well. The soprano notes are present right at the front of the sip, while the tenor notes grow at the tail end and in the aftertaste. The jasmine is lovely and fresh, and not overpowering or perfumy at all. I always look for a natural sweetness in the tea that reminds me of eating honeysuckle nectar, and it is lightly present here (especially as the tea cools), but not as much as I would have expected. Still, these are top notch jasmine pearls, and at just over $3/oz, they seem to be a bargain for the quality.
Added note: I had three extremely flavorful and tasty steeps (12oz each) of this tea before I got jasmined out. This tea definitely keeps going strong!
Winter really does put me in a spicy tea mood, I guess. All this summer and fall I’ve gotten really into green oolongs and floral teas, which is pretty much the exact opposite of a spicy black. This offering is another thanks to maisonlula. It’s another in the orange-and-spice genre of teas, and this time the spices are ginger and cinnamon, both of which I can smell distinctly in the dry tea along with the orange. There’s supposed to be some vanilla as well, but it’s not obvious in the dry leaf.
Steeped, the tea smells very gingery… I haven’t yet had a ginger black tea (most of my ginger teas come in the form of lemon-ginger greens), so I am intrigued. It definitely smells very spicy. The flavor is less spicy than I would have expected. I can taste the ginger, but I don’t really get a bite from it or anything. Unfortunately a bitterness from the tea base here seems to overwhelm other flavors besides the ginger/cinnamon notes. Even then, I would wish for those notes to be stronger. This may be a tea that is a good candidate for taking home to drink with additions so I can brew it really strong and still drink it.