2201 Tasting Notes
When I made my groupon order from this company, I ordered a sample of nearly every fruit-flavored black tea they offered. So far I haven’t been very impressed with the low-quality black tea base they use, but I am getting pickier and pickier. I don’t think I’ve ever had a blackberry flavored tea, but I do love to eat blackberries… they are one of my favorite berries. This tea doesn’t smell great, though. When I smelled the dry tea I thought maybe it was just some cross-contamination from other teas in the box, but the steeped tea smells like it too. It’s hard to place or describe, but suffice to say it’s not good.
The taste is… odd. It’s not bad, let’s start with that. The tea is very slightly bitter (curse that low-quality black tea base), and the flavor is I guess blackberryish. I guess. It’s just not what I was expecting. Now I want to go get some blackberries and make sure I’m not going crazy.
After a somewhat disappointing tea experience I don’t usually brew the same tea up again because I usually just want to move on. But the aftertaste that this tea had left in my mouth was so pleasant that I really wanted to be able to drink this tea and enjoy it. So out went the bitter cup and I brewed up another, this time with a shorter steep, and lo, all the bitterness was gone. All those nice flavors I mentioned in the previous note are there but they’re at the forefront this time. I also get more of the “alcohol” note, which is always sort of weird with tea, but all the alcoholic drink based teas have it, because I guess without it this is just grape/raisin flavored, right? Wow, that was a runon sentance. Anyway, the point is that it’s very pleasantly ice winey now.
I was pleased when I smelled the dry leaf of this tea that the scent of the flavoring wasn’t super overwhelming like some of the teas I’ve gotten from this company. It does have a nice juicy sweet grapey aroma, which in the steeped tea is similar but definitely a more winey note. Ice wine is so sweet and raisiny, and that’s born out in the scent.
This seems like it would be delicious… if it wasn’t bitter. Argh, I can’t seem to drink a black tea these days without finding it bitter. I am hopeful, though, because aisling of tea brewed this at 2 minutes and liked it, so I think I will definitely have to try that. Beyond the bitter it had nice grape/raisin/ice wine flavors that seemed natural. I do have an aftertaste as if I had been drinking ice wine, but without the alcohol. Better for work, that way!
Apparently I’ve had this tea twice now, though I only remembered having it the first time. Both times I did short steeps, since that’s how everyone else had steeped this one. Last time I wanted to steep it longer but chickened out; this is the last of my sample, so I said heck with it and decided to steep it how I would steep most other green oolongs.
It smells incredibly sweet with floral and fruit tones, overlain by sweet-cream milky aroma. The flavor is nice and floral with a heavy helping of buttered cooked greens and the faintest hint of creaminess. Live and learn: 3 minutes is a little much for this tea, and the vegetal flavors are outweighing some of lighter notes. As I’ve experienced before, these notes, along with the natural sweetness, do grow as the tea cools. Even a little overcooked this is a tasty tea.
I thought about posting this in the “Chance Combinations” listing, but really it was mostly Paris, so I’ll put it here. I had part of a sample pouch of Paris that I ordered from Harney ages ago that I had never used up. It wasn’t quite enough for a cold steep by itself, so I threw in an extra teaspoon of rose black, using up the rest of my sample from Golden Moon. Turns out rose is a nice addition to Paris! It complemented the existing flavors without overwhelming them. What I didn’t even think of is that Paris has vanilla notes in it, and here they play well with the rose, whereas I wasn’t as fond of the pairing in the Vanilla Rose from Zhi Tea this morning.
Yesterday afternoon I completely reorganized my tea drawers. Yes, I used to have only one (these are very large, deep drawers), but my tea collection has rapidly expanded. It’s a good thing I have an office with a lot of space! Now I have one drawer for large pouches and tins, and one for samples. Anyway, as I was going through things I realized that I hadn’t yet tried this sample that was sent to me by SimplyJenW, which clearly got lost in my jumble because a vanilla rose tea is definitely something I want to try. Thanks Jen!
I never realized that vanilla and rose would combine to form some aroma that is both evocative of both but also distinct in its own right. It’s an interesting combo, and I guess one I’ve never experienced before! This tea is an Assam, and I don’t know how much I like Assams (though I suspect they are not on my list of faves), so I’m interested to see how it plays out in this tea. Overall it’s pretty nice, but there’s something about this rose, or perhaps the rose combo with vanilla, or perhaps both with the Assam, that is throwing me off a bit. This is the first rose tea I’ve had that I really think tastes a bit perfumy. To addess the Assam, well for me even at this low temp it is bitter and too strong for me. I’m pretty sure at this point that I dislike Assams in general. C’est la vie, they are not for me who has a sensativity to bitterness. Maybe I can brew them really weak and see how that goes, heh.
It’s kind of weird that the description of this tea says nothing about what “fruit” is in the flavoring of this tea, just that they are summer fruits. For me, ambrosia is a creamy fruit salad with marshmallows; sorry, my southern is showing! I doubt that’s what they’re going for here, though.
The steeped tea indeed smells like fruit and black tea in a way that is both nice and a bit worrisome (the scent of bitterness?). Fortunately, no bitterness in the taste. I would say it’s peachy along with some other fruit, but I really can’t identify them. The black tea base is present in the flavor and is decent but not great. Overall I’m left with a feeling of ‘meh’… this tea isn’t bad, but I’m not going to be craving it.
This is the last tea from my oolong sample pack from Verdant that I haven’t tried… I know, what’s taken me so long? I have been discovering recently that I don’t care for dark oolongs as much, so while I was curious about this one, I also am going in thinking that I won’t love it.
The dry tea has some vegetal and slightly floral notes, but also some darker note. If it hadn’t been autumn, I might not have identified the overall aroma as that of fallen leaves, but that’s what it’s reminding me of right now. Steeped, I get strong campfire scents, especially early in a campfire when you are still burning tinder and leaves to get it going, and including that almost sweet aroma that some wood fires have. The flavor has those woody, smokey notes but also a surprising (based on the aroma… I suppose its not surprising given the tea origin) floral note that really grows in the sip. Intriguing. This is a very interesting tea, and clearly a very fine one. It is not typically they kind of tea I would drink, but it is impressive nonetheless.
The first time I had this tea, I wasn’t that impressed. The second time (in the side-by-side tasting), I was. Shall we go for 2 out of 3? Stash busting again, I finished off my sample of this tea with this cup.
I’m going to go with a middle of the road on this cup? Somewhere between the last two, which isn’t helpful in the final judgement, I know. The aroma and flavor of this one is actually not too unlike the Joy’s Teaspoon with that warm, rich note that reminds me of a creamless Earl Grey creme (I actually called it that in my first tasting note on this tea four months ago, and unwittingly used the same description today on the Joy’s Teaspoon note). It is tasty and pleasant, but still not blowing me away. I have a feeling my cup of this isn’t as fresh as it could be, and that could be cutting down on my enjoyment. If they sold tins of this tea individually I might buy one, but I don’t think I like it enough to purchase a series where I know I won’t drink one of the teas.
Turns out this is a decently tasty cold steep. I threw the rest of my sample into a cup last night (whoo stash busting), and for lunch I was rewarded with a pretty tasty almondy and slightly formosa-oolongy iced tea. It wasn’t super almondy, but the flavor was there, along with a general nuttiness. I’ve struck out a couple of times recently with cold brews not turning out quite right, but this one was definitely drinkable.