2201 Tasting Notes
I am having a horrible, horrible coughing fit tonight and I just can’t stop this painful hacking. It sucks. My boyfriend said maybe I should have some tea, that the vapors might calm my lungs a bit, and though I initially didn’t think it would help, what the heck, maybe it would work. This tisane was definitely the one to turn to… if anything was going to help me, it would be the mint and eucalyptus in this one.
And it might be helping a bit. I’m still coughing, but it’s calmed down a bit. It’s just an all around soothing cup. This really is an awesome infusion, and when I run out of the few tea bags of it that I have you can believe I will be trying to find it online.
I wanted a lighter tea this afternoon since I think all that black tea was being a little hard on my stomach, so I decided to give this one a try. Plus it’s supposed to be all health-improving and such, so it can’t hurt, right?
The dry leaf smells pungently of rose and lemon. It’s one of those teas that smells so strongly it’s hard to put your nose in the pouch to smell it. Primarily rose, and that holds over to the steeped tea (though it’s not nearly so strong). The flavor is also primarily rose with an accompaniment of bright lemon. The rose in rose blacks is usually warm, rich, and full, like roses in a vase at home; this rose is fresh, bright and green, like a rose in the garden. It makes me wish that I had a rose green that was actually scented traditionally, as opposed to rose flavoring added like this one, but I don’t know if they make those. The rosemary and sage don’t really make themselves known in the taste, besides probably edging the rose toward a more herbaceous flavor rather than a candy-sweet rose. The green tea is a bit grassy, but not a major player in the flavor. Overall a drinkable, pleasant tea, but I feel like it lacks some depth.
I ordered a ton of fruit-flavored tea samples from this company with a groupon, but I haven’t gotten around to tasting them because I have so many other samples that seem more appealing right now! But I decided I wanted to try this one this afternoon. I was surprised when I really looked at the dried leaf and saw it was made up of what looked like very small pieces of black tea leaves along with some crushed powdered tea in the bottom. I’m still not sure what exactly I’m looking at when I look in the steeping basket; it looks like little nodules of tea leaves, but they don’t seem to unroll or anything.
Anyway, the dry leaf smells very mango-passion, and there’s a lot of fine flower petals in the mix as well. A fair amount of tea and flower dust fell through the steeping basket, so I hope it doesn’t oversteep too much. The steeped tea smells like tropical mango passion fruit, but it’s a bit more subdued. I don’t get a strong black tea aroma like I might expect in that situation, though. The flavor is decent. I must make a mental note to steep it at a slightly lower temp, and try to shake out the powdered tea through the strainer before steeping. It’s a bit bitter but not too much (though I think it’s getting worse as the tea dust in the bottom is oversteeping). The mango and passion fruit flavors are nice and natural tasting, but the black tea base is uninspiring. I can hardly tell what it tastes like other than a little bitter. I certainly don’t get any floral notes. Perhaps when brewed a little more gently it will yield a better cup; this one’s fine and drinkable, but nothing to write home about. I bet it will be tasty iced, though!
Back at work, and back to my collection of teas. This one comes to me thanks to Angrboda! I was deciding between this one and the black currant from Harney, but I decided I wanted more different kinds of berries in my cup this morning. I’m not a huge fan of strawberry or cherry flavored things on their own, but mixed up with other fruits I do enjoy them. The dry leaf on this one smells intensely of berries and those “red fruits”. The Argentinians love the “red fruits” flavor in jams and teas, and this definitely smells like some of the things I had in Argentina.
I brewed it at a lower temp like the Kusmi Caramel, which resulted in a very flavorful and very smooth cup. I’m a little too out of it from my cold to try and distinguish individual berry flavors and aromas, but suffice to say that they all meld very well together. It really is a true “red fruits” flavor… no individual fruit overwhelms the others and sticks out, and they all blend to form a fruity, berry-y, “red”, delicious taste. I was a little worried when other reviews called Kusmi teas “lightly flavored” since with blacks I prefer fairly bold flavoring (though not usually to the point that it overwhelms the tea completely), but this tea is very well flavored (perhaps because of the low steep time) and the black tea base complements the flavors well. Definitely a nice blend!
It’s been a while since I’ve had Paris since I’ve been having so many new teas these days. It’s kind of a shame, because Paris is so amazing! It’s really very comforting, like an old friend. Between this and Tower of London, these are the teas I can always turn to and they’re always satisfying and delicious.
I’m finally getting around to trying something other than the gigantic bag of orange cinnamon black tea from this tea company. I ordered a few herbals from this company even though I don’t drink herbals all that often. And in fact, all of these herbals have hibiscus in them, so I may be saving them for next summer anyway. I like hibiscus tea, but I like cold, sweetened hibiscus tea. But this morning I’m trying this one hot for kicks anyway, because I hope the lemon and eucalyptus will soothe my sore throat. I have a full on head cold, so I’m working from home today, which means a limited tea selection. Mostly herbals!
This tea company is a wholesaler that also sells their teas retail. It would possibly a really good deal (the tea is really cheap!) but the shipping is pretty killer (it gets pretty expensive pretty fast on an order). A number of the teas I bought show up on here from other retailers, and this is one of them. The dry leaf on this one smells very hibiscusy. When brewed I can still smell the hibiscus, but it’s mitigated by some lemon and orange. The taste is actually very pleasant. For a tea with hibiscus and rose hips, it’s not really tart at all; it’s smooth and a little sweet (this is perhaps the honeybush? this is actually my first one!), with a nice full mouthfeel that sometimes is lacking with tart fruity herbals. It’s lemony and orangey and definitely soothing. I think it would make iced tea as well. I’m not in love with this one, but it is nice to drink.
Back to a nice flowery oolong. I like it when an oolong with a flower in the name is actually scented with those flowers (as opposed to being given that name because the natural characters might evoke that flower) because my expectation of those oolongs is often for a more floral tea than I end up getting. This tea is interesting because of all the myriad of aromas and flavors going on!
When I first smell the dry leaf it has that vegetal, slightly grassy, oolongy, slightly floral aroma that I might expect from any green oolong. What’s crazy is that if I blow into the pouch, the aroma that comes out is roasty toasty grains, though more like toasted rice than a dark oolong. That slowly fades back into the first aroma, and somewhere in the middle of that transition is what the tea actually ends up tasting like. It’s also what the steeped tea smells like: greenish florals (a kind of oolongy florals, not intense like smelling that particular flower) with a warm toasted grains backdrop. This is a green oolong that you can definitely tell is half-oxidized, and the combo of flavors is nicely balanced. The main body of the sip seems to really be the vegetal, not-too-floral green oolong with the toasted background notes. There is some natural sweetness to this oolong, and it swells up at the back of the sip along with more intense florals. Overall this is a very tasty tea, and really not overally floral for a tea that is scented with orchid flowers.
I decided to try to start going through some of my lingering samples by cold steeping them for lunch, which has the added benefit of using up more tea than a regularly brewed cup. Yesterday I was adding the rest of my sample of Tea District’s Marvelous Mango to my cup, but there wasn’t really enough, so I decided to throw the remainder of my Upton Vanilla Black in as well. Vanilla Mango sounded decently tasty. Fortunately Jen set up this combination tea so that I can easily log it! It ended up being about 2 tsp Mango to 4 tsp Vanilla, cold steeped in 16oz of water. I was surprised that the vanilla wasn’t stronger, especially since it made up the majority of the tea, but the cup was acutally more mango-y with some hints of vanilla. Pretty tasty, and it made me want to experiment with vanilla-fruit combos in some of my other cold steeps.
Yet another from SimplyJenW! Since my throat seems not interested in calming down, lots of hot tea is very appealing right now. A cream Earl Grey is definitely something I haven’t had in a long time, but I do very much enjoy them. The dry leaf on this one smells nicely of bergamot and cream. The bergamot brings out a sourness to the cream, which doesn’t sound very good when I say it like that, but the smell as a whole reminds me a bit of cheesecake. Mmm, bergamot cheesecake.
When it’s brewed it loses most of that sour cream-cheesecake aroma and the cream this time is bolstered by the warm aroma of the black tea, which makes it smell nicely rich. The aroma is actually very well balanced between bergamot, cream and black tea. The flavors are nice on this one as well: citrusy bergamot, smooth, tasty cream. The black tea base is pretty nonremarkable, and I’m wishing perhaps for a rich ceylon note to anchor the bottom, but it’s also not overwhelming or bitter. Overall definitely a nice example of its kind.