2018 Tasting Notes
Had a sampling of this from a friend a few years back and liked it; she and her hubby ordered a fresh new pound, so there was plenty for sharing. I am a lover of all black teas strong enough to clobber you over the head, so the jasmine in this is quite a surprise—makes it elegant enough for a china cup rather than a mug. Looking forward to trying some iced. If spring EVER makes it to Southwest Missouri. We’re beginning to wonder!
I continue to contend that any tea is infinitely better when accompanied by a spoonful of thoughtfulness. This was tucked into an encouraging card from a friend (thank you, friend!) that arrived in my mailbox exactly on the day I needed it.
But even without the sprinkle of kindness, this is pretty doggone tasty. Extremely sweet on its own, but the licorice doesn’t coat your tongue like it does in some blends. Very on the vanilla, somewhat on the cinnamon, and a viable substitute when you really, really need a cookie.
Both my bleary eyes and taste buds needed a different waker-upper this morning, so I stuck my hand all the way to the bottom of my neglected sample basket and pulled out a still-sealed sample of plain old Orange Pekoe.
This isn’t bad—most of us relegate OP to the bottom of the barrel (literally and figuratively), but this is perky, sharp, and coppery. Would take milk well, or be a great base on ice with a lime wedge.
Kind coworkers continuing to prop me up with thoughtful words and boxes of tea; I know it’s a blessing to consider the folks you work with as extended family and don’t take it lightly!
So this was yesterday’s prop. And an interesting one it was, too. Definitely leads with the ginger, then the lemongrass, and pear? Well, your tastebuds have to hunt a little to find it, but it’s there. Thinking this will be refreshing chilled/iced.
Been lurking and liking more these days than posting; since December, life has been full of serving as an executor, freezing in general, battling bouts of seasonal glums, dealing with the oncoming departure of a dear coworker (temporarily tripling the number of things under my purview), and as of last night, being the baloney in a three car crash sandwich. So there’s insurance. Lots of bricks in the barrel.
Shameless plea for empathy notwithstanding, those of you who drink for comfort as well as flavor know that life circumstances sometimes affect what you need in a tea. Lately it’s been unleaded, bagged, hot, strong. Red Rose and Murphy’s to the rescue. Extra stout.
This week, I just needed a little kindness in a cup. A box of Calm mysteriously appeared on my desk at work yesterday—and that was even before I smashed up Dear Gussie (yes, we name our vehicles). Used to be I thought there was too much licorice in this chamomile/minty blend. Today it’s pretty delicious.
Happy New Year, friends. Instead of reveling in the cold last night, I’m reveling in a day of “almost normal” which has been a rare commodity at my house of late. ’Twas a joy to dismantle the tree, set the living room to rights, and sit down to a long-neglected writing project. (Thank You, Lord, for understanding editors.)
Through this weary season, I’ve been craving comfort teas that are spiked with sweet things—chocolate and caramel, and in the case of this lovely little cuppa, sweet cinnamon apples—did your grandma ever make the little apple rings that had been soaked in red hots and sugar water? Yeah, that.
Already watching the tea aisle at Food 4 Less, hoping the Bigelow Valentine-season teas will be in soon so I can restock my dwindling supply!
Nobody beat me to this one? News of Butterscotch Blondie came to me word of mouth from a buddy who isn’t a tea lover, but knows I am. Since dessert-y teas are a Tazo novelty, I snagged a box while the snagging was good at a Walmart Neighborhood Market (grocery only version of a Walmart—considerably better product selection.)
And dessert-y it is. The butterscotch cookie flavor is spot on; there’s a little licorice for sweetness, but the other flavors tone down its cloying personality. First steep needed no help whatsoever…made even tastier by 20 unbespoke Christmas Eve minutes in the glider with some sunshine on the back of my neck. After the past several days, a little peace on earth was heavenly.
Did a second round with the same today; it was plausible with a little milk and honey.
Hope your day was merry and bright.
(Skip this part; the review will be buried a couple paragraphs down.)
First day post-funeral. It was sweet and simple (Dad would’ve said it was 10 minutes too long), and the funeral director took a wrong turn on the way to the cemetery. Nobody upset about that—it’s twelve miles beyond the back of nowhere and six miles beyond anybody’s cell signal. My brother said it was appropriate to give Dad one more long ride through the country.
I recognize the need to merge back into real life, but I’m stalled at the top of the on-ramp.
(OK, now the tea review.)
Somewhere in the chaos of the past week, we stopped inside our new Natural Grocers with a $10 grand opening promo coupon in hand. Tins of Hugo Tea caught my eye; had never seen it on retail shelves before. Was impressed by the pull-tab top on the tin—they want this stuff to come to you fresh!
And it was. Malty, toasty and bready; some reviews have mentioned a burnt caramel essence which was there—everything that signifies a really fine tea. And the fact that it made an impression on me when I was vague and numb and bewildered says a lot. Second steep was a nice echo of the first.
Pricey, it is; around 10 bucks for a dozen sachets, so it’s not for your morning commute. But a lovely extravagant treat for a morning when you need to pause and ponder.
The best cups of tea I have ever had have not been determined by tea variety, but by circumstances—cups that signify the end of a traumatic event because I am home and safe and warm.
I had one those “best cups ever” yesterday after watching my dad pass away. He was warm and comfortable, unhooked from the monitors and machines that had been troubling him, and his kids were there to say goodbye. Arrived in Heaven just in time for morning coffee (he wasn’t a tea guy).
I drove four hours home (it’s hard to merge onto an interstate while you’re weepy; don’t try it yourself) and collapsed with a cup of this Congou. It is excellent, whether you’re in the throes of tragedy or not…as I posted this, I noticed the “dried baked apples” description—I’ll have to pay more attention, but maybe that’s the thing that was making me think, “Something about this is really distinctive.”
I believe I’ll have me another one this afternoon as I bolster myself for a week of funeral plans and bustle and remember how my dad mistrusted restaurants that didn’t have hat racks, loved polka music, bought odd-duck grocery items in crazy bulk quantities, taught me to be 15 minutes early for any occasion, always advised that “it’s just as easy to fill the top half of a gas tank as it is the bottom half,” and what he said to me just before he escorted me down the aisle at my wedding: “Don’t walk too fast.”
Savor whatever’s in your cup today.