58 Tasting Notes
Is it as spicy as advertised? Oh yes, yes it is. Yet somehow, it manages to be sweet enough on its own for my liking. A little splash of milk is nice, and the flavor is indeed intense — but it doesn’t need sugar! I really like the balance of this chai. It’s not wussy, it’s not clingy, it’s delightfully aromatic, and it warms me down to my tippy-toes. Granted, it’s an unusually warm day today (January in Chicago should not see me walking outside in a hoodie). But it’s also incredibly windy, and that wind really whips right through you and chills you to the bone. A wonderful afternoon tea, and I’m sure I’ll love it more when it gets cold again. I’ll write another tasting note about my experience of this tea with milk next time — as most chai is usually served.
This tea comes in huge sachets. I mean HUGE. You need a really big mug (or pot) to brew it. But it smells exactly like perfectly roasted corn, with all the nice charred bits of husk on the outside.
The taste is smoky, sweet, and immensely satisfying — especially on single-digit-degree days, when you’re freezing. A big mug of this and a huge bowl of whatever warm food makes you happy (congee, porridge, stew, soup, whatever), and you’re good. Or at least, I am. NOM.
Part of Doulton’s Nabokov prize!
It says what it does and it does what it says. The keemun and assam play delightfully together, balancing very nicely with the barest inkling of smoke.
A very nice way to start a fairly blah day. I started drinking this while watching three crazy squirrels chase each other through my yard, over my fence, into my neighbour’s yard, over their shed, and up a few trees. It also stood up nicely as an accompaniment to a fresh tarragon and parmesan omelette with turkey bacon. :9
All in all, a truly decent cup of tea, and one I’d be delighted to find in any non-tea-specialist restaurant or shop. I usually avoid ordering tea from most places, as I know they’ll probably only have Lipton…XD
Part of Doulton’s Nabokov prize!
This wasn’t loose. It was bagged. But what a bag! It’s a very neat little bag, looks possibly hand-sewn. I haven’t yet seen another teabag like it. Not sure what the material is, but it’s not like those little silky bags everyone seems to be using nowadays. Whippersnappers. But I digress, as usual!
I…wouldn’t have known what this was, upon tasting. I mean, yes, I’d have known that it was black, but it wasn’t anything remarkable. I was a little disappointed, especially reading that description. It sounds like something that would have been right up my alley, you know? I didn’t get any of the spices, nor the orange peel. It was just…flat. Not bad, but not really remarkable either.
Still, it put Kate Bush’s “Babooshka” in my head. Which can’t be a bad thing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHwiMgkp8wg
Part of Doulton’s Nabokov Prize!
I see Doulton’s on a mission, here. Clearly. ;) And it looks like she’s winning more converts with every steep!
The first thing I got was smoke, but warm, comforting smoke. And dulce de leche. Smoky dulce de leche, then. Like smoky, comforting, familiar trenchcoat. Which is appropriate! The smell and taste are both classic. The colour is a rich, warm amber that suggests maple syrup.
The most this needs is an eensy bit of raw sugar. I’m talking tiny. The thing about sugar is, like salt, it’s a flavour enhancer more than anything else. It shouldn’t dominate (well, OK, except in sugar cookies and rock candy); it should only compliment. Don’t add cream, whatever you do. I did, thinking a tiny drop would enhance the creaminess, but it was too much. It overwhelmed the lovely delicacy of this tea.
Before the cream, it was a lovely, sinuous, wafting thing. Like a smoking jacket belonging to someone who only smoked really nice tobacco in a pipe for years, perhaps taking it in the library after dinner with a snifter of single-malt.
Trenchcoat, smoking jacket. I’m sensing a theme. No fedora, though. Definitely no fedora. ;)
Another from Doulton’s Nabokov package!
The smell is pure homemade caramel, and no mistake. The taste brings out more of the pear and chocolate, and the whole thing coats the inside of your mouth in a most delightful way—-again, like homemade caramel (not those nasty hard things you find in the candy aisle). It’s like a decadent, desserty caramel treat without sticking to your teeth. This tea doesn’t need anything, although I believe a drop of cream or two wouldn’t go amiss. Then it’d be like dulce de leche/latte, depending on who you are and what you like to order. :)
Dessert heaven. I feel like this would probably be redundant at an afternoon tea, simply because you wouldn’t really need any tea cakes or other sweet nibbles with it. :)
Part of the Nabokov prize package! (Thanks again, Doulton!) :9
Oh my. This was the first thing I smelled when I opened that prize package, and there was a LOT of tea in that little box. This was in a tin, too, so it’s slightly surprising that this won out.
But oh. I was worried. It smelled divine dry, as others have noted. It smelled even more divine after I poured boiling water over it. As it steeped, the rich hazelnutty chocolate smell pervaded the entire first floor of my house. It’s a hell of a thing to experience first thing in the morning! (Starting a day on such a note, really, how could your day possibly go anywhere but downhill from there?!? XD)
It’s delightful, yet nerve-wrecking. Smelling it, you think to yourself, how could this possibly taste as good as it smells? No way it can. No. Way.
And it’s…surprisingly light. Full-bodied, yes, but lighter in colour than expected when fully brewed. It doesn’t coat your mouth the way you’d think on smelling it. Which is actually a good thing, because it smells like one of those decadent desserts that you can only eat a few bites of before you have to doggie bag it. Because this is lighter than expected, I was able to drink the whole pot over the course of a couple hours.
Added a teeny tiny bit of raw sugar to it, but that’s it. Later, I may try a spot of some sort of milky-thing, or soy creamer. Update to follow. Man oh man, the Nutella comparisons are apt, except that’s chocolatier and this is hazelnuttier (technical terms, yes). I can’t wait to try this with my banana/Nutella crepes. :9
TTB strikes again!
This smells like heaven and tastes twice as good. I’d almost be tempted to chew the tea leaves, if I didn’t know that I could resteep them at least a few more times and have more of this lovely, lovely tea.
The smell is intoxicatingly ethereal. It’s a bit vegetal and floral, as everyone has said…but what they haven’t noted is that it smells like a lush night-blooming garden in the heat of deepest summer. It’s not cloying, but it does surround you and infiltrate every sense. It may even permeate your skin, I’m not sure. Since I’ve been sniffing at it ever since I opened the bag, I’m hardly an objective judge! ;)
The taste is light, full, and tantalizing. It’s a bit like you’re drinking summer.
Norbu is apparently having a sale right now on this tea, too. End of Vintage sale, 25% off any quantity. Oh holy monkey, do I need some. .
“Nothing beats the taste sensation when maple syrup loud handclap collides with ham!”
—-Special Agent Dale Cooper
Ham, this isn’t. But smoked ham and smoked bacon are close enough (well, before they’re cooked, and leaving arguments over back bacon and streaky bacon aside), I say it counts! ;)
Moving onward: In the tin, it smells very, very smoky. With a hint of salt. Kind of like the rub you put on bacon as you’re preparing to cure it (minus the cold, greasy hands).
As it brews, there’s a hit of maple in the scent. The taste is much more of a smoked bacon affair, but the maple lingers in the scent. If you want to amp the maple, try pouring a little maple syrup in.
If you’re an anti-carb person but miss BLTs, wrap some lettuce around some juicy, ripe tomato slices and munch it with a mug of this. No bacony mouthfeel, but still very tasty! (I won’t be held responsible if you decide to use mayonnaise as an additive, though. ;) )
It’s surprisingly good. I felt compelled to try it, just by virtue of its existence. I’d probably not want to drink it at night…but then, I don’t usually go in for heavy black teas at night anyway. :)
Second cup (but not second steep)!
This time, I’m armed with those molasses maple cookies I made earlier. I heated a few of them up slightly, because they’re best when warm.
Do “cookies” count as an additive? Because unless it’s for a specific reason, I don’t normally put anything in my tea anymore. Earl Greys require a little milk for me, and perhaps a little sugar. A few other teas might as well, on a case-by-case basis. With honey, I have to be certain of what I’m pouring it into, because I tend to use really nice honeys that have so much character on their own, I want to make sure I’m not compromising the flavour of my tea with my honey.
Anyway, I started out intending to just drink this cup and nibble a couple of warm molasses cookies. I quickly found myself dunking them instead.
THEY WORK QUITE WELL TOGETHER, I’D SAY.