156 Tasting Notes
Some notes from the other day!
I wonderingly held this up to my boyfriend’s nose and told him it smelled like gardenias and pancakes. He shook his head. (But he ended up liking it anyway. Ka-ching!)
The base is a very floral, green oolong that has a light and creamy butter note smoothing it over. There’s the faint taste of maple; not everwhelming. Every flavor is complimentary.
2nd steep, the base tea shines through even more. The maple flavor has diminished but there’s a long, lingering cream finish. It has a texture like chiffon.
This tea is like…eating biscotti on the veranda overlooking a garden in springtime. It’s pastries and flowers. I can’t believe I love it so much.
After reading other reviews, I’m confused by how I pulled a maple note from this tea. The ingredients list names molasses, so perhaps that’s where it came from. I’ll have to try it again and look for more cheesecake-specific flavors. It’s light, fluffy and dessert-y, but cheesecake wasn’t immediately what came to mind. Still a win in my book!
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Gardenias, Green, Maple, Pastries
Drank down my sample packet of this today. It’s a lightly roasted tea—floral notes are underscored by vanilla, mineral, and a mild honey sweetness. It’s soft and smooth. No astringency. Very easy to drink, with the rocky mineral water taste of a Wuyi. It was a nice break from the strong flavored teas I’ve been drinking lately.
…I’m thinking that I may need to add more unflavored oolongs to my stash. Verdant has been my go-to in the past, and right now Mandala’s site is down while they relocate (sad day). Anyone have any recommendations?
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Honey, Mineral, Vanilla, Wet Rocks
I really didn’t expect to like this tea. When first opening the bag and also during the first steep, it gives off a very, VERY strong scent of peaches. Not the actual fruit, but the kind of tart, sharply sweet smell of peach rings. (D even compared it to peach schnapps.) It took a moment for me to get past the overwhelming candy smell. It does, however, make a very nice cuppa.
The oolong base gives off a buttery, toasty flavor that’s not too strong. It’s mild but it’s decidedly oolong. There’s a sweet fruitiness about it that pairs well with the peachy tones and the light flavor of lime. Underscoring it all is a lush and creamy vanilla note that makes me think of whipped cream or custard. I’ve never had creme fraiche but I can imagine this is exactly how it tastes. It complements the other flavors very nicely. Try as I may, I can’t pick out pistachio at all and the rose acts as a barely present floral note in the background. (I’m thankful for that. I’ve never been a huge fan of rose—or floral based teas in general.) The second steep is more mild on the peaches with the lime and cream notes dominating. It’s a little like key lime pie, without the crust.
Overall good impressions. If you’re wanting something more nutty-floral, you may want to look elsewhere. I think I might restock this tea. The sample is not going to last long. (:
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Custard, Honey, Lime, Peach, Roasted, Vanilla
Wow, hi guys. First review in a long, long time.
I’m in the process of moving so I don’t have all of my tea gear with me. It’s the ol’ tap water in a microwaved mug method for me. (The horror, the indignity!) I got a few samples from AU in the mail recently and didn’t feel like hunting through my boxes and half-packed belongings.
I haven’t been drinking a lot of tea lately. This is the first tea order I’ve placed in…a year, at least. My honey is trying to lead a healthier lifestyle and this means more tea, less coffee. Sounds like a win win win to me. (: Gives me an excuse to drink more too! My tea stock has dwindled slowly down to one little bin of old favorites and random samples I still haven’t tried.
On to the tea. This is so not what I was expecting. Like Dex, I thought the barley would give it a nutty, toasted genmaicha quality. I can’t really pick out the flavor on its own. The green tea doesn’t have a strong flavor of its own, either. Most of what I’m tasting is buttery, cake-like or donut-like pastry. It’s heavy but it’s smooth. There’s a lingering caramel sweetness. I’m a little picky about pineapple in tea and I prefer it blended with other strong flavors. (Butiki’s pineapple cilantro oolong was a good one.) Here the pineapple has a sour, kind of acidic quality that tempers the sweet pastry notes. It’s a little strong for me. I can see how others would love it; it’s like a pineapple-lemon pound cake. Dessert in a cup. The blend leaves a slightly sour, puckery taste in my mouth that I’m not fond of…so maybe I’ll try it with milk next time. Not as unusual as AU’s other offerings, but it’s alright. There are others I like better.
I’m a little rusty at this, so hopefully I did okay!
Flavors: Butter, Cake, Caramel, Lemon, Pineapple, Sour
I’m not quite sure what to think of this one.
To start I despise anise. The only way I can really stand it is if it’s in a spicy chai, buried and blended with several other flavors. Here, it’s one of the main ingredients. I will admit that the smell is much stronger than in the brew. The cocoa shell and barley make for a very velvety, smooth, grain-and-chocolate experience. It’s heavenly. It’s a little buttery and it really does remind me of biscotti! The anise serves as a back note: very, very faint but still present. I find myself craving it now and again, but I only have one cup left in my sample. Maybe that’s a sign that I should reorder. I do wish they had a 50g sized option…
Flavors: Anise, Butter, Chocolate, Grain, Smooth
This is a unique and interesting tea. I’ve never had anything like it before. The steeped liquor is a beautiful, pale amber with the strong aroma of peanuts, soup broth, and salt. It’s very savory with a dark, buttery undertone. It’s not very heavy (surprisingly) and it doesn’t stick to the inside of your mouth like other teas with such dense flavors. It’s light to medium bodied with a mildly sweet aftertaste. The savory/umami quality makes me think of edamame, though I don’t think that’s exactly right. The flavor of butter combined with the faint, faint saltiness (and roasted/nuts) also bring popcorn to mind. Maybe popcorn cooked a little too long. I’m not getting “smoke” although the roasty notes are coming through quite strongly. It’s a little vegetal, which helps me see why others could call it a combination of roasted buttery oolong and smoky green tea. That’s a VERY accurate description. The second steep contained many of the same notes, with a little more salt and vegetal sweetness. The peanut flavor has receded, just slightly, and the aftertaste has a more lingering presence. Edamame, snap peas, and peanuts. Unexpectedly delicious. (I don’t even like peanuts.) Have I mentioned how incredibly smooth this tea is? It’s so smooth! No astringency or roughness whatsoever. If it were, I think it would ruin this tea for me. As it is it’s perfect.
It’s nice to step out of your comfort zone sometimes and try something you wouldn’t normally try. It was a huge win in this case. I’m glad I got the sampler, because otherwise I would not have wanted to try this…and now I’m entertaining the thought of getting more.
Flavors: Broth, Butter, Peanut, Popcorn, Roasted, Salt, Soybean, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
Thanks so much for the sample Sil. I was painfully curious about this one!
This tea opens with a slightly tart cherry- or raisin-like flavor. It’s not astringent or bitter at all, but it’s followed with a mouth puckering dryness like wine. I’ve never had such a smooth Assam. It’s sweet and there’s a certain earthy, brown sugar flavor lurking in the background. I’m not getting much cocoa but there is a substantial maltiness that coats the mouth. Maybe I’m crazy, but I feel like I’m getting a little bit of nuttiness, like praline. It’s faint enough for me to doubt my judgment. This is a good, bold tea for breakfast without the briskness or bitter punch that some other breakfast teas have. I can’t justify buying 4oz at a time, though, so I’ll just have to enjoy my sample while it’s around. (:
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cherry, Drying, Earth, Malt, Raisins, Red Wine, Smooth, Tart
Lately I’ve taken to brewing this tea before bed. I have become less meticulous about my steeping parameters; this tea is forgiving and delicious no matter how I brew it. Tonight I’m noticing a lot of cucumber, cream, and melon with a thick mouthfeel and honey floral undercurrents. There’s a wonderfully full, juicy quality to it as well. Notes of hay and fresh bread help to balance it all out. I think this is quickly becoming my go-to white tea.
First steep: 2min
Second steep: 3min
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cream, Cucumber, Floral, Hay, Honey, Honeydew, Melon
I tried a blend of 2 different teas at a friend’s house recently, so I decided to stop by (gasp!) Teavana to grab myself a little of each. After a horrible, pushy interaction during which the saleswoman was rude and tried to sell me three unrelated things that I didn’t ask about, I finally got what I went for. (Even though I bought more than I needed. 2oz minimum? EACH tea?! Ugh.)
This is a combination of Caramel Almond Amaretti and Spice of Life. Ratio is about 2:1.
2tsp CAA+1tsp SL/12oz
First steep: 3min
Second steep: 4min
Herbal teas with fruit always confuse me. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to put them in an infuser or just eat them. There are a lot of fruit in both of these teas, and I couldn’t see any white tea in Spice of Life. Where is the tea?! No matter. Brewed, it smells—and tastes—a bit like spiced almond cookies or biscotti. There’s a peek of citrus. It certainly tastes like there are artificial flavorings present. That’s really unfortunate. However, I consider this to be more of a tea-like drink than actual tea. For a tea-like drink it’s quite alright. I have to add a considerable amount of sugar to bring out the cookie aspects of this drink; otherwise, it falls flat. It’s not as good as I remember. I’ll probably be drinking this before bed since it’s basically an herbal blend. I could try it when I’m craving dessert tea, but I admit, there are much better dessert-like teas out there.
Here’s my sort-of guilty admission. This blend tastes GREAT with Double Stuf Oreos dunked in it. I’m not joking. If you dunk an Oreo for a couple of seconds, it’s long enough for the icing to melt and the cookie to soften without completely falling apart. It melts in your mouth. I have a bit of an addiction when it comes to Oreos, and this makes it WAY WAY worse. Or better, however you look at it.
In a nutshell:
Tastes sort of like a cookie.
Artificial flavorings! Boo!!
Try it with Oreos. Actually, just always drink it with Oreos.
Not worth the money. I would have bought way, way less of it if I could have. Now I’m sitting here thinking of all of the other teas I could have bought instead…sigh.
Flavors: Almond, Citrus, Cookie, Nutty
Revisiting this tea again. It tastes slightly different than what I remembered. It opens with muscatel and stonefruit—slightly sour. There is a mild smokiness and the taste of wood mid-sip, which reminds me of a ZSXZ. It definitely reminds me of other gently pine-smoked teas that I’ve had. The end of each sip finishes sweet, with honey drizzled bread and wildflowers. There is a pleasant nectar-like coating on my tongue. The tea is relatively light in body and very smooth. For a black tea, it tastes an awful lot like an oolong. (Without the mineral quality that sometimes turns me off to oolong.) It’s not surprising to learn that it’s a Tie Guan Yin varietal. This tea has some vegetal and floral undertones to it. There is a roasted nut component that becomes more apparent in later steeps. I’m upping my rating a bit because this is such an interesting tea. It leaves me with a warm, pleasant, and relaxing feeling that makes me feel tea drunk. It’s a great choice for evening. I think I might have to get more of this one.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Floral, Flowers, Honey, Muscatel, Nectar, Pine, Roasted nuts, Smoke, Sour, Stonefruits, Vegetal, Wood