186 Tasting Notes
The key to this tea is completely disregarding the horrible way it smells while it’s steeping.
It smells like a wet outdoor ash tray after a humid summer rain.
It’s so bad I made everyone smell it. I was like “GET A LOAD OF THIS. SERIOUSLY. PUT IT IN YOUR NOSTRILS. IT. IS. AWFUL.”
I’m a manic, gothy-lookin’ troll.
But this tea, when you drink it, is wow. I drank the entire sample today. Two cups. First sample, immediate follow-up to confirm. (Sorry, mtchyg, none for you. I promise it’s good. Try some next time you’re ordering from Verdant.)
It tastes like warm bread in a log cabin on a long, lazy fall day. It tastes like wholesome, guardian spirit magic. It tastes the way sharing food with your partner feels.
It’s not new love; it’s old love, where the other person knows how to rub your back when you’re miffed; or sing your favorite song badly; or slowly make hideous faces until you chortle.
Summer’s not the right season, emotionally, for this beverage, but I quaffed it all down because it was great.
I started subscribing to Graze for snacks because I’m interested in new ways to stuff my face. A few of the snacks on offer feature a free bag of tea plus cookies or whatnot.
I was really excited about the tea, until I got it, and it was this sort of shady English Breakfast mayhem that I had to dump a bunch of vanilla almond milk into to taste okay.
But, oddly, the tea works well with the cookie. Bite of cookie, sip of tea, ahhh.
Kind of like how Robin’s a tool on his own, but he SOMETIMES helps Batman. If Batman got a better sidekick, the universe would be better. No denying it. However, this is Batman’s sidekick, and it works well enough. WE MAKE DO WITH THE WORLD WE HAVE.
Totally unrelated: the song that came on while I was eating this was “What’s Your Fantasy” by Ludacris. I know every lyric to this song, but it’s not appropriate to sing along at work, unless it’s a Friday.
The rules slide on Fridays.
Kind of like how my standards for tea slide when cookies are in play.
“This tea is giving me an identity crisis. Or, rather, the Brontë sisters are. Did you realize that the oldest-lived Brontë was 38 upon passing? They did ALL THAT WRITING before 38.
Do you realize I am 32 and have only succeeded at NaNoWriMo once? What. am. I. doing. with. my. life?!"
Oh, and I also talk about the tea itself here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/12/22/bronte-sisters-black-tea-from-simpson-and-vail/
“It’s a creamy, chocolately, slightly nutty flavor. There aren’t any nuts in this blend, so I’m probably mis-interpreting the cacao shells or something.
I’m not sure if this tastes like eclairs because I’ve never had one. It’s just one of those holes in my flavor knowledge. What’s an eclair? DUNNO.
… I imagine that people probably like eclairs and then try the tea. But I like this tea, and might now try an eclair.”
Full review, including the stuffed animal that I hold when I’m stressed, here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/12/16/chocolate-eclair-black-tea-from-52teas-a-chocolate-dessert-treat/
“During the holiday season, Michaels (the craft store) gets a smell. A distinct scent. I don’t know if there’s some “holiday smell” that they’re pumping in. Maybe it’s like Abercrombie & Fitch, where they dump perfume through the vents.
If you’re not familiar with that smell, and don’t have a local Michael’s, I will attempt to describe it to you as gingerbread-y. It has a chai-and-clove, spice-and-sugar vibe. It’s a delicate balance of every gingerbread house and Christmas cookie tray you’ve ever eaten. It feels like something your grandma made.
When you smell it, you have a manic desire to make your very own from-scratch Martha Stewart holiday for yourself. You do not sleep for days, considering how gold-foil could best be used in an array of handmade ornaments.
Holiday Tea by Harney & Sons is Christmas music and that smell stirred together into one kit-and-kaboodle. It’s like they ground down Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer’s very essence for you to boil and sip.”
All this and a HUGE tangent about “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/12/16/holiday-tea-alert-holiday-tea-from-harney-sons/
This tea packed a ton of flavor without requiring a black tea base. A lot of herbal teas seem to be lacking something to me, like they’re watery or sad somehow. They’re like children, floating around Disney World, looking for their parents. Incomplete; a little desperate.
Not here, though. This is a very robust little number. It Keeps Calm And Carries On, undaunted by the challenges facing herbals.
The flavor is part of a Downton Abbey collection, and I wish I could say something intelligent about the show here to tie in the tea. But alas, I’ve never seen this British mega-hit. It’s on my huge pile of TV Shows To Maybe See Someday.
Full review, including a HUGE rant about “you should watch this!” TV obligations, is here:
Have you ever met a person with whom you clicked swiftly and intimately? Where you had a conversation and then realized “WE ARE BEST FRIENDS NOW.” You spend a lot of time with them — so much time that, if it weren’t your NEW BESTIE, you’d get sick of them. But you know that they love you too.
This is my relationship with oolong tea right now. Black tea is my time-honored long-term life partner, but oolong is a fresh buddy who wants to go art supply shopping with me.
This oolong is no exception. The dry blend smells like berries, but when it starts to steep, you pick up that rhubarb bite. Ah! Strawberry rhubarb pie! With caffeine! Just what I needed! HOW DID THEY KNOW?
This is a minty/lemony/fruity mate/rooibos blend. It’s pretty good. But I’m not quite sure it meets the description for it:
“The way of the warrior is strength, skill, fairness, mercy, power, energy and balance. Our chai embodies this spirit.”
Like, seriously. What. The. Hell. Does. That. Mean.
I know I describe things in a super-crazy way on here sometimes (“this reminds me of a giant field of peppermint patties being romped upon by squirrels”), but that crap isn’t ever THE ACTUAL DESCRIPTION THAT POTENTIAL BUYERS ARE EXPECTED TO READ.
Mercy? How does a tea embody “mercy”?
My best friend keeps this one at her house and hates it. She offered it to me, and I was considering taking her up on it, and lo and behold, mtchyg had it in his care package to me. I like this one, but I don’t love it. It’s not “bae,” as the kids are saying these days.
It tastes really minty to me, which might be the cinnamon meeting the lemongrass or something, because mint isn’t listed in the ingredients. I hate mint. Which is vaguely ironic because there’s a HUGE patch of mint in my yard. One of my coworkers loves mojitos, so I bring her mint before her parties. Another friend occasionally swings by my yard instead of the grocery store. (“HERBS ARE EXPENSIVE, LEAH.”) I use the mint occasionally to clean my garbage disposal (throw a bunch down there and run it — totally does the trick). But it never goes into my body.
Sorry for that digression. Turns out I had a lot to say about samurai and mint today.
Hands-down one of the best straight black teas I’ve ever tried! Mad props to mtchyg for sending this along!
It tastes, to me, like a really crusty dark multi-grain bread. The kind you tear apart with your hands and just eat straight. It’s smooth and it’s malty and it’s just bangin’. I’m currently poking around Verdant tea right now, looking at other stuff to try. (I have no impulse control.)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Grain, Malt
You know the scene in Stranger Things where the guy says “mornings are for coffee and contemplation”?
Well, snow days are for tea and library books. In those terms, the day was a success.
This tea has the tiny little balls like Irish/English Breakfast, so it diffuses quickly and makes a really rich, dark cup.
My first thought upon drinking was “BUTCH.” There’s a heaviness here, a smoky, leathery, manly richness.
It’s not the sort of thing I typically go for, but I enjoyed it fairly well.
I’ve also been enjoying watching Inception again. We own this movie, but we’re watching it on TV with commercials. This movie holds up, guys. I know that’s unrelated to the tea, but I thought I’d mention it.