10 Tasting Notes
This is not going to knock your socks off: it’s asian grocery bagged tea, $5 for 100/ct. But it’s a cheap and convenient way for me to drink genmaicha at work, and it does the job. Brews deep yellow, uncomplicated and smooth in flavor, holds up well to accidental oversteeping, with little astringency or dry mouthfeel.
This is the other green I got at the Harney & Sons in NYC. It’s a solid blend with a VERY strong pineapple aroma that mellows when steeped. The green tea itself is very mild, which is a good thing for me—I’m not a fan of the heavy grassy taste of some of the plain greens I’ve tried. Unfortunately, I’m also not a huge fan of pineapple—but my boyfriend loves it, so there you go. I’ll brew it to make him happy but I won’t necessarily seek it out… but if you’re more like him, this is a great choice.
Normally I don’t go for green tea—I haven’t branched out much and most of what I’ve tried has been too vegetal for me. But this, oh! It smells so good. Sweet, nutty, smooth… it really is the closest thing to a dessert tea that I’ve tried. Somehow the sesame and caramel notes just add up to the most delicious smelling thing in the world. (Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little.) I will warn you, though, the tea itself is not nearly as strong as the scent of the leaves. It’s much milder, more… nutty, almost, though without the strong grassy taste I usually associate with green teas.
More bad news: the leaves are fairly large, but they aren’t totally unbroken and I’ve found a number of stems. A quick googling shows that bancha tea is usually lower grade, so this isn’t super surprising with that in mind. It’s definitely a high enough grade for a simple flavored green.
I’m still sorting out the exact combination of time and temp and amount, but I definitely have to use more of this than my stronger black teas, and I go for two minutes and thirty seconds rather than the recommended two. Definitely don’t be stingy when measuring this out. It’s already a very mild tea. I’ve found you can get at least two full-strength steepings out of it, and it’s only six bucks for a quarter pound at the store.
Once I run out of this (and I will definitely run out), I am absolutely buying more.
This smells overwhelmingly of artificial flavoring. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this tasted like cough syrup and Grey Flannel cologne. Normally I drink my tea straight, but I tried this with some sweetener and it came out slightly more palatable when hot, but once it cooled down, somehow it was worse.
This is the first tea purchase I actively regret making.
Brewing details are approximate on this one, but you definitely don’t want to oversteep this, as even though it’s an herbal, it quickly gets bitter when forgotten on the counter. Though it’s actually fun to watch this steep—it starts at a light, earthy green, and then flushes pink, and ends up at a warm pinkish-orange that you’d never mistake for a black.
I’m not surprised to find out this has hibiscus—it explains that pink, and it definitely has the tartness. This tea is somewhat fine, though, and the hibiscus is hard to physically see. I guess I’m used to hibiscus blends that include larger petals. It smells predominantly of cloves, but it doesn’t overwhelm the taste; it just adds a nice little kick of spice.
It’s definitely an interesting blend, though maybe not something I’d drink everyday. It was a secret santa gift, but I’m told by my gifter that the salesperson at Tea Lady said it was great iced. I’ll update when I try it.
This works amazingly well iced. This is another one of Zhi’s newer teas, and it’s exactly what it says on the tin—fruity and nutty. It just smells so good! My only regret is that there’s no caffeine to kick-start me in the morning… and the steep-time is long enough that I find it easy to get distracted and wander off.
I almost never drink chai. It’s something best saved for cold winter days, and in Texas, those come at a premium. But it’s finally chilly enough that I’m reluctant to pad around the house bare-footed, and I thought I’d give it another go.
I’m crazy about pumpkin-flavored anything, so DAVIDs TEA’s pumpkin chai seemed like an ideal choice. It’s absolutely adorable, for one—it has little pumpkin-shaped candies inside! Unfortunately, I just can’t get the hang of brewing it. I’ve been drinking my tea mostly without sweetener or milk, and I’ve found it difficult to get this one strong enough that it stand on its own.
It smells absolutely heavenly, though, which makes me a little sad.
Normally I find anything lavender-scented cloying and overwhelming, but in a tea this hits all the right notes. I gotta say, I was NOT expecting to like this as much as I do. It’s delicate and floral without being bland, and it’s absolutely at its best over ice. I’m fortunate enough to live near Zhi Tea’s Austin shop, and I got to try this over the summer when it was brand new. I’ve made sure I always have some in the cupboard since, even now that it’s starting to get cooler.
I really don’t want to sound like a shill for Zhi Tea, but I love their tea and the folks at the shop are so incredibly nice I can’t help myself.
I’m a sucker for hibiscus, and this hit the spot. I just had a giant glass of this, brewed hot and then iced down, and I drank it in… oh, five minutes? I almost wish I didn’t have a stockpile of Rishi’s version, which is slightly more tart, with less of a… floral taste. Both are good, but I can’t say which one is better without trying another glass (and a little slower next time).