New Tasting Notes
Work – 2:00 PM
So I didn’t really see much green tea in this blend, but I still steeped it as I would a green tea, just in case.
It doesn’t taste like there’s any green tea in it, either.
This tea has a nice balance of sweet and tart apple flavors. I can slightly taste the hibiscus, but it’s not overpowering, nor is the steeped tea bright pink. It’s more of a soft coral color.
Overall, it’s tasty but it’s not really tea to me, it’s more of a fruit tisane. Next time I’ll brew it hotter and longer to bring out a bit more apple flavor. I’ll keep this in mind as a nighttime brew as I’m sure there’s a negligible amount of caffeine in it.
Flavors: Apple, Hibiscus, Sweet, Tart
I’m not sure what made me add this one to my basket when I last ordered from Bird & Blend as I’m typically not a fan of any blends containing jasmine. I think perhaps the description on the website intrigued me. I want to like this tea, I really do, and in the packet it smells as though I should. The spearmint is strong, with the jasmine just barely creeping through. It smells delicate and cleansing and each time I brew it, I feel sure I’m going to enjoy it this time. But, I dunno… as soon as I taste it, all I get is the jasmine. Well, no, that’s not entirely true, because the spearmint is marginally there, but it’s no more than a brief aftertaste. It’s not a tea I hate, it’s not even one I strongly dislike. Perhaps if the spearmint was a bit stronger I might even enjoy it. As it is, it’s merely too floral tasting for me.
Flavors: Jasmine, Spearmint
This is my Go-To week day morning brew, when I haven’t got time to faff around with infusers and tea-sacs. I do generally try to prepare my morning tea the night before, leaning toward a loose leaf Yerba Mate that I pop into a tea-sac, but occasionally it’s just easier to shove a teabag in my mug. Mondays are usually those kind of days!
Tesco do some pretty decent teas in their Finest range. Nothing spectacular, but they’re handy to have in my cupboard. This isn’t my favourite English Breakfast by all means. There’s not a whole lot of flavour going on, but it’s strong, brews quickly, and does a good job of shaking me out of my zombie-like state.
Old Ways Tea is located in my neck of the woods and I’m happy to buy from them. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve tried from them thus far (except huangguanyin yancha, but I just don’t like them in general) and this tea is no exception.
I was stepping into unknown territory with this tea, so I decided to do a small tasting and I’m glad I did. This tea would just not give up. Gone gaiwan: 2.5g, 60 mL, 200F, 10s rinse followed by 16 steeps. 16! from 2.5g! Holy jeebie. 10/15/ 20/25/30/35/40/45/50s and 1m/1m10/1m30/2/3/5/8m.
Dry leaf had a strong grassy and floral scent that I can’t place but I know it is something I’ve experienced before. It’s still driving me crazy after the session. I hope somebody else tries this tea and can help elucidate what the scent might be. I really want to know because the grassy floral was the prominent aroma and aftertaste of this tea.
There wasn’t much evolution in flavor over the course of the session but what it did offer was a fantastic balance of aroma, texture, aftertaste and feelings of relaxation. I imagine using all 5 grams could get one pretty tea drunk. The grassy floral on the nose came through in the taste and seemed to be stacked on a layer of light minerals, something nutty, and a dark melon or pumpkin, mabye even a long-cooked sweet potato, oozing its gooey goodness. These all hit the tongue with a thinness on the sip that transitioned into a thick brew with some astringency at the back of the mouth. My swallow was loud and very satisfying. Like Old Ways Tea stated in its description, I could feel the tea in my throat, warm and full. That later turned into a full-mouthed astringency but the mineral effect kept it from getting out of hand. Toward the end, my tongue felt full and thick, a little tingly and sandpapery. The thick and coating floral aftertaste stuck around long after the swallow and made each successive steep that much more enjoyable.
I can’t see myself reaching for this tea on a regular basis due to the strong floral aspect and its longevity but it’s definitely a treat for the senses and seems to be masterfully processed. I definitely recommend giving this one a try for experienced tasters and fans of texture.
I’ve not tried any Pukka teas in a long time, so I figured it was time to give them another go. They’re pretty standard bagged supermarket affairs on the whole, but there are some gems to be found sometimes. This one’s a blend of liquorice, ginger, echinacea, beetroot, aniseed, elderflower, peppermint, orange peel, rosehip, elderberry, acerola cherry, and blackcurrant. So, quite busy then! There’s no hibi at least.
I chose this one today specifically because my throat is sore again, and I’d rather it didn’t develop into a full-blown cold. That would be silly – I’ve had four already since the end of August.
In practice, this one isn’t as muddled or confused-tasting as I feared it might be. The liquorice is very subtle (thankfully!), as is the ginger. The flavours that seem to predominate are aniseed and blackcurrant, although there are hints of cherry and elderflower, and a tiny bit of orange in the background. There’s a slight earthiness that I’m attributing to the echinacea and the beetroot, but it’s mild. I don’t mind it much, in any case, since it cuts through some of the liquorice sweetness.
I’m pretty pleased with this one! It’s more pleasant than I thought it’d be, and I’d definitely drink it again. It’s not often I say that about a tea with liquorice as an ingredient!
Tried it a few different ways. Never get much taste out of it. Its alright, not bad. I get a burnt sugar taste from it with a bit of woody aftertaste. It goes a lot of steeps I’ll give it that. Can’t recommend it, cause there is a lot of better options for orange herbal teas.
Flavors: Burnt, Burnt Sugar, Wood
Work – 11:00 AM
So we’re under a water boil advisory in Austin right now. Because it basically rained all last week and there was a lot of flooding, there’s now a lot more silt and crap in the water that they have to filter out. Because that takes longer, they have to treat the water less in order to be able to produce treated water fast enough. So they advise boiling the water in order to ensure any microorganisms are killed.
So basically, now I have to boil all my water before using it. So it makes my tea-making take a bit longer since I would only use boiling water for herbals, therefore I have to boil the kettle, then let it cool, then heat the water again to the desired temperature. Womp womp…
Anyway, on to the tea. This tea reminds me of orange spice cake! It has a mellow sweet orange flavor along with some equally mellow spicing. I’m not sure if it’s the hazelnut flavor that’s making me think cake or if there are other flavors added. In any case, it’s quite tasty!
Now I want to make an orange spice pound cake with sugary glaze! ;)
Flavors: Cake, Hazelnut, Nuts, Orange, Spices, Sweet
This is a great matcha for the price if you’re looking for something above culinary grade for lattes. It holds up well to milk and sugar and also tastes pretty good when drunk straight. The smell of the powder is incredible. It has sweet smell that reminds me of rice mochi and green tea flavored pastries. When prepared in a chawan, it froths up nicely and has an vibrant green color. The taste is chlorophyll rich with an assertive vegetal-wheatgrass flavor and a slight chalkiness. It’s got a greenish quality to it that feels like drinking a forest.
But straight matcha isn’t really my thing and the real test was having it in latte form. The results were downright delicious. A splash of milk and a pinch of sugar transforms it into an indulgent, confectionery like treat yet still retaining an appreciable green flavor. It also helps temper the strong flavor and brings out its natural sweetness.
Flavors: Rainforest, Sweet, warm grass, Umami, Vegetal
Today I tried to blend this with orange blossoms, 3.5g & 1g of each respectively. The dry leaf aroma is dominated by the orange blossoms, their scent is more pungent. Same deal with the wet leaves, although to a lesser degree. I feel that subleties of the jujube aroma are mostly hidden by the floral orange fragrance.
On the other hand, the taste has a great balance. I might like it more than the jujube alone, I am not sure. It is quite different that’s for sure though. As expected, the floral aspects are attenuated, but are not overpowering. I especially like the aftertaste in which the complex fruity & nutty characteristics of jujube blend nicely with the tangy & floral blossoms.
I definitely think this was a successful experiment. The scent became a bit more dull, but I think both the taste and aftertaste are more balanced like this. Whether it’s a more pleasurable experience probably depends on the mood and the occassion. Nevertheless, I am glad to have the option of mixing it up a little with this late night tea of mine, especially given that today’s addition – the orange blossoms – is caffeine free too!
Sipdown! Another temporary one, though. I see I haven’t really reviewed this, despite of how often I’ve logged it. It does fit its name, and today that seems to be pretty much all I get from it. I think that’s probably because there were a lot of tiny crumbly bits left in those last two teaspoons, making it stronger than usual. When I had it before, there also were some fruity notes and a slight sweetness.
Home – 11:00 PM
Another one that I left out to drink tonight after packing some up for a swap. The sweet watermelon scent was too mouthwatering to put away.
Yum, this is a really good barley tea. I feel it’s roasted barley and watermelon in equal measure. The barley is roasty and coffee-like but not overpowering (I only steep these for 3 minutes, and use one bag for 16 ounces of water). And the watermelon is sweet and refreshing, and leaves a lovely aftertaste.
I’m sure this would be the bomb diggity cold-brewed as well, maybe even more so.
But right now, I’m loving it hot as a caffeine-free option. Will definitely buy more. I think at one time this was a limited summer-only flavor, but I see that it’s available on the website right now so I guess it must have been popular enough to win a permanent spot. :D
Flavors: Coffee, Melon, Roasted Barley, Sweet
One of the last samples from AprTea that I have to review. This one came marked as “Tieguanyin Deep Charcoal baking Caramel aroma Grade one”, but clearly it’s not that – the leaves are green. Comparing to the offerings on the website, I figured it should be the Zhengchao Tie Guan Yin, but it’s not 100% certain of course, I could only go by the description and photos on the website.
The dry leaf aroma is fairly strong with a little bit of a roast to it. This persist even after the rinse, it reminds me of a fresh Dong Ding smell. It’s quite thick and sweet, but not really complex. Underneath the roast, I can pick up some floral scents, but very subdued.
The infusions present a medium bodied, coating and smooth liquor. It tastes very light and balanced overall. The roast is definitely present in the taste too, although slightly less so. I noted almost no bitterness or astringency, although the aftertaste is slightly drying. Again, the taste is floral and a bit sour, but quite flat. It lacks the complexity. It could be that the roast is hiding some of it and a bit of aging would help, but I doubt it. The roast is actually really weak, it’s just that the tea characteristics are even weaker. The aftertaste has very little of roastiness in fact and it’s good and lasting. It has mostly floral and overripe fruit (something like papaya) qualities.
In the end, definitely not an unpleasant tea to drink, it has decent mouthfeel and if you like light floral tea with some roast on it, you may like it. However, don’t expect anything too sophisticated.
Flavors: Ash, Cut grass, Floral, Roasted, Sour, Tree Fruit
Received a sample of this in my most recent tea order – nice surprise, as I recalled liking this one. Sure enough, still rather enjoyed it. Smooth black base (not particularly notable otherwise, but smoothness is important), with fruity and creamy notes. I’m not entirely sure I’d pick out black cherry, but it’s pretty tasty.
For those who don’t know, Kim Tuyen is Jin Xuan. That’s probably why Harney describes it as being like an oolong: it’s a black tea made from a cultivar normally processed as an oolong. This does come through in the taste. Its body has a softness that reminds me of some Taiwanese oolongs even if it lacks the milkiness Jin Xuan oolongs are known for. The floral aroma and light but honey-sweet tropical and stone fruit flavors, too, are quite oolong-like. Yet, despite everything it shares with oolongs, it’s still recognizable as a Chinese-style black tea.
As I hoped, gongfu and western style both work well with this tea. Gongfu brings out the complexities and the aroma of the tea more, while western style is sweet and mellow. Either way is satisfying to me. This is very cheap, so I recommend it for anyone who enjoys mellow Chinese black teas or fruity dark oolongs as this has similarities to both. Avoid if you think of Darjeeling or full leaf Yunnans as too weak or if a bit of smokiness bothers you, because this is light, but also a bit smoky.
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Smoke, Stonefruits, Tropical