New Tasting Notes
Here’s another one I picked up from the co-op this evening, a tisane blended by Tap Twice, a San Francisco tea company. On their website it sounds like they encourage people to contact them to meet up and drink tea. Maybe when my social side picks back up I’ll drop them a Herro.
I must have sniffed 50 different jars of teas and tisanes at the co-op and this one was like WOWZA. I bought enough for two sessions and will definitely be picking up more. It’s a straight-forward tisane – cacao, peppermint, rose petals and damiana. The aroma and tastes both are a perfect balance between the ingredients. Nothing tries to take center stage and somehow the peppermint tastes so pure. Kind of fluffy, sweet, no bitterness or astringency. This tisane will be a mainstay.
(Western, 1T, 8oz, 200F, 3/5m)
Tap Twice also has a good-looking selection of Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese teas in their online shop, sometimes with questionable tasting notes like ‘wisdom’ lol.
Home – 11:00 PM
Another barley tea from Lupicia!
This definitely tastes like green apple Jolly Ranchers. But I still like it! The roasted barley is not overpowering, and it’s sweet and refreshing.
I probably wouldn’t purchase this specific flavor again, only because I prefer some of the other flavors. But I’ll definitely happily finish it off!
Flavors: Candy, Coffee, Green Apple, Roasted Barley, Sweet
Trick or Treat!
Augh, so exhausted tonight. For the last several days I’ve had to wake early to be able to call a pharmaceutical company right when they turn their phones on before my shift at the library starts, just to be transferred around, disconnected, and get no answers. My lunch breaks have been more of the same, with lots of sitting on hold and pretty much starving myself. But today, finally, after first being denied by my insurance, I now have pre-auth approved insurance for Aimovig and have Aimovig approval for two free auto-injectors and co-pay assistance to follow, which should lower the $100 co-pay from my insurance to $5 a month. This is a brand-new treatment for chronic migraine, a once-a-month injectable antibody that bonds to the CGRP receptors in the brain to help with migraine prevention, and I’ve been following the studies on it since 2005. It just now got FDA approval this year. It has been such an exhausting battle, but I’m just so happy to finally get to try this stuff…
And now that I’ve bored everyone with personal details, tea! I got this sampler from a Citizen Tea order last January and just felt like trying it as my nightly herbal. It brews up a bright yellow, which makes me a little surprised that I’m actually getting a coffee liquor aroma from the brew. I’m also noticing some bittersweet, dark chocolate and tart green apple from the warm scent coming off the cup.
Oh! The aroma had me expecting something on the bittersweet side, but this tea is surprisingly sweet. It’s actually very caramelly, which I was not expecting at all! The base is making me think of a light caramel/toffee that has a sweet apple note to it, and the mid-sip pulls in some subtle hints of a lighter milk chocolate/cocoa flavor and coffee, but they are more subdued than the aroma lets on. The flavor that lingers on my tongue is more of a caramel/butterscotch flavor.
I wouldn’t say it reminds me in a major way of tiramisu, but I can see what they were going for, and even though subtle, the flavor notes are there. Love that slight coffee aroma from the cup every time I take a sip. And as a dessert tea, it is very tasty; I do tend to be generous with my leaf with chunky herbals like this, but the flavor here is very good, and is really hitting the spot as a sweet-tooth indulgement before bed. And there are just days where one really needs that. Today was definitely one of those days for me.
Flavors: Apple, Butterscotch, Caramel, Cocoa, Coffee, Sweet, Toffee
After I said NO MORE TEA, what did I do? The bulk spices, herbs and tea are the first thing to greet me at the co-op. At least I can get trivial quantities and not feel too bad about buying more tea.
Brewing loose tonight based on color (hello darkness my old friend). The puer is ok quality with plenty of large cut leaves but a thick layer of dust does settle in the bottom of the cup after pouring through a strainer. It’s thick like a cup of french press coffee, earthy, mushroomy, maybe a little bittersweet, very buttery after first steep and pretty clean-tasting with some astringency. The sticky rice herb isn’t as strong as I’d like it to be but its sweetness later becomes pronounced. Overall, it’s solid. The mini tuo cha form is great for ease of use and I’ll consider keeping some of these in my backpack once I buy another strainer.
One 6.5g mini tuo cha gave me 3-10oz brews western style with water off-boil.
I received four Kusmi samples in a swap with Cameron B and this one seemed the most breakfast-y so it was the chosen one this morning!
I think it was the perfect one of the set for it, too. It had the dark heft I like, rather than bright and brassy Ceylon taste (I do like Ceylon but not with bergamot) and a hint of smoke. The bergamot was light and the citrus lighter. All in all, I considered it a perfect accompaniment to a sweet waffle breakfast. Definitely something I would buy before most Earl Grey teas on the market, there are so few of them I like but the ones I do like, I really enjoy. It resteeped well, too.
Thank you, Cameron!
This is a nice solid Earl Grey. The tea is smooth, the balance is right, and I think it’s a tea that most people could enjoy. The bergamot is just a touch sharp for me, but it’s not bothersomely so. I got this as a sample, and if I liked Earl Greys more, I’d buy more – but they’re not often my cup of tea. :)
My first encounter with the non-decaf version of this was some time ago and judging by my note, I was less impressed than I think I probably should have been. I can’t imagine that a decaf would be better than a straight version, and man, this is really quite something.
The smell in the tin is quite intense — the bergamot gives it a zest-bitter smell that’s intense enough to open the sinuses, and the other flavors sort of wave from a distance. But after steeping, the aroma is more balanced, with some lovely vanilla and caramel notes, as well as berry-ish, raisin-ish smell. The tea is a reddish brown, slightly cloudy color.
And man, is it hitting the spot. I’m not sure whether it’s because I don’t often have black tea at night, or whether it’s because it’s going well with the remnants of my dinner, but it is really delicious. It doesn’t taste faded or papery in the decaf sort of way, either.
It has a richness that is surprising, and the flavor blend has a sweetness that’s kept from being cloying by the bergamot cutting through — the sweetness in turn tamps the zesty bitterness.
Flavors: Bergamot, Berry, Black Currant, Caramel, Vanilla
I had high hopes for this and it never quite lived up. I sometimes got banana and the honey Bush was actually nice. Realistically if I had no expectations it would be a fairly decent caffeine free option but banana fluffernutter implies certain flavors that this tea just never delivered.
Home – 7:30 PM
I may or may not be in the middle of re-watching the Harry Potter films (again…). Because Halloweeny! Or at least, that’s my excuse. ;)
Anyway, the tea! I thought I had bought more than one of Lupicia’s sakura teas when they were available, but I guess I must have finished any other(s) already.
I happen to love sakura-scented teas. Sakura is such an interesting combination of sweet and salty, a bit floral, a bit herbal. This tea contains salted sakura leaves only, with no blossoms. The sakura flavor is definitely here though!
The base tea is a bit brisk – it’s a combination of full-leaf and CTC black teas that Lupicia often employs in their blends. I did shorten my usual steep time a bit because the leaf looked quite broken up. Even with the shorter time, there’s a little bit of bitterness and astringency. It’s a bit malty with some bready notes, a nice base for the other flavors. I taste plenty of salted sakura along with perhaps just a little bit of strawberry jam? I believe I’ve had this one quite a while so it’s possible the berry flavor has faded a bit.
Still delicious though! ❤
Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Floral, Jam, Sakura, Salt, Strawberry, Sweet
Home – 6:30 PM
August Uncommon Tea blend of the day!
Hmm… I’m not sure about this one. The stonefruit flavor is more tart than I would like, which kind of takes away from the richness of it all. I definitely get the booze notes, maybe brandy or even rum. I’m not sure I get white chocolate – there is some cocoa and some creaminess but they don’t really translate into white chocolate for me.
Last but not least, there’s something soapy and combined with the tartness and cream notes, it makes me think of rancid coconut. Not a great association to have…
Overall, it’s a miss for me. I wish the prune flavor were richer and less tart, I think that would make a big difference. And I’m not sure what’s going on with that soapy taste…
Flavors: Bitter, Brandy, Cocoa, Coconut, Cream, Malt, Rum, Soap, Stonefruits, Sweet, Tart
This is from my Teapigs pick ‘n’ mix.
Mmm, apple cinnamon. One of my favorite flavor combinations. It’s hard to get it wrong. And of course, this tea doesn’t. However, the first thing I think of when I smell it steeping is Celestial Seasonings. Zingers in particular. I flash back to being 11 years old, reading at the kitchen table with my after school tea. My respite before homework.
With a little honey, this is lovely. It really does taste like apple pie. Smelling the sweet spice before taking a sip is pretty heavenly. I wish the spices were a tiny bit heavier, but that’s just me. The red apple flavor is natural and holds its own.
I’m really enjoying Teapigs’ herbal selection. I feel I’m starting to change my mind about herbal teas in general. Maybe their gentleness makes them interesting. I get a lot of caffeine during the day. It’s nice to come home and sip something warm that isn’t going to tense me up or make me nervous.
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon
Chocolate Milk Latte Sipdown (324)
It’s cold and it’s rainy and last night I remembered that I have not one but two cans of whipped cream in my fridge. Add to that some chocolate milk that expires tomorrow and you got this sample, courtesy of the lovely Sil, as a chocolate milk latte with a small dollop of whipped cream. Surprisingly, it seems really weak to me. It’s chocolatey, obviously, and there is some coconut but not much. It just seems so loose. Not my favorite but thank you Sil for the chance to give it a try.
One of my favourite teas from T2. This, to me, is perfect for drinking after dinner. It’s uncanny how it manages to capture that home-baked, yummy dessert taste. It’s fruity, cosy, delicious and just perfect after a meal. This really does manage to taste like home baked apple goodness.
I’m actually planning on popping into T2 this weekend, and this is definitely on my stocking up list!
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Pastries
Uh oh, another pumpkin tea! It’s autumn! I had Frank’s version of this, which I guess didn’t impress me. Maybe I tried it when it was older. But this is Anne’s version. But also a year old at least. I didn’t write a note for it yet though! I do appreciate the ACTUAL pumpkin pieces here! And I CAN TASTE PUMPKIN IN THE TEA! Awesome. Awesome. More pumpkin flavor than actual spice flavor. And it really needs more spices to be called a chai in my opinion. But I’d rather have pumpkin flavor if it’s a pumpkin chai than no pumpkin AND no spice. Next time this is a sipdown. Frank’s blend got a 63 rating from me, but obviously this gets a higher rating for actual pumpkin!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 minute steep
Varietea Subscription Box (October) 1/30
So, I signed up to another tea subscription box last week, this time from Varietea. It’s a UK based, family run business and they send thirty different teabags each month. My first box arrived on Saturday, and after spending the last few days gazing adoringly at all the colourful little sachets, pouring over each different company’s website and basically just umming and ahhing over which teabag to brew first… I finally decided to pop Sparkling White from Hoogly into my mug.
I fully intended to sip this slowly, while I relaxed in a bath full of lovely bubbles this evening. But this went down so smoothly and quickly, the bath hadn’t even finished running by the time I’d finished it. Floral tasting teas are one of my least favourite, and considering this smelled heavily of elderflower as I carried it upstairs, I wasn’t expecting me and Sparkling White to become friends. Upon tasting though, I got more apple than elderflower and the floral-ness was completely toned down. This tasted elegant. It was light, refreshing and I just couldn’t put the mug down. I can see myself drinking this, hot or cold, out in my back garden on a warm, summer’s evening.
I love the fact that my Varietea box contained teabgas from companies I hadn’t even heard of, let alone ordered from. I’ll definitely be checking out the rest of Hoogly’s range and I’m excited to try the other samples in my box, especially the ones from companies that are new to me.
Flavors: Apple, Floral, Fruity
Work – 3:30 PM
Somehow I’ve never tried this one from Lupicia. It’s in a limited tin, I think maybe it was a special tin release for New Year’s or something? Possibly… But this is a tea that they offer year-round.
I didn’t really see any matcha in the dry leaf, but I can definitely smell and taste it in the steeped tea. It adds a nice grassy freshness to the more bancha-like green tea, which tastes closer to dried leaves than grass. The strawberry flavor is quite light and somewhat tart, almost candylike. The vanilla is a bit stronger, with a nice creaminess that almost makes me think of matcha latte. There’s a hint of rose here as well, maybe just from the numerous petals in the blend.
It’s tasty, but not a repurchase for me. I don’t often love sweet-flavored green tea quite as much as black, white, or oolong, however. I also really don’t like rose so that doesn’t help, either. ;)
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Candy, Cream, Grass, Rose, Strawberry, Sweet, Vanilla
Work was pretty hectic today. There were only two of us in the office and it was a busy, but very productive day. I ended up leaving fifteen minutes late and collapsed at my dining room table with a mug of this tea while I flicked though my emails (and, shhh, placed an order for more tea)! I enjoyed this one a lot. It has the perfect balance of black tea and raspberry, with the raspberry becoming stronger as it cooled. I ordered quite a few sample packets from The Wiltshire Tea Company several weeks ago, and I’ve been impressed with the majority of them. While some have just been OK, and none have had me wanting to stand on my rooftop shouting about their fabulousness, they’ve all been enjoyable.
Hmm I like this one, but I’m definitely not picking up on the subtleties other reviewers are. To me, it tastes like a mild black. Not bitter. I can tell that it’s supposed to be flavored like something, but I can’t tell what the something is. Maybe mildly fruity. Thanks to Cameron B for this one.
Work – 2:00 PM
Whew, it’s been a busy day at work. Just now getting lunch and writing about this tea, even though I’ve been sipping on it for a couple of hours now.
This has way more lychee than I expected or remembered. It’s also quite sweet, I had to check to make sure it didn’t have stevia in it. Maybe it’s the blackberry leaves? I dunno. Anyway, the lychee is the strongest flavor here for me, and I find lychee sort of juicy and floral tasting. There is also some peach, which plays a nice supporting role. Overall, it’s a little bit weak though, especially considering how much leaf I used.
So it’s nice enough, but not great. I bet it would be very good iced though.
Flavors: Floral, Lychee, Peach, Sweet
Well, this was a fantastic surprise. I chose this as my ‘pre-work’ tea. As I’m unable to make my own drinks throughout the day (I survive on black coffee from a machine and my own bottled water at work), I try to choose something I’m relatively sure I’ll enjoy before I leave the house.
I currently have a wheelbarrow full of pumpkins sitting in my back garden, which I grew myself on my allotment plot and plan to carve this week ready for Halloween, so as I have pumpkins on the brain right now, the name of this tea shouted out to me.
Considering ‘apple’ was the first name in the list of ingredients, and ‘freeze-dried pumpkin pieces’ the last, I was expecting this to be more of a fruit infusion than anything else. But oh no, this… THIS was all about the pumpkin. Maybe it was because, y’know, pumpkins on the brain, but I don’t think so. I got a lot of apple, and it was gorgeously spicy from the cloves, but the pumpkin taste was so much stronger than I’d hoped for.
This was delicious! I could still taste the pumpkin when I arrived at work. I have a fair amount of this left, which I think will see me through my current craving for pumpkin teas, but I’d possibly carry on drinking this right through the winter months. The spicyness to it is enough to warrant the name Winter Warmer.
Flavors: Apple, Cloves, Pumpkin, Spicy
I brewed this when I got up this morning. It was a lot lighter than I prefer my first cup of the day to be, but I enjoyed sipping on it as I came round. It tasted exactly how I expected it to; light, green and smooth. This would be more suited to my second cup of the day, I think.
Flavors: Grass, Green, Smooth