Featured & New Tasting Notes
On my seventh cup now because I really need to get it right, but I am finding that my cups are often astringent, at least for a good part of my drinking. I am wondering whether I should be steeping this at lower than boiling.
The flavouring is tasty, but the leaf appears to be a bit finicky. I am wondering whether the problem here is the base. Either that, or my tastebuds are just not loving this proportion of this and that which, for me, is moving towards a more acidic sour astringent combination. I tend to favour darker richer maltier happenings.
The tasting continues. I am determined to love this tea.
This is my first experience with this blend, so this tea and I are just getting to know each other.
I will also say that vanilla teas are one of my most favourite things and that being the case, I take every opportunity to drink the ones which I find to be delicious. So yes, I have high hopes that this one is one that I start the day thinking about.
One of my favourite vanilla teas has big hunks of Tahitian vanilla bean in the leaf and this is the scent that I inhale when I plunge my face into that bag and inhale.
This leaf is a far more gentle delicate beast and the scent is more that of vanilla extract. Delicate and thin rather than the deep sensuality of the bean.
My first few sips were quite astringent, but thankfully, the tea mellows as it cools a bit.
Delicious. Not what I had expected or had hoped for, but delicious.
Maybe I have mentioned that I do mindfulness meditation. One of the things is to check into what is rather than what you expect or what you hope for, ie. to let go of the judging mind. It’s been many many many months of practice and it’s hard to shake that habit of well, it’s just not what I thought it was going to be.
Hurray for blenders who experiment with standards that people have pretty fixed ideas about.
And hurray for tea drinkers who experiment and stay open-minded. Flexibility is, after all, good for the brain. And probably good for the rest of us too.
Evol climbs down from soapbox.
Ok, that’s what I’ve got so far. To be continued.
Another example of have a few cups of this before actually bothering to log this. The dry leaf doesn’t smell nearly as smoky as I expected. I can’t really even detect any smoke, actually. This smells sweet and spicy more than anything, like candied ginger mixed with some cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. I would have even expected there to be some licorice in here based on its sweetness in the pouch, but there isn’t.
In terms of flavour, the black pepper comes through. The ginger and cinnamon are the main spices in this, with a touch of nutmeg, which is faint. I can’t get any cardamom or clove, unfortunately, and those are my two favourite spices (ok, and star anise too). The vanilla is present, for sure. Can’t taste the honeybush in here, and rather taste a slightly tannic black tea base, with the mildest whisper of smoke. I normally detest any smoke in tea, even the slightest bit, but it’s not bad since it seems to blend effortlessly into the spices.
Here’s Hoping Teabox – Round Seven- Tea #42
The tasting notes for this one sound amazing, so I probably wasn’t steeping correctly again. sigh. I have been busy. I have a tough time describing any sheng though unless it is a favorite and that has only been a couple shengs in my life (hint, they are also usually Teavivre shengs.)
A friend from Winnipeg drove down to Fargo and stayed with me last night. She brought a small sample of this with her so we brewed up a small pot. Yum. Really yum. Very minty and creamy. I really enjoyed this one. I’m not sure if I like this one or Santa’s Secret more. I may have to order 50 grams of this.
Love the scent of the dry leaf. It’s bursting with juicy blackberry, and it’s nice to experience real blackberry and not artificial juice crystals I get from a lot of fruit-flavoured teas. The tea leaves are an unusual, beautiful dark green, twisted and fluffy.
Steeped, this is absolutely lovely. The base is sweet, mellow, with no trace of vegetal notes whatsoever. And that blackberry flavour is consistent with the scent of the dry leaf. There is a layer of cream going on too, I swear. Like a heaping bowl of berries ‘n’ cream . Not sure whether that was intentional or not.
Great work, 52teas!
Drinking this one again, after ripping myself away from my Thailand Sticky Rice binge. I finally came up with an arbitrary rating but it will likely change with time. Also, it smells like Turkish Delights, and second steep is always better than the first steep (duh).
The pink packet it comes in is nice too, and I like it.
That’s my Deep Thought tea note for today (I drank tea!).
Steep Count: 4
(2017 summer harvest)
Flavors: Cream, Rose
Strange things have been happening at my house.
Youngest asked if I wanted some Lapsang and OF COURSE I said yes, but when I went to the kitchen a strange tin which I had never seen was on the counter. It was Lapsang from The Odor and no explanation was forthcoming from the child person.
The next day I was offered the opportunity to try a sample. Now, I had dismissed the Lapsang as being a tin youngest had squirreled away for a rainy day after a previous order, but…samples! Clearly a new order has secretly been placed and received and then hidden from Mom, but it IS that time of year.
This sample turned out to be a rooibos, my second least favorite after hibiscus but when flavored right can be tolerable. The Odor didn’t let me down and I found this to have a festive taste and aroma and it was nice that I didn’t have to worry about caffeine keeping me up since it was nearly midnight when we drank it.
We always resteep our The Odor samples, sometimes two or three times, so we got a decent amount of tea of it and even had a bit left over for a cup this morning.
This is orange-y but fruity as well, so it doesn’t taste as cliché as the ubiquitous Christmas blends with orange and cinnamon and clove.
So I sat on this light/medium fermented shou for over 4 years. It sounds like awhile back it was certainly greener. As of 2017 it is dark and tastes like roasted chestnuts, early infusions with a bittersweet bite to it. It gets nicely sweet and creamy in the later infusions. Not bad for paying $12 over 4 years ago.
Totally approaching this tea from the opposite end and comparing it to the more recent Vanilla Marshmallow blend. I’d say that this one has a mellower base but they are so incredibly similar. This tastes and smells creamier than Vanilla Marshmallow, yet it’s not as vanilla-y. No astringency whatsoever with the base. It’s a nice blend but it’s not what I ideally look for in a flavoured vanilla tea. But I can see others loving this one.
Oh no, the pressure of writing the first tasting note on this one. I tried this the day that my parcel landed and have had it a couple times since, wanting to experiencing it more than once before considering writing anything. Silly me still has my taster of Amethyst’s Gold from my last order waiting to be cracked open, so I can’t compare for the time being, but at the very least, I can compare—mentally—to the original French Vanilla Assam available a few years ago. As a side note, merely thinking of the original 52teas blends is making me feel really old. How time flies! I remember trying French Vanilla Assam in my very first order back in… 2012 maybe? It feels like yesterday. It doesn’t help that I’ll be reaching a birthday milestone in a couple weeks, which has been leaving me crying in my sauerkraut as of late.
So, this blend, I’ll be quite honest. When I opened the package, I was quite disappointed. The scent of the dry leaf smelled a little dusty. Nineteen-02’s Coffee Caramel comes to mind, whose base I sadly described as “pseudo-stale” and reminiscent of Metropolitan teas. Maybe it’s just my nose but that’s what I’m getting.
Steeped, it smells extremely lightly of melted vanilla caramels. In flavour, I am picking up mostly on honey notes, a touch of dried fruit, and there’s a slight smokiness in the far background. It’s not that malty, which I was expecting it to be. I can pick up on some marshmallow root but it’s quite faint, and is completely killed off once milk is added. Overall, it’s a decent blend but not my favourite. I’ve already tried the other two fundraiser blends but have yet to write about them, but I will say right now that I prefer the other two!
Ugh. At the boyfriend’s house. Internet is down at my place so I’ve been suffering at home. and my phone battery is dying, it isn’t charging properly. Not that it matters, as the cell towers around my place don’t reach us very well, thus the wifi on that doesn’t work either.
Also, I tripped over a cord with the just boiled kettle and fell on my knee. Already bruising. Not my best day to say the least!
Hopefully it isn’t a setback that my chiro will have to address, she ain’t cheap and I’ve got a pile of other things for her to fix. On the plus side, she made my leg pain go away last time I saw her (well, 95% of it. There is still some residual stuff going on but that should be fixed when she looks at the other things, I hope). I’ll tell you the story because I think everyone should try this method out. Seriously. I HIGHLY recommend matrix repatterning (and M.A.T. therapy but that’s another story)
My whole upper torso is slightly twisted to the left, but you wouldn’t know it unless you were trained to recognize stuff like that. As in a personal trainer or physical therapist etc. My twistedness causes muscles to pull everything in a bad way.
I was super skeptical at first. Reading online, it sounds like a hippy dippy money waster. But I was desperate as the body tension was becoming unbearable. I’m so happy I gave it a go. After two treatments, consider me convinced. It’s a super gentle process. My leg issue wasn’t something I ever expected a chiro to be the one who would fix me. It was a muscle thing, not a bone thing or so I thought. All she did was place her hands on me while I was on the table, and keep them there for a few minutes. Literally no pain or jarring movements at all. Anyone who has issues in their body that doctors can’t explain, especially those with fibromyalgia (sp?) needs to look into it. Worth every penny. Yeah I was a tad sore after, although an epsom salt bath really helped. Long story short, I’m uber excited to finally have more forward movement.
Physical therapy for an entire year before that fixed a few things but stopped helping after two months or so. I wish I’d gone to see this chiro first. To say I’m relieved, and honestly? grateful!!!! that I’ve finally found something helpful is an understatement, I guess that’s why I’m so eager to share.
OK. Story over. If anyone has questions about my experience I’d be happy to chat.
On to the tea: warm and toasty and oh so good! Just what I needed to soothe me as I deal with the aftermath of my klutz drama. My whole body has stiffened up. Sighs.
There’s a little extra sweetness today even though I’m drinking it straight. And that refreshing menthol lingering once the sip is finished. This is just the first infusion. I’m looking forward to more :)
Almost half my stash is gone but I wasn’t planning to order more for awhile, as I have so much tea in my cupboard and a few things on the way. Plus my annual black friday/cyber monday splurge coming up. So do I ration this and hope it doesn’t go stale? or binge and deal with an LB cupboard gap. Bah. What’s a tea hoarder to do???
First tea of the morning as I continue to experiment oomphing up my pumpkin spice teas with pumpkin seed oil. Not bad. Even better with dark chocolate. But that hardly counts as a tea review.
It’s all been more or less said about this tea, so I don’t really have more to add. It is probably far better as a sweetened latte, or at least with milk or cream.I am moving my way through this tin of tea. Just a few more cups and that will be that. Out of curiosity, I checked in with the DT’s website to see the cost of a rebuy, though truly, I have far too much tea to consider restocking a tea which, though fine and enjoyable, is not a must have.
Further, I find that I am moving more towards removing the bulk of imitation flavours and colours from my world—not completely, mind, but slowly, slowly. Health continues to challenge me, so I do what I can to simplify and purify. With the occasional binge, of course. But only when it is well worth it.
And ouf! How their prices have escalated! Quite a number of their products are now sold prepackaged and they seem to be putting even more effort on packaging and presentation, if that is even possible.
All in all, clearly, someone like me is not in the demographic their marketing team is aiming for.
And I still have mountains of their teas from before they decided to imitation and stevia everything to death and boost up their marketing frenzy. So, for the time being, I will content myself with those before I maybe maybe maybe make another purchase with them again. If absolutely necessary.
One of my grandmothers, my dad’s mom, passed away last week. Last night we had a visitation and this morning was the funeral.
Today I drank several teas; YS Assamica gold needle black, YS Fou Shou Wuyi oolong, and YS Shan Hou sheng.
I will miss my grandma greatly, and funerals are of course no fun (I would like a very casual/non-traditional funeral when I pass) but it was great to see the many family members and family friends that I normally only see at Christmas or not at all.
We had a gathering after the funeral at my dad’s house and enjoyed some of my grandma’s favorite foods and drinks; Cuban sandwiches, wine, Millano cookies, and brandy Alexanders. It was a great time reminiscing and reconnecting.
I brewed some dian hong and shared it with a few people, all of whom enjoyed it. One said “It’s kind of like Earl Grey… but better!”
It was all quite nice until everyone had left but my uncle, cousin, and grandpa (who lives with my uncle in Texas). My dad and uncle went to see my grandparents nearby house which is for sale. When the came back the were screaming at each other with wide variety of expletives. My dad and uncle have had a rocky relationship for a long time, and both were slightly drunk, but things broke down to a shouting match and my dad told my uncle never to set foot in his house again.
It was gut wrenching and really hard to watch after my grandma’s funeral. Me and my younger cousin could do nothing but stand by and watch. My dad was crying and grandpa tried to console him. All in all a beautiful day ruined.
I turned to wine until I found myself a bit tipsy and then went for some strong young sheng. I think I’ll cook dinner tonight and try to console my dad.
This was the second lovely sample I received from Mandala. I was a little sulky when, a couple days after I placed my order, they added this as a tea (that description)! I would’ve ordered it instead of the random puerh I ended up going with (edit: looking for Special Dark replacements- Noble Mark is still around and Noble Dark doesn’t exist… yet).
First and second steeps exceed expectations, with a creamy and silky profile and a touch of high grade dark chocolate (traces of earth, nuts, berries). Mandala description says later steepings have notes of brown sugar but I get hints of that now. The aftertaste reminds me slightly of dark chocolate covered acai/blueberry jellies. These flavours mellow out as it cools, becoming simply milky with an earthy dark chocolate finish.
Third steep was equally perfect.
Fourth steep was ditto (this was from last night so I may have been half asleep and missed the development).
Steep Count: 4 + a rinse
Flavors: Berries, Brown Sugar, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Milk
Finally broke down and opened the baggie. (Reason for delay: If I drink it, it’ll be gone!) Black tea chock full of goodies, including what appears to be dried pumpkin or dried sweet potato and white chocolate chips.
It smells as good steeped as it does dry. Due to the chips, it’s creamy, cloudy, and very sweet; flavor stays a while after each sip. Pumpkiny? Yes. Tasty? Extremely. Caffeine? Gentle. Want more? Absolutely.
Quick note before heading off to walk in the snow to work. Fun! With my FUNdraiser (presumably) on its way and just ordering more of the Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish and Chocolate Eclair (booourns for not knowing these were on the site until this morning and missing out on the Vanilla Marshmallow), I thought I’d finally start tackling my last 52teas order. I always seem behind on these.
I quickly grabbed this because it seemed like a safe bet this morning. Love the addition of apple in an EG. The bergamot is sparkly and a true live wire in this blend. Putting these two notes together was a great idea! A little on the astringent side but nice to drink in the morning. Maybe I’ll try the last of my taster with some milk. Not to mention, the juicy chunks of apples were a flavourful treat after the tea was finished steeping.
Holy moly, this is hands down my favourite Teabento tea that I’ve tried, and I purposely left this one to try last because I had a feeling it would be my favourite.
While I was expecting some chocolate when I initially opened the packet, I didn’t expect this much. Seriously, opening it was like unwrapping a bar of dark chocolate with cacao nibs. Although I haven’t had it in ever, this totally reminds me of Endangered Species chocolate, in particular, this one:
Look at that cute little bat. Just in time for Halloween too. But yeah, dark chocolate tea without the guilt. Brewed up, this has the thickest mouthfeel of all the ones I’ve tried, which is my thing. The chocolate notes are the strongest, followed by grainy sweetness. No bitterness whatsoever.
Thank you so much for the wonderful bento box full of delicious samples, Teabento! This brings me to the end of my sample bento journey, and I can definitely see myself ordering this one.