425 Tasting Notes
Smell of the dry leaf is a deep assam kinda of tea. Brewed, it smells sharper and brighter, like a ceylon. I know I do a lot of my notes in terms of other teas, but I’m better at comparing, I guess. The package suggested five minutes, but I did four on account of snooping the few existing tea blogs that reviewed russian teas and hearing about it being pretty strong.
Wow, this is surprisingly vegetal. The brew is amber, but the taste is light, spinach, no bitterness or astringency that I can find. The taste makes me reconsider my initial thought on the smell. There’s still ceylon there—spinach with honey. Will have to try the full five minutes in the future.
I picked this up a while ago, because I like black currant flavouring. And although it hasn’t been particularly bad, there’s just been something ‘off’ about it. Maybe it’s something in the artificial flavouriing used. It certainly tastes like the ‘black currant flavour’ I like, but there’s something else that I’m just not liking about it. The ceylon base is nice enough, though.
I don’t know what I’m not liking about this, but. Something metallic, maybe…
Thiiiis I like. The smell is deep, syrupy drop fruit; plummy. The taste is chocolate, caramelly, darkly fruity. It’s malty and a bit astringent, but definitely not bitter. It’s a very fragrant tea, and definitely an assam varietal (Burma).
Actually, I get what they mean by mint too. I thought it was a bit odd when I went back and read that, but there’s a sort of vegetable menthol flavour (definitely not the artificial kind).
While I was in the popup shop that sold these teas (the company sparked my interest enough for a Tea Adventure—they’re currently sold in a popup shop off Robson’s), the owner of the brand was working there and let me try an icecream that was made specifically from this tea. It was /delicious/ by the way. I wanted to buy a freakn’ tub of it, but there were only about three tubs made (very small-batch), so they were only selling by the scoop.
Edit: Second steep (four minutes) is chewy, bakey malt. Less fruit, little less sweet but still with a faint cocoa.
When I see “honey” I usually connect it to “Ceylon-like”, because it’s usually true. It’s got very long, twisting leaves, a bit like a strip oolong; the taste is bright, honey oak (again, very like a ceylon). I get a caramel note if I sort’ve just let it sit on my tongue a bit, but otherwise it’s a little too “bright” for caramel, I think. Smooth, barely even astringent.
Edit: Second steep (also three minutes) is sweeter, I think. Though there’s still that bright oaky honey ceylon.
Been seeing these around Winners and finally decided, two bucks an ounce? What the hell.
When I opened the bag, I saw… Giant white chips. Not flakes, but centimetre-squared chips. What the hell is this? Turns out it’s giant-ass chunks of coconut (not pictured, btw). But once I got over that (I stuck a spoon in there and mixed it all in—large chunks, low density, it’s inevitable that they all just rose to the top; happens with davidstea blends), brewed it up… Woodsyness from the rooibos, with a touch of spice. Not strong, but definitely makes me think ‘watery chai’. Could probably try stovetop (really, I find most chais are pretty watery just brewed…). Not really getting any ‘fruityness’ that others are describing—well, nothing beyond the kind you get from rooibos. Don’t taste the coconut. Which by the way ‘coco chai’? Tricky and misleading. I should have realized there was a reason they dropped that ‘A’.
But still, not bad. Something to drink at night. I should try stovetop, though. And almond milk. A nice goodnight cup.
Question, Teaze: What’s the point of selling this looseleaf in a resealable pouch if, within the resealable pouch is another, non-resealable pouch you have to cut open. I don’t… extra extra freshness…? Maybe? Buy one of those machines that seals these pouches for you and apply it directly above the ziplock. Win!
Getting a bit more taste as I reach the bottom. Think that’s where all the flavour settled. More rooibos, maybe more… cardamom? Just a touch. Still pretty damn watery.
More leaf, longer steeping time.
What I’m getting is watery liquorice and nothing else. I don’t know if I got an old tin and that’s why I’m not getting much of the base, but the liquorice gives it a coughsyrupy mouth-feel almost. I didn’t think it’d be this prominent in the blend—I figured it was there as a touch of sweetness and to better round out the ‘cherry’ taste. Don’t know if it’s just me, so I won’t rate this.
Heck, with 50 grams I’d probably consider trading it off so other people could see what they think of it.
I tend to avoid Tea Forte like the plague. It’s everywhere, but every runin I’ve had with them has been poor; during the Christmas season I’ve picked up their sample packs and hated every one (I don’t even know if I even bothered to review them!); I don’t know, it was something about the base maybe, or how they chose to flavour them.
I picked up Orchid Vanilla a little while back because it was on sale half off, didn’t have horrible reviews on Steepster, and really, who could fuck up Vanilla. That one turned out pretty pleasant, so when I saw this in the window I decided ‘why not’.
Plus they redesigned the package—it’s part of Tea Forte’s “Noir” collection, with pan-roasted black teas (back of the tin says assam).
I’ll start by saying this doesn’t taste like an assam. But if it’s ‘pan-roasted’ (???), that might be it, but I’m getting no roasted flavours either. There’s a soft hint of vanilla maybe, and it smells faintly of strawberry and cough-syrup cherry… Might be getting a bit of fake cherry taste as well, or maybe that’s the liquorice.
For that matter, there’s a warning at the end of the ingredients about how the tea should be avoided by people with high blood pressure due to the use of organic liquorice root. What? I thought in this day and age, the glycyrrhizic acid in liquorice that /causes/ hypertension, was usually artificially removed from from most liquorice products (for this very reason), or replaced with artificial flavouring/fennel or anise. So was Tea Forte just a little slow on the origin of their root, or did they actually source un-deglycyrrhizinated liquorice, and the FDA didn’t frown on them?
At any rate, I might try more leaf next time/longer steep, because this fell utterly flat for me. I think I’m getting something like astringency and bitterness, plus liquorice. Almost three whole ounces. Lovely. Learned my lesson, I guess. Still, I’ll come back to this one.
Thought I posted a review for this, since I drank it first out of my samples, but I guess I forgot. So here’s my second time around.
Dry, it smells like drop fruit, as well as something like malt chocolate; can’t say 100%, just notes that remind me of an assam varietal.
First steep (after a rinse): 15 seconds. Dry spices. Like bark, maybe cinnamon. Actually more spices than I remember the first time around I drank this (I remember there being a lot more ‘fruit’); still, there’s a deep honeyness that makes me think of drop fruits—the darker fruits like plums, rather than bright, like peaches.
Second steep: 15 seconds. Spices and sweetness; the syrupy fruityness is coming through more. It’s reminding me less of an assam, which usually has more malt than spice in my experience. This isn’t astringent. In fact, it’s very smooth thus far. Spiced sugar plum almost? Maybe?
Third steep: More spice again. Sweet—the description suggests baked bread, but it’s less yeasty, and not toasty.
Fourth steep: 20 seconds. Wow, feels a bit thicker, like chocolate. Spice and honey. Actually, very cinnamon-and-honey. Reminds me of honeycarrots with cinnamon, growing up.
Started playing TF2 around this point, and wasn’t paying as much attention. It’s actually a very nice, naturally sweet tea.
Edit: Fourth or fifth steep? Starting to get a more ‘baked bread’ taste out of it.