I don’t know what it is, but today is turning out to be a really great tea day! By that I mean that I’m getting through quite a few teas and tasting notes rather than drinking the best teas I’ve ever had. I was supposed to be heading to the hospital right about now to visit my grandad (knee operation, nothing serious), but got a phonecall not long ago letting me know that he was coming out this afternoon! I shall drink more tea in celebration.
I chose this one in part because I remember it having strong, fairly simple flavours and I’ve just eaten chicken with sriracha for my lunch so didn’t want to go for something delicately flavoured, and partly because I wanted to give another 52teas shou mei a chance, having just drank the Apple Jack’s Apple Harvest tea and brewing it at too high a temperature and with too short a steep for my liking. I can safely say that this method of brewing brought out the flavours much better! The shou mei still comes through but quite delicately, and the cranberry and grape are big flavours. I was quite amazed to see several whole dried cranberries and grapes in my scoop, which is always fun. I like my flavoured tea with additives, especially if I’m using my IngenuiTEA (which I wasn’t today, but that’s besides the point…). This was another tea that gave me ‘hot juice’ feels, but also tasted artificial and reminded me of sweets/candy. I really should stress that grape flavoured things give me this impression all the time, and it’s nothing to do with how well the tea itself is flavoured. Even straight up grape juice tastes like artificial flavouring to me, but it’s a flavour that I really do like. Maybe it’s to do with grape juice not really being readily available over here, but when I was younger most of the grape flavour I had was in sweets, excluding actual grapes, which I had a mildly unhealthy obsession with as a child. Anyway, it’s a flavour I like a lot, and while I’m not the biggest fan of cranberry juice it’s a nice flavour here and goes well with the grape. I also think the cranberry flavouring is pretty authentic. Weirdly, I’m getting canteloupe-y notes every now and again which is throwing me a bit, and the scent of the brewed liquor also reminds me of melon. I have no idea where this is coming from, and my only guess is cross-contamination (even though it’s stored in an air-tight container?) because I don’t see it mentioned in anyone else’s notes. The tea ends on a surprisingly floral note, which could be down to the shou mei though I’m not entirely sure. Either way, it goes nicely with the other flavours. This is a tea I definitely want to cold-brew in the summer.