185 Tasting Notes
This was a treat from Azzrian, so a big thank you to her!
I’ve never had lapacho before, so this was a unique experience. I also had to go read a bunch on it, which was kind of interesting.
Per a hint from Azz that you’re actually supposed to steep this for 25 minutes, Missy let it boil on the stove for a while. The result is an earthy, cream-sickle-y, slightly medicinal brew with a bit of an almost-bitter bite at the end. The flavor itself is quite interesting and pleasant.
All in all, not something I would mind drinking. MountainRoseherbs also sells lapacho (under the name Pau d’Arco) for a fairly modest price of $2/4oz. I bet it would taste good with mint or cinnamon. I’d be a little concerned with combining the lapacho with Tea, as it’s most regularly-agreed upon physiological effect is blood thinning, and well, blood thinning and caffeine can lead to a pretty rough night ;)
Thanks again for the sample, Azz!
A big thank you for the sample from Anny Oxident!
This one steeped to a nice pale yellow. The flavor to me is mostly that of a bai mu dan white tea, with that drier, peppery flavor to it. It also has a lemongrass taste to me, which I find a little strange. Missy is saying she tastes the mint, and it’s probably that I’m too used to mint that’s very BAM mint. Which is sad… because a white Moroccan mint sounds awesome.
Maybe I’ll have to make one of those.
So, strangely… Missy made two cups of this, one for me, one for her. From the exact same sample bag from Sandy. And they taste very, very different.
Mine is fantastic. It’s got the perfect lemon drop flavor (there’s some stevia added). It’s tart and refreshing, absolutely delicious.
Missy’s, on the other hand, has this weird bitterness. The lemon flavor (the ‘citral’ molecule), is harsher, more prevalent, and really not as enjoyable.
I’m not sure how it happened, but it did. She brewed it in the ingenuitea, and hers is the ‘first’ portion to come out, mine was the second. She just mixed them together and we both now have fairly pleasant cups.
Not saying I’d every really want to drink lemon myrtle straight. But now I kind of want a cup of straight lemongrass to compare.
Hrmm… kind of light, with a somewhat musty aftertaste to it. I jokingly referred to it as ‘attic tea’, because it kind of gives me that feeling of rummaging through old, dusty boxes of forgotten stuff.
Missy and I bought this sample from Upton because we’re very fond of the Vietnamese tea that SerendipiTea uses as the base for their Colonille vanilla flavored black. This one isn’t terrible, but I don’t think it’s something we’re going to want to keep around. As a straight black, there are just too many good choices that it would be competing with.
It seems like every time I write one of these ‘Hey, let’s try different ingredients!’ reviews, I walk in with some level of expectation that needs to be beaten with a stick. Inevitably, I write some version of “I expected this, but got that”.
Without further ado, I bring you Juniper.
Missy and I spent a little bit discussing how strong to brew this for a 12 oz glass. Originally, I was thinking we should go a little light. This is what I would refer to as ‘being scared’. I didn’t want to down a cup of Pine-Sol. We settled on full strength. At least then I would know exactly what kind of impact the berries would have on any future blends.
At one point during the steeping process, Missy hesitantly asked me whether she really should go with the full 8 minutes that we normally brew herbals at, but we carried forward.
So, after a prolonged period of anticipation, Missy sets a cup down next to me… and…
It looks like water. Honestly, it’s only a shade or two of yellow off from perfectly crystal clear. If it was in anything other than a clear glass mug, you might think that you had a cup of water.
It does have an aroma, a somewhat sweet pine spicy fruity-ness to it. It’s actually a really interesting and pleasant scent. I’m growing more fond of it by the minute.
So how does it taste? Well, still kind of like water. It has an extremely subtle-but-apparent flavor to it, that may or may not actually just be the scent working it’s way across my tongue. You feel the almost tangy pine flavor in your jaw more than you really taste it on your tongue. There’s a light sweetness to it as well.
It really seems like a lot of work for a flavor that would be eclipsed by ice-water-with-lemon. What I definitely do know now, is that I don’t have to shy away from the juniper berries in any mix I might toss together. They’ll add more to aesthetic value than they would detract from flavor.
So, all in all – I expected a purple cup of pine-death, but ended up with a faint but pleasant scented water. I’ll chalk that up as a win.
This tea deserves a much better review than I can provide it at this exact point in time.
You see, we started drinking this about six hours ago, with the first steep. The flavor was pleasant, very reminiscent of the bailin gongfu I so enjoy from Teavivre. But it was smoother, with a little more of a cocoa taste to it in place of the malty, grainy taste of the bailin. Well, the Laoshan has a grainy taste as well, but it is more mellow.
Then we did a second steeping, and we both started doing some cleaning around the house. The second steeping was a little sweeter, and not noticeably any weaker (I should mention that these are western brewings, not gaiwan). I didn’t get the cinnamon notes, but that could be my own personal lack of refinement ;)
Missy did the third steeping while I was making dinner. Again, that same sweet and smooth taste, with a mild graininess. Quite enjoyable. But I sat down with my nice, char-grilled steak, a warm cup of tea, and started watching Boardwalk empire. Three steeps into this tea, and I never sat down and really thought about what I was tasting with enough detail to write a good, handy tasting note.
I do enjoy this tea quite a bit, all of what I’ve heard of the quality of Verdant’s tea is true. This is a very smooth, very crisp, enjoyable tea.
I’ve got big droopy puppy eyes as I’m writing this review, so I’m going to whine about being tired and writing a short review A SECOND TIME.
I really do love this tea, it’s probably my favorite kangaroo blend. Missy prefers 52teas Melange Rooibos, due to the lacking of ginger. I, however, happen to enjoy ginger.
It’s just spicy, and warm, and tasty, and gosh darn flavorful. Serendipitea really does kangaroo well in a lot of blends.
This is not the vanilla tea you’re looking for.
I’m probably rating this a little harshly, as I’m comparing it to my favorite vanilla tea (Colonille from SerendipiTea). The base tea is less smooth, more of a bite to it. Not exactly astringent, but a little bit of a darker tea flavor. Unfortunately, the vanilla doesn’t come through as powerful or as pleasantly. So, I’m not really terribly fond of this as a vanilla tea. I mean, it’s not terrible. It will probably be decent iced. But, it really has zero chance of supplanting Colonille in my cupboard.
Win some, lose some.
Missy sets a glass of this down in front of me.
Me: Is this swampwater?
Missy: Yeah. It tastes like rocket pops!
Me: Rocket pops?
Missy: Yeah! Those orange and red Popsicles that you used to get. They’re not the same any more.
I take a drink.
Me: Does this have rooibos in it?
Missy: Yeah, green. Why?
Me: It tastes very rooibos-y.
Missy: I don’t think it tastes anything like rooibos.
Missy: I kind of want to keep this around just for the color.
Missy: Wait, what are you typing over there?
This is the appropriately named Swampwater, due to it’s brackish green-brown color. I really wonder if they set out to make this tea brackish and scary, or they thought this flavor might work and someone went “Dude, that will never sell… it looks like swampwater”. I’m guessing the later, but I have zero idea what happens in the DAVIDsTEA tealab. If they don’t call it a tealab, they should.
Anyway, this was another tea I got from the awesome prize package from DaisyChubb and her blog of coolness. It tastes rooibos-y and fruity, a little bit nutty, and looks like abhorrent.
All in all, good times. Not so sure it’s something I’d want to keep around, but it was definitely an interesting experience (and the box it came in has an awesome swampmonster thing, and swamp themed stickers I gave to our daughter)
This is part two of truly attempting to understand the herbs and flavorings that I think I know. Spearmint.
From the bag, the loose leaf smells less potent than peppermint. It is a softer, more luxurious smell. It’s cool and refreshing, but with less of the bite that you receive from the peppermint. More relaxed, it attempts to impress rather than intimidate.
Steeped, the liquor is a yellow-amber, almost golden. I was still expecting green. Call me crazy.
The flavor has a sweet, foresty taste to it. It is lush and smooth, but without the pine tang of the peppermint. It’s softer. Flavorful, but not powerful. There is a light, soothing coolness to the flavor, and a sweet candy flavor to the finish.
Part of my whole basis for these experiments I am doing is to make myself more aware of when I “guess” at flavors, instead of actually experiencing them. One of those “guesses” that I think I need to throw out of the window… is my love for spearmint. I’ve always thought spearmint was my favorite. But really, after having a steaming cup of peppermint vs a steaming cup of spearmint, all alone… Peppermint definitely takes the cake.
Part of this has to do with the fact that… spearmint is evidently more prevalent in most of my dental products than I thought. As much as I sat and tried to drink this with an open mind… I thought of mouthwash. I thought of toothpaste. I thought of mint waxed dental floss. I swear in my head that flavor was a candied peppermint, but no, evidently it’s spearmint.
Now, I’m not saying this flavor doesn’t belong places… but I really think that I want it in a slightly lesser abundance than the peppermint. Maybe 60/40.