255 Tasting Notes
On my second visit to the Prince George location of David’s Tea, I had requested suggestions of new teas for the season, which I have not yet tried.
Again, normally, I wouldn’t be interested in a rooibos blend, especially if it is mainly rooibos; but, it’s scent had enticed me. The leaves give off a ridiculously coconutty aroma, with hints of sweet spices.
Unfortunately, it is still predominately rooibos, as it is a rooibos blend, so upon steeping, the leaves are very red, and the cloudy liquor’s aroma is very rooibos. To be safe, I added half a teaspoon of rock sugar.
The flavor is surprising, as I had expected to taste rooibos. The spices and ginger are very present and very delicious, as is the coconut. There is a certain pale grounding to the flavor, which the rock sugar has sweetened to be less distracting.
I was extremely surprised, as I had not expected this to be as good as it is. The spices give it an appropriate kick, but the blend overall really works to take you to a very alpine place.
Oolong tea can already have a strong scent, which is usually woody. This oolong is combined with ginseng, which makes for an extremely strong dry leaf scent. The rolled leaves have a soft and powdery texture, which gives an interesting appearance with it’s dirty green color.
Steeping provides a less ginseng and more wooden oolong aroma, with a wonderfully deep and clear bamboo tone.
The flavor does have a familiar woody oolong, with a bit of sweet aftertaste that creeps up behind your tongue. It is quite strange, as it is almost a biting sweetness that, at times, can extend to the back of the roof of your mouth.
Aside from the sweet biting aftertaste, this is an oolong without any surprises.
The instant you open it’s packaging, the light and almost fresh scent of mandarin oranges brush upon your face. It is an interesting aroma, not quite as strong as I had imagined it would be.
The leaves are lightly contained within the mandarin orange peel. It is so light that upon opening the peel, the leaves just fall right out. The peel gives a dark detail, which mimics the tea leaves.
Steeping gives a familiar and very strong earth aroma to the wet leaves. The leaves themselves held together quite nicely after steeping, although I can see some twigs.
The liquor itself is also extremely earthy, in both scent and appearance, very clear with an extremely deep reddish tone.
Although I cannot find the sweet oranges, the strong earthy and damp moss flavors are very prominent. It is quite refreshing and such a great delight.
Normally, some stores do not carry full leaf tea, as it is a particular market. In a rural area such as here, stores tend to carry what most of the customers buy, which are tea bags.
It was a little surprising to see more full leaf tea being stocked around here. It is quite surprising itself that a store which sells products for full leaf tea doesn’t necessarily sell full leaf tea.
During the last minute holiday rush, I found more tea leaves to try, which included this one. It is a strange brand, as I could not even find it listed here. The tin design is reminiscent old tea tins, complete with a printing of a mountain and plantation photo.
The leaves are rolled, much like Twinnings’ gunpowder green tea, but without a strong aroma. Very wooden, with a tinge of freshness.
As directed on the tin, I rinsed the leaves with boiling water for about two seconds before the initial steeping. Beyond that, I followed my own experience of green tea infusion and cooled the water for a bit before steeping for a minute.
The liquor is a stronger wooden and fresh scent, with a lean toward the vegetal side. It is a deep auburn color, and very clean.
The flavor is that of the aroma, which is vegetal, a little wooden and fresh. There is a light astringency, but overall is very clean.
For the price, this is a nice tea. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but a good clean cup would make this tea a pleasant discovery.
Knowing the pale and bitter truth, I decided to steep with less time, and add equal amounts of rock sugar.
The result: a less bitter, less pale, sweeter chai. There is a certain quality to it that gives a simple strong flavor. Very dark and oddly powdery.
Despite, it is still bitter and pale. The sugar improved, but just slightly.
I had just found this tea place called Empress Tea House, hidden away within Prince George on Nicholson Street. Despite being located quite near to Pine Center mall, it was an adventure to find it, especially in the late 2012 snowfall.
Apparently, they have been there for close to six years, but their website shows them established in 2004, which is more close to ten years. Despite, I had never heard of this place until I asked a taxi driver if there were more tea places other than David’s Tea in Pine Center.
The word penetrating doesn’t come up describing teas often, and seeing as I haven’t really purchased a chai in quite a long while, this particular one intrigued me.
The leaves give off a fairly familiar Masala chai scent, not as strong as I would anticipate, but strong nonetheless. Rose pedals concern me, as I associate that to a pale flavor, but it doesn’t seem to be present in the leaves’ aroma, which left me slightly reassured.
Steeping the leaves, though, brings out that hidden pale floral scent. I had also forgotten to add maybe equal amounts of rock sugar, so let’s hope the penetrating spices penetrate the unnecessities.
The first initial sips reaffirm my concerns. This chai is not penetrating enough. The pale characteristics overwhelm a potentially interesting blend of spicy and “sensuous” ingredients, as the flavor is attempting strength, but ultimately cannot go further.
I would expect rock sugar would improve the dull flavor, but probably not by much.
It is a shame; a good chai, the right chai, can be hard to find.
I’m glad I decided to only buy a bag of about 50g of this tea. As much as I had initially loved this, it has eventually become pale and not very buttery at all.
The leaves’ aroma still gives off the impression that this will be a very creamy and full flavored black tea, but comes off flat, unnecessarily bitter and just not close to it’s description at all.
The fact that this tea will only be half as buttery with an equal or more amount of sugar added doesn’t help. As much as I love a sweetened tea, straight tea is better. But, if required, the less sugar the better.
It’s quite unfortunate, as it still seems nothing can and will compare to the holiest of holies, Teavana’s Almond Biscotti.
I bought this tea before trying it at David’s Tea Prince George location. I really liked it’s leaves scent, and I have recently taken a liking to blood orange.
I don’t think it was steeped that long when I first tried it, which was my fault as I was trying it while in the Pine Center mall. Strangely, the brew’s scent wasn’t as strong as it is in my cup at the office either, so it might not entirely be my fault.
In any case, the blood orange and citrus scents are very prevalent and extremely tangy. The liquor gives a very handsome and very deep copper color.
The flavor is that of it’s scent, a full and tangy citrus blend. The grapefruit seems to be the most recognizable, which is not a bad thing considering how much I also like grapefruit. Thankfully, the licorice root doesn’t seem out of place, possibly balancing out the citrus with the pu’erh. The two flavor extremes could clash with one another but don’t seem to at all here.
This is possibly the best orange blend tea I can remember having. The leaves’ scent had my curiosity, but the flavor now has my attention.
I don’t drink enough vanilla teas, as the strong and delicious cookie scent had caught me by surprise. You can practically smell your bites into soft and decadent sweet cookies, with an extremely well balance of vanilla and coconut.
Unfortunately, as you steep the leaves, the sweet decadent cookie aroma fades into a just as sweet and slightly more nutty, but clearly pale scent. This now worries me. Thankfully, and with knowledge of experience with most flavored black teas, I had added equal amounts of rock sugar to the leaves; this should help the vanilla and coconut maintain their cookie flavor.
And, indeed, it has. The tea can be sweet, with the vanilla and coconut helping to keep the pale black tea under control. The pale flavor is there, but not as prominent as the other flavors.
I am a bit relieved that I would not be entirely disappointed with this tea, but maybe a half teaspoon of rock sugar would suffice next time. I cannot see myself steeping the leaves a second time, as the paleness tells me this black tea will only maintain its full flavor on the initial steep.
But, a still sweet and slightly decadent tea before lunch, and during these stressful holidays, is great nonetheless.
I could not recall at the top of my head the last time I’ve had Darjeeling tea. Looking through my tea log, it appears it has been 6 months since my last steep of Darjeeling tea, which is quite surprising considering how much I love Darjeeling tea.
There is a very musty, toasted aroma to the dark brown and black leaves, with a very light woody scent. Steeping gives a similar scent, more woody than toasted, but still musty, and floral.
The flavor brings out a more floral taste, giving it a more delicate body. Any astringency compliments the light toasted notes, almost giving it a buttery flavor.
It is a little too delicate to be a morning tea, but as an early or late afternoon tea, this would be perfect.