107 Tasting Notes
I keep being disappointed by flavoured herbals. I keep seeing people say things like, “It tastes just like [thingummy]!” and it never, ever does. Not to me, anyway. Being flavoured like something doesn’t usually mean that it tastes just like that thing. It just means that the flavour is reminiscent of that thing. Am I being too picky? Probably. I mean, if something tasted just like [thingummy], it probably would be [thingummy].
Anyway. This tea. It’s supposed to taste “just like” a pina colada. It does not. It just tastes very similar to a pina colada. But really, once you get over the disappointment, it’s actually an impressively close imitation.
The dry smell is amazing. Bang-on pina coladas, basically. Nothing less!
The taste is a bit weak. I discovered that this tea is chunky enough that the 26g I bought basically make one pitcher at best, so it could be that I really needed more of it. But I cold-steeped it for 14 hours, and my first impression was that it tasted very, very much like a pina colada at the back, but was a bit weak at the front. I also felt that I really needed to put too much sugar in it to bring forward the tastes that I wanted – there’s something a wee bit tart (the apple?) at the forefront of the taste that I did not care for. I originally added what I felt was (accidentally) too much honey to the pitcher before I placed it in the fridge to steep, and still added white sugar when I went to drink it by the cup. Still, it’s a re-purchase, even a tin or two’s worth.
I also discovered that it’s really amazing with the addition of (what else?) rum and some half-and-half. I certainly can’t add the rum to my work Timolino tomorrow, but I’m seriously debating the cream.
So I once posted that this one makes for a decent liquid orange creamsicle if you cold-steep it for hours, then add plenty of white sugar and milk.
Well, I take it back.
I cold-steeped this last night with some sugar and went to add milk this morning. Then I spotted the half-and-half beside the milk and thought…well… CREAMsicle. And (crazily?) used half-and-half instead.
Oooh! I’ll be doing that from now on.
This tea. I don’t know if it’s all that exciting all by itself. I haven’t had it as anything other than a “liquid orange creamsicle” for a while now for that reason. But late last night, I was steeping up a mixture of David’s Chocolate Cake and David’s Glitter & Gold when I suddenly thought (too late), “What about a cinnamon chocolate cake with orange peel frosting?!”
Yeah. I think I actually will stock up on this at some point in the future, as it hadn’t occurred to me to mix with other teas before. But now I’m curious!
First impression, anyway.
What to say about this one? I ordered it some weeks back from Verdant, along with an oolong, and received a sample of Yunnan Golden buds with my order and a nice note from David. Of the three, the only one I have tried (but sadly not reviewed yet) is the Yunnan, which blew me away with sheer awesomeness. After that, I had high, high hopes for this one, as I’m new to pu-erh and I wanted this to be the great introduction to pu-erh it supposedly is. Plus, I absolutely love corn on the cob – it is just about my favourite food in the entire world.
Even though this is one I would have normally brewed in a gaiwan, I chose to steep it Western style in my Perfect Mug; mainly because my family is taking up the kitchen and I couldn’t be in and out heating small amounts of water at a time. I also put a small amount of sugar in it, because I’m a chicken. I suspect both were tragic mistakes.
First off, the wet smell is incredibly intense. People say this smells like buttered popcorn. I guess I can see how most would say that, but to me the only association I was initially making was baking bread. It’s strong and earthy. That was completely okay with me, a very, very pleasant smell.
Then I got close to the cup and sniffed again. And very suddenly, a very different, totally unexpected and completely unwelcome scent association took over.
You see…when I was little, I wanted to work at the zoo. There were a few people working at our local zoo who sort of recognized me as a bright, curious kid with some learning issues (rather obviously ADD), and they tried to encourage me as much as they could. At some risk to their jobs, they snuck me into back areas only staff and researchers were supposed to see, they let me feed all sorts of animals (including hippos and alligators), and they eventually let me take over some snake demos in the Reptile House.
The Reptile House was my favourite, and I wanted to work there when I grew up. I was obsessed with it, and my father spent the summer I was nine obligingly taking me to the zoo every week where I spent hours in the Reptile House alone. I spent much of my time there running around, butting in on families before my father could catch me and excitedly lecturing the other visitors about the reptiles, as well as impulsively pre-empting the actual staff trying to give demonstrations… Until they finally just wrapped a snake around my body and let me temporarily take over the live snake lectures/demos in the house. (“Yes, you can touch him. Don’t worry, he’s not a dangerous variety. No, he’s not slimy! Feel, he’s dry and leathery. See? Look, if you stroke his underbelly, he’s very soft and ticklish.”) I don’t think they even are allowed to do that anymore, to protect the creatures.
But yes, the zoo. The smell of the zoo! I loved it. The straw, the dung, and especially the smell of the Reptile House – hot and muggy and musty.
At the time. At the time, I loved it.
But I don’t want to smell straw, dung and reptile swampwater in tea, and suddenly I did. Still can. It flips my stomach every time I bring the cup to my mouth, and I only wish I had just kept smelling bread.
The taste. Well, I don’t know. It’s quite light. I didn’t taste corn at all at first. As the cup cooled, I finally started to taste something quite similar to corn. Although it certainly isn’t overwhelmingly corn-y. I don’t eat grocery store corn, mind you, I wait all year for the juicy stuff brought straight from the fields that day. So I’m sure my expectations for a corn taste were way, way too high. Beneath that is an earthy taste I’m sure is the tea itself. I’m not sure what sort of tastes I might have killed by fearfully adding sugar; although I will also point out that since I only eat corn rolled in butter, pepper and seasoning salt, I added a pinch of both salt and pepper to the latter half of this cup and that certainly made for an interesting profile which is maybe even closer to corn on the cob in my mind.
I don’t know. I’m not at all sure how I feel about this. I think I need to try it a few more times, as well as in a gaiwan and clear before I will feel comfortable giving it a tentative rating.
So I had a huge meal of perogies, onion and mushrooms tonight, and – comfort food or not – my stomach was protesting mightily. One of those situations where you accidentally made more food than you can comfortably eat, but it’s not going to keep well so you eat it anyway. I remembered that I have this one in my cupboard, so I ran for it.
I recall looking up the reviews for this ages back when I was considering getting it, and saw Tina S.’s review which described this tea as “watered down samosa.” And that’s a pretty good description of it – particularly when you don’t steep it long enough. Luckily, I love samosas! So I gave it a shot.
The first time I tried this, I had no idea what sort of parameters you’d need for kitchen spices(!), so I stuck to the minimum on the bag, which is 4 minutes. Yeah. Forget that, unless you like the taste of water that cuddled up to a microwaveable package of Indian curry. This one needs to steep long time. At least the 7 minute “maximum” suggested on the package.
I double the amount of sugar I normally use for this cup. Might sound strange, but I find that the sugar blends well with the natural sweetness to this tea, which I assume is mostly brought about by the fennel at the forefront…followed by the coriander, with cumin coming in at the back.
Most importantly though (because while it’s not unpleasant at all, this is hardly a tea I’d reach for under normal circumstances), it actually works. Really. Does exactly what it says on the tin – I started sipping it, and my stomach started to settle and stop aching almost immediately! Okay taste, but five stars for “benefits.”
I got back to this one today, and still don’t know if I want to rate it. Do I even like oolongs? I don’t know if I have enough experience to know, and I’m not at all convinced after drinking this.
Brewed this gong fu style today, starting at 45 seconds and increasing by 30 seconds. I got up to three infusions and gave up – partially because I had to stop filling my bladder with tea a reasonable amount of time before I had to go to work, and partially because this was still just bloody boring at three infusions. What the heck is it supposed to taste like? Because it tastes like water glanced coyly at a sexy piece of tea. There’s almost something there, but – nope, not happening. Tea-scented water.
Maybe I’ll try it Western style? I mean, I have 50g of the stuff, I hope I find a way to like it. It’s not that I dislike it, mind, it’s just…pretty meh.
I got this a while back from Teaopia when I was eying the Wellness tins that I couldn’t afford, and the manager (always so nice to me, and so sweet and helpful – always tries to meet my needs rather than “sell” me something, and I’m heartbroken for her and my buddies who work there over the Teavana takeover thing) sold me this one as a cheaper alternative. I was thrilled to see it has raspberry leaf in it (psst, birdies tell me it’s good for menstrual cramps…) so I took it home to my family with high hopes for it.
It smells amazing, if you ask me. My mother told me that she thinks it smells like Halls lemon cough drops; which I suppose it does, although I personally think that’s a nice smell. It also reminds me faintly of some sort of candy; I suspect something from my childhood that I can no longer consciously recall. I love the smell of this tea, anyway, and huff in the bag a lot as a result.
I just wish it tasted better.
Not that it tastes bad, exactly. It’s light and inoffensive. Vaguely lemony. Vaguely fruity. Vaguely floral. Aggressively mediocre.
I doesn’t taste to me like it has anything artificial added to it, I suppose. Not that I’m generally the person to ask, as I mentally translate “artificial flavouring” as “the stuff in food that tastes good.” I would think that this would be sweeter or something if it had any added flavouring, anyway. As it is, it is just…herbal tea. Would you like some herbal tea? Get your herbal tea right here. This is pretty…herbal.
I drink it for the small amount of health benefits, anyway. It is frequently my “work” tea that I take in my Timolino. I spend so much time on till that I don’t tend to get a lot of chances to drink or enjoy any tea that I bring before it starts to cool…however, I do always need something to sip between customers and keep myself hydrated and my mouth wet enough to talk a lot. So I’ve often committed this year to making it this one. I don’t mind “wasting” the portions that I toss when they go cold, but I figure that if I have to sip at something I don’t really get to savour, it might as well be this Wellness tea.
And hopefully I get some benefit out of it!
Feel free to leave the leaves in if you don’t have time to remove them.
Another pitcher test, cold-brewed for 10 hours. I have tried this one hot, and didn’t care for it all that much, but decided to give it a go as an iced tea. Since this is a “kid’s” tea, I’m going to use most of this review to look at the tea in that light.
The smell of this is overwhelmingly cherry and sweet. Basically, it’s got a cherry-candy scent to it which is actually very appealing – everyone in the house who has smelled it said, “yum!” If I were a child, I can see myself insisting on drinking this one first out of the four in the kid’s pack based on the smell alone, because I was a sweet freak as a kid. (Hey, I’m a sweet freak now.) Definitely a smell that would appeal to children.
Taste-wise? Well, it definitely needs sugar if you’re planning to sell this to kids over something like Kool-Aid. Still, I put a third of a cup of white sugar in 1.6L of this, and I think it would be a hit. I mean, I used to work in fast food, and I was surprised by the sheer number of kids who, when given a choice, enthusiastically picked iced tea over root beer or Pepsi for their kiddie combo. I think if a kid likes fountain iced tea, they’re going to love this.
Cold-brewed, it’s smooth and fresh and fruity – I think I mostly pick up apples first, and then something else. Maybe it’s the cranberries. I’m not sure. It’s kind of reminiscent of cherry Kool-Aid, especially at the back of the taste. But it’s noticeably more refreshing.
I definitely need to pick up more of this! They were selling huge bags of the kid’s teas on clearance at Teaopia recently, and I didn’t pick one up because I hadn’t discovered how awesome they are iced! The only other way to get them is in that little gift set, which only makes about two, maybe three pitchers per tea. Really, what a shame. Oh well.
I bought this pitcher from Teaopia several days ago because I was thinking that I wanted to give iced tea more of a go this summer, and this one was $20 and it was their last one. I considered the $28 dollar one – the one with the soft green handle, which was also their last – but reconsidered due to the price. Good thing I did, because this one barely fits in my refrigerator, and I’m pretty sure the green-handled one is taller.
I love it! So happy about it. The first tea I tried was a mixture. I didn’t/don’t have a ton of teas good for icing, but I knew I had at least a bit of DAVID’s Luscious Watermelon left. As it turned out, only about half the amount necessary, so I cut it with Apple Pear (from Teaopia, it’s one of the teas in the kid’s pack). Cold steeped it for about 10 hours.
It was amazing, very sweet and melon-y. I have a confession… I have never liked Luscious Watermelon. Ever. I ended up with a tin of it and could barely drink the stuff. Hot or cold. But now that I finally get the hang of iced tea down, I discover it’s drinkable, and I’m out! Go figure!
AND MY SISTER EVEN DRANK SOME!! …But then she criticized me for not sweetening it (I was adding sugar to individual cups of it, as I wasn’t sure how much to add to the pitcher at first). Then she declared cold brewing (which I love, because it makes the iced tea smoother) to be “stupid” and insisted, “that’s not the way you’re supposed to make iced tea.” Sigh. One step forward, two steps back – I don’t think she’s had any of the pitchers I’ve made since.
There are a few downsides to the cheaper pitcher. Firstly, it is not leakproof, whether or not you have the filter in. I tested this. It made a mess.
Secondly, while it certainly hasn’t broken yet…I’m pretty sure it’s glass, and it makes a cringe-worthy noise when you smack it into something. Which I do frequently, because I’m a klutz. I wish it was made of a more durable material. It’s so pretty, though! Here’s someone else’s review with more pictures: http://lifeovereasy.com/2012/01/tea-please/
(EDIT: Yes, duh, it’s glass. I looked that up when I entered it as “glass pitcher” into the system – that’s all Teaopia calls it – and somehow had already forgotten that by the time I made this note. Yeah. Uh. It’s assuredly made of glass.)
I’ve been thinking about a cast iron pot. I’ve sorta vaguely wanted one for a while, but never bought one as I’d thought I had all the time in the world to save up for one. Now that Teavana’s bought out Teaopia though, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t put down the cash for a smaller one, just because Teahell’s pots start at twice the price for the same size or smaller! Should I do it?
Anyway. I’m nervous about icing green tea, but I have DAVID’s Kiwi’s Big Adventure cold brewing now, so I’ll have to see!
God, I am so behind. So, so behind. I’ve added who-knows-how-many teas to my cupboard in the last few months, and reviewed none of them, including all the ones that came in the mail! Shucks!
But my exams are over and done with, and it will be a few days before my workplace gives me more hours (they used to do the next week’s schedule on a Thursday, and now they seem to be doing the schedule a week and a half in advance, which is actually really annoying for a last-minute changes person like me), so I have some time in which to relax, drink and review some tea!
This one is awesome. My favourite of Frank’s teas so far after Pancake Breakfast. Too bad it’s not a permanent one, so I’ll have to look for other teas out there that are similar.
Dry, this smells… Hell, I’m not sure what it smells like. Tea, obviously, but there’s something to it that makes me think “powered candy,” which is an odd thought. There’s also something to the smell which just seems to be distinctive to Frank, like I can smell it in all of his blends. But I don’t know what it is.
I brewed this one up hot, and put it in the fridge for several hours to cool. I have posted before that I’m not the biggest fan of iced tea at all – I vastly prefer most teas hot. Even teas which every reviewer says is, “better cold,” I generally still prefer piping hot.
This one, however, I chose to order because I was anticipating the hot, hot weather which is coming. It’s not here yet, of course – we are still experiencing lovely wet April snowstorms every few days. But it will be. And this one I heard is good iced. So I took a leap of faith.
And is it ever amazing! I realize that I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever actually had strawberry lemonade. But this is light and crisp on top, with strawberry underneath, and the tea taste sits well in the background…which is exactly how I’d want it for a cold tea. It’s incredibly refreshing and chuggable, which is my high watermark for cold drinks – I must be able to chug them to really enjoy them. Feel free to find that strange, but it it is my preference!
Aaaaand, it also makes an awesome syrup for cheesecake! It’s more watery than I expected, and very sweet. But then, very sweet is how I like it. The best part about how liquid it is is that the crust soaks up a lot of it! Recipe courtesy DAVIDsTEA:
-6 teaspoons of tea
-1 cup water
-1 cup sugar
Brew the tea in the water as you normally would, then strain the tea into a small saucepan. Slowly stir in the sugar and simmer on medium-low for 10-15 minutes.
When I have more energy I swear I will get back to reviews. I not only have my last 52teas order to review (which arrived about the time my computer went down, I think), but my Verdant order arrived on Friday too!