1555 Tasting Notes
Found this in my travel tea bag! Not sure how old this is, but it’s probably had several birthdays by now. The genmaicha is going strong flavor wise, but it feels like any other flavors left long ago. It’s a little creamier in the finish than I’d expect from a gen and I’m attributing that to the cashew. I really don’t get any salted oatmeal cookie though. I wish I had made a tasting note for this when I first tried it so I had a good comparison of fresh and aged.
Almonds and vanilla?! I’m in! I was sad to see this wasn’t available when I placed a Harney’s order, but on a recent stop at a farmer market type store in the middle of California I found four types of Harney’s holiday teas in the tin on sale. Kinda wish I had passed it up. Harney’s is one of those companies that I don’t like most of their teas. I’ve only found two so far that I liked enough to buy again. The whole cup is just so light. The almond is faint. It’s a passive baked cinnamon flavor. The whole thing is just so boring. Maybe it’s just my mood. I was really hoping for a tea to pick me up and this is not that cup.
I’m trying to like this, but I keep going back and forth about how I feel about this cup. Some sips seem really boring and others seems like they have the potential to be interesting. The flavors are a little artificial at times and that is distracting. I can sometimes get a malty undertone that is nice, but a slight tingly sensation in the back of my throat that I associate with artificial flavoring pulls me away from the nice malt. The finish starts out a little flat and then drifts off into something more pleasant. A mixture of nuts and a light hint of chocolate. Is it the Harney chocolate flavor that is ruining another of their blends for me again? It really makes me want a cup of a Theodor hazelnut blend who’s name escapes me now.
I’m sorry Florence, but I really don’t have time for this back and forth kind of relationship. Off to the reject bin you go. Go on with you.
I have been searching for a replacement almond tea for some time. It’s been a journey. First it was falling in love with Teavana’s Almond Biscotti, then turning to Butiki’s Almond Indulgence, then turning to American Tea Room’s Brioche, then….. emptiness. Each tea is discontinued and/or the company goes out of business and the search starts over again. I love a good cinnamon almond black so much that I need to go full hoard mode next time I fall hard in love and just have a bathtub full of it so I never run out.
Anyways… I feel like this tea is close, but not * quite * there. The leaves are much larger than any of the other blends I mentioned. It does have a good cinnamon almond flavor to it, but I feel like it’s missing some depth that I can’t quite put my finger on. It smells really good. It tastes pretty good too, but it feels like it’s almost, but not quite there. It makes me a little crazy that I can’t quite pin the difference. I like this tea and it will for sure patch a hole for now, but it doesn’t quite fill it for me. Thank you to Mastress Alita for pointing me in the direction of this tea!!!
On a side note, I was marveling the other day between the difference of French almond and American almond flavoring styles in tea. I feel like American almond is more of a baked heavy prominent rich almond often paired with cinnamon while French almond is more light aromatic marzipan fresh and paired with fruit. I lean more towards the American, but I do enjoy the French versions as well.
Is this really only the second time I have had a cup of this in 9 months? It’s a tart cherry for sure, but if I don’t sip frequently I get an earthy alkaline taste that is distracting. Is it the hibiscus? I really want to love this, but I have too many teas to work on building a relationship with this one.
I used flaxmilk for this cup and I’m uncertain if that was the right choice. It didn’t froth up which was a bit of a disappointment. I used two spoonfuls because one wasn’t a rich enough flavor. I guess this tastes a little custardy, but I don’t quite get eggnog. I don’t taste any nutmeg and creamy nutmeg is prime eggnog flavor to me. I don’t dislike this, but it’s not what I expected from the name. I pickup a light warm cinnamon. If the cinnamon was stronger it could pass as an horchata matcha which would be fun. I suppose I could add either spice to future cups for the desired effect.
As it is, this cup is now gone and there is a syrup tasting experiment going on in my kitchen that I need to attend. One of the tiny roommates bought an overpriced bottle of Aunt Jemima high fructose corn syrup and in an effort to educate about the difference between that bottle of cancer and pure maple syrup (by now you can see my elite maple syrup snobbery shining through clearly) we are holding a taste test before the poor auntie gets tipped down the drain and real maple syrup once again reigns supreme in this house. So say we all!
I found half a serving left of this tea hidden in a back part of my tea cupboard where I usually store empty tins! I decided to steep a cup of Fusion Tea’s Lemon Meringue to compare it to, which has been the closest match I’ve found so far. The Butiki is a little dusty tasting, which is too be expected with it’s age, but it also has that light baked lemon… almost lemongrass and marshmallow creamy taste to it. The more frequently I sip the less I notice the dusty flavor and the sooner the lemon comes out, lingering long into the finish.
The Fusion has a much sharper greener scent to it, unlike the cloud like ethereal Butiki blend. The sharpness comes through in the flavor, but it also has some of that marshmallow like creaminess as well. There is something tangibly sweeter in the Fusion blend. They are very similar and it’s hard to truly compare a blend that is years old to one that is fresh and new. I love the Butiki blend more, but the Fusion is a decent replacement. I do wonder if adding cream flavoring or marshmallow root or almond would make it a closer match.
This tea is like a decade old. It’s not as delicious as I recall, but I have a much more established aversion to red rooibos. Still… I like it. A little bit of chocolate with a coffee depth too it and orange in the high notes. All that drowns out the rooibos and I’m not even left with that annoying dry woody feeling in my mouth. I have a few more cups worth of this that have been hiding in the back of my cupboard for safekeeping. I had been unwilling to finish it off as it was one of my early favorites and introductions to loose leaf. I think I’m ready now.
My last ever cup of this tea! (perfect spot for a crying emoji) The orange is gone, the chocolate chips were hairy and haven’t carried much flavor into the cup, but the tea is still holding strong. Those fuzzy little black and tan curls still deliver such a nice smooth malty taste. I’m noticing a hint of orange in the finish, like a ghost. So long, three friends and thanks for all the licorice.
I went into my local market hoping to find Hella Tea in stock only to find some hella empty shelves so I bought a box of this as a consolation. I thought this was a tea with oak bark in it, but it’s only oak bark in the ingredients. It smells very puer like with that rich wet and watery earth fragrance. It kinda tastes like it too! The first few sips were like a watery alkaline puer, but the alkaline part mellows some sips in. It’s not as heavy as tea is. It’s flavorful, but lighter at the same time. I’m not a huge pure puer fan. I can drink and enjoy a plain puer, but I prefer flavored puers where they add a depth to the overall profile, like in Lupicia’s Chocolate Strawberry Puer. That said, I’d love to see what else they could do with white oak bark to make a cup that is more complex and exciting. We’ll see if this makes it’s way into my normal evening rotation.