620 Tasting Notes
This was one of two teas I got for my birthday from my parents, the other being the Pink Grapefruit and Orange cold infusion which I haven’t tried yet. I was curious about these because the instructions say that you only have to use one teabag for 500ml, and you only have to leave it in for 5 minutes. How could that be possible?? I have no idea if it’s true or not, because I left my teabag in the water bottle for a few hours like I would with any cold brew. Maybe I’ll try it the recommended way later. As soon as it started steeping I was hit with a delicious apple scent, more like a hard-boiled sweet than fresh apple. It’s by far the most prominent note in flavour, too, but not quite the level of sweet or artificial I was expecting from the scent. There’s a minty background which adds a really refreshing twist, but I didn’t notice the cucumber at all. There was a slight waxy note I didn’t love, although that could be my fault for leaving the teabag in for so long. I left the bag in as I drank it and refilled my water bottle after I finished, which I then left in the fridge overnight. The flavour of this second steep was a little more delicate, but still pretty flavourful, and less waxy so overall I think I preferred the resteep. I was hesitant to try these when I first saw them in the shops because it seemed like a gimmick, and quite expensive for what amounts to 12 teabags. I’m glad I got some for my birthday though because I’m actually quite impressed, and on the strength of this one would consider picking up a couple more flavours to try. The watermelon one is calling my name!
I’m not sure why this tea has so many low ratings! I really like it, but I am a big fan of peach and jasmine in general so I might be biased. I’m surprised with how well they go together in this blend, actually – even though I love both flavours, they’re not ones I would usually pair together. But it works! I really like the blend of white and green tea, too. More body than a white tea usually has, but without the grassy/vegetal sharpness of a green. Bird and Blend’s ‘Nearly Nirvana’ uses a white and green mix with jasmine too, but that one has spearmint instead of peach, and that’s another one I’m a big fan of. I guess it’s a combo I like. A lot of the reviews of this tea mention an overwhelming floral, but that’s not what I’ve found. To me, the front of this is all juicy peach, with the jasmine coming up second as a sort of floral mist in a way that elevates the peach without taking over. The peach lingers longest after the sip, too. I would say that maybe it’s age, because I’ve had this for a good couple of years now, but I remember it being very peach-forward when I first tried it fresh, too. Maybe I just got a good batch.
I finished off my oldest two Bird&Blend teas together, the only ones I had left that still had the old Bluebird branding and ‘packed by Teabird Mike’ on the front. One of them, Dark Choc Chilli Chai, I was holding on to because I really liked it. The other, Terry’s Tea, I was holding onto because I strongly disliked it and really didn’t want to finish it. Originally the plan was to brew them together extra strong and turn it into a latte, but when I tipped out the rest of the pouch of Dark Choc Chilli Chai it turned out a lot of what was left was chocolate flakes rather than tea. I didn’t think it would be strong enough to latte, so I’m drinking it black instead.
As you might expect from combining a tea you love and one you hate, the resulting cup is okay to middling. The DCCC adds a rich chocolate note which Terry’s was missing, and the spices sort of overpower the hibiscus, which I think might be the main reason I didn’t like Terry’s Tea to begin with. The oily, artificial orange note I didn’t like in Terry’s is still present enough to make this cup less enjoyable, but essentially what I’m getting is a decent cup of tea with an unpleasant sour orange note which doesn’t linger (unlike the delicious chocolate and chilli heat from the DCCC). Considering I didn’t have enough of the DCCC left to fully enjoy my final cup, I think I made the right decision in using it to make my final cup of Terry’s Tea more palatable. Final rating for the combo: 56.
Dark Choc Chilli Chai has gone back on my wishlist, to be replenished as soon as I allow myself to place a B&B order, while Terry’s Tea languishes in a pit of Never Again.
DOUBLE SIPDOWN!!! bringing me to 240/400.
Sipdown! I’ve been waiting for my birthday to finish this off, and now it’s a double (edit: triple!) celebration because it’s Martin ’s birthday too! Edit: And Teatotaler ’s!
This was never really a favourite of mine because it’s essentially vanilla, but this time around I overleafed slightly to finish off my sample and it actually made quite a difference to my enjoyment level. It’s still not something I’m sad about losing, but I could actually taste something cake-like and not just herbal vanilla, which is what I normally get from this. Unfortunately I overdosed on cake today so I wasn’t really in the mood for more, haha! My aunty, who used to work in a bakery and makes all our birthday cakes, gave me a gorgeous light chocolate sponge filled with fresh cream and strawberries. I had a giant slab of it, and I’m not exaggerating. My mam also made a slow cooker self-saucing chocolate pudding, just as an experiment, and I was of course obliged to have a bowl of that with plenty of cream. To top it off, my partner’s parents turned up with my present from them at lunch time – afternoon tea! A huge tray full of sandwiches, quiche, sausage rolls, a scone, and various dessert treats. It was so thoughtful of them and I of course had to sample everything, before sharing the rest with my parents and grandparents. As a result I am all caked out! And possibly won’t eat again for the rest of the week. Totally worth it though. I’m having a much better birthday in quarantine than I expected! Bumping my rating ever so slightly from 60 to reflect the cakiness.
Cold brewed for a shorter steep than I usually do, because I got some of those newish Twinings cold steep teabags for my birthday and wanted to try them out. I’m actually pretty pleased with the level of flavour this has after only a couple of hours. Judging by other reviews I was expecting a hit of lime and not much tequila, but actually there’s a pretty strong tequila note right up front and centre! The lime is definitely quite strong, don’t get me wrong, but the first thing I notice is the tequila and then the lime follows it up. They work really, really well together and blend well with the Hyson base, which has a nice smoky presence without overpowering the tequila and lime. I think maybe I got lucky and hit onto the perfect steep time to bring out the tequila without it getting lost to the lime. Yay for happy accidents!
First cup of the day to wake me up, more than for the flavour itself. It’s set to be the hottest day of the year here too, so it might also be my only hot tea of the day. Actually, I received quite a few bottles of grown up juice for my birthday so it might be my only tea of the day full stop! It’s weird having a birthday in lockdown, I can’t see my friends or my family and I can’t go out to celebrate. I’m spending most of the day doing online training, so it doesn’t really feel like a birthday at all. I did get a couple of novel cold brew teas as presents, so maybe I’ll make one of those later to cool down while I’m working.
There were quite a few pieces of ginger floating around the infuser while this was steeping, which made me nervous because historically ginger and I don’t get on so well. It is very strong, and definitely the overriding note of this chai, but it actually works pretty well with the tart apple and robust black tea, so I’m not mad at it. Like most of Adagio’s black teas, I added milk to temper the astringency. Not bad if you like heavily spiced chais, but for my it’s just too ginger-heavy to drink often.
Cold brew sipdown! (237/400)
I only drank this hot once, when I first got it, and don’t remember much if anything about it. I was hesitant to try a cold brew because it would use up the rest of my sample and I wouldn’t be able to give a note of the tea hot, which is usually the first way I like to review a tea, but I am so glad I went for it because this makes a fantastic cold brew! I actually think because of the tart citrus and cool menthol it wouldn’t be that great hot, and I think I’ve made the right choice. It smells like sherbet (the fizzy sweet kind, not the American kind), and it’s a glorious pink shade befitting the name. This makes me think that hibiscus is present in a level which would have ruined this as a hot brew. Iced, it’s tart but it has some natural sweetness to it too, which makes it refreshing and gulpable at the same time. A medley of citrus notes are most prominent, leading into a slightly herbaceous, cooling eucalyptus note at the end of the sip which lingers at the back of the throat. I’d love to try making this into a cocktail. Maybe something with gin, or Cointreau. I wonder how it would add a twist to a Blue Lagoon, or perhaps a Singapore Sling… It’s a shame it’s a sipdown. While it wouldn’t make a list of my favourite teas of all time, there’s just something about it which excites me and is making me want to try it a million different ways, half of which involve alcohol. This tea is awakening the mixologist in me!
Sipped down the last of my sample from MissB this morning while I was doing some of my online courses. It’s a nice mint chocolate black, and I appreciate that it’s sweet already though that might put some people off. It’s good for drinking black when I want something a little sweeter, but I do have to remember that if I’m not in the mood for added sweetness. I have more from my advent calendar that I purchased through Marzipan, and I might use that sample to make a latte. One thing I’m not keen on with this tea is that the chocolate flavour seems quite artificial – overall I think I prefer Santa’s Secret, which has a similar vibe but without the artificial chocolate note. Both are nice, creamy mint black teas with some sweetness and no astringency meaning they’re great for drinking sans-additives. This note is probably super unhelpful and disjointed, but I’ve been really busy all day and I’m super tired so I’ll just have to do a better job next time. I was trying to cram in enough work that I could have the day off tomorrow, but I think I’ll probably still have to do some. Oh well, it’s not like I have big plans for a quarantine birthday anyway…
I don’t have much more to say about this that I haven’t already said. It’s a very busy tea with a lot going on, but it does help settle my stomach when I’ve been drinking too much or eating too much rich food. I think it would be a lot nicer if it didn’t have hibiscus in it.
I picked this over Lime Marshmallow because I didn’t want something strongly lime flavoured, completely forgetting that this is very strongly lime flavoured… whoops. As the cup cools the orange comes out behind the lime a little, but the lime is definitely the dominant note in this one. I want to try it cold brewed next, I think this would make a really refreshing iced tea.