911 Tasting Notes
I neglected to smell the dry leaf, but the leaf post-steeping smells super-roasty. The liquid smells very light, but similar. And when I say very light, I mean very light.
Taste-wise, this is surprising. I was expecting something sweet and it is, but I was expecting sweet flowery and this is more sweet starchy. Actually, it tastes like a diluted version of the liquid in the canned sweet corn niblets we used to get before I knew that, you know, corn was evil. (And I did love that corn juice so). But there is a slightly different note – a deeper, darker, more intense note – that the canned sweet corn juice didn’t have. I can’t quite place it but I’m guessing it is the roasted walnut bit they have in the flavor profile.
For such a light colored and scented tea, the tastes are very dark. It’s good but the connection my mind has made to corn is throwing me off. In my world, corn = evil. So I sip this and go “mmm, dark… sweet… oh crap, corn – EVIL!”
As it cools I’m getting more of the walnut taste (it definitely is the walnut they mention in the profile – it’s screaming walnut now but I’m not getting as much of the roasted as just straight walnut) than the corn taste and that helps with my mental aversion to it but I think I’ve already got a strong mental block against this tea so even switching to a more walnut taste isn’t making me enjoy it. The last few sips are sweet again but mixed nicely with the walnut. But again, the sweet flavor is very corn-sweet.
After thinking on it some, I’m not rating this tea. Because it’s too mixed up in my head with the evils of corn so nothing I give it would be fair. The walnut sweetness is really nice and the flavors are truly lovely so it deserves at least a green smiley but the corn connection make me think red icky face. But neither the green smiley face or red icky face would be an accurate representation of my experience with this tea. Sorry, I’m just too prejudice against the diluted sweet corn juice to rate this accurately.
In the last 24 hours, I have slept through 16. Yeah, yesterday was a rough day. But now I feel better except for the massive headache I have from too much sleep. I will count myself lucky that it didn’t trigger a migraine though (mental note: have some white tea later as a preventative measure).
I decided to try this unfortunate little tea this morning (I have 10 minutes until noon – it is still morning) for two reasons. One, because I want to share with the husband to see what he thinks of this and Two, to try out Angrboda suggestion of using lots of milk to improve this.
I knew there was a reason I followed Angrboda. Not only does she review nifty teas (and entertainingly, too), she’s a pretty smart cookie. For my 12 oz cup of tea, I used maybe 1/3 cup of milk. No sugar since it did horrible things to this tea before. This is a massive amount of milk for me. But it worked. The tea is better. Not good mind you. Just better. It tastes like an overly mild chai now. Not super-flavorful, but at least the spices blend better. Honestly, I still can’t really taste the pumpkin. My taste buds might be defective or something because apparently it’s able to be picked out without hunting. Not sure why I miss it. Though in general pumpkin tastes pretty bland to me. I do think it is that ‘nothing’ taste I get right after the initial sweet spice. But yeah, while this is definitely better with lots of milk, I’m still kind of ‘eh’ about the whole thing.
I gave the hubby some of this and I didn’t tell him what it was – I tend not to and then like to play the game of seeing what he can pick out with zero expectations. He used to be not so great at it but in the past months he’s gotten pretty impressive. So anyway, I didn’t tell him what he was sipping on, asking for him to guess. He took a sip… “This tastes really nutmeg-y.” Another couple of sips. “Is that pumpkin or squash?” Wow. Go him. Especially since that’s the most elusive flavor for me. Then, “Didn’t you have a pumpkin pie tea at some point? Is this it?” Ding ding ding. We have a winner.
When asked what his overall thoughts are, he replied, “I can taste the flavor but I really don’t know if it belongs in tea.” He gave it an overall 2.5/5 stars and I probably have to agree with him. It’s better with the milk and I probably could up the rating based on the with-milk taste to maybe the low-40s. But I don’t think any tea should have to have that much added to it to make it nearer to tasty-ville. And the relative mildness of the spices with this much milk tells me I can’t even judge this by chai standards. So the rating stays where it is.
This morning things are just a bit off. I feel a little out sync with the rest of the world. Sadly, this tea falls into the category of ‘rest of the world’ today and we didn’t mesh all that well. Some of it had to do with my distraction during brewing – not 100% sure I got the right amount of leaf since I was so distracted – and part of it has to do with the fact that I think I just wasn’t in the mood for mango this morning. Also, I tend to put a slight splash of milk in this as it really makes the mango flavor pop but I forgot this morning so the tea isn’t as fruity as it normally is.
Not that it was evil to me today or anything. And once it cooled a bit the mango flavor still poked out. But things were still just off in general.
On the plus side of things, this is the first time I’ve had this tea since I’ve tasted Monk’s Blend (also with calendula petals) and I was able to taste a little similarity between the two teas which I attribute to the calendula. So I have an idea now of exactly what calendula tastes like. Which is good because up until today, it made me think of a calendula cream I have which neither smells nor tastes all that great.
Anyway, hopefully things will sync up between me and the world later today but I really wish it would have happened before I made any tea.
My first sniff of the dried leaves smelled just like canned pumpkin with a little additional spice. But sniffs after that were more… pumpkin cider. And then more of a sweet chai. I’m missing the sweet bit that I had on the first sniff. All brewed up, I get more pie spice still, but the pumpkin is back a little. I’m expecting this to be very chai-like.
The taste isn’t a strong as I expected actually and after I swallow, a few pauses later I get an expanding taste of the tea base. Also a little warm spiciness is left on my tongue. There is also a distinctly different spice taste at the front. So each sip goes sweet spice, warm spice, nothing, spicy spice, pause, pause, pause, tea. Honestly, it’s the nothing that’s throwing me off. I can’t seem to taste anything when I hold the tea in my mouth. Even swishing it around, all I taste is just a spice aftertaste. Once I swallow, I get more spice but when the tea is in my mouth, I just get the post-warmth aftertaste. It’s really really weird.
I’m wondering if the sweet taste I get at the beginning is pumpkin. Or maybe the nothing taste is really pumpkin. Either way though, it’s overpowered by the spice when I sip so I just can’t get my tastebuds to it. But it’s weird because none of the tastes seem to blend. They are all separate. Standing there independently, not glancing at or even acknowledging the other tastes there.
With half a cup left, I put a little sugar in to see if that helps any. I’ve probably put too much sugar (maybe a quarter teaspoon) so I imagine at the very least this will be sweet now… And sugar did it no favors. Sure, now there is an underlying sweetness that attempts to mush the uncooperative tastes together but having that added sweetness makes the spice and the tea flavor at the end show up as bitter. Yes, I added sugar and I taste bitterness now.
Okay, before sugar, this cup was weird. After sugar, this cup is unpleasant. But I’m going to rate this on the better of the two tastes and go with the unsweetened cup. Which means instead of being gross, this cup was just… confusing.
I’m pretty sleepy this morning so I didn’t have the brain power to fully explore this guy as I drank it this morning, but I’ve come to a conclusion. It’s good – a nice, nutty but somewhat default ‘tea’ flavor. Not rough or bitter. But a little uneven. Just a little. I feel like it’s missing one little taste that would really pull it all together and make this tea really wow me. A soft or sweet or fruity top note seems to me to be lacking. I want just that little bit of extra effort from it. Then it would be pretty awesome.
This one is a free tea bag that arrived in the mail today with my monthly Lupicia newsletter. Since my hockey game just started, I’ll be up for a few hours so I think I’m okay to have another tea. I really should find a team on the East coast or something so I’m not always staying up for West coast games.
Okay, Lupicia says to do this with boiling water… but I can’t. It’s a green! I’m physically incapable. Plus, the zojirushi is at 175. I will listen to their 2min steep time recommendation, however. Out of curiosity (and because of a conversation between Ricky and Cofftea yesterday I think?), I decided to weight the tea bag. Lupicia says they should weight 3g…. and they are wrong! It is 3.4g. I’m sure the .4 comes from the bag bit though. Good job Lupicia! I know Lupicia is pretty leaf intensive and usually recommends a 4oz cup, but I’m doing 6oz because I want to. And I can. So there.
The smell of this tea bag is somewhat shocking. It’s strong and very berry-y. It’s like a mix of raspberry and strawberry in candy form. Actually, I have a Trident strawberry + citrus gum that this reminds me of the more I sniff it. And I’m sniffing it a lot because it’s strong and surprising but yummy. There is a little hint of green tea underneath it but the smell is 95% berry. Brewed up, the tea still smells very berry-y but it isn’t as intense as the dry and the green tea smell bumps up to maybe 25 or 30% of the smell.
Sipping is… Hmm. I’m not really sure. It tastes a lot like it smells. And it reminds me of my strawberry + citrus gum though not as powerful. I had to take the cup in to have the husband try it (I had already made him smell the package). He said it reminded him of the bag of mixed frozen fruit we have. I mentioned strawberry and he sipped then said that he totally got that and said at first he thought melon, upon which I sipped and totally got cantaloupe. I don’t taste any of the raspberry that I smelled initially. Sipping it now, it’s very much a strawberry cantaloupe mix with a hint of non-sweet green tea to give it support.
This is a very summery tea for me. Very fresh and happy to the point that I can almost feel the summer breeze blowing my hair around. I really should have had it in my strawberry tea cups for it to be just right. I’m not sure how often I would crave this tea because it is very fruity – almost like it should be a mild herbal. Mild – not Jolly Rancher tasting. But it’s a very good fruity tea. I like it. And happy that there is a Lupicia strawberry tasting tea that doesn’t make me think of Nestle Quik!
GOAL! Go Sexton! Woo!
I’m a bit at loose ends tonight because my evening activity, a hockey game, doesn’t start until 9pm central. So I’m waiting and kind of being unproductive. So I thought I’d do something semi-productive and try a new tea!
Such pretty pretty leaves. Curly and colorful and pretty. I’m a little stuffy so I’m not getting much of anything off the dry leaves, but as soon as I poured hot water over them, I got a poof of sweet greeness. It reminds me a bit of Jade Cloud, but sweeter.
Oh but the taste. It’s a bit like Jade Cloud – a lot of the same tastes, but tweaked and rebalanced until this is so much better. It’s sweet and there is no salty/briny taste at all. And the aftertaste has a light nutty flavor. Not faint nutty, but a lighter colored/tasting nut.
So yeah, overall this tea is very similar to Jade Cloud. But better. Mmm.
I was pretty excited to see this one in the box o’ teas teaplz sent me. Not so much because I think it will taste fantastic or anything. Just because it seems funky and fun. And oh yeah, hopefully good.
The dry leaves smell nice. It doesn’t scream chocolate to me but that’s probably because I’m looking for a more cocoa powder smell when it comes to tea and chocolate notes. It reminds me more of… vanilla bean. Of which I don’t think there is any in the tea so I might be insane. The smell of the dry leaf carries across pretty faithfully to the tea. But it smells… richer, a little deeper. It brews up pretty light for such a powerful smelling tea. But at the same time, it doesn’t seem overpowering or too unnatural of a flavor. It just smells like strong tea.
Now on to the taste. This tea is different and it’s going to be hard to explain this right. Based on the smell, I expected a POW of flavor and I didn’t get that. The flavor seems to be more in the feel of the tea. The smell and the taste it leaves on my tongue after I swallow. The warmth of the chili that seems to build as I sip. It’s a soft flavor. It’s truly tea with the flavor of chili and chocolate, not a flavored tea. Does that distinction make sense? Okay, okay, my brain still reads that chocolate taste as vanilla bean. But the point stands that the main thing is that this is a tea. And oh yeah, it’s flavored.
It’s totally not what I was expecting especially based on the smell but it is pretty fantastic. Subtle and soft but obviously there. It’s simultaneously energizing (hello chili!) and mellowing.
It makes me want to drink this sitting by the fire in a nice lodge after a long day of skiing. Which actually, any day including skiing is going to be long because I can’t do it. At all. I can only snowboard moderately well but this tea isn’t a in-the-lodge-post-snowboarding tea. It actually makes me think of gourmet hot chocolate. Or as a gourmet hot chocolate substitute. And it makes my tongue burn a bit – it a good way. Yay chili! So yeah, this tea is funky and I really like it!
I do enjoy this tea. Mostly for the texture, I think. I get a good, gnaw-worthy cardboard taste and starchiness from it that makes me happy. Taste-wise, it’s not all that overly complex but it does what I want it to and it does it well (and it does well in a travel tumbler) so I love this tea.