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Recent Tasting Notes
Shae Advent Day 15
Whoops, I accidentally mixed up days 14 & 15 – hopefully I didn’t destroy your carefully curated vision of this advent, Shae! This is a nice chai! I wouldn’t call it spicy, but the combination of spices is cohesive and interesting. It has a bit of that sweet cinnamon flavor, which isn’t my #1 favorite, but it’s combined with some other tasty flavors. There’s a tiny bit of a lingering tingle from this tea.
Shae Advent Day 1
I love this advent calendar! Shae wrapped each tea like a little present, so it feels like it’s Christmas morning already! I’m a big EG fan, so I was excited to try this tea! The black tea isn’t very bold at all, but the bergamot is nice and strong. I don’t get too much creaminess hot, but I put the rest of the cup in the fridge, and a lot more creaminess comes out cold. This isn’t one of the best EGs I’ve had, but it’s a pretty good cup of tea! I added milk, sugar, and vanilla, and it’s quite creamy when enjoyed cold!
Ah, the almost perfect nightcap. Sweet with a tart bite. The aroma is joyful. Like a bunch of berries playing in a field (Yes, I am thinking of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs). Cherries, and strawberries. But… then comes the stevia. It isn’t incredibly strong but once you taste it, it’s all you can think about. Then it lingers on the palate. Besides the stevia the rest of it is great. I just don’t think it needs it.
It’s National Kiss a Ginger Day! So a ginger tea it is. :)
I opted for a chai I bought recently but haven’t yet tried. The primary flavor/scent isn’t the ginger, even though that is the second ingredient. Cinnamon stands out above all else, and unfortunately it’s the red hot candy cinnamon that I don’t like. Even with the large pieces of cardamom in the mix, I just don’t taste much else besides the cinnamon.
The instructions on the bag recommend steeping one tablespoon per six ounces of water. This seemed like a lot, so I cut it back. It was still bitter so I added some extra honey to tame it a bit. This has made it much more palatable, even enjoyable.
Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Bitter, Drying, Tannin
From Shae, slowly finishing the ADVENT Calendar. Thank you!
Ah well, this tea.
Slightly better than last time, but still not a fan. I steeped it for much shorter time, but it was kind of bland and weak instead. The creamy note was there; but I fee it is kind of unbalanced and strong compared to base and citrusy notes. Not every tea is a winner, right?
Flavors: Citrusy, Creamy
Shae’s ADVENT CALENDAR, DECEMBER 10
Oh well. Where to start this tasting note, again ?
First of all, I had completely no idea how to take today photo. And it is obvious. I just took some blue-related things and probably my last part of my tea ware — thermometer. I just found out how off is it! I think it could be around 23-25°C in our living room as I was in T-shirt and long pants only. So, definitely not 15°C as thermomoter says.
I generally accept well Earl Greys, I don’t mind even it is not a “clean” one as this one. But something went wrong.
I preapred as usual, 2 teaspoons, 4 minutes steep, 300 ml of off boiling water in my favourite glass mug. The aroma was clearly creamy with bergamot, so I took bit later a first sip. Oh… it was rather like a cream with bergamot. Somewhere in the background hides the base tea. It was REALLY CREAMY. And then it was cooling down and bergamot was more and more apparent. And as an oil. Yep, I noticed it was oil flavouring and well, it wasn’t nice. It was bit of bitter and somehow biting my tongue. It was in flavour completely opposite of the creamy and I am (and was when drinking) bit confused.
Not a fan. It was too creamy even for my taste; and too much flavoured by bergamot oil. Maybe even I could call it “blergamot” as… someone call it that way, but I don’t remember who!
Flavors: Bergamot, Biting, Bitter, Creamy
I have used remaining 8 grams for my family. And it turned it again great; mild chai with nice body. It wasn’t even spicy, and I loved the cardamom profile in this tea.
This note would be very similar to Advent one, so I will end this one here and once again, thank you Shae. I wouldn’t order it as shipping would be probably very high, and well, I have lots of tea in my cupboard now, but definitely a nice tea for cold days! Rating of 88 is probably exaggerated, but I will keep it.
Shae’s ADVENT CALENDAR December 4
I hope there will be some warming, festive blend today. While the previous ones weren’t bad, the winter-y ones were lacking so far. Oh, another Cup of Té blend. And it’s Cha Cha Chai which I saw when browsing their website. I look forward already.
The blend doesn’t look that great; mostly CTC black tea with some bright spheres. I took a teaspoon and decided to put tea on the saucer and… there are some cardamom pods. That looks quite pretty.
I decided to brew four grams. I thought it is maybe quite a little, but it seems it was just right for my 300 ml. Aroma was mostly cinnamony but the cardomom hits my nose quite well as well and yep, there is some vanilla sweetness as well.
How ironic I used star anise and allspice on the photo, but they aren’t in blend at all!
The taste is very mellow and I really liked it. It’s very smooth and cardamom heavy in taste with some creamy-vanilla aftertaste. Smooth and not harsh at all, that’s something I am always afraid of in Chais. I think I will finish this pouch quite fast as it is mellow and cozy. The warming element is present as well, though it is the primary element.
Thank you Shae, I really liked this one :)
Photo: https://flic.kr/p/2kdhoQB (I don’t like the pouch on top, it is bit irritating)
Flavors: Cardamom, Cinnamon, Creamy, Smooth, Vanilla
Shae’s “swap” Advent Calendar, December 2 brings …
London Calling by Cup of Té
A black tea blend, and London — that would be probably some kind of Earl Grey, right? But probably not a pure EG, so there will be something extra. Oh yeah… it is. Minty? What? It is bergamot black tea with mint? No, there aren’t any green flakes. Another sniff. It’s still minty, but there is a creamy note beneath.
Haven’t checked the steeping parameters before brewing, as I was quite in a hurry to finish the cup before lecture starts. So, stove-top kettle on the stove, quickly making some picture… water is boiling! Quick photo made (only 3 minutes today to set everything up and make the photo I liked) I changed the lens as well. Used external light source. Photo taken hour later too.
But back to the tea. I get a pretty common black tea base with bergamot, creamy notes and I feel like there is a lavender in. Doesn’t look like at all though. While I wasn’t getting any flaws, I am not happy (nor sad!) as it was quite… mediocre.
Maybe I should make it as a London Fog? Never tried that, but this tea seems like a good idea to try that. Thanks anyway Shae!
Flavors: Bergamot, Creamy, Mint
Every time I smell/prepare this tea, I am reminded of my months developing a recipe for London Fog Cupcakes, in which I incorporated this tea in a couple different ways! I really enjoy the rich, natural tasting vanilla and strong, full bodied tea base in this blend.
I made this for my lab meeting as a latte (work lab, not school lab – which are quite anxiety-inducing)!
I steeped this for 3 minutes and added simple (coconut) sugar and frothed almond milk and vanilla sugar on top. It was actually delicious, and perfect for the meeting. Like a warm hug in a mug!
A sample sent to me from VariaTEA :)
I am not generally a fan of earl grey teas. I’ve tried a number over the years and they never sit well with me. However, that doesn’t stop me from trying them every so often!
This one is not overly offensive with the bergamot, but still not my fav. I could maaaaybe get on board with a creamy earl grey. I was hoping for a creaminess I realized after my first sip.
It’s been snowing non-stop for days here, so creaminess seems perfect for the season. Back to the cupboard to find just that!
Thanks for sharing VariaTEA!
I took a teabag (~1 tsp) of tea before I sent off the TTB. I dislike the bergamot in this – not citrusy enough, more like metallic/musty and minerally. It reminds me of the smell of car grease. I also found the base a bit “meh”, not offering any malt or cocoa notes to bring out the vanilla. I also feel like I missed out on a wonderful notes typical of Darjeeling. I would have never guessed this was a Darjeeling.
Flavors: Metallic, Mineral, Musty
I can’t read the name of this tea and not get The Clash song of the same name stuck in my head, so for the last 30m or so that is what my internal radio has been playing. The base of this tea is kind of malty. I also get… green beans?! Strange. The berg was more prominent when the cup was hot and is harder to find under the other flavors now that it has chilled. There is something a little sharp on the tip of my tongue at the beginning of the sip and reappears in the finish. I’m not sure what to make of this tea, but I’m off to listen to The Clash now!
Thanks for the sample, VariaTEA!
Cold Brew Sipdown (1119)!
Thank you for sharing this one VariaTEA – I was so curious after it ended up being something you surprisingly gravitated towards so much this summer! Sadly, I think the summer of lemon mint teas is coming to a close – but I couldn’t let it end without trying this sample!
I was surprised how menthol tasting the mint in this blend is and to be honest at first I didn’t love that quality about it – but the citrus, which is primarily driven by lemongrass notes, does work pretty well with it and it gives the overall blend a much more natural feeling. After a few sips, the flavour grew on me a lot and by the end of my cold brew I was really wrapped up in it! I can actually super easily see how this ended up growing on VariaTEA so much over time!
I didn’t realize this has stevia in it. :( Who would you ruin a perfectly good blend with stevia? I guess that explains why I had an upset stomach a few days ago.
The hibiscus wasn’t too strong. It actually got smoothed over by the other ingredients (green rooibos). Fairly flavourful with some berry notes. Nothing specific (I wish it was specifically raspberry, but I found it was more like generic berry). The rose hips were not needed but I guess this blend was aimed at people who like sour blends. Maybe the stevia actually made this blend better. I think this would make a fine iced tea for someone who enjoys this type of blend. It was nice to try some of the offerings from Cup of Te.
Flavors: Berry, Fruity, Sour
Normally at this time in the year I would be nose deep in the books studying. However, whether I am burnt out or checked out, I just haven’t had it in me to study. Thankfully, it seems like that feeling is being felt among most students and since we are marked on a curve, if everyone is struggling, we will all be ok. Also, I have an articling position lined up already and its not conditional on grades so as long as I pass, I should be ok. Not the best way to look at things but I also can’t be too hard on myself because there is a lot of other things going on.
So with that in mind, I haven’t done much today other than help my sister with my nephew. I needed to accomplish something and a sipdown seemed like an easy win.
I am glad to say good bye to this. It didn’t have much going for it in the first place. I was hoping it would be a lot more vanilla but its basically a straight EG the way the bergamot comes through. It’s very strong and very brisk. I am not a fan.
The last time I had this, I made it as a tea infused hot chocolate. At the same time, I made a plain hot chocolate for my sister the same way. Turns out she really liked it because about two weeks later the ingredients I need for the hot chocolate showed up in our grocery shop. When I asked what they were for, she told me so I could make her another hot chocolate.
Well, today is the day she wanted her hot chocolate. And I’m not just going to make it and not make one for myself. That would be silly. So I pulled this tea out again because this is the best way to work through it.
The hot chocolate really should be made with dark chocolate instead of milk, which is how my sister likes it. It’s just way too rich but in a sweet way, not a decadent one. The earl grey made for a nice counterbalance to the chocolate at least.