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Recent Tasting Notes
#tiffanys2021sipdown Tea #184 overall / Tea #8 for May
Tuesday 5/4 — Friday Afternoon Tea Maple Hojicha. I love love this one! This is a hojicha tea + natural maple flavoring – simple but delicious. Had two sample packets from an old Sipsby box (I thought I had already drank those because that’s what introduced me to Friday & her tea company!) & cold brewed and YES. I am pretty sure I have bigger bags of this is my Friday Tea stash from all the orders I made last/this year online + in person last Sept when in Seattle. Will have to keep this around permanently, also try hot and cold/hot latte. :D
#tiffanydrinkstea #tiffanys2021 #tiffanysfaves #tiffanyinthe614 #tiffanysteasipdown
Oo, this one is definitely different from my usual tea type. I’m going to have to have it more than once.
The first thing that hits me is the pine smoke smell – which is one that I’m very fond of, but not at all used to having in my tea. The anise and chocolate almost disappear underneath it while the tea is still very hot, but once it’s cooled a bit, they sneak out in the aftertaste quite nicely.
This tea definitely needs a few minutes to settle after it’s brewed; the flavors blend more, and the smoke settles down to an astringent sort of flavor that is quite strong but not overpowering.
I’m certainly not sorry I got it, though I’m not sure if it’s a regular keeper for me. (I have a couple of friends who are very fond of smoked teas and I want to see what they think of it.) I can see why it got the name it did – this tea is the sort one would be drinking next to a fireplace on a cold rainy night when the power’s gone out. It’s the right sort of flavor for that. (Not for a sunny morning in April when the cherry blossoms are going gangbusters outside my window so much. But that’s all right – I have a functional imagination.)
If you don’t like smoke, this is definitely not a good tea for you. Otherwise, I quite like it for what it is.
The oolong in this tea is roasted, which is what first jumped out at me. I could smell (and taste) a very strong smokey overtone which drowned out most of the other flavors until the tea cooled off quite a bit. The ginger was definitely there as well, but I didn’t smell – or taste – and of the other notes that are listed in the tea’s description, probably because the smoke was overpowering them for me.
I don’t think this is one I will go looking for again; it would seem roasted oolong is not my thing. Not sorry for trying it though.
I’m going to try this tea once more – I got a tasting packet, and it’s possible I just wasn’t in the right mood for it, or I oversteeped, or something, but it really didn’t do it for me the first time. I was looking for a rose tea with some cardamom to it. What I tasted was some cardamom with some tea around the edges – I couldn’t even taste the rose in there. :-( I love decaf rose tea, to the point that I’ve been making my own with rose petals from Sullivan Street and Decaf Ceylon from Upton, but it would be nice not to need to blend my own. (I have too many other demands on my time, I would like to simplify and also support other tea vendors.) But this one…didn’t do it for me. Oh well. We’ll see if a second round does it for me, but if not, this one’s going on the “nope” list.
There is a very strong smell of cherry to this tea, but the smell doesn’t make it into my mouth, alas. The chocolate, on the other hand, is definitely there. I could also taste the chicory blending in with the cherry. I couldn’t make out the pomegranate, alas.
It was nice enough, but I’m not blown away, nor do I feel the need to acquire more, though if I end up needing to round out an order, I could easily see myself using it as a topper-off.
PEPPERCORNS. Hello peppercorns! Yes, I like you too, would you mind settling down for a bit so I can see what else is in there? No? Ah.
When I work at it, I can tell there’s ginger in there. I can smell the anise and the licorice, but I can only taste them in the aftertaste – or, interestingly, once my mug has gone cold. In the full flush heat of the initial sip, I cannot. Fortunately, they are subtle enough to sneak past the peppercorns – did I mention peppercorns? – to add body to the tea without me noticing it. But when this tea is hot, mostly what I notice is red and black are having a nice big argument in my mug over which one of them is Queen of Most Pepperiness. :-)
I don’t mind – I wouldn’t have bought this tea if I did not like pepper, and also, the tea is not heat-spicy, it has the flavor of pepper with no burn to it. I bought this as a sample to split with a friend, and I will probably buy a small container of it to keep on the “every so often” shelf. In the future, I might cut it with a little extra ceylon to give it some low notes – the pepper is hot and high enough that I’m missing the umame of my normal tea flavors. Or maybe I’ll just keep it as is, and only have it on days when I want a hot thin tea.
Edited to add: Oof. OK, this tea is quite tasty, but those peppercorns are a lot fiercer than they let on – this is a tea to drink in small pots, not my usual 24 ounce monsters. Because otherwise, you’re putting a lot of pepper oils into your stomach all at once, and the result can be moderately painful. (Oops. :)
Flavors: Licorice, Pepper
First attempt: tried it straight, brewing 14g for five minutes in the same 24 ounce pot I usually brew my black tea in. It smells fabulous and…doesn’t have much of a taste. That’s frustrating. I would like to try brewing it stronger, possibly with some decaf tea leaves mixed in for body, but right now, this hasn’t made much of an impression on me – which is a shame because it should be full of the flavors I love. I’ll try again.
Had my musical characters mixed up—as I was steeping Herr Drosselmeyer this morning, I was actually envisioning smarmy “Uncle” Max Detweiler from The Sound of Music and thinking that this Darjeeling-heavy, wine-before-breakfast blend suited him nicely.
It definitely leads with the grape, but there is enough Assam to add a good, strong bass line and get your eyes open. Genießen Sie noch heute Ihren Tee.
This blend is so pretty- lots of lemongrass pieces, and plenty of bits of strawberry. Unfortunately, not a huge fan of the flavor. There’s a strong dried hay flavor that’s slightly bitter, followed by an overwhelming sweetness. I’m not getting any strawberry flavor, and just the slightest hint of orange. The sweetness is just way too much.
This smells like an old, wet forest. Very much of a wet soil and slightly rotting greenery. Once brewed, this tea is black. Like the murkiest, dirtiest old bog water. I’m not getting any of the peppercorn flavor, instead it’s the same old, wet forest that I was smelling. There’s also a pretty intense sage flavor, which isn’t on the ingredient list. Quite an interesting tea experience, and not necessarily one I’d like to recreate.
Sipdown 32- 2021
Such an interesting blend! It smells extremely strongly of ground coffee, so I was worried. But, the flavor is so complex and intriguing. The coffee is definitely at the forefront, with the flavor of the chrysanthemum following. The chrysanthemum is actually reading as much more herbal than I would have thought, and is reminding me of French lavender. I’m not tasting any of the black peppercorn. But I don’t think it’s really necessary as the other flavors are a lot on their own. I’m unexpectedly loving this, and would consider repurchasing.
This tea and I became instant besties yesterday. To the point where I’m contemplating an 8oz purchase of this tea. I know I know its sipdown 2021 but I’ve been looking for a black flavored tea that I could easily enjoy without worrying about the tea cooling and becoming bitter or accidentally oversteeping. This tea withstood it all yesterday and deliciously so. I literally almost took down an ounce of this tea yesterday (I was using the biggest teapot I own. Think it holds 40oz).
Bright pops of vanilla and almond totally make this tea taste very cookie like. I never really picked up on the orange notes but when they do show up, they will just add to this delicious ditty. Really delicious and simple but oh so good and comforting. By far the best tea I’ve tried from Friday Afternoon yet.
Looking forward to enjoying this tea on the long commutes coming our way with the kids going back to school next week. (We live about 30 minutes away from my kiddos’ schools).
Flavors: Almond, Cookie, Vanilla
Second go at this tea today and it is delicious! I cold brewed the tea for a few hours (should have done it longer but just used the leaves or rather should I say inclusions from earlier today), poured them into my SodaStream bottle, carbonated the tea and viola- I have myself an amazing sparkling iced tea with delicious fruity notes of blueberries, kiwi, melon and I’m finally getting the peach. The sugary notes have really stepped aside but that could also be because I am using the same serving from earlier. Still no sight of the black tea but there is seriously very little tea in this blend to being with.
Excited to try this again tomorrow to see if the fruit flavors are even stronger with a fresh serving.
Flavors: Blueberry, Melon, Peach
Second tea of the day and I had to try this one because its an ode to David Bowie.
This tea is unique for sure. The inclusions WAY out weigh the actual black tea in the blend. I actually found myself digging through the pouch just to try and find more black tea. Blend has enormous blueberries and huge chunks of kiwi with cute sugar sprinkles.
Brewed hot, this tea was a shot of sugar. Couldn’t really get any other flavors and not really something I was enjoying. However, allowed to completely cool- this tea is amazing! Bright blueberry, kiwi and melon, almost reminds me of a summer fruit salad. Loving this tea now and am trying some out as a cold brew. I might have found a winner here.
Flavors: Blueberry, Melon, Sugar
Happy Friday all!
Still journeying into my Friday Afternoon order and this one I had such high hopes for.
My bestie is a HUGE Sailor Moon fan so I picked this one up thinking we might enjoy it together some day. But I don’t think that will happen. This is one bitter blend and I can’t figure out why. This tea seems to bring out all the wrong notes from the black tea, the grapefruit, and the rose-which is surprising because I love all three of those ingredients and have had similiar blends and adored them. One bitter grumpy cup and I’m not sure I will be able to finish. Maybe some sugar or honey might help change this tea’s mood/flavor. Will try again another day.
I think I need to switch up the teas I had planned to drink today. (They were all Friday Afternoon blends)This is another Friday Afternoon purchase from Black Friday and while I like it, the caramel is really throwing me for a loop. Again not a bad tea by any means-just the peppermint and caramel flavoring which are both pronounced are fighting a bit. This is where the chocolate flavoring that I’m seeing in the other blends from Friday Afternoon might have worked better. Applaud the creativeness though and dig the black tea base a lot in this one.
Flavors: Caramel, Peppermint
Continuing my Friday Afternoon black tea journey. . .
Apparently either Friday Afternoon uses a lot of chocolate flavoring in their blends or that is just what I grabbed when I ordered from them. Last night I had an herbal blend from them that had sage, cocoa nibs, and a few other herbs that you would consider to be those sleepytime ones. (will add a note about that one shortly-part of my mystery sampler pack).
This one is a blend of black tea, chocolate flavoring, lemon verbena, and blackberry leaves. The few first sips were really nice- just pops of malt and chocolate. But sadly, I am not wowed. This could totally be my taste buds off too.I tried the tea in my tea press for some ice tea and that did not work so I’m hoping a cold brew will work since I have an oz of this one or another go later on will bring this tea to life for me.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt
Wanted to love this tea but this first go is not what I had hoped. The puerh is really overpowering all of the other flavors which is disappointing because this tea literally smells like cherry coke and I was really hoping those aromas would translate over into the flavor profile or at least the cherry notes would punch a bit more. Will give it another go later.
I think this is the third time I’ve tried this tea and alas, I don’t believe this one is for me. Oolong, cinnamon, clove, natural vanilla flavoring. . . all of the flavors are there but they seem incredibly muted and it isn’t until the very last sip can I even detect the flavor. The smells coming from my teapot as the tea steeps smell amazing- clove, cinnamon, vanilla – but I don’t think the delightful notes my nose is picking up are translating into the same flavor profile. I’ve over leafed and over steeped and the results are the same. If the volume on the flavors was turned up just a touch, I think this tea would be amazing.
Another tea from my recent Friday Afternoon Black Friday order.
I wanted a tea to go with my PB & J for lunch and this one sounded like it would work. Black tea, ginger, sugar, natural vanilla flavoring. Sadly, I think this blend is just too sweet for me. I really dig the pops of ginger and vanilla I’m getting but this has almost a southern sweet tea vibe going on. I have a feeling this might be one to keep until spring and enjoy as a cold brew.
Flavors: Ginger, Sugar, Vanilla