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Recent Tasting Notes
I wanted something festive and caffeine-free last night, so I was glad this was up next in my sipsby advent. The scent out of the bag is a tart cranberry, and when steeped I was able to smell it from the next room. The flavor tones it down a lot. It’s there, as is the cinnamon, but you half expect cranberry juice with the potent smell!
I think if this had been on a base other than rooibos I would be buying it immediately, but as it is, it was fun to try. Even the cranberry doesn’t get rid of the woody taste.
sipsby bagged advent, day 15
Adventaggedon Day 21 – Tea 3/6
I learned from last time, and when I saw this tea today I knew to brew it for a shorter period of time. I also added in some milk. The result was a much more enjoyable cuppa with a bold black tea, sweet mint, and milk chocolate profile – tasted a little like Thin Mint cookies! I do wish it was peppermint over spearmint, but having it this way was a big improvement on last time.
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CJFCQREg2g5/
EDIT: I just realized I fucked up – I think I opened up the tea for Day 22 this morning instead of Day 21. So, I guess I’ll do day 21 tomorrow. That’s what I get for opening all my advents up super early in the morning…
Adventaggedon Day 16 – Tea 6/6
I definitely oversteeped this because the black tea was super tannic/astringent and bitter and seemed to be masking all of the gentler chocolate and spearmint notes. To be honest, i’m not sure I would have loved it even if I hadn’t oversteeped it – I find the combination of spearmint and chocolate pretty weird (even though I like peppermint/chocolate) – but I’m going to reserve judgement until I get to try it again later in the advent and experience a better brewed cuppa.
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CI4C7sbgyfh/
Adventaggedon Day 23 – Tea 1/6
I can’t believe there’s only ONE more day left of advent season! That feels like a fake fact…
My first cup of this was a bit of a hot mess, so I wasn’t looking forward to the second. It was better than my first tasting, but honestly this might just be my least favourite blend from Offblak. It’s just such an aggresive bergamot, and paired with a really bold and aromatic rose it comes off as very perfume-y and a little chemical. Even with the improvements from more cautious steeping it wasn’t great.
That’s okay though – there were a lot of others from Offblak that I did enjoy!
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CJJ74z9gBd4/
Adventaggedon Day 15 – Tea 5/6
Man, I wanted to like this one so much! It’s a rose Earl Grey which sounds really nice in theory and the name feels very inspirational and empowering. I was so excited seeing it this morning and brewing it up – but then I took my first sip and it straight up tasted like perfume. This was the biggest let down of the day, and maybe the biggest let down of the whole Offblak advent so far. Though, it feels like that’s my fault for getting my hopes up so high.
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CI1bJQzAPNj/
Adventaggedon Day 19 – Tea 2/6
I decided to try and get fancy with this today, and I cold brewed it with a few slices of orange and grapefruit. I expected to bring out some of the delicious citrus notes I experienced my first go around, but to my surprise it was really the jasmine notes that came out in the cold brew. Still some orange, and some grapefruit too from the slices I’d added, and that all tasted very nice with the smooth jasmine.
I think I much preferred this as a hot tea though.
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CI_pDY_AA7m/
Adventaggedon Day 13 – Tea 6/6
This tea was a really pleasant surprise! When I saw the description I was ingtrigued by the orange and jasmine combination, but I also wrote it off a bit because I thought it might just end up being like a jasmine green tea with a very tiny amount of orange to make it seem fun and twisted.
It’s actually more of an orange tea than a jasmine but both flavours are present. It’s a really nice bright and juicy orange with a lot of top/high notes without having sharpness or too much acidity/acridness. It reminded me of very freshly squeezed orange juice – but just the sweetness of it. Not the tang. I’d describe it as rather sunny. The jasmine adds a freshness to it, and a sophistication. All combined the flavour is cheerful and lively, but grounded and soothing – and the green tea base is a smart choice because it provides a neutral and light enough canvas for those flavours to shine while still adding some body and playing into the natural elements of the composition. I felt like I should be drinking this tea out in nature!
This may, actually, be my favourite Offblak blend yet and I am super looking forward to that next teabag of it!
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIwUJTwAreh/
Adventaggedon Day 22 – Tea 4/6
So I messed up yesterday and accidentally opened up the tea for today instead of the proper one – I didn’t realize until later in the evening when I saw someone on instagram post this tea in the Offblak tag, which was obviously different than what I had drank…
This is what I was supposed to have yesterday but of course I had it today instead; it wasn’t a surprise of course because I saw it last night. It’s a nice tea – I remember liking it a fair bit the first time around. This time I left the teabag in while it steeped for, like, half an hour. So it got REALLY intense and strong, with very puckering tart hibiscus and strawberry notes. Still candy-ish though, so that sweetness helped offset some of those more abrasive qualities.
Good cuppa – but arguably not a memorable one in the long term.
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CJHkg9EA3im/
Adventaggedon Day 11 – Tea 6/6
Holy shit – it’s 11:50PM, looks like I will get all my advent notes done for the day but I am seriously cutting it very close…
I enjoyed this one on my commute to the office, but it wasn’t anything exceptional and not as memorable as some of the other blends have been. On paper – or teabag packaging, as the case may be – strawberry and pink peppercorn sounds like a pretty interesting and almost elevated/elegant combination, but the taste is really majority strawberry. I found a similar thing happened with “Brighten Up”, which was supposed to be berry and ginger but just tasted like berry…
It is a pretty nice strawberry with a lot of sharp top notes and acidity/pucker, like a sour strawberry candy, but I wanted more of that grounding spice note for complexity. It seemed a waste to call it out on the packing because if this has just been advertised as a tart strawberry I think I would have been much less disappointed in the final cup.
Oh well, my expectations have been adjusted accordingly for the next cup!
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIrJJjIAnq9/
Adventaggedon Day 20 – Tea 1/6
Less than five days not until the end of advent season, which is INSANE to think about! Part of me will be sad, but another part of me is really looking forward to having the freedom to pick all my teas during the day again.
A lot of my advent teas today were spiced in some way or another – this was my favourite of the spiced teas of the day, though. It’s lightly/delicately cinnamon flavoured with a nutty rooibos base and a perfect sweet and crisp red fruit note. Delicious, and comforting/cozy. One of my favourites from Offblak – I think their rooibos teas in general were just quite strong.
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CJCZpVTAt6i/
Adventaggedon Day 8 – Tea 5/6
I keep wanting to call this tea “Nicely Spicly” and I don’t know why…
This ended up being pretty similar to an Offblak tea from earlier in the advent, I think it was called Sweet Bliss? It was a black tea with red fruit and cinnamon that had some pretty delicious fruit tart/pastry notes. This is similarly a cranberry/cinnamon profile, but on a rooibos base instead. It’s less buttery pastry goodness, but equally delicious with a sweet cranberry note that I’m all over!
This is really enjoyable, and I look forward to my second mug of it later in the advent.
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIjkTExg-d5/
Adventaggedon Day 14 – Tea 1/6
To be honest I didn’t really like this tea much better the second time around. Even though they aren’t usually my thing, I feel I’ve been spoiled by the Vahdam advent – the spices are such nice quality (even if the blends are intense) so in contrast this Masala was just… not great.
It’s still got a bit of that pickley funk to it, but mostly it was a very drying and astringent cinnamon and ginger. It was definitely made much better by having three buttery sweet cinnamon rolls to dunk in it during an early morning meeting today though.
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIy5e4PAbit/
Adventaggedon Day 7 – Tea 6/6
Another from today that was… fine.
I had it on my commute in to work with some cream added in, and the taste was okay but it wasn’t anything special. This was especially true for the dry leaf aroma, but also a bit for the steeped tea – it has that sort of “pickle-y” quality that happens when you get just the right (or, well, wrong) combination of cinnamon, ginger, and clove.
I feel like I wouldn’t have minded this regularly, but I just recently had two other really nice/high quality masala chais from Vahdam and it just seems unfair to ask this blend to compete with those blends…
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIgyLwTgXrz/
Adventaggedon Day 18 – Tea 2/6
I feel like I was caught just as off guard with this cup as I was the first time around – it’s so deep and robust, with thick and cooling menthol notes that leave me feeling chilled out. Yet, at the same time, they’re sweet and coating. The blueberry is jammy and thick, and bordering on medicinal. It almost feels tinged with black currant!? The whole thing feels heavier and less fresh than I would expect from these profiles – but it works so well and keeps me fixated on each sip.
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CI9HTxrAALU/
Adventaggedon Day 6 – Tea 4/6
This tea was such an interesting surprise – I don’t look up the ingredients up the Offblak blends before trying them, usually, and I fully expected a more herbal mix of ingredients with lots of peppermint leaves and maybe some blueberry or hibiscus with flavouring.
Instead, this is majority rooibos with some speckling of other ingredients mixed throughout and it smelled wonderfully but strongly of cooling menthol peppermint and wintergreen. Not much blueberry to the aroma of the leaf in the sachet. Steeped up, it’s sort of weird but in a compelling way!? I would absolutely call this more of a mint than a blueberry blend and it’s a very cooling/crisp mint heavy on the menthol that feels more like it’s coming from a peppermint oil/extract than actual peppermint leaves or even a typical mint flavouring. It really hits you in the back of the chest, and I felt if I was in a comic I would have “breathed out” ice crystals/frost after each sip. I loved it though, especially mixed with the rather woody and mineral heavy rooibos and this almost ‘forest berry’ leaning blueberry.
I didn’t feel like there was much sweetness to the blend – but I also ended up not wanting that at all. I’m so curious to see it reappear again because damn it was interesting and between this and yesterday’s blend I might actually be shaping up to have enough blends I like that I would consider an order.
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIeSOftgdHs/
Adventaggedon Day 10 – TeA 5/6
Another repeat from the advent – but this was one that I really enjoyed the first go around so I was very excited for it! I’m happy it timed out this way too because I made some Cinnamon Toast Crunch infused milk earlier in the week with the last of my cashew milk and that ended up being the PERFECT addition to this tea to really beef up those warming, cozy and delicious pastry notes I got the first time around.
10/10 mug of tea – perfect addition with the already delish black tea and cinnamon in the blend and that red fruit/cranberry note is so nice too!
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIov0XiAU8T/
Adventaggedon Day 5 – Tea 6/6
Not my favourite of the day, but it is my favourite tea from Offblak so far! Something about the mix of bready/malty black tea with this gentle level of warming cinnamon strongly reminded me of pastry crust and then combined with the jammy pop of red fruit (which felt sort of like currant, though I know it was bilberry) and reaaalllyyy mild tropical pineapple vibe very much just made me think of some kind of tart!
Imagine my delight in looking up the webpage to create the Steepster entry tonight and seeing that it was actually intended to taste like a tart! So, perfect execution of desired concept IMO. Looking forward to the next sachet of this in the advent!
Adventaggedon Day 12 – Tea 3/6
Another double – but I enjoyed this one so I was excited to see it. Also thankful to have gotten the second one on a day I was at home, because I’ve not had a lot of time for cold brewing with the advents going on and I thought this would make for a nice cold brew!
So, I set it up early in the morning and then it was ready to go by late afternoon. This turned out to be an excellent decision – one of my issues the first time around was that it was very berry but not really any ginger, and I kind of wanted that complexity. As a cold brew, the berry flavour was smoother and milder with more of a mixed forest berry/red fruit vibe and less tart kick at the top of the sip. The best part!? The ginger does come through a little more this way and I got some of that complexity and layered flavour that I had been craving!
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIt0BTTAlN9/
Adventaggedon Day 4 – Tea 2/6
I think this is my least favourite from Offblak so far, but it was still a nice enough tea. For what is meant to be a “berry and ginger” there is very little ginger in the flavour at all, but definitely a whole lot of hibiscus. I’d call this much more of a hibiscus raspberry than anything else – but a tasty one! Offblak recommends this one iced, and there isn’t enough in my sachet to do that but I can totally see how it would work.
Is it weird if I say that I actually wanted more ginger!?
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIZC-u1gDbW/
Adventaggedon Day 24 – Tea 4/6
To be honest, I really thought the last day of the advent was going to be “Just Dessert” – the mint chocolate blend. However, the showed up earlier this week so I wasn’t sure what we were going to finish on. This seems like a pretty arbitrary choice, but it was one of my favourites from the first 1/2 of the advent so I enjoyed revisiting it again.
This advent was my first ever exposure to Offblak and I’ve now tried all of their (current) tea assortment – it was a company I was curious about so I really appreciated getting to, essentially, speed run their tea assortment. There were a few average teas, one that I don’t think was very good, but a lot of really good flavours or interesting concepts! In particular, the peach flavouring they’re using is divine and I was really impressed with how approachable I found all of their green teas to be.
Since they are a UK based company, ordering is a bit hard to justify – especially for teabags. However, if they ever dip into loose leaf tea… I’ll definitely be a customer for at least three or four of their teas!
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CJM0NCOgiTR/
Adventaggedon Day 3 – Tea 5/6
It felt like I had a lot of green teas in my advent assortment today, and I wasn’t thrilled for this one but it ended up being pretty good. I was a bit surprised to see back to back peach teas from Offblak, but the approach of the two blends does seem pretty different so it definitely didn’t feel at all like having the same peach tea two days in a row – so that’s good!
What I’m learning is that I think I really like OB’s approach to peach – it’s very juicy and sweet but not cloying, with a natural ripe fruit quality to it but just more… polished!? Like, it feels like the effervescent and golden peach flavour that would be so perfect in some kind of fancy, bubbly cocktail made with a peach puree or something of that nature. The cocktail vibes were only upped by the presence of a lively, bright but very natural tasting raspberry.
If this had been on any other base I’d have likely loved it – but because of the strong grassy/lawn clipping notes that shoved their way into focus it was only alright but the flavourings themselves!? Sublime!
Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIWncwXAAaA/
Adventaggedon Day 17 – Tea 2/6
I wasn’t as hesitant about this blend seeing it today because it was surprisingly nice the first time around – and, in fact, I think I ended up liking it even more this time because I knew what to expect from it. Obviously the chamomile is pretty strong, but so is that sweet and juicy white peach flavour! It’s actually such a star – and while I wouldn’t order this one again (because of the chamomile) I remember that the peach note was the same in the raspberry/peach green tea, so I’m waiting eagerly now for that tea to make a reappearance! Offblak is really killing this peach!
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CI6lipOAskU/
Adventageddon Day 2 – 3/6
I don’t love chamomile so this was definitely a big push outside my comfort zone today, but it actually turned out to be a pretty nice and approachable version of a chamomile blend. I was hit with that floral and almost apple-y chamomile flavour first but to my delight it was swiftly followed by a juicy ripe peach and red fruit note, playful citrus from the lemongrass, and a sweet finish on the tongue. The longer it steeped, the more peach I got and the less chamomile – and in the end, while it started off unpleasant, it finished as something truly enjoyable.
I would still never order this for myself, but I know that I’m going to be experiencing it once more in this advent and at least now I wont have a feeling of dread when I see that sachet in the advent…
Today’s advent photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIUQkZLAFJz/
Adventaggedon Day 9 – Tea 2/6
I knew that, eventually, the teas in this advent were going to overlap because there’s two sets of twelve within the advent but I guess I always assumed that overlap would happen after day 13, so I was very surprised this morning to see this tea again! It was the tea in the Offblak calendar on day one!
It was nice – though I didn’t enjoy it as much this time around as I did the first. Not because the tea itself was any different, but I think having now tried more teas from the company there are just other flavours profiles they’ve done that have been much better to me – and I’m also just a little bit sick of this spiced orange type of profile…
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIl-_dtAlPw/