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Recent Tasting Notes
This came in my August subscription box this month.
Usually I get an advanced email from Tea Runners where I can choose to swap teas in the box if I want, but this was the first month in about a year where I wasn’t given that option. I don’t want to complain since I get my box for free, but I did miss having the option to choose. It’s maybe a good thing too though because I probably would have swapped this one out of my box because I’ve historically been fairly underwhelmed by jasmine greens – I would have just assumed this wouldn’t be my cup of tea. Pun intended.
That said, I cracked open the little sample bag and the dry leaf aroma immediately had me going “Oh, I have misjudged you!”. It smells like jasmine, yes, but also beautifully of soft and citrusy lemon myrtle and aromatic floral orange blossoms. So fresh and almost dewy! I steeped up a cup immediately, and it was very good.
Definitely more of an orange blossom profile than a jasmine one in my opinion and I super spot on orange blossom at that! It’s not a flavour that’s easy to find well executed in teas, so the fact it was so natural and fresh tasting with the perfect amount of body really blew me away. I thought the jasmine came though in the finish, but even it was on its best behavior with a softer and more delicate note rather than the heavy and kind of perfume-y quality that jasmine can sometimes take. The natural sweetness level was quite pleasant, and I also really liked the light top notes of bright lemon that some of the other ingredients contributed.
As I mentioned in another tasting note earlier tonight, I’ve not slept well this week and I’ve been dealing with a lot of migraines as a result of that insomnia. I had an awful one all day today, but by the end of this cup I was so relaxed and at peace that I hadn’t realized my migraine had gone away sometime after those first sips.
Just… yes to this tea.
This was whelming. Not over or under. At a certain point chocolate mint rooibos profiles – and really chocolate and mint in general – have to be pretty spectacular or have a really unique twist on them to have memorability or wow factor. That doesn’t mean this is unpleasant, and I actually made it cold brewed because I knew it would be predictably refreshing. It’s just so “samey” compared to others I’ve tried.
My July box arrived today, so I’m sipping on some Orchid Fragrance this afternoon! It’s beautifully aromatic with sweet heady florals and a nice grounding mineral and woody body flavour with hints of honey. Though I love steeping them gongfu, I rarely make my oolongs Western style because I tend to be a little careless and forgetful with my steep times – but something today told me that’s what I wanted this afternoon. I did end up oversteeping it, of course – but to my delight it’s been incredibly forgiving of my less than stellar attention to detail with my brewing!
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cf7KLqCudjI/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQeW62X8rEA
This is one of the teas from my monthly Tea Runners subscription box. I steeped it up immediately after opening it because I felt like I needed something caffeinated and more traditional, but I was so busy that afternoon that even though I drank a large mug of this tea I didn’t pay attention to it AT ALL. So I genuinely don’t remember a damn thing about the taste. Gonna have to make it again and be more mindful…
This month my favourite tea from the Tea Runners subscription box is easily the Coconut Crush Chai! I steeped it up paired with a couple coconut and raspberry macarons, and I thought the gentle warming spices, honey and nutty flavours of the rooibos, and richly creamy and buttery notes of the coconut were such a wonderful pairing! It’s a really consistently delicious coconut flavour, and for me the best part was that it came off as quite rich without every seeming cloyingly sweet, too dominating and heavy on the palate, or artificial!
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CeBvb-Lll_G/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Yi0le6mCZs
One of the teas from this month’s gifted subscription box.
I did say that I drank a lot of strawberry tea blends this last week but, aside from the matchas which were so different in style, this might have been my favourite. The blend has a busy ingredient list but manages to still have a lot of clarity in the almost simple flavour profile. The mix of different bases comes off more like a clean, earthy shou pu’erh but with a lighter overall body. I think kind of softening the body and making it feel “fresher” works here because the strawberry is a little more bright and tart. Not, like, super tart or sour or anything – but just that very realistic subtle sharpness that you get biting into a straberry that’s just a little tiny bit still unripe.
The peach? Very subtle. I got strawberry more than anything else, but the sweet floral peach with the woody and kind of licorice-like ginseng very gracefully crept into the undertones. Close to a “blink and you’ll miss it” flavour experience.
I’d love to experiment with steep times or leaf amount to see how that might change the taste since the composition of this tea feels like it’s a little all over the place. However, very good first impression!
This is one of the samples I received this month in my gifted Tea Runners subscription box! When I smelled the dry leaf I was intrigued and the soft warming cinnamon notes definitely leaned towards more of that bakery note, so it seemed promising! My main thought was that it didn’t seem to have enough of that caramel/sugar cookie kind of quality that is the other main thing I associate with Snickerdoodles aside from the cinnamon.
However, once this was steeped my opinion definitely changed. This is actually very sweet – I guess from all the sweet blackberry leaf used but maybe the flavourings as well. It’s got the perfect type of cinnamon and that sweetness does fill in the gaps I was missing from the aroma – but it’s a tad intense. I think next time I would steep this for a shorter period of time. I see a lot of promise with this blend though, and with time and getting to know the sample better I could see it being a really nice sweet evening rooibos option!
Last one from this month’s gifted Tea Runners subscription.
The dry leaf aroma of this tea is pretty strong and sweet, and it definitely was giving me very maple-like associations. Steeped I didn’t really get maple at all though, which is probably good because that might be a little weird for Creme Brulee. It’s sweet (one of the sweetest Tea Runners blends I’ve tried so far) but not cloying, with some pleasant custardy vanilla flavours that coat the mouth. I want to write a better tasting note because I was really impressed with this tea but I also drank it so, so fast because of that. Didn’t make good mental notes because I was trying to just enjoy the cuppa in the moment…
One of the teas from this month’s gifted Tea Runner’s subscription! The lime flavour used in this blend has such a distinct and immediately nostalgic aroma and flavour to me. Instantly I go right to the lime flavour of Skittles, but just not quite so sweet. It’s expectedly really delicious when made cold even if there is a slightly disconnect between this flavouring that makes me think of candy with the back of the throat tickle from the ginger. More lime than ginger. I also get lemongrass, but mostly in the finish. The combination of ginger, lime and lemongrass really makes me think of Thai inspired flavours…
Enjoyed a teacup of this one on Easter! This was one of the teas from this month’s gifted Tea Runners subscription box and I enjoyed it along with some cute Easter chocolates and caramels! This is a really warming full bodied cuppa with citrus-y notes of malty fresh baked bread and raisins. It definitely reminds me of another favourite Easter treat: hot cross buns!
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CcdGwPmuy-9/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2yI5AVhiJc&ab_channel=BOYO
Geek Steep S2E22 – Cloak & Dagger
I had a really hard time picking teas to pair with this week’s fandom and because it was a longer format fandom I actually explored a few teas. However, none of them really felt right in the end even though they were perfectly enjoyable teas. It was just a touch comic to pair with. Really, really tough!
Anyway, here’s what I wrote for IG when I initially drank this tea while reading:
This black tea has a super distinct dry leaf aroma of sweet waxy red fruits, and of all the teas included in this January’s tea subscription box it was the one the smelled most enticing to me so it’s what I’ve brewed up first. Steeped the taste does seem finish with a lick of tangy ripe red fruits, but most of the session seemed weighted towards golden notes of honey, baked sweet potato, and sticky toffee!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZC-NHLODA8/
Sipped on this one earlier this week! It’s one of the teas that was included in this month’s gifted subscription box from Tea Runners. It’s a very simple blend, but the flavours are very crisp, clean and well defined. Smooth natural lemon with fresh mint. Tastes classic. This was a hot cup but I can see this being super great as an iced tea on a hooootttt summer day.
This was a gifted sample from this month’s subscription box.
This is a bit more of a stem heavy houjicha with a little bit of a lighter roast to it, but the resulting liquor once steeped is sweet and golden with flavours of toaster hazelnuts, creamy peanut butter, and an almost amaretto or marzipan-like almondy sweetness to the aftertaste. A total explosion of cozy and delicious flavours to accompany the roast. This month was the hardest one to choose teas for yet as almost all the options seemed up my alley; in the end I decided to get a few new teas and restock a couple blends I’ve tried and loved in the past! On top of, of course, proving yet again that there’s no limit to how much Houjicha one person should own.
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CbTC470OYuK/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vc8sV-e92EE
Had this one last night and… wow.
This is one of the best smelling teas I’ve ever come across, I think. It’s intense and rich and very clearly heavily flavoured but that root beer aroma is just wicked spot on. Almost stings the inside of your nose as you inhale, but in a very good way. Punchy. I immediately worried that the steeped tea would just be a shadow of how amazing this smells, but even if it was just half as intense as the aroma I knew I’d be into it.
And, well, it is about half as intense when steeped up. Definitely still rich and DISTINCTLY root beer tasting but met with the woodiness and minerality of the based tisanes, a little distinct mint, and definitely plenty of licorice root in the finish. I normally don’t like licorice root very much, but I actually think it suits the profile here really well. For my own preferences, it could be dialed back like 10% but I think it makes a lot of sense and plays into the rich sweetness and coating qualities of root beer.
Is this my favourite root beer tea I’ve come across? No. However, it’s high on the list!
One of the tea’s in this month’s gifted subscription box from Tea Runners!
This is a very simple blend and you can tell that the flavouring is really doing all of the heavy lifting because it’s literally just green tea and rose petals (which are only a visual accent) with a thick and very sweet and distinct combination of caramel and green apple flavourings. It might, however, be one of the best smelling caramel flavourings I’ve come across because when I opened the bag I knew immediately that this was the distinct golden chewy caramel you’d get on a caramel apple. Not just a vague sweet sugary smell like so much caramel flavouring out in the world…
Steeped up it’s lovely! I normally don’t love green tea but it’s pretty well masked by these two really flavourful and rich flavouring additions. Sweet gooey caramel first and then the snap of fresh, crisp green apple. It’s the perfect balance of flavours to really simply but effectively get that across and the green tea is noticeably adding body (and caffeine) while not tainting the taste.
Yes. This is a green tea that I can definitely get on board with.
One of my favorite black teas is Golden Monkey. This is not Golden Monkey but I quite enjoyed it. It is not a superb, knock your socks off tea, but I didn’t get any bitterness or astringency from it. In fact, I found it very smooth.
I made a pot of it, heated the water to 200 F and steeped the tea for about 4 minutes. I used my homemade tea cozy to keep the pot warm, and it worked really well. The tea was still warm 60 minutes later when I poured my 4th cup. Instead of using a large mug I used my new tea cup from Hong Kong. It is truly lovely. The maker is Tenmokus. They have a wide variety of Asian styled cups with no handle, in different shapes, different glazes, and different price ranges. Most hold between 110 and 140 ml. I had always considered that to be far too small to hold enough tea, but I have now discovered that is the right amount. The cup doesn’t get cold before I finish it, and with a pot of tea I can refill my cup frequently. It was a lovely tea experience tonight. If you’d like to see what the cup looks like I put a link to it on my Instagram account. The makers can be found here: www.Tenmokus.com
I was unsure what to expect from this tea given the very long ingredient list and Gunpowder green tea base. It felt like it might be one of those cases where the blend could suffer from having too much going on.
It’s not something I think I would feel comfortable calling an “instant favourite” but I did like it more than I had expected, and I think it was a lot more cohesive than it could have been. The juniper was always gonna be the biggest selling point for me so I’m glad I could distinctly taste those pine notes. I wish they’d leaned in harder to that, but it was there and I’m happy for it. I think the biggest mistake in the blend was the licorice root. It was very lingerly sweet and coating on the palate and I feel like it might have been there to sort of soften what was otherwise a more abrasive herbaceous and spiced profile.
I can see where there would be people thankful for that, however I I wanted the cutting menthol and pine notes of the juniper and this sweetness softened that too much for my liking. I think I’d have preferred having more forefront ginger and other spices and the coarseness of the green tea over that sweet finish.
I can see this being the kind of tea where steeping it hot would result in a completely different spread of flavours though, so I look forward to experimenting more in the future.