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Recent Tasting Notes
Cold Brew Sipdown (1602)!
Y’know, I thought that this was going to be sweeter as a cold brew because of all the melted down candy cane pieces but it wasn’t really sweet at all. Not, like, bitter or anything – just straight to the point and very cooling/crisp peppermint black tea. Super refreshing! Though, the candy canes definitely made some mark because of the colour of the cold brew itself was certainly very lightly tinged a pinkish red from the dye in the candy pieces.
Adventaggedon Day 24: Tea 1/8
Looks like tonight’s advent notes will be a speedrun! It feels only right I’m spending the last hours of Advent Season rushing to get out tasting notes as that was the overall feeling of the whole season, haha…
The reason I’m running late tonight it that I spent the evening celebrating Christmas with Marika (thank you for having me!) and I only just got home.
I can’t decide if I like that the last two days of the World Tea House advent were back to back candy cane blends. They were both pretty different and it’s certainly going out on a festive bang – but I think it was a little less exciting than if they’d have been different. I did enjoy the tea itself though! It was straight forward candy cane on a malty full bodied black tea base with just a hint of spearmint. Smooth, not too sweet, and just festive enough!
Adventaggedon Day 23: Tea 7/8
Decided to make this one as an iced latte to sip on while working this afternoon; I even made it in a newer tumbler with some just gorgeous candy cane striping on it which was the cherry on top for making it feel perfect for Christmas Eve Eve. Quite decadent and creamy which, of course, makes a lot of sense for a latte but the candy cane note itself was perfection as well. Sweet but not cloying and just a little bit cooling. I loved it so much! That flavour just worked super well on a rooibos base!
Cold Brew Sipdown (1595)!
Oooh! This was kind of an interesting cold brew. The pu’erh was so round and clean tasting; still distinctly earthy and mineral in flavour but just so even throughout in a way that felt more refreshing and impressive than flat. I think the mint helped because it just had this cooling undertone that almost conveyed this camphorous sense to the tea. Maybe it would have more so if it wasn’t for the equally smooth and medium bodied clean notes of chocolate/truffle throughout as well. Really refreshing and way more interesting than I’d anticipated it being. Almost felt like an entirely different tea compared to that first time I’d tried it.
Adventaggedon Day 22: Tea 8/8
Oh, this was good!
I still feel like I haven’t really gotten a lot of “Christmas” feeling teas and I don’t know if there’s even been that quintessential candy cane blend yet, but something about the combination of mint and chocolate puts me in a similar mind zone.
This is just rich and velvety dark chocolate with hints of cooling sweet mint and a tiny bit of heat in the undertones and finish. Not overly sweet and, in fact, has a pleasant delicate bitterness to it. Especially from the pu’erh. My God, the pu’erh! I haven’t drank nearly enough shou and I’d probably like to this month but I have to say the choice to pair such a robust and earthy shou with that more dark chocolate/cacao flavour is a wonderful one. Shou and chocolate compliment so well, and I love the grounded feeling the shou gives to the mint as well.
Most of my favourite teas from World Tea House so far have been the straight teas or tisanes, but I think this is probably my favourite of the flavoured blends they’ve included….
Adventaggedon Day 21: Tea 1/8
Another chai! Honestly, one of the things I seem to get sick of every year when I do advents is Chai but I’m actually really impressed with the pacing of all the Chai blends this year – plus they’ve all been different enough that this might be the first year where I don’t feel like the Chai has been over done…
The dry leaf smelled good and I didn’t have any doubt that this would have been lovely as a hot tea but I was really craving an eggnog latte today and this was one of the only teas in my assortment today that actually made sense to steep that way. So, eggnog latte it was! Quite delicious but certainly heavy on the nog. I did taste the additional cardamom and anise notes though which definitely weren’t from the eggnog but did compliment perfectly!
Adventaggedon Day 20: Tea 6/8
The advent Gods must be pretty pleased with themselves today because I complained yesterday about how I simply don’t believe good Gunpowder tea exists and then not 24 hours later they served up a second straight Gunpowder for me to deal with. That’s cosmic karma.
Because I just don’t love plain Gunpowder and because the sample was fairly large I decided that I’d make the most out of it and try some fun, weird tea experiementation and home blending. I saw earlier this week a company on IG that was selling a blend of Lapsang Souchong and Szechuan peppercorns and that immediately caught my attention. If you’ve never had a straight Szechuan peppercorn it’s a one of a kind experience. They aren’t hot but they do immediately trigger a very intense sensation when you chew on one – it’s like your mouth simultaneously goes numb but also has this static-like “prickling” sensation. Sort of like the fuzzy feeling of having a limb that’s fallen asleep beginning to wake up. At the same time, you can’t stop salivating and the taste is like an intense fruity, almost citrus-like, explosion. So the thought of that pairing with a really woodsy camphor heavy smoked tea? Ooh, baby – no we’re cooking with gas!
So, for my home experimentation I mixed in a few pinches of a really aggresively smoked African black tea with about seven or eight gently crushed Szechuan peppercorns and then I steeped that gongfu! Now, the reality is that I probably would have much preferred to just be steeping Lapsang Souchong/smoked tea and the peppercorns but that’s not what I was doing – so I did get quite a bit of vegetal green tea taste from the Gunpowder. However, it was baked with an extra push of delicious savory smoke and a very distinct lemony taste from the peppercorns that complimented perfectly. No mouth static sensation because I didn’t have as many peppercorns as I think I’d need to trigger that plus they weren’t as directly exposed to my tastebuds – but the overall fruity taste definitely translated!
It was a very unique steeping experience and 100% an improvement upon just drinking the Gunpowder tea straight up.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kU03zXHZys&ab_channel=DuzMancini
Not a mint tea but kind of mint adjacent, which is what I feel like I must have been thinking when I pulled out the last of this advent sample to drink earlier this week. I steeped it strong, and then forgot about it as it was steeping – when I got back to it the tea had gone cold and was just this intense cup of soothing, refreshing and delicious savory basil water. Would have been better hot, I’m sure. However, not half bad cold either!
Adventaggedon Day 19: Tea 6/8
Guys I love tulsi soooo much! I know it’s another flavour that’s pretty polarizing but those soothing herbaceous and savory basil flavours are just so appealing to me! I was thrilled seeing a straight tulsi this morning and I ended up pairing with it my left over Margarita Pizza from last night’s take out. It was totally a pairing of convenience but the tulsi with the basil and tomato on the pizza was “chef’s kiss” delicious!
It was even better too because my favourite kind of tulsi is Krishna Tulsi which is what this was! It’s like those awesome basil flavours but with a spicy clove edge to them that just dances across the palate! SO MUCH FUCKING YUM!
Cold Brew Sipdown (1597)!
Y’know, I really thought that this tea would work well as a cold brew but it was kind of underwhelming. Just tasted mellow and generically fruity without as much character as came through when I tried it for advents. I was a little bummed out by that.
Adventaggedon Day 18: Tea 1/7
Steeped up most of today’s sample as a large pot of tea which I enjoyed while catching up on some of the manga I’ve fallen a bit behind on reading since advent season started…
I enjoyed this quite a bit, but there was also this nagging feeling in the back of my mind the entire time I was drinking it because it’s so familiar but I just couldn’t put my finger exactly on what it was reminding me of. I don’t know if it takes specifically like apricot but there’s a nice bright tart and tangy topnote before the flavour settles into a more defined general round stonefruit taste in the body with just a hint of orchard fruit as well.
Adventaggedon Day 17: Tea 8/8
There haven’t really been a lot of pu’erh teas in my advent assortment so far so I perked up when I saw this one – and the idea of a chocolate and chili chai on a pu’erh base is super appealing to me. Y’know what else is appealing? The idea of making this as an eggnog latte… so that’s what I did.
It’s not a hot latte because once again my apartment was sort of feeling like a fucking furnace today, so I took the opportunity to make something cooler. It’s actually very, very good! I taste a bit more of the eggnog initially but there I get the earthiness of the shou pu’erh which is so dense and pleasant when combined with the more bitter cocoa powder/dark chocolate notes that come through and offset a lot of the sweetness of the eggnog. Finally, there’s a hint of chili and cinnamon in the background! Definitely more complex then I thought it was going to be, and it’s really how much is tastes like really good quality dark chocolate that is winning me over the most here. Mmm!
I must have been hard core craving oolongs yesterday because I’m only just now putting together that all but one of the teas I steeped yesterday were oolongs…
I mostly chose this one because I want to be better this year about finishing off the advent calendar teas that I had extra leaf left of after the day. This was a Western style mug, though my first time steeping it in December was lazy style/grandpa. I thought it had a really lovely sweet creamy honey flavour complimented with toasted grains and warm bread fresh out of the oven. Maybe a little minerality and a hint of red fruit in the undertones. Really smooth and easy to sip on. Definitely enjoyable and memorable!
Adventaggedon Day 16: Tea 7/8
I drank this one grandpa style throughout the majority of the afternoon. It’s a very smooth and approachable oolong with lots of warm notes of sweet golden breads and plummy stonefruit undertones mixed with raisins. Really smooth and easy drinking – perfect for this lazier brewing method.
It was a very busy first half of the day at work, but in the afternoon we had our office holiday party which was a professional spice workshop/seminar. I brought this with the sip on over the course of the workshop which ended up being very smart because I definitely needed something to sip on in between tasting all the different spices – especially once we got to the pepper tasting portion. If you’ve never nibbled on straight sichuan pepper you’re missing out on an incredibly weird experience!!
Adventaggedon Day 15: Tea 8/8
Gongfu – and holy fuck y’all did I need this tea today!
After the unfortunately miserable gongfu session from yesterday when I was feeling unwell this was a miraculous rebound. It completely made me day seeing a yancha in the assortment and I happily seized the opportunity to have a very long, proper bit of gongfu over my lunch break today!
As I know I’ve mentioned before, I just love oolong teas that taste like you’re licking rocks – and this is one where I felt like I was licking soooo many rocks! It started off with a nice deep roasted note and surface level charred nuts/grains element before becoming this more complex and beautiful mineral rich infusion with hints of allspice, nutmeg, and more woody/barky cinnamon. Later steeps picked up a little bit of a dense brandied fruit/plum-y kind of undertone and a little bit of dill in the finish but overall it was just a really robust medley of the right roasty earthy mineral flavours to make my palate sing!
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXd8bIHaQ_o&ab_channel=BenPlatt
Adventaggedon Day 14: Tea 5/8
This was honestly a little bit of a boring/bland tea. Just a mellow green tea base heavy on the grassy notes with a hint of lemon and a hint of ginger. Truthfully the best part was just that I’d had the foresight to steep it cold because for some ungodly reason it was 30C in the apartment for the entire day. That is such an unreasonably hot temperature and I cannot figure out for the life of myself why it’s so sweltering hot when the building is so (pleasantly) cool in the summer. Like, I normally keep the apartment 20C so… damn.
I’m sure the sauna like temperature was NOT helping with my overall bad mood and funk from today.
Adventaggedon Day 13: Tea 4/8
The dreaded sencha returns!
Honestly this isn’t too bad all in all. With the addition of the two different kinds of mint (especially the spearmint) it actually ends up tasting pretty similar to a Moroccan Mint which is refreshing and a bit peaceful/calming. I need a break from green teas tomorrow though…
Adventaggedon Day 12: Tea 5/6
Earl Grey is another type of tea that I’m getting a little bit sick of seeing in advents, though not as much as the jasmines. Thankfully a lot of the EG so far have been more of “variant EG” type teas and I also feel like I have a lot more flexibility in being able to brew them different ways. Like with this one, for example! It smelled like an incredibly strong and intense bergamot, so I decided to cold brew it with a pretty substantial amount of vanilla flavoured agave.
Due to the heat free tea extraction this ended up being a lot more mellow and smooth than I think it would have been hot (though it’s still a strong and punchy bergamot) and the addition of the sweet agave and vanilla almost makes it feel more like a London Fog! I was very tempted to add some milk or eggnog, but I’ve already had a lot more dairy this past week through Adventaggedon than I’m used to having so I resisted the temptation and stuff to a dairy free round of advent teas today…
It was overall a fine cold brew though, as I’ve said time and time again, I’m just not super into EG/bergamot from the start.
Adventaggedon Day 11: Tea 7/7
Last up is this honeybush/rooibos sweet berry blend! It’s the second berry rooibos in a row from World Tea House but I suppose the main difference it that this is more meant to be like a rich/indulgent dessert type profile versus a more bright and tart berry. It even has white chocolate curls in it.
The dry leaf smelled a little smoky and I wonder if that’s maybe some scent contamination from being packed next to the Russian Caravan, which was pretty intense. Steeped up it’s not smoky tasting at all though, which is good. I definitely get those sweeter honey and nut notes from the two bases along with a little bit of graham and some silky creamy white chocolate notes. The berry is pretty light compared to yesterday’s tea and the focus is definitely more so on those cream elements. However, I have to say that like yesterday I am finding the most distinct berry note to be the currants used.
Overall I’m enjoying it though! I love decadent teas that are able to ride that tricky line between being too sweet/cloying while still capturing a richness about them – and that’s what I’m getting from this!
Adventaggedon Day 10: Tea 7/7
It was kind of a berry heavy day today but I definitely didn’t mind. I found this to be a really refreshing cold brew and despite a pretty stacked/busy ingredient list it was kind of a mellow brew. Initial tart hibiscus on the top notes but then refreshing honeyed rooibos and mellow mixed berries. Definitely more of a generic wild berry/forest berry vibe than any specific sort of berry aside from maybe some black current notes that stood out. I could totally drink a full pitcher of this though! Not too much or too little, even if it’s not particularly stand out in terms of clarity or uniqueness. Like a more natural Kool-Aid kind of direction though, which is pretty nice!
Adventaggedon Day 9: Tea 3/7
Steeped Western because of time constraints today, but also because I didn’t want to commit to a full gongfu session of a green tea or a massive teapot either. I do really appreciate receiving and interesting terroir tea and I’ve enjoyed other teas I’ve had from the Doke tea farm in the past (especially some silver needle white teas). However, right now this tea is taking me back to being a child told to eat their vegetables and I’m just not loving that…
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFOqhucq1I&abchannel=kriillmusic
Adventaggedon Day 8: Tea 7/7
My God, I needed this today! You all know that I’m a total slut for a good smokey tea so when I saw that the World Tea House advent selection today was a Russian Caravan I lost my damn mind. Advents are keeping me so busy right now that I just haven’t had time to drink much of anything else – smoked teas included. This probably wouldn’t have even needed to be good for me to love it at this point, but it was good and that made the moment so much better.
It’s not even a straight Lapsang Souchong because it’s blended with Keemun, but the smoke note is so aggressive and burly that I was immediately pulled into those late night summer bonfire feelings with the big plumes of sweet smoke. It was deep and robust and hit me in the back of the chest in all the right ways.
As someone who is asexual, I’ve always found the phrase “better than sex” to be rather alienating… But this tea…
This was better than pizza.
This was better than horror movies.
This was almost better than Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Definitely better than season four, though…
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj21oxisMSA&ab_channel=TheSymposium-Topic
Adventaggedon Day 7: Tea 3/7
The universe today wanted me to drink pumpkin teas – which is maybe a little weird during a holiday advent!? I ended up with two today though, this obviously being one of them. I steeped it up hot and straight but pretty strongly. It was nice. Classic. For me, most pumpkin spice/pumpkin chai type teas taste very similar – there’s just not a wide range of variation when you’re sticking to the classic “pumpkin spice” spice mix. So, it was good but predictable.
Probably would have enjoyed it a little more were there not snow on the ground.