66 Tasting Notes
This tea makes you question whether or not there is some sort of higher being, because if there was, surely they wouldn’t let you drink whatever this unholy brew is. I barely have words for this. Surely the presence of so many berries and berry leaves would make this a lovely tea, right? Oh no. Nooooo. The bag is filled with eucalyptus leaves and mistletoe and a bunch of pine nuts that are all waiting in the back alley of the initial steep so they can jump out and give you a puffy black eye. The eucalyptus is so finely ground that it escaped my fine strainer and the fugitive dust assaulted my tongue with every torturous sip. I had to pop 4 tums after finishing the cup because my stomach was so queasy that the first dose of 2 did nothing. My expectations weren’t high based on the ingredient list, but I didn’t think it would go down worse than 2 day old sushi that’s been sitting in the back of the crisper drawer.
Flavors: Biting, Bitter, Eucalyptus, Medicinal
Hmmm, this is not what I expected from the dry aroma. In the bag, the tea was a lovely toasty pile of stemmy pieces. The almond cookie notes are what inspired me to brew this on a Sunday morning at 7 am. When it was covered in 175F water, though, a very intense roasted buttery corn scent filled the area. It went from the appeal of a dark toasted oolong to hot wet movie theater fare in a heartbeat.
After apprehensively pouring the liquid out of my little teapot and into a big pottery mug, I immediately disposed of my leaves because I didn’t think I could stomach another cup of that stuff after this one. The liquor came out of the spout as a deep amber, and the aroma was slightly more straw-like and less Flavacol-saturated popcorn (a definite relief.) My first instinct after tasting the hot brew was to spit it back into the cup because my taste buds didn’t know what do to with it. (I did not because I had just eaten an apple and didn’t want any of that in my cup with this stuff. I persevered.)
After getting used to it, though? And letting it cool a bit so the steam isn’t punching me in the face with that popcorn aroma? Much better. It’s a very dry, savory tea at the start of the sip and yeasty in the mouth. Lots of freshly baked bread notes. If you’re looking for a tea with natural sweetness, this isn’t it, as it’s purely savory with the exception of what could be a jam note but feels like tomato-y rosehip in the aftertaste. It was easier to finish than I expected and I think that this would hit the spot for anyone who prefers dry, umami teas without any vegetal notes. I can’t fault it for the toastiness simply because I’m used to naturally sweet teas with fruity tones.
Not my personal cup of tea, but it’s well-rounded and worth trying.
Flavors: Brown Toast, Popcorn, Straw, Toasty, Yeast
This tea is weird. Not in a bad way, but if you go into it thinking it’ll be an ordinary herbal, prepare to be thrown for a loop. I distinctly remember my grandma bringing me back “Native Tea” from the Southwest as a souvenir when I was a little kid, and I absolutely loved it, but my mother thought it tasted like burnt grass and threw it in the bin.
Well, this tea is a less burned and more pine-heavy version of that tea I remember, so surprise! What I got hooked on as a 5 year old was cota and I still like it however many years later. The dry cota needles are so pointy that I had one splinter up into the skin of my foot when one escaped onto the floor, and they’re long and stiff which makes them hard to measure.
Once you brew them, though, dang. Southwestern Christmas in a cup. Light yellow liquor that reminds you of an unsavory liquid and the leaves are good to brew again and again until you get tired of drinking the stuff. Juniper berries are the perfect complement to the dry pine of cota. You know how gin has that dry taste to it? Yeah, so does this tea. The juniper builds on that and makes it taste slightly less like sipping on a liquidated alcoholic-but-not pine tree.
I have to say, though, I do love this tea. It’s delicious in a terribly weird fashion.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Hay, Pine
I blindly bought this tea online based on the picture alone. The beautiful combination of lavender buds, cornflower petals, mallow blossoms and bits of rose and hibiscus had me sold.
From the moment I unzipped the little grey packet, this tea had me hook, line, and sinker. It’s even prettier in real life where you can properly appreciate the colors and textures of the blend, and my god, that smell. Lemongrass and lavender and mango and a sweet kick of florals.
I’d highly recommend steeping it loose in a glass teapot or jar so you have the experience of watching the liquor turn hot pink as the tea expands and the little flowers pop open. It’s deliciously tart from the lemongrass and lemon notes, sweet from the mango, and floral from the lavender and rose. You can taste each individual component and the medley they create at once. The longer you let it steep, the more intense the tartness becomes, and it goes from a light fruity floral at 2 minutes to a near lemonade at 7.
Flavors: Floral, Lavender, Lemon, Mango, Rose, Sweet, Tangy, Tart
When I think of mint tea with a spike of vanilla, I really don’t want to think of it as “musky”, but that’s what Twinings Buttermint has brought me to. The “Natural Flavour Vanilla Type” was ominous, and after drinking it, I’m convinced that the vanilla type flavor here was modeled after a glandy beaver. It’s a mediocre peppermint tea with an odd, waxy, musky artificial vanilla kick to it. However, that hasn’t stopped me from buying and drinking two boxes of it, because I always forget just how bizarre it is.
Flavors: Artificial, Peppermint, Vanilla
Bought 50g of this for $11 to widen my horizons when it comes to black tea. The liquor is a delightful peachy dark brown, and the aroma is toasty with notes of freshly dried orchard hay. Not a tannic tea by any means, it goes down exceptionally smooth with a dark malty finish. The aftertaste doesn’t linger and I found my cup to be empty before it turned lukewarm, which is a rarity for any tea. I can’t say that it’s the best black I’ve ever had, but it’s likely the smoothest. Very pleasant to sip on a lazy winter afternoon.
Flavors: Hay, Malt, Straw