886 Tasting Notes
It was one of those mornings where, actually having the time to properly prepare a cup of tea without having to be in a rush out the door for work, I stood in front of my massive tea collection and couldn’t decided what I wanted. When I saw my two sampler pouches of this in the (almost empty now) flavored black teas sampler bag, I decided I really was in an Earl Grey mood.
I actually do smell the plum and clove from the dry leaf… and something coming across peppery? Lazily scooped one perfect teaspoon leaf instead of measuring grams like I usually do, steeped in 350ml 205F water for three minutes. The steeped leaf smelled more strongly of a lemony/bergamot citrus. The brewed up has a very appealing aroma; beramot, plum, and spices.
Mmm… this is interesting, and I like it! To me, it tastes like an Earl Grey and a Mulled Wine tea had a child, and those are both tea types I really like. There is a deep fruitiness to the cup; I do taste plum, but it is also reading a little like lychee to me, since I’m getting a slight floral undertone. The bergamot is pretty pervasive and fills the sip, with a crisp, citrusy, and slightly tart/sour lemon note. When the berg settles on the touch, there is a strong aftertaste of spices; I taste the clove, but the nutmeg is reading to me as more of a black pepper taste.
Perhaps a strange combination of flavors but it’s working for me… and it feels nice to get to lazily sip on a warm cup of tea, taking my time and savoring the sips!
In other tea news, I recently bought one of those CO2 infusing “soda” machines to experiment with my cold teas. The first one I tried (B&B’s Peppermint Cream) tasted questionable, but I looooooooove TeaSource’s vanilla black, Moon Over Madegascar, that way! Looking forward to experimenting with other teas (I have some of Lupicia’s Ramune tea to try next!)
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Clove, Floral, Fruity, Lemon, Lychee, Pepper, Pleasantly Sour, Plums, Spices, Tart
Dry leaf has a strong citrus aroma, it reminds me of that orange/tangerine scented French tea I had not long ago (no time to look up the name…) 2.65g brewed in 350ml 175F water for 3 minutes. The steeped cup is still giving me a strong citrus aroma, but now it is leaning with a sharper edge akin to grapefruit or bergamot. Looking at the description, it is apparently floral and melon. sips again Maybe I’m not refined enough for French teas, I still think it tastes like a bright and pithy lemon! I do have a bit of a melon taste toward the end of the sip and in the aftertaste, though. I’m having a hard time picking out the floral element this time (they mention violet which is one of my favorite florals).
It’s a crisp and bright green tea, the base is a nice fresh and grassy green, but I think it misses the mark slightly on the flavor. Maybe it will pop more as it cools… as per usual, I have no time to really prepare this cup before work and drinking it a lot warmer than I probably should.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Freshly Cut Grass, Lemon, Melon
Oh, I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this one! I know I’ve had it before, but it turned out my bag (from January 2018!) was still sealed, so I’m guessing this was one of the offerings available at my favorite local cafe, which has a limited and select assortment of teas from TeaSource that you can order in a little pot.
It’s a vanilla black tea. It’s tasty. I can tell age has gotten to this one, as the base tea itself isn’t as rich as I remember, but the vanilla is still quite strong. I think there may be some mint contamination from the last tea I had in this thermos (I scrub vigorously with soap and water every night, but certain flavors can be very stubborn, I’ve discovered, mint being one of them) so I’ll ignore that. Notes I’m picking up are baked bread, cherry, vanilla, and cream.
Satisfying, even if not the best it could be due to age (completely my fault!)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cherry, Cream, Fruity, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla
I have been saving this, untouched, in my cupboard since my friend Todd gifted it to me years ago, when this made a short appearance with DAVIDsTEA. At the time there were still US physical stores, a few locations of which were in the Bay Area of California where he lives, and he stopped in and picked me up some and mailed it to me at my request; sadly at the time, that location only had 1.5oz left to sell him, so I’ve horded it instead of drinking it ever since. This year I’ve really been focusing on getting out of “hording” mentality and drinking good tea when it is good, so I finally pulled this out for my breakfast smoothie tomorrow.
I used a teaspoon in one cup of vanilla almond milk, blended until frothy, and sampled the cold latte before adding my smoothie stuff. As I predicted, I love this one! Has a lovely rose flavor, and it is sweet as DT matcha always is, but I find I personally like the sweetness added to florals (which have a natural sweetness to me) better than many of the fruity options, which I prefer to be more tangy than candied. I couldn’t taste the matcha itself, but it might pop more if I wasn’t preparing directly in a sweetened milk, or opted to use more powder (which I did not, as I’d rather make it last longer). Not sure if I could decide if I like this more than the Lavender Honey Matcha, which is my other favorite. I at least love them equally!
Added a cup of frozen mango and some yogurt for creaminess and blended again. While this smoothie is going in the fridge for tomorrow’s breakfast, I couldn’t help but take a cheeky sample. The rose pairs lovely with the mango! Juicy tropical with a sweet and creamy vanilla note and sweet floral rose. Looking forward to breakfast tomorrow!
Flavors: Floral, Rose, Sweet
Happy Mother’s Day! Today the prompt is “drink a tea that reminds you of your mother.” I’m the only tea-drinker in my family, so my Mom doesn’t simply have a “favorite tea” I could pull out, so I had to get a bit creative. Since her birthday is Halloween, I figured it was a good excuse to pull out this old favorite at a very un-seasonably fashionable time! (I have reviewed this before, here: https://steepster.com/mastressalita/posts/375451 )
I prepared this as a latte, with 12 oz. of tea and 4 oz. of warm and frothed vanilla almond milk. This is such a delicious, decadent latte! Nice and foamy on top, sweet and mildly spicy. Very warm and comforting! I’m getting a lot of a sweet cinnamon early in the sip and more clove popping late in the sip and the aftertaste. The base is warm and sweet with a strong vanilla presense which can even be smelled in the dry leaf. While I never expect “pumpkin spice” (a spice blend) to taste like pumpkin, this tea actually does a pretty good job of conveying pumpkin pie. One of my favorite pumpkin spice chais I’ve tried thus far!
Not changing my initial rating because this still holds up!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Nutmeg, Pumpkin, Smooth, Spicy, Sweet, Vanilla
Pretty stressed out today and, once again, had no time before work to brew a tea for French Friday (I may have to permanently move working on these samplers to the weekends). Quickly brewed up this cup on my lunchbreak, sample courtesy of Cameron (thanks Cameron!)
No time for fussing, whole packet steeped in 350ml 205F water for as long as it took me to scoop the cat boxes. No measuring, no steep timer, just taking what I get. Smells and tastes floral and grapey. * looks at description * Huh, not tasting anything biscuity/caramelly. It is fruity with that floral undertone, mainly muscatel grapes but I can sorta taste apple and a hint of citrus.
Flavors: Apple, Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Muscatel
Doh, I nearly missed National Lemonade Day! Thankfully this tea has been the nightly herbal I’ve been working on sipping down for a while now (getting through these 50g packages is such an investment!) and it is a lemon/lavender blend.
I reviewed it before (here: https://steepster.com/mastressalita/posts/406858 ) and don’t really have anything new to say. Most herbals I leave in my cup in a fillable teabag while I sip for a really strong flavor, but with this one I definitely stick to a three minute steep, since the lavender is strong and goes unpleasantly bitter with a long steep. I also tried this as a latte one night — I like lemon with coconut, I like lavender with coconut, and I had some coconut milk so it seemed to reason they’d go well together — but it honestly didn’t taste good. I have yet to try it cold brew, but I feel like the lemon isn’t quite bright enough to carry it that way. I prefer strong, tart lemon (lemon myrtle and lemon peel being my favorite lemony herbal things) but this tea is lemongrass and lemon verbena. This just comes off slightly more grassy/herbaceous than I’d prefer.
This is pleasant enough to sip on, but I definitely prefer B&Bs Moondrop Dreams to this for a lemon/lavender herbal. I’m getting very close now to finishing off the bag!
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Hay, Herbaceous, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Tart
I have been in the mood for a latte since I managed to restock on vanilla almond milk, and was thinking about my options when I ultimately settled on this, since a) my Lupicia sakura teas are very old at this point and b) the salt preserve on the leaves is gross to me but sometimes preparing as a latte with a sweet milk can curb that saliney/briny taste. As I sipped down the houjicha, I only had oat milk in the house, and that did not work well at all; the flavor was too similar to the houjicha and the vanilla of the oat milk wasn’t strong enough to hide the saltiness. I used vanilla almond milk on the Sakura Rooibos with fairly good results, though.
I got a beautiful foamy top on this! I smell a malty and slightly citrusy black tea with a top note of that distinct floral/cherry aroma of sakura which is so hard to describe. Mmm, excellent latte! Yes, I think vanilla almond milk is just my latte preference, or at least it goes well with these sakura teas. There is a mild tannic quality left on my tongue after the sip which I imagine is being curbed by the milk in the sip, so it is overall quite sweet and pleasant and loses the bitey quality some of Lupicia’s black bases have. For whatever reason, I’m picking up a strong citrus note from the base. The sakura is pleasant and left lingering on my tongue; I’m getting a little salinity but it is mostly all hidden by the sweet vanilla almond milk so I don’t have to wince with each sip.
I’m foreseeing many a sakura latte in my immediate future. (Does anyone know of any sakura-flavored teas that are a) real sakura, not just “cherry flavoring and florals” and b) don’t use salt preserves on the sakura? I’m looking for a replacement because my beloved Chasandai sakura green that used sugar to preserve instead is no longer available…)
Flavors: Cherry Blossom, Citrus, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Sakura, Salty, Sweet, Tannic
French… Saturday?! I had absolutely no time to brew hot tea before work yesterday (and in all honesty, barely have enough before work today, so I’ll have to make this brief), so I had to push back the sampler from my baggie of French teas (thanks, Dustin!) to today.
The dry leaf smells reminds me of B&B’s Easter Egg Nests… a sweet chocolately, slightly roasty/nutty aroma. Brewed about 2.6g per 350ml of 205F water for 3 minutes. The brewed tea smells like Easter Egg Nests to me as well… a fudgy, milk chocolately aroma. I’m getting a sort of roasty, slightly coffee-like background note, a subtle roasted nuts note, and a rich chocolately top note. I remember that I had more of a bitter-sweet, dark chocolate tasting experience with Easter Egg Nests, unless I prepared it as a latte, which brought out more of a creamy milk chocolate taste… I’m getting something closer to a creamy milk chocolate taste from this tea as a hot plain cuppa with no additions. There is more of a bitter sweet than a sweet edge to it, but it is quite smooth and pleasant.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Coffee, Dark Bittersweet, Roasted, Roasted Nuts
Happy National Superhero Day! (This is also my final Ode to Tea entry, for B! I now have all 26 sipdowns, woop!)
The prompt today was to drink a tea that reminds you of a favorite superhero. To be honest, while I consider myself a firm “geek,” the superhero genre just doesn’t do it for me (seriously, I’ve never watched any of those “Cinematic Universe” movies). I do, however, tend to enjoy the ones that lean heavily into comedy/parody, and have been a fan of The Tick (has anyone even heard of it? Probably not…) for years.
I picked this tea to represent him because his only “power” really is being “mighty,” so a robust black base (rather than a more delicate green or white or a decaf herbal) seemed to fit this. He’s also blaringly blue, hense the blueberry flavor. And he is really just a soft, extremely loving teddy bear on the inside, hense picking a sweet, desserty tea.
The blueberry is very sweet, reminding me of a sweet breakfast syrup or the blueberries in muffins, which goes well with a pastry tea. I can smell a sweet creamy aroma off the cup which I assume is the cream cheese, but have a harder time picking it out on the tongue; there is a creamy sort of sweetness that pops at the end of the sip. The black tea itself is really smooth, with no astringency or bitterness, and I’m getting notes of warm baked bread and subtle spices from it, which lend into that “bready pastry” feel.
Another solid blueberry entry from 52Teas!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Blueberry, Cream, Pancake Syrup, Pastries, Smooth, Spices, Sweet