Featured & New Tasting Notes
Sipdown 49- 2021
This is a flavor profile that my boyfriend really loves, so he drank most of this pouch. But, I had a cup and it was quite tasty! Syrupy sweet blueberries and vanilla are most dominant for me, with just a touch of cinnamon in the finish. The honey bush works really well here, adding to the cobbler aspect of the flavor.
additional notes: I broke into my 150g pouch that I just had to buy during the sale… I was thinking of buying some anyway because I once saw it on the VIP page so I thought it might be leaving. So I went for it during the sale. Upon opening, I realized there aren’t any caramel cubes… to me it’s an entirely different blend now. What makes it “toffee” without the caramel cubes? I asked B&B and they said they removed those from the blend three years ago. Ack. But really, it doesn’t seem like the same blend even if it had the caramel cubes. The black tea seems lighter even with two teaspoons, the apple is lighter, which makes the smoke seem stronger. So I’m sorry if my praising of the past versions of this blend had anyone buy the less great recent blend. I just don’t love it anymore.
Dry leaf is long, thin mostly dark green needles with some of of the typical white hairs. I smell some musty hay, faint smoke, rich undertone of white chocolate or cocoa butter.
Taste is full of white chocolate, hay, melon and minerals with slight herbaceous-vegetal-zucchini tone. Nectar sweetness that I find typical of silver needles. Creamy lychee-oat aftertaste. Rather drying.
I had this a week ago and my notes were rushed, my recollection fuzzy. The flavor profile was unique and I can’t remember enough to say why. Maybe the tea had a deeper, earthier feeling to it… I really enjoyed this one, though, especially the white chocolate note which I was not expecting after reading Leafhopper’s review. It seems like our experiences with this tea differed a bit. Thanks for the share, Leafhopper :)
Flavors: Creamy, Drying, Hay, Herbaceous, Lychee, Melon, Mineral, Musty, Nectar, Smoke, Sweet, Vegetal, White Chocolate, Zucchini
My Dessert by Deb ordered arrived today and it was so exciting because it was my order and my sub box and wrapped with so much love. Part of it was literally gift wrapped and it just makes for such an amazing experience! I planned on taking pics but I was so excited I ripped through everything before I did. Oops
Part of the order were teas for Sil and teas for Roswell Strange. They both grabbed this tea and while I was curious, I didn’t want more than a sample. I snagged a cup from Sil to try so thank you, Sil!!
It’s a nice tea. I don’t know if it screams pear so much as just a generic and soft orchard fruit note. It also has turmeric but it’s subtle and alright. Overall, it’s fine but it’s not for me.
Thank you for this, AJRimmer! It’s snowing! So ’It’s Snowing!’ the tea blend came to mind. On first sip, I thought “yes, this is a perfect snowy day blend.” It’s not a chai, but that’s ok! You can’t drink chai on every cold day. First, the coconut flakes look fresh and TASTE fresh. So nice. Then hints of ginger and cinnamon on a smooth yet dark enough black base. I love that the coconut is so present. It’s a smooth, comforting cup for this endless winter. I MUST finish the last steep session before next winter and the coconut is older. It’s so good now.
Steep #1 // 1 1/4 teaspoons // 20 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 4 minutes after boiling // 4 min
2021 sipdowns: 25 Della Terra – Café Vanilla
Last traveling tea box sample from 2020. Hmm this is much more mildly flavored than I expected. Hot, it tastes like rather plain black tea. I’m not really getting caramelized sweetness here. I imagined it being much richer than this. Once it had cooled, the base was a bit more metallic than I prefer, but I also got some burnt caramel hints, which were pleasant. I feel like I did get some nougat in the end, but I wish the flavors were stronger.
I thought this was the nicest of the teas I tried from Hotcups yesterday, and also the most interesting/unique. Cherry and almond are such complimentary flavours and this is an intense and juicy take on both of them – robust and sweet with this tangy candied cherry and boozy amaretto profile that loosely makes me think of an Amaretto Sour. I believe this is the best selling flavour from Hotcups and I can understand why. It was great hot, but it’d obviously ice very well too – just punchy and straight forward without sacrificing having some layers to the flavour to make it a bit more dynamic.
The last tea from my Mountain Stream order before I move on to Floating Leaves. This one turned out to be the best one of the bunch. I had a very similar Orange Blossom from Mountain Stream a couple of years ago – it might even be the same tea – and there are a few differences in this one. It’s cleaner tasting while the other was more rough around the edges with a sharper orange taste.
Grandpa steeped 1.2g in an 8oz glass using 200 F water. Dry leaf smell is very inviting and juicy. Creamy with citrusy notes of tangerine and bergamot. The brewed tea tastes like perfumery orange blossom water and apricot. The taste is evocative of baklava with its sweetness and exotic floral flavor. After topping off with boiling water, the orange fades and gives way to jasmine like florals. Doesn’t become bitter as long as you don’t overleaf.
A great scented tea if you’re looking for a citrusy floral oolong.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Jasmine, Orange Blossom
I’ve been really impressed with everything I’ve tried from TeaVivre. This is no exception. It’s quite complex and multidimensional, and was an extremely enjoyable drinking experience.
It’s thick and slightly savory. Notes of molasses and white flowers follow. Baked brown bread and raisins are in the finish.
Nichole sent me Birthday Cake in my last order, and she didn’t even know that my birthday is next month! Naturally, I decided to save this to open on my birthday.
Naturally, I didn’t.
It started innocently enough. I would just SMELL it. That’s all.
I opened the pouch and sniffed and it smelled exactly like Birthday Cake Oreos! Or….like birthday cake but we always do chocolate or lemon cakes so I didn’t associate it with cake first!
The next step in this parade was that “it wouldn’t hurt to try just one cup.” After all, it resteeps twice more so I could have a lot of tea with just one teaspoon gone and still have plenty for my birthday.
It does not taste quite the same as it smells. It tastes better, way better, because I don’t like overly sweet bakery cake and cupcakes with towers of icing. The reason it is better? The base here is the same very “adult” black tea that I loved in Vanilla Black and Peach Vanilla. It is a sophisticated tasting black base. It is forward enough to keep this from tasting like a syrupy sweet children’s tea party tea. The base has the raspy unsweetened cocoa “feel” that I enjoy.
The aroma of the steeped tea is largely caramel to me! It smells really good! So good that I asked Ashman if he would sniff it. You know where that went, right? Another teaspoon bites the dust. The vanilla and cream are there for sure, but the caramel got its hooks in us.
Giving up entirely on the notion of saving this for my birthday, I made a huge pot of it for breakfast the next morning. I guess I am going to have to order a new pouch.
Thank you, Nichole! We loved it!
2016 harvest, sealed sample packet from Leafhopper!
Dry leaf is pungent! chestnut, cacao, an impression of cherry pie filling. The look of it reminds me of Laoshan green. I’ve had this as mini-bowl tea 1g:100mL and teapot 2g:190mL, 3/4min. Prefer the bowl.
Let’s see… lemony, roasted chestnut, pan-fried green beans for sure, steamed escarole, gentle floral-powdered sugar high note, underlying umami. Vegetal, salty-nutty-brothy-sweet ending brisk and tart with a light bitterness on the swallow. Aftertaste is at first metallic, turning into a salted citrus rind tingle then apricot to a subtle impression of violet and lavender.
It’s not extremely vegetal or too robust, has a range of flavors that are well rounded. Pretty dang good for 5 years old.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Broth, Cacao, Cherry, Chestnut, Citrus Zest, Floral, Green Beans, Lavender, Lemon, Lettuce, Metallic, Nutty, Powdered Sugar, Salty, Sweet, Tart, Umami, Vegetal, Violet
So glad I bought another pouch of this tea, especially in the midst of this brutal cold spell that’s hit Chicago and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon (thanks Polar Vortex). The windchill was -15 F the other day and I knew my usual morning green tea or green oolong wasn’t going to cut it. I was craving something warm and toasty and this tea came to the rescue.
It’s been a year since I last had this tea which was picked nearly 3 years ago. Despite the age it was still mind-blowingly good. Credit to TTC’s hermetically sealed foil bags…I wish every company packed their tea like they do.
Grandpa steeped 1.3g of leaf in my 8oz mug @ 200 F. I was immediately greeted by that familiar yet delicious honeyed flavor. Nectar sweet with notes of wildflowers, toasted pine nuts, and caramelized minerals. As the tea steeps, wildflower honey gets mingled with a subtle bug bitten sweetness. A wonderful example of a skillfully roasted tea that brings out complex flavors without tasting roasty.
Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Mineral, Muscatel, Roast nuts, Toasted
My tea came today! This is the one that incited me to order so I had to try it first.
I opened the pouch and sniffed and my knees trembled. Literally. You think I am joking? Watch the video. There is no video so just imagine it. It really happened.
It smelled so good that I thought my heart would break if it didn’t taste the way it smelled.
Since there are orange peels and chocolate chips and I know I am going to triple steep, I used a teaspoon and a half.
I am going to cry.
This is so good. It tastes like it smells. I think I had Jaffa Cakes once in Ireland. BUT easily available in the US are orange Pims (also in raspberry) which are nearly the same. And when my two youngest daughters and I first started having tea together and wanted to be fancy we bought Pims. Back when you could have people over for tea, remember? Back before viruses and nasty February weather that keeps you from even having tea with friends outside.
And this has taken me back to the best memories of those days.
The orange is fresh “peeling-an-orange-and-the-juice-lightly-mists-your-face” orange. Up front the aroma is all orange orange happy orange. Aromatherapists know that orange scent is a mood lifter and even peeling one can make people feel better. (I am so tired of all the orange, clove, and cinnamon teas though.)
As you swallow, the back and sides of your tongue are drenched with chocolate, which haunts your mouth after swallow. Orange up front, chocolate lingering after.
Tonight as I am sleeping, I will be whispering, but if the Ashman leans close to hear what I am saying, all he will hear is, “Jaffa Cakes.”
I prolly need more.
There’s a break in the impeachment trial. Such disturbing, horrifying, sad unseen footage shown. Thought I’d write a quick review during the break.
It’s been two years and these improve with age so thought I’d try another today. I put the dried tangerine stuffed with Pu-er in my little gaiwan and rinsed it with boiling water. It barely fit lol. The liquor is a really dark reddish/brown color, tangerine scent. Afterward, I did like 5 to 10-second infusions. So many times that I lost count. It’s fallen completely apart now lol. I can not emphasize enough just how mellow this pu-erh is compared to many. I am reluctant to even put “earth” in the taste profile because it’s that mellow. I haven’t been in the mood for any pu-erh tea for months but this was just wonderful and warm.
It’s a really nice, mellow pu-erh with no leather, fishiness, or strong overbearing notes. Tangerine, citrusy notes and aroma, filling the room.
So time did, in fact, make this even better. I have a couple more. I just ordered from TeaVivre and I am looking forward to trying Quanzi green mandarin pu’er. I added that as a sample. If it is as good as this, I’ll be a happy camper.
Flavors: Citrus Zest, Citrusy, Earth, Smooth
Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge Tuesday, February 9th: National Pizza Day –Tea #2
additional notes: YEP, I’m a pineapple pizza fan! This tea is a mighty fine pineapple tea – straightforward pineapple on a brisk mixture of black teas. I’ve written about it before, so I will refrain from saying more. (Also having a stromboli today for pizza day!)
I was sitting on the couch trying to put out some work fires and felt like I wanted to make another matcha latte because I really enjoyed my first cup of Teavivre’s matcha last week. I Iazily didn’t want to get off the couch but then saw the matcha Monday post from VariaTEA and it motivated me to get up haha.
I made this latte with soy milk and maple (instead of almond milk and a date) and it’s come out differently, yet still tasty. I think I almost prefer the date, but I’m going to make a date paste next time that will be incorporated better. The soy milk has made it thicker, but it still has that delicious matcha flavour with almost no bitterness.
I broke into my stash of this to work as liquid courage. I hate selfies but decided to post one on the Sororitea Sisters instagram page as part of a Meet the Sisters series I wanted to start since the new year. My hair, which I have been attempting to perft with the curly girl method, was looking alright and I decided to just go for it. You can see the post and learn a little about me (though if you read my notes, you likely know most of the info) here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CLAUzdlgYZ5/
As for this tea, its one of the oldest in my stash and I have a lot of it but once it is gone it is gone. That’s sad because this is spot on for a lemon poppyseed muffin, the bright yellow one bursting with citrus flavor and topped with a vanilla glaze. It’s accurate and delightful and just what I needed.
From the sampler box. There is chocolate (not quite enough for me); there is rose (a little too much for me), but it performs exactly as advertised. Tea Forte recommends it with milk. I recommend it with a Russell Stover chocolate cream. Adds a little elegance to a glumpy afternoon, the highlight of which has been vacuuming cat hair and folding far too many loads of laundry.
A few months ago, Cameron B mentioned loving some freeze dried miso soup so I ordered it for Youngest for Christmas. She loved it so much that I ordered some for myself! I had never had miso soup. I tried it and it was really good. My husband liked it, too, so I decided to try to make some homemade miso soup.
I made miso soup with zucchini, fresh chives from the garden, and wakame. I also made potstickers and a homemade yumyum sauce. Naturally I wanted a Japanese tea to complete the meal and this is probably the only one I have other than matcha.
The first time I made it we had it more or less gong fu style, resteeping and pouring into tiny cups. It looked almost gray/pink with purple at the edge of the cup until we added lemon juice which turned it really pink, but I preferred it plain.
This time I made it western style and poured two steeps together into a large tetsubin for serving. I think it had more purple/pink color this way, but probably just because we used larger Japanese cups that Superanna gave me. (The tea was also from her.) It was probably the depth of the tea that made it appear to have deeper color.
We both enjoyed it, and it was really great with the food. It is a rather mild Sencha so it can tend to disappear if sipped right after a strongly flavored bite. We made a third steep to drink after the meal and I think it looked even pinker. It was easy to drink and had very little drying effect, nicely hydrating.
4tsp for 500mL water @90C, steeped 5 minutes, drunk plain.
Picking date: 2 August 2019.
The “raspberry” in the tea’s name is not an added flavour but a pronounced tasting note. Raspberry jam and dates, as the packaging says, and some soft malt. Medium body. Only mildly astringent in aftertaste. Sweet and deep. No bitterness at 90C. I think I’m falling in love with Assams all over again, thanks to TeaBox.
I’ve been finding myself craving the subtle smoke found in several Arthur Dove blends. Today I reached for Ghost Town. Smokey scent with a lighter creamier smoke in the sip that linger pleasantly into the finish.
Wish I had time to enjoy this cup, but I’m gulping this down on my way out the door to buy more oxygen for my casting torch. It’s still really good, even speed drunk.
TEA MAIL from ashmanra, thank you for sharing a few cups with me again :)
Okay, another exam passed. I was exhausted. And cold, as it was raining all the time I was going home from the train station. Felt asleep watching a ice hockey match in early afternoon!
So, decided to brew this one. It sounded very fiery and I wasn’t that sure about it at all, ginger and Mate; Fire in name, I was afraid this tea isn’t for me.
Well, it has got indeed interesting taste. I had Yerba Maté several times, but never cared if roasted or not, or how it should taste like and those things.
Today cuppa woke me up sucessfully. And it was somehow mineral, quite spicy (fiery, from ginger I guess) but it wasn’t excessively. A wee hint of cinnamon.
Wouldn’t call it Chai honestly. It was a ginger drink with yerba maté. That’s it.
Flavors: Ginger, Mineral