134 Tasting Notes
Tea of the Week for August 19: I cold-brewed this one overnight, and it is also really good. Usually, I am able to say right away which way a tea tastes better: hot-brewed & served hot or cold-brewed and served chilled. (Or even hot-brewed and served chilled.) I’m not able to do that with this tea because all three work really well, perhaps equally as well. They do taste a little different, of course, but they are all really good.
When it’s served hot, I get equal portions of the fig and the cheesecake and a tasty Assam background. What I really like about this particular Assam is that it is very smooth. When it’s hot-brewed, I don’t get astringency. Mind you, I’ve not oversteeped it, but what allows me to say that is that I thought I oversteeped it the first time I tried it (as an unflavored base) and it wasn’t bitter or even astringent. It didn’t feel dry on the palate at all. It just had a very rich, malty flavor. I was very impressed by it. This is why I recommend a 3 minute steep time (as opposed to my usual 2 1/2 minute recommendation) for this particular Assam tea, because it can withstand it without imparting a bitter bite or a hint of astringency.
When served hot, the fig and cheesecake have a very balanced taste to it. When served cold (after hot-brewing), I notice a bit more cheesecake than fig, but still both are prominent.
As I sip it now after cold-brewing it overnight, I find myself mentally comparing it to a milk bubble tea, but with fig rather than the usual taro I tend to favor from my local bubble tea place. The cheesecake flavor lends that sort of creaminess that I would taste from the milk bubble tea, but it’s a bit more tangy than the milk bubble tea. And I think that’s a good thing because I like that contrast. Granted, this isn’t a bubble tea (so please don’t interpret my comment that way), I just found my mind recalling my favorite bubble tea drink as I sip this – meaning that there is something about this that evokes those memories.
The base seems perfect for this combination of flavors. I really am pleased with this one.
This was the tea of the week for August 12 – I created it to celebrate my youngest daughter’s 18th birthday. The cake we ordered for her is her favorite cake: a vanilla cake with lemon curd filling and chantilly cream frosting. Every bite of the cake is awesome – but really, the cake is all about the chantilly cream. That chantilly cream is pure deliciousness: silky smooth, vanilla creaminess that’s not too sweet the way other frostings can be. It’s just perfect.
So I wanted this tea to be focused more on that chantilly cream experience, so I went lighter on the lemon and cake-y notes so the creamy vanilla notes could shine through. The lemon and cake notes are definitely there – and they get stronger as you continue to sip, but even as they do get stronger, they still serve as accent notes to the sweet, creamy vanilla.
I cold-brewed this overnight because it’s still a bit warm here in the Pacific Northwest and I wanted to see how this would work out as a cold-brew – and it turns out that it’s fantastic cold-brewed. I poured the first glass and gave it to Lilith to try, figuring if she wasn’t into it, I’d just finish that glass. But she definitely WAS into it and took off with the glass – so I poured myself another.
This might just be my favorite white tea that I’ve created to date. It turned out exactly the way I wanted it to. Perfection!
This is the first tea of the week for August – and it’s the tea that’s been in my fridge for the last few days – I have cold-brewed it three nights in a row now and enjoyed them during these uncomfortably hot days of the end of August.
This is fantastic – it’s sweet (notes of honey & peach – as well as the Chinese Sencha!), it’s juicy (peaches & lemon) and it is crisp and refreshing (spearmint). It’s pleasantly cooling. It’s wonderful!
I know it’s a little late in the hot season but these last days of summer are the hottest ones (at least, that’s the way it seems here in the Pacific Northwest!) so it’s still well worth the investment for these next couple of weeks of heat.
I cold-brewed this one overnight last night – and as a cold-brew, this one positively shines! Absolutely delightful to drink. The bergamot mellows and melds with the lemon to offer a bright, citrus-y flavor that’s pleasantly tart but not sour – the rum and the subtle kick of ginger softens the sour notes – to create a very pleasant flavor.
This was our tea of the week for July 1 (for last month’s themed box). Last night, I set it to cold-brew overnight and it’s really quite nice cold-brewed. I think I might like it a bit better when it’s steeped and served hot – it’s a little fruitier tasting when it’s hot. Served cold, I notice more of the jasmine notes. I enjoy both – but find myself wanting a little more apricot in this cold-brewed version – something that is much more present in the taste when served hot.
That said, I do notice more of the fruit flavors (apricot and orange) as I continue to sip. Very light and refreshing – especially after having so many black iced teas as of late.
This is our featured reblend tea for June. I cold-brewed this overnight last night to sip today – and it is fabulous!
For this blend, rather than utilize my usual black tea blend for the base, I used the OP1 Ceylon from the single estate (Petagalia) – and it’s just perfect for this flavor as it allows the gentle flavor of cotton candy to shine through without being overwhelmed. There’s a good balance between tea and flavor going on here.
(Note: you may notice that this one isn’t yet available to buy on the website. It will be added July 7)
This is the final “tea of the week” for June – although this month we did have two ‘bonus’ teas – one featured reblend (which will be announced later this coming week) and one special anniversary tea that will be announced later in July (this tea will be exclusive to subscribers for the first 30 days).
So, this is the tea of the week for June 24. It is inspired by the upcoming live action Lion King movie – and the flavor combinations are inspired by the recipe for a “Hakuna Matata” cocktail that I found some time ago that is made of peach vodka, amaretto, orange juice & mango.
This is the tea in my cold-brew jar today. I steeped it overnight and truth be told, I probably steeped it a bit longer than that because my sleep cycle is pretty messed up. But, it’s still quite delicious and doesn’t taste bitter despite the long steep time. It’s sweet, nicely fruity with a lovely almond note: kinda nutty, fruity & light. It makes a really refreshing iced tea.
I first tested this as a hot tea, I found that the amaretto notes seemed to emerge stronger as a hot tea – as an iced tea, the amaretto is more balanced with the fruit. The fruit tastes more like a medley of fruit rather than distinctly orange, mango & peach, but if I focus on it, I can pick out the mango and the peach. Not so much so on the orange, which seems to be more of just a bright note there amongst the other flavors. As an iced tea, I taste more peach and almond – followed by the mango. The orange is still more like an accent than anything else.
This is our Tea of the Week for June 17 – and it’s what’s in my cold-brewed pitcher at the moment. I like this one as an iced tea – but I think this one is better served hot. Served hot, I taste more of the cinnamon which is still a rather subtle flavor when hot – but when iced, it’s much softer.
The star of this tea is the nutty flavor and it ties in well with the natural nutty tones of the honeybush. The banana comes through as an undertone. The cinnamon is just enough to cut through some of the sweeter nutty flavors. It works well together and it does make a refreshingly different iced tea.