336 Tasting Notes
It’s been a week or two since I’ve been on Steepster. I tend to be on more during those weeks when I’m just feeling generally happier, more encouraged, less stressed, etc. Hasn’t been an actually bad past couple of weeks, just couldn’t get excited about tea for some reason.
Well, I’m still feeling a little stressed today, but it’s a day off, so I’ll deal with it!
I know a lot of people dislike Teavana. My issues with them have less to do with their tea (although they do a lot more fruity stuff than I care for) than their pushy sales practices, though I will say the last time I went in there I had a very good customer service experience. All of my teaware, except for my gaiwan, is from them. I order online from them when I can, which means I have an endless supply of wild orange blossom tea.
My Morning Mate is such an unexpected pleasure. It’s right up my alley. It’s one of the richest “chocolatey” teas I’ve tried to date, and the spice and tang offset it just enough to make it interesting but not enough to detract. I have a bad habit of cutting myself a little short on sleep every night (New Year’s resolution?) so I love that my one “mate” tea is this enjoyable.
I’m already starting to feel better. Positivity is a many-splendored thing. Now to make it a habit. :P
Backlog from this morning, since I didn’t have time to write a tasting note.
I’m glad H & S sent me a sample of this; I wound up being sad that I didn’t order it. It was in convenient sachet form. Of course I read the Steepster item descrip that said, “One sachet makes a 12 oz. cup of tea” right as I went to take a sip from my mug that is most definitely not 12 oz…
It’s hot! It’s cinnamon! It’s spice! All in most emphatic terms! It really DOES live up to its name!!!
The cinnamon is a very sweet cinnamon, almost cloyingly so. Unlike a lot of flavored teas (Vaguely Autumnal Rooibos coughImean Pumpkin Spice, I’m looking at you), that “spice” in the title is no joke. The comparisons to red hots are fairly accurate. Still, this is closer to what I really, really had wanted the Holiday Tea to be like: bold, in-your-FACE flavor that simultaneously comforts you, gets you in the holiday spirit, and kicks you in the boofoo.
Very impressed. Has a chance of becoming a restock since it resembles nothing else in my cupboard.
Today’s been a day. There have been 9 million things going on at work, all kinds of phone calls to make and customers to contact and things to follow up on and waiting for people to get back to me, and I’ve been driving myself slightly mad this week thinking about all of it. Then the bloody snowstorm starts. I HATE SNOW! My dad was supposed to get home from a business trip to Dallas tonight, but he’s stuck in the airport overnight. I was supposed to visit friends this weekend, but I don’t know if that’s happening, and few things drive me crazier than plans up in the air. And when I came home from work, I took a road that’s usually safer than my normal one, but I wound up almost swerving into a ditch, then over-swerving and absolutely losing control of my car for the second time in my life, and I almost hit another car. It’s one of the only times I’ve feared for my life and it’s pretty much my fault. It turned out OK, but by the time I got home I was so upset that I started bawling as soon as I walked through the front door.
In times like these, only one tea quite satisfies.
And that is my tasting note.
I was really looking forward to this one. I LOVE pistachio ice cream when it’s done right. My mind always goes back to a gelato place I visited during a college pre-orientation trip to Philadelphia. (I also just remembered that I bought myself pistachios during my Semi-Loopy Low Blood Sugar Grocery Run last night. This same grocery trip also resulted in $3 California rolls, Cobb salad, English muffins, and the “Sexiest Guys” issue of People Magazine being bought – none, save the California rolls, of which are things I ordinarily would like or buy.)
I’m expecting a sweet, thick pistachio smell, the consistency of melted ice cream. The aroma has an air of pistachio, but it’s more like one of pistachio’s quirks than its essence. Still enticing, nonetheless.
There are pistachios in the leaves! Let me repeat that. There are pistachios in the leaves!!!!!!! Flower leaves and petals I’ve come to expect. Spices, sure. Fruit bits, sure. But pistachios? Commence geeky flailing!
…And I oversteeped it.
Welp. I’m not going to give a number rating on this because I’m not sure whether the “green tea” flavor is overriding the pistachio ice cream because I goofed up or because that’s how this tea is. I had/have such high hopes, I’m willing to give it another go and a closer eye on the timer.
One thing I will say, though, if all green teas sounded this exciting, you betcha I’d be drinking way more green teas.
This… reminds me of some smell I used to have in my life several years ago, I’m thinking high school. I don’t remember what it was, but it was either some kind of lotion or some kind of lip balm. It’s got a “fake chocolate flavoring” kind of vibe that should be off-putting, but when it comes to tea, I really don’t mind it. Actually kind of like it.
Just don’t expect it to taste like hot cocoa like the item descrip implies. There’s supposed to be hazelnut. That might be contributing to what makes the flavor a little different.
I don’t know if everyone would like it, but I do.
There are certain kinds of teas that, when you try them for the first time, produce an effect sort of like limerence. Something about the flavors catches you so pleasantly off guard that, for just a second, your head spins one or two loops and you get a little hazy-eyed. Once you get to know the tea and what to expect, it’s a pleasant cup but you lose that effect. But then you find new teas to try, and every once in a while you’ll hit that one whose flavor is just that kind of intoxicating that you can’t stop sipping it, trying to sort out exactly what mix of hues that is that you’ve never tasted before.
This was one of those teas. I got my Harney & Sons box and my Butiki box (a day earlier than expected!) today, and the first thing I did when I got home was to open them, open the H & S bags (YAY zip bags!), and sniff them.
And this was the first one I sniffed. When I think “Paris,” I think of a light, brightly delicate rose-flavored tea, with a twinkling little menagerie of nuances. This was different. I knew to expect caramel, and I got a bit of caramel in the center, but it was surrounded by something I still can’t put my finger on. It’s some kind of floral, but it’s not quite rose, it’s a little darker and sweeter, something purple-magenta. (Actually, if I wanted to be cynical, it’s perfume-y. But I don’t mind perfume-y.) But there’s a ringing bright overtone too, citrusy. I actually sat there blinking and went, “Whoa. Oh my god. Wow.” It was one of those that took me to a different place and time, which only added to the romance. I let my non-tea-drinking mom smell it, and she said, “That smells different!” In a good way, in that it wasn’t anything she had an immediate association for. Exactly how I felt.
The leaves are tiny. I didn’t get to see the color of the liquor, but the taste is pretty much like the aroma, except the caramel is a bit more pronounced. I drank it while we watched The Wolverine tonight, and I didn’t want to stop sipping on it because I wanted to figure out exactly what combination of flavors I was getting. And I still haven’t.
This isn’t my favorite tea yet, but I’ve quite enjoyed it. One of the great joys about experiencing things you’re looking forward to is that they’re almost never how you expect them. H & S also sent me a sample bag of this along with my order that included this tea, and I look forward to several more cups.
Not the greatest night’s sleep last night, and just woke up feeling a little off. You know, when you wake up stressed out for no good reason. It’s all the little things getting to me, I guess. This wasn’t quite the flavor I was hoping for this morning, but I like it and I have a lot of it left so I don’t have to ration. At least the roses are nice and perky.