1350 Tasting Notes
Oh, look! Site layout! Wow, I can actually decipher information on the page.
Anyway, look, let me preface this by stating that I’m extremely attracted to anything that says caramel on it. Extremely. I am also extremely attracted to anything that says vanilla on it. Extremely. If you add the word ‘cream’ onto either of those two, well… Take a guess.
The name of this one is super weird. On the website, I’m pretty sure I bought what is listed as ‘Vanilla Cream’. (Not in translation, btw. ØT has gone with the English words for this one) On the pouch it says ‘Caramel Cream’ and then ‘Vanilla Cream’ underneath as a sort of subtitle. There’s nothing on the website called ‘Caramel Cream. So what is it actually called? I went with Caramel Cream because that’s what it says on the pouch, and also, I admit, because of the nice alliteration.
So is it vanilla or caramel? Don’t know. Do I really even care? Heck no, gimme!
(Actually in the blurb on the website it says it’s flavoured with both. I’ll get that translated and added on here… eventually. )
To be honest, it doesn’t actually come across as one or the other. It’s just something kind of generically dessert-y. I mean it’s lovely, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t really shine. Once I’d got through all the name confusion I was sort of hoping that it would be like this toffee flavoured one I had once upon a time. I can’t recall where it was from. Les Palais des Thes, possibly? I don’t remember. Anyway, I remember that one as managing to be strongly vanilla and strongly caramel at the same time. Sort of side by side flavours, rather than this more melded together one. So my initial impression wasn’t sending my socks into orbit, but I’ve made my peace with it now. I’m enjoying it for what it is, and it really isn’t fair to try and compare it to something I had years ago and can’t even remember where came from. My memory could be skewed.
So yes, I like it. I would buy it again.
So I’ve been following the local news… I’m feeling ambivalent about it all. It’ll be great to get some admins around the place. Users have done their best, but the site really needs some proper maintenance. It’s a bit like an old house that has seen better days. Totally fit for human habitation, but could use some paint, the tap drips a bit, and that one radiator just won’t turn on. On the other hand, it would have been greatly preferable if the site could have stayed indie, and previous bad experiences that some users have had are looming heavily. I have not participated in the debate, because I wasn’t there when aforementioned bad experiences were made, but I’ve been keeping up with the thread. I do get the impression that the representative of our new owners might have suddenly found himself in a discussion he was not prepared to have to deal with. It started out so well, and then there was a distinct tone of feeling pressured and maaaaaaybe not thinking things entirely through before pressing ‘post’. Okay, yes, I did leave an acerbic remark there. It doesn’t add anything to the conversation either way and I probably shouldn’t have made it. Oh well.
Anyway, I’ve had two cups of this today. It’s not actually the first I’ve had of it. My very first impression in the very first cup I had, the thing I mostly remember is that I found it incredibly fruity. Like someone had made a cup of tea, and then poured juice into it. That… sounds ghastly, actually. Poor description choice there. But it really had a distinct taste of eating forest fruits. Not any one in particular, just generic ‘fruit’. And in spite of my inability to describe this in a positive sounding way, it actually was a positive experience, albeit one that made me wonder how well it would reproduce.
Fairly well, although not completely consistently is the answer to that one. Sometimes it’s been more fruity, other times it’s had a more herbal characteristic to it. I once had a tea that was flavoured with thyme and, I think, raspberry. I can’t quite remember. But definitely thyme. When this one goes a bit herby, a milder version of that thyme tea is what it reminds me of.
I like it best when it’s in the juicier mood, but I’ll take it either way.
Once upon a time I lived in a place where there was a little tea shop. The little tea shop sold something they called ‘Krudtblanding’, which translates directly to Gunpowder Blend. The name referred to the Lapsang Souchong in it, rather than the gunpowder green tea. Anyway, it was a blend of English breakfast tea with Lapsang Souchong and an unknown green tea that didn’t look like Gunpowder. Just to hammer that home. It was not, as many people on this site reasonably assumed (and it was sometimes difficult to convince them otherwise even though the name was a translation and the original name wouldn’t work as a gunpowder tea reference in the first place).
This was an absolutely lovely tea, but LS is fairly obscure in this country. Unless someone is actually into tea, they’ll likely never have heard of it before and the term ‘smoked tea’ is likely to make them make this face. —> O.o
And this was more than ten years ago.
So in other words, one day I went in to stock up on this wonderful blend, they told me they were discontinuing it, but they’d let me buy up the remainder that they had. I think basically I was the only one ever buying it. So that’s how I came home with some 600g of one tea.
I have never been able to find a blend quite like it again.
This is a blend of Earl grey with LS, Ceylon and Nilgiri and some gunpowder green. Ceylon and Nilgiri together sounds like something on the road to a standard breakfast blend. And then there’s the LS and then there’s the green tea. Which slightly confusingly in this case is actually confirmed gunpowder. It basically sounded just like that old blend with added EG flavouring.
The Earl Grey aspect is quite subtle. It’s there, but it’s not overwhelming and if you didn’t know it was there, you’d be too focused on the LS element to pay it much attention. And the LS element isn’t even actually all that strong either. I mean, it’s clearly there, but it’s not like drinking a regular LS either. All together this becomes a fairly smooth blend with a strong umami element to it. It’s actually not entirely unlike the top notes of a mild pu-erh. It’s like everything sort of evens everything else out.
To be honest, I haven’t got a whisper of a chance of remembering how this holds up to that blend of old, but when I’m drinking this, I’m thinking it’s definitely close enough. It’s right up my alley.
Hey-ho, we’re embarking on a new batch of teas! I ordered these a while back, because we were getting low on breakfast tea, but I decided to make a rule that all the old flavoured stuff had to be used up first before we could start on the new stuff. This is because a couple of them were a bit meh, and I just know it would have lingered in the cupboard forever and been forgotten otherwise. So, them’s the rules. It’s been tough. I’ve been quite excited about trying this one.
This is a honey flavoured Keemun. I don’t recall if I’ve ever had a honey flavoured tea before other than honey and vanilla chamomiles (which are entirely different beasts), so I had little to nothing to go on. I do very much like honey, though, and preferably the stronger flavoured once. We tend to buy heather honey, because it’s the strongest one available, with the added advantage of being rather on the runny side so a little goes a long way and it really seeps into the bread in a delicious way.
But anyway, I’m not here to review honey.
When making this tea, it certainly smells like honey. The whole kitchen smelled of honey while this was steeping. It was very distinctive. Sniffing the cup more ‘up close’ though, it didn’t actually smell that honey-y, but rather more floral. I wasn’t aware that it was a Keemun base at the time, but I felt like there was something else in there that I could quite put my finger on. A bit woody, I wanted to say. Maybe slightly malty. Finding out about the Keemun afterwards surprised me not even a little bit. It was rather more of an ‘oh, of course’ sort of moment.
Flavourwise, it’s quite pleasant. The honey is subtle but present. It doesn’t so much taste like a tea flavoured with honey as it does a tea with a little honey added to the cup, only without sweetening it. The base does taste somewhat generic, but it’s got a good strength to it so it feels like a robust cup of tea. Which, in my opinion, a Keemun always should. I’m forever puzzled when Keemun black is described as ‘mild’. A Keemun black should absolutely be able to stand up for itself, kick bottom and take names. I think it’s the honey flavouring that makes it feel a little generic, though. I feel like there might be a pretty good Keemun at the base of this.
So yes, pretty good. On the other hand, I suspect I could probably reproduce a similar cup by adding a small amount of strong honey to a suitable black tea myself. Don’t much like sweetened tea, though, so this probably is the better choice for me.
I’m having a very old indeed bag of this, made up with twice boiled water because I forgot about it the first time, and then added a splash of cold to bring it down to temperature. It’s only a miracle that it’s not oversteeped to boot. And it’s fine.
I’m having tummy issues and I’m all out of minty. Don’t judge me.
I got a bag of this as a free sample with an order (quite) a while ago. I’m keeping it in the cup while drinking and I’ve added plenty of milk.
It just strikes me as a bit thin. I’m getting mostly hot water and milk and ginger. And I honestly don’t much care for ginger. It burns in the throat much the same way strong alcohol does, and while I do enjoy the occasional G&T I don’t generally make them very strong.
All I’m getting is ginger. It’s not very satisfactory. I think there’s a bit of cardamom somewhere in there, but it’s not very convincing. I think I’ll just have to give up on this one. I want a proper cup of tea.
Ah, real breakfast tea. This one is a mix of Ceylon and Assam and we have it milked.
It’s hard to really write a proper post on a milked tea, because for this sort of cup it’s mostly just a question of, “Is it good and strong, yes or no?”
The answer is yes, and unlike those emergency twinings bags, it can be resteeped.
So I got this as a free random sample with a previous order. (I still haven’t heard anything about my most recent one and have now tried to chase them in what I’m hoping is not an impatient sounding way)
It’s basically just a strawberry black with tiny sugar hearts in it. In which case I’d have rather just had a regular strawberry black to be honest. Those little coloured sugar additions whether their shaped like hearts or stars or unicorns have always felt rather gimmicky to me. They add nothing of value.
Luckily they don’t actually make it taste like it’s got sugar in it, because I don’t like sugar in my tea. Some people find that a little sugar in a flavoured tea enhances the flavouring. I find sugar in tea, any sugar, just adds a weird sort of nearly astringency and a kind of cloying syrupy mouthfeel.
When viewed as simply a strawberry tea, it’s not bad. Tastes rather strongly of strawberry and a bit of toning it down probably wouldn’t hurt it, but it’s not overwhelming either. It’s okay, but not something I would order. I would just go for the strawberry tea, plain and simple, and leave the unnecessary sugar and colouring agents for someone less curmudgeonly.