2725 Tasting Notes
Dammann Frères Advent Calendar – December 9th
Ooh, an earl grey today! I’ve actually been craving bergamot teas a bit lately, especially since I bought one on a whim at Target. So this is perfect timing! Apparently this is supposed to be a mixed black & white base, but I don’t see a single silver needle in my sachet, or any light-colored tea matter at all. There are a couple of flower petals, but otherwise it just looks like black tea. Dry scent is strongly bergamot. I lowered the steeping temperature just a tad, just in case there is secretly white tea in there.
The steeped tea has a much milder bergamot aroma, along with a touch of sweetness. Hm, I don’t think I taste any white tea here. It did come out on the milder side, but I think that’s just because of the lower temperature. And I’m not necessarily complaining, as some earl greys are way too strong on the bergamot for me! This tea strikes a nice balance between an unobtrusive and smooth base tea and the citrusy bergamot oil. I’m enjoying my mellow cup. I think perhaps there’s a hint of white tea hay/honey flavor at the end of the sip and in the aftertaste?
Flavors: Bergamot, Hay, Honey, Smooth
More Løv Organic! I think after this one, I just have two herbal blends left to try. I really like their packaging – the colors are lovely and happy, and the little bird is super cute. Just from looking at this tea and its ingredients, I didn’t have high hopes for it. It’s basically a mix of spices and licorice root, I guess I would call it an herbal chai. Dry scent is strongly spiced, I can definitely smell fennel/anise and clove.
Hmm, this is not what I expected. It’s actually quite mild in flavor, and not at all sharp. The strongest flavor is definitely the fennel/anise combination and the licorice root, which adds a mild sweetness that doesn’t bother me here. I can taste a little bit of the cardamon and ginger (which always seem similar to me) along with the cinnamon and clove. Perhaps the tiniest bit of peppercorn? It’s hard to tell with this many spices together. Overall, I actually don’t mind this one. Surprising!
Flavors: Anise, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Fennel, Ginger, Licorice, Spices, Sweet
Yay, more from Løv Organic! Another fruit tea, which is definitely not my favorite type. They tend to be either weak due to the lack of base, or tart hibiscus nightmares. This one is looking like the hibiscus kind, unfortunately. The packet is a cute and happy hot pink that made me smile. Inside the sachet are very small pieces of fruit (apple possibly?), citrus peel, and hibiscus petals. Dry scent is tart and vaguely fruity.
O. M. G. This is a big ol’ cup of hibiscus juice. I made the most epic pucker face when I tried and sip, and I’m glad no one was around to see it and make fun of me. :P Yeah, I can’t even drink this, such a big nope. It’s like eating a Shock Tart (if anyone else remembers those…).
Flavors: Hibiscus, Tart
This was my other purchase from Yunomi. I’ve been pondering over these flavored houjichas for a while now, and decided this was the most unusual flavor and the one I wanted to try first. The packaging was pretty cute, though not resealable (http://instagram.com/p/wWy1temgAn/). It’s the large kraft packet. I will say, 30 grams is a lot more than I expected, I suppose because this is a very lightweight tea. It also appears to be more of a houji-kukicha than a houjicha – it’s almost all stems. This is actually a good thing, since I prefer the kukicha version personally. Dry scent is extremely rich and creamy, almost as if there’s some kind of dairy element involved.
This is actually quite delicious! I can taste the lovely mildly roasty kukicha base quite clearly. However, I can also taste the lovely and rich Japanese pumpkin flavor, which actually reminds me quite a bit of butternut squash mixed with sweet potato. It’s creamy and decadent. The description recommends this as a milk tea, and I’m sure it would be phenomenal that way. Will definitely try it! :)
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Butternut Squash, Roasted, Sweet Potatoes
Yay, I’m so excited! I’ve been wanting to try Creha’s flavored Japanese black teas ever since I found them on Yunomi. They have a number of unique (and classic) flavors and most of them sound amazing. Unfortunately, they don’t offer sample sizes of these teas, and most of them are around $17 for 50g. So when I built up a bunch of rewards points by writing reviews, I knew exactly what I wanted to spend them on! First of all, this canister is freaking adorable! And I love the unique artwork on the front (this art is different for each flavor). The tea itself was packaged in a cellophane bag inside the tin, which is a nice extra layer of freshness. The leaves look whole and quite pretty, they’re a bit curly and very dark in color with some reddish spots. The flavoring is definitely very powerful in the dry scent (mostly because it was just opened). It reminds me of grape soda, and there’s an alcoholic edge because it’s so strong. Hopefully the scent mellows a bit over time.
Happily, the steeped tea does not have an overpowering grape aroma, and there’s no trace of alcohol. It smells lovely and sweet, and I can detect the black tea’s aroma as well. Yum, I actually quite like this. I admit, it’s definitely an artificial grape flavor, but I don’t mind that with the black tea. There is the teensiest hint of bitterness in the beginning of the sip, so perhaps this one needs a slightly lower water temperature or shorter time. Otherwise the base tea is very smooth and mellow, and tastes mildly of bread and malt. There’s also a little bit of creamy honey and some hay notes. It’s quite good, and I bet this would be amazing iced.
Flavors: Bread, Candy, Grapes, Hay, Honey, Malt, Sweet
Dammann Frères Advent Calendar – December 8th
Ooh, this is the first white tea of the calendar! I do enjoy white tea, though it’s not something I drink often. Judging by the ingredients listed, this is a possible flower bomb tea. We shall see. I was quite surprised by how crushed the white tea leaves are inside the sachet. The pieces are very small, almost like a generic tea bag with fannings. I think I can see a few bits of flower petals, but it’s difficult to say. Dry scent is sweet-tart apricot and passion fruit with just a bit of rose. I had originally planned and started a 3-minute steep, but I was worried about bitterness from those tiny leaf pieces so I took it out about 15-20 seconds early.
Once the tea is steeped, the powdery rose is more evident in the aroma, though I can still smell the lovely fruits. The rose is definitely the strongest player here, but it’s not so overpowering as to make me not want to drink the cup. It also plays quite nicely with the hay-like, slightly creamy white tea base. I can taste a bit of apricot and passion fruit in the background, and they do come out a little more at the end of the sip. I do wish the fruit flavors had a stronger role here, and they would help temper the rose just a bit more. Overall, this is better than I thought it would be, but I’m going to withhold my rating because I know I’m biased against floral teas. :P
Flavors: Apricot, Creamy, Hay, Oats, Passion Fruit, Rose, Sweet
Still puttering along, working my way through my sweet little Løv Organic sampler. I think I only have a few left to try! I felt like having a rooibos this evening and I was thinking about Lupicia’s Sweet Autumn, but decided to give this one a try instead. Inside the sachet is a mixture of red rooibos and citrus peel. I was surprised that the dry scent is mostly orange with very little cinnamon. Hooray, this won’t be one of those teas in which the cinnamon overpowers everything else! :)
In keeping with most of the teas I’ve tried from Løv Organic, this is quite subtly flavored. It’s mostly just red rooibos with a little bit of orange, which accents it beautifully. I can taste a little hint of cinnamon at the end of the sip, and I definitely appreciate that it has a very small role here. I do enjoy this one, since I’m a fan of red rooibos. I think the orange alongside the rooibos is a very tasty and autumnal combination. However, I can see others not liking this one because it focuses on the flavor of the rooibos base.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Orange, Rooibos
Another Løv Organic creation! I’ve been liking mint teas more and more lately, so I’m happy to have gotten a couple different types in my sampler box. This looks quite similar to the Kusmi version of the same tea (although it’s Moroccan mint, which is really common). Some of the leaves are rolled into gunpowder pellets and some are more loosely curled. Dry scent is way spearminty!
Meh, I think plain spearmint teas aren’t really my thing. It kind of reminds me of chewing spearmint gum, which is not terribly unpleasant as much as just odd. To be fair, this is the type of tea that people cold brew/ice more often than not, so I should probably be doing it that way. As is, gum tea is weird. :P It’s well done though, no bitterness and the level of mint flavor is nice – identifiable but not overpowering.
I must say, I was curious whether this would be the exact same as Kusmi’s ginger lemon green tea (since I believe the companies are related). Visually, I would say definitely not. The Kusmi version has very different leaves – they’re thick and somewhat curly/wavy, while this tea has what resembles a sencha base. Dry scent was quite strong on the ginger.
Hmm, I quite like this. The ginger and lemon manage to be more subtle than I would expect, and the way that they merge together makes me like the ginger aspect a bit better. Definitely a very zen and spa-like tea – it says “relaxation” to me. The base tea is mild and a touch grassy with some nutty notes to it. I don’t think I’ll have a problem finishing my other two sachets in the evenings to come.
Flavors: Ginger, Grass, Lemon, Nutty, Smooth
Yay for impulse purchases! My sweetie and I made a trip to Target this morning (mostly to pick up a new game for the Wii U that they ended up not having) and there was a lovely endcap display of Tazo teas. After giving it a quick once-over, I chose this tea to take home with me. They also had a holiday tea called “Joy” that sounded interesting, but I figured one impulse tea was enough for today! This is an earl grey with orange, vanilla, and buttercream flavors. Sounds amazing, right? The sachets were sealed in a plastic bag inside the tin, so the bergamot scent was, of course, super overpowering when I opened it. Inside the sachets is a mixture of small black tea leaves and citrus peel.
Hmm, this is actually quite good! Having no experience with Tazo, I was unsure what to expect in terms of quality, but this seems right on par with Harney & Sons and similar companies. The bergamot is actually a tad stronger than I would like, and I find that it slightly overpowers the more delicate vanilla and buttercream. I added a touch of sugar to take the edge off of it, because I find strong bergamot to be somewhat hard to drink – it becomes almost bitter and perfumey. Perhaps next time I will try a 3-minute steep and see if this helps the flavors to be more balanced. I could taste the orange, thankfully, and I could see this being an amazing creamsicle earl grey tea if the bergamot could be reigned in a touch. Will experiment! For now, I’m quite satisfied with my $6 purchase. :)
Flavors: Bergamot, Orange, Vanilla