3721 Tasting Notes
Home – 6:00 PM
This week feels neverending! Just one more day to go… Trying some more lovely Bird & Blend teas to lift my spirits. ❤
Yum… I think this is my favorite banana black tea to date. The base tea is malty and somewhat brisk, though not bitter. The banana is very authentic, in my opinion – it doesn’t taste like candy and it doesn’t taste overripe like banana flavoring sometimes can. I find there’s a nice balance between the base tea and the banana. I can taste both equally and neither overpowers the other. There’s just a little bit of creaminess here as well.
This one seems like it would be strong enough to stand up to milk, which would probably be lovely with the banana. Very delicious as-is though!
Flavors: Banana, Cream, Malt, Sweet, Tannic
Work – 1:30 PM
After a disappointing advent calendar tea this morning, I pulled out this Bird & Blend pouch to try. An Earl Grey sounded like just the thing!
I’m enjoying it greatly after coming in to work early and a few hours of difficult work diagnosing an issue. There’s a nice amount of bergamot – and it’s not perfumey or chemical-tasting. The other flavors are quite subtle. I can taste the strawberry, and it’s the freeze-dried variety which, to me, tastes the most authentic. It’s definitely a very light strawberry flavor though. The jasmine is a bit stronger, though it does blend perfectly with the bergamot. I’m not sure I can pick out anything about the base tea other than it’s smooth and inoffensive.
I like this one! I would perhaps lessen the bergamot and increase the strawberry just a touch to make it perfect.
Flavors: Bergamot, Floral, Jasmine, Smooth, Strawberry
Home – 10:30 PM
Yes, I’m having a caffeinated tea at 10:30 PM. I can’t help it, too many exciting Bird & Blend teas to try! I figured oolong shouldn’t be too high in caffeine, plus this has a lot of peppermint leaves mixed in so it’s a bit less tea per spoon anyway.
Okay, you guys… There is no way this isn’t a flavored milk oolong. It smells like sweetened condensed milk and tastes like white chocolate… Flavoring isn’t mentioned in the ingredients, but I’m wondering if it’s already included in the milk oolong base.
Anyway, I’m loving this one. It almost reminds me of peppermint bark, but with a milder and more herbal peppermint flavor. It’s creamy and buttery with an almost vanilla taste. I do also taste a bit of mild floral from the oolong, but it’s light enough to not disrupt the overall flavor. I’m not sure whether I’m getting any flavor from the cacao nibs or not… The peppermint leaves a nice refreshing, cooling aftertaste on the tongue.
Love it! The only thing I would change would be to perhaps have a slightly higher ratio of oolong to dried peppermint leaf. But it’s still really tasty as-is!
P.S. – I’ve never had a peppermint cream. I really want to try making some now – maybe I will for the holidays!
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Herbaceous, Peppermint, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla, White Chocolate
Home – 9:30 PM
Another from my (massive) Bird & Blend order. This is one of the seven store-inspired blends, which I got the sampler pack of.
I dig it. The base tea is grassy and autumn leaf-y. It almost tastes slightly roasty, like hojicha, but I don’t think it’s roasted at all. The apple here is definitely a Granny Smith – it’s sharp and flavorful and lovely. There’s a bit of sweetness from the blackberry leaf, but it’s not overpowering. I think perhaps I can taste just a hint of blackberry? Although I would call it a more generic “dark berry” flavor. The apple flavor lingers on the tongue long after the sip, and it has just a touch of dryness that reminds me of apple skins.
This is quite a mild tea, but I think there’s a nice balance struck between the flavors and the base tea. It’s very autumnal, and I’m really enjoying it right now while the weather is unusually cold here in Texas!
Flavors: Apple, Apple Skins, Autumn Leaf Pile, Grass, Green Apple, Roasted, Sweet
Home – 7:30 PM
So today was EPIC TEA MAIL DAY!
I got my Lupicia order, which I wasn’t planning on making but I didn’t want to miss out on Kumquat and Yuzu, and then have to wait a whole year for them to come back. I also got a couple more teas, a packet of strawberry matcha au lait, and a teabag set for a Christmas gift.
I got my David’s Tea order, which was a bunch of holiday tins, a cute holiday latte mug with deer on it, and a packet of Sticky Rice Oolong with my frequent steeper credit. I may not generally like David’s teas, but they do always have really cute teaware, and their tins are both nice and cheap.
But the big arrival was my giant Bird & Blend order! It contained both advent calendars (tea & matcha) along with no fewer than 28 packets of tea. To be fair, most of them are 20g sample sizes. And I got 3 50g packets for free because I had emailed them about there not being a free shipping threshold for international orders, and they offered to add some freebies to my order to compensate. Lovely people. ❤
So I now have all of the tea.
I chose this one to try first (after promptly sniffing all of my new teas) because it smells like honey graham crackers in the packet.
To be honest, this is quite underwhelming. It’s perfectly nice as a breakfast tea, but I wouldn’t know there was added flavoring. It’s quite strong, with some bitterness and astringency, which makes sense as this has both Assam and Kenyan black teas (both of which I would associate with being quite tannic). There is some malt and raisin as well, but I don’t taste honey or milk. I think next time I would steep it a bit less.
I don’t mind, as I don’t actually have a breakfast blend in my cupboard at the moment. So this would be one to go for if I’m feeling like adding milk, which is becoming more and more likely as the weather cools. But it definitely doesn’t live up to its name.
ETA: I’m starting to taste a little bit of creaminess and perhaps a hint of honey in the aftertaste as this cools more…
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Bread, Cream, Honey, Malt, Raisins, Tannic
Home – 5:00 PM
Ughhhh… I feel so crappy today. I haven’t been feeling like tea, but I figured I’d better have some or I’ll likely get a headache from lack of caffeine.
So comfort tea it is! I actually made this in a mug, which is so unlike me. But I didn’t want to fiddle with a teapot and cup while loafing on the couch, watching Great British Bake Off.
These Kusmi Russian Blends will forever be among my favorite teas. This one and Troika are a bit older, but still tasting quite nice. I would like to refill them, but Kusmi never seems to have the refill bag for Troika in stock, and I don’t need another tin. :(
Anyway, this is yummy and comforting. A nice balance of red fruits, vanilla, caramel with just a bit of bergamot to make it feel special and fancy.
Love it forever. ❤
Home – 5:30 PM
The Great Cupboard Excavation
Untasted teas remaining: 17
This flavor was in Lupicia’s iced tea collection from this past summer. I love ramune sodas – they’re unabashedly sugary and so fun to drink with the marble closure. They come in several fruit flavors (my favorites being strawberry and melon) but the original flavor is sort of like a combination of bubblegum and lemon-lime soda. It sounds weird, but I actually quite like it, and I’m not normally a fan of bubblegum-flavored things.
The dry leaf smells extremely grassy. I noticed it was somewhat broken up, so I steeped it for 2 minutes instead of 3. This actually comes fairly close to original ramune flavor. It definitely has that bubblegum taste, but to me it falls short on the lemon aspect. The base tea is quite grassy, but also sweet. There’s also a bit of added sweetness (I think) from the sugar candies.
Really, to me this is mostly a bubblegum green tea. Maybe next time I’ll add a lemon slice to my teapot. ;)
Flavors: Candy, Grass, Smooth, Sweet
Home – 2:00 PM
The Great Cupboard Excavation
Untasted teas remaining: 18
I wanted a nice palate-cleansing Japanese green tea after having a couple of very flavored black teas that I didn’t enjoy. Plus Japanese green tea is one of my favorites, so I’m always happy to relax with a cup of it.
This one is a blend of sencha and tea flowers. The flowers are really lovely, they’re whole and sort of bud-like, and they open nicely when steeped. To me, the dry leaf looks like it also contains some kukicha. But that’s not mentioned in the tea description, so who knows. The sencha leaves are somewhat large and flat, rather than being dark and needle-like.
The steeped tea is light and almost golden in color. It’s quite sweet and light and clean-tasting, which to me would make sense if there is indeed kukicha mixed in. There are mild vegetal and grass notes, with a bit of spinach and perhaps a ligher, sweeter vegetable like peas. There is just a little hint of umami as well.
I’m surprised that it’s not very floral at all, although I’m not sure what tea flowers would taste like. I can detect just a tiny bit of floral at the end, but it’s certainly not similar to jasmine as the description implies. If anything, I would say it’s closer to a sakura flavor. But still very light, I’m not sure I would know there were added flowers just going by the flavor.
Overall, it’s a very light Japanese green tea. I see now that the suggested water temperature is 194°F, so I’ll have to try that next time to see if it brings out more of a floral flavor.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Peas, Sakura, Spinach, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal
Home – 1:00 PM
The Great Cupboard Excavation
Untasted teas remaining: 19
Yay, I’m under 20 teas remaining! :D
It’s interesting to me that Lupicia seems to be rather obsessed with wine-flavored teas. They must half a dozen different ones that I can think of off the top of my head, in addition to a few more muscat or grape-flavored ones. It’s very unusual.
Anyway, this one is a strawberry and sparkling wine flavored black tea. I adore the big sugar crystals that they’ve added, they remind me of quartz and are so pretty. I don’t generally approve of tea with added sweeteners, but honestly I don’t taste the sugar at all in the steeped tea. I think they’re too big and hard to really dissolve much.
This is definitely an Indian black tea base. It’s got some bitterness and astringency using my usual steep parameters. I feel there’s possibly some Darjeeling in here, and I did see some green among the spent leaves.
It’s definitely got some muscatel notes, which does make it seem wine-ish. It’s a bit sparkling on the tongue. The strawberry is definitely candy-like. There’s also quite a bit of floral presence, and it’s too much for me.
This will definitely be one to pass along, as it does end up quite floral and the muscatel notes only accent that even more. It becomes almost perfumey to me.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Candy, Floral, Muscatel, Perfume, Rose, Strawberry
Home – 12:30 PM
The Great Cupboard Excavation
Untasted teas remaining: 20
So this was interesting. This was actually a tin of sachets, because I have a weakness for Harney’s lovely “HT” line of colorful tins. Plus I can always refill with loose leaf later, and Harney has nice sachets so it’s not an issue. However… These sachets were definitely defective. I took two out and put them in my pot while the water was heating, and then noticed that one of the sachets left in the tin was mostly empty. It had completely split open along one of the seams and the tea had emptied into the tin. Upon further inspection, about 70% of the sachets were already split open, and the other 30% had at least one gap in the seam. Luckily, the two that I had put into my teapot were the latter, so I was able to take them back out without spilling loose tea everywhere.
So I emptied all the sachets into the tin, and now I have loose leaf. XD Obviously it’s not a problem for me, since I prefer loose leaf anyway. But I wonder if I should email Harney & Sons and warn them about this batch… (shrugs)
Anyway… For some reason I really strongly dislike the base tea that Harney uses for these flavored black teas. I don’t remember it being an issue before, as I think I used to like Paris at least. But now it just tastes like chalk to me, and combined with berry flavor it tastes like berry Tums.
Going to pass this on to someone else, and not give it a rating (as clearly I have gone quite mad).