1067 Tasting Notes
I came to mark a sipdown thinking I had previously written a note for this blend, but either I haven’t or it disappeared. Either way, I definitely want to say that I enjoyed this blend! It’s a really nice citrus/cream herbal, especially as a latte since the oat milk brings out the creaminess well. The orange also doesn’t tip over into being overly acidic, alcoholic, or concentrated, while also not fading into the background.
My last remaining lingering countdown calendar is the Yaocha/Volition Tiger Box from two (maybe almost three?) years ago. Just a few left from this one, so I’m working on finishing it off. This tea is Day 12.
I gong fu’d it, because it’s a Saturday and a nice tea and why not. I’m not as good with black tea flavor profiles – I think the astringency tends to throw me and as a result a lot of black teas tend to taste similar to my palate. This isn’t super astringent, just enough for that to be the thing my brain focuses on. Besides that, I find this very pruney: not like a fresh, ripe plum but more of a dried or cooked plum flavor.
25th and final day of the Kiani advent calendar. It’s labeled “glamorous earl grey” but I’m pretty sure it’s the same as this one. This tea is suitably festive because it’s glittery and I won’t pretend to mind. I’m a sucker for the entrancing, shining, sparkling swirls that glitter teas make in my mug. Definitely a trend I’m not sick of yet. Otherwise, though, this seems like a pretty standard earl grey. Which is… fine? Earl grey just isn’t my favorite kind of tea, so I don’t really feel that I can speak to a specific blend’s relative merits with a whole lot of nuance. The bergamot here is definitely strong but not overwhelming or alcoholic. For a blend that I’m not super fond of, I did manage to finish the mug and even finish off a second steeping, though that was in significant part because I was more interested in the sparklies. Still, if the tea itself had been appallingly bad, I wouldn’t have been able to drink it no matter how pretty, so there is that to commend it.
I’m glad I tried this advent calendar, but I probably won’t do it again. The teaware was fun but I have that now! I never even opened or used the matcha scoop because I already have one and I rarely drink matcha that fancy (if anyone wants it, it’s yours free, just let me know). A pretty significant disadvantage of this advent is that it only provides enough leaf each day for exactly one serving, so it’s hard to experiment with optimal brewing methods and preparations. While many of the teas were tasty, some would have benefited from gong fu brewing vs mug steeping, or vice versa, and I just wasn’t able to test that out. I was most intrigued by the Iranian teas, so if I order from Kiani again in the future it will probably be to just get more Iranian tea rather than an advent.
It also took me almost a year to finish the nine advent calendars I got in 2022! That’s too many! This year I only got three that I’ll be opening in December, so hopefully that will be much more manageable.
Circling back to Day 1 of the Kiani advent calendar so I can finish it off. My partner drank most of this because black tea often doesn’t agree with me, but I tried a little so I could write it up. It was surprisingly smooth for an English Breakfast! A bit dry, sure, but more bready, sweet, and comforting than aggressive like I tend to expect from breakfast teas. Plus, glitter! Totally unnecessary but always fun.
Day 23 of the Kiani advent calendar. For some reason, based on just the name I assumed this would be a straight mint tea. Which, there already was a straight peppermint earlier in the calendar, and I would have remembered that sooner if I hadn’t taken almost a year to finish this! Once I opened up the packet, I realized that it’s a mix of peppermint and cacao shells. I had no idea that After Eights are a specific thing – apparently a British mint chocolate candy. So I can’t judge how close this blend is to the flavor of the candy it’s named for! I am enjoying the pepperminty-ness of it, though I wish the cacao shells had a more potent taste. It’s not just a matter of age; I went back and looked at my note for the straight shells 11 months ago and found those weak too.
Day 22 of the Kiani advent calendar. Hoping I can finish this by the end of the week.
I had to steep this gong fu because all my Western-style steepers were in the wash and I didn’t have the energy to hand-wash them. The dry leaf smells like prunes and very jammy, with maybe a hint of chocolate. Steeped up, it tastes of prune and jam. It’s tannic, astringent, and dry on the palate. This isn’t a flavor profile I typically reach for, but it’s interesting and it works well on a cool, overcast day. By steep 3, it’s still a bit dry but the astringency starts wearing off while a woody note comes peeking out. Didn’t count exactly how many steeps I got, probably around five?
Just marking a sipdown of this tea. It’s one I tend to restock but somehow haven’t made a tasting note for? I hadn’t realized that and didn’t take notes last week when I finished this off. Will try to remember when I have this next time. But generally speaking, it’s a really solid bai hao.
Thanks so much to Roswell Strange and VariaTea for organizing this TTB! I had a lovely time with it, and it will be moving on to AJRimmer tomorrow. I made this hojicha from the Strange VariaTea TTB a few times and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I can say that the sarsaparilla’s root beer note is very strong when this is cold, in a nice and almost tingly way. Hot, I just really struggled to describe the flavor or even decide whether I actively liked it. Jury very much still out. I ended up keeping it because I couldn’t get the box closed without taking out another tea, so I chose this one because a) I like hojicha a lot, b) I definitely like it when it’s cold, and c) I’m intrigued by how difficult it is for me to describe it when it’s hot.