137 Tasting Notes
I tried this as a sample many years ago, and was underwhelmed by it. Why did I order this tea, then? I don’t know. Wishful thinking? Stupidity? It was on sale? Maybe all of the above.
Regardless, a lot has changed with this tea, but I hesitate to update the profile on it, since I don’t want to negate or confuse any reviews or information that came before. For those interested: this has neither vanilla nor coconut in it, if it ever did. The ingredients are: black tea, dried pineapple, sugar, cornflower, flavorings. This is right off the label. No vanilla. No coconut. Was it always like this or did they change the formula?
The description says: a peach, orange and mango flavored black tea. Its sweet and fruity flavor goes well with milk. Again, no vanilla, no coconut. Could be why I was so nonplussed about it when I tried it. When you’re expecting vanilla coconut and get neither of those flavors, well, disappointment is unsurprising.
Now, I just want to emphasize that I love Japan. LOVE IT. I love the people, I love the aesthetics, when I went on the trip there 6 years ago it was the BEST trip I have ever been on. And Lupicia is amazing and one of my favorite tea companies. So, Japan, I love you. But you’re nuts if you think milk goes well in this tea. To explain: Lupicia teas that are fruit flavored have an uncanny ability to capture the essence of the fruit. If you’re drinking a strawberry flavored tea, the juicy strawberry flavor is truly on target. If it’s a peach flavored tea, it really tastes like actual peach is in there, juicy with that slight muskiness that real peaches have. That being said, unless you truly enjoy your fruit with cream and don’t mind drinking a tea version of it, then you’ll be happy. As much as I love fruit and cream, it doesn’t translate into an enjoyable tea experience for me. It’s weird.
My next attempt will be iced. Straight. I really think it’ll be fantastic that way, and very timely as the summer is here and I love a nice, refreshing iced tea. Hot with milk? Not so much.
Flavors: Citrus, Mango, Peach, Pineapple, Sugar
I purchased two different kinds of this tea, and since there seem to be reviews on the various types under this one name, I’ll do the same and make notes for both under this.
BLACK: Purchased from Mitsuwa marketplace in NJ awhile back, and it was extremely inexpensive. I want to say, like 3 bucks for a box of eight bags or so. I’ve never had a sakura black, but it was displayed along with the sakura green and blossom-only teas so I decided to pick it up at the same time. It’s obviously floral, but with a light, mellow flavor that at first didn’t impress me much, but then grew on me. The black tea isn’t really recognizable, but I do like it better than the blossom-only tea. Nice to relax with on a spring evening, since it’s such a gentle taste. I’m enjoying it, but I probably won’t get it again since there are so many other sakura options out there. Very nice tea to try, though!
BLOSSOM-ONLY: To be reviewed.
Usually I’m not a huge fan of white tea, as I feel it’s too subtle, causing me to oversteep it and then getting a less than desirable result. This is a flavored one, though, and that makes a big difference. The orange blossom floral note is quite pleasant, which is saying a lot because generally I’m not into floral teas. Somehow, the floral notes along with the almond flavor all wrapped up with hints of honey works really well. It’s surprisingly tasty for a white tea. It makes a very nice afternoon break cup of tea, especially with a little something sweet to snack on. This sugar addict is having a rough time giving up her sweets completely.
Flavors: Almond, Citrus, Honey, Orange Blossom
So after some initial pondering (Do I even like flavored teas anymore? What’s happening to my taste buds?), I decided that there is room in my life for both flavored and unflavored blacks – which brings me pretty much full circle. I needed a dessert-like tea after dinner last night so I chose Cabaret.
It tasted like chocolate cake with boozy cherry filling. It’s really good, and definitely hits the sweet spot for a sugar addict like me who’s trying to cut down on the thing she loves most for health reasons. August has some very tasty flavors, and this one is no exception. The only thing I don’t find so great is the booziness of the fruit notes. I had a similar issue with Breathless, where the brandy flavored prune flavor was a bit off. I solved that by making it iced, and that seemed to cut down on the strange tangy flavor. This one, however, I don’t see as an iced tea, so I’ll try to cut down on the leaf to see if that helps. August seems to always want you to use lots of leaf per serving – maybe they really want the flavor to be very intense, or maybe they just want you to go through the tea faster so you can order more – not sure. I don’t mind cutting down on the amount just a little to see if I can still get my chocolate fix without such a strong alcohol flavor. Other than that, the chocolate + cherry flavor is a winner for me.
Flavors: Alcohol, Cherry, Chocolate
Yet another sample from Teavivre that I have to make note of because it is so delicious. I’ve had a hankering for unflavored blacks lately. Is this a thing? As one’s tea journey progresses, flavored teas fall out of favor? I feel like it is, indeed, a thing. I still love flavored teas, though. I don’t think that will change completely.
Anyway, I was perusing my tea cabinet this morning, and realized I needed to dip into my stash of samples in hopes of finding a tea I felt like drinking. Came up with this one and it was the perfect thing. Sweet, mellow, comforting, strong scent of, well, black tea. I loved it. So much so, in fact, that I went to Teavivre to buy some. I don’t think I’ll be getting it, though, as they are currently only shipping from their US warehouse to US destinations, and this tea didn’t seem to be on the warehouse list.
The current coronavirus crisis really brings home how globally interconnected we are, and how, eventually, everything gets affected. Even the tea in your cup. Here’s hoping this outbreak is short lived.
This is the closest thing I’ve had to Mariage Freres Vanille des Iles, which is my favorite vanilla tea. This one is full leaf in bags, so it’s good for when I want a quick brew without much fussing. It’s expensive, though. Not sure if I’m paying for convenience or marketing. That being said, it’s delicious. It’s got that same “so vanilla it borders on milk chocolate” flavor that I love. The dry leaf smell is mouthwatering. So, bottom line is, expensive but delicious. I’d probably buy it again if I had a craving for that flavor and couldn’t find Vanille des Iles.
Flavors: Butter, Vanilla, Whiskey
I’m not much of a puerh drinker – actually not at all, except for a flavored one from Lupicia, which is delicious beyond belief, but doesn’t count in my book as you can barely taste the tea. I bought these mini cakes quite a few years ago at a tea and coffee expo in New York, drank one mini cake, and promptly forgot about it. The last few nights, I’ve revisited it, drinking it to relax at the end of the day. I usually do 2 or 3 steeps (not including initial rinse), use a Western teapot, I basically don’t fuss with it at all – boil the water, drop in the mini cake, brew and drink. In mugs – again, not my usual – I like something finer to sip my tea from, but it all seems to work well for this tea.
Very forward taste of wood, slight smoke, and the earthiness I expected. Quite mellow, and really easy to drink. I find it very warming and relaxing, perfect for the cold weather we’ve been having. A bonus is that it seems to settle my tummy really well. I get the feeling that we’ll be going through more of these mini cakes over the next few weeks. As it says in the description, it’s a good entry tea for newbies to puerh as it’s not expensive, and easy to brew and drink.
Flavors: Earth, Wood
Normally I don’t write tasting notes for samples, because if I like a sample, I’ll buy it, add it to my cupboard and then write a tasting note on it. If I don’t like it, I won’t bother writing about it. Not a perfect system, but it works for me. Chances are very slim I’ll end up with additional samples of a tea I don’t like.
This is different.
I am trying to not buy more tea for now. I already have two other milky oolongs that I have to drink. But, I don’t want to forget this one when I finally do start buying again. I’ve never had a milky oolong that didn’t have additional flavoring added so this was a first. It’s a wonder. Not a “hit you over the head with a baseball bat” milky flavor (which I do love), but I definitely could taste the creamy milkiness. It was delicious – comforting but not overwhelmimg – and I’ll definitely want to get more. Great end-of-the-day cup to relax with.
I’ve been having this with breakfast the last few days, and cold brewing the spent leaves. It’s a solid unflavored black, but no malt, which for me is strange in an Assam. Despite the lack of maltiness, it has a sweetness and full body that I enjoyed. And the spent leaves make a great iced tea.
I purchased a small sample of this during one of August Uncommon’s sales. Not getting much in the way of chocolate notes. It’s more subtle than their usual fare, but I found it much better if I overleafed a little. Overall, there is a sweetness and maltiness to it that I enjoy, and it goes wonderfully with milk, so it makes a nice breakfast tea. All in all it’s a mild, sweet black that’s very drinkable, just not for when you want a strong black tea.