2402 Tasting Notes

drank Tower of London by Harney & Sons
2402 tasting notes

Writers’ group met last night and when offered drinks (Mexican Coke in glass bottles, milk, water, hot tea), they all picked tea. When pressed further they decided on a fruity black.

Here I have a question. I offered Boston which I used to adore and they were hesitant. Thing is, is doesn’t smell the same! My husband HATES the smell of Harney teas that contain chocolate. He says it smells like mildew. He even tossed a shirt near White Christmas and later said his shirt smelled funny, like the chocolate. Boston and White Christmas are not supposed to have chocolate flavor but they both now contain that smell. I am wondering if it could actually be imitation vanilla and not their chocolate flavoring at all, and they have started using it because vanilla prices are so high now? Why does my beloved Boston smell like fake Harney chocolate? His hatred extends to Florence, Chocolate, Chocolate Mint, and now these two.

Anyway, everyone preferred the smell of ToL and it was a big hit. The four of us drank two 35 ounce pots. It was super fruity but smooth and mild, no harsh high tones.

Ever since the last iOS update, my “hearts” on here are acting up, also. I click the heart and the number goes up but the heart doesn’t turn red, so I am not sure it was taking it. I click again and number goes down. I click again and heart is red and number goes back up. So now I just triple click until this gets worked out. I am sure it is my iPad and not the site.

Roswell Strange

I haven’t had Boston in a really long time (though I used to ADORE it) – but if they switched the vanilla flavor to a cream flavour that could definitely come across as more of a waxy milk chocolate type flavour. I struggle a lot with some cream flavours used in tea blends (like DT’s Cream of Earl Grey) because it comes off as quite waxy and artificial to me. It’s also not uncommon at all to see chocolate and cream flavouring paired together in North American oriented chocolate blends (because the North American palate accepts creamy, rich chocolate flavours over the fruitier chocolate notes that are common to the European palate) so you could definitely develop a brain association with that cream flavour and chocolate.

It’s hard to say for sure without knowing what, if any, common flavourings are used in those blends (or possibly a common tea base?) and if a change was made to the Boston Blend – but all that to say your hubby probably isn’t nuts.

ashmanra

Oh, I deffo agree hubby isn’t nuts about this! I used to only smell the weird smell in Florence, Chocolate, and Choc Mint. It is now prominent in White Christmas, so much so that a friend with migraines who used to love White Christmas gave me her tin this year because she couldn’t stand the smell! And when hubby said the smell permeated his shirt – and it did for I could smell it too – the scent was leaking from a closed tin! That is how strong it is. I think you are right. They must have made a change to some of their flavorings. The Vieux Paris is imitation vanilla and I bought the story that people had requested the old version but now I wonder if it was a money saving move while vanilla is so high.

gmathis

Hmm…I think I have just a dab of ancient ToL left. Now I’ll have to go smell it, just out of curiosity.

ashmanra

Boston is the one that has the funny smell now! ToL was what we drank instead.

tea-sipper

I thought the Vieux Paris was supposed to be the older blend, not the newer? I haven’t tried it yet (keep wanting to order it though.)

ashmanra

Vieux Paris is newish but they say it is the original blend which had imitation vanilla. Many years ago they switched to real vanilla to flavor Paris. They said some people asked for “original” Paris back so they brought it back as Vieux Paris. I don’t know if it will stick around. I really wonder if it is just a lot cheaper to make now that vanilla bean prices went sky high.

tea-sipper

OH okay. I see what you mean. I liked their older blend better I guess.

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Well, this is new. I reviewed this a day or two ago and wondered where to put it. Mine is a round sachet, not a teabag as pictured in the image here. Another reviewer said it tasted like artificial strawberry banana candy but mine isn’t tasting like that. So maybe it wasn’t the same thing? This came in a big set. But the pattern on the box is the same as the teabag one.

I still like it a lot, it is still very rose flavored but not too heavily so, with a somewhat brisk black tea base. Martin Bednar mentioned that the loose has rose petals in it, so I decided to tear open the sachet!

I found more confusion. This is really fine textured tea – as in bigger than dust but not by much. There are lots of tiny round white pellets in it as well. It looks like that potting soil with perlite or whatever in it, but in miniature. If you do dollhouses and want some realistic looking potting soil, here you go!

I assumed it was bits of sugar but surely they would have to label that? The ingredient list says only black tea and flavoring. I should have tasted one of those tiny spheres before steeping and may do so later.

I steeped it and looked for the spheres. Gone. So I tore open an extra sachet that was also in the pot and had been steeped. There were only two of the little spheres, super tiny, and I managed to separate one. I bit it, thinking it would be a crunchy sugar bit. It was soft.

Clearly there were more of these and they dissolved. This one tasted like nothing, not sugar and no explosion of rose to indicate it had somehow carried the flavoring. I bit one of the little pellets of tea (if we can call that tiny thing a pellet) and it was the same texture as the white sphere. So I still don’t know what it is. It must be the rose flavor delivery system. LOL

Weird as all that is, I stand by the fact that I like this tea. I think I will stick with buying Harney and Sons Rose Scented, though, which is a better quality base and is more accessible.

One person drinking it with me loved it, the other who mostly just likes plain black tea said she didn’t like its aftertaste, and I guess she meant the rose.

It was paired with homemade shortbread and made a decent companion for it.

Martin Bednář

That’s tea prepared like in some lab. Really close view on it! I have opened once the tea bag and yes – there were little pieces of tea (not just dust!) and if I remember right, white and orange pieces. White ones were sugar as I found out later, orange ones were actual fruit. But oh well, that tea was so sweet!

gmathis

That’s how we know we have gone down the rabbit hole … when we tear open our teabags to get a closer look! ;) Sounds tasty.

ashmanra

Next goal – open a bag, separate several little white orbs, and taste. It may be like swigging rose cologne!

tea-sipper

Dollhouse potting soil. :D

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I really struggled trying to decide where to review this. This came in the Tea Discovery Collection which was a Christmas gift, and was found at Home Goods for half the online price. Bargain!

The description on one of the Steepster pages for this tea appears to be for a different tea, because it mentions tropical fruit and rose, and this tea is pure black tea with rose. Period.
These are sachets and not loose tea so I didn’t want to review under the loose leaf version.

I like floral tea as long as it doesn’t taste artificial. This one has a lovely, just strong enough but not too strong rose flavor. I find rose oily, in a good way, like puerh can be oily. The base is mildly drying but not unpleasant and to me the dryness is mitigated by the oiliness of rose. The rose is definitely more delicate than Harney’s Rose Scented (which I LOVE) but still strong enough to be unmistakeable. This was paired with a plate of homemade shortbread and white chocolate chip cookies. It held up well to competing flavors and the rose still came through.

I am very happy with this particular offering in the collection of black teas and look forward enjoying many more cups.

It was perfect with no milk or sugar for me. It could probably handle a tiny touch of both if that’s what you like.

Martin Bednář

Yep, apparently Whittard have difference between loose leaf and bags opinion. Kinda weird – I am not really sure if they should sale it under one name.

ashmanra

I know, Martin! I am not sure if the plain English Rose is the same as the Tea Discovery English Rose. One has a fancier box, but I don’t know if the contents are really different!

I think that the one entry that says it has tropical fruit is really just an error in which description was copy/pasted to Steepster. They probably have a tea like that. It just isn’t this one.

Martin Bednář

Apparently, Tea Discovery English Rose should contain actual rose in the bags. Other one is having only flavourings, according their website. So, probably it is different tea, although their number of blend is same, price is same, even description. Write them and ask them :D

Yep, tropical fruit seems as an error.

ashmanra

Tore open a sachet. No pink petals, tiny balls of tea and tiny white spheres. More info coming in next review of this.

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This tea came to me from derk! Thank you!

I saved this to drink with my youngest who has just returned from five months abroad. She has always been food adventurous and loved all the beets (is there any borscht left in Eastern Europe or did she eat it all?) and the flavored milk drinks, but she really fell in love with green apple juice.

She LOVED this tea. The description says it is bright black tea with green apple and fennel. It also has caraway and clove, but the dominant flavors are indeed green apple wedded in a beautiful balance with the fennel. The “bright” is just that. You taste the tea without it being buried in flavorings but it doesn’t have that sometimes annoyed harsh and tart brightness of high grown Ceylons.

It was the perfect tea to share with her on our belated Christmas celebration!

derk

Cool, glad you shared this with your daughter. The batch I ordered and sent you has a much stronger green apple flavor than the sample Mastress Alita sent me. Green apple flavoring like in Jolly Ranchers makes me cough.

cough

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drank Wild Black by Tao of Tea
2402 tasting notes

I was really looking forward to this one, but it has let me down. It may not be the tea’s fault.

This was a gift to my daughter, and the box looked somewhat banged up. It was taped shut. When I opened it, there were fourteen sachets instead of fifteen. I checked the expiry date and it said 12-31-19. That was just a few days ago but I am thinking this tea has been sitting on a close out shelf or in a cabinet for a while.

The sachet honestly smelled very promising. I just wanted a decent cup of black tea to go with some shortbread while I write a letter. I supposed it did the job, but it is the most amazingly forgettable tea ever.

The sachet was pretty big so I used a generous mug. I think I may try it again with much less water, and if that doesn’t do it, farewell to thee thou disappointing tea!

The shortbread was pretty good, though!

mrmopar

I heard some people from Bragg had shipped out. Hoping your better half wasn’t one of them. Looks to be a nasty mission they are embarking on.

ashmanra

Thanks, mrmopar! He CAN be shipped out, but is not likely to ever be shipped out.

Some of my students have been a bit sad this week as some of their dads are going. I appreciate everyone who keeps them in their prayers.

mrmopar

I remember my days there well. Usually one of the first to go always from there. Prayers after the new developments definitely.

Rabs

“The most amazingly forgettable tea ever.” OUCH

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The ever generous derk sent me a sample of this because I got the tea drunkest I have ever been tea drunk off of a white Ruby Jade that she sent me a while back.

I have always loved – and been fascinated by – Ruby 18 black tea and I am now in love with its white counterpart.

We settled in for a cross-legged gong fu floor session with the King Of Dogs. Same pairing as last night: garden herb Triscuits with warmed cheddar and topped with apricot preserves and tiny pecan tartlets. This is why the King of Dogs stayed so close. (His name is Sam.)

It is here that an unfortunate accident happened. While rinsing, the new gooseneck kettle to which I am not yet fully accustomed made a sideways splash in the gaiwan lid and a tiny bit of hot water went on his paw! Though he scampered behind me, it did not deter him from staying as close to the cheese as possible. Needless to say, he received many kisses and hugs and cheese and pecan tart. He now stays close but leans back when I pour, which is good but also will be awkward to explain when guests come.

On to the tea. The liquor is golden amber. Body is medium light. The first steeps have very fruity wine notes. There is a light, passing savory base note. Very light. First impression as I swished was of rich, high fruit notes, not sharp like citrus but perhaps a little berry tartness laid over a baked fruit flavor. As we keep going, there is a hint of raisin.

We have steeped this so many times that I have lost count. Each steep grows progressively more brisk, pleasantly so for me but my husband preferred the first steeps. The color is undiminished, still the rich golden amber, reflecting beautifully in a silver lined cup. (Small Crimson Lotus one. Thank you to husband for that! It was a gift from him.)

This was very good tea and a fun gong fu session. Between this and the What-Cha, I like the What Cha one best. But this one is intended for aging, and I think it would be marvelous to see what it does in a few years time.

Thank you, derk! I am smiling and content as I head off to bed.

gmathis

Poor abused puppy :) Tazo prefers to be referred to as El Puma, Potentate of All He Surveys.

ashmanra

Oh, his cat name is very powerful! I will remember it if ever I meet him face to face!

tea-sipper

A white ruby jade?!?!?! This I have never heard of.

derk

Oh, you’re welcome. You dove right into that box!

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I really should “add to cupboard” because the sample derk sent was so generous. I suspect that I am going to drink it so fast that it makes more sense not to add to cupboard because I will be taking it off very soon!

Out of a box of super interesting looking teas, I picked this one to go first. I loved the name, and when it comes to Darjeeling I have found that I often prefer Autumn Flush.

Some Darjeeling is quite light, but this one has a nice, copper color. I steeped at 203F as recommended on the website, using a gaiwan.

The leaves are medium brown and have unfolded to reveal whole leaves about one and a half inches long, with lovely little serrations.

I am rewarded with a wonderful aroma and lots of flavor. I smell deeply toasted – but not at all burned – bread, a hint of molasses, and over and over again I think of caramel. I make a pound cake with caramel frosting and this comes to mind as I drink the tea. The tea has medium body and is sweet and smooth.

I made five steeps. By the fifth, a bit of briskness has developed, mostly noticeable in the lingering aftertaste. The color is still gorgeous.

This was paired with one single Godiva White Chocolate Birthday Truffle. Ha ha!

How have I not ordered from What-Cha yet? I must remedy this soon.

Thank you, derk! I can hardly wait to try the others, but I am being nice and waiting for my husband to get to try them with me!

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Profile

Bio

I am a music teacher, tutor, and former homeschool mom (25 years!) who started drinking loose leaf tea about ten years ago! My daughters and I have tea every day, and we are frequently joined by my students or friends for “tea time.” Now my hubby joins us, too. His tastes have evolved from Tetley with milk and sugar to mostly unadorned greens and oolongs.

We have learned so much history, geography, and culture in this journey.

I am also reviewing for Sororitea Sisters now!

My avatar is a mole in a teacup! Long story…

Location

North Carolina

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