911 Tasting Notes
This is like the mullet of teas. But instead of “business in front, party in the back”, it’s “Assam at the beginning, Ceylon at the end.” Assam’s malt, cardboard and a hint of honey show up while it is hot, a milder Ceylon woodiness and lighter body (and something fairly rye-like) shows up as it inches closer to room temperature.
Needless to say, though, this is both tastier and more stylish than a mullet.
I know, I’m a dork! I will confess that I was a bit groggy while trying to figure the best way to explain how it seemed like two different teas but still worked and my brain got stuck on the mullet. Not that a mullet is something that really works or is something to aspire to, but I am from the southern US, so I’ve seen more than my fair share of them.
Look, I have nice logical tasting notes written out for this tea (another delightful share from Angrboda) but there are lots of good tasting notes here talking about the chocolate and cinnamon notes, the delightful sweetness coupled with the light rye-ish grain taste. I mean, it’s delicious, that’s pretty obvious. (And how awesome is it to find natural cinnamon in a tea?!?)
But let me tell you exactly how delicious this tea is. This tea is so good that I had my first cup on Tuesday and by Tuesday afternoon, I ordered 4oz of it. (It should arrive today!) And now I’m having my second cup and I want to go order more because no way will 4oz be enough of this tea. The only tea I’ve done that with before is CTG’s Keemun which remains my favorite tea of all time. (I bought 200g when CTG closed, even though I still had 100g in my pantry. And I wish I had bought more.)
This kind of makes me want to flail around like Kermit the Frog it’s so good. (There actually was a little flailing and some cheering when I saw that tracking had my package out for delivery.) And today it’s giving me hot cocoa – like creamy mouthfeel and everything – which makes me want to flail even more. I love this tea. It’s fantastic. Two cups (plus resteeps) and it has earned a place on my Desert Island Tea List.
I ♥ this tea.
(ETA: The second steep today is cinnamon-y with the endnote of rich dark chocolate. The husband is outside mowing in almost 80° weather but I’m having to restrain myself from going outside to make him try this. I’m sure the last thing he wants right now is hot tea, even if it tastes like a decadent Mexican hot chocolate.)
It’s satisfying when all the hype for a product proves not to be hype after all. I could live on this, my strong Congou Keemun, Roasty Oolongs and box of Shou. Who needs food.
I received a lovely tea package from the (even lovelier) Angrboda and I was excited to see it included this tea – after all, she speaks highly of it and I do enjoy a good Keemun! Happily, I’m not disappointed – our tea twin powers seem to be working!
I’ve been a bit stuffy lately so I didn’t bother smelling the dry leaves, but I couldn’t help sniffing the tea post-brewing. It smells so good! It makes me think of a light-ish rye bread with honey – lots and lots of honey. There’s some fresh baked biscuits and maybe a little cowboy. (That is, the smell of someone that’s worked around leather, dirt and barns and doesn’t smell strongly of those things but has hints of those smells. Personally, I find it a pleasant smell.)
The taste is surprisingly sweet – honey and maybe a bit of plum, but not a tart plum, more super-ripe plum meat instead of the tart skin. There’s a bit of smoke (but more cigarette than campfire) when I slurp and a nice little smokey prickle in the aftertaste. This actually reminds me of the delightful Keemun 1110 by RoT. Keemun 1110 has a fig taste instead of plum (but they are both purple, so it’s a pretty similar taste for me) and an orchid sweetness instead of this tea’s honey sweetness. This one has a bit more depth to it because of what I now think of as the cowboy flavor and that’s what the Keemun 1110 was missing for me.
CTG’s Keemun is still my all time favorite, but this one has easily bumped Keemun 1110 down a place in my “Best Keeemuns Ever” list. Big thanks to Angrboda for the chance to try it!
Sounds like a big ‘Whoopie! Howdy!’ Sorry, I couldn’t resist after the little cowboy comment. It sounds delicious though. I like tea like this!
Yee-haw! I suppose I’d call that note something other than “cowboy” if I hadn’t spent a lot of time in a horse barn during high school. Maybe just “faint notes of leather, clean dirt and oats”. Hehe!
Of course I shared it with you! With our taste twinniness how could I not? :p I’m glad (and slightly releaved) that we agree yet again. :D
Me, too! I kind of keep expecting a big taste divergence to hit! But based on the teas I’ve tried from your package, it’s not happening this time!
Okay, this is surprisingly good. I was at the grocery store the other day and poked around to see what offerings RoT had in the Chinese green department. Chicago Tea Garden made me like them (with their lovely Wuyu and Bi Luo Chun). I just ran out of the BLC and since it’s not like I can buy any more, I’ve been kind of hoping (but not expecting) to find something that could replace it.
This isn’t quite there, but maybe with some tweaking it could be a good contender. It’s got the nice sweetness that CTG’s BLC has and a good nuttiness. It does have a prickle of saltiness and astringency and a bit more sharpness to it than CTG’S BLC, but it’s not so strong that it is unpleasant. I wonder if, with a shorter steep time or less leaf, I could get that astringency to back of. If I could get it to do that without losing the sweeter notes, I’d be a happy camper.
I will say, I’m pretty sure this stuff is fairly fresh as the store didn’t offer this in their bulk section the week or so before I bought it. I’m starting to think that the fresher a Chinese green is, the more sweetness this is. Can anyone confirm or deny that thought?
Hmm, not too much dancing going on for me. It’s got a hint of sweetness and chlorophyll as it cools, but mostly it is a bit of a flat, woody and somewhat boring taste. The saltiness I tend to get from Chinese greens isn’t overwhelming, but overall, I’m just not in love with this tea. It’s drinkable, but not necessarily desirable.
The dry leaf smells a bit like coconut and death. Maybe some weird cough syrup – not cherry but some sort of medicinal fruit. I wasn’t too up on the idea of a fig tea and now I’m downright apprehensive. However, I am feeling bold today. (Or stupid. Sometimes I get the two confused.)
Post-steeping it smells more of coconut and a hay-like cookie. Better. A little scary, but still. Better.
The taste is faintly pu-erh-ish (earth, hay, barn) but it’s not too heavy or thick (which is the issue I seem to have with most cooked pu-erhs). Instead, in the middle of the sip (where the syrupy thickness would start to come in) the coconut kicks in and lightens things up, turning them sweet-but-not-cloying. The finish is still sweet but almost… jaunty. I’m not a huge fan of licorice/anise tasting things so I worried about the fennel in this, but I can’t really pick it out other than a hint of tingle in the back of my throat at the end of the sip. It’s been ages since I’ve had fig so I can’t say if this is appropriately figgy or not. Mostly, I get pu-erh and coconut.
All in all, not a bad tea – definitely not as bad as I feared. For those that like the flavor of pu-erh, this would probably be more successful, but for me, the aroma of pu-erh makes me unconsciously brace myself. Even though the too-heavy syrup I am braced for doesn’t kick in, just the subconscious anticipation of it makes drinking this tea not so relaxing for me.
This does make me want to try a coconut tea from ATR because the coconut aspect to this is nicely sweet, light and creamy. I’d like more of that, please.
“smells a bit like coconut and death” had me stifling giggles at work. I … don’t think this would be to my taste either.
Well, I suppose death could be read as pu-erh, but I think I’ll stick with “death” as my final answer. Hehe.
I am finally sling-free so typing isn’t so difficult for me. Rejoice! Things are still a it uncomfortable so I will (attempt to) be brief.
This is a rather interesting take on caramel tea. It’s not really very sweet though it is obviously caramel. There are only two chunks of actual caramel in my entire bag of tea, neither which I have put in while steeping, so that could influence the “not sweet” bit, but I tend to think that the intention is to keep this tea interesting with caramel and tannic tea notes as the balance of the two is mentioned several time in the description. Also, they suggest the tea be steeped for five minutes, which really does lead to a lot of tannic sharpness.
I prefer this at four minutes where the sweet and tannic seem more evenly balanced. Of all the caramel teas I’ve tried, it’s not really my favorite. (Kusmi’s Caramel or Le Palais de Thes’ Toffee are currently battling for that honor.) Yet, while I don’t love this tea, I respect it. It always manages to keep my attention as I sip on it. I find it similar to Lupica’s English Caramel, which is on the bittersweet side of things, but I found English Caramel a bit too bitter/tannic to be enjoyable. This, however, seems to strike a perfect balance (at four minutes, that it).
But I’m not so much into caramel for the balance or for the bitter. I’m in it for the sweet. So I tend to prefer this when it has cooled greatly, bringing out more caramel and relegating the tannic playfulness to the aftertaste. Still, a well done tea, especially for those that prefer their richer dessert teas to be balanced by some punch.
My right arm is in a sling right now (thanks, bursitis!) so this will be short (I hope). Ginger is the most noticeable thing here, both in scent and flavor. There is a bit of lemongrass in there, too, but I can’t pick out any orange or licorice. The ginger (and probably turmeric) make this a fairly heavy and dark. It’s different for most herbals I encounter. Kind of like drinking my spice cabinet. But in a good way.
(<8^c) I hope your arm feels better soon!
I must say I am intriged with the thought of Turmeric being in tea; being a curry lover and all.
This one was a little too strong for me, but I remember thinking that it would be great to keep around for cold and flu season. It’ll clear you out!
LIberTeas, Skulleigh & Ninavampi – Thank you! I’m hoping the sling only lasts a week then I can get on to trying to keep the arm healthy!
Ze_Teamaker – I’m a big curry fan myself. This has some of the dark/rich notes of curry, but it’s mostly ginger flavored so ends up being sweeter than most of the curry I go for. I think it might need more turmeric to evoke curry-thoughts from me.
gmathis – Yep! I think I originally got some as an alternative to mint teas when I was feeling stuffy – ginger really helps that! It is a more medicinal leaning herbal for me – the spice cabinet taste makes me feel healthy! :)
I love citrus, particularly those in the sweet orange category, though I have a fondness for all citrus types. Thus I simply had to try this tea out. Seven types of citrus! Whee!
The smell of bergamot is the strongest scent in the dry leaf, but there is a note of lighter sweetness too – the sweet orange, I believe. Post-steeping, it’s a heady mix of citrus. Nothing distinctly stands out; instead it is a sweet, fragrant, dark, silky, exotic scent that smells slightly different on each sniff. Sweetness here, tangy there, a dash of spice. It all kind of swirls together and I’m finding it rather sensual and dizzying. Or maybe the dizziness is coming from the constant sniffing.
The taste doesn’t seem as sparkly as the smell, but it’s nice. I get bergamot on the front end, a flash of bitter orange on the back, a nice clean aftertaste with a bit of… lime peel? and a general citrus flavor (slightly sweet) throughout. It becomes a little sweeter and more floral (from the bergamot, I suspect, though perhaps the grapefruit) as it cools, but it still doesn’t sparkle as much as the scent.
I think the strength of the bergamot in this makes me think Earl Grey-thoughts and I was personally hoping for a bit more sweet orange out of it. But looking at it from an EG perspective, I quite like it.
Those of you that know me know I don’t like red rooibos. Green rooibos is cool, but red tastes like rotting wood to me. Which really doesn’t explain why I keep buying it.
This is another tea I picked up from my grocery store. I knew it was rooibos and I probably wouldn’t like but it just smells so good! The dry not-leaf smells like orange sherbet or dreamsicle ice cream. That scent is one of my most favorite smells in life so I couldn’t resist buying a little.
I didn’t anticipate liking the taste, especially as post-steeping this still has that lovely dreamsicle smell, but it is coupled with the sadly stronger wet wood smell that is rooibos. But surprise, surprise! The taste is 90% dreamsicle. Yay! Slurping brings out a bit more orange fruit flavor which is nice and juicy. The rooibos comes in at the very end of the sip; a bit sour, a bit rotted wood. It’s not really all that pleasant but, after the first sip, it’s not really all that present either.
Sadly, I think the flavoring of this might not be my friend as I seem to have developed a bit of a headache after finishing my first cup. That is sad because this is a rooibos that is quite delicious. If drinking it didn’t hurt, I’d definitely do it more.
I have found too that rooibos on its own is no good, but flavoured it’s a completely different picture! Now I’ve actually TWICE bought, actually BOUGHT, a rooibos blend. O.O
Shocking! :D But I totally agree – flavoring can really make a rooibos tea good! It doesn’t always work for me, but it’s nice to know that it can sometimes.
Yeah, it works best for me if it’s a sweet flavour or a berry flavour or both. Husband is very fond of one with lemongrass in it, which I’ve come to find reasonable, but will never be a favourite.