159 Tasting Notes
Underwhelmed. Mehness. The flavour of this tea does not live up to the promise made by its fragrance. It smells really nice, but the flavour is a bit bland, a bit weak. The fragrance is mostly that of green tea: fresh-smelling, a bit vegetal. There are also some floral undertones here. Given its name (and given that I read only the name, and not the ingredients), I thought I’d get more orchid (I love floral teas), but that’s not the case. There is only the most subtle of floral hints in the fragrance, and even these are mostly absent from the flavour.
I like less subtlety in my tea, so found this a mediocre offering. Next, please.
I steeped this sweetened sampler a second time, adding more sugar, steeping it for hours (like, 12 or something), and finally adding ice. I’ve never made iced tea with loose leaves before, so I don’t know if I did this the “right” way, but it worked. It’s excellent as iced tea: a little mango-y, a little peachy. I didn’t get even a hint of the floral things that are on the list of ingredients, like rose and such; it’s just a really refreshing, sweet, tropical iced tea.
This tea is definitely better iced than hot.
I love that my sample of this blend was sweetened. I sweeten my tea, anyway, so this saved me a step. I get a bit nervous whenever I see a long list of ingredients—I worry that I’ll end up tasting nothing.
The dry tea smells like candy! I’m not sure what kind of candy, but candy. Some kind of hard candy, like. It’s a very sweet fragrance, and has citrus notes, but it’s more like a punch. Not fruit punch, but the tropical punch that has papayas and mangos and things.
The tea tastes like a Jolly Rancher. Not of any flavour that I’ve had before, mind you, but it tastes how I imagine a tropical punch Jolly Rancher would taste. =) I prefer spicy, nutty, chocolatey notes in my tea, or floral ones. I’m not really a fan of fruity teas, so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this.
As nice as this first taste was, I’m going to see if I can get one more steep out of the sample. I think this tea would be really lovely iced. I’m not sure I’ll be able to get the full flavour out of a second steep, especially iced, but I’ll give it a go.
Oh, so this is pu-erh. I just realised that I haven’t had it before, and that I probably should’ve tried this before drinking Golden Moon’s Pu-erh Chai1. After tasting this, I have a much better understanding of all the different flavours swirling around in that pu-erh chai.
I didn’t know what to expect here, but the packet says “earthy.” From the dry leaves what I got is a fragrance that I’d describe as more fruity than earthy. The tea itself is a different story: I definitely got earthy from the first whiff, but upon exhaling and inhaling again, my first thought was, “sandalwood.” Sandalwood! I am mad about sandalwood. I have incense. I have soap. I have talcum powder. And I’m very, very picky about my sandalwood, too, much like I am about my rose2. And what I got from this tea was the hint of some really lovely sandalwood.
These earthy, incense-y, sandalwood-y, very slightly smoky traits all carried over from the fragrance to the flavour, and the end result is really nice. If this is what pu-erh is usually like, I’m a fan. I quite like its flavour and find it second only to rooibos (my favourite since I first tried it in 2009).
The irksome thing about vanilla is that, like cinnamon, you give it a little bit of stage time and it wants to hog the entire spotlight. I love jasmine, but couldn’t smell it in the dry leaves, which smelled entirely of vanilla. I could smell a bit of jasmine in the steeped tea, but it was pretty subtle. The tea itself is kind of weak, and tastes like vanilla; I don’t taste any jasmine. Definitely not my thing, don’t think I’m going to get through this mug. On to the next one!
[Edit]: I removed my rating, which was 13. It’s not the tea’s fault that I don’t like vanilla. I reckon if I did, I’d like the tea better in spite of its weakness and insufficient jasmine presence. In any case, I didn’t want to pull its overall rating down with my biased score.
This is one of the most interesting teas I’ve ever tasted, so much so that I don’t really trust my score. Normally, I take a few sips, and I have a pretty good idea of what the tea is going to be like, what to expect from the rest of the mug…y’know? But this tea kept me guessing ’til the very end.
The first thing I smelled when I cut open the packet was cinnamon. Bleh, I don’t like cinnamon. But the very next time I inhaled, I hardly smelled any cinnamon at all. This time, it was cardamom. Meh, I’m not a fan of cardamom, either. But again I couldn’t write the tea off, because it changed again! This time what I got was almost fruity in nature, but more fruit punch, not the “smooth citrusy bouquet” the packet claims.
Steeped, the tea’s flavour was just as variable as its fragrance. One sip tasted all cinnamon-y, another tasted kinded of fruity, another tasted a little earthy (eh?), another a little like…rooibos (whaaa…?). It all tasted good, but more than that, it was just…interesting! The sample wasn’t nearly enough to figure out this tea. I’ve added it to the shopping list for further study.
This is kind of a middle of the road jasmine green tea. The fragrance is heavenly, and it’s one of those teas that makes me want to strap the packet to my nose. The jasmine is spot on: not subtle, not perfume-y, not overwhelming, not artificial. Really, really nice.
Given its fragrance, I was hoping for a nice, bold flavour to do it justice. That’s not the case here, though: the tea is a little on the weak side. To its credit, however, I didn’t get any bitterness or dry mouth from it.
OMNOMNOM. I really need to drink more black tea, because I really can’t tell the difference between them. I swear, every time I drink a new black tea, I think, “Yes! THIS is it! THIS is what I mean when I think of black tea! The fragrance, the flavour, this, this, this!”
Until the next cup of a different black tea. [Sigh.]
So ya. This. THIS smells just like the chai Mum made every day, even without the milk and sugar. THIS tastes just like that tea, even without the milk and the cardamom and ginger. More accurately, it tastes just like the black tea base of that tea, before the milk and the cardamom and the ginger were added.
At least, I think it does. Until the next cup of black tea I drink. I obviously cannot be trusted.
It’s yummy, though. And it’s comforting. I needed something “safe” today, as I’ve been a bit too adventurous of late and just wasn’t up to evaluating a new flavour. I didn’t get any bitterness or dry mouth, which is always nice. It’s not as, I dunno, flavourful? bold? oomphy? as some other black teas I’ve recently tried, for which I docked it a few points. But it’s very nice.
Bonus: Just like every time I eat a clementine, I pranced around the kitchen singing, “Oh, m’darlin’, O m’darlin’, O m’daaaarlin’ Darjeeling, I will steep you, I will sip you, o m’darlin’, Darjeeling” ♬ while this was steeping. (Note that the clementine variant is "I will peel you, I will eat you, o m’darlin’, clementine. ♬)
I made this tea for a little experiment inspired by the “offbeat uses for tea” thread1. Before I used it for that purpose, though, I tried it, both unsweetened and sweetened.
I’ve read that our olfactory sense is the one most strongly tied to memory. There’s a hookah joint in NYC called Sultana2, a wonderful place where I’ve spent many an hour sipping iced hibiscus tea and chatting with friends. This herbal “tea” smells just like that place. It’s quite nice.
If you generally like “tropical” concoctions, things with pineapple and coconut and things of that nature, you will probably like this. While I love (non-alcoholic) piña coladas, I’m not a big fan of that mish-mash of flavours that falls under the (mini) umbrella of “tropical.” As such, this isn’t really my thing. The tin says there’s rose in here, and hibiscus, but I didn’t get any floral fragrance or flavour. There’s also orange peel in here, but nothing citrusy stands out. Finally, there’s no actual tea in here, which I rather like in my…tea. =] All that said, it does have that very typical tropical vibe to it, and a nice enough flavour.
My nose acknowledges four classes of rose: the flower, the perfume, the essence (as in rose water), and the soap/lotion. We use a lot of rose essence/rose water in our cooking in India, so I’m most familiar with the variety of tastes created by adding that to a beverage or dish. As well, when I was little I used to munch on rose petals. I like rose. A lot.
I was very happy with the fragrance of the dry leaves. Of the four recognised classes, this tea fell squarely in the “flower” one: the fragrance was fresh, pure, not artificial. Not even remotely subtle, and really lovely. The wet leaves and the steeped tea didn’t smell as strongly like a fresh flower, which was good, because it let the black tea come through a little more.
The flavour is where things just went all pear-shaped. The flavour, my friends, is neither essence nor flower, but lotion. Lotion! It’s wrong. So, so, wrong. To make matters worse, my first sip of the unsweetened tea hit the back of my throat with a distinct bitterness, which immediately shattered my resolve to wean myself off sugar/sweeteners in my tea. Straightaway, I added some sugar.
So now I’m drinking non-bitter rose lotion. Because I like rose so much, I’m reluctant to dump the tea, so it’s sitting here, and every so often I forget how disappointed I am and reach for another sip or two. What I’m finding is that as it sits (it’s just sitting, not really cooling, thanks to my super duper mug), the flavour is transitioning from lotion to flower, more like what I expected when I first cut open the packet.
In the end, I’m glad that I didn’t pour the tea down the drain. I still feel that there is a slightly lotion-y aftertaste, but to be fair, it is possible that this is mostly psychological. I’ll be okay getting through this mug, but unfortunately this isn’t a tea I’ll be stocking in the future. That said, I’d now really like to find a bold, rose tea that I would like to keep stocked. I tried a white rose that I really liked, but it was subtle. I’d like something more like this, with a nice, bold flavour, but with a rose infusion that’s more to my liking. I’ll keep trying, I’m sure I’ll find something. =)