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Recent Tasting Notes
My day started with a debacle. Classic ‘lock yourself out of the house you’re housesitting and climb in through a window with 2 neighbors eyeing you suspiciously.’ Thus began Day 2 of a 12-day house-sitting spree. I’m no too thrilled but there’s a dog that needs me. While I’m here, I’m aiming to sample all of the teas that Martin sent in a swap which is a lot!
I generally despise banana. Like, I gag at the smell, taste and texture. And I suck at getting a good feel for flavored teas. This smelled so good in the bag, though, that no trepidation arose within me and I got to steeping this nighttime caffeine-free cup.
The aroma is moderate strength and smells deep and sweet with rummy vanilla banana chips. The sip has the same flavor with less intensity and opens up into the red rooibos taste with a woody, rum cask profile. The finish is drying but the aftertaste is intriguing, like smokey, rum-soaked and flamed sweet plantains that have lightly caramelized. I’m soooo into this flavor profile right now. I even want to add sugar. What is this tea doing to me.
Flavors: Banana, Caramel, Rooibos, Rum, Smoked, Toffee, Vanilla, Wood
I had to buy this one during the sale for the novelty factor. I’m a huge Hitchhiker’s fan. <3 But to be honest, the mix of flavors here sounded absolutely disGUSting. Black currant with peppermint? oo boy. And these flavors are STRONG. It’s like I’m getting punched in the face on each side of my face at the same time, once by mint and once by black currant and then they are at war in my mouth. Yowzaz. A teaspoon and a half is enough to find five huge black currants floating at the top of the infuser and this was after a good mix of the pouch. Sadly, I didn’t see any of those gold bar looking sprinkles in my tea pouch, which was another selling point. I did notice a shimeriness when I got to the bottom of my first steep. The blend is FIERCE especially with 1 1/2 teaspoons, but I expect nothing less from Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. This flavor combo is so weird, I might actually grow to like it or even crave it? Time will tell. It’s weird enough for the Hitchhiker’s Guide.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoon for a full mug // 18 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 2 minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep
2020 Sipdowns: 11 (one of two pouches of Della Terra’s Blackberry Cream)
Flavors: Black Currant, Peppermint
I’ve been trying to sip down most of my “Bird & Blend Tea Co. from when their name was still Bluebird Tea Co.” because… how long ago was it now that they changed their company name? Ya… it feels so long ago now, so I really should be sipping those teas down (my logic, anyway…) I recently finished off the packet of Choc It Rock It I got from one of tea-sipper’s cupboard sales a few years ago and now I’m working on this one. Thanks, tea-sipper! I had reviewed the former, but haven’t done so for this one yet.
The aroma of the dry leaf reminds me a lot of the Bondon herbal tea I sipped down recently by Steven Smith Teamaker… I get strong impressions of cinnamon and sarsaparilla, both things I like a lot. And then I take my first sip and… holy teabags, Batman, how much chili did they put in this?! A spice-wuss like me is not prepared for that at any time, least of all first thing in the morning. Phew. Damn. How can anyone focus when their mouth is on fire?! Unless the idea is to focus upon ones burning mouth. I can’t say if the yerba mate is waking me up, but that chili sure as hell did the job… can’t say it was exactly pleasant, though. It’s just… scratchy and burny at the back of my throat, and while I can taste the cinnamon in the blend, it is just overwhelmed by the spice so it isn’t adding a balancing sweetness. While I could smell sarsaparilla, I certainly can’t taste it against such a powerful flavor. Honestly, I’m having a hard time even picking up the taste of the mate base itself.
I would’ve been curious to see how the flavors in this would’ve worked if the chili had just not been present at all. Even old as this tea is, it is just still too strong for my spice-sensitivities and I can’t taste much against it. It’s just burning-heat-with-a-side-of-cinnamon.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Spices, Spicy
Another tea from January subscription.
My brother with his wife and daughter came this afternoon, so I wasn’t very into tea. Prepared two teaspoons in 300 ml, grandpa style.
And… it wasn’t bad, but I have expected maybe little more. Maybe steeping it western would make it much better, because brewing coconut in long terms means – it is too coconut heavy. I don’t know, as this is probably my first loose leaf tea with coconut. First sips were quite cookie like, with jasmine notes and was nice and pleasant. But with long brewing, the coconut went like bit stale or something and ended not so delicious. Maybe white tea went too strong in taste too. Moreover, coconut was on top, so all sips were coconut affected. I don’t mind coconut – to make it clear, but it was just too strong.
I need to try it again. Luckily, I still have enough :) – thus no rating so far.
Flavors: Coconut, Cookie, Jasmine
Received this in my January subscription from Bird and Blend, and was very excited, as it’s one I’ve had my eye on. The aroma was full of juicy fruits, and the flavor was surprising pineapple forward. I could definitely taste the chamomile, but it worked in harmony with the fruit notes. Luckily I know that valerian root has a very intense effect on me, so I drank this at bedtime. It felt like I was tranquilized (in the best possible way), and I ended up having a very, very restful sleep. I’m very glad I got to try this one.
Smells like a perfect lavender lemonade. There’s no tartness from the lemon in the flavor, though. It’s a very strong Provencal lavender that overpowers everything else. Though, that’s not a bad thing for me. I can’t taste the rooibos, which is also a win. I also added a bit of foamed oat milk, and it was excellent.
This one does taste a bit like honey – it’s quite a pleasant complement to the light black tea. I added milk because I thought that would make it even tastier, and it did! The flavor is mild, but nice. Really a perfectly sweet tea to start the morning. Thanks to tea-sipper for sharing this one!
January 2020 subscription
When I have received an herbal blend based on chamomile, I thought that this tea will rest for long probably. Nobody in my family is fan of chamomile, but when it is evening and family wants a tea – I had to pick up this one. Oh, okay, I had lots of other teas to use, but I thought I will brew something fresh. And nobody was fan of spicy teas (other caffeine-free alternatives) today.
I used maybe half of the pouch (that’s 10 grams) into big strainer, boiling water and… voilá – we have maybe 2 litres of tea?
Of course I took my cup and decided to make a tasting note.
It seems indeed chamomile is in based on aroma, but with some fruit notes, maybe a little bit like vanilla too? Blind tasting says it is fruit tea instead of herbal, again I notice vanilla there with some citrus (Scheherazade noticed grapefruit and I agree, but not fully). It’s as well creamy (as she noticed), certainly not chamomile herbal taste at all.
I have expected much worse, but actually it is nice surprise (and finally a loose leaf tea today).
Flavors: Citrusy, Creamy, Vanilla
So I really want to like this one because its got a bright citrus and passion fruit flavor. Like really, really refreshing and juicy. However, since this flavor seemed wrong for a matcha milk, I made it in water which creates two issues: (1) I feel the texture of the matcha a bit more than usual, which is not chalky as some can be, but still a little chalky perhaps and (2), I get that grassy/umami flavor that matcha should have but is usually covered up by the milk. I don’t like matcha which is why I drink flavored matchas as matcha milk. So while I know this is great flavorwise and could be awesome for someone who even remotely like the taste of matcha, for me, it is not the best. I wonder if making it hot would be better though…
ETA: I just saw Roswell Strange described this as “Five Alive” and she hit the nail on the head there…just with a hint of matcha.
Prepraed western, 6 grams for 350-400 ml glass mug. I don’t know exact volume and somehow lazy to measure.
What to say about this tea? Well, it reminds me lavender lemonade. It is tasty, aroma strongly lavneder. But when sipped, it turns into floral notes and lemon aftertaste. As it cools down, lemon is more prominent and floral notes are weaker. It is as well somehow refreshing, easydrinking tea. Maybe bit creamy as well; rooibos base is not present in taste at all.
I wonder if it could be good iced?
And derk – I got box from you! Thank you! All already in cupboard (real as well virtual)
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Lavender, Lemon
This is one of those weird teas that doesn’t pop up in searches properly so it was never added to my cupboard but today I was going through the teas I keep at my sisters and there it was. It sounds good to me but mostly it was hibiscus to add sour to the cherry flavour. While that was fine, it didn’t really have marscapone.
Looks like this tea got a name makeover! I wonder why. At first it seems like another chamomile tisane, but the more I sip, the more I appreciate it. The sip is dominated by chamomile, then licorice comes in with a hint of sweetness, then the mint and they all dance together. I like this more than I initially thought I would.
Not from Advent calendar, but could be :)
I have to agree with previous raters. I took two teaspoons for my 300 ml cup and it turned out very nice!
I notice both, chocolate as well hazelnuts. I prepared it grandpa, so when it brews a nuts came on the surface and could even eat them. It was nice addition.
Tea itself, tastes after hazelnuts and chocolate. It is more on the chocolate than on nuts, but it is nice. Quite sweet, maybe more cocoa shells, or overall make it more bitter would be better. But I am dark chocolate person. I can imagine it can be better for some other people. The dry aroma is bit like marzipan, but luckily, it did not transformed into taste too much.
Brew is light, cloudy brown. Nothing pretty for eyes, but okay. Black tea base is not much distinctive, maybe some more malty tea would be nice in this blend.
Flavors: Chocolate, Hazelnut, Marzipan, Sweet
From the TTB
It smells like banana, both the dry leaf and in the cup. The first few sips were like banana cream pie. As it cooled I got more of the dark chocolate bittersweet taste lingering. Not tasting the licorice, which is probably a good thing because I’m not sure it would go well with the banana and chocolate flavors. I do like this blend the banana stay at the tip of my tongue and the chocolate lingers in the back.
Flavors: banana, Dark Bittersweet
Decided to finally brew this one up tonight; I had a freebie teabag of it in my Boxing Day Sale order (I had to get that Jasmine Poached Pears while I had a chance!), but I’ve actually had one of the 20g sampler pouches from B&B for ages and still haven’t opened it up yet… so typical of me!
I love floral teas, but this does have chamomile in it, so depending on how strong the chamomile presents compared to the rose and lavender (two flavors I really love), this really could go either way for me. I am able to smell it pretty strongly in the aroma of the cup… but I’m also smelling the rose and lavender, and the tea is a pretty pink color rather than chamomile yellow, so maybe the small addition of the hibi (another thing I love… I know, controversial!) will go a long way in mellowing out that soapy chamomile taste for me.
The flavor… huh. Interesting, the main note I’m getting is lemon. There is lemon verbena in the blend, but I wasn’t even picking up any citrus in the aroma. I do taste a bit of the chamomile, but with the lemon presenting as the strongest flavor note, and it coming out a nice, pleasantly tart sort of lemon, it is rounding it out so nicely that my typical chamomile-blechniness isn’t bothering me. I get a hit of sweet florals toward the end of the sip; I’m not really picking out a distinct lavender flavor, sadly (I quite like the taste of it, and it pairs nicely with lemon citrus, too) but I definitely taste the rose.
This is far more enjoyable than I thought I was going to fare with it. It’s a gentle lemon tea with strong floral notes, and a good evening herbal. I’m not sure if I’d restock it, but I won’t have any issues going through the other sampler pouch I have stashed away nor any other freebie teabags that make their way to me.
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Lemon, Pleasantly Sour, Rose, Sweet
Thank you Kittenna for the share – this was actually one of the first samples I tried from your package but I’ve been putting off writing the tasting note because I’m not been totally sure how to capture my thoughts. So, I’m gonna try and do it in bullet point form…
- Initially just tasted like sweetened rooibos
- Flavour shifted as the tea cooled though
- Took on more of a sweet banana taste; like banana medicine/runts
- However very delicate
- As well as a creme brulee/lightly caramelized sugar note
- Plus a hint of cream
I… liked it!? I mean, it was really gentle and it the flavours were also a bit generic and hard to nail down. However, they built up over the course of the cup and grew into something surprisingly solid.
Mixed feelings overall.
Another tea I got in the Bird and Blend Boxing Day sale. I’ve had it about 3 separate times at this point, and I’m very sad I only got 50g. It’s very similar to B&B’s Mince Pie, but not quite as heavy on the marzipan flavor. My preference is Mince Pie, but this one is still wonderful. Rich, dark fruits, and a bit of almond. I can’t really taste the pine needles, but they make the blend look quite festive.
Free sample for my very small order. VERY small, guys. I can’t resist those B&B sales, even it’s for a couple teas. Especially with free shipping! FYI: they have a ton of various teas on their secret VIP page, including the amazing Spiced Pumpkin Pie which is usually hard to grab.
On to the tea: I was intrigued by another sleepy tea especially with those gorgeous bright raspberries that seem almost fresh. My sample really doesn’t seem to have a ton of them. So I’m really not tasting much raspberry at all, which is a shame as the name hinges on those raspberries. What I’m really tasting is something VERY similar to the lovely Lazy Boy blend: mostly coconut and lavender, even though there is also chamomile and fenugreek in this particular blend. It’s almost like they could have just brought back Lazy Boy. On the second steep, much more of the chamomile was noted. I don’t mind this as a replacement for Lazy Boy but I really wanted more raspberry!
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a full mug // 12 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 minute steep
2020 Sipdowns: 8 (Angry Tea Room – Raspberry Cherry)
Flavors: Coconut, Lavender
This is another tea that tastes mostly just like mint. It’s not really worth my time. As it sits, the green tea comes out more, but just to make it bitter, not to add any extra pleasantness. I’d much rather drink plain mint. I received samples of this tea from both amandastory516 and also as freebie in a B&B order, so thank you to you both!
I’m really sad about the hibiscus in this blend, because I’m enjoying the balance between the earthiness of the beetroot and the bright, zesty citrus. Unfortunately, that tart hibiscus aftertaste kind of ruins the experience for me.
Flavors: Earth, Hibiscus, Orange Zest, Tart