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Recent Tasting Notes
Iced Tea Sipdown (533)!
So, I made this one iced in a tea press to finish it off – but I find it a little boring/generic Earl Grey tasting so I wanted to do something to kind of switch things up. What I ended up doing was adding in a matcha shot. I’ll be totally honest that I wasn’t thinking of flavour when I did it. What I really wanted was the caffeine boost, and a pretty green matcha gradient so I could take a cute instagram photo. I got one of the two; the caffeine. Visually, it looked like swamp water. Definitely not photo worthy.
The taste was kind of bleh; STRONG bergamot notes that made this feel like a really full bodied, intense Earl Grey but then also a thickness in mouthfeel and grassyness to the taste and just didn’t quite mesh together. I ended up adding milk to see if it would smooth anything over, but it didn’t really change the taste at all and just made the mouthfeel even thicker/richer.
It was kind of a failed experiment, and I didn’t really like it. Honestly just drinking this like a straight Earl Grey would have been much better for me…
I don’t remember much of what I thought of this one from last time I tried it, other than I’m pretty sure it was pretty heavy on the bergamot. That’s essentially what my experience was with this cold brew though; VERY strong and full bodied bergamot notes! Obviously, because of this, my automatic thought is of Earl Grey. However, this isn’t simply just bergamot; there’s an underlying fruit undertone that I think really compliments the intensity of the berg. It’s very hard to pinpoint exactly what the fruit flavours are, but I’d lean more towards stonefruit I think, perhaps favouring the darker stonefruits: black cherries, plums, etc.
It does frustrate me that the company itself isn’t super forthcoming with what those fruit notes are either – they simply call them ‘exotic fruits’. However, what’s exotic to one person can drastically vary to another and the difference in flavour between exotic fruits is SO large. I mean, a lychee fruit tastes NOTHING like durian but both are exotic? So what is it?
Regardless, I did find this cold brew really satisfying.
I don’t remember a whole lot of what the package said this one was supposed to taste like other than “exotic fruits”. What kind of exotic fruits though? That’s actually a pretty broad description; lots of fruits CAN be exotic and they certainly don’t all taste alike.
However, brewed up it turned out to be a bit of a moot point because this didn’t really remind me a whole lot of fruit anyway. Or I guess it’d be more accurate to say it reminded me of one fruit: bergamot. Lots and lots of bergamot, actually. It was also really floral both in the top notes and the finish. That floral bergamot flavour duo was layered atop a pretty brisk, malty black base. It didn’t taste too bad, but also somewhat average? I wasn’t really wanting an EG type tea at the time either; definitely something more fruity. So maybe if I revisit this one knowing it’s going to be heavy on the berg I’ll appreciate it a little more.
Latte Sipdown (248)!
Slowly getting those sipdowns in…
This one wasn’t a bad latte, it reminded me a lot of DAVIDsTEA’s Creme Brulee rooibos blend that I was always such a big fan of. It was very creamy, with a super rich mouthfeel and strong, full bodied vanilla notes. I think it would have definitely benefited from a secondary flavour though because it did feel a little one-note. Perhaps the softest hint of cinnamon or nutmeg? You could totally add that yourself by just lightly dusting some onto the latte, though. Anyway; it was a nice enough sweet treat! Very comforting, for sure. If you’re looking for a good, point blank vanilla flavour this would be a dependable option.
Well, the May Tea Sparrow box from the subscription that VariaTea got me arrived yesterday so of course I had to break into it and try one of the new teas!
Side note – VariaTea please tell me this is the last one, ‘cause your generosity is just putting me to shame! I know you keep saying you don’t want more tea, but seriously! I feel like the recipient of so much kindness and I want to repay it somehow!
Anyway – this tea smells pretty amazing. Lots of rich vanilla notes are coming from the dry leaf, and while I’ve never considered myself a huge vanilla fan I have to say that the last few months I’ve tried a couple REALLY good vanilla teas and it’s kind of converted me. So, I’m pretty psyched for what smells like it’s going to be a really nice, silky vanilla flavour.
The flavour delivers pretty well: dominant note is 100% a strong vanilla flavour with lots of creaminess and body. I do love that it isn’t a plain vanilla flavour though; the cinnamon in the undertones is the perfect thing to make the vanilla feel even softer and more comforting. It’s just a light dusting, really, but very satisfying paired together. The biggest aspect of the tea that I dislike is actually the rooibos base; while I don’t think it’s terrible, it is pretty strong and woody and distracting from the vanilla flavour. Also, at times I found it a little bit peppery.
Overall, does this remind me of Bourbon? No, not really at all.
But is it a good vanilla tea? Yeah, absolutely!
Cold Brew Sipdown (231)!
It’s definitely better as a cold brew – the flavours kick into place a little bit more, and the hibiscus is more toned down – if only a touch. Mostly, I’d call this a sour hibiscus and sour pineapple medly, without a lot more substance. However, in the finish after much of the tartness has subsided I do feel like I can taste the faintest glimmer of raisin and rose. Maybe that’s wishful thinking, and maybe it’s not. I just know it’s the only thing keeping this from feeling really one dimensional to me.
Glad I got to try this one, because it’s definitely something that I think I’d have been
curious about had I stumbled upon it myself – but I wont miss it.
So, much to my surprise, I received another Tea Sparrow subscription box in the mail today from the lovely VariaTEA! Surprise mail is really just the best mail; especially when it’s tea mail!
Everything in this month’s box looks so good, so of course I brought one of the pouches with me to work so I could try one of them right away! I do think this tea was probably intended to be drank iced, but it’s REALLY snowy in town right now and I wasn’t in an iced tea mood at all, so I made my cup of this one hot.
It brews up a nice ‘cherry’ red colour with some impressive clarity. For me, the colour was beautiful, but also the first sign that this was going to be a tart tea. I wasn’t wrong either; the bulk of flavour here is hibiscus – straight and strong. Some sour/tangy pineapple notes do cut the straight hibiscus flavour a little bit, but it does wind up being a pretty strong sour/tart note overall despite the duo tone of the flavour.
I wish I could have tasted more mango/papaya because I think they COULD have offered a really interesting flavour combination overall, sadly they were lost in the infusion. Raisin is another ingredient that is pretty unique/interesting and that I feel could have contributed something more unique to the flavour profile but it too was pretty drowned out.
I will definitely revisit this one iced, mostly to see if that results in more balanced flavour.
Second of four teas in my February Tea Sparrow box. This one has an amazing berry aroma from the dry leaf and while brewing. The blackcurrant and raspberry scents really come through clearly in the aroma, and translate fairly well into the flavour as well. The green tea base is lovely, very slightly smoky and vegetal with a medium body (I do like to brew my teas a bit stronger), adorned with the fresh and sweet notes of berry. Lovely tea, very enjoyable to drink! Nunshen has impressed me so far with two wonderful blends.
Hello again Steepster, I am back! I do lurk here and there at times, but I am not as actively reviewing teas these days. My mind is occupied with figuring out my life direction for the next little while (either finding a new job or moving somewhere new. Big plans!). I did, however, recently receive a new box from Tea Sparrow. How exciting! I missed having new teas to try, and so I decided to reactivate my account for two months – February and March. This is one of the February teas I received last week.
I was looking forward to trying this one just based on the description on the packet. It is described as a quality Chinese black tea mixed with black currant and other fruity flavours – including mango and bergamot! The dry leaf smells really quite delicious. Once brewed, it turns into a nice light coloured amber and the fruit aroma mellows out.
The flavour profile is not quite what I was expecting. The fruityness doesn’t fully translate and I feel like a lot (read: most) of it is lost. Thankfully the black tea base is light and smooth, so even with the loss of intensity of the other flavours, the tea is still enjoyable to drink. Instead of the citrusy tang I expect, it turns rather sweet in the background. Perhaps it is the mango and coconut bringing that out. It’s just a little disappointing that the fruityness is only really present in the aroma of the dry leaf. I would have loved to see more of that in the actual flavour profile of the tea, which makes the experience a little disappointing. It is a quality black tea, otherwise.