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Recent Tasting Notes
I took a chance on this tisane because it looked interesting and because I like the combination of ginger and citrus. I used two teaspoons of material for a 355 ml mug and steeped it at 205F for 3.5, 5, and 8 minutes. The ingredients were in fairly big pieces, which made it difficult to get a good balance of flavours.
Upon opening the bag, the lime hits me in the face. The taste, however, is surprisingly mild, with lime, tangy orange and hibiscus, some sweetness from the aloe, and a touch of ginger. The mint is totally absent.
I honestly wish this mule had more of a ginger kick. As is, I won’t have trouble finishing it, but it probably won’t be a repurchase.
Flavors: Ginger, Hibiscus, Lime, Orange, Sweet, Tangy
Another herbal tisane from Tealyra. My goodness, this is sweet. The nice, if sweet, peachy flavour is a bit overwhelmed by the orange and hibiscus, and the chamomile is barely detectable. I’m also sure there’s sugar or stevia in this blend, though it doesn’t show up on the ingredients list. Delicate spring peach blossoms this is not, although the aftertaste has the fuzzy peach notes I was looking for.
This may make a decent iced tea, but I’m not a fan of it hot.
Flavors: Hibiscus, Orange, Orange Zest, Peach, Rosehips, Sweet, Tart
I am begging run-of-the-mill tea blenders to stop adding green teas to black blends. Please. If you want a jasmine flavor, add actual jasmine flowers and not a cheap “jasmine green” that tastes like bubblegum because someone tried flavoring it with essential oils instead of real jasmine. This would be a great inexpensive tea blend if it weren’t for that green tea. There’s just enough of it to overpower the taste of the earl grey and rose petals and give you the oversteeped boiled green tea taste instead (but with a note of bubblegum.) Eugh, I’d put the rest of the bag into the worm bin if there weren’t clearly essential oils in this. Those don’t belong in tea! Leave them out!
Flavors: Bitter, Jasmine
I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately, so I bought a bunch of tisanes from Tealyra to avoid having caffeine in the evenings. Finding things I actually want to drink has been difficult, as I’m generally not a fan of licorice or hibiscus and don’t enjoy anything that’s overly sweet. Any tisanes that don’t fall into the above categories seem to contain peppermint, and while I like minty teas, they can get a bit monotonous.
I do, however, love lavender things, and while this tea can be a bit soapy, it definitely delivers on that front. It has a pronounced lavender flavour with some earthy and herbaceous undertones. The fluffy leaves are pretty and I get four to five good steeps.
Judging from my experience with this company so far, Tealyra is a decent place to get herbal tisanes. Where do you buy your herbal and/or decaf teas in Canada?
Flavors: Earth, Herbaceous, Lavender
Smells and tastes like you’d expect. Sweet potato scent, classic black tea flavor with little tannic acid and a hint of cinnamon. I wouldn’t buy it for myself given that Golden Monkey tends to taste too much like, well, any half decent black tea at its heart to really ever be special, but I wouldn’t shame anybody else for liking it. Someone moving to loose leaf from grocery store sachets might really appreciate this stuff as a step-up before diving into something weird.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Sweet Potatoes, Tea
This smells like faintly spicy lemons. Also, it consists mainly of cubes. I deeply desired to eat a cube. I fished out a small one and bit down. Oh. My. God. It took all of my willpower not to continue eating the cube. Steeping, it smells precisely like a freshly opened bag of Haribo ‘Fruit Salad’ gummies. Let me be clear: this is not tea. It is barely even a tisane. I didn’t try to appreciate it as any of those, but instead as hot citrus candy juice, and in that category, it could have be stunning. But, it isn’t. This stuff smells so good and tastes so good as dried cubes, but brewed, it’s. . . lackluster. I can’t tell if it needs to have bigger deeper citrus notes or more sugar, but as it stands, it’s reminiscent of lemonade left in the sun. It isn’t transcendent. It should have been. I was worried the minute I poured it- it was so pale. Successive cups, the product of longer steeping in less water, were better, suggesting this would benefit from being boiled twenty minutes in a small volume of water. I would try this again if I got my hands on another sample. It’s got probable merit.
Flavors: Lemon, Sugar
Flavors: Cedar, Earth, Hay, Honey
This tea makes you question whether or not there is some sort of higher being, because if there was, surely they wouldn’t let you drink whatever this unholy brew is. I barely have words for this. Surely the presence of so many berries and berry leaves would make this a lovely tea, right? Oh no. Nooooo. The bag is filled with eucalyptus leaves and mistletoe and a bunch of pine nuts that are all waiting in the back alley of the initial steep so they can jump out and give you a puffy black eye. The eucalyptus is so finely ground that it escaped my fine strainer and the fugitive dust assaulted my tongue with every torturous sip. I had to pop 4 tums after finishing the cup because my stomach was so queasy that the first dose of 2 did nothing. My expectations weren’t high based on the ingredient list, but I didn’t think it would go down worse than 2 day old sushi that’s been sitting in the back of the crisper drawer.
Flavors: Biting, Bitter, Eucalyptus, Medicinal
Hmmm, this is not what I expected from the dry aroma. In the bag, the tea was a lovely toasty pile of stemmy pieces. The almond cookie notes are what inspired me to brew this on a Sunday morning at 7 am. When it was covered in 175F water, though, a very intense roasted buttery corn scent filled the area. It went from the appeal of a dark toasted oolong to hot wet movie theater fare in a heartbeat.
After apprehensively pouring the liquid out of my little teapot and into a big pottery mug, I immediately disposed of my leaves because I didn’t think I could stomach another cup of that stuff after this one. The liquor came out of the spout as a deep amber, and the aroma was slightly more straw-like and less Flavacol-saturated popcorn (a definite relief.) My first instinct after tasting the hot brew was to spit it back into the cup because my taste buds didn’t know what do to with it. (I did not because I had just eaten an apple and didn’t want any of that in my cup with this stuff. I persevered.)
After getting used to it, though? And letting it cool a bit so the steam isn’t punching me in the face with that popcorn aroma? Much better. It’s a very dry, savory tea at the start of the sip and yeasty in the mouth. Lots of freshly baked bread notes. If you’re looking for a tea with natural sweetness, this isn’t it, as it’s purely savory with the exception of what could be a jam note but feels like tomato-y rosehip in the aftertaste. It was easier to finish than I expected and I think that this would hit the spot for anyone who prefers dry, umami teas without any vegetal notes. I can’t fault it for the toastiness simply because I’m used to naturally sweet teas with fruity tones.
Not my personal cup of tea, but it’s well-rounded and worth trying.
Flavors: Brown Toast, Popcorn, Straw, Toasty, Yeast
Bought 50g of this for $11 to widen my horizons when it comes to black tea. The liquor is a delightful peachy dark brown, and the aroma is toasty with notes of freshly dried orchard hay. Not a tannic tea by any means, it goes down exceptionally smooth with a dark malty finish. The aftertaste doesn’t linger and I found my cup to be empty before it turned lukewarm, which is a rarity for any tea. I can’t say that it’s the best black I’ve ever had, but it’s likely the smoothest. Very pleasant to sip on a lazy winter afternoon.
Flavors: Hay, Malt, Straw
This was a share from VariaTEA and I had a very weird, love hate relationship with it while drinking it. Initially it tasted quite nice; very creamy and vanilla heavy with hints of cinnamon and fruit. However, as it cooled down it almost started to taste a bit salty and like Play-doh!? It was weird so I stopped drinking the cup. I came back to it later when it was completely cooled, and it was better but not as good as it had been hot – more like a vanilla dough/fondant vibe over a shake.
So… not really sure where I land on this one!? It was a strange experience.
I made a teapop and my kettle was on keep warm and all I could think was Sil telling me to drink more tea after I sent her videos of the tea that has spread all over my apartment. So I tried to think of another tea to that would steep at the same temperature that I could grab from my sipdown/focus box (which has becomes boxes and a drawer since my stash is aging so quickly it seems). This tea is one I have had before and just had a serving left to finish.
Last time I had this, it was in a travel mug and I don’t think it tasted like much. This time it had a giant strawberry in the filter – which Roswell Strange and I once discussed how that doesn’t necessarily impart flavor – which I found weird since this is a cherry tea. With that said, and despite my conversation with Roswell, perhaps it is in my head or perhaps it is the fact that this is not in a travel thermos but I am definitely getting a lot of cherry from this cup. Black tea and cherry flavor. Both present and both nice. Neither overwhelms the other which makes for a nice cherry tea.
Recovering from the Beer Circus and front row madness of a Gogol Bordello show last night, I hadn’t had tea all day. Made a pot for the house tonight.
Strong butterscotch aroma to the dry leaf that when brewed is stronger smelling than in taste. The brewed tea in general is so mellow and with a light mouthfeel that I though it might be a tisane. It’s pleasant though with modest cinnamon and a tinge of fruity, spicy pink peppercorn, neither of which lingers. Those flavors help to temper the sweetness of the butterscotch aroma. The base white tea is a mix of large broken leaf, stray silver needles and plenty of long stems. It doesn’t really contribute much flavor, maybe light hay. I still like what this blend has to offer. More of a calming evening sipper than what I thought would be a dessert tea. It’s nice this evening now that the hangover of last night’s debauchery has passed and the winds have ushered in the clouds that might bring the first rain of the season.
Thanks, Mastress Alita for the gift. I was waiting for the right time to drink this one. And I got your envelope <3
Flavors: Butterscotch, Caramel, Cinnamon, Hay, Peppercorn, Vanilla
What was I thinking? I didn’t want to buy 100g of gyokuro from Yuuki Cha when I placed my order in June so I decided to go with this one from Tealyra when the Father’s Day sale was on. It had some really great reviews on their website.
When I opened the bag and smelled the leaves I never got that fresh deep green aroma I get from a quality gyokuro or shencha. It was a bit faint. They don’t vacuum seal their bags so I assume this would have added to the tea not being as fresh.
This gyokuro was really disappointing. It’s grassy with bitterness even brewed at 60C. I did 4 infusions at 60 and then moved up to 70C. It still stayed grassy, mineral, and faintly bitter throughout. No deep buttery nuttiness, no spinach, hardly any sweetness, no umami, no seaweed. To me, this tea was a waste of my money. Next time I’ll just order the 100g from Yuuki Cha. Even with some of their teas that are not the best, they are way better than this tea.
Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Mineral
Iced Tea Sipdown (218)
Making good work on sipdown this weekend. This one came from Evol Ving Ness. Thank you!
It is actually different than most other fruit tisanes I’ve had. That’s because of the guava which actually comes through. However, guava is a bit of an acquired taste and not one that I’ve personally acquired. So I’m not loving this.
I keep forgetting about my swap with Evol Ving Ness because it is buried under a bunch of other boxes and bags. The bags that Evol used are pretty good so there is not cross contamination but the samples are on the older side. So fingers crossed this has not gone bad and also thank you Evol for the share, even if I have not given it as much attention as I should.
At first sip, nothing appears rancid. There is a lot of sweet and some cinnamon but not much distinct flavor. I guess dates are naturally sweet and this is naturally sweet but there is not a lot going on here. The more I drink, the more date flavor I get but the more sweetness that builds. So this gets a bit cloying. It is different than many other fruit tisanes but different isn’t always great and for me, this is not a favorite. However, I can see it being enjoyed by others.
In other news, yesterday was an interesting day. And by “interesting”, I mean terrible. I had to go in to my doctor’s office to get my blood test results. Since I don’t have vacation days at work, I started working at 7:30 am so I could leave at 3:30 pm to get to my doctor’s appointment at 4:45 pm across town. My concern was the subway getting packed at rush hour given my agoraphobia so I figured best to leave earlier and avoid the rush. However, that meant waking up at 5 am to get to work on time.
When I got to the doctor’s office, my doctor told me that there was something off about my results and she wanted to run more tests. That meant more blood work. I am terrified of needles so my mom came to pick me up from the doctor, assuming I would require more blood work. In the past, I have almost passed out from getting blood drawn and usually had to lie down but the past few times I have been fine so I got my blood drawn sitting up this time. The technician used a butterfly needle like they usually do for me but it took her a while and she had to keep moving the needle around. They took 8 tubes of blood and by the end, I started feeling very not ok. I asked my mom for a lollipop to get some sugars and they finished up the blood work.
That’s when shit hit the fan. I passed out. More than just passed out though. I had a seizure while I was out. So that happened. Thankfully my doctor is not overly concerned about it but its a pretty unsettling feeling. Plus, it meant taking off a day of work which was not my preference but I suppose its a valid response to having a seizure.
There’s already an entry of this tea under Tealyra’s old name, Tealux, but I bought it from Tealyra, so I am going with that designation.
The leaf appears to be Taiwanese Tieguanyin treated with milk and possibly sweetener and mixed with coconut flakes. The smell out of the bag is soapy, so I have my doubts.
Nonetheless, after the rinse, the coconut comes through and so does the gentle milkiness. Each subsequent steep becomes more floral, moving towards vegetal.
I would prefer a thicker milk thing going on here.
It’s ok. Perhaps it would be better fresher. But it is certainly satisfying the craving after all this talk of mixing milk oolong with genmaicha. Perhaps that is the next step for me.
oh, and I went through about five steeps with this. All but the first one, ie. the rinse, were pretty good.
That said, I need to get busy with this one just in case that soapiness is the harbinger of bad coconut news.
Teabox Tuesday! I grabbed this sample from the Discovery Teabox, so thank you to Skysamurai for organizing and all participants for sharing! I had to run a ton of errands this morning bright and early before work, so by the time I made it to work, this tea was already not as warm as I’d prefer. Still drinkable, though.
This is pretty much a black breakfast sort of tea; I got a lot of malty/toast notes, a bit of a dry autumn leaf flavor, and a bit of a peppery/subtle smoke flavor toward the end of the sip. This is actually a quite nice blend; I often get the autumn leaf taste from darjeelings and I can definitely taste the Keemun in the blend rather distinctly. I just wish I could’ve enjoyed this while it was still properly warm and not sort of luke warm in my thermos. Ah well. Things have just been crazy lately, hense the lack of much tea-goings-on for me of recent.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Malt, Pepper, Smoke, Smooth, Toast
Steeped this up and it smells great. Waiting for it to cool enough that it is drinkable.
Hmm, this is a tricky fruit tea. One first sip, it tastes a bit perfumed. However, as the flavours gel a bit more with cooling, the tastes strike me as quite natural. That said, it is an
odd combination with fruit, star anise, vanilla, and the tartness of likely rose hips and/or hibiscus which makes the sips a bit uneven.
Finally, it seems to me that the honey flavour used here is remarkably like that of Quarter to Tea, and sometimes I am able to pick it out here. Usually though, the honey flavour hides a bit with the muddle of other prominent tastes battling for position.
All said, a pleasant caffeine free tea though.