1117 Tasting Notes
For the sipdown prompt, “a chocolate tea.”
The dry leaf for this tea smells absolutely incredible, with a strong cocoa and berries vibe which sends my brain to either chocolate-covered cherries or very dark, fruity-noted cocoa from South America.
Brewed, the scent of the pu-erh base comes forward, earth and spicy, but the cocoa and fruit notes are still present on the nose. The flavor is very smooth; I’m not a fan of pu-erh but do enjoy it as a base in blends if the blending is done right, and this one is really hitting the spot. The tea doesn’t really have that earthy dirt taste I dislike, but still has the thick, dark qualities of the base, and the flavor has notes of chocolate, vanilla, and a berry note that is sort of a cross of dark cherry and blueberry on my tongue.
Love this! Would easily pick this up again if I were to peruse Jasmine Pearl again.
Flavors: Berry, Blueberry, Cherry, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Earthy, Fruity, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Thick, Vanilla
Like the “Candy Floss” I tried recently, I love the smell of the dry leaf in the bag, which has a very appealing creamy cherry aroma. Brewed, the aroma doesn’t come across as sweet or as creamy as the dry leaf, with a sharper tart cherry tang on the nose, with a slight mineral quality.
The tea has that silky smooth mouthfeel from the oolong base, but I was expecting a sort of creamy and buttery flavor given the “mascarpone” in the title, but I’m not really getting that. It tastes nice, though. There is a cherry flavor, not particularly strong but also not obnoxiously medicinal either, and overall the tea is more on the sweet side than particularly tangy.
I made a coldbrew as well, but it tasted on the sour side… I’m thinking I overleafed and oversteeped it. I’ll probably add some sugar to my current batch and switch to drinking the rest of this tea warm, since this cup turned out quite pleasant.
Flavors: Cherry, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Mineral, Silky, Smooth
For the sipdown prompt, “a tea with a strong aroma.”
The dry leaf of this tea has such a spot on, amazing cotton candy aroma… the sweetness of the apple and sprinkles with a very subtle fruitiness just does a really good job of mimicking cotton candy.
However, the brewed tea is very underwhelming. I originally made a coldbrew batch, and it was pretty awful. Just really weak of any flavor and obnoxiously bitter. The only way I got through the liter in the fridge was by adding a teaspoon of liquid sugar syrup. Then it actually tasted a bit like cotton candy, but… I added sugar, so of course. I was expecting the tea to be quite naturally sweet with a name like “Candy Floss” and was just surprised that it just wasn’t.
Today I’ve prepared it warm, and it is definitely better hot than cold, but still a little weak in flavor. A lot of the white tea hay qualities are coming forward, which clashes with the natural sweetness I’m expecting. There is just a whisper of sweet fruitiness, which alternates between apple and red berry, but neither are defined or strong. It does get a little more cotton candy-esque in flavor as it cools, but I still feel that this flavor combo has been done much, much better elsewhere.
Perhaps I should just make sachets out of the remaining leaf, as I like how it smells a lot more than how it tastes…
Flavors: Apple, Berry, Fruity, Herbaceous, Hot Hay
Another purchase from my 2019 trip to Portland, for the sipdown prompt, “a chai.”
This is a chai on a gunpowder green tea base, and in addition to the cardamom, peppercorn, and clove spices, it has lavender flowers and some almondy flavoring. The unique combination intrigued me, which is why I picked it up. Also, I have a weakness for anything with lavender, and unlike Jasmine Pearl’s “French Breakfast,” I can actually smell the lavender in this blend, so hopefully it holds up in taste, as well.
The spices definitely jump out on the nose, with a peppery, tickly sort of sensation. The slight citrusy fragrance of the cardamom is especially appealing. There is a floral note on the nose as well, which creates a very unique aroma beneath the spices.
I normally am not a fan of gunpowder green tea, but I don’t really taste it here beneath the spices. Perhaps a whisper of a vegetal undertone, and perhaps the inherent smokiness is complimenting the spice. The cardamom and clove create a strong flavor, and the pepper lingers a little after the sip, but there is no burning or unpleasant spicy sensations. The lavender is actually flavorful in this blend, but it is soft and mellow, peeking out beneath the spice notes towards the end of the sip. I don’t taste anything like amaretto flavoring, though… perhaps it’s adding a sweetness that is just smoothing it all out.
I really like this! Been a while since I enjoyed a chai and the cardamom/clove double-punch with the sweeter lavender is really doing it for me this morning. I was so unimpressed with the “French Breakfast” blend by this company, but this blend is ticking all the boxes for me.
Flavors: Cardamom, Clove, Floral, Lavender, Pepper, Spices, Vegetal
For the sipdown prompt, “a breakfast tea.”
I purchased this on the last vacation I took, which was to Portland in 2019 (so long ago… sigh…) The tea smelled amazing in the shop, and as I really like lavender, I decided to take a bag of this home.
It’s quite disappointing, though. The base is really strong and I haven’t figured out a way to prepare it yet where it doesn’t turn unpleasantly astringent. And while I like the clementine oil used to flavor the tea, which creates a really sharp, tangy, and authentic orange taste, it completely dominates the cup. I don’t taste the vanilla or honey flavoring at all, nor the lavender.
I like it a little better as a coldbrew than the warm cup I had, since I find the strong clementine flavor on the brisk base makes a pretty good iced tea, and a subtle floral note pops out toward the end of the sip… but it still comes out a bit astringent-tasting. Next time, I’ll add a generous dollop of honey to the iced tea mason jar.
If the balance between all the elements were better, I’d probably be more impressed. As is, rather disappointing and not a tea I’ll miss once I work through the pouch.
Flavors: Astringent, Citrus, Floral, Malt, Orange, Orange Zest, Tangy
For the sipdown prompt, “a tropical tea.” Prepared coldbrew.
I really enjoy this one! It definitely has a muscatel note to it… grape without being overwhelming grape-candy-flavor, with an effervescant feel that does remind me of wine. Drinking slowly and picking apart the flavors, I get a tangy papaya note and a sweeter pineapple. Very refreshing and easy to quickly chug.
Flavors: Fruity, Grapes, Muscatel, Papaya, Pineapple, Red Wine, Sweet, Tangy, Tropical
For the sipdown prompt, “a yerba mate.” It’s been a long time since the weather wasn’t so abhorrent that I had no interest in making a hot cup of tea in the morning, so I took advantage today.
Both the dried leaf and brewed tea have a strong and appealing lime aroma. There is an underlying earthiness on the nose beneath the lime, as well. That pretty much describes the flavor, too. A heavy, citrus-tangy lime with a slightly earthy undertone… I get more roasty notes than green notes. There is a hint of cream in the aftertaste.
Tasty. The bright citrus and soft roastiness make this a nice summer-to-autumn transitional tea.
Flavors: Citrus, Cream, Earthy, Lime, Roasty, Tangy, Vegetal
For the sipdown prompt, “a hibiscus tea.” Prepared cold brew.
Well, I was expecting a pop/soda sort of flavor to this tea based on the name… like a Cherry Coke sort of profile, but I’m not getting any sort of “cola” vibes at all. This just tastes like one of those “mulled wine” hibiscus+spices sort of blends that pop up around the Christmas season…
The hibi is thick and syrupy, and I’m getting the strong citrusy tang of orange peel and a somewhat earthy/barky cinnamon note. Oddly enough, the combination of flavors gives me a sort of pine-like finish which I actually quite like. I enjoy the flavor, but I can’t shake the “Christmas” vibes I’m getting… More like a sharp and brisk cranberry flavor than anything I’d associate with cherry, and the cinnamon and orange takes me to mulled wine territory rather than anything resembling cola.
So, I like this, but it isn’t at all what I was expecting from the name. Kind of getting the same issue I had with the “Watermelon Sorbet” tea by T2 I had recently, which was tasty but wasn’t the taste I associated with the name in any way. If this was in B&B’s holiday line-up with a name like “Cranberry Cider” or something, I’d probably rate it higher.
Still an enjoyable profile for me, and I think the first time I’ve ever coldbrewed a “mulled wine”-esque hibiscus tea. Far more pleasant cold than I would’ve expected. I think I’ll save myself a teabag worth of leaf for a single hot cup, but brew the remember as a second coldbrew batch.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Cranberry, Hibiscus, Orange Zest, Pine, Tangy
This is one of only two traveling tea box teas left in my stash, so I’m using it for the sipdown prompt “A tea from a tea swap/traveling tea box.” It came from the Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox which made its final journey around the time I joined Steepster, back in 2017. Thanks to tea-sipper for organizing the box and anyone who contributed at that time!
I only took a little over 2g as a sample from the box, so I prepared it as a small, western brewed cup (I just don’t have the energy for gong fu at the moment anyway…) There was a smokiness to the dry aroma which turned me off a bit (I don’t like smoky teas) so I figured a single cup is all I’d be up for anyway. Brewed, I definitely smell charcoal smoke, as well as a somewhat oaty/carmelized aroma.
As I predicted, this has a smoky charcoal/tobacco note to it that just isn’t really my thing. But it isn’t overpowering (at least, not at this age, perhaps it was when it was still fresh) so I’m not getting “forest fire smoke wafting into my face” from the cup (which, aside from just not being a big fan of the taste, is the main reason I don’t like smoky teas… that strong aroma gives me a migraine). I imagine smoke-lovers would be quite pleased with this… it almost has a sort of BBQ-umami note to it, and the base tea beneath the smoke is sweet, like a honey/carmelized glaze.
Not a bad cuppa, just not my cuppa.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Charcoal, Honey, Malt, Oats, Roasted, Smoke, Sweet, Tobacco, Umami
For the sipdown prompt, “a coconut tea.” Prepared cold brew.
I went through this incredibly fast. This packet turned out a lot more coconut than lime, but that toasty, still-fresh tasting coconut on the green base was extremely refreshing and hydrating.
Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Coconut, Lime, Smooth, Sweet, Warm Grass, Tangy