870 Tasting Notes
A Berry Frui-tea July! I decided to try my Rice Pudding and Jam sampler from Bird & Blend Co. tonight.
The leaf smelled very sweet and fruity, and steeped up a very pretty light pink color with a very berry aroma. The flavor is quite nice, it’s actually a pretty light tea, but the mouthfeel is quite creamy. I get notes of berries and currants, with a slight sweet coconut flavor that lingers on the tongue in the finish. It actually does come off quite jammy, the hibi-hip is much lighter and sweeter in this particular fruity blend. I’ve never had rice pudding, but it’s a dessert I would most certainly not like (texture issues, I don’t like anything pudding-like!) so I don’t really have a flavor note I could compare this to in that regard; I’m imagining the closest this comes is just having a somewhat smooth and creamier mouthfeel from the oolong/white base. Maybe the coconut is supposed to emulate something there? I can’t imagine the coconut adding anything to the jam, though I do enjoy the berry/coconut flavor.
The package said to drink the tea without milk, so what did I decide to do? …Be a rebel and steep the remainder of the sampler in a quart of coconut milk. Yaaa, tea rebel! Something about the flavors/ingredients just made me wildly curious how that might turn out, and it was on an e-mail I got from Bird & Blend that actually recommended trying cold steeping in coconut milk to begin with. I was a little heavy on the leaf and gave it a pretty long cold steep (I think it was about a day?), but admit I wasn’t entirely sure if it would work out or not (I have this gut feeling a blend may need to be pretty hibi-hip heavy for this to work, and I wasn’t sure if this leaf had quite enough). Oddly enough, I was expecting the finished steep to be slightly pinkish since the tea was a light pink color, but the color dissolved off the cornflower petals, and I ended up with faintly blue coconut milk, which just made me think of that blue milk from Star Wars.
It actually didn’t turn out too bad. It is obviously very coconuty in flavor, but it is also very thick and creamy, which I think fits for a tea that was named after rice pudding in the first place. There are subtle notes of the fruity flavors, though they aren’t as strong as in the plain tea; it is sort of like having a coconut milk with a subtle jammy aftertaste (and a pretty blue color, hahaha). I do think in the end it did need stronger hibi-hip to work in the milk, but I like the flavor with the super thick and creamy texture. Maybe if I had a lot of tea leaf I could’ve made it work properly (I did add more leaf than I normally do for a quart of cold steeping, but obviously it would’ve needed even more for this experiment). An enjoyable enough drink, but not exactly what I was hoping for. Don’t regret the experiment, though!
Flavors: Berries, Black Currant, Coconut, Creamy, Fruity, Smooth, Sweet
I rarely review a tea a second time, but the first time I reviewed this one the flavor really didn’t click with me; the alcohol flavoring in it was this strong, dry, tasteless bitter flavor, just never the kind of alcohols I ever liked back in the days before my migraines shut me off from all alcoholic drinks. I did enjoy the mint and lemon-lime citrus touches, so I was curious if there was any saving grace to make the tea more palatable for me since I still have a lot of leaf left. So this time I prepared it Arnold Palmer style: I used four teaspoons of leaf, steeped in two cups of boiling water for four minutes, added two teaspoons of lemon-infused honey, and then added two cups lemonade, stirred it all together and set it in the fridge to chill. This made the tea really nice! It has a much more subdued alcohol-flavored touch, rather than that overpowering strong edge that flavor had before, and the lime and mint flavors add a nice touch to the lemonade. The touch of sweet honey comes out on the finish so it doesn’t really come off as bitter anymore. I’m not going to change my initial rating, but I am glad that this tea is actually quite nice with a few additions.
Flavors: Alcohol, Citrus, Lime, Mint
A Berry Frui-tea July! Another T2 sampler sipdown! I usually prepare these iced, but this one had yogurt granules in it, so I decided to just drink it as a hot cuppa instead of waiting for it to chill (I didn’t want to cold steep it since I wanted the yogurt granules to melt, and was feeling lazy to wait for the hot tea to chill, so figured, eh, a warm fruit tea with my raspberry jam toast at breakfast certainly can’t hurt!) I wanted to use the sampler up and it makes two servings, so I used my big ol’ 16 oz. mug and had a large double-sized cuppa. Such a bright red infusion on ol’ Red White and Blue Day, too!
The dry leaf had lots of apple in it, but the brewed cup definitely smells very strawberry. It has a very rich berry profile, but that could be because I’m drinking it warm rather than iced, and I find that hibiscus tends to have a thicker mouthfeel to me when prepared that way (which is why I prefer these kinds of teas iced). There is a sweet strawberry top note, but the hibi-hip gives it an underlying dark berry flavor note that follows. There is a nice juxtaposion of sweet and tangy fruit notes that play on the tongue — it starts sweet, has a tangy mid-sip, and ends sweet. It’s really nice! There is a lot of tart ‘n tangy hibi-hip, but the apple and yogurt add a lot of sweetness to the cup too, and I’m really enjoying how those flavors mesh with each other. I’d probably like this more as an iced tea, but am pleasantly surprised how enjoyable this was as a warm cuppa. Something about the warm strawberry was very relaxing, reminding me of hot pastry filling.
Flavors: Berries, Fruity, Hibiscus, Strawberry, Sweet, Tangy, Tart, Thick
A Berry Frui-tea July! Found another orange-flavored bagged tea in the back of the cupboard (and this one actually doesn’t expire until November, so age shouldn’t be an issue this time!) I’m guessing this was one of the teas I enjoyed back in my baby tea-drinking days when I only had bagged tea, but I honestly don’t remember it at all, so if that was the case, it didn’t leave much of an impression. Ah well, time to try it out now!
The aroma comes off a little underwhelming, but it does smell slightly of orange and spices. The flavor of the cup is maybe just a little weaker than I was expecting, but it isn’t unpleasant. The orange still comes across with that somewhat artificial taste that I usually get from orange in tea, but it isn’t overwhelming the cup, and I’ve had a lot of bagged teas where the spices (particularly that artificial clove flavoring they like to use) can be quite heavy-handed, and here they are more subtle, with just a hint of cinnamon and clove left on the tongue after the sip. The flavor is actually nice, because it isn’t overpowering, it just feels like the black tea itself is a little weaker than I was expecting. Most orange spice blacks I’ve had in the past have been a little more robust than this one. On the plus side, it at least doesn’t come off with any bitterness and only the most mild of tongue-drying astringency after a sip. On the whole? Honestly pretty good, especially for a bagged tea, and I’ve had a few real misses with Stash. I’m happy to say this isn’t one of them. I wish the black tea had a little more “omph” since the flavoring is nice, but I won’t have trouble sipping down what is left of this box, either.
Flavors: Artificial, Cinnamon, Clove, Orange
A Berry Frui-tea July! I figured it was time for another bagged tea revisit, and I found this one at the back of the ol’ cupboard. I had five bags left, and figured I could do a cheeky sipdown if I made a quart of iced tea and used the last teabag for a hot cuppa.
I remember I used to really like this tea, and I’m very picky with bagged green teas. But now… ya… no. It just tastes odd to me. It just seems that bagged greens just can’t do it for me anymore. It at least doesn’t taste overwhelmingly-artificial-mandarin like most of the mandarin green and white teas I’ve tried of late, but the flavor tastes… off. A little… chalky, or metallic. I’ve had one other decaffeinated green tea before, and it also tasted metallic to me, so I wonder if my palate just picks up the processing those teas go through as having a somewhat metallic taste? I’m also finding that the green tea tastes more hay-like than grassy… but I imagine that probably has to do with the age of the tea, because… err… I just checked the expiration date on the box, and am not willing to admit that date publicly. (This is probably the SAME BOX I remember enjoying so fondly in the past! Daaaaaaaamn… I uh… should probably clean out my cupboards more often… At least drinking old tea never killed anyone, right?) I’ve certainly tasted worse (PTSD flashbacks to being a poor college student and thinking it was okay to buy Flavorite brand bagged green tea…), but this certainly just doesn’t taste right. Bleh…
The iced tea (brewed hot and then chilled) was only a slight improvement, but not by much. It still tasted very weak, and the same sort of off-putting hay/straw and metallic flavors seemed to be there beneath the mandarin flavoring. Meh.
All this did was make me want to steep my Green Tea with Mandarin Orange from TeaSource… The mandarin in that particular tea is a bit strong and a little artificial tasting, but the sencha base is really nice and grassy at least, and while the mandarin is a little cloying by itself in a hot cuppa, it makes a really nice cold brewed tea, and is even better steeped in lemonade. This just feels like a very, very weak comparison to that loose leaf tea now. Though I can see why I liked it back in the days before I had nice loose leaf teas…
I’m still not rating this as harshly as I feel I should, just based on the age of the tea, which may have a lot to do with the tea feeling so weak. But I still feel like that weird metallic flavor has more to do with the decaffeination than the age, since I’ve encountered that issue before, so it isn’t entirely off the the hook.
Flavors: Astringent, Hay, Metallic, Orange, Straw
A Berry Frui-tea July! I was at the store yesterday looking to get another box of Tazo’s Passion, because it is one of the few bagged teas I really like, and I especially love iced hibiscus teas in hot weather, and that one is particularly fruit punchy. Then I looked up and noticed they now have a bottle of Passion liquid concentrate, and since I only planned to use the bags to make iced tea anyway, I figured I’d give it a try. The instructions just said to mix it with equal parts water, or to even use it with another liquid, like lemonade, fizzy water, alcohol, juice, etc. I decided to go for lemonade!
The concentrate is already sweetened a bit, so those that find the actual tea way too tart might actually like this better. I can drink the regular tea plain (but I have particularly strange tastes when it comes to hibiscus and rosehip and am more endurant than most) and even with my high endurance, I admit that plain Passion got me quite close to the boundary of needing sweetener. This was still tangy, but was like a nice sweet-tart fruit punch, and mixed with lemonade, which also has its own sweet-tart profile, it was really good! The citrus of the lemonade worked great with the citrus notes in the Passion tea; it really did taste like a fruit punch with a lot of rich tangy citrus and sweet floral high notes. I’m a little sad the concentrate only comes in such a small bottle, because it is so convenient to make iced tea this way, and I’m imagining making lots of this over the summer.
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Fruit Punch, Hibiscus, Lemon, Orange Zest, Sweet, Tangy
A Berry Frui-tea July! Hey look, I found a tea with a name that nearly matches my theme name… works for me! This is another from the Great T2 After Christmas Sampler Haul of January 2018, and I’ll likely be whipping up the other fruit tea samplers I nabbed then during this month, too. Since they only make two servings, they don’t take long to chill when I brew them up iced (my preferred way to drink fruit infusions!) and are easy sipdowns (and I could use some freed up cupboard space!)
This is a fairly standard hibi-hip fruit infusion, that reminds me a lot of TeaSource’s Red Berries in flavor. It is a little less punchy than some infusions I’ve tried, with a fairly strong dark berry/red berry sort of flavor. I taste a lot of blackberry notes, rounded out with a tangy raspberry/hibiscus base, and a touch of a strawberry sweetness on the finish. It’s a very refreshing tea. As per usual, probably not the sort of tea the hibi-hip naysayers are going to enjoy, but if you like semi-sweet tangy fruit teas, it’s quite nice. I’ll probably be enjoying a lot of these types of teas over the summer.
Flavors: Blackberry, Fruity, Hibiscus, Raspberry, Strawberry, Sweet, Tangy, Tart
A Berry Frui-tea July! New month, new theme, and since it’s the hot summer months, I’ve decided to feature fruit-flavored teas out of my collection, since they tend to make nice iced teas. And I drink a lot of iced tea during the hot summer months!
I received this tea as a gift from my bestie Todd last Christmas. It came in a tin from Par Avion Teas, but a little Nancy Drewing has led me to discover that all their blends are wholesaled and repackaged blends from Tea Guys. Ergo, I’m posting this under the source rather than creating a listing under Par Avion Teas, because that’s just how I choose to roll. This tea is still the original Ginger Darjeeling Peach name and blend ingredients.
I actually did try a warm cuppa of this tea with my breakfast this morning, steeping a teaspoon in 200 F water for four minutes. The steeped tea is a very orangey color, and has a strong sweet gingery smell, but there is something slightly metallic about the aroma as well that is slightly off and makes me a little worried about the taste… Thankfully it doesn’t have a metallic taste, but I wouldn’t say I’m crazy about the flavor, either. There is a really nice candied ginger top note with this somewhat sweet cinnamon-tasting aftertaste that is very pleasant, but the peach flavor is a little subtle… I notice it faintly, but somehow it feels a little… watery, or subdued. The black tea base itself also just feels… weak, somehow. I do like that it isn’t extremely harsh and bitter and overpowers all the flavor of the tea, but at the same time, I just wish it felt a bit more substantial. Something just feels a little off about all of this. I wonder if I have to use double-leaf to get a decent tasting cup? But if I have to use extra leaf, then there is already something a bit off. Meh.
It tastes all right, just a bit lackluster, like the flavors should all be a little more fuller than they are. Except for the ginger element, which feels just right, as I don’t like ginger to be too overwhelming. But the base and the peach just feel like they need a bit more “oomph” in the warm cuppa to pull it all together. Then this could really be something nice!
I also made a quart of this iced, cold-steeping six teaspoons in lemonade. I normally never cold steep black tea, as I feel it just won’t release a strong enough flavor, but eh… I was curious (and I added a little extra leaf-to-water as a result). After my hot cuppa felt so meh on flavor, now I’m especially worried that there is going to be no flavor pulling through against this lemonade… ah well, moment of truth time!
Oddly enough, I’m surprised how well the tea works this way! There is something about the lemon that actually brings out the peach notes in a way that I just wasn’t getting from the tea before, and the citrus and peach blend really well together. The ginger still doesn’t come off too strongly, but has that sweet candied ginger/slightly cinnamon taste that hits at the end of the sip, and it also accompanies the lemonade really nicely. I’m not really getting any of the base black tea, but then, I felt the black tea was a little weak on its own anyway, so I’m happy enough that the peach is at least more flavorful, and the gingered peach does taste nice in the lemonade. Since the tea was kinda meh on its own, I may just use it up over the summer this way instead.
Flavors: Candy, Cinnamon, Ginger, Peach, Sweet
June Wedding! Something blue! My last tea for this month’s theme, and I’m just going for plain ol’ Butterfly Pea Flower tea!
I originally got this tea around a year ago, when I wanted to do a “rainbow” theme of reviews for my tea blog for Pride Month and discovered you could make “blue tea” using this flower. At first I was discouraged because all the sources for it were overseas with high shipping, but then I found this Etsy seller, Zenobia’s Garden. They were great! The price was excellent, the shipping was fast, and it was a quite large bag of dried butterfly pea flowers, which I expect to last me quite some time!
The first time I tried it, I didn’t really care for the taste; it was a little too mellow and herbaceous, but I did enjoy it when I added lemon juice and honey (which masked most of the natural flavor). Since then, I’ve expanded my palate a lot, and find that now the “earthy” taste of the tea doesn’t really bother me.
The dry flowers smell, oddly enough, just like brocolli to me, though it doesn’t have a brocolli flavor… it does have a sort of mixed vegetable kind of taste, though. The flavor of the tea is best described as a mild earthy, herbaceous, vegetal sort of taste; I tried a chrysanthemum white tea not long ago, and found chrysanthemum to have a somewhat similar flavor to butterfly pea flower, only butterfly pea flower isn’t as sweet as the chrysanthemum, and has a stronger vegetal note. I actually really enjoy this tisane now (ah, how a palate can change over a year…). I do still like the taste of it with citrus added though, as it just compliments it really nicely, so I usually add a teaspoon of my lemon-infused honey (or, if I’m out, simply add equal parts lemon juice and honey). The odd thing is while the tea did change purple when I first got it a year ago, it doesn’t anymore. Since it’s just pH levels that cause that, you wouldn’t think the age of the tea should make any difference, but there you have it. Now that my flowers are older, my tea always stays blue, even when I add citrus and make the tea more acidic. Strange, no?
Flavors: Earth, Herbaceous, Vegetables, Vegetal
June Wedding! This is another borrowed tea from the last Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox (thanks so much to tea-sipper for organizing and to all that contributed teas to the box!) I’ve never sampled a tea from Georgia, so I was happy to get the opportunity to try this. I only kept a single serving of this, and prepared it as a hot cuppa. It was that first cup of the day, as I thought a black tea would be a good choice after a rough night of sleep.
The aroma from the cup was very malty and honey-sweet, reminding me immediately of some of my very favorite Chinese blacks (like Black Dragon Pearls), so I had a good feeling before even taking a sip I was going to enjoy it. The taste confirmed this! The tea had notes of malt, apricot, a hint of warm cherry at the back of the tongue, and a honey sweetness and very subtle smokiness that lingered in the aftertaste. It was a very smooth cup, lacking bitterness and holding only the most subtle of astringent drying of the tongue after the sip. Overall, this is the exact kind of black tea that is to my tastes, and now I’m very interested in trying more Georgian teas!
Flavors: Apricot, Cherry, Honey, Malt, Smoke, Smooth