824 Tasting Notes
May Flowers! I grabbed this as a sampler set when the tea-company-formally-known-as-Bluebird put out their Dreamtime Collection, but this is actually my first time trying it. The ingredients are pretty similar to the Lavender Lemon Potion tea by Tealyra I like, though there are a few notable differences; this one has a rooibos base, and uses apple for sweetness rather than the creamy white chocolate and vanilla drop elements. I’m hoping it’ll be stronger on the lavender, since that was pretty much my only complaint with Lavender Lemon Potion.
I love the scent of this tea; it certainly has a strong lemon-lavender aroma from the bag. Brewed up, I get quite a bit of sweetness from the rooibos, which actually makes the citrus lemon flavor come off a lot more softly than I was expecting from the aroma. It is certainly not nearly the sort of strong, tangy lemony flavor from Lavender Lemon Potion. As for the lavender element, it is more pronounced than in Lavender Lemon Potion, but still not as pronounced as I’d like. It does blend well with the lemon note, so there is sort of a balanced, floral minty touch right off the citrus, but both flavors just come off fairly subdued because of the strong sweetness of the rooibos base.
I do enjoy the flavor of this tea, but I don’t enjoy it as much as the other lemon lavender tea I’ve tried recently. What I may do is try blending them together to try to get a stronger lavender flavor out of the other tea, and since the citrus is really strong in the other tea, hopefully it’ll mute out some of the rooibos here. It’ll be worth the experiment, in any event.
Flavors: Citrus, Lavender, Lemon Zest, Sweet
May Flowers! So I decided to try something a bit different tonight. I have never tried a Silver Needle white tea before (I’ve had Bai Mudan and Shou Mei varieties), and I’ve also never tried chrysanthemum as a floral, so I was curious about this one. It was one of the teas I picked up in my big Tea Chai Te birthday haul this last March.
The scent of the dry leaf was very herbaceous and didn’t give me many clues to the taste. I still find I have a hard time eyeballing whites, so I opted to just measure out just under two and half grams on my scale for my 400ml cup and western brewed this at around 180 F for three minutes. The scent from the yellow liquor was a lot sweeter than the dry leaf, with almost a honeysuckle quality, but there was also a very subtle grassy note to the aroma, too. It was a very soothing scent.
I found the flavor a bit mild, but not unpleasant. There was this slight earthy quality to the brew that has a vegetal/mineral quality that I also taste when I drink butterfly peaflower tea, as well as notes of dry grass, a floral sweetness, and a warm touch of honey on the close. It’s a very light and delicate tea, but there is also something very relaxing about it.
I wouldn’t say this sort of tea is my favorite flavor profile, but I don’t dislike it, either. For me, it’s a mood tea, and when I’m in the mood for it, I find it really hits the spot.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Earth, Floral, Honey, Mineral, Sweet, Vegetal
May Flowers! I was a little disappointed that the Spi Chai sampler by T2 I tried the other night, which was supposed to have rose and jasmine petals, ended up not having any, so here is my second try at a floral chai! This blend is the Kama Sutra blend by tea wholesaler Metropolitan Tea Company, which means it’ll be in tea shops across the country. I purchased mine from The American House in San Diego, California, during a vacation. This particular chai blends Indian and Kenya black teas with chai spices and rose petals, jasmine blossoms, and lavender buds.
Unlike my sad Spi Chai sampler, I do have ample flower petals in this tea, and a pronounced floral scent from the bag! It’s actually a very interest aroma, a little like cardamom and clove mixed with lavender, and I actually find the combination of aromas oddly pleasant! The base tea steep up very strongly, and it actually wasn’t as bitter as I was expecting (I think the floral notes actually helped a lot in this regard), but it did have a fair bit of astringency following the sip.
This is a chai that needs to be well shaken, and preferably scooped from down inside the bag rather than from off the top to get a good flavor, since the spices are ground up and tend to sink/settle easily. When I took the tea from the top I got a very weak flavor that was like some slightly cardamom-flavored black tea, but when I shook the bag and then dipped the teaspoon down into the center of the bag, my second cup actually had a very full, spicy flavor. This was a strong chai, with the cardamom, ginger, and black pepper leaving a strong impression on my tongue. I think the floral notes got a little lost by how strong the spices and how astringent the black tea was; I could make out a hint of lavender toward the end of the sip when the spices were starting to die down a bit, but wasn’t tasting any rose or jasmine in my cup.
Since this chai has such a strong black base, I tried it latte style as well, and it was much nicer taken that way. That tamed the black pepper notes and the astringency, and the sweetened milk helped bring more of the floral notes to the forefront, as well; the lavender finish suddenly really popped! If I ever make this again, I will only make this as a latte in the future.
This is actually pretty nice as a latte, since I do like the way the spices and lavender play against each other, but on the whole I think the blend still needs a little balancing between the spice notes and the floral to more fully bring out all the flavors. I would’ve liked to be able to taste the other florals in the blend, to have a bit more balance between all the spices, and just a better balance between the spice and floral so they aren’t competing. I really do think it could be done!
Flavors: Astringent, Black Pepper, Cardamon, Ginger, Lavender, Malt, Spicy
For my latest batch of iced tea I decided to make a quart of cold brewed mugicha, Japanese roasted barley tea. I’ve never tried it before, but know it is a cultural staple there for the summer months, so I’ve been very curious to try it. The mugicha I purchased from Yunomi came in 10g bags, so I simply dropped one in my quart mason jar, sealed it up, and left it to cold brew in my fridge overnight.
Now, I have a confession to make… I like coffee. Yes, it’s true, you can revoke my Steepster account and kick me off the site now. I drank it for years, until I had to go through a “caffeine detox” period to test if caffeine affected my migraines (for better or for worse). During that time I switched to tisanes, since I was still so used to having warm beverages in the morning, and was really shocked by all the flavor options. Once it was determined caffeine wasn’t a migraine trigger and I could have it, I just started exploring more teas rather than taking back up coffee, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it or won’t drink it. In fact, if I don’t have good tea on me at a restaurant, I will order coffee instead rather than take their LQ brand bagged drivel. If I’m going to be paying for a single cuppa, I at least want to make it a good cuppa, and I’ll take a froo-froo mocha over Lipton or Bigelow anyday!
So imagine my surprise to discover that roasted barley tasted exactly like chilled coffee! I was expecting mugicha to have a sort of houjicha taste from the roasting process, but I’m definitely getting a very distinct coffee bean sort of flavor… the only difference is the drink is of course not as heavy of a mouthfeel as coffee, and very light and refreshing without leaving that acidic feeling in the stomach. I looooooove iced coffee and usually ordered my drinks iced rather than hot at cafes, so this was an extremely pleasant surprise! I can only imagine that I’ll be making loads of this stuff over the summer.
Flavors: Coffee, Roasted
May Flowers! This is another Adagio custom blend, and ultimately the one I restocked after drinking Padme because I loved the rose and cream flavors that came out in that tea from the Summer Rose/Cream combination. Since the Rooibos Jasmine component of that tea was completely missing, I saw little reason to get more of that tea when these were the two teas that left an impression, and a repeat blend might actually have enough Rooibos Jasmine to change the flavor profile. So I hunted around on Adagio until I found a custom blend that was simply a mix of Summer Rose and Cream, and found one, titled White Rose… which I’ll admit, is a bit of a confusing name. I have a white tea in my collection mixed with roses with the same name. A black tea called “White Rose” just sounds misleading to me… I guess the cream component made them think of white-colored roses. Whenever I see “white” in the title of a tea I always think of “white tea,” heh.
Confusing name aside, this is a tea for rose lovers! You open the bag and it has such a thick, rosey scent. I’ll admit, it has a lot of rose oil flavoring, and it may be overpowering or obnoxious to some, but since I really love this flavor note and sometimes find the rose in my teas too subdued, I really enjoy that I have a really strong rose tea option. Usually strong flavorings in my teas are really off-putting to me, but this is just a rare exception for me. The rose comes out as a strong top note, but mid-sip to the finish there is a notable sweet cream flavor beneath the rose, and I just love the way the two flavors pair. It adds a sweetness to the strong black base, which is — admittedly — a bit more on the bitter and astringent side than I typically care for in blacks (the one thing Padme had over this is that despite the Jasmine Rooibos carrying no noticeable flavor, it did mellow out the black tea so there was no bitterness or astringency in that blend). I tend to add some vanilla almond milk; it helps take some of the edge off the black tea, but doesn’t affect the creamy rose flavor at all. It also adds some nice creaminess to the cuppa. This is definitely one to take British-style!
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Cream, Floral, Malt, Rose, Sweet
May Flowers! And May the Fourth Be With You! This was the only floral Star Wars themed tea I could find on Adagio’s fandom blends, so though it isn’t one of my favorite characters, at least it fits the month’s theme. This particular fandom blend is a combination of Adagio’s Summer Rose black tea, Cream black tea, and Rooibos Jasmine tea, and has added lavender and cornflower accents.
This tea has a very lovely floral bouquet scent, with the most dominant scents being the rose and cream. It steeped up rather red in color, likely from the rooibos in the blend, and the aroma of the warm brewed cup was simply wonderful, and reminded me of taking a walk through a summer garden! In fact, I’d say the aroma was probably my favorite part of this tea. It isn’t that it didn’t taste good, I was just a little… underwhelmed. This one certainly turned out better than the Khaleesi of the Library fandom blend I tried during National Library Week, in which all I tasted was the Vanilla Rooibos Chai in the blend and none of the other teas; here I get a very strong presense of roses and cream, so I can definitely taste the Summer Rose and Cream black teas in the blend. But where is the Jasmine Rooibos? Other than the tea having a more reddish-orange coloring, I don’t pick up any noticable rooibos flavor notes, and I couldn’t taste the jasmine or lavender in the tea at all. The black tea, rose, and sweet cream was a wonderful flavor combination that I adored, but it was too overwhelming and washed out any potential for the other floral notes in the blend… either that, or Adagio didn’t mix this well, and given how my last fandom blend was mixed, that is entirely possible, too. Still, I have to mark this blend down for not holding up to its potential. The scents of a full summer bouquet were there, but the flavor was not.
In any event, after I sipped down this sampler, I found a different fandom blend that was just Summer Rose and Cream (called White Rose) and stocked up on that instead! My opinion on the taste I was getting from this will reflect more accurately there, since it, well, tastes as advertised!
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Rose, Sweet
May Flowers! This is another chai sampler from my T2 sampler haul that I actually put off last month since it also includes rose and jasmine. This is an herbal chai, so it is just a blend of spices, with the addition of licorice root and the floral petals. I’ve actually been very curious to try this one!
I have to say, I was immediately let down by the leaf. In my little sampler, there was only one rose petal, and I couldn’t make out much (any?) jasmine either. So much for saving this chai with the expectations of a floral-touched flavor profile! So I already know going in this is pretty much just going to be a strong spice blend. Ah well. I do have one other chai in my collection that has floral additions (a black tea blend) so maybe it’ll work out better?
The brewed tea has a very strong cinnamon aroma. The flavor opens with hints of cinnamon and ginger, but the anise and licorice root are definitely the strongest flavors in the cup. I’m a big fan of both of those notes, but I know a lot of people aren’t, and if you fall in that category, then this is a chai blend you’ll want to stear clear from — the licorice notes really pack a wallop here! There is a little touch of cardamom right near the end of the sip, and I’d say the flavors of the spices do blend well, but there is certainly a dominance on the anise/licorice root element… and I was disappointed the floral element in my sampler was pretty much non-existant, because I was curious what that might have added to the blend in terms of giving it some sweetness balance.
Because I enjoy licorice flavors, I did enjoy this cuppa. But I most enjoy a chai that balances its spices well, and I was disappointed at the lack of the floral elements after I had been looking forward to that particular aspect of the tea.
Flavors: Anise, Licorice, Spices, Spicy, Sweet
May Flowers! Apparently this seems to be a “love it or hate it” tea, but I am most definitely in the “love it” category, and it has remained a permanent staple in my cupboard ever since I tasted my first cup at local coffee haunt Twin Beans on a cold winter day when I was in an herbal mood. The leaf has an aroma that reminds me of root beer, and the tea is such a relaxing warm brew! I pick up a minty flavor that is a bit like a cross between spearmint and wintergreen, and as the mint closes there is this honeyed sweetness and slight anise note, and those flavors combined taste like root beer on my palate. There is a minty sweetness that lingers on the tongue and is just wonderful!
This tea includes chamomile and lavender, and I can make out a very subtle chamomile flavor, but thankfully for me it is so well blended into the mix of herbals that I hardly even notice it (I have a particular dislike for the flavor of chamomile), and though I love lavender, I don’t notice its flavor at all in this blend. However, I still get a very relaxed sensation whenever I sip on this tea. I love to drink this before bed; it’s sweet, yet very soothing.
Since this tea has such a strong “root beer” flavor note for me, I decided to try it as an iced tea for the first time. I was surprised how well it still holds up! Honestly, I think I still prefer it warm, because there is just a really relaxing feeling to the hot aroma and feel of the warm tea and the way the particular flavors sort of linger on the tongue, but the iced tea still has a very nice, refreshing flavor. It still has a very minty taste with that sweetness that tastes similar to root beer, but I think it comes across just a little more subdued, like certain notes have gotten lost in the chill. I think I may add some honey to my iced pitcher and see if that doesn’t spruce it up; I don’t normally sweeten my teas, even my iced ones, but I have found in the past that sometimes helps my chilled brew. I certainly won’t have any troubles finishing the quart, regardless.
Flavors: Anise, Honey, Mint, Root Beer, Spearmint, Sweet
May Flowers! I think this is the only heicha in my collection, but I really enjoy this tea. It has such a deep, rich flavor, with a strong rose floral note that adds a touch of sweetness that keeps it from having the sort of bitterness that a black tea of that kind of rich depth might have otherwise. I get some nice notes of malt and dark cocoa from the base, with a very strong top note of sweet floral rose. The finish has some slight drying astringency, but the taste of rose is left on the tongue, and overall, I find it very refreshing and pleasant. I enjoy this tea both warm and iced; the black tea and rose floral notes compliment each other nicely. I especially enjoy this tea as an afternoon cuppa.
Flavors: Astringent, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Floral, Malt, Rose
May Flowers! This tea is a delight! It tastes just like a sweet lemon sugar cookie that has been infused with just a touch of lavender, and it hits me in aaaaaaaaaaall the right ways! Sniffing the leaf, it has a very strong lemon scent; there are aspects to it that are tangy and citrusy, but others that are creamy and sweet like a lemon dessert, and it all sort of hits the senses at once.
Brewed up, the tea has a strong, lemonade tartness, but beneath that is a layer of creamy vanilla sweetness, and they play off each other nicely. Beneath the strong lemon is a subtle floral hint of lavender, and my only complaint is that the lavender comes off a little too softly because the lemon flavor is so strong in this tea, and lavender is such a nice compliment note to lemon, so I actually will take a pinch or two from my lavender bud stash that I use for mixing and add it to my infuser just to give the lavender element a little more strength. If you aren’t a big floral fan, then the lavender here should be subtle enough beneath the lemon and vanilla that unless you are particularly sensitive, it shouldn’t bother you much.
I really love lemon flavor profiles, and while I’m okay with lemon ginger teas, it’s nice to finally have a sweeter flavor pairing instead of spicy. This is a fantastic tea for fans of a sweet-tart flavor on the tongue, and is simply delightful before bed with the soft floral lavender touch.
Flavors: Citrus, Cookie, Lavender, Lemon Zest, Sweet, Tangy, Tart, Vanilla