824 Tasting Notes
Dinner is finished, it’s time to switch to dessert, and since my kettle was already set to “keep warm” at the temperature for green tea, I decided to try this one out, which I got as an extra sampler from tea-sipper inside a treasure trove cupboard sale of discontinued Bluebird teas! Thanks tea-sipper! I /think/ this may be my first dessert blend using a green tea base… My green tea blends tend to be fruity, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one go the “sweet and decadent” route, which makes me extremely curious!
As an American, I have never had this British dessert… I don’t even know what it looks like. So my brain has nothing to connect what flavors or aromas should be associated with the treat, so this should prove to be an interesting experience! To me the dry leaf smells a bit sweet, and I get some hints of caramel and vanilla in the aroma. Brewed up, the aroma is much more pronounced and /very/ pleasant! The tea has a very creamy mouthfeel, and I’m surprised the base is sencha because it reminds me more of a buttery Jin Xuan oolong! It has a very rich, sweet, caramel flavor, but the tea is very light and silky from the green tea base. This tea is delicious and a great dessert tea nightcap!
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Creamy, Sweet, Vanilla
I wanted a light and simple tea to accompany my dinner tonight, so I decided to sipdown another of the T2 samplers I got from my massive T2 sampler sale haul. This is their genmaicha. I’ve actually only had one other genmaicha to date, so I haven’t exactly had a lot of tasting experience with them yet. I will say that when I tasted my first genmaicha (which I picked up at American Tea House in San Diego, which I’m going to guess is an average quality genmaicha at best), I really fell in love with that tea. It is probably one of my favorite kinds of green tea, and I find myself craving it often. I’m fairly certain that the genmaicha I’m used to is a standard blend using bancha leaf, so I was curious to try this one out, which uses sencha.
I guess I was expecting something different about the flavor, but I couldn’t really discern anything different in the taste from my other blend (perhaps it is using sencha leaf as well, or the difference is just too subtle for my under-developed palate to pick up on). The tea is tasty though, with the toasty, nutty, crisped rice flavors that made me such a fan of genmaicha tea. The green tea is very smooth and vegetal. The sampler had enough for two cups, and my first cup I made with my typical lighter steep (2 min) which was more subtle on the vegetal notes, which I enjoyed better than a darker steep (3 min) which I felt brought out some slight astringent qualities in the leaf, but also emphasized the vegetal flavors more. The tea held up to resteeping very well, and I managed to have several nice relaxing cups off only a two-serving sampler.
I have no doubt there are fancier genmaicha out there, but I found this tasty and enjoyable.
Flavors: Nutty, Roasted, Smooth, Toasted Rice, Vegetal
This is one of my favorite yerba mate blends that I’ve tried and a staple for me on mornings when I need an extra caffeine boost! I love anything and everything pumpkin, so I was very interested to try this one out, and while it didn’t have much of a pumpkin flavor, the pumpkin spices were so strong and flavorful and the tea so robust that after I finished off my sampler I restocked this one in my cupboard. The tea is best to me when a little heavy on the leaf, but it’s really economical so I don’t particularly feel bad about making a really strong cup; I usually use two teaspoons for a standard size 10 oz. mug or a tablespoon for one of my extra large size 12 oz. mugs. The base of the tea is this really nice blend of toasty roasted mate and sweetness from the rooibos and honeybush, and each sip is filled with a lot of tasty spices, namely cinnamon, clove, and mace (which tastes like a more robust nutmeg). I find that I don’t need to add sweetener, as the natural sweetness of the base and the stevia in the blend balances the spices well. The blend has a very rich, toasty, pumpkin spice feel, and I find it gives a very warm and toasty appeal. This is an excellent autumn blend that can be enjoyed any time, and it works well as a latte as well.
Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Clove, Nutmeg, Nutty, Sweet, Toasty
This is one of my favorite teas! I’ve had very hit-or-miss experiences with flavored oolongs, but I really enjoy this one! The pouchong base has a very creamy and smooth mouthfeel, and the flavor of the tea is sweet and decadent, reminding me of lemon chiffon cake. It has a lot of sweet vanilla notes, with some subtle citrus in the finish. The tea resteeps well, and I find that often on my second steep I’ll get much stronger lemon notes in my cup. This tea is great both warm and iced, and I’ve even made tasty frozen pops out of it sweetened with honey! My mom didn’t care for this one (she didn’t like the vanilla flavor), but I can’t get enough of the silky vanilla citrus flavor.
Flavors: Creamy, Lemon, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla
Since I have chronic migraine, a nausea tea blend is a staple around my house. I picked up this one when I was on vacation at Steepers, a tea shop in Campbell, California, and the nice British lady that runs the shop said it was her personal blend. It includes peppermint, ginger, orange peel, and cinnamon, and it hasn’t done me wrong yet!
The tea tastes really, really minty! It is hard to tell there is anything else in the tea at all. If you savor it really slowly, you might just be able to pick out some subtle gingery notes beneath the mint, but you’d really have to be looking for it to notice it. As far as herbal health brews go, if you can handle mint teas, this is a pretty easy one to get down; I actually have a hard time with heavily-ginger-flavored teas, because of the heat it packs (especially when my stomach is feeling upset!), so while I’m not the biggest fan of a plain mint tea, I certainly prefer that over a tea with a more gingery-flavor when my stomach is nauseous. It’s like the mint creates a nice cooling shield for the ginger I know I need, which I actually appreciate. It’s a very settling tea and a good choice for an upset tummy, if perhaps not the most exciting in the taste department.
Flavors: Menthol, Mint
This tea is my go-to brew for sore throats. It got me through a nasty bought of Viral Pharyngitis, and is my most gifted tea whenever I have a friend or coworker that has the sniffles or a cough. The peppermint/licorice root/clove combination is a winner for throat maladies, and not only that, it tastes great, too! It has a brisk, minty flavor, but there is this refreshing burst of sweetness from the licorice root in the finish that keeps the menthol from getting too overwhelming, a problem I have with a lot of mint teas. I can also pick up just a hint of this clove flavor on the back of my tongue, but it isn’t a spiciness, just a taste added to the overall profile, since the tea is so naturally sweet. I /really/ like that, since normally clove is only present in really spicy teas. It compliments the mint flavor in such a fascinating way! The tea blend is quite simple, with very few ingredients, but each are used in just the right way. Everything feels balanced and meant to be there, when so many blends feel filled with superfluous ingredients that often times can’t be tasted or seem puzzling why they are present. This is not only an excellent tea if you’re stuck with a winter cold, but an excellent tea, period.
Flavors: Clove, Licorice, Mint, Smooth, Sweet
Oh man. I realize that there are teas that taste bad but are worth drinking for their health benefits but… no. Just no. I don’t care how bad I need “hormonal balance” for migraines or what other women’s health shenanigans this raspberry leaf will probably help me with, this stuff tastes Nasty. Yes, with a capital N.
Now, to be fair, I can actually swallow it, which is more than I can say for another women’s tea blend I had in the past that had alfalfa in it, which was so bad that I gagged on it and had to promptly throw it in the garbage. There is a slight sweetness to this, and even some very subtle berry-like notes, but the dominant flavor is this really unpleasant grassy taste. Not a nice, vegetative, green tea sort of grassiness, but like I’ve actually just steeped a cup of lawn clippings. Blech.
I could certainly finish this cup if I felt inclined, and if I really did want to get the benefits of raspberry leaf for women’s health, there are certainly worse options out there (PTSD flashbacks to that alfalfa tea…) But I have this lovely blend, Raspberry Limeade by Nil Organic Tea, that uses whole loose raspberry leaf where it is mixed with lime extract, raspberry flavor, and hibiscus, among other things, and they’ve masked most of that unpleasant leafy taste and turned it into a refreshing summer punch flavor. Now that is the sort of way I’d rather take my raspberry leaf! Give me the whole “spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down” approach.
…Does it count as a sipdown if I toss the box of this I was gifted into the trash? (shifty eyes)
Flavors: Berry, Cut Grass, Hay, Sweet
My second sipdown from the T2 herbal sampler. I actually woke up this morning with my stomach feeling a bit woozy, so I either have a headache coming on or ate something weird before bed that I no longer remember. With me, either is likely, heh.
This is a very minty tea, with a lot of sweet licorice root in the finish. To me it tastes just like TeaSource’s Margaret’s Soother tea, although it lacks the pizazz the clove adds to that blend. It is light and soothing and would work equally well on a sore throat with its combination of peppermint and licorice root, but for nausea, I think I’ll still reach for my peppermint/ginger blend. This blend tastes fine, but it doesn’t taste or do anything that I don’t already have covered by another tea blend, so ultimately it is a bit superfluous to me.
Flavors: Licorice, Mint, Sweet
T2 had a big clearance sale at the beginning of this month, so I stocked up on all their sampler pack sets from their unneeded holiday stock. This tea was in their herbal set, and the sample holds two cuppa tea, so another sipdown for me! (Progress!)
The dominant flavor in this blend was definitely the spearmint, which I tend to not care for as much as peppermint but it was balanced out well by other flavor notes. The tea had a nice natural sweetness to it from the licorice, and there were some delicate citrus notes, but it didn’t have the sort of strong lemony flavor I come to expect whenever lemongrass is involved; the citrus was far more subtle than I was expecting. What really surprised me is I tasted that same sort of savory “vegetable soup broth” taste that I was picking up on from AmberFreda’s Detox blend, so I’m glad that I tried these two detox tea blends back-to-back: comparing the ingredients, what they appear to have in common is nettle, so now I know where to place that flavor. It seems stinging nettle is commonly described as tasting like spinach, and I’m not exactly getting a “spinach” flavor, but I don’t think that “vegetable broth” is that far off, either. Maybe it’s just how my palate is picking up on it?
I wouldn’t say the tea is the most aromatic, but the taste is pretty good. I think overall I like the other detox tea I tried just a bit better for having such a unique, savory flavor, but appreciate the lack of spicy ginger in this blend, which makes this blend a bit more of a relaxing nighttime sip.
Flavors: Citrus, Spearmint, Sweet, Vegetable Broth
Sipdown! This is another sample that was graciously gifted to me from my sister from an Etsy seller that we both enjoy for her fresh quality herbal blends at very good prices. This is her Detox blend, which includes several herbs I haven’t had in tea yet (namely the red clover, nettle, and dandelion) so I admittedly am not exactly sure what to expect from the taste!
The flavor of this tea was quite interesting! It had a very spicy lemon flavor, as I could easy make out the citrus notes of the lemon balm and the spicy heat of the ginger at the back of my tongue, and I could also make out a bit of a minty flavor. But there was something… well… savory about it that I couldn’t quite put my finger on! It reminded me of a nice veggie soup broth, though I couldn’t say exactly what herb or flavor was producing it. It certainly wasn’t unpleasant! Even though that might sound strange, I actually found the tea quite nice, although perhaps with a /bit/ too much ginger (I tend to find Amber’s blends a bit ginger-heavy, especially her Headache Tea which I have to mix with another tea to cut back on some of the overly ginger flavor and heat a bit, since my tongue doesn’t take spiciness that well). Still, I’m kind of digging the sort of savory feel of the overall blend, and since I can’t use the broth packets in ramen (MSG is a migraine trigger for me!) and use tea for ramen broth instead (I have a lemon spice tea that is my favorite for this purpose currently) I’m suddenly envisioning this tea, with its somewhat brothy, savory notes, plus its lemon-ginger notes, as being an even better choice for that! I may have to pick up some of this the next time I restock from this seller.
Flavors: Citrus, Ginger, Lemon, Mint, Umami, Vegetable Broth