629 Tasting Notes
This tea has a suprisingly smooth base; I was expecting a lot more astringency with this one, but it is very sweet and the flavor is fantastic! While I’m not much of a fan of the texture of lychee fruit, I love the flavor, and this tea has a great, rich lychee taste, with a softer peach note in the finish. I also notice this slight floral note which just rounds out the fruity flavors nicely. This is one of my favorite black teas to prepare iced as well, since it has a nice strong flavor and I find the stonefruit notes really refreshing and naturally sweet enough to hold well as a cold tea, as long as it is prepared as a hot steep first and then chilled.
Flavors: Floral, Lychee, Peach, Smooth, Stonefruits, Sweet
Moving this review I made in January of 2018 under Fusion Teas over to the wholesaler, Dethlefsen & Balk, since I prefer my own cupboard to be organized that way and this tea is definitely from D&B. Feel free to ignore this old review… I may be moving some other stuff around as I come across them.
The tisane smelled strongly of orange-vanilla creamsicle, and it wasn’t the first time I had a holiday blend this winter with that flavor profile (which I found a bit odd, as creamsicle always makes me think of the ice cream pops, a very summer association in my mind). Despite the large amount of ingredients in the blend, from the two cups I got from the sampler, my impression of the flavor was a sweet orange-vanilla creamsicle base with a lot of tart hibiscus and cranberry notes, something which I recall being quite unique compared to the other creamsicle teas I’ve tried. The tea also had a slightly savory note from the carrot, but it was quite hard to pick up on unless you happen to drink a lot of carrot juice (which happens to be one of my favorite juices). It was very subtle. The tea was quite sweet with a very smooth, somewhat creamy mouthfeel, and despite all the spice in the blend, it left very little impression on the taste; the cinnamon notes were also quite subtle. The tea felt like a blend of a Cinnamon Plum fruit cider tea and an Orange Vanilla Rooibos creamsicle tea. It was a bit of an odd combination, but not unpleasant, either. I wish that for all the ingredients in the blend, more flavor notes stood out. There seems little reason to me to have so many ingredients in an herbal mix if they don’t really add anything because other flavors dominate the cup so thoroughly. Perhaps it was just the luck of the draw of what ended up in my sampler pouch, though.
Flavors: Creamy, Hibiscus, Orange, Smooth, Sweet, Tart, Vanilla
One of my older sampler tins, I decided to make a warm cuppa of this for my morning tea. I’m actually enjoying this one more than the Chocolate Hazelnut and Rooibos Chocolate Chai, as both of those I found a bit weak on flavor unless I really upped the leaf content, but I’m getting a pretty sweet, marshmallowy note from this cup with just my teaspoon. I do still feel that, like the others, the chocolate note is a bit weak — I can tell it is there, but it is coming out more like a chocolate sweetness than a chocolately flavor to me? At least that’s the impression I’m getting, while I’m really tasting a marshmallow flavor, and I can’t think of many teas I’ve had that flavor note from before. Especially without trying to add lapsang souchong to the blend (which is a migraine trigger for me so I have to avoid it), so I’m really enjoying this. I’m getting a hint of a biscuity note too, which is nice, and making me wish I had some biscuits or grahams to eat with this cuppa. I just wish the chocolate was popping a bit more, but I tend to feel that way about a lot of teas. If I had some chocolate almond milk I’d be curious how this would fare as a latte, and if the marshmallow flavor would still hold up against the milk… if I end up making a grocery run I may have to try that out while I still have some of the sampler leaf.
Flavors: Chocolate, Graham, Honey, Marshmallow, Smooth, Sweet
I’m continuing to focus on my older teas, especially coconut teas; this one, at least, doesn’t have dried coconut in it, just some sort of coconut flavoring/extract, so despite the age it doesn’t taste soured/rancid. I got it from Snake River Tea, but I don’t know where they are sourcing it from… I had it warm before work one morning and found it very buttery with a nice toasted coconut flavor, but I’m really enjoying making it as a cold brew and filling my water bottle with it as iced tea. It tastes of butter, roasted nuts, toasted coconut, slightly vegetal, and I’m finding it very refreshing.
Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Nutty, Roasted nuts, Smooth, Toasty, Vegetal
I’ve been seeing this one pop up this month as appropriately festive and though I’ve had it for ages (and shared it out a few times!) I have yet to even try it myself yet (the story of my life…) So I am making a cuppa as my nightly herbal tonight, even though I have a migraine and am tempted to just grab a boring ol’ cup of mint or ginger tea…
Used a heaping teaspoon in boiling water and left the teabag in the cup to bathe well past the five minute mark. The aroma coming off the cup is amazing! I’m smelling caramel apples, burnt sugar, vanilla cream, and a hint of pepper. And I have to say, after taking the first sip, that I feel I’m actually getting all those notes coming out in the flavor, too. Mostly I’m getting a warm caramel apple flavor, with a darker burnt sugar/creme brulee note, and some more subtle notes of vanilla and spiced pumpkin bread. It’s very sweet so this is definitely a sweettooth/indulgent/dessert sort of tea, but I know I certainly (cough frequently) have moods for that, especially in the evening, so having a caffeine-free option that hits that spot is great. And though it does encapsulate autumn flavors well, I can’t imagine finding caramel apples and pumpkin desserts less appealing (at least for me!) any other time of the year, so I appreciate that August Uncommon Tea doesn’t treat the flavor as a seasonal and yoink it from their line-up at certain times of the year.
My head may be unhappy tonight, but my mouth certainly isn’t.
Flavors: Apple, Baked Bread, Burnt Sugar, Candied Apple, Caramel, Cream, Pumpkin, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Vanilla
Happy Halloween! It’s my mom’s birthday today (I got her a birthday advent with coffee samplers; I never could convert her to tea but respect our differences!) When I moved into this condo last summer I rescued a completely black cat with Granny Smith apple green eyes (I named her Chiya, the Nepalese word for tea!) and she seems to be full of the “Halloween black cat” spirit today as she’s a huge ball of energy this morning; last night the wire snapped clean in half on her favorite chaser toy, so we are having to make due with an older chaser until the replacement shows up. (Obligatory Halloween kitty photo for those that like cat pictures: http://bl.canadia.info/photos/Chiya%2001.jpg )
I decided to brew this one because it is one of my oldest teas, ergo a good sipdown candidate, and the title seemed appropriate. I measured out 2.5g of green tea leaf and then added in several blueberries to the leaf separately, and steeped for 2 minutes in 175F water for my work thermos. The tea is quite nice; I can actually get a lot of the base green tea notes shining through, with a slight vegetal note that is a bit beany. I actually do taste a bit of a cotton candy vibe, as the tea is quite sweet, and leaves a sweet/fruity aftertaste on the tongue. A lot of teas with blueberry notes taste very thick, syrupy, or artificial; the blueberry here is present but doesn’t have that “blueberry pancake syrup” vibe I get from other blueberry teas, it tastes a bit more on the fruitier side and a little more subdued so I’m getting more of the base tea notes pulling through. I also feel a little tang of tart berry at the back of my tongue balancing the sweet candy-like flavors that is really pleasant.
I’m really enjoying this tea, and finding I like how the flavors seem to pop even more as my thermos cools, so I think I may like this even more as a cold brew; I may try that out with some of my leftover leaf (I do love flavored greens as iced teas). I think it hit the mark well though, and is a satisfying warm cup on a cold Halloween morning.
Flavors: Beany, Blueberry, Cotton Candy, Fruity, Sweet, Tangy, Vegetal
I found this old sampler tin and have been in a chai mood lately as the cold (and very windy!) fall weather sets in here, so I decided to finally try a cup of this tonight. The aroma of the dry leaf does remind me a bit of Mexican cocoa, as I do pick up a faint chocolate aroma, with a much stronger spice smell, namely cinnamon and cardamom.
The flavor is a little flat for me… I’m not sure if it’s the age, or if maybe I should’ve overleafed this just a little. The spices have a nice flavor and are very warming, but the base feels very weak to me, somehow, like the rooibos itself doesn’t have any fullness to it, and the chocolate is getting completely overwhelmed. The cinnamon, clove, and cardamom notes are very bold but I’m a bit let down that the rooibos itself, cocoa, and fruity goji berry notes are pretty much missing… right now I sort of feel like I’m drinking spices in a cup of water.
This was a pretty large sampler so as I work through it I’ll try upping the leaf and seeing if that creates an improvement, but I’m pretty disappointed at the moment. But considering the age of the sampler by the time I’ve finally gotten around to trying it, I feel some of the blame has to be on me and I can’t judge it too harshly.
Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Clove, Spices
I’ve been doing a smashing job of putting off weekend housework by catnapping with the cat, and now I’m having an afternoon tea time. I’m still trying to work out the old coconut teas since I’m expecting many to end up in the trash; I got this one from a cupboard sale from Ost (thanks Ost!) and have no way to judge the age, but considering it’s a DT retired tea, I’m expecting it to be quite old. I figured it would be a sampler that would be going, but when I nibbled on a flake, it didn’t taste soured, so I figured I’d be brave and try brewing it. I made 3.3g of tea in a small teapot using 470ml water, western style.
Admittedly the aroma smells a little sunscreeny for my tastes, but maybe that is just the flavoring being used… the coconut is just coming off really strong and a little artificial to me? But from the first sip… I’m not getting the soured note I’m very sensitive to, so I think I’m out of the woods as far as off coconut flakes in the leaf, at least. And the flavoring doesn’t taste as bad as it’s coming off to me in the aroma… it is a bit artificial for my tastes, but the base tea has brewed up a nice golden color and is very pleasant. And I am getting a little bit of a berry note; looking at the ingredients it is apparently raspberry flavor, but I’m getting more of a cherry taste on my tongue. That might be adding to the artificial taste to me, because while I love raspberry, I find most raspberry flavorings used in tea end up with this odd slightly metallic taste to me. While the flavorings are reading a little overbearing/artificial, I will say they are complimenting each other well and coming off as sort of a coconut creme/berry dessert. It is a nice enough cup for an afternoon tea and I’m glad I got a chance to try, but ultimately I’m not sad is unvailable.
Flavors: Artificial, Cake, Cherry, Coconut, Smooth, Sweet, Tropical
It’s a rainy, gloomy day here today (I saw snow, though it didn’t stick thankfully!) and I feel so bleh with the ladytime pains I don’t feel up to housework, so I thought I’d do a little gong fu session with one of my old teabox teas (I really need to work on finishing those samples off!) This is the last black sample I had from the Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox, so thank you to tea-sipper for organizing and to all those involved in that box for sharing their teas! I had a 2.3g sample and prepared it in my baby sized gaiwan.
2.32g / 40ml (gaiwan) / 205F / 30s|20s|25s|30s|35s|40s|45s|50s|60s|60s
The session lasted ten steeps, and I’ll admit I was surprised at the longevity of a black tea that had to be incredibly old at this point, as I rarely get such longevity even from fresh blacks and oolongs. My first steep ended up much longer than I planned, since I forgot how incredibly hot the little ceramic baby gaiwan is (I’m used to “cheating” with gong fu by always using my shiboridashi which is much easier to handle when it comes to heat retention and not pouring boiling tea all over my fingers). It had an aroma of orange peels, mandarins, and raisin bread, with a strong baked bread aroma present on the top of the cup, and the flavor of the tea was a strong pithy orange peel citrus note, with a less prominent lemony citrus note that produced slight puckering toward the end of the sip, as well as notes of malt and raisin bread, with a rather prominent astrigent/drying sensation on the top of the mouth. The second steep was less pithy with a more fruity and balanced orange flavor and a little stronger in the lemon note, with the malty notes also rounding out a bit and some florality becoming more present, but the tea was still quite astringent. On the third steep I overfilled my gaiwan to its limits of 60ml which made it extremely difficult to pour but noticed the extra water mellowed the tea out, with the malt/citrus/floral notes rounding out and the tea not having the bitter astringent bite on the finish, so the fourth steep I removed a few leaves out of the cup so I could fill it comfortably again at around the 40ml mark and got a flavor on par with the third steep, and the tea even seemed to have some rose florality pushing forward. It seemed some of the astringency was due to having too much leaf-to-water and now, while a bit drying after the sip, it was no longer unpleasant in any way. Most of the rest of the session continued with the tea reminding me of marmalade toast, with a bit of rose florality cropping up from time to time.
Considering the age of the tea sample, I was impressed with how much I got out of it, and had a nice, warming session on an otherwise dreary afternoon.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Citrus, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Jam, Lemon, Malt, Orange, Raisins, Rose, Smooth, Toast
I figured this would be another pouch of tea I’d promptly be clearing out of my cupboard straight into the garbage bin; the ingredients did not list dried coconut on the website (only coconut oolong, and I know the coconut oolong that Snake River Tea sources uses coconut oil/flavoring and doesn’t have dried coconut pieces in it), but when I took the pouch out since it’s one of my oldest teas, it had dried coconut pieces in it. DOH. (Tea shops, properly list your ingredients, please!) But I pulled a few slivers out, and… shocking, despite have an older purchase date that a few of my other recent trashed blends, it was okay! I can only assume that this is because it is a house blend and was probably fresher at purchase than the “big box” companies that keep teas on shelf/in warehouses for a while before they ship them out, making them a lot older than the rough “purchase date” I go by on my stats. This also happens to be one of Snake River Teas few house blends, as most of their teas are wholesaled by other suppliers (it does use teas they have on hand from those suppliers: their coconut oolong, houjicha, etc., but they’ve mixed them together to create their own house coconut tea).
I’m usually not a big fan of mixed leaf teas because they can be fussy to brew, but since the black tea, oolong, and houjicha can all be brewed/steeped at a higher temperature this one works well. It comes out as a rather nutty/toasty flavor, with a sweeter coconut aftertaste on the tongue. It has a light roasted element, and there is a slight vegetal touch, but it doesn’t detract much from the coconut flavor. The teas do come together well for a roasty, nutty coconut flavor, and it’s a very energizing morning tea.
I’ll be drinking this one down quickly though, since I definitely don’t have much faith in those added dried coconut pieces. If you have a coconut tea that still works, why risk it? May as well enjoy it while you can!
Flavors: Coconut, Nutty, Roasted, Toasty, Vegetal