143 Tasting Notes
12 days of (Christmas) tea (Tea Revv) – Day 5
What it says on Tea Revv´s website : A rooibos and fruit blend with sweet cinnamon, pear and apple. Try this Cinnabon as a lattea with hot frothed milk and a drop of Honey.
My experience : firstly, this is a rooibos based tea, so not that easy to drink when using a ceramic filter for the loose tea (the rooibos goes straight through the holes of the filter); the dry loose tea doesn´t have a nice smell, more like an artificial wine flavour coming through. Fortunately, this changes – for the better – when steeped : it reminds me of pears prepared in wine, with some cinnamon…a dessert I really like. In mouth I cannot find the pear anymore, it´s a kind of mulled wine taste according to me. Not bad, and certainly in line with the season, but lacking elegance. Although Tea Revv recommends drinking this tea with milk, I cannot really see its interest.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Pear, Red Wine, Wood
12 days of (Christmas) tea (Tea Revv) – Day 4
“Tea and biscuits in one! A black tea with a sweet honey and maple cookie taste, blooming with rose, jasmine and cornflower petals. Try this one as a lattea with hot frothed milk.” Tea Revv describes its Cookie tea blend like this.
As far as I am concerned, it might have worked as a lattea, but I hate milk in my coffee or my tea, so it comes down to the blend for me, and that hasn´t been a huge success, I´m afraid. I don´t associate the aroma´s with a cookie, and neither does the taste indicates anything biscuit-like. Especially in nose it makes me think of a grog, and not exactly one made with the best alcohol. That´s also the smell that lingers on in the mug after having drunk the tea.
Well, hopefully back to something better tomorrow…
Flavors: Alcohol, Spices
I remember buying apple tea when I went for a long weekend (coinciding with the European Championships basketball, in September 2001 : because Turkey ended up playing the final, it was almost impossible to get tickets, but I managed to get one for the second semi final Yugoslavia-Spain because many Turkish fans left after the first semi-final) to Istanbul. I was offered apple tea whenever I visited a market, and ended up buying a huge sample to take home. It was a type of soluble tea, which I admit tasted much better in Turkey than it did when I prepared it at home ;-) … but here Bruu has sent me a tea called “Turkish apple” and I was kind of expecting what I first discovered in 2001. Nothing further from the truth, I think…this is primarily a real dried fruit based infusion, and it needs more than 10´of steeping, but it then is possibly the best fruit infusion I ever had! Fruity, but nothing overly sweet, elegant both in nose and mouth, a bit tending towards a sparkling wine sort of experience, without the alcohol, and with a balanced little acidic touch to it…great!
Bruu says : The finest West Indian lemon grass, sweet apple pieces grown and dried in the hot Turkish sun with succulent latin American pineapple. It is a soothing hot beverage during cold winter months and a refreshing thirst quencher in the summer when served over ice.
I´m not sure whether there will still be sample left to get to summer and try the iced version ;-)
Flavors: Apple, Champagne, Floral
12 days of (Christmas) tea (Tea Revv) – Day 3
Today´s tea is a very traditional Christmas blend called Christmas Spice…and although I´m not a huge fan of chai and other very spiced tea blends, I could really appreciate this one : when opening the pouch, it smelled like “peperkoek”, a typical Belgian type of cake we have for Saint-Nicholas day on 6th December. I had some the other day with coffee, mmm.
So, this tea then : it smells really great, “peperkoek” entirely. A while back, I bought a tea called Biscottea from Bruu, which has a very similar smell; and it also tastes great, peppery spicy without overdoing the sweetness or the cinnamon-like touches to it. This tea performs a bit worse in mouth : it seems like a de-theine-ated ;-) version of Biscottea, lacking some of the peppery spiciness it truly shows in nose. But even then, it´s still a very balanced brew, which I wouldn´t mind repeating some day…
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Cookie, Pepper, Spicy, Sweet, Tea
12 days of (Christmas) tea (Tea Revv) – Day 2
“Stack the pancakes high to the sky”, that´s how Tea Revv describes this black tea blend. I´m not sure whether the tea is supposed to match the taste of pancakes or whether it´s only a nice drink to go with pancakes. Anyway, in nose I get floral tones, but in mouth it´s mainly black tea…and in the back somewhere a sweet touch which might well come from the real maple syrup, but very subtle it is! I admit I left the tea steeping for 1-2 minutes longer than it should have, and there was indeed an added bitterness to it, but this only confirmed the blend not being that balanced, I think.
Flavors: Floral, Maple, Tea
I´ve been away for more than a month and had two Bruu monthly tea club boxes waiting for me when I returned. So, plenty of new teas to try.
This half-fermented oolong shows very green, grassy aroma´s but once steeped all the grass seems to be gone. A balanced tea, which can be appreciated by black tea lovers as well.
From Bruu´s website :
An absolute Oolong classic from the Chinese school. Unlike many white or green Chinese teas, whose production peak takes place in spring, the Ti Kuan Yin Oolong qualities tend to be produced in the autumn. These teas captivate the senses with their ripeness and highly aromatic full body. Ti Kuan Yin (also spelled Tieguanyin) is a legendary oolong tea from Jiangxi, Fujian province in China. It is one of China’s most beloved oolongs and is extremely time-consuming to produce. Jiangxi, located on the Eastern side of China, is surrounded by mountains on three sides and sits comfortably in a subtropical climate, making it an excellent place for growing tea.
How our drink hits the senses : Notes of toasted walnut and tender collard greens. Intriguing lingering floral aroma, lightly orchid and gentle astringency.
The taste journey : Deliciously floral and creamy with subtle hints of peach, it is also rumoured to be great for the waistline! The taste builds with each Mouthful. No fuss, no frills classic Oolong.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Green
12 days of (Christmas) tea (Tea Revv) – Day1
About the only white chocolate tablet I like is the one with popped rice in it, and this tea reminds me a lot of that chocolate : very sweet and popped rice! Tastes as if made with rooibos as well, but it is really black tea based.
I wouldn´t buy this tea to have on a regular basis, but as a special festive treat it´s more than OK.
Flavors: Caramel, Sweet, Toasted Rice
Another monthly selection by BRUU for me…from a few months ago!
I thought it would ressemble the mango oolong tea I received in another selection, but this one is way more subtle, even when only considering the aroma´s. In mouth I get the feeling I simply don´t get the subtleties of this fruity oolong. …or it might just be I like my oolongs strong! I´ll drink it, but this isn´t one of those “wow” oolongs for me!
From BRUU´s website :
What it is? Using a sophisticated method of half-fermentation, this Oolong is only fermented on the edges of the tea leaves. Resulting in a delicate, full and floral tea with hints of orange.
Why we love it : Lightly toasted, Orange hints. . . like marmalade on toast.
Where it’s from? Wuyi is one of the two regions of Fujian in China, together with Anxi county, which are most well-known for producing oolong teas. Wuyi teas are often grown on exposed, rocky areas where the poor soil and exposure to weather create a unique flavor of the finished tea.
How our drink hits the senses? An enchanting, soft, flowery aroma, which brings ripe peaches to mind.
The taste journey : A soft, orange flavour travels around your mouth, a sip at a time whilst the fresh tea comes through and then that delicate familiar Oolong taste.
Flavors: Orange Blossom
Bruu´s tea subscription service has changed! It now features “Discovery” where they introduce the subscribers to a tea region. Not only do you offer the subscriber a chance to taste a specific – special – tea, they also add a card with interesting information about the tea and the tea estate.
This month, this visit concerns the Rutsiro Tea Plantation in Rwanda. I copy the available information on Bruu´s website about this tea :
Whilst sitting dry in its container waiting to become your BRUU; An earthy and gentle fragrance
As the drink is BRUUing; Two legendary tea cultures begin to entwine. The colour looks so pure. The trapped evergreen leafy goodness is escaping into the waters.
The taste journey; Our Rutsiro Organic FOP has a beautiful delicate thickness, with a bright, brisk, and biscuity flavour profile. Long on the finish, its golden hues are a treat for the eyes too. Try it on its own, with a dash of honey, or with milk.
About the tea region: The Rutsiro Tea Factory is located 124 km from Kigali city. It sits overlooking the stunning Lake Kivu. The factory employs 1000 workers and plays an active role in the local community. It has helped to build schools, health care centres, feeder roads, houses for the poor and even contribute to the national program of one cow per poor family, by annually giving livestock to the needy families. Recently the plantation built two hydro-power plants along Giciye River that supply 8 MW to the national grid.
Why we love Rutsiro? The elevation moderates the effects of the equatorial temperatures. The mountains mean what little rainfall there is, is captured, and the cold nights place the tea bush under stress, creating more distinctive flavours.
Location: Rutsiro Tea Plantation
Capital City: Kigali
Elevation : 2340m above sea level
Coordinates : 1°56’37.6_S 30°04’20.4_E
Soil type : Volcanic
Manufacture : Black Orthodox & CTC
Season : Year-round, peaks Jul-Sept
Av temp : High 26°C/Low 16°C
First of all, I like this type of “learning about tea”. Then, I must say I had a quite faulty view of African teas, as being strong, malty and almost coffee-like…faulty, as it might correspond to a Kenian tea I sometimes have, it doesn´t in this case. Even after 5 minutes of steeping, the tea is rather delicate, subtle in taste (I forgot about the steeping time earlier today, and indeed, when oversteeping, bitterness will show). I think it can and will charm a lot of tea drinkers.
Flavors: Cookie, Tea
I had to wait an extra long time to get this month´s tea subscription, but it was well worth the wait (soon another review of the surprise tea).
Although one of the teas I received was the same as one I had just ordered out of the subscription scheme (I thought it might have been slightly different, because of a slightly different name, but it seems only a change of name for the same tea), and I normally don´t fancy fruit (aromatised) teas too much, this “Cherry Bliss” is quite alright for a change. Very aromatic nose, which continues in mouth, like eating a “Mon Chéri” without the kirsch alcohol. Aroma´s are rather strong, so it should have put me off having this tea, but it´s quite nice. Must be the kirsch liquor I object to ;-) Also, I would have thought by the strong aroma´s the tea would taste not very natural…wrong again!
From Bruu´s website :
Whilst sitting dry in its container waiting to become your BRUU; A fragrant and pleasing scent of cherry mingled within the scent of fresh black tea…it’s in the name, bliss!
As the drink is BRUUing; The freeze-dried, dark red sour cherry pieces not only serve as
delicate decoration, but also give off their fresh fruity taste when the tea is
The taste journey; The black tea blend, flavoured with the intensely fruity and sour, wild cherry flavour provides a very authentic taste experience.
Flavors: Cherry, Tea