141 Tasting Notes
This is a really attractive blend with a nice balance of shapes and variety of color. Picture a drinkable potpourri.
This is all about subtlety. The fragrance is a light citrus with a hint of cinnamon. Brewed, this is only slightly warm from the Indian spices and has a faint licorice aftertaste from the anise adding just a bit of sweetness.
One point where subtlety gets thrown out the door, however, is in the power of the Maté. Mistakenly, I drank this too close to bedtime and didn’t sleep that night. This is a morning only beverage.
The Teavana used car salesmanship really irks me but I have to admit that I’ve been really impressed with a few blends I recently received as a gift. This “red tea” may quickly become a favorite.
This is really fragrant. In fact, you can smell the ginger and cardamom through the sealed pouch. There’s a nice balance between the spices and coconut.
Prepared, this takes on a really unusual character. I expected it to be hot and spicy like a chai. What you first notice is the creamy fullness of the coconut oil, then a brief flash of heat from the ginger but then this ends with an interesting, lingering apple and cardamom flavor. It’s really cooling and calming.
If you look at some of my past tasting notes, you’ll see I’ve been underwhelmed by what many tea blenders have done with chocolate. This is an exception!
When you open the pouch, you get a blast of orange-chocolate fragrance with just a hint of the dusty earthiness of the pu-erh. The tea contains HUGE chocolate shavings; an indication that this is going to be better than most “flavored” teas.
When you prepare this tea, make sure you use a method that allows the water to envelop and wash the tea so the chocolate fully dissolves. In other words, no “tea balls” or steeping baskets on this one; get it right in the water.
This brews to a red-gold and is full of chocolate and orange flavor. Unlike many flavored pu-erh’s, the tea holds up well in this blend and adds body and richness.
This one goes on the (very) short list of teas containing chocolate that I’d drink again.
I’m not a rooibos fan. I’ve found the methyl salicylate in “red tea” can be too pronounced for me and adds a mint flavor to everything. This one was different.
The fragrance was a soft, spicy coconut and it held through to the flavor. This was a warm, not hot, chai and the spices balanced with the coconut well. This is decaf so it’s a nice selection for fall or winter evenings.
This has a strong pineapple and coconut fragrance and taste. It’s really sweet and fruity and very easy to drink. While H&S Bangkok tends more towards the coconut side, this one leans heavily towards the pineapple and guava. It’s listed as a black and green blend but I’ve found that it tastes better if you treat it like a green tea and use a mild temperature and shorter steeping time.
Maybe I should have tried steeping it like a green, they sent me a sample a long time ago and I didn’t like it, but I like all those flavors so I really should have enjoyed it.
This is a fringe post for Steepster since this requires no steeping but it does have tea so it wins a place here.
I just discovered Wild Root a few weeks ago. All the health benefits of kombucha aside, this stuff tastes great! It’s a combination of an old time sarsaparilla and root beer but there’s no sugar and the flavors are very subtle.
I stick to a gluten-free diet which means no beer for me. I’ve found that this drink, with its carbonation and spicy-bitter flavor, is actually a passable substitute for ale.
This had a light fragrance of coconut and pipe tobacco. This is a bulky blend so I used 3 tsp to ensure I had a representative mix of all components.
This brewed to a very light champagne color with a faint slick from the coconut oil. This tea has been compared to chocolate a lot but I didn’t get that at all. I found the flavor to be simply coconut with a slight tart, grassiness from the teas.
This was really mild and would pair well with a light dessert but would be lost in traditional American or English breakfast fare.
I picked up a matcha set that Teavana had on 50% discount and it included a can of their Imperial Grade Matcha. I’ve had adulterated matcha in drinks and I drink a lot of matcha-iri genmaicha, but this was my first try of the straight stuff.
I used the bamboo whisk and bowl provided in the kit. The powder mixed very well but I couldn’t build much froth. I’m guessing that’s a skill built over time. The flavor was strong, grassy, clean and somewhat creamy. The powder suspended very well so there wasn’t any grit to ruin the flavor.
I’m sure I’ll discover better matcha over time but this was really quite good for an introduction.
Some blenders throw in a handful of cinnamon and call it “chai.” This one is a powerful blend of traditional chai spices with a heavy hand given to the ginger and cardamom. Visually, the tea appeared to be less than 20% of the mix.
I was surprised by how well the assam presented itself after steeping. The tea made a considerable contribution to both fragrance and taste, speaking well for the quality of the black tea used.
The gingery heat has some staying power making this a great choice for a cold night.
In doing my semi-annual tea bin reorg, I came across a sample of this sent to me by @ashmanra that I had misplaced. Fortunately it was packaged well enough that it held up after all these months.
It was sent to me to compare to a tea that I liked from Shui Tea. Unfortunately, Jimmy recently closed the doors on that endeavor and I now need to find replacements for his blends. (Some, like his Moscow After Hours, can never be replaced I’m afraid. Sorry, I’m still in the denial phase of mourning.)
Ruby #18 is a mild yet flavorful black tea. It has a fragrance of dried raisins and vanilla and steeps to a mild, well balanced, and moderately astringent tea. While it’s not quite Black Ruby from Shui Tea, it does come awfully close.