2960 Tasting Notes
Additional notes: It’s National Pumpkin Day so hearing that, I had a piece of best ever grocery store pumpkin pie for breakfast…. with cool whip. And I’ll be enjoying this tea all day. Probably my oldest Butiki tea and it still tastes fantastic. No other tea company used pumpkin flakes like Butiki did. And this is Ceylon? Butiki even had the best Ceylon tea. What the? Is everyone annoyed yet with how I’m always saying old teas still taste delicious? It’s because I’m always amazed the flavor hasn’t aged more.
Additional notes: Thanks so much for sending a few more Bird & Blend teas that I didn’t expect (a while ago), StarFevre! Nobody will believe me but this is ANOTHER coconut tea that hasn’t seemed it has aged and I KNOW this is old, because it is a sample in one of the original Bluebird samples — that is the vellum that is stitched closed by hand. I know that was the first days of Bluebird. Imagine if they hand stitched each tea now? They would need a million people. I’m glad they are doing well and opening more stores! Anyway, this tea is still a high quality chai with a nice deep black tea that tastes a bit like raisins, a decent amount of spicy flavor and only a hint of coconut, but it certainly somehow doesn’t taste like old coconut (and if Bluebird started around 2012 and this tea is six years old… whoa). Teas like this make me think my tea collection isn’t TOO old.
So I guess I haven’t reviewed the sample of this I bought from Harney last year (bought May 2017). So this isn’t exactly fresh, but I wanted to write a note for it anyway. As usual, this has vastly different flavors than from the other harvests I’ve tried. I think I had three different harvests of this previously and every single one of them has been vastly different. Probably the most different harvests of any tea I’ve previously had. Then again I don’t usually get the chance to try four harvests of a tea. The leaves look different every time too. The harvest that tasted like tomato soup oddly looked amber in color, smaller, and very very fuzzy. The older tiny leaf tasted like chocolate and wine (my favorite black tea flavors, though that may be the tannins.) I’m assuming that the tinier the leaf, the lower the quality is supposed to be? But I seem to like the lower quality teas with deeper flavor once in a while. THIS harvest looks higher quality with bigger longer leaves, hints of gold, and no fuzziness whatsoever. This harvest has much different flavors. It almost tastes like Laoshan Black. It’s got that lighter black tea flavor, slight smokiness, caramel. But not deep in flavor enough for my liking (the same problem I’ve always had with Laoshan.) These lighter black teas aren’t my favorite. All three steeps stayed with the same flavor profile, though I steeped them vastly different. The third cup I steeped for 10+ minutes with only half a mug of water and still had that light flavor. It’s amazing that Harney’s Golden Monkey changes constantly, which is a shame, as I loved the first harvest I tried. (Though it also amazes when a tea can stay consistent between harvests.) Who knows, 2018’s harvest is probably completely different too. But this is not the flavor I want for this steep price (right now $.96 per cup according to harney.com). This harvest would probably get a an 77. Though I don’t like moving ratings when they go lower. I only change them higher.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 15 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
Steep #3 // half mug of water // just boiled // 10+ minute steep
Uh oh, another pumpkin tea! It’s autumn! I had Frank’s version of this, which I guess didn’t impress me. Maybe I tried it when it was older. But this is Anne’s version. But also a year old at least. I didn’t write a note for it yet though! I do appreciate the ACTUAL pumpkin pieces here! And I CAN TASTE PUMPKIN IN THE TEA! Awesome. Awesome. More pumpkin flavor than actual spice flavor. And it really needs more spices to be called a chai in my opinion. But I’d rather have pumpkin flavor if it’s a pumpkin chai than no pumpkin AND no spice. Next time this is a sipdown. Frank’s blend got a 63 rating from me, but obviously this gets a higher rating for actual pumpkin!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 minute steep
Okay, this tea is insanely delicious. It tastes like a very expensive cup of tea and it definitely is not expensive from S&V. Wow. Just the complexity alone amazes me, and I will not be able to capture that complexity here. The fragrance of the dry leaves is something very different from the usual plain black tea, that I have not noticed before.. the smell is almost like what heated raisins might smell like? A fragrance I’ve never noticed in any tea! The leaf is on the smaller size with an occasional gold hint here and there. The flavor is intoxicating: I think it’s most similar to a really good assam: that slightly brisk, slightly fruity, sweet assam that I love to keep in stock. But this tea is more unique than that. It’s just so tough to capture the complexity of this tea. It has bite, but it’s also very sweet. Slight fruity juiciness but also a bready quality. I love teas like that and I will be keeping this one in stock. It might be one of those teas that are the fresher, the more complex the flavor (but that probably goes for all teas.) Is it enough for me to say it is so good? You should try some!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 13 minutes after boiling // 3 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // couple minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep
Additional notes: I was not expecting anything from this ancient tea. It is green. It has coconut. It tastes AMAZING. Almost like when it was new. Honestly I can’t tell a difference from the first time I tried this tea. HOW? With coconut? This stuff is so tasty. It was always one of my favorites from Della Terra but its even better when the flavor holds up so well. So I should have bought five pounds of this tea??!? I think it’s called “Walnut” here: http://www.eastindiescoffeeandtea.com/tea/scented-flavors/ but I swear Della Terra would sometimes add their own ingredients to some of their teas?
AprTea sent a couple mini tuochas in their awesome sample package, problem is they weren’t labeled. So I had to ask them what they were. Luckily they knew the two tuochas I was describing and gave me the links to them (they were switching the wrapping on the tuochas). This one is lotus, which isn’t the ideal tea for me to be tasting – I’m not sure what it should taste like. The ripe tuocha has little lotus leaf pieces within it. I couldn’t really detect a different fragrance or taste to distinguish lotus, but again, I had no idea what I was looking for. Even if I knew that I was drinking lotus leaf at the time, I wouldn’t have been able to taste it. The pu-erh itself was great, if anything lighter than I would prefer, but the biggest flavor note I could mention is earthy. Definitely none of those offensive pu-erh flavors. I like this enough, but lotus wouldn’t be my go-to flavor for a mini tuocha – mostly because the lotus included probably made the flavor of the pu-erh itself weaker when there was less pu-erh leaves in the tuocha because of the lotus.
Steep #1 // 1 tuocha// 15 minutes after boiling // rinse 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
Steep#3 // just boiled // 8 minute steep
Additional notes: Alright, I could drink this one every day. And I probably have never said that before for any tea. It’s my new favorite tea. If you thought S&V’s Apple Cinnamon Coffeecake was delicious, this one is even MORE delicious. I just got an e-mail today from S&V that a few of their caramel and apple teas are 15% off if anyone is interested: https://www.svtea.com/FEATURED-PRODUCTS/products/144/ Raising the rating from a 97.
Also, you know it’s autumn when five of the last ten of my tasting notes were for apple or pumpkin teas.
Additional notes: This one is sooo old and from a teabox but it is so delicious. The buttery green sencha could have steeped by itself. It didn’t need the apple. But it sure is delicious either way. The second steep is even better.
Edited to add: Anyone in the US interested in a Lupicia group order, especially around the time of the happy bags? I have been meaning to order from Lupicia for years, and they especially don’t have the resealable 50 gram pouches, so you almost have to split them in resealable pouches anyway.