103 Tasting Notes
On the chocolate-tobacco-wood-fruit black tea flavor continuum, this tea fell solidly in the middle, with perhaps a slight preference for the chocolate/tobacco side of things. While I love each of these flavors independently, some how, together, they all got muddled up. I’ll try brewing a little more lightly next time to see if I can un-muddy the whole situation.
After the first few sips, I put the rest of the pot over ice, which had a gentling effect – but still didn’t clarify what this tea was trying to be.
Flavors: Chocolate, Raisins, Tobacco
Occasionally, in the right mind-set, I can think of of different teas as substitutes for chocolate, butter, or vanilla ice cream. I reach for Mandala’s ‘black beauty’ when in the mood for chocolate, and now I can reach for this when I’m craving a delicious buttery mouth feel. The spinach aftertaste is just a bonus.
Flavors: Butter, Spinach
As opposed to some of my never-fail teas, teas that can be brewed with any level of sleepiness and always turn out beautifully, this tea is capricious and utterly unpredictable. Sometimes it can be everything I ever wanted in a green tea – vegetal and savory, with a wonderful chewy mouth feel – while other times it gives me nothing but off flavors.
Like with any moody thing, it always makes me wonder what I’ve done to deserve my treatment. On off-flavor days, I feel as though I must have offended it by some unknowable bug-squishing or flower-tramping episode. On perfect brewing days, I feel like I’m being rewarded for an unremembered kindness or unnoticed act of grace.
No easy-going tea could ever win my affections as much as this one has.
The first thing I notice is the unique appearance of the dry leaves – they’re huge and multicolored. I see white, green, and various shades of brown. Beautiful!
Fortunately, the flavor is just as lovely as the appearance. This tea tastes like warm, honey-filled, baked grapes. Whatever mellows and sweetens this tea masks the sometimes sharp Darjeeling back note.
Flavors: Grapes, Honey
Beautiful! A lovely combination of a strong, bitter front, and lively, complex, chocolate finish. Magically, this tea is enough to cut through all of the static in my brain on this tiring end-of-the-workweek day.
Flavors: Bitter, Chocolate, Malt
This tea starts with the appearance of the irregular, obviously handmade cannon balls of tea. I couldn’t resist rolling each pellet around between my fingers before plopping it in the tea pot – it made me feel strangely connected to the people who crafted the tea.
The brewed tea is pleasantly astringent – but still somehow mellow and kind. I was attracted by the ‘cinnamon’ flavor in the description, but I don’t taste any hint of spice here. Mostly just an astringent start, with a vegetal, grassy aftertaste.
Flavors: Astringent, Grass, Vegetal
Tried this tea again and brewed it a little shorter than before. Instead of the sour streak I remember from last time, I found a shockingly smooth, dark tea with subtle fruity notes.
Out of the ten teas I sampled from Teavivre, I think that this and the Lapsang Souchong are the ones that I’ll have to repurchase and keep around the house.
This Darjeeling tastes vaguely fruity without being specifically grape-y. I’m also getting a lot of wood flavor and a dryness after the sip. A strong sour flavor as I drain the cup makes me wonder if my Darjeeling ‘bolted’ (Bolted, defined by “The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook”: a phenomenon… wherein the brisk flavor components suddenly overwhelm the body characteristics and the cup qualities become unpleasantly assertive).However, since I’ve wanted my teas to do something as dramatic as ‘bolting’ for quite some time – I can’t be sure whether I actually experienced it, or just wanted to…
Flavors: Fruity, Wood