1190 Tasting Notes
Twelve Days of Tea 2021 – Day Five (better late than never)
This one is lovely! I’m almost not annoyed that there’s no green oolong this year (plus my French advents more than made up for that.. although the offerings were generally less impressive than the ones Anne tends to create). I also kind of regret not picking up more of this in the store because it’s so unique (completely sold out), but Darjeeling teas, of all oxidization levels and styles, are something I prefer in small, sparse amounts.
Tart cranberry notes and buttery chestnut give me the impression of a luxurious, festive variation on a PB&J. The choice of a Darjeeling Oolong as a base is so perfect and well-crafted here – offering complex but complimentary base notes. I can’t think of a better combo.
I’m sad to see this one go and hope it pops up again in future advents or as a featured wintertime reblend.
Steep Count: 3
Flavors: Butter, Chestnut, Cranberry, Fruity, Malt, Muscatel, Nutty, Smooth, Sweet, Tangy, Tart
My sister gifted this tea to me as a Christmas present – a bold move since turmeric is divisive and my sister doesn’t know my feelings towards it (luckily, I love turmeric lattes. Maybe she does know that. EDIT: my sister bought this solely under the assumption that I love ginger. That’s solid reasoning).
This is an interesting twist on the traditional ginger turmeric combo. It contains beetroot to give a reddish hue to this golden soup, and carrot which.. have you ever had carrot juice? It’s a little bit like that – surprisingly sweet and root-earthy (quintessential “vitamin A” taste). There’s also pineapple forextra acidic dimensions. It’s a nice treat when under the weather!
I steeped it in steamed milk and added two teaspoons of clover honey. Looking forward to returning to this one when I have some soy or oat milk at hand.
Flavors: Carrot, Citrusy, Earthy, Ginger, Pineapple, Spicy, Sweet, Turmeric, Wood
Twelve Days of Tea 2021 – Day Seven
Without complete use of my nose this tea, is interesting (I can smell just enough of the dry leaf to get berry custard – huge improvements!). The Blackberry is so buttery-sweet and candy-like to start (top tongue), and something else (blackberry flavour and/or green teas) counteracts that with a nice note of green plant bitterness and acidic sour taste for a convincing berry-tart dessert flavour. It’s well-rounded and I’m enjoying it more today than I did “pre-cold” (this isn’t my favourite from 52Teas but it’s still nice).
I can add this one to the short list of teas that are still enjoyable while stuffed up!
Flavors: Bitter, Blackberry, Butter, Candy, Smooth, Sweet, Tart, Vegetal
I don’t know why this tea is in the stash; I have no memories of ever acquiring Bigelow; is it one of those items that every household secretly has if you look hard enough? A mystery, but a good one, as it turns out this is the tea bag that goes well with lemon and honey (and dark, caramel-like Kraken Rum). I liked the result so much I made two cups (one without rum and one with). The final result admittedly may taste a little like flat vanilla coke (so strange, not questioning it).
The tea itself smells pleasantly of broken black tea (from what I can tell) and tastes like one would expect – straightforward, astringent, and malty-sweet. This is the perfect base to add the lemon slice (which bubbles as it steeps), honey, and (optional) a little rum (but not too much because the cough meds don’t play well). I may revisit this even when I’m not sick (the hot toddy-like drink finally won me over).
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Malt, Sweet
I found a bunch of neglected tea bags from various companies, and I’m hoping that one or more of them will satisfy my cravings for a strong, robust cup of tea. I decided to start with Numi because I’ve fond memories of this company from happy college cafeteria days (this is the brand UVic carried when I attended there; I always went for the Gunpowder or Mint though).
Even though my nose is super muted, I still can smell a touch of delicious, caffeine-filled black tea (bliss)! To taste, I still manged to get “sweet potato” and “malt” from this bright, bitter, slightly sweet tea – which is more than I hoped for (you can tell Numi includes Chinese black tea in this blend). It’s a lovely tea bag that’s as satisfying as turning rich, fine loam in the garden – but it’s possibly too lovely to add the planned honey and lemon.
Also, despite steeping the bag for 5 minutes in a tiny mug the astringency is more minimal than I was anticipating – something that only asserted itself after I finished my cup. But take that with a grain of salt; my head is currently cotton mush.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Earthy, Malt, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Woody
I’m finally on the uptick of a nasty sinus infection, and am more or less coherent again if not completely rid of the laryngitis (also got tested for safety, and it’s not covid, so hurrah!). Since yesterday though I’ve been too stuffed up to smell much of anything. But at this point I need. Crave. Caffeine. I apparently lack “builder’s tea,” which is what I truly want right now, so I fell back on old favourites, like Pancake Breakfast.
There’s enough sweet syrup and bitter tea leaf here to make this interesting. Add milk and there’s a bit more “something” (extra protein and sugars? An acid that adds “sour”?). I can still pick up that this is maple syrup despite not being able to smell my cup, so that makes me super happy. Some of the other (favourite) teas I tried were pretty limp and indistinguishable without my nose. I hope I get that back soon; otherwise, I have a decent amount of Pancake Breakfast!
Flavors: Malt, Maple Syrup, Smooth, Sweet
2021 spring Harvest
I am not feeling super sharp and wanted something simple, familiar, but fine today. That description is this tea to a “T”. I’ve found this harvest a little more “earthy” than past ones so decided to see if I could draw out the complexities with grandpa style (I’ve somehow never done that before with this tea).
Gongfu Session Steep Count: rinse + 5
Aroma: Milk chocolate with honeycomb; sweet, dark malt.
The velvety earth profile of milk chocolate, rasins, and bready malt are supported by lovely secondary notes of caramel, sweet potato, and molasses. First steep is smooth milk chocolate, second is more in line with unsweetened cocao, third steep smooths out again with spice, etc. I’ll have to do another gongfu session when I’m feeling better and have an attention span; this tea deserves it.
Flavors: Bread, Chocolate, Cocoa, Earthy, Malt, Milk, Molasses, Raisins, Smooth, Sweet Potatoes
I drank a lot of this today. Like two different sessions for 5 cups. The first two cups were creamy vanilla caramel delight. This session has a bit more of an edge – brandy-like as advertised. Both smell like dulce de leche and they fill up the room with it (I can still smell things despite being super congested, hurrah!). I wish I had churros to pair but this tea is also a whole dessert in itself.
Flavors: Brandy, Bread, Caramel, Coconut, Cream, Malt, Smooth, Vanilla
This was included as a free sample in my last order. It was also part of the advent but I’m not sad to drink it again. This spice blend is fantastic latte material.
Evol Ving Ness suggested tea and honey, and nothing goes better with honey than spicy turmeric and ginger! I steamed some milk, made some pretty foam, steeped the tea bag in the milk, and added a generous amount of honey. All is good (mostly). My only complaint is I wish the baggy contained more so I could really overdo the heat; I crave intense ginger burn right now. Hopefully sleep will do the rest tonight!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Earthy, Ginger, Spices, Turmeric
On paper, I think this tea sounds like it should be as delectable as chewing on toothpaste. In reality I love this creamy spearmint tea; it’s also a 52Teas classic with an apt name. I’m so grateful that it’s part of “D’s Teas”, and that I picked up a little pouch with my last order; my throat is thankful too. It’s always a comfort during trying times.
Going through my past tasting notes, I noticed they’re almost entirely for Frank’s run (minus one from six years ago.. that may be Anne’s reblend). Time to switch that up! I do love going back and seeing how my feelings towards this tea morphed from skepticism to love and “security blanket-like” affection though. 9+ years of this tea in my life.. it’s been with me through dismal rentals and ailing grandmothers and I appreciate it to bits.
Flavors: Creamy, Earthy, Grass, Herbaceous, Marshmallow, Smooth, Spearmint, Vanilla, Vegetal