2581 Tasting Notes
Sonnentor Advent Day 3
Quite a while back I tried making golden milk and I hated it. Then I tried a turmeric tea that a friend was drinking for health and I really couldn’t get into it. I thought this tea would be like that.
I pre-planned for disaster. Should I just make it in milk? Make a latte? Add eggnog? Would that be horrible? Horribler? Ha ha!
I decided to steep it in just a bit of water and sip and depending on how it went I would top up with either more hot water or add milk and sugar.
But when I tasted it, it was actually good! As Martin put it, it is an easy drinking spice tea and I had no trouble at all sipping it down. This was well done. No additions needed.
I didn’t hate or love this tea. But I have a lot of tea to get through and since they recommend this one iced because it keeps a nice, clear color I decided to go for it.
These tins are generous so I will actually get two pitchers out of what is left. I steeped three teaspoons and resteeped, pouring into a Bodum pitcher with a little less than a half cup sugar to keep it true to my one cup of sugar per gallon ratio for Ashman’s tea. Left in fridge all day but it will probably be best tomorrow.
It was 76F and sunny here today and I worked in the garden a bit, so it is a great day to try out a new iced tea!
Indeed, the color is as gorgeous as they say with none of the cloudiness you get with Assam. (Usually that can be cleared up with a teeny bit of baking soda.)
The surprise is that the resulting iced tea, even with the resteep, is stronger than the Luzianne I usually use for iced. I was worried it was going to be weak. It isn’t, and tastes decent already. but didn’t send me over the moon. It was just decent iced tea, no fireworks but definitely lots of flavor. And iced tea is always better second day so I may be more impressed tomorrow.
I have at least three teaspoons of leaf left as these advent tins are 25 grams, so there will be one more pitcher.
Fortnum and Mason advent day 3
I was facing this one with a bit of trepidation. I like Earl Grey best with Keemun, Lapsang, or white tea as the base. I was afraid this would be a “volume ten in your face” Earl.
I made a toasted cheese to go with it and let it be a holiday tribute to our good friend, KS, who loved Earl Grey every which way. Rat lunch, just like the old days.
To my surprise, this is smooth and easy sipping! Stoo gave it a 6.5 of 10 for how much bergamot is in it and I agree. Plenty to taste but nothing overpowering here. I see that JacquelineM called it a favorite, and I see why. Plus she points out that the companies says the base is mostly Chinese black tea! This explains why I like it. Bergamot seems to be paired with Ceylon most of the time and it is just way too sour for me!
Big thumbs up for day 3!
Fortnum Advent Day 2
There are two entries for this tea. The other is under the name Afternoon Blend which is probably the correct name, and only has one review, so I chose to put this here.
My first tea was Breakfast, which was exactly as advertised but is definitely not my favorite type of tea. As expected, this was very similar but lighter.
I did sip it before eating so the flavor wouldn’t be muddied by the food, and it had that bright and coppery taste I associate with Ceylon tea. (I do enjoy low and mid-elevation Ceylons but high grown are too minty and astringent for me.) It is a little malty but I didn’t feel like the only way to get it down was with milk and sugar. (Breakfast Blend without food would deffo be with milk and possibly sugar, too.)
With food, this is quite nice. It serves the purpose of a breakfast tea and while it is muted with the food because the sharp edges are dulled, it has the gumption to still have flavor.
I agree with Ros on this one. If I am going to pay Fortnum prices, I want one of their unique blends. I can get plenty of breakfast and afternoon tea that I enjoy more than this one for less cost.
Since they recommend it iced, that is where the last of this is going.
Tldr: Better than Breakfast Blend, not as good as Queen Anne. Just my opinion.
I drank this one with supper and I wish now I had tried it by itself so I would have better notes on it. We had a tomato based tortellini soup and the flavors were pretty strong and I am afraid they drowned out some of the flavor of this tea.
The name means “fireplace crackle”. One might expect a lapsang for that! But they went for cozy factor instead. Rose hips, apple, hibiscus, apple, orange peel, Ceylon cinnamon, and essential oils of orange and vanilla. Those last two are flavors I adore, especially together! But mostly I got the tartness of rosehips and hibiscus and oddly enough I thought I kept tasting black pepper and didn’t realize it wasn’t in there until I had finished the cup and checked the ingredient list! I think the food was drowning out the flavors and the hibby poked a stick in my tongue and the tartness came across as pepper.
Not bad at all, not nearly as tart as most rosehip and hibby tea, just kind of fruity spicy. I wish I had tasted more orange and vanilla, but that’s my fault for having it with supper.
I think my neighbor across the street probably heard my gasp when I opened the mailbox today, for inside was a package from Martin, plump with tea! It is the Sonnentor Advent Tea Calendar! Martin was able to send the box it came in flat, and I reconstructed it back to its original condition and packed the teas in! Wow, thank you, Martin! It was a complete surprise!
Since today is December 2nd, I decided to play catch up and drink two of these today. Gute Laune means good mood in German, and this tea is easy going and easy to drink.
I can’t say any one thing stood about it, except the utter lack of hibiscus and licorice root, which seems to be everywhere when you buy herbals. I agree with Martin that the apple mint does not really add a minty flavor. This tea was overall mild, easy to drink, pleasant enough, but no single flavor stood out to me. Just herbaceous and pleasant.
Advent Day One
I am not a fan of many breakfast blends. I drink my tea plain but with this one I can’t. I really needed sugar and milk to make it palatable for me.
Coffee lovers and lovers of British style breakfast blends will probably like it. It is so malty and has the sharp coppery taste plus astringency that keep me from really enjoying it.
It steeps dark and it steeps fast. Maybe I can find a happy spot to make me like it, or something else to blend it with, or maybe it will become a sweet iced tea, but I can’t see this 25 grams going down this way.
My toes were cold so I made miso soup for lunch, which made my toes colder because I ran outside barefoot to pick greens and chives for the soup. With miso soup, I always try to have green tea, although if it is a red miso I will do oolong.
I was feeling ashamed of myself for opening so many new teas (and for buying new teas) so I decided to finish this sample of Pearls of Jade. It is a green tea but based on appearance I would thought it was an oolong.
Sometimes I fail pretty spectacularly at multi-tasking. I was trying to make the soup, make the tea, and prepare omelettes with turmeric and thyme for the dogs at the same time, and without thinking I dumped the remains of the sample into my Kamjove. (Sam is having allergy issues again. Thus the turmeric.)
Fortunately, I did steep for the right amount of time at the right temperature. I didn’t even think about how much leaf I used until after the meal.
During the meal, the first sip was KAPOW cinnamon. I wondered if I had made a Christmas tea in this basket but I could swear I haven’t. It was really good. It was after the soup was gone that I noticed the tea was super strong. And then I realized I had used almost enough for a whole pot in a little Kamjove. Good thing I had resteeped and combined or this could have been too much.
As it is, I have a nicely brisk green tea that is making me feel a little more energized. My tongue is tingly, there is a little sharpness to the last bit of tea, but nothing unpleasant. I think if I had leafed it correctly it would far less brisk. I am getting some lovely floral aromas from the cup.
This tea is at minimum three years old and probably older, so I would say it must have at quality to hold up so well. But I expect that from Silk Road.
This is one of the Fortnum blends I was most excited about and it did not let me down.
I am not a big Earl Grey fan. Bergamot on Ceylon is too, too sour for me. Bergamot on Keemun is very nice. Even bergamot with white tea is better than most standard Earl Grey to my tastes.
I have had Smoky Earl Grey before and liked it. It was the Earl or Harlem from the Ambessa line by Harney and Sons. I guessed this one would be good, too, and it is.
I like lapsang and I like it strong, so this was right up my alley. I felt it was only medium smoke though I see from reviews that some folks disagree and that’s okay. The bergamot is second player here and that suits me.
There are three tins of Earl Grey Classic in the advent and I wondered what on earth I was going to do with them. (Neither Ashman nor tea party guest like bergamot.) This has inspired me. I think I will try mixing it with my Russian Caravan. Of course, I will try it plain first!
EDIT TO CORRECT: If one puts one’s glasses on, there are NOT three tins of Earl Grey Classic in the advent. There is only one. Another has the word “green” in teeny tiny letters and the remaining tin that I mistook for a plain Earl was actually Victoria Earl.
My first reaction was nope but as I sip it isn’t so bad. It is lovely if you love standard Assam and probably really good if you drink English style tea with milk and sugar. I try to have my tea plain always.
Compared to Queen Anne, this is heavier on the Assam and more tannic. Compared to Breakfast Blend – gosh, it seems really similar but maybe is a little stronger? My tongue is orange. It’s one of those.
A hint of smoke or toast (that could be the incense that just wafted into my face), a touch of bitterness, a little metallic but not much. So a pretty typical breakfast blend with Assam and nothing to write home about. It is okay, but I wouldn’t re-purchase.
Queen Anne wins so far in the unflavored Fortnum blends catagory.