Czar Nikolas II

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drank Nostalgia by Czar Nikolas II
2829 tasting notes

A tea that reminds me of myself…because I have been nostalgic since childhood. Fall was bittersweet to me even as a little child. I loved school, and all that back to school entailed – the smell of new pencils, opening new books for the first time and paging through them, blank notebooks full of possibilities.

The tea is also nostalgic for me because we had a lot of blackcurrant when we visited Ireland and it was a pretty magical time. This was a gift from Youngest, so again…nostalgic.

Delicious hot or cold, sweet or unsweet. It is a good black tea base and the black currant flavor is spot on.

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drank Nostalgia by Czar Nikolas II
2829 tasting notes

Confession: I don’t eat jelly beans. I haven’t had one in years and didn’t care for them growing up, probably because of the texture. I just wasn’t into them. But I really want to do every prompt so I tried to imagine a hypothetical jelly bean that I would enjoy. All I could come up with was blackcurrant.

Then I realized that a few years ago we got some jelly babies because of Doctor Who and there were blackcurrant flavored ones and I liked them! So that justifies using this tea as my jelly bean tea!

Blackcurrant is not a common flavor here in the US and years ago we had very little in the way of international markets. You could buy Ribena but it was expensive and we never did, mostly because of not really knowing what it was. Blackcurrants, I read, were a host for a fungus that afflicts white pines, iirc, and white pines were very important to the furniture industry so blackcurrant bushes were actually outlawed for many years. Might still be for all I know.

In Ireland, I noticed that the children’s medicines that were likely to be grape or bubblegum flavored here in the US were blackcurrant flavored there. Lucky kids.

The tea is easy enough on my stomach for mornings, and strong enough to go with breakfast. I add no milk or sugar, and sometimes makes sweet iced tea with this. It is a very large bag at a very good price, so I will likely replace it when it is gone.

As for the name, it definitely induces nostalgia for those early mornings in Ireland walking to the café with Youngest for tea and scones, and for the pitchers of blackcurrant water served in pubs and restaurants.

Some reviews on amazon refer to this as a strawberry tea. It has strawberry leaves in it but I do not detect strawberry flavor. I have had plain strawberry leaf tea and it does not taste at all like strawberries. Also, it makes you burp. Well, it made me burp. But the important thing is that it tasted nothing like strawberries. I thought the strawberry leaves imparted a sweetness and that is all.

It is possible that there is strawberry flavor added that other people are detecting but I do not. I am not a super taster like some of you amazing folks, though! This is just black tea and blackcurrant to me.

vallhallow

Interesting. Never knew that blackcurrants were outlawed in the past in the US.

ashmanra

Valhallow – they are crediting with saving many lives in England in WW2 because it was almost impossible to get fresh fruits into the country from elsewhere. It was their main source of vitamin C. Towns encouraged widespread planting of blackcurrant bushes and many are open to public harvesting even now.

Martin Bednář

Blackcurrant, wonderful and typical “European” flavour. I hope it wil be more and more available in the US.

ashmanra

Martin – the federal ban was lifted in the 1960’s but many states still have bans. I believe as time goes on we will see more of them! I love the taste!

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drank Nostalgia by Czar Nikolas II
2829 tasting notes

This was part of my Mother’s Day gift from Youngest, and before moving on with the tasting note I would just like to say congratulations to her! As of yesterday, she has completed her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, a minor in Microbiology, and a minor in Biotechnology!
She has worked very hard!

Nostalgia is a good name for this because I immediately thought of our trip to Ireland when I opened the bag. Black currant! It is not at all common here in the US but it was everywhere there, and one of the ladies I dined with a couple of times always ordered a pitcher of black currant water for us.

Reminiscent also of Tower of London, and perhaps a shade of Paris, it was delicious and fruity with my breakfast and had a stout enough base to satisfy me for a morning cuppa.

Thank you, Youngest! Love from Mom!

Sil

woot! congrats to her! what an achievement!

teepland

Congratulations to your daughter — and to you for all your support helping to get her there! The tea sounds wonderful! I love currants, so I’ll have to look for this!

Leafhopper

Congratulations to your daughter on completing her degree!

Martin Bednář

Congratulation to Youngest! What an achievement!

mrmopar

Tell my other cuz congrats on the hard work!

tea-sipper

CONGRATULATIONS Youngest!!

ashmanra

Thank you, everyone!

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RECIPE FOR A BLACK TEA ICE CREAM:

I have been wanting to try to mimic an ice cream that was brought to me by Youngest. I believe the name of it was something like English Rose Black Tea? It was beautiful. When you opened the pint, there were bright pink crushed rose petals and tiny bits of crushed tea leaf on top. There were a few leaves scattered throughout the pint and it had nuts in it as well.

I had three rose black teas on hand and I thought this was the most likely candidate for making ice cream. The tea needed to have lots of rose flavor and also needed a hearty base to stand up to the sweetness and the rich creamy dairy base.

I added five generous teaspoons of this tea to one cup of hot milk and let it simmer on the stove for five minutes. I strained it and added 3/4 cup sugar, a tablespoon of homemade vanilla extract, a tiny pinch of salt, and two cups of half and half and whisked. (We prefer lower fat. Also, when making our vanilla ice cream and root beer floats, the lower fat ice cream seems to have a better texture than high fat.) That chilled in the fridge while I taught afternoon lessons and then I put it in the Cuisinart ice cream maker. We got the cheap one on an outrageous Christmas one day only doorbuster sale and it has lasted over a decade, so I am very pleased with it.

I added chopped pecans on top when I served it. I had forgotten there were nuts in the ice cream I was trying to replicate, so next time (and there WILL be a next time) I will stir them in prior to putting it in the freezer to set.

It was sooooo good. Ashman loved it, too. The only thing that would have made it better would have been to have some light, thin cookies to serve with it. I think lemon cookies would be perfect with it.

There was a ton of rose flavor, so I am glad I went with my instincts and did not add additional rose water, and the black tea flavor was well balanced, also.

Leafhopper

This sounds really good! I’m impressed that the rose came through so well.

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I really like this tea and Nostalgia by the same company, especially for breakfast. This one is my floral tea for the scavenger hunt, but it is far from a sipdown. These are big bags!

The rose flavor is rich, and sometimes tastes like peppery rose. It reminds me of the scent of Fresh Cut Roses from Yankee Candle. The black tea base is pretty smooth and doesn’t make me reach for milk or sugar, but after drinking a couple of cups it does have an enjoyable briskness, which is why it goes so well with breakfast.

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This is another birthday tea from Youngest!

I am hunkered down waiting for the big storms that are supposed to hit in a few hours. I moved the rockers and table, rolled up the outdoor rug, and put my car under the back carport. I don’t think this is a storm I would care to sit and watch from the rocker…Now I am sipping tea and reading everyone’s notes. Ashman will be at work until the storm ends and I am hoping for no tornadoes, no downed power lines, and no wind damage!

Of the two Czar Nikolas teas I received, this is my favorite! The other is bergamot with some extras and is a nice Earl Grey stand-in, but I don’t reach for Earls that much. This one is rose and I love me some rose tea!

The tea is broken leaf, not CTC. The pink and yellow rose petals are very faded but the safflower is very bright red/orange. Maybe they just hold color better. It is still a pretty blend.

The rose flavor is thick, as in rose oil thick. Thicc. It says it has natural and artificial flavors and I am sure this is how they achieve of the strong rose note but I don’t care. I dig rose and this has it in spades! It is smooth enough to drink without milk and sugar. As rosey as it is, I feel like sugar would be too much and would ruin it for me because mild rose really just tastes like sweetening to me. Strong rose would surely be overpowering with sugar.

The base is smooth and doesn’t anger my tummy like many black teas do. This is going to be a breakfast staple for a while…

Thank you, Youngest!

Shae

Stay safe today! The same storm system came through here yesterday and it’s always so stressful with the tornadoes.

Martin Bednář

Never happy to read the news about storms. I am happy that they are rarely here that serious!

ashmanra

Welp, I have filtered two extra gallons of water and secured the patio furniture…and it is really nice out. 77F. That’s 30 degrees higher than it was 36 hours ago. Cloudy with a breeze. Threat level has dropped from 4 to 3, so that is all good! I guess we wait and see now. It looks like we may be spared any truly severe weather. Here’s hoping!

White Antlers

Stay safe! It’s been raining here for the past 2 days, but it’s just par for March.

Lexie Aleah

Glad to hear that the threat level has dropped. Stay Safe!

ashmanra

It turned out to be a beautiful day with a windy spell, then a sudden deluge of rain. Better safe than sorry, but wow I enjoyed the nice weather! Spent the evening rocking on the porch.

Martin Bednář

Yay! As you said, better safe than sorry. Glad it was okay!

Shae

Happy to hear you didn’t have any damage!

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I could have sworn I wrote a note on this but I didn’t.

Youngest gave me this for my birthday, purchased from an international food market near where she lives.

I tried it hot first and initially thought it was pretty much just an Earl Grey, but I liked it more than most that have a Ceylon base. I generally prefer Earls on Keemun or other Chinese base because Ceylon can be too lemony with the sour bergamot.

There is a minty aftertaste so either they added mint leaves or used some really high elevation Ceylon in the base. There is a little bit of rose flavor, too, but mostly bergamot. I noticed some really green leaves in the infuser basket, so I think there is some darjeeling here as well. I enjoyed it hot with breakfast, sans additions. I think I will treat it more like a darjeeling next time and see how that affects it.

I noticed some reviews here and there that said it made great iced tea.

It does not. Those people were lying liars of lies. It is horrifying sweet and iced. I made just over a quart and after doggedly trying to finish my 10 ounces with supper (I couldn’t) I poured all of it down the drain. It was a big old carafe of sour. Maybe treating it like a darjeeling would save it here? Maybe.

Fortunately, it tasted good hot so I don’t mind it not making good iced tea!

Thank you, Youngest!

Martin Bednář

I think I have seen some tasting note from this company not that long ago! Not sure if from you, or anyone else. But I can’t find it anywhere…

tea-sipper

Martin, I have a couple teas from this shop but not this one.

Martin Bednář

Ah, yup, I haven’t scrolled enough on company page and now I found out it was you tea-sipper, sorry for forgetting that fast!

tea-sipper

I don’t expect you to remember ALL the teas, Martin. :D

Martin Bednář

There are way too much other things I could remember, but I couldn’t. But then there is a tea world and I can remember almost everything. Whoopsy daisy.

White Antlers

Martin this reminds me of when I was a teenager. I could remember the lyrics to rock songs, even obscure ones, but could never remember my way around the chemistry lab or how to do calculus homework. LOL

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84

A great blend of flavors, though you need to get the water boiling hot for the full steeping time and you have to use a lot of leaves for some reason. (I also like to brew this strong.) The Russian grocery store that used to sell this closed down, so I’m afraid of depleting my stash.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Smooth

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This is the second Czar Nikolas II sample I got from Sara. Looking at the tea itself, I’m not sure what I was thinking when I asked for this one. There are about a million rose petals mixed in with the black leaves, and it smells like a giant rose bomb went off when I open the bag. Ah well, onward!

The steeped tea also smells strongly of rose and not much else. Ick, nope this one’s not for me. It tastes like straight rose black tea. Withholding a rating. :P

Flavors: Malt, Rose

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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65
drank Renaissance by Czar Nikolas II
3034 tasting notes

I got this and another Czar Nikolas II tea in my swap with Sara. They sounded interesting and unusual, so I had to give them a try. This tea is a mix of very curly jet black leaves and various flower petals. It’s interesting that this tea says it’s only scented with flowers, because it has a tart, fruity smells like apricot or peach.

Mm, the steeped tea smells very fruity as well. I would describe the aroma as strawberry rhubarb – there’s a strong tart element. Wow, this is an interesting one! There’s definitely an element here that’s very tart, in fact it reminds me of a cross between lemon juice and hibiscus. The base tea is super mellow and somewhat malty. I can taste a hint of peach at the end of the sip. Something about this tea is chalky, and I’m not sure what it is. Overall, a strange and unusual tea.

Flavors: Lemon, Malt, Peach, Tart

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Second sip down of the day and it’s not even 10 am. See you Czar! I feel really bad about that whole firing squad thing. Take care.

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I picked this one today because it is black, didn’t smell flavored and I have a very small packet of it and hope to sip it down today.

It’s fine, basically tastes like tea. I don’t get mint or really anything mentioned in the other reviews. Once it’s gone I see absolutely no reason to get it again.

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67

I like this tea. It reminds me of Mariage Frères’ Montagne d’Or, but it’s not quite the same. I feel like there’s a little bit of rose and then a sharper element so that it’s not completely mild. Overbrewing doesn’t make it super bitter. I think I might get tired of it after a while if I drank it too often, though.

Preparation
3 min, 30 sec

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35
drank Nostalgia by Czar Nikolas II
11 tasting notes

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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65

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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65

Definitely tastes better when steeped for six minutes.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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97

Just pure and beautifully full of flavour. Definitely one of the best black teas I’ve had.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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70

Tea #29 from HHTTB2

I’ve noticed there were a lot of rose teas in this box. At least three, anyway. That’s three more than I’ve seen in previous boxes at least.

This one has a slightly stronger base than the H&S, and the safflower imparts a little bit of savoriness to the cup. There’s also very naturally sweet, and a little candy-like. It’s pretty heavily flavored, and the aftertaste is quite perfumey. But if you like rose, it’s a very good cup.

Ahhh. Rose teas are so romantic tasting~

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Tuscanteal

I always feel a bit more dreamy when I drink rose teas. What is the acronym for in your count down? Sorry if you’ve stated it elsewhere.

moraiwe

Here’s Hoping Traveling Tea Box (Round 2). I think I only used it on the first tea, because I realized it would be a pain to do each time. :)

Tuscanteal

Sweeet! I’ve seen a couple threads about that for Canada and thinking about joining it! Seems like a lot of fun.

But back to rose teas: swoon oh how romantic!

moraiwe

Definitely a good time! And a good chance to try a lot of teas you wouldn’t otherwise think to.

But yeah, rose is pretty much the only floral type that will put me in instant candlelit bubble bath and chocolate mood.

TeaKlutz

I love rose teas!!! I can’t seem to review this tea without remarking about how it takes me to a different time.

Bonnie

OKOKOK. I’ve written this many times, but the way I was served this at St. Nicolas Russian Orthodox Church by the Priest was with sour cherry jam. A big whollop of jam and a spoon. You sip the tea and nibble the jam. It’s delicious.

ifjuly

Yummm that sounds so good Bonnie!

moraiwe

@Bonnie that sounds so amazing!

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91

Not the greatest night’s sleep last night, and just woke up feeling a little off. You know, when you wake up stressed out for no good reason. It’s all the little things getting to me, I guess. This wasn’t quite the flavor I was hoping for this morning, but I like it and I have a lot of it left so I don’t have to ration. At least the roses are nice and perky.

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91

I’ve been craving this tea all day. When I start craving a tea, it’s officially a top-tier choice. I almost made some this morning and decided to sip down another one instead. Now this hits the spot while I finish watching an old (50’s) film adaptation of Les Miserables. Which is not Russian. But yes. This tea goes well with old movies.

I really wish we had some clear or light-colored cups in the household. I can tell this tea has a really dark, opaque liquor; wish I could see it better.

The big honkin bag of this is my best impulse tea buy to date. I’ll be seeing more of you, Russian grocery store next door to my work.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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91

Gotta love waking up with a headache… bleh. :/ Anyone got any good natural headache remedies? Ibuprofen works about 95% of the time for me, but I’d like to find something that doesn’t involve a blood-thinning pill.

Anyhow, this is such a great tea for a draggy morning. Potent enough to be a little bit of a wake-up Cher-slap, fragrant and rosy enough to be a treat. I still think it tastes like a different era in time. Definitely perking me up, along with my mood.

Terri HarpLady

The best headache cure for me is to alternate between an ice pack (usually a bag of frozen peas or corn. We never eat them, we just keep them around for ice packs) & a heating pad (or rice filled tube sock, heated in microwave). :)

K S

For me, hydration, caffeine shock, and something sweet brings me out of it. Chug a Mtn Dew and eat a doughnut first thing in the morning. :)

tea-sipper

I drink any tea with peppermint – sometimes it helps!

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91

So after my serendipitous trial of this tea yesterday, I’ve been drinking it for the rest of yesterday and today. I think I shouldn’t overdo this tea, because it’s just distinctive enough I could make myself tired of it if I’m not careful. But still very delicious and brisk!

So yesterday, my day off, was supposed to be my R & R day. Well, until I got an email… there is a local professional (professional-level?) symphony orchestra that I’ve been helping to write program notes for; the lady who normally does it was my really awesome music history professor from college, and she knew I could do them because one of her assignments was to write program notes for the pieces we were covering. Well, the email was an offer for me to officially take over writing program notes, since she was no longer able to do it. Perhaps I should only be mildly excited about this, but I’m thrilled. If I could make a living writing program notes, I would. It’s writing, which I a) majored in and b) am good at (at least, when I try to do it well, not in my Steepster babblings), but it’s writing to help listeners appreciate what they’re hearing, not academic or jargon-y or intimidating. I get to talk about music; I get to research; I get to explain things in ways non-music people can understand and give tidbits of music history knowledge; I get to gush (in a professional and educational manner) about works I love and look for beauty in the ones I don’t; it’s everything I love and why oh why oh why can’t this be a living?

The only downside? First set of notes is due Friday! Aaaaaah!

OMGsrsly

That sounds awesome!

Rosehips

Program notes? How coool! I want to do that now!

Tealizzy

That’s pretty neat!

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91

So there’s a Russian grocery store right next to the store where I work. A few weeks ago while a friend was visiting, I went there for the first time in my 2+ years of working there… which was something the shop owner, who is himself Russian (or at least Russian-speaking), chewed me out for. “Two years?!? Typical American!” You got me, sir. You got me.

Of course, I can’t be in a store with loose-leaf tea without buying some, especially when I have no idea what to expect. So I got this! It’s nothing if not brisk. But it’s not your “typical” brisk black tea. There are these incredibly bright, perfumey notes I can’t identify (rose?) It’s something that I feel like I shouldn’t find pleasant, but somehow, I do. It’s hard to explain, but… it’s like I’m taken to a different time and place. Not to mention it’s a great wake-up tea.

Even though I was hoping I’d enjoy this tea, it truly is an unexpected pleasure!

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