Czar Nikolas IIEdit Company
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Recent 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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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
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
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
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.
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~
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Another sample to thank Nicole for! This one is wonderful! The dry leaves smelled really tart, and the tea itself had a fresh berry aroma. The flavor is initially very tart with a lemony finish. The aftertaste is of ripe berries with just a wispy hint of cream. With milk and sweetener, it becomes all strawberries and cream with just a little bit of lemon. This tea reminds me of a summer day with fresh strawberries and raspberries and a big dollop of fresh whipped cream. I would definitely order more of this one!
-Dry blend has medium black tea leaves with small orange safflower petals, large yellow sunflower petals and large blue mallow blossoms.
-Dry leaves smell tart and fruity. Tea liquor aroma is of fresh berries.
-Tea liquor is a clear medium reddish brown color.
-Tart berry flavor with a lemony finish. Ripe berry aftertaste with a hint of cream.
-Best with milk and sweetener.
-Very good tea. Fresh berry flavor with a hint of lemon. Reminiscent of strawberries and cream.