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Recent Tasting Notes
My mom is staying at an Airbnb instead of a hotel this time around which has actually been pretty nice; it’s much more roomy and I’ve been able to have some flexibility in whether I want to spend the night at my place or hers this week (sometimes that’s easier for our early morning activities) since there’s not only another bed but a bed that’s much more comfortable that the shitty hotel she was in last time…
Her first night in we started off by having an iced tea on the Airbnb’s balcony, which felt like a luxary for me in a way since I don’t actually have my own balcony. It’s hard to be a refreshing iced tea on a hot day or a classic tasting Earl Grey! I’m not normally a suuupppeeerrr big fan of bergamot, but I quite enjoyed this one! It was a bit more malty with a really brisk, full bodied black tea and just a hint of light, refreshing citrus. In that way, at least for me, powder is kinda better because you really get full control over your dosing.
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CfPHb01uOBh/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if12qjITsFU
Sipping on this one currently but I definitely over shot the steep time as this mug has come out pretty tannic and astringent. I don’t remember all the things in this blend, but what I’m getting tonight are a mix of sweet florals (violet?) along with more heady lavender notes that are maybe leaning a tiny bit soapy. I’m going to give the tea the benefit of the doubt, though, and say that maybe the lavender is just coming off that way because I was careless in my steeping. Aside from that there’s a really mild fruity taste that makes me think of blueberries, though I don’t think it’s actually blueberries, and a smidge of bergamot. The foundation of the blend seems really strong, so I think I’d enjoy this a lot with more careful brewing.
Cold brewed latte (made with oat milk)!
I’ve been on a pandan tea kick for a little while now, and this Pandan French Earl Grey is probably my newest obsession! I love how much the creamy and almost coconut like flavour compliments the bergamot – it’s like a further elevation and twist on a classic Earl Grey Creme! Only criticism is that if you let it steep too long the bergamot almost gets this sharp metallic/mineral edge. Not unpleasant enough to ruin the tea; but distracting…
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CcOcK72Oz7O/
Pulled from TTB 2022, shared by Dustin.
I want so badly to like this one, so I’m giving it one more try. Using two teaspoons this time, instead of one, and it’s made all the difference! The base is strong and full-bodied, though the spice and cookie flavors are still light. It’s a tasty cup, but still not a favorite as far as chai blends go so I think I’ll pass it along. Glad to have found a way to enjoy it!
Pulled from TTB 2022, shared by Dustin.
This is very lightly spiced, but I do get a hint of cookie in the aroma. Not fortune cookie necessarily, and I couldn’t say for sure whether I would have picked up on it if I hadn’t known it was supposed to be a fortune cookie chai. I think this might be better with an added teaspoon. May or may not try it once more before sending along.
I was feeling pretty unwell the past two days so I didn’t actually end up drinking as much tea as I’d have liked. I just didn’t have the energy and motivation to fuss with anything. I did, however, make a mug of this one of the evenings. I’m noticing it’s less cooling and menthol forward as the Peppermint from The Tea Practitioner that I had fairly recently, but it was still very soothing and pleasant on both my head and stomach and that’s what I was ultimately going for.
I find myself wishing I had Tiger Balm in the house so I could apply some to my chest. I don’t know for sure that it would help with the congestion and harsh coughing, but it feels like it wouldn’t hurt! That thought process reminded me of this tea, which is a very intense menthol rich peppermint blend. I made a strong cup of it up, and of the various minty and eucalyptus forward teas I’ve steeped this week I thought this one offered the most immediate relief in the moment.
Had this one last night!
I know it’s not just a peppermint tea but it kinda tasted that way. I didn’t really pick up on the lemony/citrus notes the way I expected to. However, it was still very crisp and cooling and since I steeped it because I was experiencing a headache and wanted the reliable soothing menthol (and not because of the verbena) I was still happy with the cuppa!
So last time I had this my take away was that it was pretty thin. I have to say, this cold brew was not thin at all… but it also wasn’t super good.
I really love Ette’s Peanut Butter tea so I want to like this one so badly, but it’s just sickly sweet and cloying. I get the same kind of nuttiness that I enjoy so much in Peanut Butter and a hint of banana in a way that leans more banana candy/taffy but it’s just coupled with the most intense licorice root that pushes both flavours over the edge and makes them feel really artificial. There’s other things present in the brew like a hint of apple in the undertones and the woodier notes of the base used, but it’s hard to pay either any mind because the rest is just a lot.
No more cold brewing this tea. Maybe I can find a way to improve the hot cups though…
The dry leaf of this tea smells really nice with sweet caramel/toffee and banana notes and a bit of nuttiness, and I really expected to enjoy this tea. However, it’s a lot more thin than I would have expected. Still tastes like sweet baked banana with toffee and some nutty brittle – but just, a little flat. Though, the finish is not flat. Very licorice root heavy, in fact. Not my favourite taste, but I could see it working here if there was more of the other flavours to hide it a bit better.
I thought this would be so refreshing as a cold brew but it was really, really pithy and had an unpleasant bitter lime note in the finish that I couldn’t quite get past. After a few days of trying to finish off the cold brew I just sort of gave up and decided to move on to the next one. I’ll stick to hot cups of this going forward, I suppose.
Had this as a hot cuppa a few nights ago. It actually really hit the spot in an unexpected sort of way. The citrus notes were really bright, sharp and lively in a perfectly sweet but still kind of mouth puckering way – I know this is mostly lemon but I did taste lime as well, despite it not being in the blend. It reminded me a bit of a really zesty kind of hot toddy – especially with the gentle heat of the ginger in the blend, which also balance out the citrus. I bet it would have been incredible with just a spot of honey.
Wasn’t sure if I wanted to order this tea since ginger and I have a love/hate relationship, but I do love a good lime tea and the visual was just so incredibly beautiful. I didn’t taste much ginger in the steeped tea though. In fact, most of what caught my attention was lime and lemongrass, which was pleasant and bright! I didn’t drink this mug with much attentiveness though and I know much of the nuance was lost because of that. So, I’m looking forward to a do-over. Maybe as a cold brew…
Had this one on the weekend.
I think I was riding the high of having drank a cold brewed sencha that I just loved which is what inspired me to dig out another sencha blend from my stash. In this case, I was kind of drawn to the idea of the more sticky rice-like notes of the pandan with the ginger heat and slight citrusy notes. However, I painfully oversteeped the mug and it was just like being smacked in the face with all the things I hate about green tea. Such a vile grassy and oceanic taste.
I know this was on me for the careless steeping, but even still it was a grounding moment following that very uncharacteristically enjoyable experience earlier in the weekend.
Geek Steep S2E20 – Birdemic: Shock and Terror
Did you think we were getting out of a movie like Birdemic without one of us picking a tea with a bird pun!? Gotta take advantage of that low hanging fruit! Out of the many bird themed teas I own, this was probably the best one I could have picked though because surface level it’s just as strange as this movie.
It’s a nice tea though, pun aside. Also, I’m realizing in this moment that it’s my second savory tea in a row selected during recording. Kind of soft and lemony with a nice starchy coconut/pandan taste and a delicate ginger spice. It’s a tea meant to replicate the seasonings of this popular Singapore dish and I think it does so pretty well! Not nearly as savory as it could have been, but I know that some people will appreciate that this tea doesn’t straight up taste like soup.
Also bird puns!
I’ve had the previous version of the blend many, many years ago but it’s actually been so long that I simply do nut really remember anything about what it tasted like. This one I found curious; it had the light vanilla wafer type of taste that I do associate with Fortune Cookies (almost crepe-like) but with a hint of sweet nutty undertone. I liked the addition of almond, though it feels a hair our of place. I honestly can’t recall much about the spice mix in this moment though, aside from the fact it was pretty light handed overall…
Gonna need to taste again and try to focus a little more on those spices.
Had this one over the weekend. It mostly tasted of brothy and seaweed-y umami rich sencha, which really isn’t my thing at all – but I could appreciate how smooth and nice quality that sencha was coming through in the cup. What brought me back to it time and time again was the floral undertone and honeyed sweet notes of persimmon. Very, very subtle but also very, very accurate – and it’s rare to find such a nice persimmon flavour in a tea. Well worth the sencha to enjoy that note.
Didn’t love how prominent the sencha ended up tasting out of everything else in the blend, but there was a nice but very light fruity undertone with tinges of honey. I wouldn’t have thought to identify it as persimmon without the prompt from the ingredient list, but knowing that’s what it was meant to be did help me pick it out and I found it pretty nice even if this is probably my least favourite ETTE blend I’ve tasted so far.
Geek Steep S2E24 – The X-men: Logan
Guess who’s behind on tasting notes again!? That’s right, it is me! Working on catching up though, and that means talking about this Geek Steep episode from a few weeks ago where we dived into one of Marika’s biggest fandoms – The X-men!
I chose this as my recording tea and, truthfully, I sort of made the conscious choice to brew something with zero correlation to our fandom of the week because I felt a little intimidated by Marika’s love of those one. There were some other factors too, which we get into in the episode, relating to my thoughts on Wolverine as a character in general but ultimately it was just easier for me on the day of recording to put some distance between the fandom and my tea selection.
Of my Ette blends, this is one of the simpler. It’s a very dark and mineral heavy oolong with a lot of nuttiness to it and one of those somewhat more generically “brown and roasty” profiles. As a cold brew, it’s very well rounded with an incredibly clean finish. I don’t get a lot of yuzu which does make sense since it’s only an inclusion of yuzu peel in the blend, but the slight undertone of more pithy citrus is a nice compliment and adds a very refined/sophisticated hint of flavour to this otherwise approachable blend.
This was my first cup of tea yesterday morning working from home. It’s mostly a pleasantly thick and coating milky/buttery taste from the milk oolong but it’s met with an almost custardy vanilla note, a gentle earthy roast, and a distinct note of coffee. I feel like maybe I am slightly warming up to the taste of coffee in some contexts? I actually really enjoyed this blend a lot specifically for the combination of roasty coffee and the sweet creamy elements. It’s not the first coffee blend in recent memory that has pleasantly surprised me, either. Crazy how the palate can change so much over the years!
From an ETTE blend this is kind of a busy tea – but it’s nice! I wish I took more conscious notes in the moment because the flavours felt quite layered. More of a mineral and bitter roasty top note that reminded me a lot of coffee grounds following by a just slightly disconnected buttery oolong – same as the oolong base in the other ETTE blend I reviewed not too long ago. In as long as it took me to process that there was some dissonance with the flavour, the disconnect had passed and the sip was finishing with a thicker and more sweet coffee and cream/vanilla type note. Very decadent send off flavour wise for what starts a more robust and tea forward blend. It’s interesting and enjoyable, which is exactly what I want in a blend. Things that make me excited for that next cuppa…
Steeped this one last Sunday. As I’ve said in the past, this shou puerh blended with snow chrysanthemum is a favourite of mine – especially in colder weather. It’s very full bodied with a dense liquor that’s almost equal parts syrupy and medicinal. The initial steeps have strong notes of herbaceous dill w/ heady floral undertones and the entire session is rich with thick, coating notes of blood orange, pithy Aperol, and bittersweet candied orange rinds!!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CleTxKCuQX2/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyB8eV83MME