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Recent Tasting Notes
This one was nice but I think it’s probably the most forgettable of the three in the line up. It’s a distinct apple and berry taste, though I doubt I’d name blackberry as the specific berry in question without the name to prompt me to think of it. My main thing here is that I just felt like it was a lot of apple and a pretty average and unexciting apple at that. So was it refreshing, flavourful and tasty? Yeah, but in a kind of average sorta way.
This was another tea that I had prepped in advance of that first D&D session this past weekend. I doubled up on the tea sachets for this cold brew so that flavour was much more intense than what I experienced with my first tasting, but the overall tasting notes themselves were the same other than their strength. Still not really apricot, but definitely cherry and strawberry.
Of the three flavours in this line up, I thought this was the best. That’s likely fairly directly tied to the fact it was clearly the most flavourful and also the sweetest. With that said, it’s certainly the least accurate in terms of name. I had remarked right off the bat that there were a surprisingly large amount of strawberries on the package art for a tea that was advertising apricots and cherries and that turned out to be a really astute observation.
The tea actually tastes nothing like apricot, but it tastes very strongly of sweet strawberry and cherry candies. Like, Starburst candies but less tang and less intense. It’s really good but with how distinct/prominent the strawberry is I find it very peculiar that they chose to name the blend after apricot instead…
A coworker kindly brought back all three of F&M’s cold brew flavours, from their recent vacation to the UK, so that we could try them. It was very thoughtful, especially since ordering from Fortnum from overseas is a bit of a bitch. Very expensive for a gamble on teas you’re not sure if you’ll like…
I thought this was alright! All three cold brew flavours were a bit thin in terms of taste and body, but the clarity of flavours was the best in this one. I distinctly got bright sweet lemon and a more pithy orange. Like, orange with rind. The hint of bitterness from that orange peel taste was unexpected but I kind of liked it. I think on a hot summer day it would be really lovely and the nuance and not overly sweet profile could keep this from becoming really cloying after several cups or a pitcher of it. That’s a nice quality to have!
Second and last tea I have received from postcrossing forum tea tag. Thank you Amy.
Again, it’s only tea bag, which is a shame in my opinion, because loose-leaf could be even a bit better.
Yes, it is very tasty, however the base is hidding beneath the strong, genuine, lighlty tart cranberry taste, but not sour because no hibiscus in.
I was very glad that it wasn’t like a cough syrup for me and honestly this note surprised me in notes by others.
A good cup of tea, indeed.
A tea bag I have received through Postcrossing forum tea tag. I invited the sender here, so we will see if a new member will join us or not.
Anyway, if there is something that surprises me, is that there are only notes by ashmanra and Cameron, although the number of the tea in the web address is actually quite low (considering my Richard tea starting with 99).
On the tea review: Black tea with lemon is one of the basic flavours here. I am pointing that out as I found out there are quite big difference in tastes all around the world. It was/is common to brew “builder’s brew” and adding a lemon slices in. Or just the lemon juice. I have never been friend of these blends as they used to be very sour.
This blend is fine and I am pretty much sure it would be even better in loose leaf. The lemon taste is candy-like and not too sour, it doesn’t have medicinal flavour as well. The base seems a bit one dimmensional to me, tends to be sweet.
I am trying to not focus on Lemon Kandy by teakruthi as the best black tea with lemon flavour, because that one was loose-leaf, this is tea bag only. But sadly, here I am lacking something and not really sure what is it.
Flavors: Candy, Lemon, Sweet
Ashmanra sent a nice little sample of this my way with a caution that it leans to the strongish side, as mentioned in her advent review: 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.
Yin, yang. It is so malty and has the sharp coppery taste plus astringency that makes me enjoy it straight up on a morning when my eyes need a little help opening. It’ll be nice with milk, too!
You know how you get to talking when you make a cuppa and pay absolutely no attention to what you’re drinking, but it’s gone in about three good glugs? Yeah. What I can tell you about my first run with Royal Blend is that if it had any sharp edges to it, milk toned them down nicely to make a strong, smooth, wake-up cup. I’ll be more mindful next cup!
Ashmanra shared enough of this for me to have it three ways: super high-octane overleafed unleaded, a baby mild second steep, and one properly tended cuppa.
Either way, I was a little surprised to see such small leaves from a classy F & M selection. Not quite PG Tips CTC size, but close. Which resulted in plain old British breakfast tea without much subtlety—just like me and just like I like it. Very smooth, not much bite, very drinkable straight up without additives—although I added a dried orange slice to the baby mild steep and it was delicious.
ADVENT SIPDOWN 14!
Iced, of course. Although they call this plum (maybe), apple (maybe tart apple?) and cinnamon, I pretty much sip this and get jamaica, so really this is almost pure hibiscus flavor to me. As an iced drink, it is a nice accompaniment for meals or pleasant to sip on its own, as long as I sweeten it.
FORTNUM & MASON ADVENT DAY 24
Ashman and I drank this last night. It steeps up a gorgeous Christmas red in the cup. Truly beautiful. Ashman does not like tart tea so I added sugar to his, but it was not enough. He drank one small cup and said no thanks to any more.
I decided it would be best to ice this and sweeten like any other sweet tea, and since it was so festive looking, I had it with lunch today. To my surprise, it was extremely familiar tasting as a sweet iced tea. Took me a sec but I realized it tasted almost exactly like jamaica, which should not be surprising at all. This is how I will use up the rest.
I would not purchase the refill for this next year unless they promise a different tea assortment. But the wooden box is gorgeous and it will be fun to decide what I will put in it next year!
Having read about the other advent calendar experiences, the only one I would consider purchasing is the one from 52 teas.
Fortnum & Mason Advent Calendar 2021 – Day 24
Ooh, well it’s nice to see something different from this advent for the last day, even if I’m not the biggest fan of fruit tisanes. It smells nice in the tin at least.
Actually, I quite like it. It is slightly generic for this time of year, a mulled cider sort of thing with hibiscus. But I do think I’m tasting a bit of the plum, which adds a little something extra. Otherwise it’s apple, plenty of hibiscus, cinnamon, and I think some clove. Pleasantly festive for Christmas Eve movie watching!
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Clove, Fruity, Hibiscus, Plum, Spices, Tart
Fortnum & Mason Advent Calendar 2021 – Day 21
I’m finding myself struggling to keep up with my advents and writing notes here at my mom’s house, partially because of being away from home and partially because I haven’t been feeling great last night and today. But I’ve kept it up until now, and it seems silly to fizzle out with only four days left!
I love bergamot, but I don’t love lavender so I had mixed feelings when I saw this tin today. But I think the resulting cuppa is lovely! Medium to strong bergamot, with just a touch of lavender as an accent. I think I taste the honey as well, just a little bit. Thankfully not getting any licorice root, which seems like such a strange addition. Overall, I’m really enjoying this tea.
I also had jam this morning, both the Plum-Pear-Star Anise from yesterday and today’s Cherry-Hibiscus Flower Spread. The first was mostly pear to my tastebuds, with the star anise adding a licorice-y sweetness. Overall it was a bit too sweet for me, though I do love pear. The cherry and hibiscus one was lovely though, like an extra tart cherry preserve with a hint of floral.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Earth, Floral, Honey, Lavender, Smooth, Sweet
Fortnum Advent Sipdown #21
I liked this one better these last two times drinking it. I thought Ashman might dislike it since he doesn’t love bergamot, but he drank it happily. He added milk and sugar, I took mine plain.
Yesterday on the after breakfast cup, I felt like the lavender was more prominent than the bergamot, although it wasn’t overwhelmingly floral. Today for the first time, I was able to really detect the licorice root on the last cup, which was definitely cooling and was also taken after breakfast. It is probable that I didn’t notice the licorice root that much before because I was drinking the tea both days with Belgian waffles topped with cooked diced apples seasoned with cinnamon and brown sugar. That much sweetness likely overwhelmed the licorice root, which wasn’t the strongest I have ever had in a tea.
Overall, an enjoyable one from the advent!
FORTNUM & MASON ADVENT DAY 21
The first Earl Grey teas went okay, even though I am not a huge fan of bergamot. I like it well enough on a Chinese black tea base, preferably Keemun, which is why the first one went well. I really do like smoky tea so the Smoky Earl Grey was my favorite of the Earl Greys in this collection. The Green Earl Grey was okay. The bergamot wasn’t too strong,
It seems this one has a little more bergamot. I wish they had left out the licorice root, not because I don’t like it but because of the affect on blood pressure. I actually like the taste and mouthfeel of licorice root. But why honey flavor AND licorice root? It is the second ingredient listed on their site at 6% of the blend. But I really am not tasting it, I suppose because the bergamot is so strong.
Overall, it isn’t a bad Earl Grey. It has lavender, which I like. As I said, I can’t taste the licorice root and I really don’t detect the honey, but I had this was a lemon biscotti so maybe all the citrus overwhelmed those flavors.
I think most Earl Grey lovers would like this a lot. It is a gloomy morning with rain on the way and I am breakfasting alone, which I like. But Earl Grey goes best with tea parties, laughter, and a well lit afternoon tea table for me. In that context, I would probably enjoy it more.
Fortnum & Mason Advent Calendar 2021 – Day 22
When I said I needed to try this one again, I didn’t realize it would be so soon! :P
So this time I tried steeping a bit longer, but it still just tastes like anise to me. And I’m still not really tasting the green tea much at all…
I think at this point it’s safe to say I just don’t like this one.
Flavors: Anise, Hay, Licorice, Sweet
Fortnum & Mason Advent Calendar 2021 – Day 20
So I was interested to try this one, but lost some of my enthusiasm when I opened the tin and all I smelled was licorice root…
And the steeped tea was pretty much the same. I kept to a short steep, so the green tea itself was quite mild, and then there was a sweet anise flavor.
Ashmanra mentioned tasting other spices and things, so I’ll have to give this another try at a later date I guess…
Flavors: Anise, Licorice
Fortnum Advent Sipdown #19
Sweet from licorice root, rich with coconut, this one was better iced than hot to me. Finished it off as a big carafe of iced tea to go with dinner and to refresh in the afternoons.
I forgot it had licorice root in it when I made the iced tea and I added sugar as normal. Ashman asked if this had been sweetened and I realized my mistake. Yeh, it was super sweet…but good! I made another carafe when we finished that one and put less sugar than usual so it wouldn’t overwhelm.
All that remains are the Earl Grey blends (four typed) and the green tea with elderflower. I am likely on my own to sip these down as Ashman doesn’t love floral other than jasmine and is not an EG fan.
FORTNUM & MASON ADVENT DAY 20
I had to add this one to the database, and it does not show up on the F&M website, so I am guessing this is exclusive to the advent calendar.
This smells super sweet dry! The leading aroma dry and steeped is anise. Tastewise, I get the spices which (hooray!) does not include clove, the mouthfeel of the licorice root, the thick sweetness of coconut, and a little warmth (very nice) from the pink peppercorns. This has been one of the more complex of the teas in the advent.
Ashman enjoyed it and his first comment was that he smelled a lot of anise. God bless the man at work who brought him lumpia today, because it meant I didn’t have to cook lunch (Ashman has a half day) and also went really great with this tea!
Cameron: do you or your friend who has this advent ever have trouble getting some of the tins out? I have small hands and some days I still struggle to wiggle these tins out of there! They catch on the bottom lip, and if I lift they hit the top lip. Either the tins or the box need a redesign for next year! I vote the tins, so those of us who already have the box can buy the refills!
I remember a store (Macy’s?) many years ago that used to do one incredibly extravagant gift per year for the mega millionaires who had everything. I remember they sold a tabletop mouse ranch one year with sterling silver round up tweezers. As I wrestled with this tin, I thought, “those tweezers could come in handy for wrangling these tins out their slot.”
Sipdown! (17 | 17)
One down, 23 more to go…
This one is pleasant enough, as orange spice teas go. Has a nice strong orange flavor accented by cinnamon and clove. I do wish I could actually taste the cacao here, given it’s the second ingredient. Maybe it just gets bullied too much by the orange and spices? That rascally clove does tend to build up as I sip though, and then it overtakes the orange and I enjoy the cuppa much less. Not something I would buy, but pleasant.
I still have another mini tin of this tea to finish, but I figured I would start off with the duplicates and then come back to the second tin later, rather than doing two tins of the same tea in a row. (Although, if I’m honest, I’ll probably set the Christmas Green Tea aside to rehome, as it was the only one I really didn’t enjoy from the advent…) But I’m still counting each tin as a sipdown and there’s nothing you can do to stop me! :P
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Earth, Orange, Orange Zest, Spices, Sweet, Wood
Fortnum & Mason Advent Calendar 2021 – Day 23
Welp, I just had this one 3 (?) or so days ago, so not much else to say about it…
As orange spice blends go, it’s nice enough. I like that the orange is actually the strongest flavor. Still not getting any cacao at all, and the clove does tend to build up and take over as I sip through the mug.
As for jam, I had two this morning. From Day 22, it was the White Nectarine-Peach-Lemon Verbena Spread. I liked the stonefruit flavors, but the verbena made the whole thing taste slightly medicinal to me? Which wasn’t the most pleasant thing. For today’s jam, it was Raspberry-Chamomile Spread, which I actually really loved. The chamomile mostly came off as a sort of gentle honey note that was really wonderful with the tartness of the raspberry. I would consider buying this one if it was a permanent flavor! Oh well, happy to get to try it either way. :)
Flavors: Citrus, Clove, Earth, Orange, Orange Zest, Smooth
Fortnum & Mason Advent Calendar 2021 – Day 19
Ooh, finally a festive tea! I’m pretty sure this is one of the duplicated teas, so I assume maybe I’ll see it again on Christmas Eve. But with how inconsistent this advent has been, who knows? XD
This is mostly a fairly standard orange & spice type of holiday tea, though it also has cacao nibs so that’s a bit unusual. The citrus is the first thing that hits my tongue, and it has a lovely zestiness to it from the addition of clementine. I do taste the more classic, sweeter orange as well. Next I taste the very earthy Chinese black tea, and the spices start to trickle in. There’s certainly clove, and I’m picking up on the ginger as well. The combination gives a light tongue-tingling sensation. I don’t feel that I taste cacao here, even though cacao nibs are the second ingredient and there’s apparently also chocolate flavoring. I think it’s just being overpowered by the brighter citrus and spice ingredients.
Anyway, it’s quite enjoyable. I wouldn’t mind just a bit less clove, as it tends to build up a bit as I continue to sip. But I do enjoy the very acidic and bright clementine notes here, and how the citrus competes well with the spices.
I’m having double jam again today, as I didn’t end up getting to yesterday’s flavor. On Saturdays, I play board games with a group of friends at a game café in the late morning through the mid-afternoon, so a bit less time for tea-drinking and jam-scarfing yesterday.
Anyway! First off is yesterday’s (Day 18) flavor, which is Cherry-Christmas Spice Spread. What a perfect choice to pair with a Christmas tea, he he. I adore this one, it was one of my favorites last year and remains so today. Although I never understand why they don’t put it behind door 24, as I think it’s the only holiday-themed flavor? Anyway, rich sweet-tart cherries with just a kiss of warming spices makes for a scrumptious jam, and it pairs so well with butter on toast.
And then today’s flavor is Peach-Jasmine Flower Spread, which is new this year I think. The peach is sweet and juicy. I found the jasmine to be a bit too much when I tasted the jam plain, but I think it’s just the right amount when paired with toast. It adds a lovely soft floral top note. I will say, I find this jam a bit too sweet overall though.
Flavors: Citrus, Citrus Zest, Clove, Earth, Ginger, Mineral, Orange, Spices, Sweet, Tangerine, Tart