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Recent Tasting Notes
2021 Homemade Advent Calendar Swap – Day 4
James and I like to open our Advent tea together each morning. Well, I like to open our Advent tea together each morning. I don’t know if he enjoys it as much as I do, but he humors me. He doesn’t normally drink the Advent teas anyway, just has a sip of mine then goes about making some tea of his own.
This morning, he very decidedly said that he wanted his own cup of this one. I was pretty excited about this blend too. If ever a tea smelled like Christmas, this is it. It’s mostly cinnamon, but there’s also that light citrus note mixed with the sweet spices that screams winter holidays. I should have steeped it all together and poured it into two cups, but instead I tried splitting the tea leaf into two baskets. I steeped a full ten minutes since both our husbands apparently prefer long steeps (according to Skysamurai’s note). The tea came out much too light for my taste, but James loved it. The flavor is Big Red cinnamon and while I don’t normally love the spicier cinnamon, it’s so good here!
SkySamurai’s mystery advent tea #12 backlog from 12/25
Onto the last tea! Scentwise, this looks to be another ultrasweet cinnamon tea… just not as strong as the blend from a few days ago. The flavor is much the same – milder on every level – less black tea bite, less orange even when the orange has been permeating in the infuser for the second steep, less cinnamon. I can’t tell there is orange here, but I’m sure that was where this was going… The similar blend from the other day would be tough to compare any other to. That other tea was EXTREME but extremely delicious. Steeping this one just makes me want to steep the other one again. :D My guess: cinnamon orange black tea. Was I correct? Yes.
This is the end of the mystery advent. Thanks again, SkySamurai! I have really enjoyed these mystery teas! They have all been teas that were delicious to me. I don’t know if that is because I am easy to please or you sent me some really special teas (Both?) :D And I like that I have a little more of each one to enjoy later on.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for full mug // 22 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
This was by far my favorite tea I have tried! I brewed this tea for about 3 minutes at just below boiling and it ended up as a nice golden, honey color. It is sweet with a floral taste and super smooth maltiness.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Floral, Flowers, Malt, Roasted
This tea brings back memories of my three week study aboard in China. While in Shanghai we were able to experience a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, though honestly I don’t quite remember if it was gong fu or something else. One of the teas I bought afterward came in a really cool box and I didn’t know till later but it was a ginseng oolong. Like milk oolong it’s a unique and somewhat strange tea. Starts off like a darker oolong but it’s the aftertaste that really makes it unique. Such an interesting mouth feel.
Oooh! This is such a funny (and good!) tea. I grabbed a sample out of a TTB awhile and am only now getting around to it. It’s like getting a jasmine milk tea… but without the actual milk! It’s creamy and fragrant and soo lovely. I want more! Haha. It’s something that I can see myself enjoying often, and it got me revisiting some of my other ‘cream’ teas. (Cream in those cases usually is more of a creamy vanilla flavoring, which is nice in it’s own right.)
It brews into a nice medium bodied cup and leaves no dryness. I made my friend try some and he felt tricked because it looks like normal tea… but tastes like milk tea. =D
Indigo Tea Company has some really lovely blends, but I rarely buy from them because of their 4oz minimum. This was a random 1-cup sample I found kicking around in my tea box…I think it came from skysamarai via a TTB. The last green Earl Grey I tried was unpleasantly grassy and bitter, but this one was really nice! A very smooth, slightly fruity green base layered with a strong but not too sharp bergamot flavor.
Flavors: Bergamot, Fruity, Smooth
I mixed the last of this with some rose petals, since I’ve found that I really like Rooibos with floral flavors. It’s a good combination. This is a good rooibos to start with, too. It’s smooth with a pleasant woody flavor. The vanilla is present, but rather mild. It’s nice to drink on it’s own, but I like it even better for blending.
Hidden Gems TTB
This is one of the first teas I tried from the box and it certainly makes for an interesting blend. It’s like a well balanced chai while simultaneously a floral white. I certainly get orange and jasmine but ginger and cardamom are also present. It’s pleasant enough and really quite unique but not necessarily something I would reach for often. Still it was fun to try and a great start to the box.
This tea is a great morning tea. Sweet, spicy cinnamon, with a touch of orange. But mostly cinnamon. Seriously. It really reminds me of a Chai. I swear I’m tasting cloves in here too, since my tongue is tingling. The base doesn’t come through so much in taste, but by adding a richness to the tea as a whole, and almost a coffee-like after-taste that I really like, and it’s not even astringent! I’d like to try this base by itself someday, just to compare. This is a flavorful cup, and I could see having this instead of coffee on the rare occassion that I crave it, but this isn’t one that I would pick in hopes of fruit flavor.
I don’t have much to say about this one. Meh. Not enough vanilla for me. I was able to taste it in the first couple of sips, but after that, I’m left wondering if I got used to it that quickly, or if it just isn’t there. Because it’s such a common flavor, and I like many other company’s more, I don’t think I’d reach for this one again. It’s not bad, per se, but doesn’t stand out in any way that would make me want to keep it on hand.
I had this last cup of this one last night and was pleasantly surprised. This was a a relatively nice evening herbal. It’s nothing to write home about but in the grand scheme of things it was a nice chamomile/mint herbal. I didn’t get a lot of the citrus flavours but the vanilla did seem to smooth out the blend.
This brew has such a smooth earth flavor. The rooibos brings it a dusty field taste. The vanilla smooths this out and enlightens the taste. I brewed this western styled with a generous amount. The aroma is mostly of a robust vanilla. I had only one complaint with this tea. As I began drinking down my steep, the vanilla become more and more subtle. This caused the brew to become more dry. This wont be a tea for me.
Flavors: Smooth, Vanilla
There is candy in my tea…. This gave me quite a surprise haha. I had the expectation that this was going to be hot, spicy, and very bold. To the contrary, it is quite the opposite. The cinnamon adds a soothing effect. This is followed by a smooth black woodsy flavor. The last ingredient blankets the drink in an enticing sweetness. The little candies add a sugared coating. This is a very calm sweet drink. The only spice that lays in this brew is only brief, and in the aftertaste. I like this and it did the job in warming me up.
Flavors: Candy, Smooth, Spices
HOLY CINNAMON BATMAN!! This tea has some powerful kick behind it. I tried my way around the cinnamon and finally arrived at a smooth black sweetness. The orange flavoring lies at the very bottom aftertaste. It’s a slight candied citrus flavor. This most certainly is not a tea for me.
Good morning, I usually have orange juice and tea so I decided to “kill two birds with one stone.” The initial sip is very sweet. It has an almost candy flavor. The blood orange comes off as delicate and smooth. The black tea offers a nice dark base. The aftertaste offers a very silky citrus. The aroma of this brew is sweet as well; its not that tangy. The color of the liquor is a dark brown with slight red. Its very clear and smooth. This was a decent tea, not all fantastic though. The orange flavoring seems a little to subtle and sweet for me.
Flavors: Candy, Smooth
I heard this had chamomile in it, so I decided to give it a shot for a bedtime brew. This is an interesting blend. It has a unique taste profile. The initial flavor is a strong spearmint which follows with a floral pollen taste. The aftertaste is wonderful! It can only be described as an earth sarsaparilla flavor. This would make a wonderful beverage if cold brewed and carbonated. It almost tastes of ginseng soda. I just recently found out the name was Missoula rather than Missouri, hahah good thing I didn’t photograph this one. The idea I was going to use involved an arch and I don’t think it would “fit.”
Flavors: Earth, Root Beer, Spearmint, Sugarcane, Sweat
This is very fruity! The pomegranate flavor has lost its sour taste and is replaced with a sweet rose flavor. The green base offers a nice calming effect. This brew is very fresh and floral. The aroma coming from my mug reminds me of watermelon ranchers. The aftertaste of this is somewhat stale. I can hint at an artificial syrup flavor. This isn’t my cup of tea, again, I believe this to be another blend that would do well if cold brewed.
Flavors: Floral, Green, Rose, Vegetal
mmmm :) This is always a classic. This particular brand of Ceylon has a very smooth flavor. The taste is still somewhat bold but quieted down. I love the aroma of the steeped leaves! They Have an uncanny wet forest smell, which I just enjoy so much! The liquor is a deep dark red and still has a slightly smoked flavor. This will always be a great everyday black. I like how this company keeps this going. :)
Flavors: Dark Wood, Earth, Smoke, Smooth
This is delicious!! I saw the name and I couldn’t wait to try it out. It is very suiting. The actual appearance of this blend is unique. I thought at first that it was just small red clay pebbles. The aroma is incredibly spicy. It takes quite a long time to brew but is well worth it. It has a sugarcane sweetness as the initial taste. This then follows with a zest and cinnamon flavor. The aftertaste is of clove and cinnamon. This is a many faceted brew and very enjoyable. The only part I dont appreciate, is that this leaves a powerful spice taste on your tongue. Otherwise this is a truly one of a kind brew!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Cloves, Sugarcane