824 Tasting Notes
Happy National Strawberry Day! Pulled this last P&L sampler from my stash to drink today, prepared cold brewed.
The green tea itself has a deeply vegetal, spinach-like aroma. I get a bit of a berry fruitiness on the nose. The taste, however, is coming off strongly of the beets in the blend, and I’m wondering if that was a “luck of the scoop” from my little sample bag… I do taste some strawberry, but with the highly vegetal note of the green tea coupled with the strong beet note, it doesn’t really taste very fruity. Grassy, vegetal, a little metallic/earthy, bulldozing the subtle strawberry sweetness in the background. I’m not getting any sassyfras, which is disappointing…
I think I may have just overleafed this, adding to some of the strong green tea notes, and if I’d split the sample into two batches it might have been a little less intense, a little more fruity, and been more subtle on the beet. Ah well, I wanted to use up the full sample packet in one go. Not a particularly good cup, but I can see the potential in it and am chalking this one up to my preparation. That said, I’m still keeping my rating lower than I’d give otherwise since it is called “Sassyfras Strawberry” and I’m not getting one of those ingredients at all.
Flavors: Astringent, Drying, Earth, Grass, Mineral, Spinach, Strawberry, Tangy, Vegetal
French Friday! This is the sampler packet I pulled out of the sampler bag for today. Thank you for sharing, Dustin!
The dry leaf smells like the Petite Ourse tea by THEODOR that I tried recently; a strong tangerine citrus aroma. Steeped 3.1g of leaf in 350ml 175F water for 3 minutes. The brewed tea doesn’t smell so strongly of citrus, though; it’s a very tropical aroma, mostly mango, with a bit of a citrusy undertone. On the sip, the tea takes on more of a lemon citrus flavor than the tangerine I was getting on the nose; it has a slight tanginess at the end of the sip, but is a pleasant fresh lemon flavor, with no abrasive “floor cleaner”-esque qualities. I can taste a mango note too, but it is more subtle and gentle compared to the bright citrusy lemon. There is a hint of a sort of floral-quality sweetness as well, though I couldn’t place any particular floral to it.
The tea has a very bright and refreshing feel to it; I like lemon teas, and this one is top-notch!
Flavors: Citrus, Citrus Zest, Floral, Grass, Lemon, Mango, Tangy, Tropical
One of my old B&B teas from the Bluebird days; it’s a sealed 50g package, but apparently I purchased this from tea-sipper in a cupboard sale way back when, so thanks tea-sipper!
The dry leaf looked far more like a “fruit herbal” than a “green tea” to me, so I leafed it pretty heavily to do a liter cold brew overnight in the fridge. Rather than getting a sweet fruity taste, or even a tart/tangy berry (which I would be fine with, as hibi’s BFF on this site), it has come out tasting very medicinal to me, like cough syrup; normally I only get this particular flavor when fruity flavors are combined with rooibos, and I had to double check the package that there was no rooibos involved in this blend. I’m not sure what, exactly, is making it have that particular distinct flavor to me. Perhaps age is the culprit…
Cold brew is typically my preferred way to drink fruity hibi-hip teas, but I decided to try a warm cup, just to see if I got the same result. And, I actually didn’t get the weird cough syrup taste, but it also just tasted very flat… like a slightly strawberry flavored cup of hot water.
Both results just felt off somehow, so I’m guessing age didn’t do this one well. Usually fruit teas with a strong hibi-hip presense are right in my domain, so I feel some ingredient must be in a bad place for me to have issues. Withholding rating as a result. I have one last experiment up my sleeve, which is steeping the remainder of the packet in lemonade. I’m hoping that might balance some of the strange off-notes and bring out more of the fruitiness.
Thanks for sharing, tea-sipper!
Flavors: Berries, Cranberry, Fruity, Medicinal, Strawberry, Tart
Pulled this for my evening sipper, from a very old TeaSource order (a still-sealed January 2018 tea). Dry leaf aroma reminds me of their Evening in Missoula tea (one of my favorites, which I sipped down recently); they do share many of the same “rootbeer” ingredients, like wild cherry bark and sarsaparilla. This one does smell a bit more spice-heavy than Evening in Missoula, which had more of a minty undertone (thanks to the wintergreen).
Brewed tea still has that strong, pleasant rootbeer aroma. I’m definitely not digging the flavor of this one as much as Evening in Missoula, though. I definitely do taste sweet sarsaparilla (the sarsaparilla and lingering licorice root sticky sweetness really do come off very rootbeer-esque), but I’m getting a lot of cinnamon and chicory on the sip as well. I like chicory, but that roasty quality feels out of place here; not so much as to make the tea unpleasant, but considering both this blend and their Evening in Missoula have a very similar flavor profile, the other blend is the clear winner for me and I wouldn’t really feel a need to have both in my cupboard.
Strong rootbeer/licorice/spice notes, with this slight roasted coffee bean flavor on the finish. It’s fine, but the crisp, clean rootbeer flavor of Evening in Missoula with the wintergreen appeals to me more. That said, I won’t have any issues sipping this down; this cup was prepared hot (and was quite nice that way) but I definitely need to try it cold brewed/iced, which I imagine would work quite nicely.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Coffee, Licorice, Roasted, Root Beer, Sarsaparilla, Spices, Sweet
One of my oldest teas, brewed as an afternoon teatime cuppa. The dry leaf had a sweet marzipan aroma, with a bit of a tart cherry/cranberry. The tea brews up a pretty pale pink color from the hibi-hip; the brewed aroma isn’t as potent as the dry leaf, smells sweet and fruity, like honeyed nuts and red berry candy.
The flavor is a bit weak, but this is also a bit old, so hard to tell if that’s just the age peaking through. The white tea base is coming through more strongly than I expected from the dry aroma, providing a hay-like flavor. There is a light marzipan flavor, veering a little more like honeyed nuts toward the end of the sip rather than that really syrupy/alcoholy flavoring I’m used to with marzipan flavors in tea. I am not getting “cherry” but there is a sweet red berry note. I’m not tasting any hibiscus or fruity tartness; I, personally, would like a little tarter edge on the fruitiness.
I may have to try brewing this a few different ways to see if I can’t get some more flavor out of it, but this just may be the best I’m going to get from a January 2018 tea.
Flavors: Berries, Herbaceous, Honey, Hot Hay, Nutty, Sweet
French Friday! Randomly pulled this one from the French tea bag of happiness from Dustin! Thanks Dustin!
The dry tea smells just like cola! I love cola teas so that is promising. Brewed 2.5g for 3 minutes in 350ml 205F water. The brewed tea smells even stronger of cola; trying to break it down, it’s a generic spice note (perhaps a little sweet cinnamon forward?) and a citrusy note (smells like lemon-lime).
The tea is smooth and sweet; I get a citrusy note that tastes most closely to lime to me, but rather than having a tart or biting quality a very sweet flavor is left after the sip, like honey or vanilla. Midsip and lingering after the sip is a soft, sweet spice note, warming but not spicy. Mostly I get a sweet cinnamon note; the anise is not coming through with a licorice taste, for those worried about that.
This is described as “mulled wine” by THEODOR but I’m not getting that at all! It’s entirely warm, uncarbonated cola to me, which is one of my favorite flavors in tea. Probably my favorite I’ve had so far!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Honey, Lemon, Lime, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Vanilla
My migraine yesterday correctly predicted waking to a fresh cover of snow this morning. It left me in a latte sort of mood.
I’ve been trying to use up a box of rice that is a brand that just isn’t a favorite that I bought when my norm was perpetually gone during COVID, and had just enough for one more rice bowl, so thought I’d try a “breakfasty” one for a change. I like to flavor my rice with tea, so I grabbed this one to give it that slight “breakfast” feel. But instead of leaving the teabag in the water the whole time, I fished it out after the rice came to a boil and decided to reuse it to make my latte, as there was a lot of leaf in it — two perfect teaspoons, more than I would ever use making a normal cup of black tea. So with slightly used leaf, I steeped for three minutes in 12 oz. 205F water, then added 4 oz. frothed regular oat milk.
Tastes like a very malty English Breakfast tea, with a honey-glazed baked bread note, and also a bit of nuttiness (which may just be the oat milk, but at least accompanies nicely). A warm maple syrup note is noticeable, and quite pleasant in latte form. I definitely need to try this one sans the milk to see if the tea has any hiding astringency and better judge the sweetness of the maple, but it does make for a good latte choice. I think I’d even enjoy mixing it with a really roasted tea too, like roated mate or houjicha. Hmm…
Flavors: Baked Bread, Honey, Malt, Maple, Maple Syrup, Nutty
Oof, another oldie. I got this packet of mini tuos from the freebie bag at the San Francisco Tea Festival back in 2018. I thought there was only one in the package but there were two tuos, so it’ll take slightly longer to sipdown than I expected.
Gave it a rinse to help the tuo start breaking up, then steeped for 4 minutes. Smells like dirt with a subtle smoky element, and the brew is such a dark, thick brown it looks like the coffee brewed at my workplace.
I’m not a big pu fan, but this one is pretty tolerable to me. Does have a strong dirt flavor, but it doesn’t have that muddy/marshy taste to it, and it coming off as more of a “fresh potting soil” earthy taste. Also some hot hay undertones, and that subtle Keemun smoky note.
Not my favorite type of tea, but I do like the thick and warm mouthfeel and the caffeine is soothing on a head that is upset by winter storm barometric pressure changes.
Flavors: Dirt, Earth, Hot Hay, Smoke
Happy National Random Acts of Kindness Day! Today for the sipdown thread the prompt is “drink a tea that was kindly gifted to you!” Dustin kindly gave me several extra French tea samples above and beyond the THEODOR ones I purchased, including this one! Brewed as my morning cuppa.
Made my first cup with my typical black tea parameters: 2.5g to 350ml 205F water, steeped for three minutes. The packet says to use shorter steeps, but since in general I trend to using a lot less leaf than most folks, I decided to start with my standard, then adjust for the second cup if needed. I find it interesting that the company page says the flavoring is rose and apple, because the aroma I got sniffing the dry leaf was a mix of pear, black currant, and purple grape candy!
The aroma from my cooling cup mostly just smells like pear to me, but knowing that it is supposed to be apple, I can certainly get green apple. I’m definitely smelling rose now; a gentle, sweet floral, finely mixed with the fruity aroma and not overpowering. I’m not getting a strong astringent bite from the tea liquor on the sip, so I think it steeped just fine; the base is a touch malty and a touch smoky, neither characteristics I’d peg for a Ceylon, but that’s what I taste. The fruitiness on the sip still presents as pear to me, with soft rosy undertones. I like the flavor pairing. It’s only long after the sip, once the tea has settled on my tongue, that a mellow sweet red apple flavor emerges.
This is nice! I’m really digging the rose paired with a sweet fruitiness. Thanks for the chance to try it, Dustin!
Flavors: Apple, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Pear, Rose, Smoke
I’ve had a strong craving for this tea lately. One of my earliest tea memories was trying a plum oolong as that, conceptually, sounded amazing… and that particular plum oolong was just awful. They used a darker oolong for the base, the flavoring fell flat, and the slightly woody/roasty flavor of the oolong did not match the flavoring at all ( very dated Steepster review here: https://steepster.com/mastressalita/posts/376793 ). After that I was sort of on a “quest” for a good plum oolong.
Then I discovered Lupicia, and this tea. Taiwanese Dong Ding oolong base, with French mirabelle plum flavoring. The oolong and the flavoring compliment each other so nicely; the base is soft, floral, sweet, and buttery, with a silky smooth texture. The flavoring, likewise, isn’t an intense wallop but a gentle, sweet, juicy stonefruit flavor. It doesn’t have the tart/sour elements I associate with (at least traditional) plum, tasting closer to honey, wildflowers, and a cross between apricot and plum. It has that sort of perfumy quality that I’ve noticed from my (very limited thus far) introduction to French teas.
It’s been bitter-cold in my area (common for our Februaries!) and rather than turning back to chais I’ve found myself craving spring teas instead — greens, florals, and bright, fresh fruits — teas just like this one. I guess I’m ready for spring already!
Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Floral, Flowers, Honey, Perfume, Plums, Stonefruit, Sweet