13289 Tasting Notes
Mmm! I just finished baking some Maple Pecan cupcakes from scratch and my whole house smells heavenly now: nice and sweet and mapley. I’m resisting the urge to eat half a dozen of them right now in one sitting – and so I thought I’d try this out to maybe curb those cravings a little bit.
So, my local Safeway carries basically any Stash tea you can name (which is awesome since Stash is my favourite bagged tea brand) – so earlier in the week I pulled up the Stash website and had my roommate look through and pick out a tea he wanted to try. For whatever reason he seems to like drinking teabags – the loose leaf I have seems to slightly overwhelm him. Also, in part I think maybe he feels less guilty drinking the bagged tea because he knows it’s less expensive and there’s less risk of him “ruining” or wasting leaves from something higher quality. I guess that’s thoughtful of him.
Anyway, this is the tea that he picked out, much to my frustration. It’s not so much the tea itself that frustrates but more how contradictory he is. He keeps telling me that he hates chai teas and he hates black tea – and yet those are basically the only teas he drinks. Urgh. He thought the vanilla would be nice and creamy in this though – so since the box was only three bucks I picked this up for the both of us to try: my treat (he’s basically broke – in fact his Dad is paying his half of rent this month, although he got a job a few days ago working in the restaurant of one of the chefs who teaches him at Siast, so in a week or two he should be on his feet again).
My pick out of the Stash bagged teas I picked up was the Strawberry Pomegranate I had this morning. Even though it was odd this morning because I wasn’t expecting it to have rooibos, I think it would be really well suited for times I am actually craving a rooibos blend.
Back to this one, though! Dry, the bag smells primarily of cloves with some cinnamon and nutmeg. Not much else comes through, but I can’t blame it: damn that clove smell is INTENSE. Steeped in boiling water for 4 minutes, this one smells heavenly though. There are light notes of cinnamon, this kind of gentle nuttiness to the aroma, nutmeg, and a strong creamy vanilla smell that is almost as yummy as the smell of the baking in the house right now. I’m happy that, in the smell anyway, the cloves have slammed on the brakes.
I’m almost hesitant to take a sip of this one, because I’m going to be really disappointed if this yummy nutty, lightly spiced vanilla smell is drowned out by unnecessary amounts of cloves or ginger root in the taste. Oh well, better get it over with…
Hmmm… Mmmm… Well, there is clove. A pretty good deal of it, but there’s also a consistent vanilla creaminess to the blend with some gentle cinnamon notes and light nutmeg. The vanilla itself had a sort of buttery quality to it, and the mouthfeel of this is pretty thick and rich for a bagged tea. I’m pretty impressed. Combination of scent and taste is borderline heavenly. Next time I have this (and there has to be a next time) I’ll be adding in some milk and seeing if that does anything to tamper the clove and accentuate the creamy vanilla.
Even though I’m pretty sure his pick was uneducated and blind, I think Tre picked out a good one, and I’ll admit that it’s nice to have a black tea in stock that’s also decaffeinated.
They say you should never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry, and that you should always stick to your list: but what about making your list when you’re hungry? Right now I’m making a grocery list for myself for after I get off work: but I’m STARVING so I keep adding things like “cinnamon buns” or “mozza sticks” and then thinking to myself, “no, self, you don’t NEED mozza sticks – you should cross that off the list”.
At the same time I’m drinking this tea. I realized I had a TON of it still, so I steeped some up in my timolino. I used a generous 2 tsp. for the timolino steeping in boiling water for seven minutes or so. It’s still nice and hot as I’m drinking it. I have to say though, I’m a little dissapointed. Maybe I’ve spoiled myself by drinking DAVIDsTEA’s Choconut Oolong too much recently – because the licorice (which is my favourite thing with this tea) seems much less tasty in comparrison to the licoricey notes in Choconut Oolong. Boo. And, the rest of the tastes in this tea have always just been mediocre and average for me (and truthfully, a little “broth like”). So, combine mediocre chamomille with a broth/stock like feel to it with a less than exceptional licorice taste and you get…
At least this one is still realling good for late at night (no caffiene) and fighting off colds/illness. It’s still got that going for it. Dang: I hate when I spoil a tea I used to love with a new, and less available (or worse, like in this case, limited edition) one! Now I’m all pouty…
The mall has been playing Christmas carols for the last few days – and I’ve been kind of happily singing along: but they’re finally starting to grate on my nerves and feel tedious and repetitive now. Like, how many times in one day can you listen to “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” before you want to stab yourself in the ears. I’ve heard it SIX TIMES so far today, and the day’s not done. I can’t imagine how much I’m going to resent carolers by the time Christmas actually hits. At least switch up the songs: it’s been the same 10 Christmas carols basically all day…
It felt like it had been a long time since I had had this blend, so I made myself a full 20 oz. water bottle full. Also, it helped that I was really craving peaches and cream oatmeal but we didn’t have any in the house: this is a pretty accurate replicate for the flavour (especially with a little milk).
For preperation, I steeped 1 1/2 tsp. in 10 oz. of boiling water for 6 minutes. I then took the same leaves and resteeped another cup the same way. They were then poured into the water bottle and left to cool.
All the flavours are really coming together well in this cup: and I’m finding now that I’ve tried more oolong teas I’m appreciating the oolong base a lot more.
In other news, I’ve made friends with the manager at the yogurt bar (self serve yogurt, basically) right next to my kiosk! So, yay for having someone to talk to. It’s awesome because she seems pretty cool and now there’s something else to help make the time seem to go by quicker.
So, I though I’d switch up my “at work” breakfast today a little bit (typically, I get hashbrowns and chocolate work from A&W) – mostly because the walk to work was especially cold and I just wanted something to heat me up. So, I opted for tea instead of chocolate milk. It couldn’t hurt, right? All the tea my local A&W serves is Stash brand – and as far as bagged tea goes that’s typically a favourite brand of mine. So, strawberry pomegranate it is!
Dry, the tea bag smelled very much like strawberry kool aid drink mix: sweet and fruity, is a bit artificial (but in the best way – who doens’t love strawberry kool aid?). The was also a nice sort of tang to it, a sharpness if you will. I steeped the bag for five minutes in whatever temp. water it was that A&W had given me. The liquor is a very red brown colour and smells like sharp, tangy strawberries and… oh, what is that?
I’m smelling that signature rooibos smell right now. Hmm… I thought this was a herbal. Time to read the ingredients listed on the teabag now. So, the teabag says “herbal” on the front, but in the back ingredients there IS rooibos listed. I mean, it’s not like I dislike rooibos tea – it’s just not what I had expected for breakfast this morning.
The taste is initially very tart and tangy strawberry – like stawberry kool aid tastes before you dump in that crap load of sugar it needs to get sweet. Then, it gives way pretty quickly to a VERY woody rooibos taste. Considering I’m a fan of rooibos tea in general, I’m not minding the rooibos here but if you’re NOT a rooibos fan you probably really want to stay clear of this one. Finally, the aftertaste is a short lived mellow strawberry. I’m not totally sure where the pomegranate is fitting into this: it’s not really standing out at all.
Overall, this is pretty nice for a bagged tea, but I’m not really loving the “false advertising”. I like rooibos, but this morning I was in the mood for some straight up herbal deliciousness.
This was my second indulgent tea that I brought with for work today. Because this is so heavy and pretty costly, it becomes and expensive blend to restock so I don’t often have it – which is a shame because it’s one of my favourite white teas.
Although, being honest I’ve still never warmed up to the smell of the dry leaf which smells like strongly fermented fruit/alcohol to me. Ick (thankfully the tea itself tastes so so much better).
For preparation, I steeped 1 1/2 tsp. (heaping spoon) in boiling water in my timolino for about seven minutes (the high end of the steep time recommendations). It can take a longer steep time though – and tastes more rich when you steep for, say, 10 minutes. However I was rushing to get to work so I just went with seven. The liquor is a nice pale gold gold colour, hence the name of this blend.
I don’t know what it is about this combo of dry ingredients but drinking this it’s like drinking liquid Werther’s candy. Sweet, creamy, and coconutty. SO GOOD. I constantly catch Tre picking out the mulberries from the dry leaf – he just doesn’t seem to get that we cannot afford for this blend to turn into trail mix: it’s too expensive to replace!
I indulged a little this morning and made two of my favourite teas for work. My excuse was that with my paycheck coming in I could easily afford to do so! I’ve tried to do the math, and with what’s already in my account taken into consideration I can set enough aside for December and January’s rent and my grocieries and still have approx. $200 left to spend on tea! Woot!
To buy what I want from DAVIDsTEA It’ll be about $40-50 dollars, and then I’m going to FINALLY put in my Butiki order which comes out to roughly $100 dollars (just a touch more) – which leaves around $50 for other orders. Hmm… So much to take into consideration. Do I put in my Della Terra order which is only $30ish or do I go for a Harney & Sons order and just get a whole bunch of sample sizes. One thing is for sure, I’m gonna be getting a lot more tea coming up soon (I could also wait until Black Friday sales – although I have another paycheck coming in on Dec. 3rd right after Black Friday).
Anyway, for this tea I steeped one teabag in 10 oz. of water for three minutes. This is probably my favourite bagged tea, by far – but it’s really touchy and gets bitter quite quickly so it’s easy to screw up. Thankfully, I didn’t and this is super smooth and yummy.
Right now I’m drinkinhg it cold – and there’s a very “pie like” quality to it. It’s like eating a fresh slice of my Grandma’s homemade Saskatoon Berry pie with the crust and everything: it’s just missing that dallop of vanilla icecream (which could be replicated with milk or cream, but oh well). The black tea base still comes through – but only seems to enhance the sweet syrupy Saskatoon berry taste for me. Yum! I get nice mellow notes of raspberries too, and very subtle notes of blackberries jam keep flickering in and out of the sip.
This is better hot though, honestly.
Also – I’m SO incredibly sick of crying children and parents who just don’t seem to know how to handle them. Maybe it’s naive of me to say this, not having kids of my own or anything like that, but don’t come to the mall if you’re going to bring your misbehaving little three year old son or daughter who doesn’t know to keep their hands off the stores’ merchandise (and not throw it across the store) or if you’re that stupid kind of parent that just lets their child have a tempertantrum in the middle of the mall and stands their and does nothing (or worse responds by freaking out back at them). Please, discipline your children or else they’re only going to get more self entitled and bratty.
Urgh. My head is killing me from dealing with all these absent parent’s and their screaming children. I know it’s not the kids’ fault – but I’m seriously starting to resent children.
I was looking for something to sip down tonight since my paycheck is tomorrow and I’m anticipating that, though I haven’t decided where yet, I’m going to be placing at least one medium to large sized order with someone. I’m torn right now between 52teas, Butiki (but we’re talking $100 order for this one), Della Terra, CeasersTea, Harney & Sons, and TeaCupany. So many places to try out…
Also, I’m gonna stop at my local DAVIDsTEA and replenish my Cranberry Pear and pick up more Gingerbread and White Chocolate Frost…
Anyway, I completely forgot I even had this tea bag – probably because for whatever reason it never got logged into my cupboard. I remember exactly where I got it from, though! Last time or second last time or whichever it was when I visited Robyn at the University I stole one of these teabags from their cafeteria (shhh). I remember that was right around when I got my Teavivre samples from Lala and I was on a “try all the jasmin!” type of kick that weekend.
So, sipdown! I steeped following directions on the teabag: 100 degrees celsius steeped for 1 1/2 min. To be honest, the teabag dry smelled disgusting: like some God awful combination of moss, lawn trimmings, medicinal orange flavoured stuff, and cheap jasmine perfume. Yuck! Steeped, however, this smells much more pleasant. The orange smells juicier, like when you’ve just finished cutting a large bowl of orange slices and there’s that very slight orange juice mist kind of hanging in the air. The passionfruit mingles nicely with this.
I’m not a huge green tea fan (though I am learning to tolerate flavoured greens), and there’s still a fairly cheap and unpleasant vegetal smell coming off the tea, but I’m tolerating it because it’s not as nasty as the dry teabag smelled. The jasmine smells ok and marries nicely with the orange and passionfruit – but it’s just a touch perfumey smelling.
I keep smelling pine and mint too, and that might be throwing me off. However, I know that’s not part of the tea – it’s from the vapor rub/muscle relaxant I just finished applying to all my aching limbs. Mostly I feel like jello right now – which is VERY nice. I have a feeling I’ll sleep well tonight but I don’t want to jinx it.
Ok – taking little baby sips now: the tea is still very hot and I don’t want to burn my mouth. It’s actually pretty good. The jasmine doesn’t come off as too artificial in the taste, although while the orange and passionfruit still taste juicy they have reverted a little bit back to the “medicinal” quality. It’s not unbearable, though. Not at all. The green tea isn’t too strong for me, and I appreciate that. Basically, everything marries together really well. Only real downside is that the aftertaste reminds me of those really grainy and chalky orange flavoured chewable vitamins. Not so fond of that…
However, considering this is Lipton and it’s really cheap, I could MAYBE see this as something I’d buy (or steal) more of just so I could have a cheap bagged jasmine tea with some other additional flavours for when I’m so lazy I just can’t put in the effort for a good cup of loose leaf, or to take with as a travel tea. However, operative word there is cheap.
From my swap with VariaTEA. This wasn’t actually initially part of initially our arranged swap, but she saw me mention something about it on another tasting note and offered to throw some in for me. And I’m glad she did, because I otherwise might have caved and bought some for myself – and I now know I would have regretted it.
I’m a HUGE fan of mint (especially peppermint) and typically I snatch up most blends with peppermint (although I’m working on being more choosy with mint blends). This is one of few David’s blends that contain mint that I just couldn’t buy for myself though: I sniff it nearly every time I go into David’s to see if my opinion has changed, but each time the smell does zero to entice me. Part of me thought it was because of the peppercorns which I find to be an odd thing to throw into a chocolate/mint blend. I still sorta think that.
The parcel from VariaTEA just smelled so strongly of this tea – and really you can smell the leaf through the bag it was packaged in. It’s incredibly chocolatey and the chocolate does smell pretty nummy, I’ll be honest. Like straight, melted down chocolate from a fondue or something (I’d kill for a cheese fondue right now – that’d be heavenly). However – and this is something I don’t often say in regard to mint blends – the other ingredients in this blend (chocolate, peppercorns, black tea base) practically drown out all the peppermint in the smell of the dry leaf. It’s just not minty enough for me.
For prep, I steeped 1 1/2 tsp. in my timolino (boiling water) for five minutes. The smell was very fudgey as it steeped with something else unusual (maybe the peppercorns) and not a whole lot of mint. I’m wondering if a longer steep time would have brought out the mint more. I guess I try that with the last cup worth of leaf I have.
I brought this to work, but I didn’t end up drinking it (combination of being too busy training and realizing I made two mint teas this morning and somewhat wanting to space them out) – so I’m drinking it now. This has a very smooth black base and I’m getting lots of rich chocolate and fudge type of notes that are present all throughout the sip. I bet milk with just serve to make this super rich and creamy, like milk chocolate. I’m not getting any type that’s explicitly peppercorns, but there is an unpleasant and distracting tickle/scratching feeling at my throat in the aftertaste that I’m sure must be from peppercorns because it also happens when I drink White Chocolate Frost (which is also a chocolate/peppercorn tea). I really dislike it.
As far as the mint goes, it’s so subtle and nearly totally drowned out by the chocolate that I’m only barely registering it’s there. Mind you, I LOVE mint and I love STRONG and CONCENTRATED amounts of it (I’ve even drank straight peppermint extract before) so maybe this’d be enough mint for someone with a more regular love and appreciation for it. But for me – it’s not enough and it’s not doing it for me. I’m pretty disappointed.
I prefer Della Terra’s Minty Cow – I like the addition of vanilla and I think that blend is better balanced. This is good if you want really chocolaty and fudgey tea, though. It’s not as if I wont finish my timolino of it.
Sidenote – anyone on Steepster a fan of Cage The Elephant? I’ve been listening to their most recent album on repeat for days now. I think I have a lot of the tracks memorized at this point. It’s really good! If you’re at all into Indie/Rock music I recommend looking them up. This album is called Melophobia and I’m really enjoying the songs Come A Little Closer, Telescope, and Hypocrite specifically (they’re all good though).
Also Supernatural is now on Canadian netflix!!! YAY!!!
Today’s work shift just flew right by! I mean, that’s probably because I was training today so I had someone to talk to and lots of cover which gave my something to do consistently – but still. Actually, I sort of talked myself hoarse. Oops. Also, I officially sent out my swap with LovelyLotus today, so I can actually say good riddance to the last of that tea! I’m so very happy to be rid of it, and I genuinely hope that it’s much more appreciated there than it was here.
I made some of this in the morning and had it at work. What I did was use two bags for two cups of tea steeped for five minutes each in boiling water. I tried lots of Moroccan Mint teas, but honestly this bagged version is my favourite and one of few bagge teas that I feel I need to keep around.
I drank this at room temp. just like I’ve been doing with most of my mint teas lately. It was very pleasant and a great balance between fresh spearmint and peppermint and light and grassy (in the good way) green tea. Yum! Sorry other tea companies, but Stash just does this one RIGHT. It’s my go to when I want a ‘lighter’ but still flavourful mint tea.
So, I wanted to save my 200th tasting note for something special – and a Tetley tea is not something I exactly had in mind. However I suppose it’ll do.
Tonight Tre and I were invited to my Aunt’s house for a nice sit down meal. Honestly, best meal I’ve had all week BY FAR (but I guess that’s not too hard to say: I’ve been living off mall food for weeks now). Perhaps the best meal I’ve had since moving to Saskatoon (that, I think, is a good compliment). She made quiche florentine from scratch, squash, pickled beets (this was the only downside to the meal: I hate beets and anything pickled – however considering that they were quite delicious and still top three straight days of cheese and crackers), and homemade tomato and rosemary bread. Oh, it was SO heavenly and I stuffed myself like a glutinous little pig. All my aunts seem to be such AMAZING cooks (I know Tre was impressed by her cooking skills) but that makes sense since they grew up with my Grandma who was a caterer. For dessert we had rhubarb from her garden topped with homemade soy based yogurt and pecans. It was SO FREAKING GOOD.
Tre also had some of her homemade chardonnay (I passed because firstly I’m underage, and secondly because I’ve been substance free for approx. two years now and wish to keep it that way), and I was offered some tea. I had brought her large sample sizes of two teas from my stash that I dislike, but I genuinely thought she might like (Ontario Ice Wine and Earl of Lemon) and she asked if I wanted something from her stash or one of the ones I brought. I jumped at the chance to have something from her stash: she’s a pretty extensive tea drinker (my uncle not so much, he’s the type who’s impressed by the variety of teas carried by bulk barn and thinks chocolate tea is super fancy) and I know she’s got loose leaf from tons of local shops she’s travelled to when her and my uncle were touring Canada (they’re musicians/performers) so I thought I might get to try something I otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
Well, to my surprise she pulled this out… Really, of all the things she keeps stocked she wanted to drink Tetley. Oh well, not wanting to be rude I said I was happy with this one (and Tetley really is fine in its own right, it just wasn’t what I was expecting). Afterall, I was a guest in her home and no one appreciates an ungrateful guest who isn’t content with what’s offered. I guess the fact this tea was part of such a fancy and special dinner is enough to make it worthy of my 200th tasting note.
The tea itself was actually really good. I was probably being way more critical than necessary and it still managed to impress me. There was, of course, the signature taste of rooibos (I find Tetley’s rooibos teas have extra noticeable notes of “wood” and “maple”). The vanilla was super rich and very creamy. Tre ended up having a cup, and I don’t know if it was the pressure of being someone’s guest and not wanting to seem ungrateful (like I felt) or something else, but he didn’t even add any sugar to this one.
In a lot of ways I was pretty heavily reminded of DAVIDsTEA’s Birthday Cake. It’s quite similar, but still very different. Of the two, I much prefer to stock Birthday Cake – but this still went down very smoothly and I had no issues finishing it. It was a great complimenting flavour to the rhubarb as well.
Unfortunately, since I didn’t prepare this for myself I have no idea what the brewing parameters were though.
(Extra bonus story: On the drive home I was talking to my Uncle about tea, and he mentioned that in the morning my aunt had made him his first chai tea. Except, he knew nothing about what kind of chai it was or even than there are multiple kinds of chai, and the tea he described sounded almost exactly like the flavour profile or this tea or perhaps a cinnamon vanilla rooibos; he used the words “woody” and “medicine” like to describe it and that sounds like most people’s perception of rooibos)