New tea day, yay! It’s always super exciting when the mail lady brings me a tea package and I decided I needed to try Tiltshift right away. I ordered a few minis and a whole cake so I have some to try out while I let the cake age a bit.
Dry it doesn’t smell like much. It kind of smells like the paper wrapper or maybe the pouch it was packed in. Maybe that will change as they have a chance to air out a little. First steep/wash didn’t have a ton of flavor or color but it had a fruity aftertaste that for some reason reminded me of those ice pops that come in a plastic tube and you break them in half to eat them. I don’t know why. The ice pops are kind of gross but the tea wasn’t. The flavor stayed relatively light for the next several steeps while the ball opened up. There was a little bit of fruity flavor and maybe a tiny bit of floral but mostly I was getting that creamy vanilla thing I adore. Mouthfeel was soft and…powdery? Can something be wet and powdery? Not that nasty chalky texture of bad protein drink mixes but more of a soft silky type feeling like baby powder on your skin. The aroma got stronger with each steep. It smelled familiar but not? Sweet. Fruity but I couldn’t identify what kind of fruit and it seemed like a little floral hidden in there but I couldn’t figure out what kind for that either. At one point I thought I smelled grape but when I really thought about the different kinds of grapes I’ve smelled none of them seemed quite right. Maybe some kind of fruity candy? My steeps weren’t precisely timed but they were longer than I usually do for gongfu but shorter than western style. It just didn’t look or smell “done” after a short steep. Around steep 4 or 5 I forgot I’d added water and it steeped quite a bit longer than intended…it wasn’t the best steep but it wasn’t awful. That steep had a little more of the fruity flavors but it seemed like it was starting to get an overbrewed bite to it. After about 10 or so steeps I decided to give it a more western style steep with more water…because why not? The tea still had flavor and I started watching a movie and it just seemed easier. I ended up spending a really long time sniffing the tea as it cooled and two things came to mind: sour peach rings candy and a hibiscus-lime drink I had several years ago at an international food festival (not completely sure but I think it was chilled hibiscus tea with lime juice, a ton of sugar and maybe a little vanilla). I don’t think the tea smells exactly like either of those things but there’s something there that makes me think of them. This steep was sweet and creamy but I still didn’t taste nearly as much of the fruity stuff as I smelled. It tasted really good and smelled great, the smells and tastes just didn’t seem to match up? I liked it a lot and I’m curious about how the flavors will change over time. It might be hard to let it really age, though. I want to keep drinking it and play with different steeping methods and temperatures. If budget wasn’t a concern I’d probably order a mountain of Tiltshift. Realistically, maybe one more cake or another handful of minis if it’s still available in a few months when I try to justify another order.