Posts Tagged ‘Flavours’
Tea Company: The Coffee Trade Company (website)
Ingredients: Roasted rice, roasted peas, and roasted chicory
Vendor Suggested Preparation: not listed online
This review is on one of the coffee substitutes on the market – Ersatz Coffee. First of all, what does Ersatz mean? I can only guess that the makers of this were going by the German translation of the word which is “substitute” or “replacement” because in other languages such as Russian and English the meaning is less favourable. In Russian it means “artificial” and in English the term often implies that the substitution is of unsatisfactory or inferior quality (not as good as the real thing). It does not have this connotation in German. (Source: Wikipedia).
Steeping instructions are to steep bag in 8 ounce cup of hot water for 3-5 minutes. Ersatz Coffee is made of roasted rice, roasted peas, and roasted chicory. When I poured in the hot water, I could definitely smell the roasted rice, however after steeping it for 5 minutes and removing the bag the nose on the Ersatz was not very appetizing. It smelled of burnt rice. I took a sip and yes, definitely burnt. I could understand the coffee aspect of it; it has that boldness of coffee but is very flavourful, and myself being in the process of cutting out coffee completely, this would be good for me.
I cut open the bag and could see that some of the contents inside had turned black. It would have been nice to try this not burnt because I like nutty and roasted flavours but the burnt taste was too overwhelming. I may give it another try another day.
You can purchase the Ersatz directly from the The Coffee Trade Company website.
Tea Company: Canton Tea Co. (website)
Ingredients: Puerh tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Use the gongfu style. A small teapot (or small amount of water) with 3-4 g of tea and hot water: 95°C (203°F) infused for just 20 secs. Reinfuse at least 6 times
Descriptions of this pu’erh say it is to be sweet and mellow. The dry cake is very spicy and sweet with a touch of smokiness. Flaking off several pieces of the larger cake into a gaiwan and prepared to rinse the leaves. The now-wet leaves carry less of a smoky smell than before. My first steeping is for thirty seconds. This infusion is sweet, spicy, and only carries the slightest of smoke-tinged aroma. My first taste is mellow, bold, and has only the slightest of rough edges. The slight smokiness does not in any way detract from the flavour. That same flavour is not overly vegetal. This cooked pu’erh really has mellowed in the twelve years since it was harvested.
The second 30-second infusion is no less smooth and mellow. This pu’erh has been a pure joy to drink so far. The second infusion tastes just like the first, except the aftertaste is a bit woodier. Not a rough woodiness, but the woody flavour is just a bit more intense.
As the infusions continue, the flavours do become more bold as the water puts the tea through its paces. This tea is faintly reminiscent of a lapsang souchong at times, because of the smokiness. After a total of six infusions, the steepings starts to weaken. I am a big fan of this tea and give it an 87/100 on my personal enjoyment scale.
You can purchase the 1999 Yi Wu Cooked Brick directly from the Canton Tea Co. website.
Tea Company: Tea Forte (website)
Ingredients: hibiscus, cinnamon, licorice root
Vendor Suggested Preparation: Steep for 5 minutes, 208F For stronger flavor, steep longer.
Ah, the pleasure of a good smelling tea. Often the dry leaves, as-of-yet un-infused, reveal a lot about the tea that is to come. The spicy and sweet notes of the dry leaves of this herbal tisane blend in an attractive melody that promises a deep and possibly heavy drink.
Utilising a Tea Forte Café Cup, I steeped this pyramid infuser for four minutes using just-boiled water. Smelling the infusion, it is clear that cinnamon is definitely what lends much of the spiciness to this tea’s aroma. However, with the first sip, it becomes immediately evident that cinnamon is not all that is in Tea Forte’s Flora. The sweetness of liquorice root melds with the explosion of flavour from the hibiscus in this blend. The hibiscus adds a lot of body to this tisane and sweeps through one’s mouth, filling it with flavour.
A re-steep of this herbal blend offers a much weaker version of the first cup, but with the same balance of flavours. This is one blend that is worth trying and might make a tasty chilled drink as well. I would give Flora an 83/100 on my personal enjoyment scale.
You can purchase the Flora directly from the Tea Forte website.
Tea Company: Tao Tea Leaf (website)
Ingredients: Pu-erh Tea
Vendor Suggested Preparation: not listed on website
The dry tuo cha smells of a smooth, cooked pu-er, but after rinsing this mini tuo in my gaiwan, the aromas of rice start to come out. Using just-boiled water, I prepare the first steeping. Light, golden-brown, the liquor is a bit cloudy and mingles a faint hint of rice with tea. The taste of this first steeping is not a flavourful as the aroma would suggest.
The second steeping gives off a darker brown infusion. This time it is hard to distinguish whether the tea is just very smooth or whether it lacks a lot of flavour. I suspect this is on account of the intense rice flavour, which seems to camouflage a lot of the pu-er nuances. Hopefully the rice flavours will give way soon and let the tea itself shine through.
Finally, with this third steeping, I am getting more of the flavour of the shou pu on which this tea is built. It is good, though perhaps not as amazing as I had hoped. I go ahead and put this tea through a couple more infusions. It is good, but I am left with the impression that it is lacking something. On my personal enjoyment scale, I would give it a 75/100.
You can purchase the Rice Shou Pu-erh directly from the Tao Tea Leaf website.
Tea Company: TeaFrog (website)
Ingredients: Pai Mu Dan, Cornflowers
Vendor Suggested Preparation: 1 tsp, 80 C, 2-3 minutes
The first thing I noticed was the beautiful blue flowers interspersed into this tea. They definitely added an enjoyable element to the presentation. Following the suggestions of the package, I steep this tea for two minutes, using three teaspoons of leaf (in a two-cup teapot). The water was heated to the point where small bubbles were forming on the bottom of the kettle.
I am really impressed by the aroma of this tea. I have drunk a few blueberry white teas before, most of which tasted immensely of blueberries, but in an almost-artificial manner. This tea is different. The blueberry flavour does not jump out at the drinker. Instead, it meshes well with the flavours of the Pai Mu Dan base. The blueberry flavours are everywhere throughout the tea, when it is first sipped and in the aftertaste, but the flavours do not dominate. Thankfully, they also do not underwhelm. It may sound like this is a lot to say to merely describe the way in which this tea is well-balanced, but it is my opinion that this tea deserves the accolades. I really enjoyed drinking this tea. It is indeed worthy of the 93/100 I give it on my personal enjoyment scale.
You can purchase the Blueberry White Tea directly from the TeaFrog website.