Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Story Of My Tea: Blind Tea Tasting Adventure

Story of My Tea has one of the coolest things, a blind tea tasting! This is something I have wanted to do for a while, spurred on by my love of trying to figure out what things are and those years of making mystery tea themed Advent Calendars for friends...problem is I almost always know what it is I am drinking, there is no mystery or surprises for me. They are currently running a Kickstarter and a really intense tea and teaware themed giveaway, and I get to test out one of their kits, so onto the mystery! When ordering my kit I said I wanted no blends, herbal teas, and non herbals (no puerh) and that I prefer gongfu brewing but I am willing to play around with other styles (because let us be honest I totally am) and when listing favorites I picked: Red Jade, Balhyocha, Tusli, Gui Fei, and Kenyan Silver Needle. I will be revealing what the teas are at the end of the blog, I did not look at the cards revealing what the teas are until I took the picture, so I went into this blind.


Looks like an herbal, from the leaves it appears to be a blend of tulsi, cardamon, red peppercorns, orange peel, and rooibos (maybe hawthorn or dried apple bits too). It smells like a shiv to the face of spicy citrus, reminds me of the simmering potpourri and pomander balls my mom would make and have around at Christmas so this tea smells immensely holiday-ish to me. When I said it smelled of Christmas it ended up sending Ben and I into a debate on what exactly that holiday is supposed to smell like since his family was not big on orange spice themed potpourri and pomanders. Maybe this is a Southern thing...or a British thing...my upbringing was weirdly multicultural (no really, I was better at eating with chopsticks as a kid than I was with a fork) Since this was an herbal I brewed it western style, the taste is very warming with orange being the dominant taste, undercurrents of spice and a touch of an herbaceous finish. Orange pretty much drowns everything out, it tastes like what I imagine one of those potpourris tasting like, but much sweeter.


Ok, looks like another herbal, a blend of cinnamon (I don't see any, but I really smell it) apple bits, rosehips, lemongrass, hibiscus and maybe verbena...there is something leafy and herbal and I cannot tell from smelling it because all I smell is cinnamon candy. Seriously this tea smells just like a Red Hot candy....I am nervous because it also has rosehips and hibiscus, and I really hate those ingredients. Not a huge fan of cinnamon candy or apples either. Ok, tasting...it kinda tastes like apple pie with a metric ton of cinnamon, a very tart apple pie, it is very sweet and very tart...it is a weird thing and I am thinking someone who is a fan of tart pies might like it a lot more than I do.


Oh hey another herbal....and...oh god why!!!! It is, what appears to be, a blend of mint, hibiscus, lavender, and chamomile. WHY!!!!!! I like lavender and mint, I like chamomile and lavender, but why in the name of all things holy would anyone mix hibiscus and mint...this has to be a blend that was someone created deliberately to troll me. As I steeped this and the tea turned a deep ruby red I could just feel myself cringing in fear. I know I am being harsh, it is just...lavender is one of my all time favorite flowers to have in tea and hibiscus is my least favorite thing to drink...ever. But, it is part of the experiment, so I tried it...and I did not like it. Mint, hibiscus, and lavender do not belong together, the chamomile was fine and I have nothing to say about it being there. It is immensely tart/sour and minty, with a cloying sweet floral finish that sent my brain into whiplash.


Tea!! Actual tea! Ok, more my specialty too since it appears to be a black tea, from first look it is either an Indian or Ceylon, sniffing it...definitely Indian. A nice blend of malt and underlying muscatel. From just sniffing it I am going to guess 2nd flush Darjeeling (one of my favorites, woo!) Brewing up a nice orange color and I am greeted with a strong muscatel note...definitely a 2nd flush Darjeeling. The taste is rich and sweet, a bit malty and with the taste of cooked pumpkin and of course that signature muscatel taste of stewed raisins. I liked this one, classic 2nd flush!

And here is the reveal!

6014 Tulsi Orange Ginger
6008 Winter Winds
6002 I'm A Gypsy 
6009 Organic Darjeeling Sungma 

This was a fun experience, sadly the herbals and I did not get along at all...I was hoping when I put in herbals it would be more straight herbals (like comparing different mints, or trying to see if what I am drinking is blackberry leaf or raspberry leaf) rather than flavored fruity blends (and if it was blends it would be something more akin to one or two ingredients and not flavored at all) but putting herbals in was clearly a mistake on my part since I am so picky with them. The real question is, is this the kind of product for me...a seasoned tea reviewer that primarily drinks gongfu? And the answer is probably...as long as you fill the questionnaire out accordingly and not give too many variables like I did. I hope to try this again sometime, I would love to see a blind tasting adventure of just different Taiwanese Oolongs, or Chinese Black teas, I think something really focused like that would be amazing. If this seems like something you would like, go check out their Kickstarter, and definitely enter their giveaway!

Sent for review

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