91

Well, here I am finally reviewing this. I had put myself on the “To be notified” list for this one because it just sounded so yummy. I was infinitely intrigued by the concept of a chocolate cherry dessert tea. So, naturally, when the tea was reblended recently, I got myself a bag.

Smell in the bag is heavenly. You really get the cherry cordial tones from the bag alone! I had to wonder, would that translate to taste.

So I brewed this according to their instructions, for the most part – I used my Keurig for water which I think is supposed to be about 200F, and steeped 1.5 tsp for 3 min in 16 oz water.

Taste is… hmmm. It isn’t nearly as sweet tasting plain as the bag smells. I am getting some definite cocoa notes, along with cherry notes, but it is closer to cacao and bing cherry than milk chocolate cordial cherry. I drank the first cup plain. It isn’t really bad, so to speak, just not what I was expecting. The resteep, I added a single splenda to it. Ahhh, there is the cordial cherry! With the addition of a bit of sweetness, I am now getting a strong milk chocolate and sweet cherry flavor. I don’t know why I always need that extra sweetness to be satisfied. Maybe it’s my diabeetus craving sugar. But I must say, I enjoy this tea much more with a touch of sweetener. I did try a third steep for 7 mins but it didn’t work out the best. Guess this really is a two steep tea. Overall, a delicious tea with sweetener that really isn’t that bad plain either. I think I will hold onto this one for a bit, as I have other dessert teas I can alternate this with. But if I’m ever in the need for a chocolate covered cherry pick me up, I know where to turn!

Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Cocoa

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Roswell Strange

If you had asked me about sweetener in tea three years ago I would have adamantly held the position that a tea “simply isn’t a good quality tea if it requires additions to taste enjoyable” – but I’ve since realized that ideology is something I picked up from a crowd of tea drinkers who were somewhat more snobbish than I would like to be personally and would like the community to be as a whole. Sometimes I still have to combat that mindset; it’s like unlearning a negative behaviour…

Sweetener definitely does make your tea different and I do believe that can be both a positive OR a negative. It really, truly does depend on both your own individual taste preferences (and I don’t believe anyone has “superior” preferences; taste is qualitative) as well as an understanding of how different additives (sugar, milk, lemonade, etc.) both pair with and affect flavour. No wrong choices; just different ones. I definitely have my own arsenal of things I add to my tea when the mood strikes.

Don’t let anyone shame you for enjoying the added sweetness!

eastkyteaguy

Piggybacking off of what Roswell posted, but yeah, there is really nothing wrong with adding sweeteners to tea. I don’t have a problem with it. For some time there, my beverage of choice before work was either CTC Assam or Ceylon OP with additions of 2% milk and honey. I’ll even take the blasphemy one step further: I enjoy Southern sweet tea. I can’t have it very often, but it was a huge part of my upbringing and I lived off of it in college when I couldn’t afford better quality tea. I also sometimes like to add mango and apricot nectar to unsweetened iced tea on hot days.

Also, for a long time, I had trouble appreciating pu’erh and any sort of aged tea. When I tried to get into them and learn more about them, I ran into a lot of very snooty, rigidly dogmatic people who put me off of them in a big way. There are some fantastic, knowledgeable, and kind pu’erh fanatics out there (mrmopar and Liquid Proust chief among them), but there is also a number of very vocal people in that segment of the tea community who look down on anyone who gravitates to other types of tea and consider themselves the gatekeepers of the true tea community. I eventually just decided to ignore them. Pu’erh and aged teas really aren’t my things. I can appreciate them in small doses, but honestly, I would rather have anything else most of the time, and there is nothing wrong with that. Don’t ever let anyone make you think their personal preferences and experiences are superior to yours. Do your own thing and enjoy it. You’re in it for your own enjoyment, enlightenment, and/or whatever else.

Mastress Alita

I added sweetener to my tea for quite some time when I first started drinking tea… and suddenly one day I just… didn’t. I don’t even know what changed! I didn’t even “wean” myself from it by progressively adding less, or make a conscious decision that I wanted to drink less sweetener… my palate just changed suddenly. I was used to always needing a little extra sweetness in my tea, and then… just… didn’t. It was odd! But then I’ve heard that our tastebuds and palates can naturally change over time.

When I make tea lattes, though, I still prefer “pre-sweetened” milk in the form of vanilla almond milk… yum!

Shanie O Maniac

One thing that weighs on me heavily is my IRL BFF who claims to be a tea snob because she refuses to drink any tea that isn’t palatable without sweetener. She keeps ragging on me for adding sweetener, and keeps telling me “If it was good tea, you wouldn’t need sweetener”. However, HER idea of “Good Tea” is hyper-tart grocery store hibi and the occasional raspberry royal from Bigalow. I actually once offered to buy her some loose leaf for Christmas and, long story short, after two months worth of arguments, we didn’t exchange presents this past Christmas. sigh I really need better IRL Friends.

Shanie O Maniac

And if it sounds like I’m shaming her for liking grocery store tea, it’s not because she LIKES it, it’s because she isn’t willing to accept or try anything else. In her mind, tea ENDS with Bigelow and Stash.

eastkyteaguy

Shanie, it’s no joke, but I recently made the statement, “I really need better IRL friends” in conversation. I had the same issue you did. A lot of my IRL friends just got to this weird point where we couldn’t interact without a disagreement or an argument. I’m a pretty liberal, easygoing, live-and-let live kind of guy, but a bunch of my friends and colleagues got way into radical activist culture, and suddenly, every interaction was problematic. Everything turned into a political discussion and then an argument. They also seemed to stop having interests or lives outside of their individual causes of the day. I couldn’t talk to them about anything going on in my life and couldn’t expect any form of understanding or support from them. I also got annoyed with the constant condescension. These people would try to explain the concepts behind sociopolitical movements and trends to me, and I’m a former integrated social studies teacher who taught government, economics, US history, sociology, and psychology who made the jump into the community health field! I was pretty positive I knew more about that stuff than they did. Eventually, I just got sick of their hysterics and constantly being disrespected, realized that I had outgrown these relationships, and moved on with my life. Making real life friends is harder as you get older, but it’s far from impossible. Moving on from those people allowed me to reconnect with some older friends and acquaintances with similar interests and gave me tons of time to work on myself. If I were you, I would take a step back from this relationship to carefully evaluate its course, and if you feel that it’s worth saving and should be saved, great. Go for it. If there just isn’t some level of mutual respect, tolerance, and acceptance there, it’s okay to move on from it. Sometimes people change and have to go a different way. Don’t feel bad about it if that ends up being the case.

Kawaii433

Interesting conversation. Love it. FWIW, the only reason I don’t add sweetener is that I like sour stuff. :P I’ve always been anti-social IRL so I can’t give you good advice like eastkyteaguy. I’ve never had patience IRL for anyone’s BS. My best friend was my dad growing up and now that he’s gone, they are my furkids :D. Hope things improve for you Shanie. (hugs)

mrmopar

The best tea is made the way you like to enjoy it. It is a personal experience for you in your cup. Every one has different taste buds. Drink it the way you like it.

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Roswell Strange

If you had asked me about sweetener in tea three years ago I would have adamantly held the position that a tea “simply isn’t a good quality tea if it requires additions to taste enjoyable” – but I’ve since realized that ideology is something I picked up from a crowd of tea drinkers who were somewhat more snobbish than I would like to be personally and would like the community to be as a whole. Sometimes I still have to combat that mindset; it’s like unlearning a negative behaviour…

Sweetener definitely does make your tea different and I do believe that can be both a positive OR a negative. It really, truly does depend on both your own individual taste preferences (and I don’t believe anyone has “superior” preferences; taste is qualitative) as well as an understanding of how different additives (sugar, milk, lemonade, etc.) both pair with and affect flavour. No wrong choices; just different ones. I definitely have my own arsenal of things I add to my tea when the mood strikes.

Don’t let anyone shame you for enjoying the added sweetness!

eastkyteaguy

Piggybacking off of what Roswell posted, but yeah, there is really nothing wrong with adding sweeteners to tea. I don’t have a problem with it. For some time there, my beverage of choice before work was either CTC Assam or Ceylon OP with additions of 2% milk and honey. I’ll even take the blasphemy one step further: I enjoy Southern sweet tea. I can’t have it very often, but it was a huge part of my upbringing and I lived off of it in college when I couldn’t afford better quality tea. I also sometimes like to add mango and apricot nectar to unsweetened iced tea on hot days.

Also, for a long time, I had trouble appreciating pu’erh and any sort of aged tea. When I tried to get into them and learn more about them, I ran into a lot of very snooty, rigidly dogmatic people who put me off of them in a big way. There are some fantastic, knowledgeable, and kind pu’erh fanatics out there (mrmopar and Liquid Proust chief among them), but there is also a number of very vocal people in that segment of the tea community who look down on anyone who gravitates to other types of tea and consider themselves the gatekeepers of the true tea community. I eventually just decided to ignore them. Pu’erh and aged teas really aren’t my things. I can appreciate them in small doses, but honestly, I would rather have anything else most of the time, and there is nothing wrong with that. Don’t ever let anyone make you think their personal preferences and experiences are superior to yours. Do your own thing and enjoy it. You’re in it for your own enjoyment, enlightenment, and/or whatever else.

Mastress Alita

I added sweetener to my tea for quite some time when I first started drinking tea… and suddenly one day I just… didn’t. I don’t even know what changed! I didn’t even “wean” myself from it by progressively adding less, or make a conscious decision that I wanted to drink less sweetener… my palate just changed suddenly. I was used to always needing a little extra sweetness in my tea, and then… just… didn’t. It was odd! But then I’ve heard that our tastebuds and palates can naturally change over time.

When I make tea lattes, though, I still prefer “pre-sweetened” milk in the form of vanilla almond milk… yum!

Shanie O Maniac

One thing that weighs on me heavily is my IRL BFF who claims to be a tea snob because she refuses to drink any tea that isn’t palatable without sweetener. She keeps ragging on me for adding sweetener, and keeps telling me “If it was good tea, you wouldn’t need sweetener”. However, HER idea of “Good Tea” is hyper-tart grocery store hibi and the occasional raspberry royal from Bigalow. I actually once offered to buy her some loose leaf for Christmas and, long story short, after two months worth of arguments, we didn’t exchange presents this past Christmas. sigh I really need better IRL Friends.

Shanie O Maniac

And if it sounds like I’m shaming her for liking grocery store tea, it’s not because she LIKES it, it’s because she isn’t willing to accept or try anything else. In her mind, tea ENDS with Bigelow and Stash.

eastkyteaguy

Shanie, it’s no joke, but I recently made the statement, “I really need better IRL friends” in conversation. I had the same issue you did. A lot of my IRL friends just got to this weird point where we couldn’t interact without a disagreement or an argument. I’m a pretty liberal, easygoing, live-and-let live kind of guy, but a bunch of my friends and colleagues got way into radical activist culture, and suddenly, every interaction was problematic. Everything turned into a political discussion and then an argument. They also seemed to stop having interests or lives outside of their individual causes of the day. I couldn’t talk to them about anything going on in my life and couldn’t expect any form of understanding or support from them. I also got annoyed with the constant condescension. These people would try to explain the concepts behind sociopolitical movements and trends to me, and I’m a former integrated social studies teacher who taught government, economics, US history, sociology, and psychology who made the jump into the community health field! I was pretty positive I knew more about that stuff than they did. Eventually, I just got sick of their hysterics and constantly being disrespected, realized that I had outgrown these relationships, and moved on with my life. Making real life friends is harder as you get older, but it’s far from impossible. Moving on from those people allowed me to reconnect with some older friends and acquaintances with similar interests and gave me tons of time to work on myself. If I were you, I would take a step back from this relationship to carefully evaluate its course, and if you feel that it’s worth saving and should be saved, great. Go for it. If there just isn’t some level of mutual respect, tolerance, and acceptance there, it’s okay to move on from it. Sometimes people change and have to go a different way. Don’t feel bad about it if that ends up being the case.

Kawaii433

Interesting conversation. Love it. FWIW, the only reason I don’t add sweetener is that I like sour stuff. :P I’ve always been anti-social IRL so I can’t give you good advice like eastkyteaguy. I’ve never had patience IRL for anyone’s BS. My best friend was my dad growing up and now that he’s gone, they are my furkids :D. Hope things improve for you Shanie. (hugs)

mrmopar

The best tea is made the way you like to enjoy it. It is a personal experience for you in your cup. Every one has different taste buds. Drink it the way you like it.

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Bio

HELLO! My name is Shanie and I am a budding Tea Aficionado! While I have always loved various types of tea, for almost my entire life it has come from a grocery store. I am only now starting to stick my big toe in the pool of goodness that is loose leaf. As such, there will likely be tasting notes I do for bagged tea as well as good quality (and not so good quality) loose leaf teas. I’m still learning as I go so have patience please!

Some of my favorite flavors include: Cocoa, Malt, Bread, Honey, Earthy, Sweet Citrus, Caramel, Apple, Spices, and Cinnamon.

Some flavors I don’t like: Coconut, Bitey Citrus (like Citric Acid), Sour, Smoke, Overpowering Fake Vanilla, and Stevia.

NOTE: I am Type 2 Diabetic. As such, I can really not have sugar added to tea without suffering problems. This prohibits me from using either plain sugar or honey. Instead, I use Splenda as I found my system can handle it well and I like the flavor. I try to avoid stevia as I’ve found it often ruins the flavor of tea. However, good quality teas require no sweetener. Because of this, if I add sweetener to a tea, I will mention it in the tasting note and say what kind and how much. Usually I sweeten flavored and herbal teas, but leave true teas unsweetened. There are exceptions, but this is a general rule of thumb to go by.

GREAT NEWS! After the recommendation of the discussion board, I invested in some reusable tea baskets. These make brewing tea much easier and eliminates the constant need for disposable cups. Of course, sometimes, both baskets are full and in need of cleaning and I just can’t be bothered, so I use the old cup-to-cup method. Also, if I’m brewing tea for a guest I tend to use the disposable cup method. But as far as personal tea goes, I use brew baskets now!

I have decided to try and make a scale for my ratings. So here goes.

As of March 2019.

100-91: These are my go to favorites. I will likely go out of my way to always keep these on hand, including going on third party websites to obtain out of season.
90-81: This is a tea I really did enjoy, and I will likely purchase again. However, I wouldn’t go to the ends of the earth for it, and it isn’t my all time favorite.
80-71 This is a tea that, while I may have somewhat enjoyed, something is holding me back from making it a mainstay. Maybe because it requires sweetener. Maybe there is an offputting aftertaste. It varies. But something about this doesn’t suit me and while I will likely finish what I have, I may or may not not get more.
70-61: This is a tea which I drank, but I really did not enjoy it. It wasn’t bad enough to dump, and if it is the only thing available to drink, I would likely choke it down. But in the end, this is just not my literal cup of tea and I will likely not get this again.
60-51: This is something that I hated, but for one reason or another, refused to dump. It just is awful, but I suppose I can choke it down and not waste it. These are teas which I will not be buying again, and may not even finish what I have.
50-41: Yeah, whatever this is, I probably dumped it. At this level, it is barely recognizable as tea or any tea like substance, and has few redeeming qualities. On the bright side, it isn’t sewage water, so there’s that.
40-31. On it’s best day this tea has no redeeming qualities. This not only got dumped but the package it came in either got thrown away, traded, or shoved to the back of the cupboard to never be touched again. Not the worst thing I’ve ever tasted, but darn sure close.
30-Under: The worst thing I’ve ever tasted. This not only has no redeeming qualities, but it is gag inducing. “Teas” in this range are so bad I not only will never drink them again, I really don’t feel like offloading them onto anyone else because they are just that bad. Actual sewage water.

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