Art of Tea

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78

Well, I returned from a lovely vacation only to have the whole thing soured by having my closing date delayed because my initial loan didn’t go through because a sleazy property management company owns over 10% of the units in the condo that I’m purchasing my unit in, which disqualified my loan under their Fannie Mae stipulations, sooooo I get to start all over with the loan process with a different lender. ARGH. I swear this whole house-buying process is going to kill me. And to make matters worse, I had handed in my 30 days notice to my apartment because my loan officer and realtor had told me everything was going absolutely great RIGHT before I left on vacation, so now I only have until the 15th of August to close before I’ll be homeless… the stress is so real.

I have a lot to write up on my Portland tea samplings/Tea Fest PDX, and eventually I’ll get to that. I bought way too much on vacation, and the sad part is I don’t even plan to break into any of it, it’s just going into the moving box. Siiiiiiiigh.

This was an old sampler from Fusion Teas, August Peach Oolong Tea, that I finished off quickly by making a liter of coldbrew tea, and then another half liter of coldbrew tea. Looking up the ingredients, it was easy to hunt down that this blend was sourced by Art of Tea, and is their 12:00PM tea (which was formally called “Peach Oolong”). I never bothered to try the tea warm, since we’ve been in a terrible heatwave (I’m already missing those Oregon coast temperatures!)

This is a toasty tasting oolong base, and the flavor of this tea actually reminds me a lot of Lupicia’s Apricot Mugicha, just a little less coffee-like… and since Lupicia no longer sells any of their flavored Mugicha, I suppose this at least scratches that itch for that particular tea a little. This tea has a nice roasted nuts flavor with some woody notes and the slightly earthy flavor of raw hazelnut/walnuts, with a bit of a honeyed sweetness to it that is really refreshing to me iced. The peach notes are noticable, but come out more of a subtle fruity note that compliments the honey notes and isn’t a distinct flavor that holds out on its own against the strong woody/nutty oolong base.

I like the tea, and I think renaming it to take the emphasis off the peach was the right move, as this doesn’t really read as a “peach-flavored tea” but rather as an oolong that has some peach/stonefruit notes. This makes a nice iced tea for those that enjoy a nice cold mugicha or houjicha.

Flavors: Hazelnut, Honey, Nutty, Peach, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Stonefruits, Walnut, Wood

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 5 g 17 OZ / 500 ML
ashmanra

I am so sorry you are going through all that! How frustrating! I pray it will all work out quickly and peacefully for you.

mrmopar

Hope they can sort it out quickly for you.

tea-sipper

I’m so sorry about the moving BS. I hope everything gets fixed soon.

Kawaii433

Ugh :( Like the others, hoping things will get fixed soon. What a pain though. :(

gmathis

Federal anything is an off-the-charts stress inducer. Hoping we hear good news from you soon.

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drank Big Sur by Art of Tea
299 tasting notes

I was just reading a thread on the boards about how spammy and dead Steepster has been lately, and that just made me sad. Unfortunately I also find myself drifting away from Steepster because I don’t make the time and I simply am hardly on my personal laptop anymore. Maybe once a week or so, but I generally check my internet stuff on my phone and Steepster is not phone friendly. I do drop by occasionally with a tasting note, but I’m never on the boards anymore.

Anyways, another reason I don’t always post reviews on tea anymore is because I’m too lazy to input it into the database if there’s no previous listing for it? If no one else is drinking it, does anyone care what I have to say about it? Shrug. This is a new listing.

I came across this tea actually months ago, in a little milk tea shop when visiting my friend in a town three hours away. They also carried some loose teas and the owner was kind enough to let me sniff the teas because I wasn’t so familiar with the blend. The company is california based and that intrigued me. This was the tea that caught me attention. He agreed to brew it for me iced, and oh boy, it became a minor obsession for me to obtain some. I can’t even describe how I remember it tasting now because it was so long ago. But the flavors overall lent to a great cup.

This tea is pretty expensive for me. A 4oz zip pouch is $23, which is about 5.75/oz. That may not sound too expensive, alot of teas go for around 4/oz, but that plus shipping for just the one tea I wanted from the company, it was alot. Especially because when I first stalked this tea, only the 16oz bag was available, which is alot to buy when you’ve only tasted the tea once. Nevertheless, it became one of those background tabs in my internet browser that I checked every once in awhile.

I finally gave in a got some a month or so ago and got a bag, and I’m still kind of tinkering with the brewing specifications. My habit is still to brew a large thermos to go for work, so I brew alot of tea at once, all usually off the same leaves. This batch was 2.5 tsp, 16oz water, three steeps into a large thermos.

The Vanilla came out STRONG, and the mint is nice while it’s warm but enhances cold when iced. I think I let it sit too long because the black tea was stronger than my preference, or maybe just I overleafed it. I think I’m looking for something like a creamy mint black, but I need to figure out how to brew it just right.

mtchyg

Thanks for the detailed review! I get so frustrated when I over leaf/steep my teas. Usually I have it down by eyeing it but occasionally I go to drink what I made and it’s god awful bitter

tea-sipper

That’s another interesting point, I don’t think was mentioned in the thread, if Steepster isn’t phone friendly, it might be a problem for people. I only use Steepster on my laptop. I wonder if it’s just us laptop users who are sticking around?

ashmanra

Ipad user here. Wouldn’t even try it on my phone with my eyesight!

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drank Hibiscus Cooler by Art of Tea
471 tasting notes

I received this as a gift from Mastress Alita some time back. I was waiting for a hot day to try this tea as she suggested, cold-brewed, in Trader Joe’s lemonade. I used roughly 2 tablespoons to 16oz overnight in the fridge then transferred the hibiscus red brew to one of my insulated flasks to keep cold all day. Holy crap, what an amazing treat while working without shade all day. It was like a berry-fruit punch-lemonade with some earthiness from the guayusa on the swallow. Perfect sweet-tart combination and a nice thickness from that sugary lemonade.

As far as I can tell, the guayusa didn’t effect me negatively in any way like its cousin yerba maté often does. They’re in the same genus, Ilex, but must have differing alkaloids and/or levels and combinations. Or maybe less caffeine? If I’m feeling motivated later on, I’ll check the journals and see what I can find about both plants.

I’ll try the last bit brewed hot and see how that goes before rating.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 6 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Mastress Alita

Oh, I think I have some lemonade concentrate in the freezer, I should make some. I’m now wondering if I’ve ever tried it as a warm brew…

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73
drank Orchid Oolong by Art of Tea
2870 tasting notes

Another single sample from Ost! Thanks again! (Hope you are well!) I LOVE the idea of an orchid oolong, it’s my favorite type of oolong — floral. However, I’m not sure what the age of this sealed teabag might be. The packaging is quite nice. I may have oversteeped the first steep.. the color of the brew was bright GREEN. uh oh. I guess the teabag might have contained more than a teaspoon and shouldn’t have went in my smaller mug. The flavor isn’t as floral as I’d expect. Buttery,sweet, a bit vegetal. I guess oolongs as they get older, tend to be harder to describe. It’s decent enough. I guess I just didn’t want to sip this down without writing SOMETHING. Poor tea. I see the site has a 20% off spring sale, if anyone is interested… though I’m not sure when that ends.
Steep #1 // 1 teabag for smaller mug // 10 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // 10 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // 7 minutes after boiling // 2 min
2019 sipdowns: 27
edited to add: Whoops. just got an e-mail from Art of Tea saying there is hours left in the sale….

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80

I had this tea at a lovely spa and was surprised by their high quality tea selection. I’ve been to spas with only Stash mint tea and one with Lipton. I ended up drinking a lot of tea that day.

This EG Crème is good with a touch of cane sugar, but I took a teabag home and am now enjoying it a lot with milk. The dry tea smells like smooth vanilla and bergamot, but the brewed tea is primarily flavourful bergamot and fresh black tea without the vanilla. I would say I can taste the creaminess, but it is weak and distant. I like my EG potently creamy with lots of vanilla and cream flavour.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Earl Grey, Malt, Tannin

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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86

Adventures in pu erh: Morgie vs. sheng cake.

The cake smells like chocolate, which is awesome.

See how in the picture, there is a piece of paper on the cake, and tea is over it? This made things more difficult than they needed to be.

The cake was packed really tightly and I found it very hard to loosen any part of it. So I went for the little indentation in the middle, and managed to break on through to the other side, but the result was I hit the paper without realizing it. So there were little bits of paper among the tea.

Also, the tea was pretty dusty because I am sure I broke some of the leaves trying to pry it apart.

Any suggestions on how to do better next time?

Somehow I managed to pry enough off to get about 2.7g of tea. I got most of the paper out before I rinsed, and another couple of bits out after. But I suspect there was still some in there…

Gaiwan. Boiling. 5/5/7/7/10/10/20/30/40/60

Because of the dust, the liquor was cloudier than I’d ever seen with a sheng. It was the color of a lemon cough drop in the first few steeps. Later, it became gold, with a copper tinge and clearer.

I didn’t notice much change from steep to steep. For the most part, I got that buttery, white chocolate aroma and flavor that I have discovered is pretty standard for me and sheng.

Around steep 4, something happened though. The tea got sweeter, and also seemed to be more vibrant in flavor.

And around steep 6, it developed a crispness and a brightness I hadn’t observed before.

I liked it quite a lot, though I am not sure it’s the best I’ve had so far.

Flavors: Chocolate, White Chocolate

Kittenna

For some reason, this is inspiring me to pull out some of my puerh and try it tonight… hopefully paperless, though. Haha.

hawkband1

Try going in from the side in two spots – in kind of a triangle. Then use the knife to pry in the middle of the two spots. Hopefully that should loosen a chunk, without too much dust. ;)

__Morgana__

Great, thanks! I’ll try it!

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55
drank For Her by Art of Tea
52 tasting notes

Brewed it up about 7 min and was solidly unimpressed by the result.

Watery, flowery and not overly enticing…if this is what they think a tea “for her” should be like then I’m not sure I trust the tea-blender’s opinion.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 7 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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40
drank Endurance by Art of Tea
52 tasting notes

I tried this tea once before – at 1 tsp / 10 oz / 4 min – and wasn’t impressed. For this steep I upped it a bit – 1.5 tsp / 10 oz / 5 min – and I’m still getting not much of anything from the brew.

I understand that this is supposed to be a primarily herbal restorative blend, but there’s simply no chance I’ll drink it long enough to see the effects. It smells strongly of potpourri with faint fruit notes and a bit of cinnamon…not that any of that comes through in the flavor.

It tastes…watery. Thin, with no real oomph behind it. No flavors I can pick out with any kind of consistency other than a dusty sweet-fruit note that’s rather unpalatable. It doesn’t make me loathe it, but there’s nothing to make me want to drink it so I’m going to feed it to the sink.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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88

The penultimate day of my Advent calendar from Sara.

I went out earlier today and had a fancy shou pu-erh. Came home and pulled out of my advent calendar… a fancy shou pu-erh. I guess it’s that kind of day. :)

The scent is very mild and earthy. I brewed it western style as I’m not set up for gong fu at home, and I’m so out of it that I forgot to do a wash first.

So far, I like this one better than the 9016 Shou Pu-erh I had earlier today. I taste fruit and honey and a little earthy tone, in a nice balance.

The second steep has an even better balance. You’re walking in the woods. There’s no one around, and your phone is dead. Out of the corner of your eye you spot a falling leaf. There are falling leaves everywhere! They fall to the ground, honey colored, and somehow honey scented, and there is a variety of fallen fruit on the ground.

There is a hint of malt this time too.

The third steep is similar to the second. I kept meaning to rake the leaves once they dried, but then it rained again. Finally I raked them up wet, and it smelled kind of like this.

I’m going to keep steeping this until the flavor is all spent. I’ll comment if it changes.

Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Honey, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
derk

Sounds lovely :)

Mastress Alita

I was amused last night that my cheap Art of Tea pu was more enjoyable than his $35-per-cup one, hahaha.

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drank Apple Pie by Art of Tea
52 tasting notes

This tea confuses me – first, this is yet another coconut blend that the universe keeps throwing at me, much to my chagrin…and it really doesn’t taste like apples. Perhaps I’m spoiled because I was raised on orchard-grown (real, naturally ripened) apples, but from this I’m mostly getting a spice aroma and a rooibos backend.

I gave it a solid 6 min steep, but I’m thinking I might need to push it closer to 10 to pull some of the more “apple pie” flavors out of the mix. Personally I’m not sure where those flavors might be hiding in the lackluster cup I’m currently holding…but I’ll withhold my disgruntlement until I’ve had a chance to give it a more intense steep.

For now, though, it’s a thin (not unappealing, but not apple pie) brew with a bit of pepper on the backend and the faintest hints of a mulled flavor on the front. If I huff it like I’m trying to get high off the fumes I can barely pick up some apple in the aroma but…yeah, I’m not super excited about this one.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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88
drank Orchid Oolong by Art of Tea
1920 tasting notes

The leaves have a grassy green smell in the tin, with a sweet floral note and just a hint of a sharp spicy note.

Gaiwan, 195F. Rinse, 15 seconds +5 for each subsequent steep.

The tea has a very pale yellow liquor. It smells fresh, with a single floral note. The description says lilac, and while I ‘m not sure I have a mental map of lilac’s aroma, I have no reason to think this isn’t that. In the first steep, there’s a light, milk note.

Later steeps continue to have the lilac note, but starting with the second steep through several more, the milky note becomes buttery. By the third steep, the leaves have greatly expanded and leave a sugary, nectar/floral scent in the cup when the tea is gone.

Something about this tea made me want to keep steeping it beyond my typical four steeps for note-writing purposes. I took this through an additional three steeps with breakfast.

That’s a really good sign, and my rating reflects it.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Grass, Milk, Nectar, Spicy, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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81

Well dammit, I accidentally deleted my sipdown note for this. I had two note pages opened in two different browser windows, and I deleted a blank note. But that somehow deleted what I’d written? Who knows.

Anyway, it was a one-line note so I can recreate it pretty easily. :-)

Sipdown no. 10 of April 2019 (no. 59 of 2019 total, no. 547 grand total).

It made a very nice iced tea, too.

AJRimmer

I always write in One Note and then copy and paste it over. I’ve been burned too many times!

Mastress Alita

I have all my notes in a big ol’ text document on my computer, that is backed up in multiple places, heh.

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81

Steeping this slightly hotter than usual in the gaiwan starting after a rinse at 15 sec and increasing in 5 second increments.

My cleaning people unplugged the Zo, so it took a while to get water heated this morning and it went all the way up to 205F. On its way back down now at 200F but I didn’t want to wait until it cooled down to 195F as I have to go get a haircut later.

This is unlike a lot of other Tieguanyins I’ve had lately. First, it doesn’t smell at all buttery or milky, and it’s only just slightly floral in the tin. Mostly it smells grassy-green.

The color starts pale yellow on the first steep and deepens to a clear medium gold on subsequent steeps.

The tea has a roasty aroma that on subsequent steeps has a brown sugary quality. In the earlier steeps it had some mineral aspects. But then it might be because I keep thinking iron, iron, iron….

The flavor hits the tongue in a way that announces complexity. It’s not buttery, not milky, not terribly floral. It has a taste all its own. I don’t really get the pine that others have mentioned. I sometimes do get pine from tea, but I can only get it here if I throw my mind out of focus and stretch.

I do get something that by the third steep I’ve identified as a salty but not salty quality. It seems salty, but it isn’t. This is probably because of its roasty-toastyness.

It holds up well through four steeps, and shows no signs of quitting. If I didn’t have to move on because of today’s schedule, I’d love to sit with it longer.

This is a lovely, tasty tea. As it’s type goes, I tend to prefer the more buttery and floral and less toasty greens. But it’s a great change of pace.

Flavors: Floral, Grass, Mineral, Roasted, Salty, Toast

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C

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90

I poured in the hot water, and the whole kitchen smelled like peppermint. Mmm.

Mmm, it’s a nice minty chocolate, more mint than chocolate. It’s rather sweet and very holiday. There’s also a little tea note, though I can’t pick out what sort of tea with the other flavors. I know it’s pu-erh from the ingredient list.

This is really almost a perfect chocolate minty tea. I’m going to try adding some cocoa powder to the infuser on my second steep, as I often do with chocolate teas to make them more to my taste.

Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Peppermint, Tea

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
Todd

It is gooood with the extra chocolate, though the whole flavor has diminished thanks to it being a second steep. Next time I’ll add chocolate for the first steep, as I have another sample bag.

Mastress Alita

By itself, I think it tastes like York Peppermint Patties. Chocolate in teas is typically a more subdued note, and sometimes those notes come from the tea leaves themselves, too (many Chinese blacks have cocoa notes to them). I think latte style with chocolate almond milk would be better than just throwing cocoa powder in though to get moar chocolate since then it would be creamy and thick, myself.

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40
drank Cran Marnier by Art of Tea
555 tasting notes

Autumn Harvest! This was another sampler I had from a holiday sampler pack from Art of Tea. It was described as “a warming caffeine-free blend of cinnamon, cloves and sweet tangy cranberries with a citrusy finish, reminiscent of Grand Marnier” but since I’ve been alcohol-free for decades due to my chronic migraine condition, I have never had a Grand Marnier and have no idea what it is even supposed to taste like. I only know this should be a cranberry-forward blend, and it’s harvest season, and I want some cranberries, so let’s do this!

The dry leaf smelled very strongly of spice, particularly of clove. It steeped up an unsurprising deep rooibos red color, and the aroma still smelled overwhelmingly of spice. It also tasted overwhelmingly of spice, too, with cinnamon and clove leaving a very strong impression on each sip. The tea reminded me more of a spice cider than anything else; it left a warm, cozy, by-the-fireside feeling from the cinnamon-clove spice, but if there were any other flavors in the tea, they were completely lost beneath the strong spices! Where in the world was the cranberry? I mean, I could see them in the leaf, but there wasn’t so much as a hint of it in the flavor! There isn’t even so much as a fruity note to this! Hell, I don’t even really taste the honeybush/rooibos base all that much, too be honest. The tea is sweeter than if the delivery vehicle for the spice were a black, sure, but even the base feels really drowned out in spice. Meeeeeeeeh. Just a bad blend all around.

You can’t call yourself Cran Marnier and have no cranberry!

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Rooibos, Spices, Spicy, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 350 OZ / 10350 ML
TreeGal

I guess I’m glad to hear this, since based on their description it would be one I’d have to have! And I definitely don’t need any more tea right now!

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53
drank Pumpkin Pie by Art of Tea
555 tasting notes

Autumn Harvest! This is a sampler I had from a holiday sampler pack from Art of Tea. The leaf has a very strong rooibos scent, with a slightly sweet aroma that reminds me a bit of vanilla or cream, with just a hint of spice.

Steeped up, the tea has a very rusty red color, with the same sweet, inviting aroma of the leaf. The taste was a bit underwhelming, though. For a tea that is called Pumpkin Pie, it just didn’t taste as much like pumpkin pie as I was expecting. The rooibos/honeybush base was a bit dominating, and I didn’t feel like I was tasting much of a pumpkiny flavor coming through in it. There certainly was a hint of creaminess to the tea, like a small hint of pumpkin pie with a dallop of whipped cream right at the back of the tongue as you swallow, which I found quite pleasant. I just wish that note was a little stronger. It feels to me like the honeyed/woody rooibos and honeybush takes center stage first, and the pumpkin tones are only able to squeeze in afterwards.

At least the spices in this blend aren’t too dominating or overwhelming, as they often tend to be in pumpkin spice blends. They have a nice sweet spice flavor toward the end of the sip and blend in nicely overall, and really the only thing that would’ve made them work better is having a proper pumpkiny flavor component to the tea.

Overall pretty meh. It just didn’t quite get there for me, as far as pumpkin teas go.

Flavors: Cream, Honey, Rooibos, Spices, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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88

So this is very exciting.

After checking carefully, eliminating a duplicate, and determining that I had sipped down something that I thought I still had, I now have exactly two more black teas in my cupboard that I haven’t tasted and written notes about, not including this one.

So tomorrow will be the day! I’ll have completed herbals and fruit blends and black teas. I think next up is likely to be green tea given that I have a ton of oolongs and even more samples.

Current count is,

Matchas to go: 6

Other green teas to go: 8

So I won’t make it this long weekend, and the next couple of weekends I’ll be on a business trip. But if I get all the tasting in as planned I’ll be very close to having tasted all the greens and matchas and written notes about them, too.

I discovered a couple of white teas still in my stash while doing this exercise, so I can’t claim victory there yet, and the oolongs and pu-erhs will take a while. But progress is good.

Now. This tea. The smell in the tin is candy-sweet cinnamon, in the same vein as the Harney and others. After steeping, it becomes a bit more cinnamon stick-like. Still sweet, but more spice than candy. It’s a medium orange-brown and clear.

The flavor has just the subtlest orange, which comes out mostly in the finish and aftertaste. I do taste clove, but just barely, for which I am grateful.

It’s rather the Constant Comment flavor profile, but with sweeter cinnamon and less heavy on the clove. Different from the Harney — less like red hots, more like stick cinnamon.

I like just as well, for different reasons.

Flavors: Candy, Cinnamon, Clove, Orange, Spices

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 500 OZ / 14786 ML

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95
drank Jasmine Reserve by Art of Tea
1920 tasting notes

How am I the first to write a note about this tea?

As those of you who have read my notes over lo these many years know, I am a huge fan of jasmine green tea. Huge. Many people are saying. Big league.

I think I was saving this one because it smelled so awesome in the packet. By awesome, I mean that it smells very much like jasmine flowers, not like painted-on jasmine flavor.

That is also the case after steeping. It’s definitely jasmine flowers. There’s something even slightly nectary and polleny about the aroma. Bingo. The tea is clear and golden yellow.

And wow, it tastes just like it smells.

I am in love.

Flavors: Jasmine

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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89
drank Green Pomegranate by Art of Tea
1920 tasting notes

I opened this for the first time today because I’m trying to taste a new green and write a note about it at least every time I sip down a large tin of green to keep a balance going.

The ingredients list mentions rosehips and raspberries “and other natural flavors” which is interesting given the name. The other natural flavors must be the “essence of pomegranate”?

There’s a strong fruity smell in the packet. If I didn’t know about the raspberries, I probably would have said it smelled like pomegranate. But knowing, I sometimes smell pomegranate and sometimes raspberries.

The tea is a strong, gold color and has a juicy fruity smell.

Amazingly, in the flavor, the combination of raspberry and whatever the flavoring agent does remind me of pomegranate, though not as tart. Which is actually good, because if it was that tart I’m not sure I’d enjoy drinking it.

The berries sweeten the flavor up nicely. Certainly, at times while drinking this I think of raspberry rather than pomegranate. But I quite like raspberry, so that’s not such a bad thing.

I didn’t experience any of the bitterness others have mentioned steeping at my standard time and temp for green tea.

Very nice indeed.

Flavors: Fruity, Raspberry, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
Mastress Alita

This was one of the first flavored greens I ever had when I first got into tea as a hobby, and it’s still one of my favorites. Seeing this brings back a lot of nostalgia. I still have a large bag in my cupboard, maybe I’ll make a cuppa this afternoon being reminded of it!

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45

A Berry Frui-tea July! Here is another of my most ancient Art of Tea samplers… I want to say early 2017? I guess that was long enough in blend-time that they’ve now discontinued this one. It always amazes me that I can procrastinate on a sample and then find that the tea is no longer carried by the vendor by the time I get around to it…

So different than most hibi-hip fruit teas I sample, this one is mixed with rooibos and honeybush. I like hibi-hip fruit teas, and I like rooibos/honeybush teas, so this really should be a shoe-in for me. Smelling the sample, I couldn’t even really smell the rooibos/honeybush, I just got a strong tropical fruity scent out of the bag.

I found myself a little perplexed on how I wanted to make this — I prefer hibi-hip teas iced, but prefer rooibos teas warm! Obviously the only solution was to try the sampler both ways! The warm cuppa was actually quite nice. The flavor reminded me a lot of Tea Chai Te’s Papaya and Pineapple tea (a hibi-hip fruit tea that is sans rooibos/honeybush) since it had that same sort of tangy tropical fruit taste with a very hibiscus-fruity base flavor. The main difference here is the base wasn’t so thick in mouthfeel, and a little less tangy from the lack of papaya, with a slightly stronger pineapple note. The tangy fruit notes also felt a little more rounded and sweeter; I really couldn’t taste any distinct rooibos or honeybush flavor notes against the fruit, but I think it was sweetening up the tea a good deal. Still probably too tart/tangy for anyone sensitive to hibi-hip, though (unless adding sweetener, of course).

Then I tried it iced… and ooooooooooh did I suddenly taste that rooibos! And I do not like the taste of iced rooibos, because for some reason when rooibos is iced, I only get a very distinct “cough syrup” flavor from it, that under most circumstances, I don’t get in warm tea (this may just be when it is paired with fruity flavors… I’m not sure!) In any event, this batch of iced tea tasted like cough syrup. Ya, no.

This was fine as a warm cup, but… I don’t really like drinking these kind of teas warm, and iced this was just a whole lot of nope. If this blend didn’t have the rooibos in it, I could’ve iced it and happily drunk it all day. Meh, such a waste. Ah well, that’s another sampler sipped down.

Flavors: Fruit Punch, Fruity, Hibiscus, Medicinal, Pineapple, Sweet, Tangy, Tart

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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90
drank Green Pear by Art of Tea
1920 tasting notes

Pear seems like a tricky flavor. I’ve had pear teas and while they’re always tasty, they don’t always taste like pear.

If the dry leaf was any indication, though, that wasn’t going to be a problem here. The tea in the tin smells like the juicy run off from canned pears, without the sugar.

Steeped, the aroma is less intense and greener — the tea base comes out a bit more. But there’s still more than a definite hint of pear in the aroma. The tea is an intense gold color and remarkably clear.

It’s in the flavor, though, that this really shines. Though I have to focus my mind a bit on the warm pear desserts I’ve had in the past to get past the initial jarring effect of hot pear, that’s what this is. Hot pear, not sugary, with a grassy green sencha coming through mostly around the edges. It’s amazingly true to flavor, without any artificiality.

I dub this my official top pear tea so far.

Flavors: Pear

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
ashmanra

I just realized I have never had a canned pear. In fact, I am not sure I ever registered that they were sold in cans, but now that I think about, my mother-in-law used them for a pear salad she made at Christmas but I never ate it. I think she put mayo on it and topped it with cheddar cheese. It’s a southern thing?

Starfevre

pear and mayo and cheddar sounds revolting, but that might be my northern sensibilities talking.

__Morgana__

My parents were raised in the depression and they always had canned fruit (and other canned goods) because they were very cheap, and they lasted essentially forever. So you could stock up during sales. :-) I switched to frozen vegetables when I got older and had my own house to avoid the sodium, but I still can’t really keep fresh vegetables in the house. I don’t get around to making them in time and they spoil.

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90
drank White Acai by Art of Tea
555 tasting notes

June Wedding! Time for something old, so I found another of my oldest Art of Tea samplers, White Acai, a flavor they have since discontinued.

Like most of the teas I’ve been brewing lately, I made this one cold brewed. The tea brewed up a most lovely very pale yellow, like the color of white corn, and has a somewhat tropical fruity aroma, smelling a bit of berries and pineapple.

The flavor is a fairly soft and delicate fruit tea. It has sort of a soft, sweet raspberry sort of taste to me, with a little bit of subtle currant and pineapple notes later in the sip, and it has some very natural sweet floral notes. It’s quite refreshing, and I actually like that the fruit is a bit softer rather than being really robust; I feel like a lot more of the white tea is actually coming through, and some of the soft fruit and floral notes here are from the base itself. Perhaps it was just my particular sampler, but despite the tea having hibi-hip, there is no tanginess or tartness here at all; in fact, from the sheer near-white color of the brew, I have a hard time believing those ingredients were in the blend at all. It is very naturally sweet! I love my tangy fruit teas, but something light, delicate, and sweet like this is a nice change of pace… I’m a bit sad this tea has been discontinued. I wouldn’t mind having more of this around during the hot summer months. Ah well, at least I still have a large bag of White Hibiscus, which has a very similar flavor (yes, despite the misleading name… seriously, that tea tastes nothing like hibiscus!), albeit a little more floral and a little less fruity than this tea.

Flavors: Black Currant, Floral, Pineapple, Raspberry, Sweet

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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58

June Wedding! Something old, and it certainly is… it’s at least the oldest thing in my cupboard where I actually know the date, coming from an Art of Tea order back in 2016, as a free sampler. I’m not a big fan of breakfast blacks, so I kind of stuck it back in a drawer and forgot about it. Figured it was time to finally finish it off.

It’s a fairly standard breakfast tea, brewing up rather dark and strong and malty. I get a very malty, woody flavor, with a very slight citrus taste on the finish, not surprising since this is using a Ceylon black tea base. I’d say this tea is somewhat tannic and leaves a bit of astringency on the tongue after the sip, which is why breakfast teas like this aren’t my favorite; I’ll probably see if I have any milk left in the breakroom here at work where I’m sipping on this to tame that a bit. If not, it’s at least not so unpleasant I won’t be able to finish the cup.

Nothing particularly unpleasant, but not something that particularly interests me either.

Flavors: Astringent, Citrus, Malt, Tannic, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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72
drank Jasmine Ancient Beauty by Art of Tea
736 tasting notes

This tea smells amazing-love jasmine! The flavor is a pretty strong jasmine and a slight veggie taste to it which is kinda a turn off for me. Just not a fan of veggie flavors in teas still! But is definitely good. I’ll probably just not keep it though cause I have lots of good jasmine teas.

Flavors: Jasmine, Vegetables, Vegetal

tea-sipper

Possibly all the veggie flavors from your teas would be lessened by steeping at much lower temperatures for much less time? Of course I don’t know how you’re steeping them now, but I’m sure they’d be much less veggie.

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