California Tea House

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Recent Tasting Notes

100

Such a delicious tea to drink! I have to admit that it isn’t as tangy as I usually like, but it is a great tea nonetheless. I usually really like to have a lemon or lime green tea, but I have been pleasently surprised by the melow fusion or grassy tastes in this wonderful little find!

I think I’ll be having one of these again!

Flavors: Dry Grass, Grass

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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67

Sampler Sunday! This is the last of my California Tea House samplers, which I brewed in my large teapot (I am not regretting that investment!) The dry leaf has a strong lemon zest aroma, but is pungent enough that I’m wondering if this tea is going to have that floor cleaner/furniture polish sort of lemony taste to it, rather than juicy, citrusy lemon. I have been pretty impressed with the blends from this company so far, though, and there are quite a few chunks of vanilla bean in this sample, so I’m hoping for a sweet/creamy element.

The tea is light red-orange color, not as deep a red as a typical rooibos brew, and the aroma still smells a little more medicinal lemon to me rather than desserty… Tasting it, it really is an odd, pungent sort of lemon… and it isn’t really the sort of lemon flavor that appeals to me. Perhaps it’s the amount of lemongrass in the blend? Because the start of the sip is a sharp citrus note but then it quickly pulls me into something else that is more herbaceous, and I think that hay-like/herbaceous quality is pulling more of a medicinal taste out of the rooibos base, as well. The flavor is coming across with this mildly alcoholic/floor cleaner vibe, though not as badly as some artificially lemon-flavored teas I’ve tried. The lemon tastes more like a citrus zest to me… a lemon-lime citrus zest, rather than a juicy, tangy lemon. And for all the vanilla bean I saw in my sample, while the tea does have a sweetness to it, I’m not getting a vanilla note or a creamy element. It doesn’t even seem to be coaxing out the honey/vanilla notes from the rooibos base.

The other California Tea House teas I sampled were major hits for me, but this one is a miss. I actually like Tazo’s grocery store bagged tea, Glazed Lemon Loaf, better than this.

Flavors: Citrus Zest, Herbaceous, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Medicinal, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 14 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

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85

Sampler Sunday! I want to finish off my California Tea House samplers, so I pulled out my big ol’ teapot again and decided to brew up this tea as my afternoon pot while watching Japanese dorama with Todd. I have one more rooibos sample which I’ll probably brew up this evening.

When I cut open this sample, it smelled very heavily of orange peel/orange zest… which I suppose makes sense for something boasting itself as “marmalade” flavored. Interesting enough, oranges aren’t listed in the ingredients on the package… huh. It has preserved peaches, pineapples, lemon peel, and licorice, but smells a dead ringer for orange peel!

Brewed up, the earthy aroma of the pu-erh comes forward more strongly, but there is still a syrupy sweet fruity aroma of oranges and apricots wafting from the cup. The tea brews a nice, dark brown, and the flavor is very nice; I remember trying one of those pu-erhs stuffed in a tangerine once and it didn’t have a very strong orange flavor, it was more of a light, floral, orange blossom feel, while this is what my brain was expecting from the tangerine-stuff pu-erh — I’m getting a rich, earthy flavor, a bit like wet stone or minerals, and then a strong ripe orange note. There is definitely a stonefruit quality to the fruitiness, as the lingering flavor on the roof of my mouth tastes like apricot jelly rather than oranges. During the sip, though, the flavor is very citrus-forward. The tea has a very warming quality to it, as well.

So far, I’m really enjoying these California Tea House blends… but alas, they are another of those places that only sells in 4 oz. sizes. Siiiiiiigh. Tea shops, PUH-LEAZE, would it really be so hard to package 1 oz. and 2 oz. options as well?

Flavors: Apricot, Citrus, Earth, Mineral, Orange, Orange Zest, Smooth, Stonefruits, Wet Rocks

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 13 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

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95

I wanted to try out my new teapot, and since its main purpose was to hold moar water, I made a big ol’ pot of tea tonight, double the size of what I typically have for my nightly pot o’ herbal, four cups instead of two. This sampler was 14g in size, so I just went all out and steeped up the whole sampler. I ordered this ages ago, in the fall of 2017, and never opened it, and was amazed how much aroma the leaf still held; it smelled boozy, with notes of maple, caramel, coffee bean, and fudge. I wonder how much of that will present itself in the actual tea?

After giving the pot a very generous steep time, the steeped tea is a bit more caramel in color than I would expect from a rooibos, which usually are very coppery red. The aroma is still very enticing; I’m still getting that somewhat boozy essense, with strong hints of cocoa and coffee and a bit of a caramel sweetness. And the flavor is… quite nice! This is an old tea, so I’m impressed it has held up so well! The other tiramisu teas I’ve tried have had a very strong apple presense in their base, but that is missing in this tea; it tastes like a chocolate liquor, and I get a strong fudgy taste toward the end of the sip. There are also notes of caramel, coffee, and roasted nuts. I’m not getting any of the typical flavors of rooibos from the base, other than perhaps it is adding to the caramel sweetness of the tea; it certainly isn’t presenting as woody, grassy, or medicinal in any way. It’s very smooth and a very solid dessert tea.

Am I regreting I used this all up in one shot now? Maybe a little… but at least this is going to be one really nice pot of tea.

Flavors: Alcohol, Caramel, Chocolate, Cocoa, Coffee, Maple, Roasted nuts, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 14 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

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76

A Berry Frui-tea July! This is an old sampler, that has still never been opened… now, I’ve had other old samplers that have never been opened that, upon breaking the seal, I’ve discovered rancid coconut, so I know that means nothing, but I’m still crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. I actually grabbed this one because considering it’s age, and that it has the unlucky tea ingredient, I’d better check it now. * long sigh * Okay, here goes.

Well, it passes the smell test… The dry leaf actually smells like key lime pie to me, and I quite like key lime pie! But I’ve had other teas pass the smell test, too, so I’m still not entirely convinced. Eating a small piece of coconut from the package, it still tastes sweet and doesn’t have that sour taste, though, so I’m hoping it has, somehow, managed to be spared by the Tea Gods. Now I just need to give this a speedy sipdown before They decide to smite it…

The brewed cup is a bright yellow, and smells much more strongly of lime than the leaf (there is less coconut and sweetness presenting in the aroma now, so I’m not getting much of that key lime pie association). The lime is actually quite nice here, though. I’ve had other teas where it was very strong and overpowering, and here it is a very distinct flavor note, and certainly the strongest note in the cup, but it still doesn’t feel like it is completely dominating things. It is tangy with a noticable citrus bite which makes it feel more natural to me. The lime leads in the sip, with the coconut a softer flavor note that falls towards the end of the sip. It does blend with the citrus nicely, and if anything, I think the coconut could’ve been a bit stronger, since the lime is pushing a little heavy here. But overall, it is a very pleasant cup, slightly more tangy than sweet, but not overly so. I think the green base lends enough grassy smoothness to pull this off nicely, but the flavoring here is heavy enough that you won’t really notice any base flavors pulling through.

I like this, and am glad it has survived the test of time! Will probably be making an iced jug to help it on its way, both because lime is a refreshing flavor for a cold brew, and because I can drink up iced tea very quickly in this hot weather. And it’s just time for this sampler to go, before the coconut in this sampler decides to turn its back on me.

Flavors: Citrus, Lime, Smooth, Tangy, Tart

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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64

Really interesting tea.

Flavors: Berry, Black Pepper

Preparation
Boiling

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76

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76

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86

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95

Absolutely delicious! I drink a cup every morning! It always wakes me up and puts a smile on my face!

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98

I’ve never had a Silver Needles that has a bouquet such as this. Amazing!

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100

Malty, earthy, smooth and even creamy. This is a great tea.

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93

A very light, delicate tea with a mild sweetness. I highly recommend this tea.

Flavors: Sweet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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85

Light White tea, floral notes, with only a slight tinge of bitterness that is enjoyable. Leaves the mouth with the sensation of fresh rain.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 5 min, 30 sec

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84

A pretty mild white tea when made at the recommended temperature and time for a white tea. I had three variations of it in which the water was hotter or it steeped longer and none of them were as smooth and pleasant but each had and increasingly sweeter, more honey-like aftertaste.

Flavors: Floral

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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98

I don’t think I’ve had a tea this smooth yet full of simple flavor. Granted I haven’t had a lot of different Silver Needles but I’m in love.

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100

There are a few Valerian based teas out there but this is the only one I’ve found that I actually enjoy versus taking like medicine.

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100

I have over 15 Silver Needles so my friends and I did a taste test. This one won by 6 out of 8 votes… An amazing tea.

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100

Valerian really works for me and this is the only tea I’ve ever found that makes it taste great. It’s not as spicy as I thought for having the name “chai” but I love it anyway.

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98

My new favorite tea. Light but with an amazing flavor through the entire sip.

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99

This tea is a life saver. I’ve tried so many methods to try and sleep naturally. This is the only thing that works. Plus it tastes great

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10

Tasted really medicinal to me. I tried it several times, different steeping times, and really tried to give this one a chance. Even steeped several times it still wasn’t my taste. The flavor was much stronger then I like even with lesser amount. Some part of the ingredients gave it a medicinal smell and flavor. I ended up giving this to another tea lover, hopefully it’s something they like. Hate to waste it as it’s quite expensive tea.

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