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Recent Tasting Notes
Inkling Advent Day 21. There is so much cardamom in this, so I was expecting a ton to show up in the flavor. It’s slightly fruitier than I was expecting, and there’s definitely not as much cardamom, which I’m totally fine with. It’s also not a spicy chai. Sweetened with milk, I think it tastes pretty balanced and interesting. I’m enjoying it more than the majority of herbal chais, so that’s fun. I’m also enjoying the nuttiness. I’d definitely drink this again.
Inkling Advent Day 20. Hot, the raw walnut flavor is pretty strong. That’s the strongest flavor other than the somewhat harsh green tea. I smell banana, but I don’t really taste much. I added milk and left this in the fridge, and I’m enjoying it a lot more now. The banana and nut combine pleasantly with the green tea, and it’s really quite desserty and nice. It’s a very authentic green banana flavor, and I’m glad it showed up at last!
Inkling Advent Day 12. This tea certainly looked distinctive since it was mostly composed of white powder. I thought maybe that was some kind of sweetener, but the cup wasn’t at all sweet until I added sugar, so I’m not sure. The flavor of this tea reminds me of a caramel rooibos I’ve had from somewhere else. It doesn’t really remind me of caramel itself though. It mostly tastes like mildly desserty rooibos, but not a rooibos that I love. This flavor direction is totally something I would be into, I just don’t love the execution unfortunately!
Inkling Advent Day 10. I love maple in tea, so this was very exciting to open this morning! The flavor is maybe a little smokier than I would prefer – I don’t even know if it’s actually supposed to be smoky or if something else is giving me that vibe. It’s not my preferred sort of black tea, but it’s really not bad. I don’t taste distinct maple, maybe just a slightly desserty sweetness and woodiness. I also taste a pleasant nutty flavor.
Although I’m pretty certain my sample pack of this rooibos chai was getting long in the tooth, the scent when I opened it was lip-smackingly, cookie-ish, sweet. I steeped it work, which always means neither time nor temp were overseen carefully, and ended up with a really nice afternoon cup that was more fruit and almond than spicy chai.
First steep is subtle chocolate malt with a slightly bitter dark chocolate finish. This first steep is disappearing fast! Because the first steep was subdued, this second is even moreso. I like this tea but am disappointed that only the first steep is so yummy.
Thanks for including it in the TTB!
Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Malt
Pulled from TTB 2022, shared by Inkling.
I went through all the teas in the box the day it arrived and made a list for myself. There are several I want to sample before sending it on, so I plan to have a few cups each day. More than my usual amount, for sure. I was thinking today that I wanted something fruity or maybe chocolaty, but definitely a black tea to start, so I went through the list to check my options. I came across this tea and thought an unflavored black tea would do the trick. I was convinced once I opened the bag and caught the aroma.
It steeped up lighter than I expected. With with a bit of honey added, it was a treat. I would say it’s malt rather than chocolate, but it still turned out to be just what I was hoping for. Probably too light to add milk, at least for me, so I left it out. I got distracted and set it down in the kitchen somewhere, and when I went to pick it up again I saw that the mug was actually full of a turmeric tea I made at James’ request for his allergies. Of course, when I went to check he had my teacup and there was none left. How he did not notice he was drinking a completely different tea I’ll never know. More likely, he realized mine was better and feigned ignorance. Can’t say I blame him after catching a whiff of his.
I enjoyed this one and am glad to have tried it, but I have other black teas I enjoy more so I’ll be passing this one along.
If you like warm chai spices and enjoy rooibos, this tea is worth trying.
I struggle with rooibos. I wanted to like this tea! The cinnamon/clove/cardamom combination was on point. I even liked the way the spice left a bit of a lingering tingle. I didn’t necessarily get almond from this, but I could have overlooked that too – it’s just that I can’t do the rooibos base.
sipsby advent, day 7*
(sipsby packages this in no particular order, so your order may be different than mine)
This is really nice berry-flavored black tea that I’ve repurchased a couple of times from Fava now. Not sure what the three berries are supposed to be, but I definitely get raspberry. The base tea is nice and smooth with no bitterness or astringency, but still has some body to it. Nothing super special, but a great affordable cupboard staple.
Flavors: Fruity, Raspberry, Smooth
I grabbed this with the sipsby sale on iced tea boxes and the bright tropical scent drew me in; I wanted to brew this one immediately. I could probably have a bowl of this stuff out on the counter just to enjoy smelling it all day.
I couldn’t taste much going on in the tea once it was brewed, however. It was a decent black tea, lightly flavored with something vaguely floral and a hint of fruit, but it didn’t quite meet the mark. I’d try it again and see if a cold brew might help bring out some of that fruit.
Flavors: Floral, Tropical
This is a wonderful Earl Grey! Tons of fresh, clean bergamot flavor. The base is just a touch too light for me, but that’s the only thing keeping this from passing up my beloved Letterbox Piccadilly as my favorite morning cuppa!
Having tried and loved the Harney & Sons version of this tea, I was excited to find a blend by the same name at my local tea shop. While I don’t think this one is quite as good as the H&S version, it is a very tasty breakfast blend…robust and malty! A new favorite.
I fell in love with Republic of Tea’s Ginger Peach black tea 8 or 9 years ago and have enjoyed versions of it from many other companies over years, including Market Spice and TeaSource. However, this one from Fava was a disappointment. Instead of the usual blend of sweet peach and spicy ginger, this one is full-on ginger with the addition of cinnamon and clove giving it an almost chai-like vibe. Whatever peach flavoring is present gets completely drowned out by all the spices. It’s not a bad tea by any means, but not quite what I was looking for. I’ll be reordering my beloved Georgia Sunshine from TeaSource once I use this one up!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Spicy
I’m a sucker for a good caramel tea, so had to give this new one from Fava a try. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work for me. Though it has a decadent caramel aroma, the flavor is just a vaguely sweet medicinal rooibos. And something (maybe the buckwheat?) is giving me a scratchy sensation at the back of my throat. It is a bit better with milk, but still not something I’d repurchase.
Flavors: Caramel, Medicinal, Rooibos, Sweet
Having tried and loved a Keemun from The Cultured Cup, I decided to sample this (much less expensive) one from my local tea shop. Unfortunately, this just didn’t work for me. The flavor is very dark and earthy…it almost reminds me of puerh, actually…and too drying to drink straight. With the addition of milk, the flavor does smooth out a bit, with some notes of dark chocolate coming through. It’s okay with milk, but still not a favorite for me.
Flavors: Astringent, Dark Bittersweet, Drying, Earth
This one was very powdery before steeping, I’m guessing from the turmeric. It has an earthy flavor, but it also tastes artificially sweet. Is there licorice root in this? Nope, looks like it might be the stevia giving it that flavor.
And my cat just stuck her face in it.
Thanks for the sample, Devon Bartholomew. Must keep better watch next time.
Flavors: Artificial, Earth, Licorice, Sweet
Sipdown #6 (Backlog from earlier this week )
This was a pretty decent flavored tea. You get all of the flavors and it tastes exactly like the name- spiced black tea with caramel apple flavoring. Can’t say I was wowed by the blend but I could see this one being amazing as a latte and enjoyed when the leaves start to turn and there is that crisp fall breeze whirling around.
Flavors: Apple, Caramel, Spices
Advent day 14
I was intrigued when I opened the gift bag this morning – maple rooibos – oh yay I love maple! What in the heck is that yellow powder all about, is it turmeric? Saffron? Lol I never figured it out – we looked it up and was glad to find it was caffeine free so we would down with it last night. I liked it but would have enjoyed it more without the added stevia.
ADVENT CALENDAR DAY 7
I ended up brewing this today on December 8th, I’m a day late! I had an oops – I took a tablespoon and brewed a pot and poured it in my carafe, and ran out of water for my resteep, so stuck it under the keurig and hit the brew button to fill the rest of the pot with hot water and freaking coffee came out, not hot water! ARGH – so I shorted myself 27 ounces of this yummy chai! I got excited about it, just by the name alone :) My roommate is trying the coffee flavored tea tomorrow, as she says there is something called a dirty chai, which is chai tea and coffee – I’ll update it in the morning!
Day 2 – 2020 tea advent swap – Vanilla Chai black tea by Fava – loose leaf
Inkling sent this to me! I made a first steep, then immediately poured it in my tea pot and steeped a second brew, and mixed them, so I can make one giant pot of tea to sip on on this cold day. I’m even burning a spicy candle to enhance the comforting ambiance :)
I tried it without sweetener first, just out of curiosity, even though I know Chai is prepared with milk in it. It is a Chai I like – you can even see the whole cardamom pods floating in there! I like the spices they use in this blend, I’d definitely buy a small bag of this!
To put a twist on things, I thought this would be well paired with eggnog instead of milk – and I was right, it’s fabulous – the flavors of the eggnog marry so well with the flavors of the chai tea! I added some erythritol monk fruit blend.
It says to steep this at 212 for three minutes, which I did, but maybe add more than a teaspoon per 8 ounces? It seemed a little weak the way I prepared it.
Another free sample in my latest Fava purchase. I’m generally not a fan of chocolate teas and this one is unfortunately no exception. (The only ones I remember really enjoying had either a puerh or yerba mate base…I think my palate needs the earthiness of those teas to keep the chocolate flavoring from tasting thin.) This one does smell really nice (like brownies baking!) but the flavor is light and watery, not the rich, sweet chocolate goodness promised by the aroma. I’ll try adding milk to the second half of my sample to see if that improves matters, but probably won’t ever be purchasing this one.
Flavors: Chocolate, Smooth