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Recent Tasting Notes
This was a tea that was accidentally sent instead of the caffeine-free one that my mom ordered. Since she doesn’t drink caffeinated teas she gave it to me. It’s a 4oz bag so I have quite a bit of it. This tea came from Beantown Tea but it looks VERY similar to this Metropolitan Chai so I decided to just review it here.
I drank this cup with soymilk. The spices tickle your throat a bit and linger, The powdered ginger is the main flavor throughout the cup. I think next time I’d add a bit of maple syrup but the soymilk helped tone down the ginger. There were a lot of powdered spices in my teaspoon for this cup so the bottom of the mug is quite powdery. It’s not really what I look for in a chai typically but would probably be really good as a latte (with frothed milk)
Flavors: Ginger, Spices
This was one of the first flavoured teas I ever tried as a teenager. There were no looseleaf tea shops around, and I really didn’t know there was much else out there yet beyond Orange Pekoe, Earl Grey, English Breakfast or Peppermint tea. At a market downtown I saw the little wooden cartons of these and thought, “Hmm. I like Earl Grey. But I also like delicious things. Like cream. Is this something I’d like?” I might’ve asked the shop keeper what it meant that it said “cream” on it (oh, I was so young!) and, from what I took away, I remember she told me it was sweeter and creamier tasting than a typical earl grey. Well, okay, I was sold. I think I also bought a carton of Irish Cream Tea that day.
I quickly fell in love with it. It was the first time I’d ever tried buying myself a box of any tea, and I was, mercifully, not disappointed. But eventually it became difficult for me to find it anymore – this Christmas my mum was putting in an order from a British Imports shop and they happened to carry it. I mentioned to her how I used to love that tea, and, lo and behold, a little wooden carton appeared at my door soon after.
Opening it for the first time in what must be close to ten years or more was quite an experience, as you may imagine. It was such a blast of memories and nostalgia to my teenage years. It was also much more aromatic than I remembered. In the years since that first purchase, I’ve tried a number of Earl Grey Cream teas, and all of them have been so different. I worried, before it arrived, that this would taste just like one of the others and I wouldn’t even be able to tell it apart from, say, a Tetley or a Twinings or even a David’s Tea version. But this was different as could be.
In some ways I can understand those who say it’s too perfumey. I kind of agree. I can usually let a tea bag sit in my cup until I get to the bottom, but I’ve been mindful to pull this one out. Even so, sometimes I think to myself that I’ve overdone it. It’s so strongly… floral? Sweet? Whatever the “cream” flavouring is, it might be just a titch too strong for me sometimes in a way my teenage self really didn’t notice. I occasionally have to wince after a particularly concentrated sip. But even so, I still love it.
I think if one controls the strength of one’s steep, it might be manageable. Maybe I just need to add more milk- I used to take more when I was younger and never found fault with it. I haven’t quite been able to bring myself to bother yet, however. I kind of keep convincing myself that even when it’s a bit too strong, it’s just right. It kicks me back to the past, to a time where I was just beginning to “experiment” with tea and venture out beyond my mum’s tea cupboard of 200% Earl Grey, when venturing “downtown” was a pretty big deal. (Ironically, now in 2021, venturing out just about anywhere kind of feels similarly significant!)
In summary, this is a fun, aromatic tea that will fill your mouth with scent and flavour. Sometimes maybe too much, with too much gusto and teenage enthusiasm. It’s a little floral, a little fruity, a lot of energy, and I think somewhere in there there’s Earl Grey too. It’s like an excited puppy, jumping up to lick your face the second you walk in the door. It comes on a little too strongly sometimes, but it’s sweet, endearing, and familiar, too. With a little training, I feel certain I can get it to behave – but sometimes I’d rather not.
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Fruity
Wow! This one really surprised me this morning, and it fully did what I describe as my “90s” for tea ratings – stopped me in my tracks and made me sit down and just enjoy the cup of tea. This is why I enjoy doing a traveling teabox, not just to learn about different teas specifically, but also to learn – or pay attention to – different tea companies. Once I looked this tea up, it doesn’t look very readily available here in the US, but I’m quite sure I saw this in many shops in my travels in Canada and didn’t even think about buying it – lots of wooden box and special edition tins that read as tourist traps to me. I’ll be taking a second look at them the next time I travel up north!
What a delightful cup of tea. Not as strong as I generally like, but very pleasing. The “cream” element does make for delightful mouthfeel, without adding milk. And the flavor was light and enjoyable and not in the least bit bitter or harsh.
I would leap at the chance to buy this if I saw it in a store!
This was such a great tea and now I can’t find it anywhere. :( It’s medium boldness, rich and aromatic but not astringent. It also doesn’t have a lot of caffeine. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is but it definitely has a unique taste that I imagine comes from being grown in Africa. You don’t want to use water that’s too hot as the tea is fine, else you’ll mostly just taste the dark bold flavor and miss the more delicate notes. Also, I wouldn’t use the tea bag as that keeps the flavor from diffusing into the water.
I’m trying to put all my Strand Tea orders to the forefront due to age, so I made a cup of this for my work thermos this morning. They call it “Pu-erh Mocha” but it is obvious from the ingredients that it is wholesaled from Metropolitan Tea Company and is their Ethiopian Mocha Pu-erh blend.
Don’t like coffee? Then you won’t like this tea. I think this is one of those “gateway” blends, as the coffee element is very strong. I haven’t had coffee in quite some time now, so I imagine the caffeine is going to hit me hard; this actually has ground coffee in the blend, not just whole beans to give it a “coffee flavor”, so it will pack a jolt. I used to drink coffee quite a bit back in the day, but my stomach is a lot more sensitive these days, and even mixed with the pu-erh, I’m not sure if I can handle something like this anymore, even though I don’t mind the taste. It’s just a might too acidic-feeling when I deal with a lot of nausea/IBS with my migraines and the pu-erh doesn’t seem to be cutting that feeling in my gut down enough. I get some subtle earthy notes, and the mild hint of burnt sugar from the butterscotch is nice, but I wouldn’t mind that being a bit stronger, just to add a touch more sweetness to the cup to counter how bitter it is coming off… perhaps next time I should try this latte-style with some almond milk? That may make all the difference. Otherwise, I’m not sure if I can possibly sip down this much leaf of this tea. It’s just too wrought-iron strong for how sensitive my stomach has become.
Flavors: Bitter, Burnt Sugar, Coffee, Earth
Repost. I bought this tea from Strand Tea under the name “Niagara Frost ‘Ice Wine’ Black Tea” and have been working on sipping it down (one serving left!) but have recently discovered this blend is wholesaled from Metropolitan Tea Company, so I’m moving my original review under the wholesaler because that is just how I like to jive.
Autumn Harvest! This is one of my oldest teas; I bought it in a Strand Tea order in the summer of 2017. It’s a black tea with some Bai Mu Dan white tea leaves, ice wine grape flavoring, and raisins. The dry leaf does smell sweet and grapey, but also a bit like black currant, and also has some floral notes.
I have a pitcher of this icing in the fridge, but right now just have a warm thermos to sip at work. Originally I prepared the tea at 205F and steeped for four minutes, but this produced a bit more bitterness and astringency than I prefer; I wasn’t sure if that was because I steeped a little longer than I usually prefer to steep black teas, or if I didn’t take into account that this blend includes some Bai Mu Dan which may have reacted poorly to me using the typical water temperature I use for black tea bases. So on my lunch break, I prepared another thermos using 190F water and steeped for three minutes, and the tea seemed to be much more to my tastes this way. There was still some astringency after the sip, but it wasn’t nearly as potent, and I also found there was a sort of pear-flavored note coming through in the flavor prepared this way as well. The base is Ceylon, so it likely is a quite brisk black, and I do tend to respond more favorably to stronger blacks with shorter steeps, so I imagine that had a lot to do with it.
The flavoring is quite nice; there is a floral touch here that I like, slightly rosy and sweet like honeysuckle, which I also noticed in the Honey Mead tea I had recently. Beneath the floral notes is a strong grape note, but it doesn’t taste particularly raisiny. The end of the sip brings out some subtle pear and citrus notes. It’s a fairly pleasant tea, with perhaps a hint more astringency than I tend to favor due to the Ceylon base. Certainly not enough to keep me from drinking, and I’m looking forward to seeing how my iced tea turns out, since I think this flavor is going to work well for that.
Flavors: Astringent, Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Honeysuckle, Pear, Rose
Sipdown from VariaTEA! Trying to get one in every day that i’m at home. I pulled this one out as i was fairly certain i’d enjoy the cup. I was right. While i’m not a huge fan of oolongs, there are some that just work for me, and it’s usually either a good milk oolong or one that is combined with fruity flavours like watermelon and pineapple :) Thoroughly enjoyed this one – very much watermelon, though not too sweet. I think this one brewed and then cooled would probably make a really good cold tea as well.
Alright – I’ve been casually working on tasting notes since landing in Montreal but I think it’s time to put more of a serious dent into the queue that I’m accumulating: I don’t know how busy I might be throughout the week since I have my very first day at the new office tomorrow (squeee!) so this might be my best chance before the weekend hits…
This was almost the last tea that I had in Regina; I had intended for it to be the last tea but I ended up doing a spontaneous Gong Fu session at like 2AM while I was waiting to leave for the plane – but more on that session in a different tasting note. I had originally selected this as my “last tea” because I had it during a really, really lovely afternoon tea with my parents at the British Style tea room less than a block from my house. This isn’t a tea that they carry year round; it only makes an appearance at the tea room in the winter so I wanted to seize the opportunity to have a pot of it before leaving. It’s very rich and decadent; basically just two main tasting notes – chocolate and vanilla. It’s perhaps not the flavour profile that I usually go for, but I just think it pairs so nicely with all of the lovely dessert items that this tea room carries. So, it seemed like a special moment to end things on in Regina: tea shared with family, at my favourite local tea room.
I know I’ve written about this tea room before – but I can’t for the life of me remember in what tasting note(s). But basically it’s a family owned business run by a husband/wife who immigrated to Regina from London. In addition to being a very traditional style British tea room they have a rotating menu of tea and food items in addition to year round staples and everything is made from in house. They also import lots of British food items, and so serve as a grocery store in some ways too. It was quite LITERALLY less than two blocks from my house; for a while I was going there for tea REALLY regularly, but in the last year I stopped going as frequently (money…) and so it become more of a special occasion sort of thing.
Of course, for my last visit to this tea room in what will likely be a LONG time I went all out and got a full meal; something I don’t usually do. So in addition to my pot of Swiss Hot Chocolate tea I also got my favourite sandwich that they carry – cucumber cranberry cream cheese, with a side of slaw. It’s just such light, airy finger food but still sweet and crisp and flavourful. Then, for dessert, something far richer and more decadent: English Toffee cake!! Honestly, paired with a tea that’s already insanely rich this might have been a bit over kill/too decadent, but it was also soooooo good! I mean, I’m already a sucker for toffee/caramel so I would probably be won over if I was just served a bowl of toffee. The cake itself is very good though; kind of a burnt sugar/molasses thing going on. Best when you take a LARGE bite then a big swig of tea and let it all mingle around in your mouth.
I will miss this tea room a lot, though I’m sure I’ll also find some new favourites here in Montreal too.
Autumn Harvest! This is one of my oldest teas, that I bought way back when I was first getting into tea tasting and collecting, back at the end of 2016 (can you believe I’ve amassed this much in pretty much just two years? So sad…) I got it at the tea shop Steepers in Campbell, California. Wasn’t too hard to hunt down the wholesale source of the blend, which is Metropolitan Tea Company (of course, you’ll find this same blend under a multitude of independant tea shops in Steepster’s listings as a result since this is such a widely used wholesale source and teas are rarely cataloged under the wholesaler).
Since it’s one of my oldest, I want to sip it down (pretty much anything I got right at the tail end of 2016 when I first started this hobby I’m trying to quickly sip down due to its age!) So I’ll probably be working on this one as my nightly herbal for a bit. Like my Creme au Caramel Rooibos which I also got there at the same time (and which also took me a bit to sip down!) I’m expecting this tea to have lost some flavor, but it shouldn’t be undrinkable.
The leaf still has a nice fruity pear aroma, and the tea steeps up a nice vibrant red rooibos color. The flavor of the tea does, as I expected from the aforementioned tea I bought at the same time, show a bit of its age, though, as it does taste a little weaker than I remember when it was fresh, but it certainly doesn’t taste off-putting and won’t effect sipping it down (while I don’t usually add sweeteners to my tea on principal, I may add a little honey to this one just to help give the fruitiness some extra sweetness/definition to make up for the flavor being a little weaker than when the leaf was fresher). There is a noticable pear flavor to the tea, but it isn’t the nicest pear I’ve ever tasted in tea; something about it is reminding me more of the flavor of Juicy Fruit gum, and it might just be because it is paired with the honey-sweet rooibos base. The rooibos is quite distinct here as well, with a slightly woody note beneath the fruity pear flavor.
It’s nice enough, as a simple pear-flavored rooibos. While the pear does taste nice with the honeyed taste of the red rooibos, personally I think it would’ve paired better against the soft vegetal flavor of green rooibos.
Flavors: Fruity, Honey, Pear, Rooibos, Sweet, Wood
Has a very creamy, inviting smell to it.
If I could walk around smelling it all day, I’d be in absolute heaven.
Flavor wise, it’s very robust. I think I will step it a flat 3 minutes, instead of almost 4.
Very happy with this tea, all said and done.
A happy addition to my already overflowing cabinet.
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Sipdown! (3 | 13)
This is a perfectly pleasant melon oolong. It does remind me somewhat of watermelon Jolly Ranchers, but not necessarily in a bad way. The oolong is nondescript, but smooth and nice enough.
Too bad for this tea, it could never hope to compete with my beloved Melon Oolong. Ah well, they can’t all be Lupicia teas. ;)
Flavors: Candy, Melon, Smooth, Sweet, Thick
Work – 3:00 PM
My bag of this is actually from “Birch Fine Tea”, but it’s the same tea and even has the same description. The flower petals are quite attractive, especially the bright red ones.
I would call this more of a generic “melon” flavored oolong than a watermelon-flavored one. The oolong has little flavor, mostly it contributes body and a silky mouthfeel. There’s perhaps a touch of grassiness. Mostly it’s the melon flavoring, which reminds me of honeydew. It’s a bit creamy-tasting as well, making me think of a honeydew smoothie.
Overall I would call it a good melon-flavored oolong.
Too bad I already have a favorite one of those from Lupicia. ;) So I’ll likely be re-homing this one.
Flavors: Candy, Creamy, Grass, Melon, Sweet
So this tea is an experiment in a way, as I have never had Ice Wine, so have nothing to compare it to.
Its initial steeping gives me something with a faint fruitiness to it, but not distinctly grape.
Pleasant, but I’ll need several more cups to really get an opinion.
Fortunatly, I just so happen to have some more!
June Wedding! Something old! This tea is one of the first I bought when I started collecting teas… which would have been from the fall of 2016? I remember I got it from a shop in Campbell, California called Steepers, but with a little research the blend appears to be Metropolitan Tea Co.‘s Cranberry Apple. I’m a little upset that Steepers appears to have embellished on their ingredients a bit, because they claimed elderberries and lingonberries are in the blend (and the lingonberries is what sold me on it, as I’m a big fan of those!) but neither of those more “rare” ingredients are actually listed as being in the blend from Metropolitan. Steepers is definitely the kind of independent shop to source their teas and has tons of Metro blends in their line-up, so I’m pretty sure they don’t just happen to have a different tea with the same name from a different source with slightly different ingredients, either. I think they did dirty on their repackaging… and with a steep price upmark, too (maybe that is why their shop is called Steepers, eh? Eh?)
I wanted to use this up (sipdown!) so I made a nice, strong iced tea batch with what I had left of this. I’ve always liked this one, but it would be a nightmare for the majority of you out there: yup, it’s a hibi-hip tea (and I just happen to like those). A very strong hibi-hip, with a very, fruity base, with lots of refreshing tart and tanginess. It actually doesn’t come off quite as fruit punchy to me as I usually taste a nice chilled hibiscus, but I think that is because the cranberry flavor here is pretty distinct, so it is making me think more of succulent, tart, cranberry juice, though it does have a thicker mouthfeel, and the sweetness from the apple comes off a bit differently than all the sweetners in actual cranberry juice.
There is a lot of red berry sweet-tartness that I like here with cranberry as the defining flavor, and since that is a flavor I really love, this has always been one of my favorite iced teas. I already miss it… I’ll have to restock it sometime. Especially as I’d like to steep it in lemonade sometime.
Flavors: Berry, Cranberry, Fruity, Hibiscus, Tangy, Tart
Stole some of this from my mom’s stash tonight since I just needed something without any frills to it; no point wasting good tea when I can’t taste it/fully appreciate it. In an attempt to bring some character to this one I added coconut milk and chocolate agave. I tasted none of the additions, nor really the tea itself. I just feel frustrated with how sick I am and my inability to taste anything right now; it’s just disheartening making a tea and having it literally taste like water. Or, in this case, astringent water.
I just want to not be sick.
May Flowers! I was a little disappointed that the Spi Chai sampler by T2 I tried the other night, which was supposed to have rose and jasmine petals, ended up not having any, so here is my second try at a floral chai! This blend is the Kama Sutra blend by tea wholesaler Metropolitan Tea Company, which means it’ll be in tea shops across the country. I purchased mine from The American House in San Diego, California, during a vacation. This particular chai blends Indian and Kenya black teas with chai spices and rose petals, jasmine blossoms, and lavender buds.
Unlike my sad Spi Chai sampler, I do have ample flower petals in this tea, and a pronounced floral scent from the bag! It’s actually a very interest aroma, a little like cardamom and clove mixed with lavender, and I actually find the combination of aromas oddly pleasant! The base tea steep up very strongly, and it actually wasn’t as bitter as I was expecting (I think the floral notes actually helped a lot in this regard), but it did have a fair bit of astringency following the sip.
This is a chai that needs to be well shaken, and preferably scooped from down inside the bag rather than from off the top to get a good flavor, since the spices are ground up and tend to sink/settle easily. When I took the tea from the top I got a very weak flavor that was like some slightly cardamom-flavored black tea, but when I shook the bag and then dipped the teaspoon down into the center of the bag, my second cup actually had a very full, spicy flavor. This was a strong chai, with the cardamom, ginger, and black pepper leaving a strong impression on my tongue. I think the floral notes got a little lost by how strong the spices and how astringent the black tea was; I could make out a hint of lavender toward the end of the sip when the spices were starting to die down a bit, but wasn’t tasting any rose or jasmine in my cup.
Since this chai has such a strong black base, I tried it latte style as well, and it was much nicer taken that way. That tamed the black pepper notes and the astringency, and the sweetened milk helped bring more of the floral notes to the forefront, as well; the lavender finish suddenly really popped! If I ever make this again, I will only make this as a latte in the future.
This is actually pretty nice as a latte, since I do like the way the spices and lavender play against each other, but on the whole I think the blend still needs a little balancing between the spice notes and the floral to more fully bring out all the flavors. I would’ve liked to be able to taste the other florals in the blend, to have a bit more balance between all the spices, and just a better balance between the spice and floral so they aren’t competing. I really do think it could be done!
Flavors: Astringent, Black Pepper, Cardamon, Ginger, Lavender, Malt, Spicy
Not a tasting note…:
So I pulled the paper bag of this out of my tea cupboard since I haven’t had this in a while. I measured the leaf out into the strainer and while the water was boiling. I noticed a worm inside the bag and some webbing stuff. This seriously grossed me out of course and I dumped the tea and stuff out. I’m just thankful I noticed it before I finished making the cup and drank it. Ugh I’m pretty sure all my other tea is worm free as everything else is in airtight containers. I’m going to check everything just to be safe though tomorrow.
When I cash my next check I’m definitely going to start looking for some containers to store my small amounts of tea in. So this doesn’t happen again EVER!. Hopefully I didn’t gross anyone out too bad. I mean I noticed it before even adding water to the cup. If anyone has any small storage container recommendations for little amounts of tea please let me know!