Metropolitan Tea Company

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Recent Tasting Notes

90

My last teabag of this one. I hope I can find again. This was delightful every time I enjoyed it.

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90

Just as good the next time I tasted it! So enjoyable!

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90

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!

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95

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.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Roswell Strange

Metropolitan Tea Company is a wholesaler – one of the biggest in North America, so odds are that this blend is probably carried elsewhere but potentially under a different name. In my experience, a lot of places don’t completely change the catalog names of MTC blends or also leaves the tea description provided by MTC the exact same – with a bit of digging you could probably find it offered by another company! :)

Daniel

Thanks Roswell! I’ll try to find it. :)

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40

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

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 14 OZ / 400 ML
Nattie

I wonder if brewing this as if it were coffee might help? I’ve just been reading Roswell’s notes about the DT ‘tea espresso’ and they seem to be quite mild.

Mastress Alita

But those were actually tea, not coffee grounds. Just formulated for use in an espresso machine. This does have pu-erh leaf in it, so I’m not sure if, say, putting it in a coffee machine vs. a gravity well infuser and having that steaming hot water dumped over it would be the right choice…

Nattie

Hmm, good point.. I would be tempted to say try it and see, just because coffee grounds and pu are things I usually prepare similarly anyway. Maybe a French press? closer to a gravity steeper? Idk. Maybe not worth it if it’s giving you an upset stomach.

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78

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

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML
Nattie

Good sleuthing!

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80

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.

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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.

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bqs71VsFpGL/

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.

Yum!

I will miss this tea room a lot, though I’m sure I’ll also find some new favourites here in Montreal too.

derk

Have fun tomorrow!

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71

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

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 6 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

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100

I got this one from Cameron B, and I love it! It’s probably the most authentic melon taste I’ve experienced in tea before. The oolong doesn’t contribute much flavor, it’s just the tastiest melon. I can never buy DavidsTea sour watermelon again after this tea!

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70

Thank you for sharing Cameron B! I am sipping on this next to my burning watermelon candle. I guess it is a watermelon sort of day.

This tea is certainly very sweet. And floral from the oolong. It is also slightly creamy which was unexpected. It has a lot of watermelon candy qualities to it.

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87

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.

Flavors: Creamy

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 2 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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87

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75

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

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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75

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

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Sipdown!
I will have to get some more of this at some point, as I found it very interesting, but would have liked to have longer to work out my opinions on it.
Hmm. Well, I’ll keep an eye out for it!

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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!

gmathis

Been years since I had this, but I liked it!

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86

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

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

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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.

VariaTEA

I feel you. The sad thing is other than a lingering cough and a crackle in my chest, I feel fine. Regardless of that, my taste is still off. It’s like there is a void in the flavors :(

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58

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

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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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!

Mastress Alita

I buy tons of these off Amazon, since they are cheaper than tins and pretty similar already to what lots of tea companies ship their tea in. I find I have to repackage the tea I get from tea companies into these immediately if they come in paper bags, plastic bags, or a bag that doesn’t have a resealable top, just so storage will last longer. They are food-safe aluminum with zip tops. The smallest size is great for about an ounce of tea or less (also awesome for sampler tea swaps), while the next size up is what I use when I have around 1-2.5 ounces of tea (though because white tea is so light and fluffy, even 2 ounces of that I typically have to put into two of the 4.7×7 bags). I always keep a package of each on hand and reorder when I get low.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XG3QR1Z/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

tea-sipper

Yep, I do much the same as Mastress Alita. If I don’t like the packaging of a tea, it immediately gets put into pouches similar to those. I’m always worried about things getting into tea, which I don’t think I’ve ever found from how I store tea. But sometimes the occasional spider on the wall will make me hope they at least avoid the tea! With that sort of packaging though, I don’t really have to worry about it.

Mastress Alita

I have found spiders crawling around my tea shelves and cupboards… but then… spiders can get on anything, evil things! I’ve never found them inside any of my tea, though!

Lexie Aleah

Thanks Guys! and Spiders? never seen any in my tea cupboard or near it thank goodness for that!

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Warning: mini rant below
I’m pretty sure that this is the right source since the leaf looks the same and the other tea’s from the company are from here or Culinary Teas.
I got this tea down at the beach and couldn’t decide between this one or the Irish Cream. I asked a family member which one I should go with and of course my impatient grandfather just said go with that one while pointing to the Caramel Pu-erh. So I went with this one. I’m the type of person who weighs the pros and cons and found that they were tied when picking between these two teas. I definitely need someone to come into my life who has great reasoning and can make these types of decisions for me.

Prep: I used one Teavana perfect spoonful. Steeped this western style using 9 oz of boiling water to be exact for 3:15 minutes covered. I used no additives as this tea is best without any milk or sweetener in my opinion.
Steep #2: 6 oz of water for maybe 7 minutes
Steep #3: 4 oz of water for maybe 12 minutes

Taste Wise- This is sweet in a burnt sugar sort of way. It definitely has a syrupy sweetness of sorts to it but I wouldn’t necessarily identify it as caramel. The Pu-erh base is earthy, mineral-y and perhaps slightly fishy but that might just be because the dry leaf smelled somewhat fishy. It’s an interesting tea for sure. I didn’t pay a ton of attention to it while drinking it so this tasting note will be expanded on in the future.
I definitely would like to explore some higher grade pu-erhs but unfortunately western steeping is often more convenient for me. I’m holding off on rating this for now until I try it again. I enjoyed it but it was a bit bizarre and I’m not in love with it.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Mineral, Sweet, Wet Earth

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML
52Teas

I believe that most of the teas from Culinary Teas are also Metropolitan Teas. Metropolitan Teas is a wholesale company – that is, they don’t sell retail. They sell retail products – wholesale – to retailers that will sell their products but they do not have a retail outlet of their own. (At least that’s been my understanding over the course of the many years that I’ve been involved in the tea business.)

Lexie Aleah

That makes sense. Thanks for the information. (:

Mastress Alita

So, I have a confession to make, as for the decision-making. My online friends and I hang out in an old IRC (Internet Relay Chat) server. One of them has a bot on our chatroom that can do misc. things using commands. One thing she programmed Silvie (the bot) to do for me is decide my tea. If I use the !tea command, I get a response like, “Silvie runs to the cupboard and fumbles around with many different bags. She bounds back and presents a bag of Oolong” (with the choices being “black” “green” “white” “chai” “oolong” “yerba mate” “pu-erh” “rooibos” “herbal” “bagged tea” “mixed blends” and “Silvie’s Special Blend”). That narrows my collection of over 400 teas down to a category, and sometimes if I really want to narrow down my choice, I’ll put the teas into an Excel sheet, and use her random number command to select one from the sheet for me, too. I hate to admit how often I do that to select my tea choices! But you aren’t the only indecisive one!

Lexie Aleah

That sounds amazing! We definitely need a feature on Steepster like that, that picks a random tea from our cupboard.

Todd

I found an online spinning wheel that picks things and populated it with common types of tea. You can customize it however you like and save the URL. Note that it makes noise when you click to spin the wheel, but you can turn that off. http://wheeldecide.com/index.php?c1=black&c2=green&c3=white&c4=oolong&c5=pu%27er&c6=herbal&c7=rooibos&c8=yerba+m%C3%A1te&c9=chai&t=Tea&time=5

Lexie Aleah

Thanks! (:

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56

Ah, Scottish Caramel Pu-erh. I think nearly every independant teashop I’ve visited has had this on the line-up, and if you search it here on Steepster, you’ll probably get a good twenty iterations of it because of that, but I’m fairly positive they are all wholesaling it from the same popular teashop wholesaler — Metropolitan Tea Company. What I find most fascinating is how many of these teashops put butterscotch or caramel (or both) on the ingredients list (the one I purchased it from did!) yet inspecting the leaf, there isn’t a trace of caramel or butterscotch pieces in it (only chopped almond), meaning these are flavorings. That makes a big difference to those with dietary restrictions, preferences, or allergies; my BFF is Vegan and the difference between caramel flavoring (often non-dairy) and caramel pieces (typically dairy) is huge, and simply listing “caramel” on the ingredients list is not very helpful! The consumer shouldn’t have to dig through their leaf to figure out what is in their tea, especially after buying… /end rant

In any event, I picked up my go at this blend from Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe and Afternoon Tea last year when I was on vacation in San Diego. The leaf does have a bit of the “fishy” smell I find tends to be a problem with the bases in flavored pu-erh blends, but thankfully it mellows out in the brewed cup, and doesn’t leave any lingering flavors (at least that I notice, and that can’t be said for some other flavored pu-erhs in my collection). The tea brews up very thick and dark as coffee, has a damp earth flavor with a bit of a mineral finish, but is very sweet. The pu-erh base is a bit strong so I don’t get a heavy caramel note, but more of a sweet, burnt sugar finish, with a slight caramely taste left lingering on my tongue afterwards. During the sip, something about the sweet flavorings and the earthiness of the base gives me this coconut flavor on my tongue… I realize there is nothing in the tea to produce a coconut flavor, but the caramel notes read to my palate that way more than caramel. (That isn’t exactly a bad thing, I like coconut, but I find it interesting). I’m not sure what the diced almonds are doing for the blend, since I don’t get any nutty notes from the tea. The tea comes off as a cheap pu-erh that uses its flavoring to pre-sweeten the leaf and hide the unappealing notes that typically come with a cheap pu-erh. It’s drinkable, but not something I’m going to miss once I manage to finish it off.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Coconut, Mineral, Sweet, Thick, Wet Earth

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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