PIPER & LEAF Artisan Tea Co.

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Recent Tasting Notes

65

Happy National Strawberry Day! Pulled this last P&L sampler from my stash to drink today, prepared cold brewed.

The green tea itself has a deeply vegetal, spinach-like aroma. I get a bit of a berry fruitiness on the nose. The taste, however, is coming off strongly of the beets in the blend, and I’m wondering if that was a “luck of the scoop” from my little sample bag… I do taste some strawberry, but with the highly vegetal note of the green tea coupled with the strong beet note, it doesn’t really taste very fruity. Grassy, vegetal, a little metallic/earthy, bulldozing the subtle strawberry sweetness in the background. I’m not getting any sassyfras, which is disappointing…

I think I may have just overleafed this, adding to some of the strong green tea notes, and if I’d split the sample into two batches it might have been a little less intense, a little more fruity, and been more subtle on the beet. Ah well, I wanted to use up the full sample packet in one go. Not a particularly good cup, but I can see the potential in it and am chalking this one up to my preparation. That said, I’m still keeping my rating lower than I’d give otherwise since it is called “Sassyfras Strawberry” and I’m not getting one of those ingredients at all.

Flavors: Astringent, Drying, Earth, Grass, Mineral, Spinach, Strawberry, Tangy, Vegetal

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 7 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

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74

Steepster Freeze 2021 #3: 02/14/21

I swear the Dashboard freezes are directly coorelated with the Sipdown Challenge days… of the three outages already this year (seriously, it’s only mid-February!) two of those have fallen on those “fun theme days”, of which there are only five a month… what gives?

So, whenever the site is working again, I guess I’ll post this. It’s Valentine’s Day (a holiday that I, as an aromantic asexual person have never celebrated anyway) but I will gladly drink a chocolately tea. Especially as I’m trying to finish off these little Piper & Leaf samples…

This is a black tea with bits of fig, coffee, and lots of cocoa shells/chips. Steeped 3.25g to 350ml for 3 minutes at 205F. The brew has a strong coffee aroma, but also a dark chocolate scent that, together, are making me think of a mocha only darker and sans the creamy milk. Smells a little like spices as well, sort of a mixed chicory/pepper/cinnamon aroma.

Flavor tastes much like the aroma. May be “luck of the scoop,” but I’m getting coffee first, cocoa second. I’m fine with that, as I like the rich and slightly bitter flavor of black coffee, and with the cocoa, the cocoa is presenting more as an extra dark, bittersweet chocolate, rather than something really fudgy and sweet. It also veers the tea away from having that waxy “thin artificial chocolate” sort of taste like most chocolate teas. Still getting a sort of chicory/peppery flavor though neither are in the blend… not sure where I’m picking up that particular spice note.

It’s a nice cuppa, one I’d consider more of a “coffee” tea than a “chocolate” tea, but I’m digging that not-too-sweet-not-too-bitter balance of the flavors.

Flavors: Cocoa, Coffee, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Spices

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
AJRimmer

Valentine’s Day just seems like a weird commercial thing to celebrate anyway. I’ve been with my partner for many years and we’ve never done anything for it. Ideally one does nice things for other people throughout the year and not just on the day it’s mandated!

Mastress Alita

Meh, I think my major disdain is that we will manufacturer and market a holiday for romantic love, but not any other kind of love… and since coming out as an Ace (several decades ago now) it’s made me a bit bitter cause it just feels like one more thing that isolates/hides asexuality from the world. shrugs and doesn’t want to get on that soapbox…

AJRimmer

That’s a really interesting perspective, and so true! Ay if there’s a national pizza day, we could definitely make another more inclusive holiday!

White Antlers

I find it stupid that one day of the year is set aside for folx to ‘show their love’ to a spouse/partner. If you are in a good, solid relationship, be it a married one, a live together one, a monogamous but not living together one, a deep, solid, platonic/asexual one, a really good friends with benefits one-or whatever your definition of love relationship is-then you do NOT need one day out of the year to do anything out of the ordinary. The real, nitty gritty stuff that keeps you together or in the same orbit happens all the time and does not demand candy, flowers, cards, expensive food and drink to prove anything. To me, a bouquet of flowers or a bar of good chocolate ‘just because’ on any day of any week in any month means far more than an obligatory tribute on a specific, manufactured day of a month.

derk

Y’all are just a pile of wet blankets. I am in good company.

derk

The freeze pattern I’ve noticed is Saturdays in the western hemisphere. That’s when we used to get bombarded the most by spammers from across the world.

mrmopar

Yep, everyday should be a Valentines day with someone you deeply care about.

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88

Happy National Pizza Day!

I’ve been working through what has been left of my little samplers from this company, and this was a milk oolong with some additions (including pineapple) so I saved it for today. I often get “buttery vegetable” notes from milk oolong, particularly spinach (one of my favorite pizza toppings), and the pineapple chunks in the blend are reminescent of another of my favorite toppings (yes, I’m one of those people).

A get a strong buttery milk oolong aroma from both the dried and steeped tea, as well as a fruity aroma from the steeped tea that wasn’t present for me in the dry leaf. It’s giving me a tropical vibe, but I don’t think I could place a specific aroma. Now that the tea has cooled enough to sip from my work thermos, I’m really digging the flavor! A warm and buttery milk oolong base, with a distinct pineapple flavor on the sip, which has just the slightest bit of tanginess to it from this citrusy undertone from the dried persimmon. There is a bit of a citrus zest aftertaste. Also a subtle but indistinct florality. It’s really enjoyable! Warm silky, buttery texture, fruity pineapple, and tangy citrus… doesn’t sound like it should work but it oddly comes together nicely.

This may be a minor thing, but I don’t like that the Piper & Leaf website claims this tea “includes dairy” because the leaf is “steamed with milk”… does this myth really have to continue to be circulated? (I mean, sure, from the flavor this is probably a flavored milk oolong, but my understanding is those flavorings still don’t include dairy? This “warning” seems entirely incorrect and unnecessary and would serve as nothing more than to drive Vegans away from a very nice tea…)

Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Pineapple, Tangy, Thick

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
AJRimmer

I’ve somehow never had pineapple in pizza, but I like it in curry, so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy it!

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79

I still have a few samplers from this company in my stash I’ve been trying to work through. The company suggested this one as an iced tea, so that is how I prepared it — I used the full 7.5g sampler to make a quart of iced tea. I steeped it hot, then chilled it in the fridge.

At least with this preparation, I’m getting a rich malty flavor but no drying/astrigent qualities (though I have a feeling it might be a bit bitey if it were steeped hot and drunk right away). This isn’t the sort of bold Earl Grey I was imagining, though I do taste the bergamot; it feels a bit gentler than I’ve seen in some blends (though it could just be the preparation, this may be my first time drinking a bergamot-flavored tea iced!) and is reading more as a vibrant citrusy note, as if I added lemon and lime wedges to my pitcher. What I really enjoyed about this, though, was how the bergamot was blending with the flavor of spearmint; the spearmint was so crisp and refreshing, and made a lovely flavor pairing alongside the citrusy bergamot, bringing out a slight mojito effect. I didn’t get any floral notes from the tea, despite the addition of jasmine in the ingredients.

Not sure how this would compare if taken straight up and hot, but it does make a refreshingly solid iced tea!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Bergamot, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Malt, Mint, Spearmint

Preparation
Iced 4 min, 0 sec 7 g 32 OZ / 946 ML
Shae

I know not everyone loves this blend, but I enjoy this one (especially iced). I’ve never really thought of this as an Earl Grey, so that could be why I like it so much – no expectations. My brother usually adds a bag of Twinings Earl Grey to his large pitchers of sweet tea and, even though I probably wouldn’t be able to pick out the bergamot if I didn’t know it was in there, it does add something special to the tea. I think of the bergamot here as more of an accent in that way.

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82

Steepster Freeze 2021 #1: 01/12/21

Happy National Kiss a Ginger Day!

I grabbed this chai sampler I still had in my stash, which I should be able to sipdown relatively quickly over today and tomorrow as there was just enough tea inside for two double-sized cups (perfect for the work thermos). It includes the typical pumpkin spice ingredients (including the titular ginger for today!) as well as pumpkin and vanilla on a black base.

The dry leaf aroma of this pumpkin spice chai is mostly vanilla, which gives the spices a very “sweet spice” smell. The aroma isn’t as potent on the brewed cup; I’m getting a bit of the vanilla note and sweet cinnamon, but it seems much more subdued on the nose against the breadiness of the black base, and now there is a distinct spice aroma wafting into my nostrils: clove.

Mmm. This is a tasty chai, and reminds me of Tea Chai Te’s “Pumpkin Spice Chai,” though I do think I prefer that one a bit more. If that one suddenly disappeared, I think I’d be happy with this as a sub, though. The black tea mixed with the sweetness of the vanilla and cinnamon tastes like a warm cinnamon bread, and there is a warmth left at the back of my throat of ginger and clove. The clove, in particular, leaves a lasting aftertaste on my tongue. The flavor is smooth enough to drink sans milk, and the spices, while warming, are not burny/uncomfortable on my spice-sensitive tongue.

I am not one of those people that thinks that “pumpkin spice” (a spice blend) should “taste like pumpkin” (though I do love the flavor of pumpkin). I find pumpkin is one of those flavors I rarely, if ever, taste in tea regardless, and adding pumpkin pieces rather than some syrupy sweet “pumpkin pie” flavoring usually doesn’t do it for me. This doesn’t taste like that particular flavoring (and I’ve had run ins of both good and bad regarding that flavoring over the years, so I’m not very particular about it being present).

I find this a solid vanilla-forward chai, much sweeter than a typical masala-type blend. I would not recommend it to those particular about pumpkin spice “tasting like pumpkin” or those that are clove-sensitive.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Clove, Cream, Ginger, Spices, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

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83

Shae’s ADVENT CALENDAR, December 5

Where to start? I am writing this note about 3 hours after finishing my cup. I was in hurry making a picture, so it’s pretty much simple (I like it anyway), but there isn’t any view of blend today. The official image is right though!

I read a note from Shae it’s great iced/cold. I was quite confused as I preapred cold brewed tea once and well, it was pretty much okay.

It’s not plain tea which is a plus and honestly it surprsied me how many notes are already here on Steepster. It seems quite average, so let’s see. The aroma of dry leaf indeed reminded me iced teas available here (read: sugary drinks which aren’t with tea at all, I wonder if it is different over there). On sweet side. But I really like blue cornflowers in the tea. They made me smile right in the morning.

I have used only one teaspoon, to avoid bitterness and too much tannic note.
I think it went great and after 3-4 minutes steep (till I finished the photo session) it was just right. The aroma was same, just stronger and taste was indeed like iced teas! I really think it can work perfectly as iced/cold brewed tea. It was mellow, yet brisk, like with added sugar/stevia maybe and bit citrusy. Not really sure about the bergamot (it wasn’t calling me I am like an Earl Grey), but it was nice. The mint didn’t get any cooling effect for me, but maybe it was too little for me or just not that prominent. I didn’t get any jasmine.

Notes to self: To re-try iced/cold brewed. Keep an eye on clock more carefully.
Photo: https://flic.kr/p/2kdxGyy
Song pairing: https://www.jamendo.com/track/896970/reality-bites

Flavors: Citrus, Sweet, Tannic, Tea

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
White Antlers

Your Jamendo track reminded me of Bill Bragg:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uNeMY89wxs

ashmanra

I like the photo, Martin! I find it hard to get good ones. I tried taking some for Sororitea Sisters reviews but I am not good at it. Plus I always ended up seeing dog hair somewhere in the scene! Ha ha! The song is nice and sounds like something I would love to listen to in summer for the uplift!

White Antlers

ashmanra LOL! I sell on Ebay and am always checking my photos for cat hair.

AJRimmer

Ha, when I was selling on eBay, I just gave up on getting rid of the cat hair and put a note in each auction saying that there would probably be hair on the product.

ashmanra

You guys are so funny! I guess if I sold things I could say it came from a home with a non-smoking dog, but that is about the best I could promise.

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65

Decided to brew this sampler tonight after my Thanksgiving tradition of ordering gobs of Thai takeout (typically on the Wednesday before when things are open) and then reheating the leftovers, which last me days, for dinner.

This is one of those “turns blue because butterfly pea flower” herbal blends. I don’t really care about “color novelty” in tea, but I actually like the taste of butterfly pea flower and will drink it straight (I particularly like it the traditional way with some lemon juice and honey). I’m mostly used to it paired with citrus, though this is a minty/fruity blend. My blue cuppa smells heavily minty, with a touch of an herbaceous element, but I’m not getting any fruitiness in aroma. And honestly… even though there are blueberries and blackberries in the blend, I am not tasting them either. I am getting a very nice tasting mint tea, with a fresh and tingly sensation from the mints, with the spearmint being the most dominant minty flavor. I am also tasting the ginger in the blend, but it isn’t really spicy; more, it is adding to some of the earthy notes I’m getting in the tea, as well as a slight warming sensation at the back of the throat. It’s actually interesting, as I’m getting a cooling feeling more on my tongue, and a warming more on my throat… despite being conflicting, it isn’t unpleasant. Usually butterfly pea flowers have a sort of vegetal flavor to me, but I’m not getting that, either… instead, I’m getting more of an “earthiness” beneath the mint that reminds me a bit of echinacea or tulsi.

This is actually a nice “I’ve gorged myself” chaser considering the mint and ginger, which are my two main “help my poor abused GI system” teas. In the end, the butterfly pea flower really is just a “color” gimmick as I don’t think it’s doing much of anything for the blend… just a way to try to make a mint blend “more interesting,” really. But if you like mint, I mean… it doesn’t really need to be interesting?

Anyway, I’m fine with it, mostly because I’m not adverse to pea flower flavor. But since pea flower can be one of those easily aversive flavors, really no reason to recommend this over any other mint / mint and ginger / tummy tea sort of blend.

Flavors: Earth, Ginger, Herbaceous, Mint, Peppermint, Spearmint

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
gmathis

Our day before Thanksgiving tradition used to involve chili dogs and Frito pies from Stogey’s Coney Island (a local dive), but two of us can’t handle that any more. We did slightly more civilized Mexican take-out Wednesday instead. Sounds like you chose a good antidote.

Mastress Alita

I see no point in cooking a big meal when I live alone. I also have always hated cooking. This has been my “thing” for quite some time now, heh.

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68

From this weekend during the Steepster freeze.

Another of my samplers from 2018. This blend has also changed to what it is now currently, and much more significantly; the version I have has black tea included, even though it is “advertised” as an “herbal blend,” while the updated blend is a proper herbal tea. However, the blend I have says it actually includes honeysuckle flowers, while the new blend does not (it lists chamomile instead). I certainly don’t want black tea in my “herbal” type blends, but the novelty of something like this, to me, is the honeysuckle (it’s even in the name!) so it’s a bit of a shame that they took two steps forward and then another step back when they updated the ingredients list on this…

Anyway, on account of the black tea I have in this older version of the blend, I brewed this pot of tea in the afternoon, before my “caffeine cut-off” on a dreary day where I’m feeling rather nasty. The brew is a muddy brown color and smells earthy and minty… it reminds me of the aroma of tulsi, actually (which is in the new blend, but not my version). It also smells sweet, like a sticky sweetness… (licorice root? Again, an ingredient in the new blend, but not my version).

It tastes minty, but with a sharp herbaceousness to it, and a slight earthiness as well… I think the flavor is coming more from the echinacea than the mint. I’m also getting a cinnamon sort of note, which I can only guess may be a flavor coming from the black tea in the blend. There is a hint of florality, but it is actually pretty subtle. I’m also getting a slight citrusy aftertaste.

It’s an easy drink that reminds me mostly of tulsi in flavor, but nothing I would feel I need in my cupboard.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Earth, Floral, Herbaceous, Mint

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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75

From this weekend during the Steepster freeze.

Usually I make fruit teas cold brewed and drink them ice cold, but for some reason tonight I had a strong craving for a deeply fruity hibi tea, warm and deliciously puckery and tart, the sort of red cup that is the nightmares of the majority of Steepsterites. Found this sampler in my stash and brewed a small pot of tea.

I got this back in 2018 and notice the ingredients on their website are slightly different than what is on my packet, but not by much… the description does say it uses “seasonal berries” and the main difference I’m seeing is my packet lists raspberries which is replaced by elderberries on the current website ingredient listing. So I’m not sure if the blend itself has just been (slightly) updated, or if the difference is a seasonal one and has to do with whatever time of year it was that I happened to have ordered back in 2018. In any event, I don’t think there is going to be much difference to the flavor.

This is a deeply red pot of tea, that smells divinely fruity. Has that lovely thick mouthfeel and sweet-tart berry flavor I was craving so deeply. I think I’m mostly getting a blueberry flavor, but the tanginess of blackberry and currants, and a bit of that warm and thick fruit punch flavor from the hibi base. I can barely make out a hint of sage toward the end of the sip, but it is very subtle (I wish it was popping just a bit more).

Came for warm red berry tea, got warm red berry tea. Nothing particularly different or special about it, but it ticked the box exactly for what I was craving. Not recommended for the hibiscus-aversive or those that don’t like drinking tea that resembles a mug of blood.

Flavors: Berries, Blueberry, Fruit Punch, Fruity, Herbaceous, Hibiscus, Sweet, Tangy, Tart

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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Perks to working from home include making a legit breakfast and hot tea any time I want. Granted, most days I have cereal or forget breakfast and tea altogether, but today I made oat bran with a miso brown butter + a fried egg + red pepper flakes. It’s so delicious. And this tea, of course.

This is quite an interesting mix – lapsang, pumpkin, cedar/juniper/oak/fir, spearmint. The taste isn’t as complex as the ingredients would suggest though. It’s a light chai-spiced tea.

Flavors: Spices

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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My friend dropped off three Piper and Leaf samples this morning. I steeped a sample, resteeped, added sugar, and put it in the fridge to chill. I waited a few hours to try it, but honestly all sweet tea tastes best after it has chilled for a whole day to me, minimum is probably eight hours.

Though it is called Front Porch, I am actually drinking this on the back carport which never has cars in it, just rockers. A huge fan is blowing on me because it is 94F with a heat index of 103F.

I will see how this tastes tomorrow, but my assessment now is that it needs more flavor, so I probably should not have combined two steeps. My husband said he tastes the mint mostly, but I barely noticed it. I got more bergamot, but it wasn’t a lot of bergamot. Mostly high notes without a lot of middle and base.

I try not to add much sugar but I think this could have used more just to up the flavor. It isn’t bad, but at the prices they charge I expect it to be absolutely stellar.

Tried it again tonight now that it has had more time to “meld” as my Mother always said. It is better. I think the problem is I don’t like bergamot on Ceylon, and the Earl I enjoy much is with a Keemun base. I think most people would enjoy this and it isn’t bad, just not quite living up to my high hopes in this sticky summer weather.

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There is hibiscus in this, but I thought maybe oat milk wouldn’t curdle since it’s not actually milk. It curdles. There are nice big plumes of oat milk in my tea now, so lesson learned. Lovely.

This was part of a Christmas gift from my boss and his wife last year. He knows I love tea, though he misunderstood and heard 50 teas when I said 500. He thought 50 was ridiculous, so I decided not to correct him.

I’m guessing the hibiscus is here to boost or accent the cherry, but I really do hate when companies add hibiscus to black teas. I like a cold hibiscus brew every now and then and in some cases I have enjoyed it hot, but mostly it just leaves this dusty/dry feeling in my mouth like it’s old and stale.

That’s a thought – maybe I could try this one cold.

It was really hard to finish the last couple sips. This is not a favorite for me. (Let’s be honest – I chugged the last half to get it over with.) I mentioned to my husband that I didn’t like it, and when I told him it was cherry hibiscus his eyes lit up. I might have found a way out of drinking the rest of this after all.

I’ll hold my rating for now until I can try it without the oat milk curdle clouds.

Flavors: Cherry, Drying, Dust, Hibiscus

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
anutea

I feel the same way about hibiscus in teas! It’s over used in most teas.

Shae

Exactly! It has its place, certainly, but it seems to be in everything, lol.

tea-sipper

Yeah, non-tea people just don’t understand the necessary 500. muhaha

Shae

Haha, nope. When I first told him about my minor tea obsession, he guessed 25 and was surprised when I told him it was a few more than that. :D

anutea

Also 500 is not that hard to reach when you fall into the rabbit hole of teas :)

Shae

It’s really not! Especially when I need just a few more to reach that free shipping. ;)

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80

You know, I have to be honest. I wasn’t expecting much from this tea. I love Piper & Leaf but the smell of the dry blend threw me off. I’m not sure why because I love chai-spiced blends, but I kept putting this one aside in favor of others. It finally happened that this was the last black tea in my work bag so here we are.

I’ll admit that the addition of oregano and dill seed interests me. I don’t smell or taste those flavors though, unfortunately. Even so, this is a solid and delightful chai. No specific flavor stands out, but it’s nicely spiced. The tea itself isn’t too strong or too weak, nor is it bitter or astringent. I’m very pleasantly surprised and entirely happy with this cup.

Flavors: Spices

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Ah the joys of a TTB, you know nothing about a tea until you try it. This one smelled interesting, maybe a bit minty so I brewed it up strong and finished off the sample. I’m not a fan of bergamot or jasmine and the first few sips had more of a minty taste so maybe this tea is ok? As the tea cooled, it smelled more like jasmine and has a bit of a bergamot aftertaste. Sipping to the bottom of the cup all I get is jasmine and bergamot. Glad I got to try this, and it’s a reminder of the flavors I stay away from :)

Flavors: Bergamot, Jasmine, Spearmint

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60

TTB #22

I didn’t love this one, but I think it’s because I drank it hot. It’s basically an Earl Grey with jasmine and mint added and it wasn’t the greatest combination hot. But it looks like this was actually intended to be an iced tea and I could see how it would be quite refreshing iced!

Flavors: Bergamot, Floral, Jasmine, Mint

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Shae

I love this one iced and sweetened!

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65

Work – 11:00 AM

Sorry I haven’t been posting as much lately! I’ve been drinking a lot of advent calendar teas, which don’t get written about here yet… Plus there was Thanksgiving, of course. But hopefully now there will be more tea-drinking! At least until December 9th, when I’m heading to France for a week…

This one is from my Piper & Leaf subscription. It sounds interesting – Earl Grey with jasmine and spearmint basically. All of those things appeal to me, so I was happy to see this blend in my monthly package. Although I think this is intended to be an iced tea, that’s not something that I drink in the cooler months.

The base here is definitely brisk, and somewhat astringent as well. The spearmint likely exacerbates this a bit as well. Otherwise, it’s a nice amount of spearmint with jasmine and bergamot as supporting flavors.

My issue with this is, the base tea just doesn’t have enough flavor to make up for the astringency present. It’s very light on flavor – I don’t really get much other than briskness. And because of that, this one isn’t really for me.

P.S. – Piper & Leaf has some discounts going for Cyber Monday today, including 40% off their 35g packs of loose leaf!

Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Drying, Jasmine, Spearmint, Tannic

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

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60

Autumn Harvest! So I decided to try something different tonight, and make a sweet potato tea! I actually ordered from this company specifically when I found out they had a sweet potato chai because I wanted to try it so badly, and I’ve been saving it specifically for this theme month. I’m Idahoan, so I mean… I have to try the potato tea, right?

The dry leaf had a very earthy, somewhat musty scent, which comes out in the brewed cup, but the spices pull forward in the aroma more strongly as well; it’s a very sweet spice aroma on top of the musty earthy scent (it reminds me a bit of the aroma of ginseng, just without that medicinal quality, actually). And surprisingly… that’s actually what the flavor is reminding me of, too. I’m getting strong notes of an earthy ginseng sort of base, with a mildly warming spicy finish on the back of the throat. There is a slight licorice sweetness, but not a loud pop of it or lingering flavor note of it. The spice that leaves the most impression with me in the cup is the clove, but I’m fairly certain it’s the cinnamon and ginger leaving the pleasant lingering warmth. I’m a big tulsi lover, but I’m not picking up on it strongly here; I’m suspecting I’m used to the three-variety tulsi blend and this tea may just be using one of the three types, producing a more mellow flavor, but since it is a very clove-like plant, that’s likely why the clove spice is really coming forward in the cup.

Well, this was surprising. It isn’t what I was expecting steeped sweet potato to taste like, and ginseng tea is definitely not one of my favorite things. I have been okay with it paired with licorice root in the past, but it is very hit and miss for me. The spice blend in this is superb, I absolutely love the heavy clove flavor, the gentle yet warm hit of spice at the end of the sip, and that mellow sweet licorice touch, but that ginseng tasting base is just too much for me. There is just something about that flavor that tastes dirty instead of earthy to me… I’ll be able to finish the sampler, but I wouldn’t care to procure more of it. But I definitely have faith that these small family-farm tea blenders are good at their craft, because the blend of ingredients itself is good, it’s just my personal taste that doesn’t care for this. If you like ginseng tea and chai spice, you’d probably love this. (Really, did anyone else know that dried sweet potato tastes like ginseng? I feel like my palate has leveled up tonight!)

Flavors: Clove, Earth, Licorice, Musty, Spices, Spicy, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 6 g 16 OZ / 473 ML
Dustin

Butiki once had a potato pancake and applesauce tea! Such a strange thing to see and think “tea!”. Sweet potato makes more sense to me in a tea category.

Mastress Alita

I’ve had many sweet potato desserts but they actually tasted sweet and desserty (comman flavor in Japanese desserts). This tea didn’t taste anything like that, though.

Cameron B.

For me, this one tasted more like beets than sweet potato.

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55

Home – 3:30 PM

This is from my Piper & Leaf subscription for this month. The dry leaf smells lovely and caramely.

Hmm… This is quite odd. It reminds me of curry… I’m not sure if it’s because of the star anise or something else.

It does taste caramel-ish, but it’s more of a dark burnt sugar flavor. I don’t get any apple. Mostly it tastes like spices.

What a strange tea. It’s not awful, but curry isn’t really a flavor that I look for in tea. :P

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Malt, Spices

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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78

Home – 9:30 PM

So I recently signed up for the Piper & Leaf subscription box. They have some interesting blends and I haven’t tried anything from them that I’ve disliked.

This tea brews up a charming medium pink color (from the beets). The sencha is very mild and a little bit grassy. I really like the strawberry flavor here, it reminds me of strawberry jam. I’m not sure I know what sassafras tastes like (I assume like root beer?) so I can’t really say if I can taste it here. I think I can taste the beets just a little bit, but that may be just because I know they’re there. ;)

I bet this would be delicious cold brewed!

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Grass, Jam, Strawberry, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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80

Home – 11:00 PM

Now this is a much better herbal tisane! This one also contains hibiscus, but in a supporting role.

There’s a fruity flavor from the hibiscus, apple, and lemon, and it makes me think of cranberry juice. It’s tart but not sour, and not too strong. The peppermint is herbaceous and even has a little bit of a honey note. There’s a touch of ginger flavor, and a nice light tingly sensation on the tongue at the end of the sip.

Definitely tasty, though I’m not sure I understand the name. I would expect something called “Mistletoe Grove” to be piney as well as minty, and less fruity.

Flavors: Citrus, Cranberry, Ginger, Hibiscus, Honey, Lemon, Peppermint, Tart

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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75

Home – 11:00 AM

So I signed up for a Piper & Leaf subscription because they have some unusual seasonal teas and I’ve liked many of them. My first package came today and it included this tisane and Caramel Apple Pie black tea.

So this is supposed to be a sweet potato chai tisane. Sounds nice enough, especially for autumn.

But, um… It tastes like beets somehow. Even though it doesn’t contain any beets.

It tastes like beets with licorice root, cinnamon, and clove. It’s not a bad thing, just a bit strange? I have no idea what tulsi tastes like, so I couldn’t say whether I can detect it here.

So basically it’s a mild, sweet, warmly-spiced beet tisane. Unusual for sure! I find myself enjoying it though, and I’ll have no issue finishing the 35g.

P.S. – Drinking this made me really want to order a box of Numi’s savory teas. They don’t make them anymore! (sob)

Flavors: Anise, Cinnamon, Clove, Licorice, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Mastress Alita

For me at least, tulsi (a.k.a. holy basil) tends to have a peppery/minty taste, with a hint of citrus.

Just had to check out this company. As an Idahoan, I am far too curious about a sweet potato tea…

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78

Work – 3:30 PM

This is one of the blends from the Piper & Leaf subscription for this month. I’ve actually had it previously and recalled enjoying it, so when I noticed it on the counter this morning I picked it up to bring to work with me. I mailed out my Christmas gifts to my family today, so I was feeling in the holiday spirit!

This is an interesting one. If I didn’t know better, I would think it was a fruit tisane based on the taste. There’s no indication of black tea at all. The strongest flavor is the cherry, and there’s just enough hibiscus to give it a bit of tartness. I can also taste some amaretto or marzipan at the base, with a bit of a sweet alcoholic flavor. And then on top is the coconut, which sort of acts like a whipped cream element here.

So overall, it’s a bit like a tart and somewhat boozy cherry compote with whipped cream on top. I like it, though I think I would prefer vanilla to the coconut. The hibiscus is well-balanced (for once) and makes the cherry more convincing.

Flavors: Alcohol, Almond, Cherry, Coconut, Creamy, Hibiscus, Marzipan, Tart

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Mastress Alita

This one sounds delicious! And makes me wish there were more cherry teas for Christmas blends. Orange is fine at all, but so over-done.

Cameron B.

And often when I have a “cherry” tea, it’s really more of a marzipan flavor. This one is a nice change with the hibiscus. I’ll set some aside for you to send with your Mulled Wine Magic after the new year.

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78

Home – 7:00 PM

I’ve been sipping on this while packaging up tea swaps.

It’s not bad, especially considering it’s from last Christmas and it has coconut in it. Coconut is usually the kiss of death for a tea’s shelf life – it goes rancid and then there’s nothing to be done but toss the tea. Surprisingly, the coconut here seems to be fine. Hooray!

It’s quite light in flavor, I would guess this was a fruit tisane over a black tea base. The main flavor is tart cherry, and then it’s sweetened a bit by the coconut and vanilla with just a hint of almond.

Not bad at all, I’ll have to try this one again with a fresh batch if they release it every holiday season.

Flavors: Almond, Cherry, Coconut, Tart, Vanilla

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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75

Haveteawilltravel kindly included this one as a bonus in my recent tea purchase. It’s not something I would have chosen on my own, but I’m actually quite enjoying it! The strawberry flavor is most prominent with the sassafras showing up mainly in the aftertaste. A nice light, fruity tea for summer!

Flavors: Root Beer, Strawberry

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
gmathis

What a nice combo! Never thought about the two going together.

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