Shakespeare's Corner ShoppeEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
This is going to be my nightly herbal for a while until I reach sipdown, since I bought this on a vacation in San Diego back in fall of 2017 from Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe, a great place to visit for a good High Tea! Most of their teas are wholesaled, but they have a small selection of original blends named after famous British icons, both real and fictional. This is one of their original blends, and also one of their decaf options. It’s a decaf black tea blend mixed with rooibos, lemongrass, and lavender.
The tea looks like a lighter black tea in color, and the lemongrass and lavender definitely come off strongly in the aroma. The base is quite malty and woody, though it still comes off a bit astringent, and I’m surprised it isn’t more sweet for the black tea being blended with so much rooibos; I wish more of the honey/caramel/vanilla notes that naturally come forward in rooibos were showing up here, but they seem to be overpowered by the other components of the blend. I’m not really digging the lemongrass; I love lemon and lavender as a flavor combo, but I wish one of the other citrus herbs was used, because there is a lot of lemongrass in the tea, and it comes off a little too herby/hay-like and adds a bit of a vegetal sourness. I wonder if there might be too much lavender as well adding to that vegetal sour taste, since I have had that happen with overleafed lavender before; I do like the strong lavender flavor in the tea, though.
So my initial impression is that this blend isn’t working out for me much. I do have quite a bit of leaf though, so I have some ideas of how to make it better moving forward. With my nightly herbals I usually leave the teabag in the pot, since herbals don’t tend to “oversteep” but with this one, I’m going to make sure to always remove the leaf since it does have black tea in the mix (and I’ve also noticed that lavender also goes bitter when steeped too long) and may play around with shorter steeps than I usually give herbals, due to the black leaf, to see if that cuts down on astringent/bitter notes. Also will see how this pairs with lemon-infused honey to get some nicer citrus notes in there than the lemongrass is currently providing. I also really like how lavender pairs with coconut, so I also might try a small amount of sweet coconut milk in the future. (The lemon-infused honey has already improved this cup quite a bit).
Though I’ll attempt to improve this, I feel the rooibos adds nothing, the lemongrass should be lemon verbena or lemon myrtle, and it may need a better balance on the lavender. I do like the concept of a lemon lavender black tea I can drink at bedtime, even if this one didn’t quite pan out for me, though!
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Citrus, Floral, Hay, Herbaceous, Lavender, Lemongrass, Malt, Vegetal, Wood
Autumn Harvest! I got this tea quite some time ago, on a vacation in the fall of 2017 when I was in San Diego for a convention from a place I had High Tea called Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe. They mostly sold a lot of popular wholesale blends but had a selection of unique blends they made in-house named after popular British characters, and this was one of those blends I picked up, since the odd assortment of ingredients intrigued me. Lots of chunky dried fruits and veggies in this tea — apple, lemon, lime, orange, tomato, and cucumber — on a rooibos and hibiscus petal base. I really have no idea what this should taste like!
The steeped tea, of course, was a dark rooibos red, but the aroma smelled surprisingly creamy, which I wasn’t expecting. It was sweet, which I suppose could be from all the fruit, but I was getting a vanilla sort of aroma, and citrus, making me think of creamsicle, and I could also pick out the cucumber in the aroma.
Woah! This is uniquely savory, sweet, and tangy all at once, it’s a very unique assault on the senses. The base is actually quite rich; it has this slight sweetness to it (there is no indication in the ingredients there is flavoring added, but the rooibos really tastes of vanilla to me!), then fills out with this tangy fruity taste that has that hibi punchy flavor mixed with a lot of orange citrus and very juicy tomato. It sounds strange, but reminds me of those V8 fruit juice/tomato juice combos that I used to quite enjoy. Toward the end of the sip, a citrus note and a stronger cucumber note push forward, and the cucumber actually leaves a somewhat refreshing feeling on the tongue. It’s a really unique tea; I seem to be on a roll for blends that have been offering me some rather new taste experiences lately.
Flavors: Citrus, Cucumber, Fruit Punch, Fruity, Orange, Sweet, Tangy, Thick, Umami, Vanilla, Vegetal
Trick or Treat! This is a tea I picked up from a trip I took to San Diego back in fall of 2017 now, where I had High Tea at a quaint little shop that also sold tea and British collectibles and food called Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe. Most of their tea blends were wholesaled, but they had a handfull that were unique blends they created that were named after famous British royalty, characters, or pop icons, and this is one of the ones I picked up.
This is probably one of the most chocolately teas I own, so it fits in nicely with my dessert tea theme this month! It’s a Ceylon black base, but they’ve added both milk and white chocolate, cocoa nibs, maple syrup (there is a certain maple sweetness mixed with the strong chocolate flavoring of the tea from the aroma), blueberries (because Willy Wonka!), vanilla, orange peel and lemon balm for a touch of citrus, and safflower and cornflower petals. It sounds like a lot going on, but the flavor comes out as chocolate blueberries! Which probably still sounds very odd, but somehow works, if you are in the mood for a very sweet, quirky dessert tea.
I can still make out just a hint of the black tea base, and it probably would be a hint bitter with some astringency if this tea wasn’t so darn sweet, but since I don’t like harsh, bitter Assams/Ceylons, I’m fine with that. This isn’t a subtle chocolate tea; it’s very rich, sweet, and fudgy in flavor, and the sweetness does have a maple note to it which I really like. About midsip and then lingering on the finish is a really sweet blueberry flavor, that mixed with that touch of maple really reminds me of blueberry pancake syrup, a really syrupy sweet blueberry note. I’m not really getting any citrus, though I wonder if they are helping bring the black tea base to the forefront a bit more, since Ceylons tend to be a bit citrusy.
Black teas aren’t the sort of thing I indulge in late at night when I tend to want a sweet-tooth hit, so I think my place for something like this is for those Fridays when I know it isn’t donut day at work… like today.
Flavors: Blueberry, Chocolate, Malt, Maple, Pancake Syrup, Sweet
Thanks so much for sharing some of this one, Mastress Alita! I am the biggest fan of the original Willy Wonka movie. I had such high expectations for Tim Burton’s remake (I am also a huge Tim Burton fan, the earliest movies mostly… I dressed up as Beetlejuice for Halloween when I was five, though now I can appreciate that Beetlejuice himself is not what makes that movie so great.) Anyway, the Burton Wonka remake was such a disappointment to me that I stopped watching his movies until now. But now I’m reviewing a Tim Burton book and have watched or rewatched most of his movies recently. The older movies: even better now, the other newer movies: not as bad as I expected. Will be rewatching Charlie & the Chocolate Factory tonight! ANYWAY. This tea is quite a combo from a small tea shop that just sounds dreamy. Chocolate, blueberry, maple, vanilla. The blend itself is gorgeous with yellow and blue flowers. Honestly, a chocolate and blueberry combination doesn’t sound TOO good to me, but I can understand why they are included (chocolate factory, ‘Violet you’re a blueberry!’) Somehow I taste mostly equal parts blueberry and chocolate. The end result is certainly unique and tasty anyway!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
Flavors: Blueberry, Chocolate
Additional notes: I hope everyone had an enjoyable 4th if you happen to reside in the USofA. Somehow I don’t think I have any patriotic teas… so I’ve been enjoying some tasty hot weather brews, like this one, some jasmine teas and melon teas…. good stuff. I really have to order more of this from English Tea Store because I’m one serving away from being out. Very grateful to Mastress Alita for introducing me to this one!
Oh wow, this one is GOOD. Thanks so much for sharing this one, Mastress Alita! My teaspoon was sure to have a little cucumber slice and little piece of melon included. And the flavor is perfectly balanced between the melon and the cucumber and the fresh green tea. Plenty of flavor here! I’m not usually a fan of cucumber but I love when the flavor balances other flavors. This is fantastic, couldn’t be better, and I will savor this one in summer. I wish I had tea shops like this around here and if they blended this one they are pretty darn good at it.
Flavors: Cucumber, Melon
Last year I took a vacation to San Diego for a Doctor Who convention, and my friend and I had a high tea at Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe. This was the tea I selected to accompany my meal, and I remember enjoying it then so I bought some from my shop haul, but trying it now I’m a bit underwhelmed. And I normally really love black/rooibos blends, as I usually find that I really like the way the two teas end up complimenting each other, with the rooibos naturally sweetening up the tea and mellowing out a lot of the astringent bite I don’t care for in a lot of black teas. It really should be the exact sort of tea I love, but it seems a bit hit or miss whether I get a nice cuppa from it, despite using consistent steeping parameters.
The leaf has a really nice fruity smell. It is a quite punchy aroma, with a lot of sweet and tart fruity notes; I pick up this cran-strawberry scent, and perhaps a bit of passionfruit, with a touch of underlying rooibos. After brewing, I still smell a lot of sweet strawberry, as well as tarter fruit notes like cranberry and pomegranate, and oddly enough, a somewhat grapey scent.
The flavor of the tea is quite fruity, with some noticable sweeter, strawberry accompanied by some very subtle floral notes in the opening sip, with a bit of a tart fruit kick of a combination of cranberry and pomegranate flavors that linger on the tongue in the finish. There are a lot of tropical flavors in the blend, but they get a bit lost, as I can’t make out any of the pineapple or mango, unless they are presenting themselves as that subtle floral note. The base of the tea is its main downfall; the black tea leaves a bit of a tannic finish, so if you get a bit too much black in the teaspoon, I find it feels a little more bitter than I tend to prefer. But the rooibos in this blend has a very medicinal/cough syrupy taste, which is a flavor note I don’t typically pick up on from rooibos unless I ice it (Perhaps they are using a lower quality rooibos in the blend? Or that particular note just makes itself present to me around the other flavors in the tea? I have no idea!) So if there is too much rooibos in the teaspoon, it tastes a bit cough syrupy to me. And it seems on any given scoop, I just don’t seem to get a magic combination where the cup comes out really nice. Some cups are more on the astringent side but don’t have that medicinal edge at all, and some taste quite medicinal to me, but aren’t leaving that bitter drying taste in my mouth every sip. I’ve definitely had some come out better than others, but none that I’d rank as highly as I remember during my high tea at the restaurant. I don’t normally sweeten my teas, but a little sugar does seem to help this one all around.
I liked the fruity flavor, but the parts of the whole just didn’t all come together in the right ways on this one.
Flavors: Astringent, Cranberry, Floral, Fruity, Medicinal, Rooibos, Strawberry, Tannic, Tart