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Recent Tasting Notes
Decided to try another of my old Fusion Tea samplers (which, after a little digging, happens to be a blend sourced by Tea Guys). After finding another soured coconut tea that I had to throw out, I picked this one since it was older, and had coconut in it. Surprisingly, this one was fine. (I may never understand which of my teas are spared the coconut curse and which ones aren’t!)
Opening the bag, this stuff smells great. It has a lovely spicy scent, but with a nice sweetness. The brewed up smells lovely as well, with a sweet spiciness that really reminds me of the dessert. The flavor of the tea is great; the rooibos/honeybush base is really smooth, and I get really nice notes of cinnamon, clove, honey roasted nuts, and a slight maple sweetness. It all comes together nicely and really reminds me of a spiced slice of carrot cake. This is definitely a great sweet-tooth tea for the evenings!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Honey, Maple, Nutty, Smooth, Sweet
Another review I’m moving now that I’ve found the wholesale source; I tried this tea as “Spicy Chocolate Rooibos” by Angry Tea Room (they no longer carry it). It is still available as “Mexican Hot Chocolate” by Par Avion Tea.
This sampler came from the Here’s Hoping Teabox, so thank you to tea-sipper for organizing and all teabox contributers! I prepared this as a small pot of tea in the evening, to hit that evening sweet-tooth craving while not having to worry about caffeine.
The dry leaf had a very sweet chocolately scent, a bit like cinnamon and nutmeg mixed with powdered cocoa, and it also came off as just slightly floral to me. The steeped cup has a very nice cinnamon spice aroma with a hint of cocoa in the background, but I’m a bit of a spice-wuss, so I’m a bit scared of the amount of chili in the blend… But it honestly did not have the kick I was worried about. Really, the tea just has a warmth to it that ends up feeling quite cozy. The rooibos/honeybush base has more of a sweet chocolately note than tasting much like either of the base teas, though I wouldn’t say the chocolate is extremely strong, either; present and noticable, sweet, but not rich or overpowering. The cinnamon is the dominant flavor, and it starts off quite sweet on the tongue, but then the warmth of the spicy chiles settles on the back of the tongue, leaving the finish of the sip slightly spicy, and with a warm, satisfying feeling down the throat and in the stomach. The spiciness doesn’t unpleasantly linger, but I’m sure the tea would also take a bit of milk well to taste, for those even more spice sensitive than myself (and I consider myself pretty sensitive!)
I had my reservations, but this turned out really nice. I’m glad I decided to try this despite the scary “spicy” word and two types of chiles in the ingredients. It reminds me of Mexican cocoa, if the chocolate notes were toned down a bit.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cinnamon, Spicy, Sweet
I hunted down the source of this tea that I sampled from The Angry Tea Room (called “Caramel Popcorn Movie Night”) back in February 2018. Expect a “work in progress” sign up as I shift around a few more reviews to their wholesale source listings… at least they are fairly old ones?
I decided to have a late night first time watch of Deadpool tonight, so I pulled this sample out from my Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox samples to sipdown since it went so well with the mood! (Thanks so much to tea-sipper for organizing and all contributors of the box!) The brewed tea had a very sweet, caramely scent, with almost a maple syrup sort of sweetness to the aroma. Mmmm! I found the flavor very nice… it was a very rich, full caramel flavor, rather than being overly sweet-syrupy like some caramel-flavored teas I’ve tried. I think the base of the tea is what really balances out the flavor so nicely; the roasted mate gives it a toasty depth, and I’ve found that black/rooibos blends tend to create this nice combination of sweet malt. The tea is very smooth with no astringencies. This is a fantastic dessert tea!
Flavors: Candy, Caramel, Malt, Maple Syrup, Roasted, Smooth, Sweet
Strangely, the base is rather smoky. I’m not sure why they made that choice. I shared with three people. Two loved it, and one was indifferent, so I guess it’s a matter of taste. I would have liked to be able to taste the flavors in the name more rather than mostly just smoke. It was rather brisk and improved with milk, but it still didn’t work for me.
This is the last of my Tea Guys teas that are wholesaled/repackaged by Par Avion Tea; this one still has the same name (Mango Rose) and unlike some of the other blends, it looks like the blend hasn’t really been updated for this one, other than the inclusion of the preservatives (or at least Tea Guys making it known they add them now… who knows if they were always in the older blends and just not listed on the labels). I actually sipped down the others, so this is my last one to finish off, huzzah!
The leaf smells quite rosy, but I suppose I’m picking out a faint fruity note beneath the floral, but it is pretty muted beneath the florals. It smells like a rose green to me, which is fine, I like rose green tea, so I shouldn’t have too much issue sipping this down regardless. I tried making a warm cuppa this morning, but honestly I can’t remember much from it; I’ve been so scatterbrained and preoccupied with everything going on in my life right now that tea is kinda just being pushed to the side at the moment, and I didn’t really have the will to really drink it at work this morning, and then my thermos went tepid.
I had a cold brew in my iced tea thermos, though, since I now have to pack lunch and take it to work since I can’t drive home on my lunch breaks for the time being. The cold brew, at least, was fairly nice; it tasted mostly like a sweet rosy tea with a light pineapple flavor in the background. I wasn’t really getting mango from it, though. I definitely enjoyed T2’s Green Rose more, which I think hit a better fruity/rose balance, and if I wanted something in my cupboard scratching that itch, I would get that tea. But again, this makes a nice enough iced tea I’ll at least have no trouble finishing this off.
Honestly, all of my Tea Guys (repackaged by Par Avion Teas) have been either bleh or meh at best. I don’t know if that is age (for my part, these were gifted to me in December of 2017, so I’ve only had them a year) but my friend found them in a small novelty gift store, so who knows how long they had them… or maybe I just don’t like what this company has to offer in the way of their blending.
Flavors: Floral, Pineapple, Rose, Sweet
I have this tea as “Toasted Almond Cookie” by Par Avion Tea; it is sourced from TeaGuys. TeaGuys used to have it as “Toasted Almond Cookie” with the same blend ingredients that are listed on my tin (this was gifted to me in December of 2017, but who knows how long the little knick-knack shop my friend found it at had it before that!), but TeaGuys has since renamed the blend to “Vanilla Almond Coconut” and changed the blend ingredients a bit. I’ve noticed this quite a bit on several of these old TeaGuys blends I’ve had in these Par Avion Tea tins. This just happens to be the OG version of the tea! (Hopefully the coconut isn’t bleh, but I’ll know soon enough. Honestly, I don’t even see any in the leaf, despite it being listed in the ingredients… another thing I’ve noticed about these Par Avion repackages… I almost wonder if they got the… uh… rejects from the TeaGuys factory or something, because several of the other tins have been like that, missing flower petals or having them in when the ingredients don’t list them, weird things like that…)
The steeped black tea smells quite malty; the aroma doesn’t smell all that different from a breakfast tea to me. There is maybe a touch of graham cracker to the aroma? The flavor… The black tea is at least quite smooth and not leaving any astringency, but I’m not really getting any real flavor. A touch of small cinnamon toward the end of the sip, with a slight candied sweetness to it rather than a spicy note, but I’m not getting any nuttiness/almond flavor. Maybe a very subtle marzipan-like flavoring? But it is quite subtle. And definitely no coconut (I really don’t think there is any coconut in this leaf at all). All in all, a completely forgetable cup and I’ll be happy when it is sipped down.
Flavors: Artificial, Cinnamon, Graham, Malt, Marzipan, Smooth, Sweet
My sister got this blend for Christmas, and I just had to try it. It may be exactly the same, or at least very close to, the Angry Tea Room pumpkin pie rooibos I have. The appearance, flavor, and ingredients seem the same. So I’ll say basically the same thing I said for the other one. It’s a really awesome pumpkin spice tea. Add milk and sugar for the full effect. Clear and delicious spices. You can easily make a second brew with the same leaves. This one is a real hit.
One of my friends and I are always looking for what we consider a “wow” tea. A wow tea is one of those teas that you drink and you are just overall mind blown at how delicious it is. We have definitely found a “wow” tea here with this one.
The way the flavors all come together harmoniously is outstanding. I have always had this tea, as is. It isn’t bitter and has a nice blend of sweet and tangy.
I highly recommend this tea and have even had some friends try a cup of it. I have yet to hear anyone have a single negative comment about it. I really do not think you will go wrong with this one.
Flavors: Fruity, Lime, Sweat, Tangy
Trick or Treat! I got this tea from Par Avion Tea, and also as a sampler from the Here’s Hoping Teabox (as “Sue’s Blend” from The Angry Tea Room, so thank you tea-sipper and all contributors of the box!), both of which wholesale and repackage blends from Tea Guys.
For the Par Avion Tea batch, this tea just smells of candied ginger. And steeped… it just tastes of candied ginger, too. Where in the world is the chocolate? It lists roasted cocoa beans, dark chocolate chips, and dark cocoa powder in the ingredients, and there isn’t so much as a hint of chocolate anywhere in the flavor. None! Just a really, really sweet gingery taste (not spicy at all), like those sugary ginger candies. The flavor actually reminds me exactly of their Ginger Darjeeling Peach tea, minus the peach flavor. It’s rather bland, without any of the other flavor notes that should be in the tea coming through.
So I actually pulled out some of my leftover cocoa shells from the Simpson & Vail sampler to see if I could… I don’t know… force some chocolate flavor into this to try to make it taste how it should? That certainly helped a bit, but I still wasn’t getting strong chocolately notes, and I added half a gram of cocoa shells, so it seems to me the candied ginger is just so strong it simply overwhelms whatever they were trying to go for with a chocolately-ginger tea.
Yaaaa… I think I’ll use this one up the same way I used up the Ginger Darjeeling Peach, by cold-steeping it in lemonade, which left the lemonade with the candied ginger flavor and at least gave me some tasty lemonade, if nothing else.
The batch from the teabox was a bit better, actually having some chocolate notes present, which almost makes me wonder if Par Avion Tea received defunct product. The base tasted a bit like a bittersweet Mexican cocoa, with a nice spiciness to it. There is a sweet cinnamon flavor that settles onto the tongue, and then a warmer ginger spiciness that lingers in the aftertaste. I think the sweetness from the cinammon and the cocoa helps add a bit of balance there. There is a nice warmth and a slight kick, though. It reads more as Mexican cocoa than a chocolate ginger bourbon, but was a much better blend than the complete lack of chocolate found from the Par Avion leaf.
I’d give a 37 to the Par Avion batch and a 70 to the batch included in the teabox, so I’m averaging the scores to a 54.
Flavors: Astringent, Candy, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Ginger, Smooth, Spicy, Sweet
It’s late, I’m past my caffeine cut-off for the evening, and I’m feeling like something warm and sweet, so I think I’ll drink a cup of this. This is another Par Avion Tea that I was given as a gift last Christmas, and as I discovered with a little Nancy Drewing, all their teas are sourced from Tea Guys. This blend is Tea Guy’s Chocolate Mint Rooibos blend, which they have since renamed “Peppermint Chocolate Vanilla” and updated the blend slightly. The main differences to the blend are, other than all the preservatives they now put in all their teas (sea salt, citric acid), they now include cocoa powder and the yogurt has been swapped for vanilla. I have the original non-preservative-filled Chocolate Mint Rooibos version of the blend.
I love the scent of this tea, it smells like hard toffee candies wafting out of the cup to me. This is a very nice chocolate mint rooibos, the flavor is quite rich; you don’t really taste any of the rooibos base, and while I’m fine with rooibos, I think that’s a good thing in this case, because I tried a different chocolate mint rooibos in the past, Velvet Tea by Art of Tea, and the rooibos flavor was much more prevalent in that blend while the chocolate was more subtle, and it just didn’t really work for me with this particular flavor combo. This tea has a nice chocolate note that actually has this sort of creamy, caramel/toffee sort of note to it that is very pleasant. The mint comes out right at the finish of the sip and cools on the tongue, but it isn’t overbearing as peppermint can tend to be in these sort of teas.
This is a really nice dessert blend that really hits that sweet spot before bed.
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Creamy, Mint, Sweet, Toffee
My iced tea today is “Cucumber Mojito” by Par Avion Teas, which sources and repackages tea blends from Tea Guys. This particular Tea Guys blend has been updated to “Cucumber Mint Mojito” and has slightly changed in its current form — Tea Guys now has tons of preservatives in their teas (sea salt, malic and citric acids) but besides that, the new version has removed the jasmine petals and added way more lemon (lemon peel and lemon juice). I still have the original Cucumber Mojito blend ingredients, which had the jasmine petals and only had lemon myrtle but was lacking the lemon peel and juice.
Since this green tea blend is meant to mimic a cocktail, I cold steeped it and am enjoying it iced. “Cucumber” is a bit misleading though, so I can see why the new incarnation was renamed “Cucumber Mint”, because the first flavor I’m assaulted with is a very strong minty flavor. In fact, when I emptied the next quart mason jar in my fridge into my water bottle and took a swig, I couldn’t even remember what I had made. I could tell it was a green base from the color and mouthfeel, but couldn’t remember making a minty green tea. I’d already finished my Moroccan Mint and knew I hadn’t made that tea again. It took a while before it clicked that I had made this tea. It smells quite sweet (almost makes me think of mint chocolate, though nothing about the taste is chocolately), and I suppose the flavor has a somewhat sweet finish. There is a lime note to the tea, but it is more subtle and a bit more subdued beneath the strong peppermint note of the tea. I’m not getting any cucumber, or any floral notes from the jasmine petals.
It’s a refreshing iced tea, but honestly doesn’t really taste all that different from a Moroccan Mint to me, other than having a slight lime note added. It’s a bit underwhelming overall.
Flavors: Lime, Mint, Peppermint, Sweet
A Berry Frui-tea July! This is one of my ancient Fusion Tea samplers (sourced from Tea Guys), but without the threat of coconut, it really should be fine. I brewed this up as a cold brew batch, which, except for the latest hours of the evening, is how I’ve been enjoying pretty much all my tea under the harsh Idaho summer weather. Every day is over 90 degrees, and I would just melt without all this iced tea!
The dry leaf doesn’t smell overly spicy, so I’m hoping this will be pleasant, and not taste like that awful Tropical Punch Oolong I sampled earlier this month. It actually smells a bit like orange to me rather than papaya, but perhaps that’s because my mind has such a strong orange spice association? Then again, there is orange peel in the blend, so perhaps there is a rather strong orange citrus aroma to the leaf…
The flavor of the tea is quite nice. It has the light and smooth mouthfeel one would expect from white and green teas, and I’d say that the base is even has a very subtle floral touch from the white base and jasmine green, which works well with the added fruitiness. The fruit flavor does have a slight tropical feel, but I wouldn’t say it is a strong papaya flavor. There is a bit of a papaya note, but I’d say that there is a much stronger citrus note to the tea, a bit of a lemon zest with a subtle touch of mandarin in the finish. The ginger is very light; it blends so much with the floral notes and the fruit that the tea has more of a slight candied ginger aftertaste, nothing at all like that strong ginger taste of that nasty Tropical Punch Oolong that tasted like ginger with a side of tea. Overall the blend works quite well together, and makes a refreshing iced tea.
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Ginger, Lemon Zest, Orange, Smooth, Sweet, Tropical
A Berry Frui-tea July! New month, new theme, and since it’s the hot summer months, I’ve decided to feature fruit-flavored teas out of my collection, since they tend to make nice iced teas. And I drink a lot of iced tea during the hot summer months!
I received this tea as a gift from my bestie Todd last Christmas. It came in a tin from Par Avion Teas, but a little Nancy Drewing has led me to discover that all their blends are wholesaled and repackaged blends from Tea Guys. Ergo, I’m posting this under the source rather than creating a listing under Par Avion Teas, because that’s just how I choose to roll. This tea is still the original Ginger Darjeeling Peach name and blend ingredients.
I actually did try a warm cuppa of this tea with my breakfast this morning, steeping a teaspoon in 200 F water for four minutes. The steeped tea is a very orangey color, and has a strong sweet gingery smell, but there is something slightly metallic about the aroma as well that is slightly off and makes me a little worried about the taste… Thankfully it doesn’t have a metallic taste, but I wouldn’t say I’m crazy about the flavor, either. There is a really nice candied ginger top note with this somewhat sweet cinnamon-tasting aftertaste that is very pleasant, but the peach flavor is a little subtle… I notice it faintly, but somehow it feels a little… watery, or subdued. The black tea base itself also just feels… weak, somehow. I do like that it isn’t extremely harsh and bitter and overpowers all the flavor of the tea, but at the same time, I just wish it felt a bit more substantial. Something just feels a little off about all of this. I wonder if I have to use double-leaf to get a decent tasting cup? But if I have to use extra leaf, then there is already something a bit off. Meh.
It tastes all right, just a bit lackluster, like the flavors should all be a little more fuller than they are. Except for the ginger element, which feels just right, as I don’t like ginger to be too overwhelming. But the base and the peach just feel like they need a bit more “oomph” in the warm cuppa to pull it all together. Then this could really be something nice!
I also made a quart of this iced, cold-steeping six teaspoons in lemonade. I normally never cold steep black tea, as I feel it just won’t release a strong enough flavor, but eh… I was curious (and I added a little extra leaf-to-water as a result). After my hot cuppa felt so meh on flavor, now I’m especially worried that there is going to be no flavor pulling through against this lemonade… ah well, moment of truth time!
Oddly enough, I’m surprised how well the tea works this way! There is something about the lemon that actually brings out the peach notes in a way that I just wasn’t getting from the tea before, and the citrus and peach blend really well together. The ginger still doesn’t come off too strongly, but has that sweet candied ginger/slightly cinnamon taste that hits at the end of the sip, and it also accompanies the lemonade really nicely. I’m not really getting any of the base black tea, but then, I felt the black tea was a little weak on its own anyway, so I’m happy enough that the peach is at least more flavorful, and the gingered peach does taste nice in the lemonade. Since the tea was kinda meh on its own, I may just use it up over the summer this way instead.
Flavors: Candy, Cinnamon, Ginger, Peach, Sweet
I hated this tea. I absolutely love juniper, like coriander, and I tolerate lemon fine. But I hated this tea. Even the smell made me sick. I couldn’t try it more than once. Sickly sweet lemon peel/oil was way too prevalent. coriander made it a little chai like which didn’t go. $8 down the drain.
OK, I don’t know what’s up with my bag, but I swear it tasted like coffee with a faint hint of chocolate. 3/3 of my family thought it was coffee, not tea. My daughter thought that was great, as a mochaccino (sp?) lover. However, I loathe coffee so off it goes.
Flavors: Coffee, Espresso
I don’t find this to be tremendously grapefruity, but the flavor is definitely present. It’s more the actual fruit than peel or oil or anything, and it’s balanced nicely with the tea. I have yet to find a grapefruit tea that I love, but this is a nice one. (I do find this needs a bit more tea than average, although probably not as much as I used here for most people – I tend to go heavy on the tea.)
Here’s Hoping TTB
I had a cup of this with breakfast this morning. Unfortunately, I was running late for work, so I had to gulp it down and wasn’t able to notice much. Mostly apple flavor, not much fig, and quite astringent. I didn’t love it, but not going to rate since I didn’t really give it a fair trial.
My non tea drinking husband liked this one, that says a lot. I am a maple lover, I lived in Vermont for 7 years and even though maple wasn’t like a huge part of my existence there, it’s special to me as a symbol of that time. So I tried this without high hopes and IT’S SO GOOD!!! I love that I can still taste the black tea base but there is totally a mapley warm sweet flavor to this! I imagine this as a latte made with vanilla almond milk and with some sugar on a cold rainy Sunday. Daydreaming…