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Recent Tasting Notes
Well, while I’m ON here, let me tell all of yinz about the tea I’ve been sucking down for the past two months!
So, one of the teas I had reviewed before I left was “Earl Grey Moonlight” from Adagio. That was reasonably good, and alerted me to the fact that “Hey, maybe I do like Earl Grey”. Honestly, I don’t know why it didn’t strike me earlier, as I love citrus teas, but I have never put together the idea that “Earl Grey” meant “Citrus” so I never went for it earlier.
Fast forward to a shopping trip a couple of months ago, and I saw this available in sachet form on the shelf. I picked up a box, and when I got home, tried it.
A few words. First of all, I know there are likely better Earl Grey Cremes out there. I’m certain of it. But since this is the only one I’ve tried other than the Adagio (which was only “MEH”) I have little to go by. Between the two, this one is much better. Second, I have found that I like to intentionally over steep the tea, then add sweetener. I have tried to brew it normally, but it never satisfies. So, I go with a very strong flavor to start with, then mellow it with two packets of Splenda. Third, and I don’t know if this is acceptable or not, I can usually get more than one steep out of the sachet. Two is average, but I have done three before.
The bottom line of this tea is as follows. It’s smooth, creamy, and delicious. The bergamot is heavy, yes, but the creamy finish (along with my sweetener) evens it out. I’ve been drinking this on heavy rotation since I discovered it, and am down to the last bag on my second box. It’s one of my all-time favorites. Again, while I’m sure there are plenty of better options out there, if you know someone (or you are someone) who has never had an Earl Grey before and want to give it a shot? This stuff is easily acquired at the store for a good price. So to those sorts of people, I say try it. It’s a good starting point, and if you are anything like me, it will serve as a gateway to bigger and better things.
Flavors: Bergamot, Cream, Vanilla
My goodness, this is an old tea. I remember thinking it was very fancy when my experience was limited to Teavana, but now, either due to its age or to my broader knowledge, it’s a generic jasmine tea. It has some sweetness from the white tea and some vegetal notes from the green, but that’s all I can taste. I got four Western steeps out of it, so it has decent longevity. At 175F, there’s no astringency, and if you like jasmine and somehow still have this, it’s a perfectly acceptable cup.
Flavors: Grass, Jasmine, Sweet, Vegetal
Tea Advent Calendar – Day 10
I was basic sleepwalking when I brewed my morning cup of tea today, but this was a lovely cup to wake up to. Rich and full-bodied with an intense, almost chocolatey flavor and no bitterness or astringency.
A few days before Teavana closed their doors, I was given a generous portion of the Samurai Chai Mate. I used to drink this on the daily when I was employed there, so someone gave me a full 2 LB bag of it, since it was bound to be thrown away soon after they closed their store…
I still drink this on the daily (or almost on the daily) at work. I’m nearing the bottom of the tin, but I must admit, there’s yet to be any funk coming from this tea. It’s sweet and light enough on the spice, that it’s not overwhelming. I’ve always enjoyed this blend because of the lack of intensity with the spices. It is enough to make you realize that it’s a chai blend, but it remains moderately laid back enough to make you drink 2-3 16 oz cups within an 8 period (my coworkers always compliment the smell wafting from my desk, too).
I’ll probably give this a final review here, soon…
Tea Advent Calendar – Day 1
I was so excited to dig into the lovely advent calendar Shae put together for me! This was yesterday’s tea. Although Teavana was the company that introduced me to loose leaf tea, I had actually never tried their English Breakfast blend, since I was all about the flavored blends back in the day. This is surprisingly mild and smooth for a breakfast blend and I enjoyed it even without milk. And Shae was so generous with the samples…after brewing up 2 mugs of this tea, I’ve only gone through half of what she sent! Looks like I’ll be enjoying the contents of this advent calendar way past Christmas. :)
Made a pot of tea for the office with the last of this from my stash. It brewed up very cloudy in the pot, so I thought something might be wrong with it, but now I suspect it’s from the non-tea ingredients (chocolate etc)
Considering it’s a ‘pumpkin spice’ type of tea, it’s better than many others I’ve had (for some reason people find it very hard to nail this flavour)
It brewed for a bit longer than I normally like, but there is no bitterness the longer it sits.
Describing this tea as Autumnal and warming would be my best choices. It is exactly that. Now I just need a snowier day than this mid-November wet season to fully enjoy this with some knitwear and a window seat.
Flavors: Chocolate, Clove, Natural Pumpkin Spice Flavor, Pepper
Has the toasted quality in taste and scent that Koreans adore. Label says oolong but it is unique. It is roasty, toasty, and as the steeps progress also somehow reminiscent of gooeun gim (seaweed), but in a good way. Hard to describe. Oh 아주 구수~함.
song pairing: Eastside – benny blanco, Halsey & Khalid
Purchased this at my local Starbucks. Brewed for about 9 minutes in boiling water without sugar. I am somewhat biased in my review as I am not a fan of licorice. This, however, was not as overpowering as I expected. The main flavors that came through were lemon, orange, mint and ginger. There was also a very mild but noticeable lasting spiciness (similar to what you would expect from hot peppers) that built up as you drank. I found it to somewhat pleasant and interesting. I could not find the ingredient that caused this and assume it was hidden in “natural flavor”. The tea as a whole seemed to be marketed as a “feel good” tea, perhaps to alleviate symptoms of sickness. Less focus seems to be on the taste. I do not think the flavors flow very well together, but are instead disconnected in a hodge podge of loud and various ingredients. It is an interesting combination, but the lemon, mint, licorice and “spicy” flavor are all very different and, in my opinion, do not pair very well. Overall, I would not recommend it for its taste alone.
Flavors: Floral, Ginger, Lemon, Licorice, Mint, Orange, Spicy
I thought I’d tried this tea before, but according to Steepster I have not. It must be one of those teas that is just so infamous that I feel like I know it inside and out even if I’ve never tried it. I really wasn’t into this cup though; flavour wise I struggled to pinpoint exactly what the hell it’s trying to taste like. I got this mix of fruit punch, tutti frutti, perfume, and oranges – but all artificial tasting. Really hard to actually finish the mug of it; it was just so weird and unpleasant.
I purchased the tea in sachet form at my local Starbucks and drank it with nothing else added. My expectations were not especially high for the well known coffeehouse chain. However, I was surprised by the amount of rolled whole leaves within the sachet as opposed to leaf bits and powder. The taste was notably weaker than other green teas I’ve tasted. A lot of the more robust flavors I would expect from sencha or gunpowder green tea are noticeably muted. It had some of the same sweet, grassy and vegetal taste with slight bitterness and astringency I would expect from green teas, but none of the “gentle smokiness” as advertised. It seems to me like it was selected to be a green tea that an average American’s palate would accept, especially if it was mixed with some cream and sugar. Overall it was not unpleasant, but still a below average green tea for someone who appreciates green tea.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Grass, Sweet, warm grass, Vegetal
The tea gift of Plum Harvest, Rooibis Sweet Amore: Teavana. A most pleasant fragrant with an assembly treasure collection of: plum, red rose petals, apples, cinnamon, hibiscus, peach, pear, mallow flowers, rhubarb bits, red currants, almond slices, vanilla and even beetroot. So refreshing and a delight morning & evening. Now we are searching for the same blend again.
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Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apple Skins, Cinnamon, Peach, Pear, Plums, Vanilla
It’s fun being the person everyone gives their extra tea to. I’ve got a big tin of this now! I had it cold, and it tastes decent, but a bit light and artificial. I steeped the leftover fruit, and the second steep tastes pretty similar to the first. Maybe this blend would have benefited from a stronger chamomile presence. It’s also now a few years old, so it’s possible the flavors have broken down a bit. There are definitely Teavana flavors that I miss, but I’m okay with this being the last I have of this one.
Regretfully, I didn’t sample this one in its prime. However, I think I would have enjoyed it – the only issue I had with it when I finished it recently was that there was that gross stale flavour that I’ve noticed in multiple older fruit teas. Otherwise, the flavour was pretty pleasant. Not overly tart, somewhat melony, quite generic fruity. No mint except for perhaps a cooling sensation when drinking it. Likely a good iced tea choice.
Thanks for a sample of this, Ost! Though I’m not usually a fan of Teavana, the name was too intriguing. I hadn’t actually had any macarons until last week, my grandma had some while traveling, so they might have been a bit stale but I was thrilled to finally try them anyway. I also just had to look up macarons and macaroons because I was confusing them. I got to try macaroons a couple years ago — my cousin made them. I really should make more cookies. I love cookies. Cookies go with tea.
Anyway, I used three teaspoons for one giant mug. I didn’t want to leave one teaspoon hanging and also thought 1 1/2 teaspoons wouldn’t be enough. It looked like a really good smattering of all the ingredients listed. Except for one tiny marshmallow. The flavor is actually pretty accurate to the name. It’s sweet with hints of marshmallow and fruit. A marshmallow macaron! There is a hint of something that might remind me of playdough but nothing too bad. Though there is coconut here and this is an older blend, I wasn’t tasting the oldness. I do like this blend and that is surprising with a Teavana blend, especially when the Steepster rating is already so low.
Steep #1 // 3 teaspoons // 10 minutes after boiling // 5 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 15 minute steep
I believe I bought this at some point shortly before Teavana closed… it doesn’t feel like I had 50g of it, though I thought they forced you to buy that volume. Anyhow, picked it out of the box I opened up because presumably there’s coconut. Luckily, it’s completely fine. It’s actually not a bad herbal tea – very desserty, sweet chocolatey caramel with a bit of coconut. Don’t really taste any sea salt. It’s actually one I wouldn’t mind having a bit more of, as I feel it’s one of the better teas to kick cravings for sweets, because it is actually sweet.
The thing about this tea is that you have to make sure you steep it right. I fail at it frequently and will often forget to lower the temperature on my kettle and end up ruining it. If you’re not burning it or letting it steep forever, it’s not astringent at all. You just have to be careful. You can get about three cups from one tea bag. This is one of my favourite teas, and I’m sad to see it go. I bought over a pound of it before Teavana closed, and I’m lucky it’s still good since I’m not going through it nearly fast enough. It’s difficult to balance not wanting to run out with not wanting it to go stale.
Flavors: Grass, Seaweed, Smooth, Vegetal