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Recent Tasting Notes
I grabbed a bag of this I think from the tea box. It tastes like orange and spices. It’s okay but a little bit like potpourri. I don’t love orange and spices together in tea, so it’s not necessarily the tea’s fault, but it’s also not one of the better versions of this concept I have tried.
Mixed 2 teaspoons Mango Black with 1 teaspoon Peach Tranquility.
I’m not sure I got much actual tea in either of my two scoops of Mango Black. This basically tastes like apple, maybe some peach candy. Not as good as I thought it might be, honestly. Bummer. I’ll finish it, but really only to get to the next cup.
Flavors: Apple, Candy, Peach
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I’m not much of an herbal drinker, but my husband loves this one so I thought I’d try it for an evening cup. Teavana’s fruit blends have always been a hit or miss for me. This one is basically like drinking grape juice with just a touch of sweet balsamic vinegar added. Sounds weird but it really works. Also, for some reason, I am so often smelling tobacco with these herbal blends. Not sure what that comes from, maybe the elderberries or juniper?
This was just a really nice blend. I’m sad we won’t be able to get more of it.
Flavors: Berry, Grapes, Tobacco
Side Gongfu Session (Read previous note):
I acquired 2lbs of this about 4-5 months ago. A friend was trying to rid their stash of a few Teavana teas which they had too much in their storage. I jumped on the chance to get this into my collection.
I’ll admit, it wasn’t my favorite tea, even when Teavana was in business. Firstly, it was too pricey for the quality of the leaf. I felt that it was a mid-ranged TGY, but it wasn’t worth the $25/2 oz that was listed. Fortunately, I worked at Teavana, so I was able to brew a cuppa at any given moment.
Secondly, despite it not being my top pick, I still drank a cup of this on the daily, amongst the other cups I had during my shift. It was something that became a tradition during my time at the shop.
I alternate this one with a milk oolong at work. I think that it’s soothing, despite the fact that it’s two-ish years old. I don’t think that this has spoiled in any way, but it does have a bit of a sour note, when steeped for too long. I noted yesterday, while sharing a cup with a coworker who once was the die hard Teavana fan, that it reminds me of a sour ale. Not for everyone, but the tartness gives it a unique flavor throughout the session.
I like to gongfu brew this, though. I think allowing the leaf to open up naturally, in small flash steeps, results in less sour notes, and more generic floral flavoring during the session. I oversteeped the first two rinses, but the tartness wasn’t as strong as it might’ve been when Western brewed.
I’ve a long way to go until this tea is gone, but I’ll continue to savor each moment, as I typically do with all things that are no longer available.
This is one I really enjoy so I’m surprised I don’t have a note here for it. The aroma is menthol and peppermint candies – the little pillow-shaped ones that dissolve in your mouth. The peppermint is strong enough that it’s making my eyes burn a bit. Do you know the sensation I’m talking about? Like smelling a really strong essential oil. There is a little artificial sweetener taste there but mostly this is just straight peppermint candy. Such a treat.
The more I drink it, the more I’m picking up on that artificial taste. Maybe it’s licorice instead of a fake sweetener. Yup, just looked it up and there is licorice root. Bummer.
Flavors: Artificial, Candy, Licorice, Menthol, Peppermint
Another old tea, another round of questionable coconut.
I really like this one! I was worried because of the coconut, but it is delicious. I think I’ve always put off drinking this one because of the prominence of the ginger. It can really be overpowering sometimes. It’s not in this blend though. I can taste it and feel the spice but it isn’t too much. It’s really like a nice chai.
Flavors: Ginger, Spices
I’m still working through some of my older teas and this one was next on my list. I was a little nervous because I noticed this one also had coconut, and after my run-in with Coconut Ice I just wasn’t ready yet for another soapy cup. It tastes just fine though; in fact, it’s really delightful! After reading some of the other reviews, I decided to add a spoonful of condensed milk which turned it a lovely shade of pink. It does taste a lot like Forever Nuts, but I like that one so I’m good with it. This isn’t one I would turn to during the day, but I love it for a nighttime treat. It seems especially festive for the holiday season.
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