77 Tasting Notes

70

I’m a total sucker for anything peach, so I was looking forward to this one! The dry leaf definitely smells very cobbler-y, with creamy pastry notes layered on top of the peach.

The brewed cup is a bit of a letdown, though. Hot, I’m just not getting much of anything beyond the Ceylon base. Once it cools, it reads as more of a peaches and cream flavor than peach cobbler. That base is super astringent, though! It nearly overwhelms all the other flavors.

Reading through the other reviews, it seems like this might be a fairly temperamental tea—others seem to have coaxed more flavor out of it. I could see it being quite tasty cold-brewed.

I won’t be keeping this from the TTB, but I’m glad I tried it.

Flavors: Astringent, Creamy, Pastries, Peach

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57

Yeahhh, no. This is like buttery mineral water.

Flavors: Artificial, Butter, Mineral

Shae

Well that stinks, I just bought some of this one. :/

Kelmishka

Maybe you can finagle some flavor out of it…!

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77

I enjoyed the the teabag version of Mince Pie in Bird & Blend’s advent calendar last year, so I figured I’d give the loose-leaf version a shot when I saw it in the TTB. I brewed it up and had it ready to go in KeepCup to enjoy while running errands, and then… completely forgot about it until I returned home. Oops!

I’m drinking it cool now and it’s still tasty. I’m getting gently spiced marzipan. Yep, this is pretty much how I remember it from last December, although the pastry notes are missing. Still, not bad. I’ll keep my rating the same. :)

Flavors: Almond, Drying, Marzipan, Spices

Shae

The KeepCup is so cute!

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85
drank Glazed Lemon Loaf by Tazo
77 tasting notes

Oh heck yes! I’m a sucker for dessert teas, and this one is inspired by one of my favorite baked goods of all time. My mom makes a killer lemon loaf (we called it a “tea cake” when I was a kid) and as such, the nostalgia factor is through the roof with this tea.

I snagged a couple bags from the TTB and my partner and I brewed them up last night. He was handling the prep while I read on the couch, and I heard an audible “mmm” when he sniffed the bag. We were both expecting the brewed tea to fall short compared to the aroma, but happily, it doesn’t. It truly does taste like the essence of a lemon loaf has been distilled into tea: creamy, lemony, and pound cakey, with a hint of vanilla and the suggestion of sweetness without sugar. Love it. I wouldn’t say no to a bit more zestiness (I like my lemon loaves sharp!). I might have to pick up a box and tinker with adding some lemon.

The takeaway: Bagged teas can still delight and surprise. :)

Flavors: Cake, Creamy, Lemon, Pastries, Sweet, Vanilla

gmathis

Isn’t this one amazing?

Kelmishka

It really is! So glad I tried it.

vallhallow

It is so good.

Courtney

Ooh how tempting! Naturally I can’t find this in Canada. Well, Amazon does have it, but for an outrageous price haha! I’ll be keeping my eye out for it here for sure!

Martin Bednář

And how across the pond. I love lemon loafs, but never had a tea with this flavour and yes, I want to try :D

ashmanra

Martin: I will check Publix for some and send a bit your way!

Kelmishka

I’d be happy to scout some out and send it to international folks! Courtney, PM me if you’d like!

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73
drank Kabusecha by Nakamori Seicha
77 tasting notes

TTB sample on a rainy (yet warm and humid!) afternoon. This brews up a very lovely pale neon green—almost chartreuse. The Global Japanese Tea Association website describes it as “a dense liquor with lots of umami” but I’m not really getting either of those descriptors. I have such a hard time describing delicate green tea… it’s maybe a little grassy, maybe a little vegetal, but to me it just tastes like a fresh, clean green tea! I don’t know what else to say! I get no particular notes in the taste or aroma. I like it well enough. It’s tasty. The end. XD

Flavors: Grassy, Vegetal

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85

Sampled from the TTB, and I might have to keep some of it! This is so tasty. I wasn’t expecting much because the scent of the dry leaf was verging on that almost artificial vanilla cake scent that can be a bit cloying, but happily the tea itself has a much more refined vanilla flavor. It’s a light but true vanilla, subtle but present.

I don’t think I’ve ever had osmanthus before, and I’m not quite sure I can pinpoint the flavor in this blend—I guess it’s the kind of floral note? Regardless, it works very well with the vanilla. Yum!

Flavors: Floral, Vanilla

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65
drank Divine Highlands by teakruthi
77 tasting notes

Morning with the TTB = trying caffeinated blends! The caffeine is very welcome, as my team is sending the summer issue of our magazine to press today, so I need stamina as we finalize pages.

…welp, I started that note about eight hours ago and am only getting back to it now! Ha! So, Divine Highlands. It’s very mild and thin, even though I added more leaf than recommended. I’m not really getting eucalyptus or mint as the package promises; It’s quite mineral-y and vegetal. I prefer more boldness and flavor in my black teas, so I think maybe it’s a matter of expectations. This is more like a light oolong to my fairly unrefined palate. I don’t mind it, but it’s not giving me the oomph I was hoping for.

Flavors: Mineral, Vegetal

Shae

Exactly how I felt about this one!

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57

The TTB arrived today, to my delight! Of course it came the one day I was actually in the office, so by the time I got home and rummaged through the box, it was too late for anything caffeinated. I opted for this (seasonally inappropriate) rooibos after dinner because my stomach was a bit upset and something minty sounded appealing.

Unfortunately, the stevia was just too overpowering! Part of the reason I dislike stevia is because I feel like it leaves a weird coating on my tongue, and that was happening big-time with this blend.

On the other hand… I was drinking it so slowly that it had gotten cold by the time I finished the mug, and the stevia was much less overwhelming. I got a fairly pleasant, full-bodied mintiness in the cold tea. Still sweeter than I’d prefer, but much more palatable.

Flavors: Candy, Creamy, Peppermint, Stevia, Sugar, Sweet

Shae

This one sounds good, but I agree with you on the stevia. There are a few teas I’ve tried where I can’t taste it, but most of them have that artificial sweetener taste/feeling. I like the idea of a candy cane rooibos though! Even if it isn’t seasonally appropriate. :D

Kelmishka

Yeah, I’m always surprised when the stevia takes a backseat, because it’s usually just so prominent!

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78

This one came in my March Whistling Kettle box, and it’s very nice! The dry blend has a great creamy lemon pastry scent; steeped, it’s still reminiscent of lemon pastry or lemon cake without being too sweet or too lemony. I suspect even the rooibos-averse might be able to stomach this one; there’s none of that medicinal rooibos-ness.

Overall it’s really pleasant and well-balanced. I could see it becoming a go-to nighttime dessert tea… but unfortunately I spilled my sampler pouch and now only have enough left for a measly cup. Sigh.

Flavors: Cake, Creamy, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Pastries

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Bio

I was an anxious child who didn’t like change, so when my parents flew across the country for my grandfather’s wedding and left us kids with my aunt and uncle, I was a nervous wreck. Our first night at their house was tough. I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and padded into the kitchen, where my aunt was puttering around. She could tell I was distressed and offered to make me a cup of tea. It was just Celestial Seasonings’ peppermint tea, but it was exactly what I needed. The tea itself, the comfort it represented, the ritual of making it… I was enchanted. I’ve loved tea ever since.

I’m partial to strong, intense flavors and prefer loose-leaf to bagged, but I’m also no snob. I just know what I enjoy and like trying new blends. I mostly drink my tea straight but once in a blue moon I’ll add a little plant-based milk, generally oat.

I live in Maryland, USA, with my partner, two dogs, and one cat, and I’m an editor at an animal welfare nonprofit. I use she/her pronouns. I’ve actually been a Steepster reader for years and years, but only started posting in late 2021. :)

When I’m not drinking tea (or sometimes WHILE I’m drinking tea!) I’m reading, rewatching comfort shows on Netflix, going for a jog, knitting, hiking, or puttering in the garden. You can find me on Instagram at @kelmishka.

Favorite ingredients, flavors, etc.

Maple (all-time fave flavor!), vanilla, caramel, and all that dessert-y warming goodness

Jasmine, lavender, and most floral flavors

Most spices, although I go through phases and sometimes get bored of generic-feeling winter spice blends

Most fruity flavors

Matcha and other vegetal flavors

Not-so-favorite ingredients, flavors, etc.

Bergamot (I tolerate it, but it just doesn’t do it for me)

Hibiscus

Overly artificial flavors (banana, coconut, mango)

Stevia, monkfruit, and other sugar-alternative sweeteners — blech

Chocolate — it’s hard to get it right in tea, though I love real chocolate!

Animal products, including honey (long-time vegan checking in!)

My ratings

90-100: The best! Will almost definitely repurchase.

75-90: Really good, and potentially worthy of a restock.

60-75: Decent, if not terribly memorable.

50-60: In the “meh” range, but possibly for personal taste reasons.

35-50: I’m not a fan, and this is not very good tea.

20-35: Varying degrees of bad.

1-20: Actively bad. Like really bad. I can’t imagine anyone disagreeing.

Location

Maryland, USA

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