920 Tasting Notes
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
Teabox Tuesday! I grabbed this from the Discovery Teabox; I have never heard of this company, and it appears this flavor has been discontinued. Steeped this up this evening in my small dobin. I usually don’t make green tea in the evening, but I’m at least making this rather early tonight.
It actually smells a little floral to me, oddly enough, though there is an apparent pineapple aroma. The tea is indeed just a bit floral with some tart citrus notes as well, with a fairly forward pineapple flavor, but despite the fruitiness, the green tea, which has a very mild grassiness, is quite astringent in the aftertaste. I get a slight tart/sour feeling at the back of my tongue as a result. Half a teaspoon of honey did help improve the astringency some.
A fairly average cup.
Flavors: Astringent, Citrus, Floral, Grass, Pineapple, Tart
I got a small box of this bagged tea from the San Francisco Tea Festival. Being a CTC English Breakfast tea, and one that is, well, actually a known British brand, I went all-out tannin-wuss on my steep and only steeped it for a minute and a half. But it still looks a proper reddish-brown color to me, so…
The aroma is like malt, crisp autumn leaves, and a bit like cherries and cinnamon. The flavor of this is actually very nice, the short steep was probably a good choice for me since this isn’t too strong, though I imagine had I left it steeping very long it would’ve tended that way. I’m getting a lot of the notes that were present in the aroma — malt, autumn leaves, and cinnamon spice — but there is also a lot of lemon citrus and burnt sugar. It’s suprisingly good for bagged tea with quite a few flavor notes. The astringency after the sip is mild to medium, not as strong as I was expecting. It isn’t my favorite breakfast tea, but I certainly like this one more than many I’ve sampled, and I’m glad that it has a flavor that I can take plain just fine, at least if I prepare it with a brisk steep.
Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Burnt Sugar, Cinnamon, Citrus, Lemon, Malt
Sampler Sunday! This is the last single-serve Bird & Blend sampler I had sitting around, back from their Bluebird Tea Co. days, and it’s a lemon ginger tea blended with yerba mate… basically a caffeinated lemon ginger. I do like lemon ginger teas when I feel nauseous (from the ginger, I either go for a ginger or mint tea in those cases) and I’ve been quite nauseous recently… my sister has been similarly afflicted, and we are thinking stress stomach ulcers may be the culprit due to a major family stressor we are dealing with at the moment. Caffeinated lemon ginger tea first thing this morning sounds kind of nice…
While my cup is steeping, I just want to take a moment to say I’ve been going through a lot of stress, frustration, and depression due to several things that I don’t really want to get into publicly, and I’ve been shown nothing but absolute kindness from my “Steepster family” during this hard time and it’s been really appreciated. It means more than you could ever know and I seriously appreciate it. You are all the best. ♥
The aroma of the tea actually smells very juicy lemon citrus, with a touch of a peppery ginger spice note; I’m not getting any of the herby vegetal/smoky notes I typically get from yerba mate, at least from the aroma. I’d have a hard time telling just from the scent that this wasn’t just a typical lemon ginger tea, and it also smells much more lemon heavy than ginger heavy, which is precisely how I like them (I especially don’t like lemon ginger teas filled with a bunch of artificial lemon pledge tasting flavoring or super strong artificial ginger flavoring that burns my tongue off… blech!)
With the taste, the mate makes itself more apparent, but it’s quite smooth and blends well with the lemon herbals. I’m getting some of the dry hay/grassy notes from the mate, but the smoky tobacco notes that I really don’t like from mate aren’t present in the cup at all; in fact, I think the grassiness of the mate is emphasized a bit by the lemongrass, helping bring out a bit more of the lemongrass’ herbiness, as well. The lemon flavor in this tea is excellent! I’ve had a lot of lemon teas that tasted too artificial or “cleaner” in their flavor, but this is very juicy and citrusy to me, it has a pleasant tanginess but doesn’t come close to approaching tart or sour at all. And honestly, the ginger is incredibly mild! It’s just a subnote, a slight warming sensation you feel as the sip slides down your throat, but you don’t really get that strong “gingery flavor” and there is no lingering heat or taste in your mouth. It’s a bit hard to even tell it is there, honestly, which is quite unusual for me compared to most lemon ginger teas I drink. You really have to look for it. Other than my beloved Tulsi Lemon Ginger by Davidson Teas, which I’d still say is probably my favorite non-caffeinated lemon ginger tea option, I’d say this one would be up there, just below it, as a perfect caffeinated option for those days you want lemon ginger but want a buzz to go along with it.
I hope B&B hasn’t changed the blend/mix on this much over the years, as I know this is an older teabag, because I’d gladly get more of this one sometime.
Flavors: Citrus, Dry Grass, Ginger, Hay, Herbaceous, Lemon, Lemongrass, Smooth, Tangy
Throwback Thursday! …A day late because this week has been very high stress and I’ve been so exhausted I just haven’t even been able to brew a pot of tea most nights.
When I originally reviewed this tea (back in October of 2017!) I had acknowledged that I bought it at Snake River Tea in Boise, and I knew that they wholesaled it from somewhere, and ended up putting my review under Spice and Tea Exchange since the ingredients matched, though I’m quite positive now that they likely just also wholesale from the same source (that just makes me feel even worse about those Spice and Tea Exchange prices I paid in my tea newbie days… ugh!) It took a lot of Nancy Drewing this time, but I’m fairly certain that Teas Etc. is the source of the tea; they appear to no longer have it on their website, but there is a review still cached on Google for their Chocolate Mint Fusion Pu-erh that says “…this is a very nice tea and i enjoy it, but i do miss the chocolate covered strawberry…”. The dark chocolate curls, which were pretty unique to this blend, are also used in the Chocolate Mint Fusion Pu-erh and have the same ingredients. I’m pretty sad Teas Etc. is no longer producing this one, though. I went and checked Snake River Tea’s website and… yup, they don’t have this tea listed anymore. Baaaaaaah!
Since I deleted my OG review from over a year ago since it was under the wrong listing, here is what it said:
“The tea really does have a lovely scent like chocolate-covered strawberries. It doesn’t have an ‘earthy’ or astringent taste from the pu-ehr as the chocolate and fruit notes sweeten up the tea nicely. At the same time, it isn’t overbearingly sweet; the darkness of the tea is still able to shine through the flavor. The flavors don’t hold out well trying to resteep, however; the chocolate melts out on the first cup, leaving a subsequent steep noticably weaker. This is an indulgent dessert tea, best with a fresh cuppa each time.”
I gave it a 90, so it left quite an impression as I was getting into tea. I’m excited to revisit it and see how it holds up, but at the same time a little worried I’ll still be as smitten? I had finished off my leaf from my first Snake River Tea visit in 2017 and restocked on my 2018 trip, but now I know they no longer carry it so I won’t be able to get more for my 2019 trip…
It actually smells quite earthy, but smooth and mellow, and very sweet and jammy. The cocoa notes I’m picking up are like dark chocolate, more of a bittersweet aroma. Sipping the tea, I still really enjoy this, but it isn’t reading quite as desserty as I’m remembering… and honestly, I’m perfectly okay with that. But then, my palate has changed a lot too, because in the early days, I was one of those tea-drinkers that spent a good year having to add sugar to everything before one day I just suddenly stopped, heh. It has a very earthy aroma, and some of that is present in the taste, but it’s more mild and pleasant, and it mixes really nicely with the dark bittersweet cocoa notes and berry notes in the tea. The strawberry is giving me a syrupy liquor vibe, there is a sweetness there but something that almost has a fermented fruity bite? The aftertaste in my mouth definitely tastes like chocolate-covered strawberries, and the chocolate is a rich, dark chocolate.
Aww man, I am going to miss this one after all. Baaaaaaaaah, bah I say!
Flavors: Alcohol, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Fruity, Jam, Strawberry
Teabox Tuesday! Well, my car that got a brand-new battery in it just a month ago was completely dead this morning, so I got to jump that from a coworker in the snow tonight, and now it’s sitting back at the dealership so tomorrow morning I’ll be stuck without it yet again as I have to get their shuttle to get me over there to hand over the key and get rides to work again… SIGH. So tired of this… $1140 in repairs last month and still the damn thing won’t start? #sooverit I wish I could just take it somewhere else, but since I need their stupid shuttle, I guess they’ll just keep ripping me off… (Was trying to make it to my next business day off so I could go somewhere else but NOPE, it crapped out before then… DOUBLE SIGH.)
My hands and feet were freezing after jumping it in the snow, so soup and tea was pretty much all I wanted tonight. And I felt so drained and exhausted I didn’t even care and decided to have green tea; I figure I’m so tired I’ll pass out anyway. So this is one of my oldest teabox teas, and if it has no flavor left, meh. I’ll be happy if it’s just a tasty green leaf, but considering the age and being a green, I don’t have particularly high hopes. But I need this old stuff to stop getting older. This came from the last Here’s Hoping Teabox, so thank you tea-sipper for organizing and to all that shared in this teabox!
So this is supposed to have lulo fruit and starfruit flavoring, which to be honest I would probably not recognize as I don’t think I’ve seen either let alone tasted, as well as mango. The tea has a sort of… strange aroma? I’m getting more of a pea/greenbean sort of smell, like a Chinese green. Tasting it… yes, I think any of the flavoring is long faded. I had tried another Bitaco tea from this box, Andean Princess, and had the same issue, so they likely were the same age. There is maybe a ghosting of something like peachiness in the background, but that is a stretch; from what I can make out of the base tea, it definitely is vegetal, with pea and bean notes, and is pleasant enough, aside from being a bit stale.
This is one I’ll likely try out from S&V sometime when I’m not on order hiatus, as I’m curious what those foreign fruit notes would taste like since they are not ones I am familiar with.
Flavors: Green Beans, Peach, Peas, Vegetal
Sampler Sunday! I’m getting pretty low on what is left of these T2 samplers from the sampler haul I got in January 2018. I wanted something minty this morning so I grabbed this one, even though I’m not crazy about Moroccan Mint teas made with gunpowder green tea, which this one is. Well, at least then it won’t be taking up space in my cupboard anymore…
2.4g brewed for 2 min. for 400ml 175F water. Ugh, it even smells quite smoky just from the brewed aroma. Like… a slightly musty, tobacco smoke. Bleh. Since that aroma is so unpleasant to me, it’s kind of undermining the sweet peppermint aroma. Taking a drink, I can tell they are using that same strong artificial-tasting peppermint oil flavoring T2 used on that Red Choc Mint tea instead of mint leaf which I hated, and in most cases, I would hate using that oil instead of nice fresh mint leaf in a Moroccan Mint, too, but… since that mint oil has such a strong, overbearing flavor, it’s drowning out a lot of the smoky flavor that I hate from gunpowder green tea.
So… I hate that this is using mint oil instead of mint leaf, I hate the smoky gunpowder green tea base which just tastes like musty stewed tobacco to me… and oddly the two things I hate are counter-acting each other so I can at least get this down. But this is easily one of the worst Moroccan Mint blends I’ve tried.
In more positive news, I went through my tea shelving last night and did a big re-arrange. It is looking way better… I wouldn’t say it exactly has space for growth currently, but it isn’t jam-packed at weird angles in such a way that breaks my librarian heart anymore, either. Things are at least in nice, neat, organized rows in alphabetical order again and some of the tiniest packages were able to be moved back into the sampler drawers in the kitchen because I’d cleared enough space away from those drawers. So the space problem is at least making baby steps.
Flavors: Artificial, Earth, Mint, Musty, Peppermint, Smoke, Tobacco
When I realized I had an English Breakfast that wasn’t just a sampler, I was like, “Oh hey! More black tea for my hair rinses!” Because yes, that is a thing I do. I brew up black tea with pure sage leaf and a bit of apple cider vinegar and dump it on my head. So this is likely going to be a… uh… rinse down? once I’ve used up the leaf taking showers. But then I realized I hadn’t logged this, so I was like, “Oh, I suppose I should make a cuppa while I still have the leaf and do that.” So I’m doing that.
This is a CTC English Breakfast blend that is Assam, Ceylon, and Sumatran teas. My favorite breakfast blends always include a bit of Chinese black in the mix, so I already know this isn’t going to be one I want to “hang onto” (I’m pretty sure it’s between Steven Smith Teamaker’s “British Brunch” and Bird & Blend’s “Great British Cuppa” for the English Breakfast blend I plan to eventually permanently stock in my cupboard of all the ones I’ve sampled that best match my personal tastes), but I’m still willing to give it a sample. I used 2.8g for 350ml of water and a 2 min. steep. The aroma is malty but has some strong citrusy notes, a bit moreso than many other breakfast blends I’ve tried.
This is a strong tea, maybe the strongest I’ve had other than the Whittards of Chelsea blend I sampled… it is at least tied with it. Is it from the Sumatran black tea? I don’t think I’ve ever had a breakfast blend that included that type of black tea in it before. But this is definitely more robust than my particular preferences. It has a quite bitter taste to it, and is very astringent. I get notes of malt, burnt toast, lemon citrus, and black pepper.
I definitely had to finish off this cuppa British style, with a bit of honey and some almond milk. It was too dark and bitter for me otherwise. And I’ll definitely be finishing off the rest of the bag as a “rinse down.” Black tea is great for shedding issues!
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Black Pepper, Burnt, Citrus, Lemon, Malt, Toast
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
Teabox… Thursday? Extra teabox tea this week, because I’m feeling in a hibi mood tonight and saw this single teabag I snagged from the Discovery Teabox. Thank you Skysamurai for organizing and all participants of the box!
So this is a hibi/rooibos blend with pomegranate and cranberry flavoring. Stash is one of those bagged tea companies that is pretty hit-or-miss for me… I love their hibiscus tea Apple Cinnamon Chamomile, but hated their Pomegranate Raspberry Green Tea, so I imagine this could go either way for me. Perhaps the hibi will save it for me, or perhaps their pomegranate flavoring will be entirely unappealing to me again… or, if the scent I’m getting through the bag is anything to judge by, it could be the rooibos that will be the problem. I normally have no issues with medicinal notes from red rooibos, but this tea actually smells like cough syrup through the paper bag. Hmm.
Well, let’s steep and see…
The tea does have a strong tart, fruity aroma, but it does still smell a bit medicinal just from the aroma to me. The flavor is… yaaaa, I am definitely picking out that cough syrup note. It’s not horrible, but it is there. I honestly don’t get it from rooibos often, but I’m getting it from this one. Maybe there is something about the tart, fruity cranberry flavor paired with the rooibos that is bringing out that particular medicinal flavor note and really making it have those “black cherry cough syrup” vibes. If it didn’t have that rooibos base, this might have actually worked for me, because I think the hibi and cranberry flavor pair okay, and I’m really not making out the pomegranate flavor much.
I’ll finish the cup, and try to convince myself it’ll keep me from getting a sore throat/cough. But it is another miss for Stash for me, unfortunately.
Flavors: Cranberry, Hibiscus, Medicinal, Red Fruits, Rooibos, Tart