New Tasting Notes
Beach House Teas Advent Calendar 2023 – Day 1
This “advent” is more of a sampler pack, so there is no set order for the teas. I chose one at random!
This is… fine. It’s a somewhat generic and very muddled herbal tisane. And I’m not surprised, looking at the very extensive list of ingredients. Mostly, I’m getting chamomile, mint, and a whole lotta mustiness, perhaps from the berry leaves? I thought I was tasting licorice root, but it must be a combination of the star anise and the stevia. It’s very mild either way, not enough to bother me.
It’s still a fine tisane to have before bed, just nothing special and too many ingredients causing a lack of clarity of flavor. But I made it through Day 1, phew! Tomorrow we start all over again! :P
Flavors: Chamomile, Herbaceous, Herbs, Honey, Licorice, Licorice Root, Mint, Musty, Peppermint, Pollen, Sweet
Compagnie & Co Advent Calendar 2023 – Day 1
Well this is an interesting one. A green tea with citrus, sage, and… banana? What an unusual combo.
Well I’m definitely not getting banana, but I’m really liking the rest. The citrus part reminds me of grapefruit, and it makes for quite a nice pairing with the savory and herbaceous sage. The green base is somewhat grassy but fairly smooth, and I do think it’s the right choice for this flavor combo. There is a touch of astringency in the finish, but if anything it only makes the grapefruit more authentic-tasting.
Very refreshing and enjoyable! This tea makes me want to try and grapefruit and sage gin cocktail… :P
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Dry Grass, Grapefruit, Grassy, Herbaceous, Herbs, Sage, Savory, Tangy
Adventageddon Day 1 – Tea 4/4
One of the somewhat more personally challenging parts of advents for me is that I usually have a daily 24 oz cold brew. Just with the nature of opening the teas up in the morning and many of them being sizes too small to make that large of a quantity of cold brew I never know if I’ll have a good cold brew during the day.
Thankfully the Plum Deluxe advent has two servings in each day that equal the perfect amount of tea for a cold brew when combined. I think that may mean many of the teas they include this year are gonna get cold brewed first thing each morning for me to drink during the afternoon. At least if the flavours make sense each day, like this one.
I enjoyed this a lot though! More than I expected to given that it’s a majority green tea blend with just a straight up orange flavour to it. It was very smooth though, and I thought the orange was really nice and fresh and bright tasting. Despite being called Candied orange I didn’t personally think it was a terribly sweet tea and definitely, at least to me, not a very artificial or candy-type of orange flavour. It was a bit more marmalade like, as I see Cameron said in a review from a previous year. But also sort of a fresher and more zesty orange note that kind of mirrored the smell of essential oils that mist the air when you break the skin of a ripe orange while peeling it.
Adventageddon Day 1 – Tea 3/4
I’ve wanted to do Fortnum & Mason’s sachet advent for a few years now, but in past years it’s actually only had twenty two unique teas in it – two have repeated. The concept of that just drove me a little crazy, but thankfully this year they seem to have wised up and the calendar has twenty four unique teas instead.
I’m not sure what makes this Sri Lankan black tea “Royal” but I was happy to see a strong black tea this morning because it was perfect for sipping on during my early morning meetings while working from home today. I found it very full bodied and brisk with a pleasant tannic quality and a flavour that was a nice mix of malted grains, red fruits, raisin, a touch of citrus, and a bit of a coppery mineral note. I was surprised, actually, that it wasn’t quite as fruity as expected because the aroma of the dry leaf itself was VERY strongly red fruit smelling – like red currant jelly!
Overall maybe a little forgettable longterm, but very nice in the moment.
Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0U5HFmO091/?img_index=1
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nSvl1YkXPs
Adventageddon Day 1 – Tea 2/4
I’ve tried/own the overwhelming majority of matchas in this advent but right around the time that Bird & Blend released they also released about four other matchas that I really wanted to try but was skeptical I would like. It was actually cheaper for me to buy this advent (which includes all of them) than to get a tin of each new flavour, so that’s the primaryyyy reason I’m doing this advent.
Today I decided to make it as an eggnog latte, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It may actually have been my favourite tea from the day. I normally find that because Bird & Blend often uses powdered ingredients in their flavoured matchas instead of just flavouring that they can have noticeable texture issues – grittiness or, with powdered mint in particular, a bit of a dryness. The eggnog fixed that up right quick and instead I got to just focus on the gentle mint flavour and the sweeter buttery notes that were almost butterscotch like.
Back when I lived in Regina that was a yearly festival in the summer called Mosaic that was basically a celebration of different cultures – across the city you could go to a pavilion themed around a country and these were usually music or other performances, traditional foods for sale, classes and workshops for different activities, etc. I remember going to the Scottish pavilion one year and buying a tin of Caramints (hard candy with a caramel and mint flavour). This tea definitely reminds me of that in a positive way!
Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0U5HFmO091/?img_index=1
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwyzyOf6PBg
Adventageddon Day 1 – Tea 1/4
Happy advent season y’all! This might just be my favourite time of year on Steepster. Seeing the flood of advent posts every day really does bring me such joy.
This tea was day one for the Tea Thoughts 12 Days of Tea Countdown. I also bought the countdown box from 52Teas which is also two days, but it hasn’t arrived yet so it looks like I’ll be doing Tea Thoughts all in one go and then switching to 52Teas afterwards.
Though it’s not a new tea for me, I was still very excited to see this tea. It’s probably one of the best loose leaf black teas that W2T has released in recent memory – especially if you love fruitier notes in your tea. In addition to tea, I’m doing Bonne Maman’s jam advent – the jam today was White Nectarine, Peach & Lemon Verbena and I had prebought some fancy cheese and a baguette to pair it with. Because I know this is such a fruity black tea I thought it would also be a really complimentary tea to enjoy with my little jam and cheese afternoon snack – and I was right!
Very aromatic, smooth, and medium bodied with deep notes of waxy, ripe red fruits with a floral sort of undertone. The jam had just a bit of a citrusy tart sourness to it, but otherwise was just a really nice stonefruit profile and it worked so well with the jammy berry-like flavours of the tea. Like a little mini explosion of fruits!
Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0U5HFmO091/?img_index=1
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCjS99bZgJk
This time I’m only reviewing the rose black tea from this sampler.
A rose flavored black tea. I drank it hot because I prefer hot tea over iced tea. The rose has a strong floral lychee note that does not come off as artificial, the black tea base is on the medium to light side but still has the fruity tartness of a Yunnan black tea. Honey goes really well with this tea.
Of the teas from this box I have tried the jasmine green tea and fenghuang dancong before, I recommend those two as well. I probably will write a separate review for the fenghuang dancong. Like their other samplers this box also contains empty tea bags.
sold for $34.99
I remember having a not-very-enjoyable example of this tea a few years ago, but I’ll usually try a tea again to see if my tastes have changed. This is related to dragonwell, which I’m beginning to drink more of during the spring. I steeped 5 g of leaf in 120 ml of 195F water for 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of plum, wood, and malt. The first steep has notes of plum, plum skin, wood, milk, honey, tobacco, and malt. The next steep has more wood and minerals, with a thick, fuzzy texture. The soft plum is noticeable in the next couple steeps, as are minerals, wood, honey, tobacco, and malt. I get some tannins, but not much astringency. There’s a more milky aroma in steeps five and six, with softer plum notes coupled with more wood, honey, minerals, and tannins. The plum aroma is very distinct in the next few steeps, though the tea mainly features wood, malt, honey, minerals, and tannins. I get some grass and floral hints in the final steeps, though only at the bottom of the cup.
Because of its malt, minerality, honey, and unassuming character, this tea has some superficial similarities to mass-market teabags, though it’s a lot more nuanced. It doesn’t get overly astringent and the plummy fruitiness is elegantly in the background (though maybe a bit too elegantly for me). I like flavours that are a bit more in your face, but I think that speaks to my preferences rather than to the quality of the tea.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Honey, Malt, Milk, Mineral, Plum, Smooth, Soft, Tannin, Tobacco, Wood
DIY Obubu Advent Calendar – Day 1
I decided to do an all-Obubu advent for my unflavored option this year! I get their quarterly subscription box, so I am constantly swimming in Obubu teas that I never finish in a timely manner. I realized that I have enough of their teas to fill a whole 24-day advent with no repeats, so here we are! :P I divided the teas into 4 groups of 6 teas each, just to try to avoid having multiple of the same type of tea in a row (say, 5 sencha in a row or something). And then I shuffled each group before adding them to my wooden Fortnum advent calendar from a couple of years ago.
Starting off with a classic! I love genmaicha, and really any genmaicha is good in my opinion. The rice just has such a lovely toasty flavor. But Obubu’s happens to be my favorite genmaicha! I think it’s because the rice is quite prominent, and has more of a complex and nutty roasted flavor than some others. The bancha is also very smooth – sometimes bancha can have a sort of sharpness to it, but this one is mellow and sweet without any of those sharp edges.
Wonderful cozy tea for relaxing after work… :)
Flavors: Butter, Dry Grass, Grain, Hay, Nutty, Rice, Roasted, Round, Smooth, Sweet, Toasted
Advent Day 1
My last minute advent purchase arrived yesterday! Just in time!!! There was a glitch on the website when I ordered and I accidentally purchased two. I have to run to FedEx to drop off the extra so I can get the $70 double charge back, but I digress.
I lean more towards black teas, so I’m always pleasantly surprised when I find a green tea that I like. This tea has a very bright crisp (but not grassy and sharp) flavor to it that stands on it’s own in the citrus ginger flavors. All the flavors play well together. Probably not something I’d buy, but I’d drink another cup if it was offered. I didn’t see the small steeping instructions of 80c for 4m and I’m kinda glad I didn’t because 1 minute produced a very enjoyable cup.
Sipology Advent Calendar 2023 – Day 1
Another chocolaty black tea for today. This one is meant to be cookies & cream flavored, but mostly I’m just getting the chocolate flavoring. It’s quite heavy and boozy, which equates to artificial on my tongue. I do get a little bit of the cream, but it’s mostly overpowered by chocolate. The base is slightly tannic, which doesn’t bother me. It would probably take additions quite well.
Overall, not my favorite but also not a tea I would choose for myself. It looked very pretty in the tin though!
Flavors: Alcohol, Artificial, Astringent, Chocolate, Milk, Sweet, Tannic
Thésaurus Tea Fandom Advent Calendar 2023 – Day 1
I gotta say, I was not excited for this. Not only does it have butterfly pea flower (sigh), but it’s a mixture of not two, but four different bases. The dry scent was nice though, some kind of deep berry flavor that made me think of elderberry perhaps.
Thankfully, it tastes good. I find it a bit difficult to describe – the main flavor profile is somewhat earthy but not heavy, and it almost reminds me of some sort of root vegetable. There’s a light oat-y/hay note to it that makes me think of oatstraw, but there isn’t any in this blend. The berry is there, a dark and syrupy blueberry or elderberry note. And then there’s anise as well, just a hint but enough for me to pick it out, along with a touch of licorice root sweetness on just the tip of my tongue. Then the finish is quite light again, with that oatstraw-like flavor predominating. Maybe that’s the butterfly pea flower? Not getting any of its usual mustiness.
Anyway, I’m highly impressed. The ingredients list for this sounds overly complicated to me (and maybe it is) but the result is unusual, complex, and very tasty. I don’t really need the gimmick of the black color (which did steep up as advertised) but for once, I think the butterfly pea may be enhancing the overall flavor instead of detracting from it. Can’t wait to try more! :D
Flavors: Anise, Berry, Blueberry, Dry Grass, Earthy, Elderberry, Fruity, Grain, Hay, Herbaceous, Jam, Licorice Root, Light, Mineral, Oats, Roots, Smooth, Sweet, Syrupy, Woody
I found a bunch of individual tea bags at a little tea shop in Sidney and wanted to try this brand. I love being able to buy small quantities of tea to try so that I don’t have to drink 18+ teach bags in a box.
The tea was fresh. The bergamot was citrusy, fresh, slightly bitter (in the way orange peel is bitter – so not bad) and had some mineral notes. The tea itself was quite strong and the potent tannins were much better once I added soy milk to help make this blend creamy. I did not find it stood out from most Earl Grey blends, but it was definitely one of the good ones.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Mineral, Tannic
Bird & Blend Matcha Advent Calendar 2023 – Day 1
Ooh, I’m quite excited to revisit B&B’s matcha lineup. I actually did their matcha advent many years ago, but their matcha base has changed since then (it used to have powdered white tea in it which was bizarre) and obviously they have a lot of new flavors.
Prepared this as an iced oat latte with a bit of vanilla syrup. I did try it before sweetening as well, but I felt like it needed the sweetness to bring out the flavors – it was a bit bland without it. Generally I only use cold water for my iced matcha lattes, but I find B&B’s flavoring granules don’t dissolve easily so I started with just a bit of warm water to get those properly blended in with the matcha.
Anyway, this is tasty! Very mild but still bright mint flavor, with a bit of a white chocolaty creaminess to it. Since I prepared it with milk it’s difficult to judge the creamy factor, but it definitely has a noticeable buttery/rich quality. As for the matcha base… I’m not sure I love it? I’m finding it quite savory and heavy on the more seaweedy/marine side of things, especially in the finish. Maybe it’s the peppermint leaf bringing out those qualities? We’ll have to see how I feel about it after trying a few different flavors!
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Grassy, Marine, Mint, Peppermint, Savory, Seaweed, Smooth, Umami, White Chocolate
Tea at the White House Advent Calendar 2023 – Day 1
Happy December, tea friends! So excited to start my many advent calendars, and to hear what everyone else is sipping on from theirs!
This is a very cute tea, with bright white snowflake sprinkles and little white chocolate chips. The bits of green moringa leaf and yellow petals are a nice touch too. It smells a bit like cookies or baked goods to me, but turns out it’s a white chocolate and vanilla black tea. All white flavors to pair with watching the snow fall, cute!
Flavor-wise, it’s just okay. To be fair, I am not a great lover of chocolate teas in general. This does have a bit of a creamy and somewhat buttery vanilla flavor to it, which makes sense for white chocolate. But there’s an artificial, almost waxy note that makes me think of those old school liquid-filled wax bottle candies that you have to bite the top off of.
Still, glad to start the advent calendar season with such a festive tea! Even if it was a bit of style over substance. ;)
Flavors: Artificial, Butter, Creamy, Smooth, Sweet, Thin, Vanilla, Wax, White Chocolate
Homemade Advent Exchange Tea #2
1 sachet in 450mL hot water. Steeped ~3-4 minutes and added a dash (~1 tbs) soy milk.
2nd steep same parameters but left the tea bag in while I drank it so it steeped much longer.
This tea reminds me so much of Lupicia’s Caramel and Rum rooibos! I get a lot of vanilla and caramel in this one, along with the typical honey sweetness + woody minerals of rooibos (which pairs really well). I don’t taste any dried fruit or dates but it’s still an excellent blend. Second steep was a bit weaker but still excellent.
Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Rooibos, Vanilla
Homemade Advent Exchange Tea #1
This tea is delicious. A little bit sweet, fruity and floral, and some vibrant tannins. I was actually craving lychee because I bought some recently but ate them all. This made two delicious cups. Both steeps were equally strong. The liquid is very light but is fragrant and smells divine. The tea base is a nice background flavour but the fresh lychee taste is present at the forefront (which I like). No bitterness! I enjoyed both of my cups of this. I have enough leaf to maybe try a cold brew and/or another hot cup in the future. I’m a big lychee fan so this one really does it for me.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Lychee, Sweet, Tannin
I haven’t had an earl grey in years, decades even. I didn’t like the first cup I ever tried and never gave it a second chance. I have vague memories of trying a tea with bergamot since then and only confirming my dislike of bergamot. But my mother purchased me Numi’s Christmas-Countdown tea calendar, and I told her and my father (who is especially fond of Earl Grey) that I’d go in with a beginner’s palate. And what do you know? I don’t hate it. Is Numi’s version so good and the others so bad? Or has my palate evolved? Or is it the magic of the holiday season making things taste better? xD
The first couple of sips come on powerful, like I’m ingesting an essential oil full strength. This is part of what turned me off from bergamot in the past. But it didn’t turn me off this time. As I continued to sip, the flavor mellowed out as my taste adjusted to the experience.
All in all, a worthy tea to kick off the month of December
Flavors: Bergamot, Honey
Advent Calendar from TakeT: Day 1
TakeT doesn’t number their sample pouches, so I just picked one randomly and today it is this one. It’s not even on their website, so I went through their Facebook gallery and found it; so I could rewrite the ingredients too.
Herbals… well, as I am still sick, it won’t hurt for sure. Thyme, moringa, lemon peel… it all sounds quite good. And functional against my illness.
Well, flavour-wise it is naturally herbaceous, but I think that apple pieces did its part of making it sweet and lemon peel making it a bit refreshing, but mostly I notced a bit bitter moringa in this tea. Thyme, sadly, not at all.