May Flowers! This is one of my oldest samplers (I bought it with a birthday giftcard in March of 2017, I believe?) and it has just barely slipped past the “best by” date, so I’ve marked it as a priority for sipdown. Art of Tea has since discontinued this blend, too. Ouch. So much changes in a mere year…
This is a black tea blended with rooibos, orange peel, and hibiscus, rose, and safflower petals. I couldn’t see any rooibos in my sampler, but could smell a bit of the telltale “medicinal” scent I get when it is mixed with black leaf, but mostly the leaf smelled strongly of the black tea and rose petals.
Steeped up, the tea looks like a medium-bodied black tea and gives off a rosy aroma. The flavor presents as a nice, malty breakfast tea, but it isn’t as bitter or as astringent as most thanks to the lingering rooibos hiding in the blend; I don’t actually taste it (I’ve had some other black/rooibos blends that don’t get that balance right and the flavor can be rather inconsistent, so I consider this a good thing), but I think there is a sweetness added to the cup by its presense that helps mellow the edge off the black tea, and I actually prefer it that way. There is still a bit of astringency left after the sip, but what is left is much more mild. There is a floral sweetness to the tea as well; there is a notable rose note to the sip which is very pleasant, though it is nowhere as strong as, say, the strong rose flavoring to be had in the White Rose tea I featured a few days ago. The rose is much more muted against the strong black base here, but there is a bit of a sweet, lingering rose floral taste on the tongue in the aftertaste. I can make out a very subtle fruitiness deep in the sip which is likely from the hibiscus, but it is very faint; there is not much hibiscus here, and I doubt many would even taste that much against the strong maltiness of the black tea. If you are a hibiscusphobe, I honestly don’t think you have to worry.
Overall the impression I get is a breakfast tea with a floral touch. I find it quite nice, and will probably try it with some milk next time I make it.
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Malt, Rose