185 Tasting Notes
This came to me from a coworker who found it cleaning out her kitchen. She wasn’t entirely sure when she got it, but she found it in her kitchen and figured I’d use it before she would. However, there’s very little information about this blend… the bag doesn’t list contents (other than a note that it contains stevia), and this specific combination doesn’t appear on Cup & Kettle’s website.
I decided this was going to be an adventure!
Opening the little foil 2 oz bag, I was immediately greeted by the scent of the strawberries, this blend’s most apparent aroma. I shook it around in the bag to admire the contents, and could definitely pick out the lemongrass and chamomile, but nothing else was registering to either my nose or my eyes.
The lemongrass and chamomile made me conclude that this was going to be a close relative to Missy’s favorite nighttime tisane, a lemongrass/chamomile/mint blend. Which, we’ll probably blend the two at some point. So tonight, as we’re getting ready to wind down and hop in bed, she brewed this sample.
All I can say is wow. This is a really well done blend. The tartness of the strawberry mellows with the lemongrass, with the sweetness of the stevia, and the more floral tones of the chamomile. Plus, there seems to be another flavor or two in the background that I can’t place my finger on. It almost has a cinnamon like spice to it, but it asuredly isn’t cinnamon (cassia). It would have to be the most mellow cinnamon ever shaved off a tree.
I have two negative things to say about this tea.
1) There’s a weird, almost waxy aftertaste. I don’t know if this is from the stevia, which I’m not used to using as a sweetener, or maybe part of the strawberry flavoring that I assume they use (because I don’t think the strawberries by themselves would be quite this aromatic). But yeah, a little waxy. Almost strawberry lip-gloss. Nowhere near strong enough to stop me from drinking it, or buying it again. Maybe just strong enough to make me look for it’s less waxy cousin from a different retailer.
2) cupandkettle.com makes my eyes bleed. You can’t order anything from the website anyway, you have to call them to set up an order… but dear lord. It really makes me feel like I accidentally switched my desktop settings to “high contrast” mode.
I need more of this tea. I don’t know how much it costs, because I was given a free sample. Given that the tea shop exists in Leavenworth, a total tourist trap of a town, I’m imagining it’s pretty pricey.
The Cacao Mint black tea from Teavana is definitely a pleasing flavor combination. Though, I feel it would be hard to go ‘wrong’ with a simple chocolate and mint black tea.
My fiancé prepared this with dinner tonight, and while the mint aroma is definitely not as strong as the Moroccan Mint tea from MarketSpice, it still manages to overthrow any competing fragrances from, say, a savory ravioli dinner.
I enjoy this tea, it is one of the black teas from Teavana that I am happiest with. The mint is the most apparent flavoring, with just a hint of chocolate in the background, less noticeable than the black tea itself. It’s soothing and mellow, as any self-respecting mint tea should be.
It does taste a little on the extract-y side, as opposed to tasting more like a natural mint addition to the tea. It’s funny that I didn’t experience this with our first few pots of this tea, several weeks ago. Whether it’s a change in the tea itself, or a change in my own personal tastes, I couldn’t say. I could be growing into more of a tea-snob by the minute ;)
At any rate, this is a solid tea, one that I could see adorning anyone’s tea cabinet as a standby crowd pleaser. However, I think I have some additional Chocolate Mint teas to buy before I decide that the Teavana premium on this tea is worth it. Teavana sells this for $6.80/2 oz, while MarketSpice runs it at about $2.40/2 oz, for example. Though I can’t offer a comparative review the one from MarketSpice… yet!
Let me say that I am impressed with Teavana’s ability to mask the typically quite-grassy flavor of mate. They have a Samurai Chai Mate that is hands down the best mate I’ve ever tasted, and easily up there as one of my favorite drinks.
Knowing that, we did some more research on the different mates that Teavana had, and decided to take some of this home.
This brews into a very mellow tea, but the flavors didn’t come together very well to me. The hint of chocolate, the rooibos, the earthy mate… it just wasn’t very appealing. It wasn’t necessarily offensive, it was just far from pleasurable. I’m still a little bit shocked about it… because it all sounds like it should work so well.
I couldn’t convince myself that it was anything I’d ever choose to drink again, so I gave the tea to my boss at work. She loved it.
This tea is intense.
I should let you know that I enjoy spicy food to a degree that is likely unhealthy. My enjoyment of this tea hits the same pleasure centers as tastebud-abusing Thai and Indian food.
The name of this tea begins with “Spicy”, and the description says “Our spiciest chai”. They do not kid. The Tellicherry pepper is apparent, intense, and SPICY.
If you make it past the rich peppery bite (as your tastebuds admit defeat), the ginger and clove become more apparent, with just a hint of cardamom lingering in the background.
This tea will wake you up with a start, clear your sinuses, and probably sterilize the back of your throat. It will also accompany you to work tomorrow, because your fiance won’t ever drink it again.
And by you, I mean me.
Dylan Oxford: Great description. I love spicy food too (sometimes to the point that I like it when it’s painfully hot), so I can relate. I’ll have to keep this tea in mind!
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Reading tea reviews always exhilarates me. Loose leaf tea is a uniquely subjective experience. There are differences to each person’s palette, and presumably variations in the individual blends that get packaged and shipped to each person.
Let me say that I enjoy this tea, and will probably by more. But my batch wasn’t mysterious or subtle. It didn’t hint at anything.
It was cloves. It was fill-up-the-room, make your tongue numb cloves.
I sit here today slightly amazed at how clove-y this tea truly is. The clove taste overpowered the tea flavor (not to mention the other spices). If you’ve ever found yourself smoking a clove cigarette, or chewing on a clove just for the flavor, you will absolutely fall in love with this tea.
I like cloves, I truly do. However, in order to turn this into a truly fantastic pot of tea, I cut the tea with some Colonille Vanilla tea, also from Serendipitea. The clove/vanilla mix is absolutely amazing, and I would highly recommend it.
I would, however, avoid recommending this as a standalone tea under most circumstances.