470 Tasting Notes
I somehow went from owning absolutely no teas from Teavana to having a ton in the span of about a week. First there was the Heavenly Sale, and then I got some as a Christmas gift from my boyfriend’s mom! I was definitely not expecting that, since I know without all the sales Teavana can be quite pricey. I got the nice box set that has what are apparently their 4 bestselling teas—Earl Grey, the Acai Blueberry one, Sevenberry Sangria, and this. I haven’t tried any of them before!
This smells so strongly of ripe, fresh peaches in the bag, it’s very soft and lovely. I noticed that there’s no hibiscus in the ingredients list, which is an automatic plus in my book. Even though it’s the middle of winter I cold brewed this one because really, how am I supposed to drink hot peach tea? With ginger, sure, but just peach (especially an herbal) needs to be cold for me.
My first thought was “ugh, why does Teavana always have to put something sour in their blends?!” No hibiscus here, but there are rosehips for no discernible reason. Peaches are not tart, they’re sweet, so why are they here? The peach taste is spot on, and I would probably rank this in the high 80’s if not for the sour note that comes at the end of the sip. It’s not overwhelming or anything and this is certainly a nice drinkable tea, but I find myself really confused by the sour element that just doesn’t belong at all. Especially after getting a bunch of peach teas from Lupicia, which are, y’know, not laden down by random extra ingredients.
I think I might experiment with blending the rest of this, perhaps with a ginger or lemon tea so the sour note doesn’t seem so out of place. Like most Teavana teas, it definitely has a lot of blending potential!
How does this tea have no notes yet?! It’s sold out so certainly it’s popular! I don’t think I’ve ever had the first note for a 52teas blend before, how exciting. The magic of tea of the month club! Which, funny story, my mom accidentally ordered 2 of (in a 3 month increment) and instead of cancelling the second one decided to just give me 6 months. My family is pretty awesome in supporting my tea habits! Though part of the deal is that they get to try them all, which of course is no problem for me. I love sharing tea!
I am very picky about cinnamon tea. I love it when it’s done right, and man oh man… is this done right. My dad is a connoisseur of cinnamon teas and says that this is his favorite blend with cinnamon, and I agree. Let’s start with the base: it’s a dragonwell, giving it a nice lightness along with a buttery smooth quality. The cinnamon is hot, not mild and bake-y like cinnamon bark, but it also doesn’t have that fake Big Red quality you sometimes find in cinnamon. It’s pure and delicious!
It’s backed up by a punch of heat from the pepper, which gives it a bite that of course any dragon tea should have. The smoke is very subtle: in fact my only criticism is that I could have used perhaps a bit more, but I think going light was a good decision because lapsang tends to be really divisive.
Best of all, this tea stands up to a ridiculous number of steeps for a flavored blend. I did 4 hot steeps and a cold brew and the flavor lasted all the way through! As you’d expect the cinnamon fades a bit and the pepper was almost nonexistent by the end, but the dragonwell shines through a lot more and has a really crisp quality in steeps 3-4. And the cinnamon doesn’t seem watered down, just less strong. I think I’m going to shed some tears when I eventually run out of this blend, it’s perfect!
My tastebuds have been shot recently due to a nasty cold, but I’m finally feeling better which of course means it’s time to taste some new teas! I actually just got this yesterday along with Smaug, my second package from my tea of the week plan! Best Christmas present ever. The black base lends some almost cocoa qualities, but not overwhelmingly so. Definitely not going to be hard to finish off my pouch! I think it would actually be really fun to infuse some actual marshmallows with this blend.
52tea’s marshmallow blends are some of my favorite from them, along with their cotton candy ones. I dream of one day having a marshmallow cotton candy blend! And of course I love peppermint, so I knew this was going to be a winner before I even took the fist heavenly sniff. It smells like peppermint patties! The smell reminds me a lot of Della Terra’s Peppermint Bark and David’s Santa’s Secret, but this one definitely stands out among creamy peppermint blends. It doesn’t taste candy-like or artificial when you brew it, but the peppermint stays crisp and bright. It’s mellowed out a bit from the marshmallow, which has that same sweet fluffy quality I love in my beloved Kitten Tea.
My go-to tea when I am sick is Rishi’s Pu-erh Ginger. Nothing makes me feel better than a hot cup of it! I am in quite the conundrum at the moment since I am at my parent’s for the holidays, and I’ve come down with the flu. Well, I thought it was a cold at first, but 5 days later and I’m just feeling worse so sadly, seems like I caught the evil winter bug. And I don’t have my beloved tea! But just in the nick of time I got my swap package from Kasumi which mercifully contains ginger pu-erh.
I have only tried a few Numi teas but I’ve liked them all, so I had high hopes for this. It smells great for a bagged tea, and brews up nice and dark. I sweetened my cup liberally with honey, but I took a sip before and the earthy, woodsy flavors come through very well. The ginger is nice and sharp, not quite as strong as the Rishi blend (unsurprising, since I’m comparing bagged vs loose-leaf) but it’s so nice and warming and a smidge peppery. The perfect throat-soother! And, miraculously, I got 3 steeps out of one bag and the flavor didn’t even fade! Just increased the time by 2 minutes, I think I’ll try for a 4th before I curl up in bed for the night. Thanks so much, Kasumi!
I love Thai iced tea. It’s one of the reasons I am always convincing people to go get Thai food with me. Well… that and the food, which I adore. Massaman curry, oh yeah! I’ve always wanted to recreate a nice Thai iced tea, so when this was on sale for ~$1.50 for 2 ounces of course I had to grab some! Now I wish I’d gotten 4 ounces… or maybe even 8. It’s so good! Seriously, I’d be happy with a pound so I could cold brew big pitchers and sip it all day long. But alas, I didn’t think I would like it this much!
The black base is quite strong and does stand up to the flavors, which seems to be an issue with Teavana’s white & green blends which are totally overpowered by the additions. Here it’s nice and malty and brisk like a good Thai iced tea should be, with bright pops of star anise, cardamom and almond. It’s got a wonderfully exotic feel—I made it both iced and hot, and it’s perfection. And this is with 2% milk, not even condensed milk like it should be! It’s very creamy and thankfully even though it’s heavily spiced I don’t feel like I am drinking a chai blend. I mean I love chais, but that’s not really what I want in a Thai tea!
When I was in junior high my friends and I would head straight to the local deli after school for one thing—Bubbilicious gum. There were a million different flavors but my favorite was always strawberry lemonade (and later, raspberry lemonade). I’m not sure why, but that stuff was like mana from heaven for a group of gossipy 13-year-olds. Chewy, overly sweet and utterly delicious.
This is one of the blends I got during the Heavenly sale, and upon opening the bag I was instantly transported back to that time. Hot summer days spent sitting on walls blowing bubbles, watching small town life pass us by. Idle chatter about who was dating who, as if at 13 you really could date something. As much as I disliked junior high and high school there were some shining happy moments thrown in, many of them revolving around Bubbilicious gum. And this tisane smells JUST like my favorite, strawberry lemonade! Like identical.
Of course that means it’s sugary-sweet, even without sugar. It’s got a strong lemon and strawberry flavor though without the tartness you’d associate with lemonade. It’s smooth and rather one-note, without the depth you’d expect from an actual tea blend. Granted, perhaps this isn’t anything special, but sipping it right now I’m brought right back to those shimmering summer days even though it’s snowing rather heavily outside. A+ for nostalgia, B- for flavor, but I’m still really enjoying it! I imagine this would be best in the summer, more like cooling juice than tea really, though I’m finding that is true of many of Teavana’s herbal blends.
I think a lot of people have one ingredient that can ruin chai for them. With so many powerful spices in the mix, it’s no surprise! For some it’s ginger, or black pepper. For me, it’s cinnamon. It’s a spice I am very sensitive to if it’s not cinnamon bark—cinnamon flavoring reminds me of Big Red gum, and I find it way too overwhelming. In fact, it makes me a little nauseous.
Sadly, this blend has a LOT of cinnamon. Funny, because their other chai/chai blend (samurai mate and white whatever) smells much more cinnamon-y but is lighter in flavor. I placed an order at Teavana for just those chais when they were about 40% off and got an ounce of this blend as well. Of course I ended up adoring the other chai/chai and placed a second order for more (and like 7 other teas) during their Heavenly sale and got ANOTHER one ounce sample of this. Meaning I now have 2 ounces pretty much, funny that they are so generous with the samples. I was kind of hoping I’d love this one too, but alas.
At first sip it’s really nice: clove and nutmeg. There’s almost no ginger or cardamom though, which are my favorite chai spices. And while it says there is pineapple in the blend, it’s not really fruity at all like the samurai/white blend which had double fruit. It’s just… a kind of regular chai with too much cinnamon. The oolong/mate mix does add something extra, like a layer of richness, but honestly I can’t get past the cinnamon abuse. It’s drinkable, but I doubt I am ever going to think “man I could go for a cup of this tea.” This one just isn’t for me—which is fine, because I have 8 ounces of the other (better) one to tide me over until the next sale!
My parents requested candy for Christmas—not as a present, but they asked me to make some to go along with dessert. I was already making Pannetone Eggnog bread pudding (yes, as delicious as it sounds) and didn’t feel like making anything elaborate, so I went to my old standby english toffee. But with this matcha, since I just got it in the mail!
I also added a layer of chocolate, because hey it’s Christmas and no one judges you for eating too much chocolate. The top layer was just not setting and it was getting kind of late, so I put it out on the back porch. Note that this happened on Christmas Eve… in NY. Yeah, looked out 10 minutes later and it was snowing. Aaah! Well, it certainly chilled the toffee to the right temperature, though it’s a little sticky on the bottom from interacting with the snow. Still delicious! I need to try this on its own before I rate it, but in candy the flavor is pleasantly subtle.
Day 8, courtesy of Purrfect Cup! This is one of my all time favorite teas so I was really happy to see it in the swap. I mean cantaloupe and cream with a divine white base, how much better does it get?
I cold brewed this because the weather here is just weird. It’s not winter at all, more like icky fall with rain and a bit of a chill but really, it’s so un-Christmasy. So instead of doing hot tea I am drinking iced. Yeah, take that NY weather! You’re not the boss of me!
Anyway, I am reminded of how much I adore this tea. It’s so scrumptious! I kind of want to make angel food cake and infuse it with this tea.
My last sample from Nature’s Tea Leaf! Oddly enough this is the first black tea of theirs I’ve tried. The majority of the teas I drink are black but their other blends just caught my eye more. But when I saw this, I knew it had to be! Especially after their amazing cinnamon oolong which is a tea near and dear to my heart because the cinnamon is absolutely perfect. And I just noticed that I am writing up two cinnamon teas in a row—it really is that time of year!
In the bag this tea smells heavenly, like pure apple cider. And there are the big chunks of cinnamon bark like in the oolong blend! Often I don’t mind artificial flavors, but I am a staunch believer in natural cinnamon only. There are also chunks of orange peel, it’s a festive looking blend—or maybe I just have Christmas on the mind haha.
Sipping this is… wow. Apple cider! The apple is really strong with a nice hint of cinnamon, clove and something kind of caramel-y? That might be the black base, which has some nice malty tones that bring everything together. There’s a lot of flavoring going on here but you can definitely still taste the base! It’s an utterly perfect mix of apple cider and tea. It’s even better than the real deal (plus, of course, way less calories.).