150 Tasting Notes

67

Interesting, there’s no listing for this tea anymore on the Empire Tea Services website hence no product description. Hmmm…

The leaves are pretty with bright red safflowers and blue cornflowers mixed in with the black tea. The blend dry is very aromatic. The liquor is a dark copper. Flavors… raspberry, vanilla, and do I taste chocolate? There’s a floral tone as well. The body is bold with a bit of a brassy finish for my taste.

Not bad. I’m going for another cup.

Edit: I put a little raw sugar and almond milk in my second cup and this improved the flavor quite a bit. I’m bumping my rating up slightly.

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drank Pomegranate Oolong by Harney & Sons
150 tasting notes

I recently placed a huge order on a tea impulse buy from a company clearing out their Harney stock. (Impulse buys? Me? Never!) I’m not mentioning that company’s name because my disappointment is in no way their fault. I didn’t realize that I was buying teabags in this tea blend and a couple others. I thought I was buying sachets, and now I’m super disappointed to have a 50-count box of this tea in individually wrapped teabags. Gish…

I’m also disappointed in this tea. The pomegranate flavor tastes really artificial to me, and the oolong is bitter. Maybe I got a bad teabag, maybe I over steeped it, maybe this tea is just better in loose leaf form (I don’t even know if it’s sold in loose leaf). This is not what I’ve come to expect from one of my favorite tea companies.

There could be many factors at play here so I’m not going to rate this tea now. I’ll try it again later because I want to believe that it can’t be as bad as I think it is at this moment. If any of you tea-obsessed kiddlets are a fan of Pomegranate Oolong, or if you just want to give it a try, please let me know because I have PLENTY to share.

DaisyChubb

Oh no Jenn that is sad news!! :(
Try one more time, maybe an iced version would be better? Or maybe after the inital disappointment passes?

SimplyJenW

I have this loose, but plan on using it for iced. Hopefully, it will make great cold brew…..

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

I agree. Try it cold brewed, you may be surprised. I have writen a blog recipe about on my site www.iHeartTeas.com It is so yummy and different than when you first heat it and then cool it. If you try it let me know what you think. :)

Jenn

Rachel, your blog redesign looks great :) From all of the advice I’ve gotten, I’ll be trying this one iced next. It can’t be any worse.

DaisyChubb & SimplyJenW, here’s hoping!

Teawing, there’s some of this beauty in your package Mr. Sorry…

MegWesley

I love pomegranate and I agree with the rest. Maybe an iced cup or a cold brewed cup would be better.

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80
drank Secret Weapon by DAVIDsTEA
150 tasting notes

I need a secret weapon about right now. I didn’t sleep last night, and I’m really hoping that this tea will be the ticket to chill me out so that I may sleep tonight. My husband leaves for a research trip tomorrow morning and the car service will be here early, so sleep is a must. Thank goodness I don’t have to drive him to LAX but I’ll miss being able to see him off. It’s silly, but I miss my husband terribly when he’s gone because he’s my best friend. Blah, blah, blah…

I think I need to steep this tea a little longer next time. I can smell and taste the coco nibs and almonds, but I want more. I don’t really taste the goji berries but I’m glad to know they’re in the mix. The body is refreshing and light. I get slight licorice flavor in the finish.

I like this tea but I just want more flavor. I brewed it at 185 degrees for 3 minutes, and I think that another miniute may be the ticket.

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96
drank Infuser Tea Pitcher by Teavana
150 tasting notes

I know that this isn’t a tea, but I thought that the information was still worth passing along. For as mad as I get at Teavana, I have to admit that I use this pitcher every day and that it’s a great iced tea brewing tool. The pitcher was only $24.95 and that makes it a great value in my opinion.

This picture is terrible but I seem to be unable to switch it out. Here’s the link to Teavana’s website for a better look:

http://www.teavana.com/tea-products/tea-makers-infusers/p/infuser-tea-pitcher

Ellyn

I love this pitcher, too! I added my own rating.

LiberTEAS

do you use this to cold-brew? I’ve been considering something like this for loose leaf cold-brewing.

Ellyn

I use this for both cold-brew and traditional hot-brew.

Jenn

Ellyn, YAY! I’m really glad i bought it.

LiberTEAS, I’ve only used it for cold brewing and it’s perfect for that. The pitcher is skinny(ish) so it fits well in the fridge, and the infuser can be removed easily. I really do recomend it.

The Purrfect Cup

I use this pitcher all the time for cold brewing and I LOVE it. I think you can also lay down this pitcher in the fridge too. Which reminds me I should make another iced tea very soon.

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99
drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
150 tasting notes

I’m on my third steep of this beautiful mystery because I wasn’t going to sleep anyway. Marco Polo has officially blown my mind. I’m holding the teacup under my nose to better inhale the exquisitely baffling aroma… with my eyes closed. Too much information?

The actual Chinese and Tibetan fruit and flowers blended with black tea to create Marco Polo are a famously guarded secret, but I smell berries. Something like strawberries only infinitely better. At first sip, I taste that gorgeous undetermined fruit. The fruity flavor develops into a bright, full, black tea body. And the finish is so sweet. This tea has a lingering sweetness that will bewitch you into forgoing sleep to drink another, and another cup.

I want to bathe in Marco Polo.

QuiltGuppy

I don’t know what’s up, but I didn’t go to bed either last night. Now that the kids are up, there’s no chance of it.

Jenn

Awww, we had sympathetic insomnia!

I always visit Steepster when I can’t sleep because LiberTEAS is usually posting reviews all hours of the night. She’s like a zombie-robot-superhero keeping the tea world safe while we sleep… or don’t sleep in our cases.

teawing

Not too much info at all, I agree with you completely on this one. It is one of the richest teas I have tried. And, three guesses who gave me a sample?

gmathis

This stuff is phenomenally good, isn’t it?

ashmanra

Even my hubby loves this one, and he doesn’t drink many flavored teas. This is the one I use to entice him to the tea table.

Jenn

Teawing, I’m going to go with a “fishy”, Santa like character. How does she have any tea left for herself? That one is generous to a fault with her “blanket” kindness.

Gmathis & Ashmanra, how will any other tea measure up now? I have the same feeling I get when I finish a great book. I almost resent the new book for not being the one I just finished. CRAZY

teawing

ding ding, you win. I have wondered the same myself, then decided she must be the tea fairy queen and just waves her wand….

Leah Claire

It, too, want to bathe in it. We would smell magical!

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95
drank Forever Nuts by DAVIDsTEA
150 tasting notes

Because I am and I can’t sleep… Say what you will about this tisane, but Forever Nuts is simple, sweet, soothing, and a comfort when I can’t sleep. I’m off to count sheep. sigh

Ashley Bain

I’m with you on this one! Such a comforting blend.

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86

I have a confession to make… I’m not usually a fan of Earl Grey. It’s the bergamot that has made me shy away in the past. It’s just so in your face. Like an over indulged child demanding “Look at what I can do!”. I get it bergamot. You’re bright, aromatic, and uplifting. Now, please let the other tea flavors have a turn!

Surprisingly, this tea may make me a drinker of Earl Grey. The leaf aroma defiantly has that bergamot punch in the face. I know, I know, it’s Earl Grey. The aroma of the liquor is pleasing and far more subtle. The first sip is bright and lemony fresh, (Yes, hello bergamot). That flavor quickly gives way to a nicely astringent Darjeeling body, and the finish is sweet, delicate, and floral. I actually like this tea.

Am I a tea snob? No, but I do have to admit that if my tin didn’t say Mariage Fréres, I may have stuck to my “I don’t care for Earl Grey.”, guns. Have you seen the Mariage Fréres apothecary style tea jars? I want to live in them! I have a sample of Winter White Earl Grey from Harney & Sons that I’m really eager to try now. I bet Vanilla Earl Grey would be very up my alley. Hmmmm…

And who do I have to thank for my Earl Grey turnaround? Well, this will come as no surprise, but the person’s Steepster name starts with a Quilt and ends with a Guppy.

Edit: I added a little turbinado sugar and almond cream to my second cup, and I’m liking the flavor even more!

Honey

I haven’t been a huge fan of Earl Grey in the past either. I have not tried a good quality loose leaf Earl Grey though, and I think Vanilla Earl Grey would be the best place for me to start! If it has vanilla in it, it’s worth trying :)

Jenn

Viva La Tea, let me know if you want to try some of this one. I also hadn’t tried a very high quality Earl Grey, and the Darjeeling really makes a difference!

Kashyap

I ordered a 3oz amount of the Mariage freres wedding blend after a friend has said they were having a hard time finding a cheap source of it for a wedding…I was hoping I could reverse engineer it (as I have a talent for that kind of thing) and was dismayed to find that the tea itself is a base FOP (probably Ceylon) but that it was chemically scented with a flavor oil (no flowers/fruit and oily sheen gave that away) that smelled very much like dolly madison zingers (anyone remember those from being a kid?). I couldn’t bring myself to cup it and sent it to my friend with the words of my defeat and asked him to present it to the bride (whose favorite this tea is) as a gift for the wedding…turns out the company is very strict in thier selling policies and only sell it through a few US sources (its UK based) and they wouldn’t even discount it for the celebration of a wedding or sell it to me in bulk for repackage as wedding gifts to the bridal party…thought that was somewhat ironic…..

Jenn

Kashap:

1.) I wish I had the talent to reverse engineer anything. Even if only to brag about it and use the words reverse engineer more often.
2.) Is is horrible that when you said Dolly Madison Zingers my mouth watered a little bit?
3.) I really like you.
4.) I know… just because tea is French doesn’t make it automaticly good or high quality. Merde is merde. BUT have you seen the MF glass apothecary jars??? I get that it’s just packaging but I neeeeed them.
5.) Lovely chatting with you.

Kashyap

no…i totally agree…zingers make me want to watch reruns of charlie brown cartoons and curl up with a cup of tea after dashing through some leaves ‘calvin and hobbes’ style….and reverse engineer is a fun injection…and its TOTALLY ok to jazz up on apothecary jars…even if its just an excuse to use the term apothecary ;)

ashmanra

Glass apothecary jars? WHAT? Why doesn’t my tea shop have these? I would pay obscene amounts for that! I already love their black tins and can hardly bear to part with them, but I do manage to give them to friends.

Jenn

Ashmanra, lookie
http://www.mariagefreres.com/boutique/UK/ft+earl-grey-french-blue-glass-jar-of-iced-tea+TF8005.htm
Dean & Deluca (my stateside connection) doesn’t carry them either, but I will have them :)

Jenn

Now, that’s frustrating! I clicked on the link and it says that the page doesn’t exist. How about this one:
http://www.mariagefreres.com/boutique/UK/lts+teas-from-the-world.html

QuiltGuppy

Yes, but merde sounds so much nicer. I have not seen the glass apothecary jars, and yes, Kashyap, I rather enjoy writing apothecary. ;) I need to check out the MF jars… and I admit that I’m not thinking Mariage Frères when I write MF.

QuiltGuppy

I’ve never used this site, but I contacted them about trying to get Lily Muguet, which I’ve been dying to try. (Only in Europe for now…) This one is in Illinois for the low, low price of $57.00.
http://www.porterouge.biz/category.asp?lt=c&catid=2372&pindex=all

Jenn

QuiltGuppy, MF, MF, MF. Now that I have that out of my system, I have to say that $57.00 doesn’t sound that unreasonable to me. And that’s how I know that I’ve offically lost my mind.

Using the word “apothecary” makes me feel sciency in the same way I think being able to reverse engineer would :)

Dinosara

I think Porte Rouge has the best MF selection in the states, definitely, and the exchange rate is actually equivalent without a markup… a 40euro apothecary jar of tea on the MF translates to a $57 jar on the Porte Rouge website! (That’s one of the reasons I didn’t buy any MF teas in Paris that were available in bulk at Porte Rouge)

ashmanra

WAAAAH! Gee, thanks! I just googled their website and found about a dozen things that arer absolutely beautiful. And the prices are pretty obscene. I can almost guarantee you that their cast iron teapots are absolutely identical to the ones at Teavana, but cost considerably more if I am right on the current exchange rate, and I think I am since eldest daughter just got back from Europe. I would put up a brand new set of shelves to display those jars if I had them! Beautiful! Wasn’t it Rachanac who got some MF tea at a yard sale for fifty cents each because a lady had liked the black tins and wanted them for kitchen decor and then didn’t use them? (Gasp!)

QuiltGuppy

I emailed Porte Rouge about the Lily Muguet tea and they were very quick to respond and say that they have it and it should be on the website this weekend. :D ((big smiles)) I’m going to give them a try.

Jenn

Ashmanra, yard sale MF? What a weird and wonderful happenstance.

QuiltGuppy, you are some sort of tea shop Svengali! Lily Muguet wasn’t on the website, you ask about it, and poof it will be available for purchase this weekend? Yay you!

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49
drank Apricot Amaretto by Tea Forte
150 tasting notes

Backlogging… Apricot Amaretto is my last blend from Tea Forte’s Herbal Retreat sampler packet to review. I’ve said it before, but I’m a huge foodie and I applaud Tea Forte for going the cocktail route with their tea blends. I really dig the concept.

Unfortunately, I didn’t much dig Apricot Amaretto. I like amaretto in general. In fact, my drink of choice in college was an amaretto sour served in a red plastic cup. Classy! I also really enjoy all things apricot, so theoretically this tea should be the perfect fit for me. Nope. The almond flavor tastes off to me, and that “off” flavor quashes any lovey apricot flavor that may be lurking in the blend. Its just not the right tea for me.

I wouldn’t buy this tea, but I am looking forward to trying some of Tea Forte’s other blends that sound pretty fantastic. I’ve seen some very highly rated dessert blends from this company that really intrigue me. We shall meet again under better circumstances Tea Forte!

aisling of tea

That was the same conclusion I came to. I wouldn’t buy the teas in the sampler particularly, but I’m much more willing to buy from tea forte now.

Jenn

Exactly! TeaEqualsBliss has reviewed some Tea Forte flavors that intrigue me. In my opinion, incredibly brave and generous for a tea company to send out as many samples as Tea Forte did.

DaisyChubb

I agree! My local Chapters is stocked with Tea Forte products and I’m definitely going to try some different flavours, if not get these ones again. No free sample is a bad free sample in that sense n_-

Jenn

Well said MS. Daisy!

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43
drank Kiwi Lime Ginger by Tea Forte
150 tasting notes

Backlogging… I’ve been avoiding reviewing my last two Tea Forte samples. I don’t relish slamming anyone’s tea. I sincerely adore tea, and I’m a firm believer in there being a place for every tea and tisane. Enough stalling… let’s do this.

I’m not going to draw this out. I didn’t care for this one at all. The aroma of Kiwi Lime Ginger dry was promising, but at first sip I knew that I wouldn’t be finishing the cup. I don’t taste any lime in the brew and the ginger is far too strong for my taste.

I’m so very grateful for the samples that Tea Forte sent out, and it pains me that I didn’t care for this blend at all. Oh well, to each his own. I’m sure that someone out there loves this one.

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96
drank Blue Beauty Oolong by Joy's Teaspoon
150 tasting notes

This oolong really lives up to its name! It’s a beauty to be sure and I’m so grateful to the incredible Naomi of Joy’s Teaspoon for letting be one of the first to sample it. I adore the perfect balance of the antioxidant benefits of green tea, and the depth of flavor that comes from delicate fermentation you find in oolongs. I’m partial to oolongs, but make no mistake this oolong is special.

Blue Beauty is a gorgeous, medium bodied, floral oolong with vegetal and licorice root notes. I’m in no way a black licorice fan, but the licorice root flavor is very subtle and tasty in this tea. I brewed this tea at 185 degrees for 3 min. and I was able to get a solid four steeps out of the leaves. I was so sad to finally empty my infuser, but I’ll defiantly be placing an order for more very soon.

Please check out my website for a Sharp Cheddar Cashew Spread recipe that I created to pair with this wonderful tea:
http://bit.ly/ovHxSb

Thank you again Naomi for sharing this tea with me!

Kashyap

I’m pretty convince from looking over the offerings from Joy’s Teaspoon that the teas come from East Indies Tea Company….they only sell wholesale (outside of their own store) but the owner is amazing and a wonderful person

JoysTeaspoon

Hi Kashyap! As of right now, I work with about 12 different tea farmers and wholesalers. I do, in fact, have a handful of East Indies’ Teas and I heart Mim! I am in the process of switching all my teas to be directly from the growers but it will take some time to make those connections and be certain that I am getting some awesome teas! You know your teas!

Kashyap

12 is quite a few to juggle, but I completly understand…you have to be able to find the right fit for your client base and find the right value against the quality they seek…good luck sources direct as being able to draw from direct connections is the best way to be able to represent the farmer’s story…Mim is a joy and I celebrate knowing her….

Jenn

I won’t pretend to know anything about running a tea shop, or buying tea directly from growers etc. However, I do know a bit about business and how difficult it can be to strike that balance between cost, quality, and client demand. I have nothing but respect for Naomi’s high ideals and her efforts to bring them to her business.

Kashyap, you do know your tea. If you don’t work in the industry, than you’ve missed your calling :)

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Profile

Bio

I’m an animal loving vegan foodie, and a card carrying tea fanatic! Didn’t you get your card?

I typically drink my black tea with a splash of almond or coconut cream and a dash of turbinado sugar or stevia. My green teas I typically drink straight, and the same goes for most of my other teas with an occasional exception. I live on the edge!

Please check out my website Cookin’ Vegan at www.cookinvegan.com if you’re hungry.

I’m also a bit of a knitwit. I have an Etsy shop where I sell pretty little knitted and knitting accessories called Baubles 4 Knitwits at www.Baubles4Knitwits.etsy.com.

Find me on the Twitter @cookinvegan http://twitter.com/#!/cookinvegan

But enough about me…

Location

Los Angeles Area

Website

http://www.cookinvegan.com

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