107 Tasting Notes

65
drank Cold Relief by Teaopia
107 tasting notes

Evidently this has something related to catnip in it, because I left a dry filterbag full of it sitting on my kitchen counter while I ran to my bedroom, and my cats dragged it onto the floor, chewed it open and ecstatically rolled around in it.

Sheesh!

CHAroma

Ahahahahahaa!!! That’s hilarious!!! (And horribly annoying!)

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81

On the other hand, I love this one.

I’m pretty sure this has hibiscus (of course!), but…can it be? It doesn’t come through that strongly for me. The berries and fruit at least rival it! Mostly I get blueberry and pineapple; it’s almost like a gentler cousin of the Blueberry Kona Pop blend. There’s a taste in there that my brain only identifies as “red,” though. The ingredients say there’s red currant in here; maybe that’s it? There’s a great minty kick at the back, and some creaminess throughout the sip.

Basically, I have nothing to complain about.

I will update when this finishes chilling. I fully expect, however, for the mint to pop, which should be awesome.

Chilled Update: Okay, the mint did indeed pop…but what really surprised me is that the creaminess seemed to as well! Very refreshing iced. WIN.

…Of course, this would be a cheap one.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 7 min, 0 sec

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23

cries

WHY?!

First of, this tea smells like garbage. By that, I don’t mean that it smells bad. I mean that it smells like rotting garbage, bags of it.

As for the taste, well… One of my co-workers tried this, and it made him physically ill immediately thereafter, no exaggeration. I struggled with myself to prepare this one (I had to dump out Forever Nuts Caramel Almond Amaretti to make this!) and I can scarcely nerve myself to drink it. I did have a few sips in-store, see, so I’ve gotten a sneak preview…

…Okay, I let this practically go cold trying to work up to drinking it, and again, it’s not as bad as it was in the store. (How does that keep happening?) In-store it tasted like tea that someone had accidentally dropped curry powder in, and I shuddered over it for a while and then fed it to the sink. (Actually, someone was reading the ingredients, and I think they mentioned that there is curry powder in it, but I could be remembering that wrong.) I would have rated that tea with the lowest rating Steepster would allow.

This tea…okay, I’m not sure what’s different. I did steep it longer (the directions say five minutes, which I missed in the store – I think I steeped it for three in the store). Did I drink it unsweetened in the store? Now I can’t remember…

Well, there’s some sugar in my cup now. Maybe that’s what sorta-kinda saves it. It’s got a bit of fruity sweetness to it, and a bit of a spicy bite at the back. I can basically see the “mango curry” taste they were going for here.

I’m just not convinced they really pulled it off. I can be convinced to swallow it, and normally I would rate it above a 50 if I don’t have to outright toss it, but…I have absolutely no desire to drink any more. None.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Michelle

Oh god.

Tamm

This tea sounds frightening! I keep wondering how they planned on getting people to buy it. Mostly I keep thinking that because it smells so terrible! I mean, that is one of the hallmark Teavana tea traits right? Looks good, smells strong and sweet/fruity/basically what you’d want to drink. I don’t know about this one…

momo

lol the manager at my store was like, “I am not trying to sell anyone this one” before she let us smell it. I saw some other store with a mate/puerh mix and I just don’t understand WHY. That’s terrifying enough to think about without adding anything.

Daniel Scott

LOL! I was excited to be getting a mango tea at all…a mango mate sounded good. C’mon, picture it. A green mate with mango…could be amazing, right?

This…I had some customers ask to see it last night, and my face must have fallen because they were like, “Uh, no? Is something wrong with it?” And then they smelled it and were like, “Oh god, no.”

People HAVE bought it. I will let them buy it. But I will not sell it.

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76

Singapore Sling! One of my favourite Greek movies. snickers (Seriously, if you like grindhouse at all, check that one out.)

Okay. Rooibos. Berries. Vanilla. Where have I seen this before…

Oh yeah, in Sevenberry Sangria and Opus Rouge! I feel at this point like Teavana just re-blends many of the same basic concepts over and over to see which versions sell best, which is simply not exciting. I’d really like to see this company try a little harder for something different.

That said, it’s not bad at all. Cranberry, cherry and pineapple are riding out front, so it theoretically lives up to its name in that regard…although I have to admit that I’ve never actually had a Singapore Sling, so I’m just guessing here. But yeah. This is my Teavana training speaking, but I bet this would blend nicely with Pineapple Kona Pop… I’ll have to try that.

Supposedly there’s orange in here, but it’s not speaking to me much. There’s maaaaybe citrus of some kind at the back, or maybe I’m imagining things.

It passes the “do I want to put it down long enough to ice it,” test though, because the answer is “no,” although I’m doing it anyway. I’ll update if anything about it stands out when chilled.

One of the better ones, for sure.

Chilled Update: …More pineapple, maybe? I might just be reaching, I think it’s pretty much exactly the same iced. Huh!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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74

Fifth “top six” tea, an oolong, y’all. Steeped at 195*F…

I have to say, I actually really like this one. I didn’t think too much about it before trying it, but chai-like spices and citrus actually work quite well together. I definitely get more blood orange and tangerine out of this than lemon, which can only be a good thing paired with cinnamon and clove. It’s another one that’s both tart and sweet, but this is actually pretty well balanced…especially with the spice coming out more towards the back. I feel like there’s just a wee bit too much citrus at the front, so I’m knocking it down a few points for that. But that’s not a fatal flaw.

It’s got kind of a holiday feel going on for sure; makes me think of stuff like fruit cake and turkey gravy.

I don’t know if it’s going to please all the Teaopia fans who are crushed at Market Spice not making the cut, but…maybe some of them will go for this. I never had Market Spice myself, and I understand it was fairly subtle, so this might be a stronger flavour than some would prefer. Still, I think it’s quite nice.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
momo

I see what you did there hahaha

ashmanra

I feel stupid, coz I don’t see! LOL!

Daniel Scott

Don’t worry, you’d only have seen it if you caught this discussion:

http://steepster.com/discuss/3521-oh-teavana

Basically: Customer makes a mistake. Store is at fault, naturally.

(In The Tea Merchant’s defense, it sounds as though they didn’t know that Teavana prints steeping instructions on their bags. Teavana does enough dumb things that no one gives them the benefit of the doubt anymore, even on little things, it seems…)

Adam

I absolutely LOVE this tea! It is my #1 fav right now!!! ahhhhhhh definitely a rejuvenating relief after my Sweet Oolong Revolution was taken away…

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47

Hibiscus?!

In a chocolate tea?! What was I just saying about Teavana and hibiscus? Seriously, do the blenders for this company have any idea that not everyone loves for everything to taste like sour gummies?! Arrgh!

This is my last cup before bed, and I was initially going to have this with some Purdy’s fruit creme chocolates I have, but I decided to downgrade at the last moment to some chocolate cake instead. Boy, am I glad I didn’t waste those chocolates now. I’ve heard our new Caramel Sea Salt or whatever is a great chocolate tea, maybe I’ll save those chocolates to have with that instead.

I just don’t know what to say about this tea. The name is great, and immediately raises your expectations that this is going to be an amazing chocolate-y blend with an overlay of fruitiness.

Alas! No. Is there even chocolate in this?!

I can taste berries, yeah. (Ooh, is that what elderberry tastes like? Since I just had this back-to-back with Very Berry White, it’s easier to distinguish the notes they have in common.) I can taste hibiscus. I can even taste mate (more so than oolong, and I thought I might be imagining things until I saw that Amanda had noticed this in the ingredients), but chocolate? Dude, where?

…Oh wait, I think I caught some chocolate notes there when I burped. No seriously, the only chocolate is at the back!

It’s not that this tastes bad, but who on earth decided to market it as a chocolate tea and not a berry tea? It’s actually got a berry-flavoured chocolate taste to it at the back and in the aftertaste, but you can’t market a tea on the aftertaste and not what the sip is riding on. What a mess. FAIL.

(More tomorrow! Maybe I’ll get to some of the ones I actually really like, hah.)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Autumn Hearth

I’ve actually had hibiscus in a dark chocolate bar and it was quite good, so it can work if there is enough chocolate but alas there is not and Teavana does rely to heavily upon it. I also experienced the chocolate are an aftertaste when I brought my tongue to my lips, husband could taste in though without knowing what he was drinking. Like I said in another comment, I do think elderberry is tart. So a tinge more chocolate and they could call this “Elderberry Truffle” but it did not at all live up to expectations. I thought they had finally figured out the dessert oolong with last year’s Slimful Chocolate Decadence, but no. I’m sure some people love hibiscus and will like this blend though.

femocakes

Agreed on all counts. I could really do without the hibiscus in 90% of the blends teavana puts it in. It ruined quite a few would-be keepers for me!

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62

Third of the “top six” of the new teas. I will finish the top six, I think, and then get to the rest.

If I have to knock this one down a few points for anything, it’s unoriginality. Berries. White tea. Yawn. Seeeen it!

Still, this is a much better version of a berry white than Imperial Acai Blueberry. Kind of a shame, because blueberries aren’t the strongest note here, and that means I’m still looking for a damn blueberry white that I really like. (Lord, I think I may never find one…) But good, because Imperial Acai Blueberry is just so fussy and prone to bitterness, and this one doesn’t seem to have that flaw. It’s not bitter after a two minute steep, at least.

I do wish that whoever it is at Teavana that sleeps with hibiscus flowers under their pillow would find a new foodstuff to be obsessed with, because at its hottest, hibby is the first thing I tasted in this tea. (Is that normal? For hibiscus to be the most prominent ingredient at a higher temperature?) As it cooled though, more berries came out.

I’m finding myself now sipping it comfortably and rather thoughtlessly, which is nice. Actually, I’m finding the sweet and sour more balanced now (with the caveat that I did add sugar to this, albeit less than I usually do). I’m afraid that I don’t know what either elderberries or black currant taste like on their own, but I can definitely taste the grapes.

Not outstanding, but solid. If I didn’t have so many teas already, I might consider adding this to my collection. It would be a good lighter morning tea (for mornings on days off, when you don’t need something strong to wake you up), or maybe with lunch.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Alphakitty

Have you tried DT’s White Tiger? It’s a really nice blueberry white, far less flavor-heavy than some of their other blends.

Daniel Scott

Yes. I absolutely HATE it, unfortunately. It actually makes me ill to drink, and I can’t taste blueberries in it at all…just the terrible base that makes me sick. :(

Daniel Scott

…I should add, I thank you for the suggestion, though. I’ve seen a lot of people who like that one (and who DO taste the blueberries). I just seem to have a weird personal reaction to the base tea.

Autumn Hearth

Hehe “I do wish that whoever it is at Teavana that sleeps with hibiscus flowers under their pillow would find a new foodstuff to be obsessed with”. Me thinks elderberry and black current also have tart notes that kinda blend with the hibiscus and then their other notes just read as “dark fruit” (or at least they did with the WonderBerry which really just could be a darker version of Raspberry Soirre).

Alphakitty

Ah, worry about that. I hope you eventually find your perfect blueberry tea!

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51
drank Berry Basil Blast by Teavana
107 tasting notes

…Y tho.

Seriously, this is kind of weird.

One of my coworkers and I tried this (hot and unsweetened first, and then with some sugar) in the store the other night (this was the same night we tried the Watermelon Mint Chiller) and thought it was vile. We discussed whether or not it might luckily be discontinued at the end of the year, and who might get a Christmas present of a pink slip for coming up with this one.

I’m trying it again at home (sweetened), and it’s not quite as bad as I remember it being. I wouldn’t buy it, but I can drink it. I need to think back to a time that I tossed together a tasty salad with juicy chunks of strawberries and bits of fresh basil…and then I go, “Oh yeeeah, okay, it tastes a bit like that, that was the flavour they were going for.”

It’s really a bit of an odd flavour for a tea though; at least, in my opinion. But some flavours that I think are really wrong for tea are flavours that others go for (maple, for example, which has a tendency to literally make me queasy when I taste it in tea), so perhaps other people will like this. It’s nowhere near the top of my list of personal recommendations, though.

I will chill the rest of this cup and update.

Chilled Update: Okay, I thought icing this tea would improve it, but I think I was wrong about that. You know how I said that the mint is more noticeable in the Watermelon Mint Chiller when it’s iced? Well, the same thing seems to happen to the basil here, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Ever had a fruit-and-basil salad that was too heavy on the basil? Yeaaaah.

There’s something else that comes out towards the back of the sip, but I’m not sure what it is. Lemon, maybe? Okay, actually lemon and basil aren’t that bad a combination, but having them follow the berries too strongly is having that making-me-queasy effect. Nope, nope, nope.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec
momo

I like basil with fruits so I might like this. Granted I’ve never put berries with it, so that’s kind of reaching but now I’m curious. I got a noseful of that mango mate puerh stuff today and I’m afraid I’m going to have nightmares tonight.

Daniel Scott

LOL! I’ll admit that I’m not looking forward to tasting the mango mate pu-erh… Maybe it’s better than it smells?

One of my coworkers mixed that with the Strawberry Champagne Oolong or whatever that one is, and literally was almost physically sick. He made a huge point today of taking me to the wall and saying, “NEVER BLEND THESE TWO. NEVER.

momo

That sounds terrifying. Like instead of mixing up all the different sodas into one, it’s with tea instead.

Daniel Scott

That’s a HILARIOUS analogy!

I like swampwater pop, though! LOL.

Autumn Hearth

I am curious about this one, don’t think I got to smell it when I visited, however I did get the mango mate pu-erh wafted at me and it was disturbing. Then again when Joie de Virve came out one persona said it smelled like nail polish remover and everyone was turned off, but I came to like it. I do hate the smell of Strawberry Slender (also a flavored pu-erh) and I think Roobios Tropica and ToLife smell like rotting fruit so… but I am curious as to the curry and mango lassi analogy that I will try it at some point.

Tamm

I am totally with Autumn Hearth on the mango mate pu-erh one. It smelled so scary!!! The person who was working tried to save it by saying, “oh, it doesn’t taste how it smells…” but followed by saying he hadn’t tried it yet! facepalm

Daniel Scott

Guys. Guys. The Mango Mate Pu-erh doesn’t taste like how it smells.

It tastes worse.

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85

Wheee, our teas came today!

“Unlimited staff drinks,” right? So I took a cup’s worth of leaves of all the new ones home in little snack baggies to taste and review, and marked them all off as staff drinks. (So now it looks like me and the other three people who worked today drank 20-some drinks on our shifts. Yep, that’s all we did today – drank tea and peed. Also sold about $1200 worth of tea and merch, but mostly just drank tea. And peed. Hey, nobody gave me a limit on “unlimited”!) I mean, there was no way that I’m buying 50g of 17 new teas when I’m already so full up on teas at home!

I’m starting with this one – a white which is considered part of the “top 6” out of the new teas. (I’m honestly not entirely sure what that even means yet.)

I will admit that I didn’t have high hopes for this one at all. Not sure why, but I was having trouble imagining this flavour combination being done well. I will also admit that I was wrong, because out of the couple I’ve tried so far, this one is the best!

A co-worker and I first sampled a few sips of this hot the other day in the store, and agreed (and were surprised) at how good we thought it was. “Watermelon is a tough taste to achieve in a tea,” she said, but we also agreed that the melon taste here is pretty legit, and that it seemed like it would be amazing iced. This is especially interesting because it is a white, and isn’t getting much of a lengthy steep, so you’d think the melon flavour would be a bit of a letdown, but I didn’t feel particularly let or down after trying this one.

Also, we noted that it was pretty passable without sugar. Okay, “pretty passable” may not be the highest praise, but it’s usually the most I can bestow on even the best flavoured blends. And it’s rather surprising to note this about a Teavana blend, because even the staff have to admit that many of our teas need sugar (which might be considered inept blending, but which just as often seems like it might actually be a German-rock-sugar-selling tactic). It’s so much better with sugar (if you ask me), but I didn’t mind it at all unsweetened.

So of course I was actually pretty excited to get this one home and ice it. And wouldn’t you know, I botched it! I’m not entirely sure how I messed up the proportions, but I ended up with ice cubes and watery tea all over my counter. Siiiigh. Long past week, okay?

It’s still pretty good though, and really refreshing. Not as good as it was in the store, but that’s probably because I screwed it up! I notice more mint coming through in this cup, it’s got this nice chilling bite to it at the back of the sip that I really like. Makes me think of some sort of summery mixed drink! Actually, it’s weird that this tea is coming out now, because it clearly seems like some sort of “summer collection”-type tea. Still, if you tend to miss summer in December (I don’t, but you know, that’s because I despise summer), this would be a good summer-in-December tea to remind you of sun and fruit!

If you aren’t personally boycotting Teavana for…one reason or another…this one is a must-try.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Michelle

Any chance you can sneak your staff discount onto a student in the US? I really don’t want to have to buy 2oz of all of these teas… but I do want to try them! haha

MegWesley

Watermelon tea? That’s interesting.

Autumn Hearth

Glad your teas came in. I would have done the same. Wish Teavana did seasonal releases instead of just once a year. This was a favorite of my friend Rob, he gave me a piece of candies melon to taste but I ended up going with the truffle. Interesting that the 12 Teas of Christmas are Teopia teas, I didn’t realize that when I first saw them, but makes sense.

Daniel Scott

@Autumn – I’m pretty sure they’re not Teaopia teas, actually – I asked around, and none of my coworkers who previously worked under Teaopia recognize them. Kinda weird to come out with 12 entirely new teas just for a gift set; maybe some of them are repackaged?

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I used to love this tea! LOVE. It tasted like cinnamon hearts and was my go-to “school tea” because it had a strong enough flavour that I could steep it in one of those nasty paper cups from Starbucks and it wouldn’t taste like cardboard cup.

But something has gone terribly wrong since then. Quite possibly it is just too old, but the last five or so cups I’ve had of this made me feel more than a little ill…so it’s not just “wasn’t what I was in the mood for after all,” it’s really not good to me anymore. Could it really be the age? I swear that I have teas from DT that are even older and still taste delicious, but this…no. The tea that I can taste in it tastes terrible and cheap. The cinnamon is sharp and unpleasant. I wouldn’t even give this away.

So although I’ve yet to have thrown out more than the last few broken leaves of a tea, I think it is the right decision this time to chuck the last of what I have of this one.

Also:

I can’t start reviewing the new Teavana teas as planned, because last I checked (when I stopped in this morning to pick up my poor iPod that I left behind at the re-merching last night) they STILL had not arrived. Apparently this is the case across Canada; I don’t know if it’s every Canadian location, or just some of them, but SUCK.

Our regional manager is currently in Atlanta, apparently to let H/O know that Canadians are not second-class citizens, thank you very much and we. Are not. Impressed.

Hope they smarten up!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
momo

But they love you guys down here, or at least the hiring manager who hired me did/does.

Daniel Scott

Wait, do you/did you work for Teavana? LOL, how do they love us?

‘Cuz it sure feels like we’re an afterthought up here! It’s like, our stuff keeps getting delivered late, or not at all, and we keep getting told things like, “Yixing is now discontinued in Canada.” (WHY?! I mean, I personally think our yixing is ugly as hell, but other people clearly disagree because we couldn’t keep that stuff on the shelf.) We bitch about this in the back, like…people from Canadian stores are on the Top 40 every week, we’re making money for this company, where’s the respect? (In the form of a variety of merch and tea that arrives on time!)

momo

I start tomorrow lol. She said the Canadians they brought in for training outsold any group of American trainees she had ever just by being far more enthusiastic. Sounds like apparently it is not the entire company though. That’s so weird that they almost forget they’re up there, that’s more money for them and isn’t that the point of acquiring another company?

Daniel Scott

Oh, cool! Have you gotten your training textbook manual yet? LOL, keep me posted.

I hope you got it at a place with high foot traffic and a good manager! I think those two things make Teavana way easier to work for. Most of the terrible stories I’ve heard seem to be associated with nasty managers who push employees too hard, and dead locations with sales goals too high for their traffic.

momo

I’ll get it tomorrow. This mall is constantly busy (when I went in to fill out forms it was like 2pm on Thursday and PACKED) but I feel like the Teavana’s in a little nook. But I just realized the other day looking at a map that apparently this little nook is a main entrance LOL. I always just go in through Macy’s so now beforehand tomorrow I have to find out how to avoid that. I’ve shopped there plenty of times and it’s probably my favorite store around here besides the original, but I feel like a peasant in that mall.

Daniel Scott

You feel like a peasant? So it’s a higher-end mall? That will be very good for your sales if so. You’d be amazed at what people of some means will casually drop on tea even when they’ve barely drank it before…hundreds of dollars.

momo

Well, the other mall is worse but this one makes me feel like a peasant too, just less so (other mall has Maseratis and Bentleys on display inside, it’s kind of ridiculous). It’s also easily accessible for people who come in to Atlanta just to come shopping so I think that’ll help too. Plus Christmas.

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Profile

Bio

I’ve always been a tea drinker – I grew up drinking Tetley’s Orange Pekoe and their Chai, and considered myself to really like tea.

I’ve been working various retail jobs to put myself through higher education. One day at my store, a customer left a newly purchased bag of loose-leaf behind. We waited for three days for said customer to return, but they (likely not realizing where they had left their bag) did not return to claim the would-be brew. Too bad for them; lucky for me! I claimed the bag, took it home, and awkwardly made my first cup of loose-leaf tea with the only strainer we owned which was small enough.

I haven’t bothered with Tetley since. For the most part (and due to convenience), my patronage is limited to David’s Tea and Teavana. I also order from 52teas and Verdant Tea.

My rating system – hah, I don’t have a rating system. I rate teas a lot like Ebert rates movies. Everything’s relative.

I may often forget to mention it, but you can safely assume everything I drink is sweetened in one way or another – most rock sugar, or honey for green and white teas. I have not yet achieved drinking most tea clear. The few teas I drink unsweetened include milk oolong and genmaicha so far.

The guy in my avatar can be bought at Teaopia or here: http://www.jas-etea.com/products/Jingdezhen-%22Easy%22-Gaiwan-%22Blue-on-White-Phoenix%22-100ml.html

I currently work for Teavana. But I just work there, and my opinions about any of their teas are entirely my own and not meant to be reflective of the views of the company.

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