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21 Tasting Notes

30
drank Tilleul by Harney & Sons
21 tasting notes

Linden flower tea usually has a very delicate flavor, so I knew not to expect anything bold. While I like other teas from Harney (including their herbal Yellow and Blue, which is wonderful), Tilleul is disappointing. Good linden flower teas, delicate as they are, have a slight, naturally honeyed taste. I didn’t find it here; I didn’t find much flavor or scent. I used a lot of the dried tea and brewed several times, but that was the impression every time.

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90
drank SoHo Blend by Harney & Sons
21 tasting notes

In the bag, the dry tea smells wonderful! I can easily pick up the creamy smoothness of coconut and vanilla. When brewed, it is still smooth and creamy. I steeped it for 3 minutes, and it feels fairly mild—the way I like it. Of the flavors, the coconut is most pronounced for me. The chocolate is difficult to trace. The vanilla is extremely subtle. Overall, I am really enjoying this tea! I wish Harney would sell smaller-sized tins though.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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55
drank Chocolate Chai by Adagio Teas
21 tasting notes

This is a good chai. The spices are distinct. However, I am puzzled because of the word “chocolate” displayed prominently in the name, and which, in the first place, prompted me to try it. There isn’t detectible chocolate here, and I brewed it a couple of times. Apparently, chocolate is not an easy flavor to convey in tea. Don’t get me wrong; I like this black tea. But the company should remove “chocolate” from the name. It could be misleading because the focus is not on the chocolate.

EDIT: I had only had this tea hot. To be fair, I’d like to edit my tasting note. When fully cold, I could feel a subtle, almost woody chocolate flavor. Interestingly, when it’s completely cold, the spices were not as prominent as in the hot tea.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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30

I love plum, and I love oolong tea, so I was curious about this organic offering. The dry tea smelled very strongly of berries. When brewed, the tea in my cup is still very fruity, and the dominant flavor is the that of hibiscus. It is certainly tart, but not unpleasantly so. The plum flavor does not come through for me. I am not a big fan of hibiscus, so this tea will not become a favorite. While I expected some hibiscus, I would have appreciated a better balance of the flavors in the blend.

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20

I saw this tea at the local grocery store, and I had to give it a try. It’s organic, and it has the magical word “chocolatte!” I’ve had a few chocolate chais now, and the problem with most is that although they use the word “chocolate,” its flavor is undetectable when brewed. Unfortunately, this is true of Yerba Mate Chocolatte as well. If I felt any chocolate, it was only because my imagination conjured it up. I am sure there is some cocoa in it the blend, but it doesn’t become distinct.

So, what is it? It is a somewhat spicy yerba mate. What is most noticeable is the nutmeg. I like my yerba mate chai richer and would prefer to feel the spices more distinctly. I appreciate the fact that it’s organic. However, I would not repurchase it only because of that. (It’s nicer with milk, especially vanilla milk.)

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drank Summer Rose by Adagio Teas
21 tasting notes
It is not that I cannot smell rose or even taste it when it’s there. Just to be on the safe side, however, I invited a couple of friends, who don’t share my obsession with roses, to try the tea with me. The tea smells rosy in the bag. When brewed, it must be okay for people who don’t like roses. We couldn’t smell the rose in the brewed tea—hot or iced. It is black tea, slightly bitter, but not much else. I’ve tried a couple of other teas by Adagio and have liked them, but this is not one of them. The very name “Summer Rose” presupposes that someone who truly wants to experience a rose scent or flavor would purchase it and not someone who dislikes floral notes in tea in general. (I used the instructions on the bag for brewing.)

Overall, my experience with rose teas has been disappointing. When it comes to floral teas, I think I’ll stick with jasmine for the foreseeable future.

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95

I expected some vanilla because of the name, but I don’t find it here. However, this is a wonderfully spicy chai. I like my gingerbread cookies seriously spicy, and drinking this tea was like having my favorite gingerbread cookie in a cup. The ginger is especially prominent. The cardamom is less so, but it is still one very flavorful and pleasant combination. This will definitely become the caffeine-free alternative to the chai I usually drink.

I added a little vanilla milk to the second cup, and it made it a real treat.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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15

This tea smells just perfect in the bag. However, in the cup, all I could taste was bitter black tea. It had even some smoky aftertaste. Unfortunately, no roses or other flavors became apparent to me. I didn’t expect much rose to begin with, but I was definitely hoping for a more distinct vanilla. On the bag, the suggestion was to brew it for 4 minutes. I wouldn’t recommend that. It would make this pretty strong tea even more bitter. I’ll experiment, brewing it for 2 minutes and see what happens, but I don’t think it will become my rose/vanilla/bergamot combination.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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91
drank Martinique by American Tea Room
21 tasting notes

I usually avoid fruity teas, but I am glad I received this as a complimentary sample.

Martinique is the home of Joséphine, the first wife of Napoleon I, and I associate the name with her childhood memories of a beautiful and colorful island. The tea is, indeed, colorful in appearance, and it smells and tastes colorful! The mango is obvious immediately. I like marigold flowers; their scent is difficult to convey. I could feel it here in the brewed tea—a bright floral note. Without this floral note, the tea would have been boring for me. I had this tea on a gloomy day, but I think it would be best described as a sunny summer day in a cup.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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71

According to the label on the tin, this tea contains: organic rooibos, cacao nibs, peppermint leaf, apple, orange peel and chocolate flavor.

I like the idea of a caffeine-free chocolate mint tea, so I decided to give it a try. Also, I discovered I like rooibos. Opening the tin, what is immediately perceptible is the mint, lots and lots of it! The peppermint unquestionably dominates the brewed tea, to the point that other flavors are difficult to detect. It is nice mint, pleasantly tingling the tongue, and the tea is organic, so I am willing to overlook the missing chocolate flavor, at least for now.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Yvonne

This sounds absolutely delicious and something I’d love to try one day.

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Profile

Bio

I grew up drinking herbal tea, in many cases tea that I picked myself: chamomile, linden flowers, lemon balm, thyme, and hibiscus teas were an important part of my childhood experience. I learned to appreciate their delicate flavors. I am not new to black or green teas, but somehow, I had found them boring. My introduction to flavored teas—oolong, black or green—was a few years ago, and I’ve been hooked since then. Today, I still enjoy herbal teas. I’ve always been very sensitive to smells, so to me, the balance between flavor and aroma is very important. Tea is one of those small luxuries in life that allows us to combine our olfactory senses with taste.

I tend to like: herbal teas, “dessert” teas with vanilla, chocolate, or other flavors, and floral teas.