789 Tasting Notes
I wish that Market Spice would offer samples of their tea blends or even just let you order sizes smaller than 4oz. They have some wonderful blends that I love so much, but I’m always leery about trying something new from them because I know I’ll have SO MUCH to figure out what to do with if I end up not liking it. Unfortunately, this turned out to be one of those situations. I love caramel and I love pear, but this tisane doesn’t really taste of either! I do smell a bit of pear in the dry leaf, but for some reason they added cinnamon and ginger to the blend and those flavors are completely overwhelming everything else. It’s not a terrible tea, but it’s definitely not what I was hoping for.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Ginger, Spices
Chocolate and cherry are both flavors I tend to steer away from in tea blends, as chocolate is often too thin and artificial-tasting and cherry tends to be either medicinal or hibiscus-tart. But this one was a pleasant surprise! It’s one of the better chocolate flavorings I’ve run across…rich and dark and just the tiniest bit bitter, like a quality dark chocolate. The cherry plays second fiddle, but provides a nice dark fruitiness that combines well with the chocolate…no hibiscus and it also doesn’t taste like cough syrup! This blend is quite pleasant straight, but I’m thinking it would be outstanding as a latte.
Flavors: Cherry, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate
I’m not generally a fan of floral tea, but violet may be the exception to that. This one perfectly balances the violet and elderberry flavoring on a rich black tea base, creating a delicious blend that does NOT make me feel like I’m drinking perfume! Another pleasant surprise from August Uncommon.
Flavors: Berries, Floral, Fruity, Violet
I find it odd that August Uncommon markets this as an Earl Grey, because I barely taste the bergamot at all! But once I got over my disappointment at this not really being a flavored Earl Grey, I do like it for what it is: a strongly-flavored plum and clove black tea. The clove can be a bit overpowering (I’ve learned not to get more than 1 whole clove in my infuser!) but brewed correctly, this is a lovely balance of fruit and spice on a malty black base that resteeps beautifully. I don’t love this one as much as some of the others in this sampler pack (looking at you, Low Country and Silencio!) but I definitely enjoyed getting the chance to try it.
Flavors: Clove, Malt, Plums, Spices, Stonefruit
Oh my goodness, the SMELL of this tea! It has one of the richest aromas I’ve ever encountered in a tea blend, filling my whole kitchen with a mouth-watering peach scent while steeping. The flavor isn’t quite as amazing as the aroma, but it is still quite delicious. Very peach-forward with pistachio coming through in the aftertaste. I don’t really notice the lime, but I also don’t miss it as the tea is quite lovely just as it is. The oolong makes a nice smooth base for the other flavors. This is another one I’m hoping to repurchase when I finish my sample!
Flavors: Nuts, Peach, Smooth
I honestly did not expect to like this one. I have a pretty low tolerance for spice, so “spicy” worried me and pineapple, chocolate, and pepper just sounded like an odd combination. But somehow it works! The pineapple comes out strongly in the aroma, but is more muted in the flavor, coming in behind rich dark chocolate, a bit of smoke, and just a hint of peppery warmth. The base tea is strong enough to support all these intense flavors without overpowering them and it actually resteeps surprisingly well for a flavored tea. Since I finally got brave enough to try it, I’ve found myself reaching for this one more often than almost anything else in this sampler pack and definitely plan to order more when I run out!
Flavors: Black Pepper, Dark Chocolate, Pineapple, Smoke, Tobacco
I was very excited to receive the August Uncommon Top 10 sampler pack as a Christmas gift from my grandma in December! Since I got a lot of other tea for Christmas and had the Samurai TTB with me in January as well, I saved these teas to open on my vacation this month. Overall, August Uncommon continues to impress me with the quality of their tea and the uniqueness of their blends; I quite enjoyed 8/10 of the teas in this set and several are going on my wishlist to purchase in larger quantities soon.
But this was one of the two that flopped for me….and flopped quite spectacularly! I can usually finish any mug of tea, even if I’m not really enjoying it, but I actually dumped this one out after a couple of sips. It felt like drinking a mug of cough syrup…the artificial cherry flavor was STRONG and the anise also gave it a cloyingly sweet, throat-coating mouthfeel that I just couldn’t handle. I’ve passed this on to an amaretto-loving friend in hopes that she will enjoy it more than I did…wouldn’t take much!
Flavors: Anise, Artificial, Cherry, Sweet
A friend of mine went to Charleston and brought this tea back. I was excited to try it, but unfortunately, this wasn’t a favorite for me. The flavor is quite aggressive for a green tea, strongly herbaceous with mineral notes and an oddly metallic aftertaste. I’m still curious to try more from this company, but this isn’t one I’ll be drinking again.
Flavors: Herbaceous, Metallic, Mineral
Samurai TTB #61
This was the final teabag that I had pulled from the TTB a couple of weeks ago and has been waiting for me in my desk drawer at work. Although the quality of this seems really nice for a bagged tea, the flavor combination just isn’t working for me. The base tea is quite grassy and aggressive and seems to almost be fighting the toasted rice and floral flavors that are also present in the blend. I also find that it’s drying out my throat at the end of each sip. While I’m curious to try more from this brand, this isn’t one I’ll be returning to.
Flavors: Drying, Floral, Grass, Rose, Toasted Rice
Samurai TTB #60
I’m not really getting any grapefruit from this one. It tastes strongly of vanilla and the white tea base is also coming through pretty strongly. It’s a pleasant, creamy flavor, but I’m disappointed not to taste the grapefruit, since that’s one of my favorite flavors and pretty rare to find in tea.
Flavors: Creamy, Hay, Smooth, Vanilla