1144 Tasting Notes

84
drank Elixo by Domo
1144 tasting notes

Backlogged from yesterday (I think).

Ordered this from SPUD, a local organic delivery company that offers some really great food and products, many of which originate in the Vancouver, Canada area. This is one of those products.

“Stone ground tea” is prominently posted on the packaging, and it looks like dried, ground honey (and smells like it, too). I wasn’t a huge fan of sweeteners being added to the mix already, however I love ginger teas, and this is something I could see myself drinking when feeling icky. So, I grabbed some.

It requires a tablespoon per cup, and I found it difficult to dissolve so many solids into the allotted hot liquid. I’ll try 1 tsp next time, as I used the dregs from the first cup to make another two cups, and it tasted the same each time.

This is very similar to a ginger tea I used to buy at a local Asian grocery store years ago: powdered ginger, powdered honey, add hot water, serve. I stopped drinking that one because, although inexpensive and really yummy, it was just too much sugar. I have the same issue with this tea. It’s yummy, it’s also got ground rooibos in it, however it’s just way too sweet for me.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Dexter

Interesting, I had never seen/heard of this until I was in London Drugs Saturday. I bought the Caramel Chai.
Will keep it in mind to use a lot less than recommended.

OMGsrsly

I definitely use 1 tbsp per cup, but my cup is about 10-11 oz, not 8. It’s especially nice to have something sweet and so gingery while out camping.

I wish they made it without all the sugar, as well. So much nicer to add your own.

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91
drank Christmas Tea Blanc by Dammann Freres
1144 tasting notes

Officially the most expensive tea I’ve ever purchased. It also came in the 2013 advent calendar, however I think I sent that mini package along so that someone else could try it, too. For future reference: even though the Christmas packaging is stunning, buy this in the plain 100g bags on Cadeau Vendomme in the future.

This is a gorgeous tea, and takes up a lot of space. Used 1.5 tsp for the cup just in case. It brews up a light yellow, and smells like honeyed cherries – an unusual yet breathtaking smell to me.

Drinking this is like art: it’s savored, taken in, and enjoyed fully. I normally shy away from cherry teas (too medicinal usually, and kinda yuck), however this one? Light and true cherry, with something sweet and gentle tickling my palate. It’s beautiful, and I’m really glad I tried some tonight.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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72
drank Nordic Almond by Herbal Infusions
1144 tasting notes

SPOILER alert: If you want to keep the teas in the Herbal Infusions 2013 12 Days of Christmas Sampler to yourself, skip over this review.

I’m a day early in this review, likely because I’m the kind of gal that (until six years ago) celebrated Christmas on the 24th in the evening. Also, I was impatient, and wanted to enjoy something Christmas-y with my daughter as we celebrated my son’s 6-year-old birthday. Unfortunately, he’s come down with something as of late last night, and is curled up half naked in a chair in the living room, alternating between watching Magic School Bus on Netflix, and sleep. :(

As Herbal Infusions has given zero steep instructions or even an ingredient list, I went with my eyes and nose for how to brew it. It looks like it’s a green and black blend, with pieces of orange rind, roses, cornflower, and something else tiny and red in the mix. It smells strongly of a red berry, and I was concerned immediately due to my strawberry allergy. My daughter even warned me as she took her first sip, “Mom, this smells a LOT like strawberries…”

I tried it anyway. I’m thinking the berry in this is raspberry, because I had zero reaction until the very last sip of the cup, and that could be from something else I just ate. It tastes very raspberry green to me, light and lovely, with just a hint of orange in there. The almond passed by me completely, although it is still creamy. It’s nice and well blended, although I doubt I’ll go out of my way to reach for it.

Also, I’ve put in a note to Dan over at Herbal Infusions for an ingredient list, however it’s been a few weeks now with zero answer. If anyone received this, or knows more than I, please do send me a note (or comment here so that I can friend you). Merci!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
JustJames

OBNOXIOUS CAPS RESPONSE: VENDORSFOR ALL OF US THAT HAVE ALLERGIES IT IS A VERY IMPORTANT CUSTOMER SERVICE ISSUE THAT YOU NOT ONLY BE COMPLETELY TRANSPERENT IN YOUR INGREDIENTS LISTING, BUT ALSO THAT YOU REPLY IF YOU HAVE A CUSTOMER INQUIRE.

@ HERBAL INFUSIONS MissB is a friend of mine. we both have allergies and mine will affect a disease. if you will not reply to her inquiry then i will not buy from you at any point. the risk is too great, no matter your amazing tea bending skill set.

MissB

I had a similar issue with my first order; it took three weeks for it even to ship. After it shipped, I heard from Dan often and quickly – and again nothing now, after suggesting steeping times and requesting ingredient lists. I’m thinking they’re just really busy… or at least hoping that’s all it is.

MissB

I should note that the other teas (normal things you can order anytime) have ingredient lists. These were specially blended just for this one-time, Black Friday, 12 Teas of Christmas special. They sold out quickly.

JustJames

i appreciate you speaking up MissB and if you want me to trash my comment i will, but it the absolute truth. if i do not have faith in your ingredients list, then i will not buy from you. that’s it, that’s all. tea is NOT WORTH THE FURTHER EROSION OF MY NERVOUS SYSTEM. i harbour no grudges if you pull my comment. i wrote it in application to myself only.

MissB

Oh gosh no. You’re saying it as I would have, had I actually drank something I was horribly allergic to. :)

JustJames

wanted to make sure =0)

Cavocorax

I think OMGSrsly asked them on facebook for more detail and they replied regarding specific ingredients. It might be easier if you just ask if any of the teas have “X” ingredient as that would be quicker for them to reply to rather than write up the entire list.

Not trying to downplay your guy’s concerns – you obviously don’t want to risk a reaction, and if vendors aren’t upfront about what’s in there, it could be dire.

Cavocorax

Also, if these blends are supposed to be secret then I might be in trouble because I started to post mine.

You know, I never realized that the 12 days of Christmas were AFTER Christmas. :P I guess I wasn’t a good Christian growing up.

JustJames

lol…. i always ate chocolate for lent.

i don’t do facebook (ahem as you well know cavo, lol). IMO if it needs a label to be sold in a country like, say…. canada…. then you do not get to crap out and say ‘hey, message me on facebook, i’ll get back to you faster.’ sometimes rules are ridiculous, and others they are sensible. In My Opinion food labeling is essential. i am allergic to turkey: as in an epipen will not work.

if as a vendor someone has any expectation that i should write them on facebook then they should factor in the depreciation of their stock when i do not buy from their company.

MissB

Lmao. Are the 12 days of Christmas Christian? I just always thought they were fun.

I have emailed them, and they did reply (eventually). I shared my specific allergies, and again, it’s been a few weeks with zero response. I guess I’ll try Facebook then. Good to know.

Cavocorax

MissB – I just looked it up because I was curious: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Days_of_Christmas

And JustJames – I don’t think they requested an email on FB. They didn’t say anything at all – that was just my suggestion as a way to get an answer back quicker. I am impressed with Herbal Infusions blends, but as a company I believe they bit off more than they could handle with these 12 Days of Christmas sets. I think they just pulled them together really quickly and weren’t prepared for the demand etc. It took over 2 weeks for them to ship mine out and with no communication either.

I know Dan is involved in a few projects at the moment too, so while I"m not super happy about the way these blends were handled (and advertised as re: the list of ingredients), I’m willing to forgive them so long as they learn from their mistakes!

Cavocorax

Do you think I should hold off on posting the rest of my reviews for these teas? I didn’t think they were a surprise because the list was on the site, but I wouldn’t want to spoil anything.

JustJames

oh no, cavo, i didn’t take it as an a request on their part…. but if a consumer can get a faster response via facebook that sets a precedent.

i tend to be a forgiving sort…. stupidly so. to the point where i just don’t pick up the phone for telemarketers because i can always see the reasoning. i am always inclined to forgive. however, in some instances, and this is one, it is not in my best interests to do so.

socially: we all make mistakes, live and learn, no harm done, it’s all good!

commercially: ‘no, herbal infusions i will never buy from you, i don’t care if it’s hearsay, i have too much on the line for my beloved cup of relaxation to take another piece out of me. just ask david’s teas, i don’t buy from them either, and for back up ask teavana at mayfair…. they see me coming they haul out binders and phones.’

JustJames

cavo…. you HAVE to review….. i want to read them! =0)

Cavocorax

Ok – just wanted to make sure I wasn’t misrepresenting anything! :D

And i"ll keep reviewing, just because you’re requesting it. :P Haha.

JustJames

;0)
cavo, you are always very clear in your communication. at least i think so!

MissB

If they’re a secret, it’s news to me. All I know is, some folks like to keep these sorts of things a surprise, so I just put the spoiler in there just in case.

I think the company is new and overwhelmed, although… my first order was way before Black Friday, and I received both orders within a week of one another. I have a lot of theories on this one, I just wish it were different, because I am enjoying their teas.

OMGsrsly

I asked about specific things – mint, gluten, licorice – and received into as to which teas included those ingredients, not an ingredient list. I only got 3 teas based on their feedback.

JustJames

i have my own due diligence rules and expectations…. that does not meet them in the least. and as a consumer it is NOT my job to chase you for ingredience lists. it is your (their) job to chase me with pristine clarity saying ‘look james, our track record speaks for itself, ask us anything…. don’t you want to give us money?’ lol.

OMGsrsly

I definitely would have preferred an ingredient list. I’ll email to chase one down as well. And point out (again) that this information is extremely important.

JustJames

if you were feeling politely snappish you could simply send them a link to this review and conversation…. but it’s just a thought =0) (insert innocent batting of eyes) LMAO.

OMGsrsly

:) I did email. If no response, I’ll think about it!

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drank Noël à Vienne by Dammann Freres
1144 tasting notes

Another oversteep. In my defense, it’s a one cup tea bag, and therefore I had to steep it the ‘normal’ way. Yea, that’s my excuse.

I thought this would be horribly bitter by the time I got to it, yet it’s still really smooth and gentle. It’s kinda meh on it’s own, and turns into subtle dark chocolate yumminess with some Truvia. Not getting the orange really, other than perhaps if I think about it.. I wish I had more than the advent calendar sample to play with this a bit more.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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81
drank Blueberry Lagoon by Tealish
1144 tasting notes

Visited a friend’s place the other day, and his sister offered me this, “The best blueberry tea ever”. Oddly enough, she even mentioned Tealish as the company name, and I still failed to realize that I’d had some of this already, AND have more in my tea cupboard.

I prepared this properly this time, and it’s much better than last time. 1.5 tsp per cup is definitely the sweet spot (bag recommends 1-1.5 tsp), as is adding some Truvia. Like juicy blueberry jam! Upping the rating.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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69

Definitely smells like chocolate after brewing, which was intriguing for me. Straight however, it’s just a hot rooibos tea. With some sweetener, I got a bit of chocolate out of it, but only a little bit. A bit drying, too. Made this one in the Breville so that I didn’t mess it up, since I purchased this from Shadowfall and wanted to honor the tea (as well as the seller). Thanks so much for sharing!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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78

Brewed this up properly in the Breville – and what a difference! Okay, it still smells a bit weird (I’m thinking from the peanut butter flavoring), however it tastes more like cheesecake than before, and I can even taste the peanut butter. Weirdly, at the end of the first cup I’m getting something woody out of this, texturally.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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92

I must make another S&V order soon, because I’m going through this ridiculously fast. Yes, it’s that good – and even better sweetened. Creamy, minty candy cane, and only lightly minty so that the cream and sweetness shines through.

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

sigh. it sounds yummy…. also allergic.

MissB

It would have to be a white, I’d think, if they did this as something that you could drink. Hm. I’ll ask – they do occasionally create by-request blends.

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81
drank Red Velvet Cupcake by Simpson & Vail
1144 tasting notes

Buying a Breville tea maker was the best thing I ever did. Then I got lazy, and stopped using it to steep my teas. Instead, I now make one cup at a time using a teabag, and use the Breville to boil the water to the perfect temperature. I think I need to go back to Breville-making tea, and just accepting I’ll have to brew up 4 cups at a time. Wow. First world problems.

What all this means is that I grossly oversteeped this tea as well – by 20 minutes. It got a bit bitter when I finally got to it, however sweetening it helped dramatically. It does taste like a sweet cupcake. Red velvet? Perhaps, more raspberry cake, but I’m okay with that.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more
Starfevre

I just brew 2 cups at a time….and use giant mugs. :)

JustJames

LMAO. read this review out loud.

MissB

I have giant mugs (the two cup kind, yay!) I just find when I use the Breville for two cups, the tea only sometimes comes out right. I read somewhere (can’t remember where) that it needs 1L to brew properly.. and I can see it when it steeps, especially if it’s ‘big’ tea and takes up a lot of space. Not all of it will get wet after steeping. I imagine I should try again though, because I’m oversteeping practically everything I make these days.

MissB

Yikes. Well… only you would catch me on this one, JustJames. :P I’ll leave it for a laugh and giggle.

Starfevre

I do ~800 ml at a time and it seems to come out fine. I had not heard the 1L thing so I will have to investigate but I’ve never had a problem with dry tea at that amount.

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Meh. Had this again, thinking I had yet to drink it. Shared a lot with various folks for the holidays as well as in swaps, and kinda wish I hadn’t. I really thought I’d checked this one first, and made sure it had a high rating from fellow Steepsterites… nope. Why did I order a huge bag of it, then?

Anyway. I’m just getting dark, bitter cocoa here. I’m sure it’s okay if sweetened, however I just had time to brew it before diving into gift wrapping.

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

Do you drink tea sweetened?

OMGsrsly

Hmm. Gift wrapping. There’s a concept! :)

MissB

I do drink tea sweetened, I was just too impatient to go and grab some Truvia. I had the same issue last time though with this tea, just too bitter. Normally I like bitter cocoa/cacao nibs, this was… bitter in a different way. Like tea that’s been steeped too long bitter.

JustJames

this one did not work for me…. not sure why. =0(

MissB

I’ll try again, and again… I have so much of it. It’s low on the priority list.

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Profile

Bio

Teaholic! Currently loving flavored blacks, greens, whites and rooibos blends, straight blacks and greens, and have a long-standing adoration for herbals/medicinals. Dessert teas top my list along with anything cocoa-y (like Laoshan Black, any of Verdant’s chai’s and Whispering Pines’ Mint Chocolate Chip). Missing living near a tea shoppe that offers a lot of options; other than DAVIDs a few blocks away, I’m buying most of my stuff online. Still, I have more than two cupboards devoted to tea, and a ridiculous amount of it!

In addition to loving tea, I’m a dating columnist, single mom, nerd, and avid knitter. I read way too much, type even more, and spend my ‘free’ time either running, swinging kettlebells, or hanging with friends.

I love tea swaps, and will gladly swap anything I have that I have enough of to share.

Allergies: Strawberries and all grains. I’m having a mild allergic reaction to both lavender and some roses in tea, and thus I’m avoiding these for now as well. I also avoid sugar and Splenda where possible.

Location

Burnaby, BC, Canada

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