55 Tasting Notes
I took a good look at this tea before brewing it. This was pretty stuff with interesting bits of dried fruit and red berries, black and blonde shreds, and little papery seed pods. The scent of vanilla was the first to emerge from my cup when hot water was added.I used a teaspoon in my strainer. The resulting brew looked a little watery. As I waited impatiently for my tea to cool, I kept sniffing it and puzzling. With so many elements in the mix, it seemed strange that all I could smell was vanilla.
Upon taking the first sip, my immediate thought was ’but I just HAD Madagascar Vanilla!
I was a little disappointed. Somehow I expected this tea to be more interesting and exotic after seeing all the neat-looking stuff in it.
I really shouldn’t be comparing this to Celestial Seasonings Madagascar Vanilla, that’s rather unsporting. Still, I’m considering placing this in the same box to save space in my cupboard. Except for the kick of caffeine from the black tea, the two taste exactly the same to me.
It’s not as though I don’t like this. I find the vanilla and Rooibos combination, though a bit unexciting, strangely addictive. Rooibos is something I like to think of as the African answer to sassafras. I was initially put off by it’s trendiness but after my first sample, it grew on me. I rather like the undertone of sweetness. So now I have a caffeinated version of Madagascar Vanilla. That’s fine by me but I like my variety and hate having the same tea twice in a row. I’ll just need to remember to keep both versions together so I don’t make the mistake of drinking one after the other. Cause I hate when that happens.
Some weeks ago, I went to Savoy Tea Company in search of autumn blends. One thing I like about the place is there are little “sample jars” of each tea to sniff and examine to aid in the selection process. This is so much more helpful than merely looking at artwork and ingredient lists on boxes.
This variety was dark in the container with little orange bits and smelled wonderful, so I grabbed a package to go with my other autumn selections.
The directions on the package called for a five minute steep! I was a bit surprised at the notion of such a long one but . . .ok.
When the water hit it, this tea smelled like Christmas to me. I stood over the steaming cup reminiscing about sweet winter spices and the fresh oranges I used to find in my Christmas stocking. Finally, the timer went off and I got to sample it.
The tea was strong and sweet with cinnamon and a good tea base which didn’t seem to mind the long steep at all. The orange was less strong after brewing but still a good balancing presence amid the background flavors.
A word of warning: This is NOT a subtle tea. If you favor delicately scented, poetry-in-a-cup sort of blends, do not waste your time with this tea. It is strongly flavored with cloves and cinnamon. If you hate red hots, this is not for you. I’ll admit to some hypocrisy here—I’m the one always griping about the chia artists who get heavy handed with the cinnamon oil—yet strangely enough, I really like this variety. Perhaps it’s because I’m not terribly subtle either.
This stuff was very spicy, a little stingingly so. It made my beloved Celestial Seasonings Mandarin Orange Spice seem like kids stuff as this packed a much bigger punch. I found it a good morning blend. With a nice bite from the spices and a good kick of caffeine from the black tea, it certainly woke me up!
My first encounter with this tea had me expecting a strong anise flavor as that is what most people would expect upon seeing the word licorice. It was a happy surprise to find that the dominate taste of this tea is that of actual licorice sticks, the flavorful wood, rather than the black anise candy. As one who used to chew on actual licorice sticks, this was for me a pleasant surprise and brought back many happy memories. The other flavors (which constitute a few of my favorite things) add a subtle but pleasant background.
I love,love,love this stuff. I love the smell, the hint of orange. I love the sweetness that lingers in the back of my throat after I swallow. I like the unusual balance of flavors.
This is good hot or iced. It is strongly flavored and aromatic, giving a strong enough impression of sweetness that even a sweet fiend like myself doesn’t need to add sugar. This is one I’m definitely keeping in my cupboard.
Call me a spoilsport but I get a little cynical this time of year amid all the talk of pumpkin flavored this and that. Pumpkin happens to be one of my favorite vegetables. I eat a lot of it and know exactly what it does and doesn’t taste like. It’s a vegetable. From the vine it does NOT taste like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. These are spices we PUT INTO pumpkin to cover up the bad taste of the vitamins. (Yes,I’m from the Peg Bracken school of vegetable cookery)Most “pumpkin flavored” items are all about the spices and have no pumpkin in them. So I was quite surprised to find these tea bags actually smelled like pumpkin as well as the spices. I brewed one up and found it quite good. It reminds me of the same company’s Bengal Spice (which I love), but with less butter and cinnamon and with a whiff of actual pumpkin. The stevia gives it a hint of sweetness but only a hint. If you want it really sweet, be ready to add some more. Being a pumpkin fan, I’m inclined to throw in some cream and a bit of salt as well.
In conclusion: If you like Bengal Spice, you’ll probably like this one. Except for the hint of pumpkin, for me this is like having the same stuff in regular and decaf. Not that I really mind. Since they’re both quite good, having two boxes is twice as nice.
I had my first sample of chai Tea at a Thai restaurant years ago. It set a high standard. I have since sampled and rejected plenty of pathetic imitations. Fortunately, there have been a few good ones as well. This is one.
Just taking this tea out of the box is a sensual pleasure. Lots of intense, noisy flavors, but all getting along like a joyous celebration. This is not some wimpy, half arsed wannabe chai. This is a wonderful strong blend with top-notes of coconut, cinnamon and clove. I especially appreciate the conservative use of cinnamon, a presence that far too often dominates whole formulas until it’s all you can taste. This time it is a team player, taking a supportive role among the other spices without trying to run the whole show.
At the time I write this, of all the chai’s I have tasted, only a few have passed muster. This is one of my two favorites in that category. It’s good cold brewed or hot, year round.I’ve never bothered to try this one with cream or sweetener. I KNOW it would be awesome, I just haven’t because, like most of my favorite teas, it doesn’t need it. This is a major selling point for me. I love a tea that stands on it’s own and doesn’t need anything added to make it palatable.
After all, I could drink cream and sugar all by themselves and they’d be good. If a tea requires such embellishment in order to be drinkable,how good can it be?
I didn’t expect from the smell of this to like it much. When brewing it has a strong but not entirely savory nutty scent. I recently had a nut flavored tea I didn’t care for and the reminder kind of turned me off.
Surprise! The vanilla and sarsaparilla balanced this tea out and made it far nicer than I expected. A little cream and sweetener made this even more pleasant. I usually take it that way now.
This is not my favorite tea in the cupboard but is an amiable change of pace. The Sarsaparilla makes it an unusual addition to my cupboard and it is a little nutty without being obnoxious. There are other dessert teas I like better though. I’ll hoard and savor whats in the box but probably won’t seek out a replacement package when it’s gone.
I like peach tea on general principles. Sometimes I buy it bottled or canned to drink on the go and I found that the plain peach fruit tea from Celestial Seasonings goes great with black tea, so I used them in combination for some time. Then I ran out and kept forgetting to replace it, so when I saw Republic of Tea’s Ginger peach tea, I decided I might as well commit and buy the combination rather than the separate elements.
Upon opening the tin, I breathed in the lovely scent and thought I’d made a good decision. I brewed it up hot and took that first sip thinking, ‘Ginger and peach…what’s not to like?’ By the second sip, I was thinking this was neither as peachy nor as tea-y as it ought to be. And where was the ginger?
Over all, it seemed kind of watered down. To my surprise, sweetening this didn’t help a bit. Perhaps a longer steeping or an additional teabag might do the trick but perhaps not…it left an odd, astringent aftertaste in my mouth.
I’m really very disappointed and am glad I only bought the sampler size rather than hocking my valuables to invest in a full sized tin.
A few weeks ago I made up a short list of teas I wanted for autumn. This tea was on it. The fact that I wanted it is pretty remarkable considering my history with various chais. I try them pretty regular but hardly any merit a second purchase.
I ran out of this some time back and didn’t replenish it, probably because I was up to my eyebrows in lesser teas and was making myself drink them first. Then near the end of summer as I became open to new purchases, the local stores were running out of all the good teas including this one, so I had to make due without. Now they’re stocking up for fall and it’s available once more.
I opened my box this morning. The first whiff of those spices reminded me why I had bought it and made me chide myself for waiting so long to replace the last box. Cinnamon, of course, but with warm undertones of far more. Ginger, cardamom, a hint of something buttery. I read the label and smiled at the mention of carob—I’m allergic to chocolate so carob blends have a special place in my heart.
I drank it hot, a departure from my usual cold brewing method, and found that I like it both ways. No cream or sugar were added, though I’m sure they’d be good in it too. But like any good tea that makes my second purchase list, it could stand alone. Too often, they get so heavy handed with the cinnamon you can’t taste anything else. Not the case here. Yeah, it tasted like cinnamon, but there was far more going on in my cup. Plenty of other flavors balanced it into a wonderful autumn spice blend. It was a pleasantly spicy way to start my day.
The spell failed and not just once. I’m on my third or fourth round of this and it doesn’t matter whether I diffuse it cold in the refrigerator or brew it up hot. It tastes like mint and that’s all. No chicory, no orange, no cinnamon. Magic? What magic? All I can taste is mint.
Worse, it isn’t even really good mint. Here in the Ozarks, we get a kind of wild relative of mint on our lawns in early Spring. That’s what this smells like. Though it has a nice strong wild scent when you bruise it underfoot or cut it with the lawnmower, it’s a bit obnoxious and isn’t really the quality I would expect in a boxed tea.
That’s not to say this tea is nasty or anything. It’s OK. But it’s just mint. No magic to it at all and really quite unremarkable. So unremarkable according to my husband that I forgot that we tried this some years ago.
Funny,I was quite certain upon seeing and reading the label that I had never tasted this but my husband insists we have bought it before. Maybe he’s immune to its power but I’m not. So some day I will likely walk into the store and, hypnotized by the picture of Merlin and false promises of chicory, orange peel, and cinnamon, buy another box.
Cause that’s where the magic comes in. Ah, now I see….