195 Tasting Notes

89
drank Caramel by Kusmi Tea
195 tasting notes

I have an insatiable sweet tooth. In fact, I probably have a mouth full of sweet teeth. If you put sugar on asparagus, I’m interested and there! I was very excited when I read about Kusmi’s Caramel Tea. This blend sounded like it would combine two of my favorite indulgences, sweets and tea.

I brewed this tea for four minutes at 195 degrees. A broth with an amber color emerged.

I expected (or was hoping for) an aroma that would be similar to a caramel apple on a stick. This was not the case, though. The faint smell was more like pipe tobacco. It was sweet but unlike my recollection of caramel.

When the first sip hit my tastebuds, I found myself asking, “Where’s the caramel?” There was a pleasing tea taste but I didn’t experience the presence of the advertised confection. However, with each sip, more sweetness and a slight caramel taste began to emerge and linger. Maybe I don’t detect a major caramel attendance because I’ve bombarded my senses with candy, cookies, cakes, pies, and ice cream for my entire life. If you partake of the sweeter things in life with more self-control than I, perhaps you will find a stronger and more luscious caramel occupation.

Either way, this is a nice pleasant tea with no bitter aftertaste. I’m not sure that I will drink this tea in the morning. Its attempt to be a “dessert tea” may make it more suitable for the afternoon.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Cheryl

This came in mail last week and after quickly trying it, I got the same impressions as you. Need to retry it with different parameters maybe (my plans).
p.s. Werther’s has a new chewy Caramel Apple flavor (but haven’t tried it…been purposely avoiding candy aisle for a while now) : )

Stoo

Thanks for the tip, Cheryl! I’ll have to check out the Werther’s. I try to avoid the candy aisle but I haven’t been too successful lately. :-)

Cheryl

I was googling to find out what their creamy caramel version was called (to suggest), and spotted the caramel apple (like you mentioned). I’m hoping to forget this finding, before I go to the store next : ) Oh, and forget that Milky Way has a “Simply Caramel” version now too (arggggg). We bad.

ScottTeaMan

Good review Stoo! I was going to say welcome back, but apparantly you’ve been posting reviews. I’m followong you, but your recent activity doesn’t always show up in my dashboard. ://

Stoo

Thanks for checking, Cheryl! I see a Milky Way in my near future! :-)

Stoo

Thanks, Scott! I’ve been around but I haven’t had a lot of new teas to review lately. I’m enjoying the old teas but I didn’t want to bore you with reruns. :-)

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91
drank Darjeeling by Hampstead Tea
195 tasting notes

Some of the best teas that I’ve tried, I’ve stumbled upon accidentally. Hampstead’s Darjeeling is another nice surprise that I just happened to notice on the shelf at our local Earth Fare market.

I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for three minutes. A reddish orange brew was the result.

There was no aroma to speak of so I didn’t have my hopes up for an explosion of flavor. However, at first sip, I was instantly struck by the mild but very pleasant and sweet taste of this blend.

Although the flavor is a tad lighter than I prefer my black teas to have in the morning, this blend left a delightful sweet and almost fruity taste on my tongue. Bitterness was nowhere to be found. It was also a perfect partner to chase down a couple of Scottish oatcakes.

I’ve only tried one other Darjeeling tea and that was in bagged form. It wasn’t bad but it didn’t pack enough punch for me to seek out other variations of the same theme. Now that I’ve tasted one of the finer loose leaf blends, I’m looking forward to the next Darjeeling discovery!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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91

The Republic Of Tea seems to consistently release great tasting teas, regardless of whether they are loose leaf or processed in bags. Their limited special edition teas are also habitually well thought out and formulated. I was therefore very excited to experience the loose leaf blend that they selected to represent their 20-year anniversary of “leading the tea revolution.”

I brewed this tea at 212 degrees for five minutes as recommended on the package. An aroma similar to grape juice wafted from the pot. The color was orange-gold.

The flavor is full of the grape. It’s not tart or tangy. It is sweet and fruity and in the forefront of the very subtle tea taste. There is a sweet grape aftertaste without any bitterness.

The product is also advertised as being “infused with the essence of champagne.” Maybe if you close your eyes and really use your imagination, you might be able to detect the champagne attribute. I must not be imaginative enough. But, no matter, this is still a very tasty and creative blend.

I first tried this tea in the morning. I think I would have appreciated it more in the mid-afternoon.

I believe that The Republic Of Tea does have a fine selection to represent its milestone 20th anniversary. I’m already looking forward to see what they roll out for the 25th!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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84
drank Earl Greyer by The Republic of Tea
195 tasting notes

I see that the tasting notes for this selection include a mix of tea bag and loose leaf reviews. Let me specify that my tasting note is for the loose leaf version of Earl Greyer tea. I feel that is important to note because I’ve tried both the bagged and loose leaf versions of other Republic of Tea products, and I’ve found the taste to differ significantly.

I steeped ol’ Earl Greyer for five minutes at 212 degrees. This resulted in a brownish orange brew.

When I first opened the can and scooped the chopped leaves into my infuser basket, I thought I was in store for one of the strongest bergamot teas that I’ve encountered to date. The unsteeped citrus aroma was very potent and fragrant.

After brewing, I was surprised and disappointed to experience a less than colossal bergamot presence. The bergamot flavor is there and it’s smooth, but the citrus taste is overpowered by the black tea flavor.

The black tea taste is fine. There is also a little maltiness thrown in. There is no bitterness or astringent aftertaste. I guess I have just come to expect more from Earl Grey teas after some of the supercharged varieties that I’ve tried. (For example, if you desire a mighty Earl Grey tea with intense bergamot flavor that will stay with you throughout your day, I highly recommend Rishi Organic Earl Grey Black Tea: http://www.amazon.com/Rishi-Tea-Organic-Black-3-3-Ounce/dp/B001E5E20O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333545907&sr=8-1.)

If you like the citrus flavor to hang in the background of your Earl Grey tea, this selection will more than fit the bill. But, if you prefer bergamot on steroids, you (like me) may find yourself asking, “Is that all there is?”

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
yssah

so the bagged is stronger? which do you like better?

Stoo

Hi yssan!

Overall, I like the loose leaf tea better. The flavor is more robust and full. However, the Earl Grey taste is more prominent in the tea bag version. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe the flavor of bergamot is harder to squash than the tea flavor when ground up into a bag? You may want to do a taste comparison yourself. Thanks for your comment!

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96

As a Southerner, barbecue sauce is in my veins. In these parts, we like just about everything smoked except ice cream. In fact, if you ever pass through my neck of the woods, let me know. I’ll hook you up with the best barbecue restaurant in the universe!

I was, therefore, very intrigued when I read about the Lapsang Souchong tea on The Republic Of Tea web site. A smoky flavored tea sounded very desirable to me.

I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for five minutes. I didn’t detect a smokehouse aroma coming from the tea, but I imagined that four cups of tea wouldn’t produce as strong a smell as 500 pounds of smoked pig.

Without a strong smoky smell, I was wondering if I would be able to detect smokiness in the taste. Well, it was there and at the perfect level! The smoky flavor of this tea is wonderful and quite bold. The black tea flavor is subdued but not to the detriment of the total taste. There is no artificial chemical aftertaste that you sometimes experience with smoky sauces. The flavor of this tea makes you fantasize about the broad tea leaves drying and curing in the smokehouse NEXT TO 500 pounds of pig!

If you don’t like smoky flavors, you probably won’t like this tea. But, if you crave barbecued pulled pork and ribs as much as I do, you will LOVE it!

This is another great tasting tea from The Republic Of Tea. This organization has just been added to my list of favorite and most reliable tea companies.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Hi, I hope you try some loose Lapsang Souchongs and play around with them in the future. I add a pinch to other tea to make them smokey…like…smoked Earl Grey or a Maple with a dash of Lapsang Souchong and a pinch of Applewood Smoked Salt from my cupboard…oh yes! I have a really strong one and a moderate one from a local store here in Fort Collins. If you ever want some, give me a halla and I’ll send you samples.

Stoo

Hi Bonnie. Actually, I did review this one in loose leaf form and it was great! Thanks for the idea to add this tea to other varieties! I’m sure it’s a wonderful complement to many different blends! I’ll definitely give that a try! If you don’t mind sending samples, I’d love to try them! That’s very nice of you! Thanks!

Bonnie

Could you PM me and then I’d have your address. Love to send you a sample and note of how I use this in cooking. (I put it in the water to steam broccoli too and the house smells good) I cooked pasta with it in a tea ball…wow good!

Stoo

Thanks, Bonnie! That is extremely nice of you! I’ll send you my address!

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97

The stores where I live carry a very limited and standard selection of loose leaf teas (e.g., basic green, jasmine, english breakfast). So, if I want to branch out into more exciting blends, I have to order them on-line or take out a loan at the local Teavana store. The Republic of Tea on-line collection has some of the most imaginative flavors around at reasonable prices. The Coconut Pu-erh tea sounded like it was right up my alley- bold, black, and sweet- all of my favorite attributes.

I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for five minutes. While brewing, the scent that filled the kitchen was like an Almond Joy bar. It made me concentrate to try to will the tea maker to process faster.

Sometimes the teas smell great and sweet but the flavor is flat and expressionless. Not so with this little gem! The flavor is exactly as advertised by the aroma. It is sweet and wonderful, more like a dessert tea than a breakfast stimulator. The usually dominant pu-erh taste follows merrily behind the sweet coconut flavor leader. The color is like dark mahogany.

This tea would be fantastic to sip at all times during the day. For me it had the double benefit of waking me up and satisfying my sweet tooth. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I have already added this selection to my “Don’t Run Out!!!” list.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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70

I’m very familiar with The Republic of Tea tea bags, having tried a slew of different varieties last year before I entered the wonderful world of loose tea. I enjoyed all of the ones that I bought. I was anxious to see how the loose leaf versions compared.

I steeped the Blackberry Sage tea for five minutes at 212 degrees. The brewing aroma was incredible. It was very (or should I say, “berry”?) sweet and fruity. I couldn’t wait to see if it tasted as great as it smelled!

The brewed color of this tea is a golden amber. The flavor is fabulous! My first sip reminded me of Knott’s Berry Farm shortbread cookies. The taste is sweet and fruity without bitterness. The tea flavor undertones are subtle and supportive. A very nice aftertaste also lingers on my tongue. I imagine that this blend would also be terrific iced.

This is a very nice black tea. It isn’t the boldest black blend that I’ve tasted, but it really doesn’t need to be. The flavor is full and steady and delicious. That’s all I require for my afternoon black tea fix!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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92
drank Peachy White by Adagio Teas
195 tasting notes

I haven’t had a lot of experience with white teas. I stick to the bold blacks most of the time. However, I found this one at a bargain price and thought it was worth a try. I was very glad that I did!

I steeped this tea at 180 degrees for seven minutes as recommended on the package. This produced a dark golden yellow beverage that smelled like fresh orchard peaches in the Spring. Even with the elongated steeping time, the flavor was very well balanced, mild, and fully bloomed.

The fresh peachy taste was dominant but not overbearing. The white tea flavor was mild and secondary, but it did not take a back seat or play second fiddle to the wonderful fruity presence. It seemed to more accurately play viola with or sit in the front seat next to this terrific fresh peachy zing.

This is only the second Adagio tea that I’ve sampled (the other being Vanilla Rooibos), but this company is so far batting 1000 with me. Both teas have had exceptional flavor and very modest pricing.

I’ve wanted to create a line-up of afternoon teas that are mild and tasty, but low in caffeine, so I won’t feel like running a marathon at two in the morning. Peachy White is the leadoff batter in my line-up! (“Peachy White” would be a GREAT NAME for a baseball player!…“Coming up to bat with a .350 average is the mighty crowd favorite, Peachy White!!!”…as the crowd roars!)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 7 min, 0 sec

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85

My experience with Twinings has been that, regardless of the variety or blend, I can always count on a solid nice tasting tea at a very reasonable price. Such is the case with the Gunpowder Green tea.

This tea, when steeped at 195 degrees for three minutes, produced a color similar to apple cider. The flavor was a full green tea taste without any bitterness whatsoever.

I’m not a huge green tea fan, but I do enjoy the finer teas of this classification. I would definitely add this selection to that list. The little rolled up pre-steeped tea “pellets” (from which the “gunpowder” name originates) are fun too!

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

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88

This loose leaf tea was another selection that I picked up at the local Earth Fare market. In the store, it was very loose, as it was contained in large clear cannisters from which you could scoop out as much (or as little) as you wanted into clear plastic bags.

Other reviews that I read about this tea said it was a little on the weak side. To minimize this potential characteristic, I steeped it for five minutes at 212 degrees. The golden red beverage that resulted had the conventional breakfast tea scent.

In spite of the heavy steeping, the flavor was not strong, but adequate. The taste was mildly malty with perhaps just a hint of spice. There was no bitterness and the aftertaste was pleasant. Although I wanted to crank up the volume on the flavor, I still found it to be complete and tasty.

Even if you prefer your tea on the mild side, I would recommend that you steep this blend for at least five minutes to obtain the full flavor effect. With this method, you might have a satisfying selection to add to your breakfast tea assortment.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Bio

I ventured into the world of serious tea drinking in the Summer of 2011. I started out slowly and gently with bagged tea but climbed to the incredible flavorful heights of loose leaf teas in October of that year. Once you go leaf, you never go bag (except when you get free samples)!

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South Carolina, USA

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