16 Tasting Notes
I loved the smell, but the taste left much to be desired. I tried it once with one bag and some sugar, and another time double-strength with sugar and milk. The teabags smelled like sugar cookies with orange zest, but even with a double-strength brew, milk, and sugar, the tea was just… empty-tasting. It just didn’t satisfy… and it was kind of nasty and buttery-tasting, too. My boyfriend *cartomancer*’s mother really liked it, though. I actually bought 6 boxes of these thinking they’d be SO awesome because they were the only holiday tea sold out on the CS website… I guess I can return them or exchange them for a tea I like better. Maybe I’ll try it again later with honey and no milk to see how it fares. It’s possible that I overwhelmed it with milk and sugar. I still really want to like this because it smells so good and the blend seems like it should have more depth to it than I’m experiencing, if that makes any sense.
This tea is better in a bigger cup since it steeps so quickly and strongly. I like it quite a bit. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to buy more than the 3 boxes I already ordered from CS because cartomancer will want this one as his night-shift pick-me-up for the year. Damn, that man drinks a heck of a lot of tea! I’ll probably return some boxes of Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride and pick up some boxes of this stuff, or he can buy his own tea. Better yet, we ration the holiday tea throughout the year and attempt to treat the hole that “stocking up” has burned in my wallet.
Eh. I bought this tea in my efforts to try all the holiday CS teas (except Sweet Harvest Pumpkin, because pumpkin tea doesn’t appeal to me and I don’t like stevia). I like gingerbread, but I know that dessert teas that try to mimic sweets are never as satisfying as the real thing.
This didn’t taste like gingerbread to me at all. It tasted like cinnamon. A LOT of cinnamon. It tasted sharp and dry. I didn’t really even taste much ginger in this at all, which sucks because I actually really like ginger in pretty much anything else— Thai food, sushi, Bengali/Indian food, and, yes, gingerbread. However, I didn’t sweeten this because I was actually trying some of cartomancer’s cup, and he hardly ever wants sweetener in his cup. To the tea’s credit, cartomancer, his mother, and his grandmother all seem to like it, so I decided not to just dole out a bad rating when my experience showed that 3 out of 4 people who tried it liked it. His mother had it once plain and once with sugar and milk. Maybe I’ll give it another try with some sugar and milk so I can give it a real rating. I think the cinnamon was just too intense for me, though, so I doubt I’ll try it again. I think I’ll just give the three other boxes I ordered to cartomancer.
This was the first time I’ve tried this tea. The box says, “Now with richer vanilla flavor!” but I can’t comment on that because I haven’t tried previous versions.
I was shocked at how quickly the teabag colored my water! It’s definitely a quick-steep tea, not unlike the PG Tips black tea that’s usually in my house. I think I left the bag in for less than a minute. My parents stock the cabinets with pretty small teacups (maybe 6-ounce cups), so depending on how much water you use, you might want to leave it for maybe 2 minutes. The tea steeped really darkly and I added 2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp evaporated milk, so it ended up looking sort of muddy. Even with the short steep and adding sugar and milk, it turned out a little bitter. The black tea was pretty satisfying, though, and I got quite a bit of smooth vanilla flavor with some cinnamon background notes. It tasted smooth and would probably have tasted better if I took the teabag out even earlier! Overall, the flavor was rich (maybe no richer than last year) and I definitely think I could have brewed this in a 16-ounce cup without losing any flavor with one teabag, which is great because I like really strong flavors in my tea. For a tea this affordable, I think it’s a great purchase.