688 Tasting Notes

drank Apricot Amaretto by Tea Forte
688 tasting notes

Lots of dust, weird smell. I’ve gotta say, I’m feeling uneasy about this. I had been drinking these in the order of what I expected to like (least to most). Maybe I was wrong. Dry, I get an odd smell, almost alcoholic or possibly even like hand sanitizer. I can smell something definitely amaretto-esque, but not in any sort of pleasant way. I forget how much I hate amaretto…There is no discernible apricot smell, it is all booze. I’m worried.

The rooibos/honeybush are very fine, almost pulverized, though this might have been a fault of their travels to get to me. It’s definitely some of the finest (read: dusty and falling through my filter) I’ve had. Steeped, it smells a little less boozy, but I must say that they have accurately captured the amaretto scent. Still no apricot though.

First sips are fairly accurate to the smell. There is a tinge of medicinal/alochol based flavour at the end of the sip that I’m not too wild about, but otherwise the taste is fairly unassuming. As I said before, they’ve captured the amaretto flavour well, but there is still no apricot to be found anywhere. Since I quite like apricots and don’t like amaretto, I was hoping it would be the reverse.

I’m going to rate this at 70 for amaretto accuracy, but still factor in my concerns about the aftertaste and lack of apricot. I’m quite pleased to have the flavour profile as strong as the smell, that’s rare in Tea Forte teas I have tried in the past. Once again, I can drink this but I wouldn’t buy it. I would consider gifting it though…

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drank Cherry Cosmo by Tea Forte
688 tasting notes

Let me begin by saying this: I am not a cherry person. It is the flavouring/druit that I always pick last and accordingly I am “getting it out of the way”. This Single Steep had larger pieces of dried fruit, almost looks like just the skins of the berries. Dry, it smells a bit medicinal, not quite cough syrup but definitely well on its way. Definitely appetizing though.

I let it steep seven minutes (accidentally) and the result was a bright red liquor with a bizarre and slightly potpourri-esque smell. A hint of spice mixed in with a sweet fruit smell. There’s also a vitamin sort of a smell, if that makes sense. The taste is slightly tart, but otherwise very unassuming. The strength of the smell does not carry over into the taste (as is par for the course with Tea Forte teas). I don’t really get cherry taste, but I do get tart fruit. There is still a hunt of that vitamin aspect, which makes this seem more medicinal. I’m NOT getting cherry cough syrup though, so that is good!

Once again, this is something I could drink if offered but would not buy. A bit more cherry taste would do this a world of good. Mostly just tart red fruit punch-esque drink. Maybe it is the rosehips that give it the unexpected ‘vitamin’ quality. I definitely get the hibiscus, but otherwise have trouble identifying these flavours.

aisling of tea

De likes cherry…I might make her try this one. Blegh..cherry and hibiscus? No thanks.

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drank Kiwi Lime Ginger by Tea Forte
688 tasting notes

First off, I like the concept of this packaging (single steeps) but the reality kind of bothers me. I try to avoid single use packaging in my day to day things, buying a tub of yogurt instead of singles, not buying a cup of tea in a disposable cup and so on. I buy my tea loose and generally in bulk, so there is minimal packaging waste. While a single steep package I could carry with me on the go is a nice idea, I feel terrible about that waste. If I were to drink these regularly (even one a day) that would really add up.

Now for the tea. The dry smell is very lime, almost medicinal or alcohol smell to go with it. Maybe a hint of ginger, but mostly just lime. I like lime in teas, so that’s cool. Lime it up! Even though this is slightly more ‘leaf’ than I would typically use, I figured I had better follow the parameters if I am going to review this accurately. I used the whole shebang and let it steep for five minutes, despite my better judgment. Even in my Perfect Tea Mug;s fine infuser, a lot of dust shook out in the beginning (I always do this before I pour, I like to get the dust out). I am not sure if it was powdered ginger or broken rooibos, but it was annoying.

I think I might be alone in this, but i am getting a margarita sort of smell from the steeped ‘tea.’ I feel like this isn’t exactly an at work early morning tea. It’s very dark brown and a little off-putting with the tequila, lime and ginger sort of smell. Aside from the alcoholic connotations, this smells like something I would feel obliged to drink if I were feeling very poorly and wanted to get better. I’m a little afraid to drink it…

Aha! First sips are not so bad. All that lovely lime smell does not pass on to the drink (sad face) and I definitely don’t get any kiwi but the ginger isn’t so potent as I was worried it might be from other reviews. The taste is not very strong and honestly I don’t know what I’m getting here. I get a hint of something smoky on the front of the sip (what is up with that??) and then I get a mildly possibly limey aftertaste. I don’t even necessarily pick out ginger, but I assume that is the ‘smokey’ taste I am getting. I’m really surprised at how mild this is. Maybe I really did shake out all the ginger when I got rid of the powder.

If this had more lime taste or any kiwi taste, I would be all over it. For now, this is mostly just a let down. Another Tea Forte tea that smells really interesting but brews up disappointing. The points I am giving this are mostly for the fact that I do get a limey aftertaste and I like that. I wouldn’t buy this for myself or others, but I would drink it. I have the sense that a drop of honey might enhance this a little and hopefully make it less blase, but I don’t have any here so I shan’t be able to try it. As the cup cools, the ginger taste is increasing, I can feel it on my tongue though I still don’t pick it out as a “Bam! Ginger!” sort of thing.

Thanks to Tea Forte for allowing me to try this…maybe kick up the kiwi and lime flavours a bit next time?


Hmmmm….Margarita tea sounds amazing. Do you think it would be good cold?


Unfortunately I don’t really like cold or iced tea (I still don’t know why). The taiol end of my cup was certainly less than warm and I thought it was hard to finish with the ginger coming out more and more.

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Finally, I am trying this. My fear has been overcome by my desire to use up samples. I am still afraid, however. My pyramid satchet let out a lot of dust while steeping, even though I shook it out before hand. The contents looked oddly like crushed peanuts, and it has an unusual smell which I can’t quite place and honestly don’t really appreciate. It’s almost air freshener-esque. It smells very dry which might not make sense to many, but it does, I swear! The liquor is pale yellow and still leaves me uneasy…

First sips are surprising. Very different taste than smell. I get a weak chai flavour at first, but then a smoky flvour starts to build and dominates the sip, leaving a smoky mouthfeel. This smokiness intensified over the course of the cup and really dominates my impressions of the ‘tea’ as the smoke remains even after I’m done drinking – I really feel it in the back of my throat. I assume this is the coffeebean coming out. I don’t mind it, but I don’t particularly enjoy it. It almost makes me feel like I’ve been smoking, and my throat is a bit tickly. Probably my mind playing tricks on me… As a non-coffee drinker, I don’t really appreciate what I perceive as the ‘coffee bean’ flavour. To be fair, I am more than a non-coffee drinker, I’m a coffee hater, but this isn’t like standard coffee.

I am certainly capable of drinking this mug, but I don’t think I would do so again. I have one other satchet as well, and I think I will gift that along to a coffee and tea drinking friend. I appreciate the ingenuity of this and I have never tasted anything like it before, but unfortunately it is just not my thing. Also, this does not hold up well to a light steeping time at all. The packet says 5 to 10 minutes and it means it.

My biggest complain/concern? The dust. I hate powdery or dusty teas/tisanes/whatever we want to call it. I shook off a lot of dust and I still see a lot of sediment in my cup as well as the floaty stuff. I know that crushed spices, etc will cause a certain amount of powder, but I find it very unpleasant aesthetically and calls to mind cheap Tetley bags (even though this is nowhere near that level of ‘quality’).

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Apparently I did not log this yet…interesting, as I know I’ve drank it. When I decided to prepare it this evening as a treat I had a memory that I was disappointed last time. Luckily, this time I wasn’t! I get strong apple taste, very green and sweet, possibly even vaguely candied. As the cup cooled, the caramel came out to play and it really sticks around on the back of the sip. I used boiling water and let it steep around 5 minutes, and was initially a little disappointed but this was a tea that only improved as it cooled (I decided to do my daily exercise routine just after pouring this tea, so it cooled for about 25 minutes). Of course, now I am warm and sweaty and drinking lukewarm tea, but this really cheers me up. I’m continually on the hunt for a good apple tea, and a good caramel tea. Right now, this hits on both accounts! It’s a shame the beau likes this one too and we only have the one bag…

ps – I am seriously contemplating adding a Werthers candy in here sometime and see if that melting adds to caramel flavour. That can’t go badly, can it? :D


you’re making the chocolate milk I just had pale in comparison! I’ve been looking out for a good apple tea myself.

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Well, I’ve had this long enough, it’s about time I had an opportunity to try it. The beau does not like mint teas (or chais, though that’s a different matter) so I usually only drink them at work. This one, unfortunately, had never made its way to work and sat forgotten in the sample basket. Today, it was rescued! Dry, there is mostly a mint smell, but a little warmer and fuller than plain spearmint. Steeped, the aroma is very similar to a plain mint tea, but again it seems a litle more rounded, likely from the green tea.

I’m not much for green tea, but I AM much for mint…this tastes mostly of mint to me, with a slightly thicker mouthfeel than plain spearmint affords. The green tea doesn’t really come forward in any discernible way, but I’m aware that there is something there tempering the mint. I prefer this to my other mint green tea, largely because I find the green tea to be so quiet. I get a little queasy from green tea sometimes, so I prefer not to be too aware of its presence. I do get hints of it on the back end of the sip, but as I said earlier, it is playing nicely with the mint.

For what it is, this is perfectly satisfying, unfortunately there is nothing that stands out about it. Thank you for the opportunity to sample this, however!


Just so everyone knows, this actually makes a shockingly good re-steep. The mint flavour is still intense and in general the flavour is almost identical. I find I get a hint more of the green flavour at the front of the sip, but it’s all mint at the end. I’m impressed with that!


Third steep yields no discernible mint flavour, but a surprisingly floral and sweet green tea flavour that I don’t really mind. I would rather be drinking something else at this point, but I digured it was worth pushing, and I’m glad I did!

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I used to sort of like this when I was desperate but I decided today that this dry “green” tea needs to be left in the staff room for others who might enjoy it. As usual for Tetley, it is dry and dusty, with powder escaping and accumulating in the bottom of the cup. The fruitiness is evident and actually pretty good at masking the cheap “green tea” but I just can’t hack it anymore. I can drink it, but I don’t want to, so I shan’t. No wonder so many people think they don’t like green tea…


you know what makes me cringe… when they tell me they love green tea, and then bring out a bag of this!!

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Did things a little differently today and got more the result I’ve been expecting. I steeped this for only 2 minutes and ate a chocolate hazelnut straw at the same time. Let me tell you, that was a good plan. At least, it was until I looked at the nutritional information for the choco-hazel straws. That was a downer.

Anyway, none of the bitterness I remember experiencing with this tea. The base tea is still very mild and unassuming (but bolder than previously noted) and it still isn’t as rich or creamy as I would like, but it is significantly more satisfying. I think a shorter steep is good for the cheap black base, but hurts the blackberry and vanilla tastes. Darn!


Chocolate hazlenut straws! Those always seem like a good plan to me. I can’t keep those in the house.


I want to try this tea if only for the name. I want be a member of the Jane Austen Mafia.

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Fair warning, I did not and would not pick this for myself. This came with my Vanilla Comoro order of “forever” ago and I am finally plucking up the courage to try it. Dry, there is a LOT of dust that I am blowing away and the scent is overwhelmingly cinnamon, like cinnamon hearts with cinnamon on top. I used to think I liked cinnamon but recently cinnamon has been a very unpleasant tea taste for me.

I let it steep two minutes and it is a fairly dark brown with a weird green tinge (that could be the mug’s fault) and a very dry cinnamon smell. Like cinnamon sticks, maybe. I can already feel the cinnamon on my tongue and I haven’t even taken a sip yet. First sips are true to smell. My tongue feels dry from the cinnamon and it lingers, as if I’ve eaten some powdered cinnamon or sucked on a cinnamon stick. I feel as it a bit of milk would improve this but I’m in switchboard with no milk to be found. It is a very dry feeling…if you don’t mind that (or you LOVE cinnamon) this will be great for you. I’m neither of those, unfortunately.

I wish the black tea would step up a bit and mask this horrid cinnamon. And I wish I had some whipped cream to eat and take the taste off my tongue (did I mention that this taste LINGERS?) I feel as though I could get a second steep out of this bag but since I don’t even want the first I will be throwing it out. Reminiscent of David’s Tea’s Saigon Chai but without the other spices to tame down the cinnamon.

I wasn’t going to rate this because I went into it knowing I wouldn’t like it, but I’ve decided that shouldn’t matter. If only people that like a tea rated it, there wouldn’t be any balance. I don’t feel particularly interested in finishing this cup, but I feel relieved that I have finally given it a try and no longer have to see it floating about my drawer and haunting me.

Ashley Bain

I’m super obsessed with cinnamon so this tea’s quite enjoyable to me. I like bold, extreme flavors which this definitely is lol.
I agree with you on rating and sharing your opinion despite knowing it probably wouldn’t be your cup of tea.


I was pretty sure I could skip this one as I don’t like strong cinnamon, and now you have totally convinced me!

Ashley Bain

Yep, that’s all this tea is – strong cinnamon. period.


I used to love cinnamon, but every tea I have had with cinnamon in it for the last year-ish has made me a little nauseous and I really don’t like them anymore. : ( Jen – If you’re not super into cinnamon, this probably should be a pass!


he hee – I think this is a love or hate tea. I happen to love it (liquid red hots!) but it’s a strong taste and def. not for everyone.


I don’t care for this tea, but I don’t like cinnamon red hots. Almost everyone who has had this tea at my house, however, has loved it and asked me to order them a big bag! I have had to order it for three different people!


I didn’t feel good after drinking this one either. I much prefer a good cup of chai spiced tea than this.


It is so funny that I found this review again. Let’s just say I never knew I liked cinnamon so much! I think some of it has to do with the season (it is now Fall). I was sure I would not like it, but I am pretty much obsessed at this point! Yes, I agree with JacquelineM…it is a love or hate tea.


It wouldn’t make this tea any more palatable if you don’t love the strong cinnamon flavor, but the black tea flavor does step up a bit if you steep this tea for the suggested 5 minutes. Even as a fan of cinnamon I never steep it for under 5 for that very reason.


That might have worked, but as a rule I would never steep a black tea for that long, so this one was never going to work out for me, sadly. :)

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This was a highly anticipated treat. I was convinced that Canada Post had lost it, but luckily it arrived on Friday, almost a month from the day I ordered it. We tried it out at my grandmother’s over the weekend and really enjoyed the strong lime aroma. I didn’t get any cheesecake taste (very sad face) but I did get a wonderfully limey tea. I have a couple other lime teas from David’s Tea and I learned that I really enjoy lime in tea. Since the beau loves lemon, this seemed perfect. And honestly, if this had been marketed as a lime tea (no cheesecake!) or had the promised cheesecake flavour, it might have been perfect. For now, it’ll sit around 75, and I will continue to see if I can get that promised cheesecake flavour. Maybe it needs lower temps? I boiled it last time…but at least I got two solid steeps before we switched out of necessity.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Glad to hear it took a month. I ordered on July 6th and still haven’t gotten it so there is still hope for mine.


I always have hope…but my 52Teas order (and tea in general, really) always come very slowly. Apparently Canada Post agrees with my family and believes I have too much tea so I don’t need any more. How wrong they all are!!


My 52Teas orders always seem to take a month! It’s really strange. I’ve also never been able to find the cheesecake flavour in the cheesecake teas. I’m glad it’s not just me. I always enjoy the other flavours but when you’re expecting cheesecake you want cheesecake!

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I am a lover of many things, but my passions include my records, tea and books (not necessarily in that order!) I embrace local food and good cooking as much as I can, and place great value on time with family and enjoying the bounty of nature. As of January 2014 my husband and I finally moved to the country to be closer to family and continue our journey in a family home. We have been wanting to do this for a couple years, so we are very excited to follow our hearts. We also have a wonderful kitty named Emma that is the princess of the house.

I am drawn toward good Chinese blacks, enjoy some herbals and the odd roasted oolong. Greens and whites can make me nauseous, but I will have flavoured ones on occasion. While I don’t yet adore puerh, I am giving it my best effort. Chamomile and coconut are the devil though, I wish they didn’t exist. Mint has been a particular favourite of mine since childhood, and I enjoy both flavoured and pure teas though unflavoured blacks are tops for me.

As for ratings, I try to only log teas once or twice because I drink a lot of the same ones repeatedly. My rating is based on my perception of the tea at first tasting and is adjusted if anything notable occurs in subsequent cups. I may also factor in the price and customer service but try to note that when I can.

81 – 100: WOW. This is the cream of the crop.
71 – 80: This is a solid tea. I enjoy it, and would recommend it to others, but may not repurchase.
61 – 70: Just okay. I can drink it, but it doesn’t stand out to me. May try again to improve.
41 – 60: Bleh. Might finish it, but it’s not to my taste OR just doesn’t impress me at all.
0 – 40: No thank you, please. Take it away and don’t make me finish the cup.



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