I loved the description of this so I decided to order some with my initial H&S sample order.

It’s got whole flower heads in it, which I thought at first might be chrysanthemums. Thankfully they are chamomile flowers as I don’t get along well with mums. The leaves are a green/grey, and look like white peony. The smell is, oddly, chocolate/vanilla mint/creme. Like Andes mints with vanilla ice cream. No idea where this comes from given the almonds and chamomile, but I’ll go with it as I like Andes mints just fine. ;-)

It still has that Andes note in the aroma after steeping and there’s some almond here as well. The liquor is sort of a light amber. A bronzed yellow. Clear.

The taste is pretty interesting as it’s very similar to the aroma but not at all something you’d expect from the ingredients list. For one thing, it’s like the cardamom is chocolate instead of itself. I wonder whether that’s why some chais that aren’t chocolate chais still have a sort of chocolate note to them. I don’t taste anything that tastes like what I’d expect cardamom on its own to taste like. This isn’t a spicy tea. It may be spiced, but it isn’t spicy. The almond is sort of hiding as well. The vanilla is there, but paying homage to the chocolate/vanilla continuum in that it’s kind of hard to tell where one flavor stops and the other starts. Though let me reemphasize that as far as I’m told through the ingredients, there IS NO CHOCOLATE in this tea. Tell that to my taste buds.

I maybe get a little of the underlying white tea, but it seems mostly a base here for the flavors to do their frolic and detour on. Flavored white teas, it seems to me, are tricky. Not as tricky and more forgiving than flavored greens, but tricky nonetheless. The flavor of white tea can’t really stand up to anything intense. It does best with subtle fruit or floral flavors superimposed on it, nothing heavy which obliterates the tea.

This isn’t an unpleasant drink at all, it just doesn’t seem very self aware. I would think it could call itself White Chocolate and get away with it, but the Christmas name suggests something heavily spiced or appley, maybe. This isn’t that. Probably a good thing as I’d think that would make for an even worse white tea.

I don’t feel compelled to reorder this but I would drink it again if it were offered to me. And I wish there was some way to reconcile the actual ingredients with the flavor that didn’t leave me feeling entirely disassociated.

175 °F / 79 °C 5 min, 0 sec

I tried this at Barnes and Noble but they had burned the heck out of the leaves, and my mouth. All I tasted was paper cup. I want to try it again with water that isn’t hotter than physics actually allows.

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I tried this at Barnes and Noble but they had burned the heck out of the leaves, and my mouth. All I tasted was paper cup. I want to try it again with water that isn’t hotter than physics actually allows.

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I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.


Bay Area, California



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