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Recent Tasting Notes
There are two things in life I refuse to discuss with anyone, religion and politics, but since today is the presidential election I thought at the very least I’d mark the occasion with a special tea grown in the US. I’ve been fascinated by the handful of teas I’ve seen grown in America, but because they’re grown in small amounts and have a limited availability I’ve only managed to sample a few—most of which have been from Arbor Teas. This one in particular is a green tea, grown on the Mauna Kea Tea Farm in Honokaa, Hawaii. The volcanic soil of this region produces a tea that’s nothing like the more widely available green teas from China or Japan. The flavor is brisk and astringent, with hints of hay and a mild floral finish. Because the level of astringency is so high it has a tendency to leave behind a dry mouth, so it’s not a tea I would enjoy during the summer when I’m constantly parched, but it’s very well suited the cooler months of the year.
This tea is amazing. It’s got this wonderful, almost buttery mouthfeel that is incredibly smooth. The flavor is somewhere between green and black – it’s got the lightness of the green without the vegetal notes, and the boldness of a black tea. The only down side is that it is very unforgiving with variations in water temp and time, and quantity of tea leaves used.
The robust, spicy flavor of this tea makes it one of my top picks for fall, but since it’s lightly sweet, it also makes an excellent iced tea— one that requires no added sugar. I’ve been struggling with my love of sugar my entire life, so finding teas that are naturally sweet has been a huge priority to me. It means I can still enjoy sweet tea and not feel guilty about what all the added sugar is doing to my heath.
You can read the full review on my blog:
I don’t care for hibiscus on its own, but do use it when making my own blends. The hibiscus adds beautiful color, ranging from light pink to crimson red depending on quantity used. It also lends a nice tart flavor to tea, that pairs well with other herbal teas like chamomile.
Flavors: Citrus, Fruity, Tart
Decided to finish off a few remaining tea samples and started with this one. Plainly put, I did not care too much for this tea. It is earthy and has a a swampy-vegetal taste which doesn’t feel pleasant going down. Doesn’t even come close to some of my favorite silver needle teas.
Flavors: Earth, Smooth, Vegetal, Wood
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Flavors: Hay, Sweet, Vanilla
I believe I have found the perfect black tea for me! I discovered what the “stone fruit” description is. I never knew what that tasted like but here it is in this incredible tea!! Both iced and hot this Ceylon just hits the spot! I brewed at 195 and 208 both for 4 min. Both temperatures worked but I do enjoy 195 degrees more seems to bring out more juiciness!
I’ve tried several other chili pepper teas and have found the flavor to be rather one dimensional. The spice from the peppers tends to downed out all other flavors, which is why I think that the combination of ginger root, cloves and chili pepper is brilliant. All three ingredients add their own brand of spicy to the mix, giving the tisane a lot more depth than chili pepper alone would have. The addition of lemon peel cuts right through all of the spice, lending a tart, citrus flavor the the blend. Adding a spoon full of honey, as suggested, rounds out the flavors a little more leaving you with a drink that is sweet, tart, and spicy all at once. I was looking for a unique blend from Arbor Teas and clearly found it in the ginger chili tisane. I don’t think I’ve come across another blend quite like this, they definitely know how to think out side of the box with their flavor combinations.
You can read the full review on my blog:
This tea when dry smells of figs and menthol. It seems like a strange combination but it works. The tea liquid is strong and bracing. I’m fighting off a headache this morning so maybe this will clear it out. Like I said before, this is a good tea but since it’s not my favorite and I have other similar teas in my cabinet I won’t reorder after I finish this cup. It was good for a sample though and I’m glad I was able to try it. It was my favorite of the samples I ordered.
8 ounces + 200 degrees
I’m not even sure how long this one sat on my desk before I remembered it. Not a great second cup.
Flavors: Fig, Menthol
I do like this one but not yet enough to replace my favorite berry black tea so I’m not sure I’ll be buying more. They are just a little too similar to keep both around. I do like this better when made with 6 ounces of water rather than today’s 8 ounces. It’s a good strength for me that way, but today’s is still quite enjoyable.
8 ounces water + 212 degrees + 9 minutes
A little watered down but still satisfactory.
The dry leaf smells mostly of dried fruit, specifically figs. It actually smells a lot like Fig Newtons. I know some people don’t, but I really love fruity black teas. With the strawberry this reminds me of my favorite tea, Strawberry Slender Pu-erh by Teavana. If it tastes similar then I’m buying a ton of it!
The leaves have opened large and the fruit has melted into pockets of puree littered throughout the basket. The aroma is lovely, a slight bit of menthol which fits nicely here. I steeped this a few minutes too long because someone came to my desk before I could take it out. Hopefully this won’t negatively affect the flavor. It smells strong. The flavor is good unsweetened but I love honey and cream in my black teas so I’ll add those here. This is fruity and a little bit tangy. I can taste the strawberries.
6 ounces + 212 degrees + 8 minutes
I wonder what types of black teas are in this blend. I think soon I may do a taste comparison between the basic types of black tea available so that I can differentiate between them and find my favorites. Right now, I couldn’t tell you the difference between two types of black teas. I don’t know what each tastes like on its own.
This second steeping has a nice color to it and still smells a little fruity though I’m guessing it may not taste as fruity as the first go ‘round. I may have put a touch too much honey. It’s very sweet but still very good. I would say that this is definitely worth the time for a second steep. I should mention that the cream I added didn’t really want to mix with the tea in either cup. It didn’t necessarily curdle or get lumpy, but there is some ingredient that must be a little acidic because it didn’t turn out as creamy as I thought it would. Not pleasing to the eye maybe, but certainly still tasty.
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Fig, Fruity, Menthol, Strawberry, Tangy
I’m totally new to the world of Japanese green tea, let alone ones that are this unique. I bought a sample of this and was very surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It has such a comforting and toasty flavor. Something you really have to try to have an opinion on. I probably won’t be ordering this again but I’m so glad I tried it. My bag leaned more on the side of brown rice than tea leaf, which probably wouldn’t work as well with a lower quality tea. The tea is incredibly fresh. This stuff smells like it just came off the tree. I’ll be savoring my sample size bag.
This is the most fragrant tea I’ve ever experienced. Smells very much like wine, in a good way. I often open the tin I transferred it to just to smell it. Brews to the most beautiful deep red color. First steeping is extremely fruity, wonderful blend of the plum and berry flavors. Second brewing it usually loses the majority of the fruit complexity but the oolong is just as delicious on its own. This is one of the teas that I drink most often.