California Tea House

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Recent Tasting Notes

100

No monkeying around here, just great tea taste. See fab photos and more tasting notes by my humans: http://is.gd/dukrF

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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100

Sipping on this tea made my humans much nicer. Then, the effect wore off. Need more! http://lyt-tea-reviews.blogspot.com/2010/07/review-california-tea-houses-silver.html

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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97

I know I shouldn’t have caffeine tea this late, but I couldn’t help myself. I had one of these guy’s blooming teas lately at a friend’s party and so I had to try the straight up Silver Needle. It’s divine. A very mild sweetness that you can’t get enough of. I’ll stay up late for this.

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99

I’ve been drinking Rooibos only lately, but I guess it was time for a change as the weather got a little cooler and my mood changed with it. I have to say, “I’m glad I did!” This tea makes a delicious cup – very full and a very slightly malty aftertaste that makes me always feel like I need another cup.

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96

Just the right tea for me today. The taste is just as good as it smells.

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100

Such a simple, smooth and slightly sweet tea. I’m on 5 days in a row with this Peony.

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100

I’ve now tried this Jasmine tea hot and cold and it is delicious both ways. I’m going to try it again hot. I can’t decide which way I like it better. I’ve been chilling the tea in the refrigerator and serving in a chilled glass, but I’m not using any ice. I don’t want to water it down at all. Does anyone else have any ‘chilled tea’ ideas?

Shinobi_cha

Cover the pearls with ice (no water); once the ice melts you have iced tea (the cold temperature of the ice should work just as well to brew it as hot temp). Sounds simple, and takes a while, but it works well.

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99

It’s getting way too hot outside. I was complaining just 3 weeks ago that it was cold and it didn’t feel like Summer, and now I’m eating those words. It’s super hot now and there’s no breeze. It’s time to turn to a tea that I tried iced last Summer and really did the trick. I really like the creamy flavor of this when it’s served hot, but it’s very refreshing on ice too.

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98

This tea has a taste that covers my whole tongue if that makes sense. It’s very rounded, even and smooth. Again, I’m going to take part of the credit due to my excellent steep! ;-)

Preparation
3 min, 15 sec

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98

I really am enjoying this Silver Needle. I am on my second cup this morning and I rarely drink two cups of tea back to back. Maybe I did the perfect steep. (notice I take the credit!) This tea has an very refreshing tone, and it is flavorful while being about as smooth of Silver Needle as I may have ever had. Good morning!

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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70

When I smelled this tea I was worried that it would be a bit too much spice.
Drinking it is a nice smooth flavor. I am very happy with the taste. Little bit of sweet, little bit of spice. I was expecting more chocolate because I sensed it in the smell… but not too much chocolate here. Overall, a nice smooth cup that reminds me of Christmas!
Thank you so much, Lori!

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83

Finishing up this sample from Lori

Steep Information:
Amount: 3 tsp
Water: 212° 750ml filtered
Tool: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL (Black, Medium)
Steep Time: 2 minutes
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Dry Leaf Smell: sweet and fruity, but not specifically mango
Steeped Tea Smell: sweet, mango + other fruits + black tea
Flavor: black tea, dried mango snacks, astringent, a touch bitter
Body: Medium
Aftertaste: sweet fruity, astringent, a touch bitter
Liquor: dark orange brown

Again, as the name implies, tastes like those dried mango fruit snacks. It’s not the fresh juicy mango taste, but it is truly mango. If we had not tried Mango Black from thepuriTea.com this would be the new favorite. Theirs wins out by virtue of being true fresh mango.

2 minutes versus 3 did not cut down on the bitterness or astringency much.

Post-Steep Additives: 1/2 tsp German rock sugar
More sweetened dried mango, yum yum!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
AmazonV

iced 1 cup and tried, bleh not so yummy iced and not sweetened

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83

Steep Information:
Amount: 2 tsp
Water: 212° 500ml filtered
Tool: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL (Black, Strong)
Steep Time: 3 minutes
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Dry Leaf Smell: sweet and fruity, but not specifically mango
Steeped Tea Smell: sweet, mango + other fruits + black tea
Flavor: black tea, dried mango snacks, astringent, a touch bitter
Body: Medium
Aftertaste: sweet fruity, astringent, a touch bitter
Liquor: dark orange brown

Gift generous from Lori which I sadly forgot to be expecting and then was confused, but happy when the tea arrived. I decided to hold off trying it until I could figure out who it was a gift from. We’re always on the hunt for anything with ‘mango’ since it’s a favorite flavor around here.

And now that I know who it’s from, TEA! It, as the name implies, tastes like those dried mango fruit snacks. It’s not the fresh juicy mango taste, but it is truly mango. If we had not tried Mango Black from thepuriTea.com this would be the new favorite. Theirs wins out by virtue of being true fresh mango.

Next time I think I’ll steep 2 minutes.

Post-Steep Additives: 1/2 tsp German rock sugar
More sweetened dried mango, yum yum!

Images: http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2010/05/california-tea-house-loose-leaf-black.html

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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68

Allowing myself to drink a cuppa tea before heading to bed after a long night’s work. All the college kids are back for the summer and it’s going to be a long week of re-training. But they’re all good kids.

This tea is a sample sent from Lori. Actually surprised I haven’t reviewed it as it was a sample I was excited to get from her. The name reminds me of a scene from Practical Magic (found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stQ31X8COWw&feature=related ). I didn’t even know the muppets did a skit with this.

These leaves are beautiful. I was surprised at how large the coconut shavings were. These were no ordinary shavings used in baking coconut, no not in this tea! This tea brewed up a beautiful lemon lime green. The aroma is very coconutty with a bit of citrus sneaking in as well. It reminds me of Harney and Sons Bangkok Green tea (minus the ginger). There is almost a buttery note to the scent as well.

As far as the taste goes, it is a lightly flavored, buttery green tea. I taste the bright, citrusy lime in the forefront, then the buttery green base with a hint of coconut at the end. The coconut is very strong in scent and as I sip it I get more from the scent of the coconut than the taste of the coconut. Does coconut make the tea taste buttery and smooth, or is that the actual tea itself? This texture I’m tasting was similar in the Harney and Sons tea mentioned above, which also had coconut in it. I do like how smooth this blend is. Nothing stands out too sharply. I really enjoy the lime flavor in this tea. It doesn’t overpower the green tea, but blends with it rather nicely. I’m glad to have enjoyed a mug full of this.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Rabs

Well, there could be worse songs to have stuck in my head ;) And I’ve only ever known the Muppet version (teahee!), but then again I’m a Muppet nut. :D

Auggy

I might actually have an MP3 of the Muppet version. It was a college favorite. :)

Lori

Wonderful and accurate and detailed review…

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83

This tea is beautiful, refined, exotic and complex, not to mention very tasty. The huge, black, wiry leaves produce an amber cup that fills the air with its smell. The aroma is woody, chocolately, fruity, and toasty. Huge dark leaves are uniform and visually striking.

FOR A MORE DETAILED REVIEW CHECK OUT MY TEA BLOG! http://wp.me/pQxcK-33

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88

This blend has a toasty almond flavor. Warm and fuzzy. I know this is similar or the same as Specialteas Almond Cookie but this one just seems to have an extra toasty flavor……

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88

This tea has a bold, toasty almond flavor. I can detect the slight butter flavor…. With sugar and milk, this makes a pleasant desert tea. The description references a cinnamon flavor which I did not detect. Personally, this is a plus for me-sometimes, I just don’t want a spicy tea.

So far, I have tried Almond Cookie by SpecialTeas (courtesy of Spokh) , Brioche by American tea room (courtesy of Doulton) and this one. If I had to compare, the Almond Cookie was tasty but cinnamon-y. So, the Brioche and this one is a tie. But Brioche captures more of a baked good flavor…so maybe Brioche wins…

LiberTEAS

Although I haven’t done a side by side comparison… I think this actually is Almond Cookie from SpecialTeas… just purchased in bulk and renamed.

LiberTEAS

Note: The above comment is based upon other teas that I’ve tried from California Tea House – and I know that quite a few of the teas they offer are actually SpecialTeas creations.

Lori

Are you serious? And I bet CA tea house has a higher price /oz for teas. Though I am not certain that Almond Cookie=Almond Butter. In fact, maybe Almond Butter is similar to Brioche to be honest. When I had the Almond Cookie, it was distinctively cinnamon flavored and this Almond Butter had none…..

You must know the “inner-workings” on the tea blending business….I was wondering about that- meaning when I purchase tea how do I know if I am paying an upcharge just for the name of the company? Especially for unflavored teas- as an example, are other companies purchasing from Uptons, then calling their tea some fancy name and then selling it at a higher price….

Stephanie

I’m sure this is done all the time. SpecialTeas is a wholesaler too and it seems like many smaller tea companies (and even larger companies like Teavana!) source thier teas from them—at least the popular flavors like Almond Cookie, Earl Grey De La Creme and Rooibos Lemon Chiffon. For example, Almond Cookie = Brioche = Almond Butter = Almond Biscotti!

Lori

This can’t be ;)!. If this were true, I am starting to doubt my taste buds/taste memory. It really does seem like Almond Butter cannot be Almond Cookie. But then again, with these flavored blended teas, depending on how I scoop my 1 tsp.steeping time/water temp —I may capture more/less of certain flavors….AND each time a batch is blended, some discrepancies may occur.

Lori

Maybe this Almond Butter= Almond Pieces from SpecialTeas. I have a sample of Almond Pieces from Doulton. I will compare side by side….

Stephanie

You may be right, though! I hope so! These tea companies should at least tweak the recipes at least, to make it their own! I don’t want to just be paying higher prices for prettier packaging or advertising! Who knows, maybe California Tea House special orders the Almond Cookie with less cinnamon?

Stephanie

I have Almond Pieces and Almond Cookie—Almond Pieces is less sweet and not bakery-like. The flavor is more like almond extract. And Almond Pieces does not have the pretty red safflower petals like Almond Cookie, Almond Butter, Brioche et al.

Rabs

Being new to the tea world I was sort of shocked to read all this, but knowing a bit of corporate America it made sense. :P Is there a Discussion topic about this where people can list what teas = other teas? I’d find that immensly helpful to keep from repurchasing the same the same teas just repackaged.

Lori

True Rabs- this needs to be a thread … I was sort of getting suspicious. I mean as an example, Samovar sells its pu-erh as Maiden’s Ectasy..did they source this tea directly in China or buy it elsewhere and charge a mark-up?

Doulton

I have heard a bit about this. I think that there are some teas that sell wholesale. One example I can think of is that I think a few tea-sellers out there sell tea from the Metropolitan Tea Company. But do they change anything at all? They don’t use the Metro. Tea Label as far as I can tell. They can use their own label and name but is the tea identical? I’m very curious about this aspect of the tea business.

JacquelineM

I am curious about this too! My local tea shop has an Almond Cookie w the safflower petals…I bet it’s wholesaled from the same source…

LiberTEAS

I can tell you that SpecialTeas does not offer many of their “bits” wholesale (that is, their nuts, etc).

I have not done a side-by-side of Almond Cookie vs. Almond Butter. But, I have done a side-by-side comparison of a couple of other teas from California Tea House vs. SpecialTeas and I can tell you that they are quite identical.

Not all of the small guys out there “resell” tea – I don’t. However, I guess that’s not completely true, because I don’t grow my own tea, and I do obtain teas from wholesalers, as well as additions such as flowers, nuts, fruits, and other bits, but, I flavor it myself and blend it myself.

LiberTEAS

Another “small guy” that absolutely does not resell their tea is 52Teas/Zoomdweebies.

Lori

Definitely CA Tea House uses SpecialTeas. When I looked closely at the SpecialTeas website, I did see some duplicates (blueberry syrup, mango, lemon drop, and pistachio gelato)..but CA Tea House prices are higher..

Stephanie

I have suspected this too. Boo on CA Tea House for not taking the effort to offer original blends! I liked their Earl Grey Creme, but now I know where to buy it direct for less $$.

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83
drank Lemon Drop by California Tea House
328 tasting notes

This is a wonderful and light summer treat. First, when this tea is warm, it tastes exactly like melted lemon drops….Cooled, light and lemony. The lemon flavor is not from some icky artificial flavoring but from lemon grass and citrus (maybe lemon?) peels….

Rabs

Ooh – I wonder what iced would be like! Like a cold melted lemon drop or just lightly lemony? Hmm… (Sorry – I’m getting my iced tea pitcher this week so iced tea’s been on my mind a lot).

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67

Steep Information:
Amount: 4 tsp
Water: 22 ounces filtered water
Tool: Cast Iron Teapot with Mesh basket strainer
Steep Time: a little over 2 minutes
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Dry Leaf Smell: sweet, almonds
Steeped Tea Smell: sweet, almonds
Flavor: black tea, almond, smooth
Body: Medium
Aftertaste: astringent
Liquor: translucent dark reddish-brown

A generous sample from Doulton!
It was a nice black tea, but not amazing or WOW!
I could see getting it along with an order but not as the reason for an order.

Post-Steep Additives:
+German rock sugar – sweeter, nicer cup of tea, more flavor less black tea
+Almond milk – overpowered the tea, not recommended

Resteep: 3 minutes, just as flavorful and delicious as the first round

images: http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2010/04/california-tea-house-loose-leaf-black.html

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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89

This is one black tea perfect for the cold brew method. Honestly, when brewed/steeped traditional method, the mango flavor is overpowering and seems incongruent- warm mango? Really? I usually associate mangos w/cold treats like mango lassi, mango ice cream, mango smoothies , etc. So this is a perfect treatment for this tea.

SoccerMom

Okay now you have me daydreaming about Mango Lassi (something I have not had in years)!

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89

This tea has a juicy, and bold mango flavor that is natural and not artifical… This is no frilly French blend- this tastes like mango, mango, and nothing else. In fact, although I like mango, I was worried about the black tea mango combination – but this turns out to be a delightful summer treat.

silvermage2000

Nice review. I love mango I think this I will consider buying this sounds good.

SoccerMom

Oh I hope AmazonV sees this note she is in search of a good Mango for Militiajim.

Will

I like Tao of Tea’s Black Mango. I’d be interested to see how this one compares.

Lori

If you guys PM your addresses, I can send you a sample ….

AmazonV

woo! squee hmmm can’t PM you, the little icon isn’t there, i think you need to follow me?

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