California Tea House

Recent Tasting Notes

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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40

This one is courtesy of Doulton. I woke up ran some errands today and was just so tired (I’m not sure why) anyway I thought hmmm maybe I’ll go ahead and have lunch and see if this helps. So I had my lunch which consisted of last nights leftovers homemade fettucini alfredo and a delicious salad and decided I needed a strong black dessert tea normally Florence would have fit the bill for this situation but I decided to live it up a little and go with this one instead after all it is Friday.

Once steeped the liquor is very dark and mysterious. The first sip was very strong black tea flavored and so I read the description which said add sugar well as you all probably know by now I don’t normally add sugar to my tea. Sugar added I think made this tea so much better and much more palatable (for someone with my tastebuds). Well with the addition of a teaspoon of brown rock sugar it is much sweeter I taste almonds but not the butter part. I can’t say that I’ve ever actually had almond butter so maybe I’m off on this but its a pretty good cup. I really appreciate the opportunity to taste it and it’s from California Tea House and I have never tried any of their teas before so double Thanks, Doulton!

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76

I am enjoying this tea. I suspect that it is highly similar to other almond teas, but there is a sense of nut “butter” which I don’t get from my other beloved almond teas. There’s not enough of a difference to assert that this tea stands out from other almond teas, but it is, like many of them, excellent for almond lovers.

Yes, I am enjoying this tea.

I think that I will always like to have an almond tea “in stock” (along with a vanilla and a coconut tea). So far I have not tasted the one almond tea that it must be, but this one is certainly a contender.

The California Tea House gave me very speedy delivery service on my order. That counts for a lot with me. As i drink more tea, I can anticipate what to reorder and when to reorder it.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 15 sec
Kristin

I’d think that the butter is not ‘butter’ as in dairy butter, but as in almond butter… ground almonds (like peanut butter).

Doulton

Yes, that’s what I meant. I use almond butter more than peanut butter by far, which was why I selected this tea to sample. I meant the sort of creamy “buttery” taste that you’ll get with a “nut butter”.

Lori

I am glad that you liked this tea as I placed an order for this one a few days ago…

LENA

Oooh, I always keep almond butter at the house too. Sometime a peanut just won’t cut it. :)

AmazonV

we just bought some almond butter at costco, never had some before, if we like it perhaps i’ll need this tea

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79

I like the smell of this tea, it’s fresh and fruity, but I can also smell of a bit of the sourness I usually associate with yogurt. The tea doesn’t taste hugely melon but the flavouring has enough kick to let you know that it’s there, and it leave a bit of an aftertaste in the mouth. It’s not that sickly-sweet faux-melon flavour I’ve come across sometimes, thank God – I hate that stuff. There’s a note of fresh ‘greeness’ to the tea that compliments the melon well. The yogurt is quite subdued but it gives a creamy texture and taste to each sip.

This tea would be very nice iced, IMO. Maybe I’ll try it that way when the weather gets hotter (which it’s due to soon)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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45

I found a review for this tea on the Tea Review blog and so I thought I would give it a go. I have steeped it a few times now to see if I could get it “right”. Their website says to steep 1-2 tsp for 2-3 minutes. I found that 1tsp steeped 2minutes gave me the “best” steep. And by “best”, I mean not so bitter or overwhemlingly lime-y as to have ruined the entire cup. Also, I can smell the coconut but I can only taste the lime.
Now I have a 40z bag of tea that I REALLY don’t want.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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80

I just want to add that this is fantastic with milk! The creamsicle aspect is enhanced and whole effect of drinking this is very soothing—must be the warm milk. The taste seems “naturally” sweet (are the flavors sweetened?) so no additional sweetner is needed. Reminds me very much of an Earl Grey Latte from Starbucks (what they used to call the “London Fog”) but much less $$$.

Upping the score (because of this yummy “tea latte/milk tea” experience)!

Edited to add: It’s so strange because my last note on this I added milk and it wasn’t this delicious at all! Must have overbrewed it or used too much/too little leaf or something! So for this note, I used 3 heaping teaspoons in my small teapot which can hold up to 2 mugs of water (I think that’s 16oz?) and it came out perfect for milk tea.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Lori

This is very good for an Earl Grey…

Alicia

I am in search of an excellent Earl Grey. Thank yo for your post!

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80

On my second steeping (and as it cools), this takes on more and more of an orange-y taste. Not so much of a bergamot-citrus, but just indistinctly citrus. I wish I can distinguish the subtleties of the different black teas that were blended in here, but I can’t right now. My mind has decided to zone in on just the citrus!

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80

I wanted an “Earl Grey Latte”, so I added a good amount of milk to this but, for some reason, it made the flavor taste artificial and “tinny” (especially the vanilla). Maybe I should’ve brewed it stronger by adding more leaf? I already used 2 1/2 teaspoons in a tall mug (maybe 10 oz).

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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80

Just jotting down some quick impressions:

Scent: Lemony with a strange herbal twinge—like rosemary? A bit creamy.

Taste: Oh the vanilla really comes out in the taste! And I’m detecting the wonderful bergamot oil swirled in—it’s almost like an Earl Grey dreamsicle.

Final Thought: This is an ethereal, sweeter version of Adagio’s Earl Grey Moonlight. It’s not syrupy or caramel in flavor like Moonlight. The sweetness is clearer and more pure, somehow. The vanilla is a “cool” vanilla and the bergamot is more citrusy than flowery.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
teaplz

I’ll have to try one of these cream earl greys eventually… maybe it’s the key to EG success with me, because yeah, it’s definitely not a favorite for me at all!

Angrboda

TeaEqualsBliss gave me a sample of this, and was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Haven’t typed up my notes on it yet, but take the word of the wise. Don’t have this immediately after eating a kiwi. Bad mix of flavours there. It made the tea seem incredibly bitter.

Lori

I tried this the other day and probably should add a tasting note- but I think Stephanie perfectly described this tea. I am not a big fan of Earl Grey and I quite enjoyed this one…

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86

Bought this on sale at California Tea House.

This tea was delicious, toasty, warm, w/lots of cinnamon. Only downside: as our temperatures heat up around here in June, I may want something lighter (but don’t hold that against the tea!)

It is what I would imagine a New England Christmas would be like- snowy, woodsy, cabin, fireplace, thick socks…(Here in Louisiana we are lucky if temperatures dip below 70F)…

Please don’t mistake this for a chai. It is something different. As this is my first holiday tea, I can’t compare it to others. But I hope to try more….

SoccerMom

Lori, Maybe you’d like it iced? :)

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91

Delicious! I decided to brew this one up right after dinner. I can taste the white tea and a subtle creamy melon flavor (sort of like a sweet cucumber to be honest). I don’t taste a distinct yogurt flavor just a slight creaminess… Even when warm, the tea seems cool and relaxing.

Really, Teaequalsbliss’ review was right “on the money”. Note: my daughter thinks the tea tastes like Pop-Rocks (lol!) but trust me, this tea does not have any type of artificial watermelon flavor at all…

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90

This tastes like the name- blueberry syrup w/o any off flavors from other herbs….

Brewed about 24 oz. this morning, added a little bit of sugar, and carried it to work in one of those aluminum bottles. Great sweet treat this afternoon w/o lots of calories.

The blend is very high quality w/tons of dried blueberries…Another winner from California Tea House!

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90

California Tea House was blended another winner! It is not too lime-y , not too coconut-y. But a mild blend w/subtle sweet flavors that lets the green tea taste shine (w/o a vegetal taste)… Again, the blend does look like the photo w/ whole tea leaves and large slices of coconut…

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99

This is my favorite nite-time chai. No rooibos to dilute the flavor. Just a blend of whole spices so this is high quality. And tastes like chocolate….This is not hot spicy just a well-rounded chai flavor.

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99

This drink is my favorite before bedtime drink. Mildly spicy but tempered by the chocolate. Perfect with milk. Decaffeinated but no rooibos. Richly flavored compared to other night-time decaf chocolate-y, spicy teas.

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