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Recent Tasting Notes
Yum! A great way to start the morning off. I’m really digging this and it is really hard to find banana flavored teas that hit the flavor I have been looking for. This is the closet one that I’ve found and I got to create it myself. So very good. A heaping of citrus flavoring with a kick of banana. Yum!
Here is the full review:
Flavors: banana, Citrus, Green, Orange, Sweet
This was a pretty good flavored green tea from Design A Tea. When I ordered from them, I opted for single flavor teas and I like pomegranate. I thought the green tea flavor didn’t overpower the pomegranate taste. It tasted very natural, unlike some other flavored teas I’ve tried where the whole thing comes across as artificial.
I ordered this as a sample from Design A Tea. I almost didn’t brew it because of the smell, but sometimes tea smells differently when brewed. It brings back memories of going to the dentist as a child and getting bubblegum fluoride. It smells like that… and makes me want to gag. The smell persisted even after brewing. While the taste wasn’t bad, I just can’t get over the scent.
It has not taken me long to realize that flavored teas are not for me. This is perfume-y and flowery. I can’t really judge the quality — the tea leaves are okay, and this might suit you if you like tea with flavoring, I mainly taste the perfume, which is disappointing since so many oolongs have a natural apricot flavor with no need for the chemicals. Extremely perfume-y tea tends to give me headaches and nausea, so l probably won’t finish this. I detect some vague spices, but in a taste test, I don’t think I’d know this was meant to be chai.
Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Perfume, Spices
I received this sample from Veronica. It smells lovely, though right now I’m still waiting or it to cool. I don’t have much experience with wine. At first I thought it smelled lemony, but now I smell the grape. It does kind of smell like grape juice (scuppernong, not niagara).
I did brew it a bit too long, I think. It’s kind of bitter. I’ll probably brew it again later so that I can leave a rating. I used too much water and steeped it too long this time.
This was the last of my Design a Tea samples. It smelled really awful – like cough medicine. Luckily it didn’t taste like it smelled. It was merely bland with a faint chemical aftertaste. Blech. This was not a winner. I think in the end, while I love the idea of Design a Tea, I’m not very impressed with the samples I tried, so I probably won’t put in an order with them anytime soon.
I wouldn’t have picked this tea for myself, since I haven’t liked any of the almond flavored teas I’ve tried before, and I’m not a big fan of red rooibos. But Design a Tea added it to my order, so I gave it a try. I was pleasantly surprised. The almond was much less cloying than others I’ve tried, and wasn’t paired with a bitter black base, so I could taste it on its own. I actually rather liked it. It was nutty and faintly sweet. I couldn’t taste the rooibos or chamomile at all, but I don’t mind that since the almond flavor is quite appealing on it’s own.
Flavors: Almond, Sweet
Thanks to Sil for a sample of this blend (and it looks like some thanking applies to Dexter as well, who appears to have been the original source of this deliciousness).
Anyhow, brewing this up as one of only a couple flavoured teas I have on the go tonight, ALL I could smell was its delicious aroma. OM NOM. If I had to guess, I’d guess Hazelnut Mocha, I think, by the aroma. Flavourwise, it is pretty impressive too. Quite decadent and lovely, very nutty (again, I’d guess hazelnut), and a bit chocolatey. Not really picking up coffee, but that’s not a problem whatsoever. Also not really tasting too much in the way of the base tea – I wish it was a bit more solid, because it does come off slightly watery in that sense, but the flavourings are nearly good enough to overcome that. I think, though, that for me to really love this tea, it would need a base change. I might try infusing the last bit of the tea that I have a bit longer (I’m always very cautious with black blends since I hate astringency) to see if it helps the base at all. Flavouring-wise, though, this is a solid 90 tea.
Thanks Marizipan for the sample! I saved this one to drink on Halloween ‘cause it seemed so perfectly suited to the holiday! When I made it, I added just a bit of milk ’cause I expected it to be rather spicy and I thought that’s help tone things down a notch.
I was quite happy, ‘cause when I took my first sips I was flooded with this beautiful, thick clove flavour! Man, I love cloves and this was so heavy on that! Best surprise ever. And then, that milk added a nice richness and thickness to this so even though I mostly was only getting that one flavour it still felt like a very “full” tea. I’m curious though; why is the pumpkin is angry? If I tasted like cloves, I’d be a very happy pumpkin…
This was a bonus sample I got when I ordered 5 samples for $5 from Design a Tea. I think it was because I put in Steepster as a referral? Anyway.
I am really confused by this one… It says “Strawberry Caramel” on the front. For some reason, my sample has lavender in it. And lavender isn’t even on the list of ingredients… Not to mention, it doesn’t fit with these flavors and makes this cup taste like I’m sucking on a medicated strawberry-flavored lozenge…
So confused… And unhappy. I guess I won’t rate this since apparently I got some weird crazy lavender batch?
Flavors: Candy, Lavender, Medicinal, Soap, Strawberry, Sweet
I’ve decided to brew Rooibos teas for 3 rather than 5 minutes to avoid the smokey/medicinal flavor they are prone to. It was definitely a success with this tea. The coconut flavor was prominent and relatively natural tasting, with a secondary sweet flavor that seemed to be a blend of pineapple and honey. I was drinking this while making dinner, and I did notice that as it cooled, the coconut flavor began tasting more buttery, and the pineapple/honey flavor began tasting rather artificial, so this is definitely one to drink hot. Overall, a very pleasant tea, though.
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Looks like there’s an entry for the oolong version of this tea, but not the black one yet. Anyway, this was pretty good. The cherry flavor was fresh and natural-seeming, and the amaretto was definitely authentic, though more subtle. There is just enough tartness to be interesting. It’s one of these combinations that can never go wrong. The tea base was also nicely smooth in this one, and more like how I had remembered the first sample being. The finish was slightly acerbic/dry, but not enough to be offputting.
Okay, so this one is a bit of a conundrum. I ordered pear cider, the invoice I received says pear cider, but the handwritten slip says rum cider. However, it tastes more pear than rum, so I’ll say that they got the order right. :)
This one is a very gentle tea, with a mellow, Japanese-styled green tea base. The fruit flavors are quite juicy without being too sweet. What impresses me is that there’s an almost effervescent quality to it, that touch of bubbly sugary spice that really does remind me of cider. I’m a little conflicted on the best preparation for this—it seems like a good cozy tea to serve warm, but in my experience fruity greens are best enjoyed cold. Regardless, it was a rather unique and fun tea.
Looks like I designed a tea that was already in the system for once! This one smelled a little confusing—sweet, but hard to differentiate the ingredients. The tea itself is quite robust. I’m probably imagining things, but the black tea base seems different this time; maybe this one came from a stronger batch, or I had oversteeped it. In any case, it wasn’t as crisp as the previous black tea I had tried from them.
The pomegranate flavor is quite nice, just a little tart without being overly so. The vanilla is not prominent, but adds some sweetness. The lingering taste of these flavors is very delicate, much more so than the brew itself. Overall, it was fairly enjoyable, but probably not a reorder.
Another custom sample from Design-a-Tea. Unfortunately I don’t have as much of a rave review for this one as I did for the previous, the reason being that it’s way too tart. The tartness made it seem as if there was hibiscus in the mix, and I did find a magenta-red piece of something in the tea sachet that ended up bleeding a lot of bright color into the cup toward the end. Not really what I was looking for in this blend. The oolong tea base is just ok, slightly bitter at first, but without any real presence or oolong-like qualities.
On the plus side, the peach and apricot flavors aren’t bad, and are quite fresh. The apricot is stronger, while the peach is mellow and rather creamy. Most of my other samples are black teas, so hopefully they will be better.
A fruity black tea that I can find no fault with? Could it be?
I received this as the “extra” in my order of 5 samples from Design a Tea. The aroma is quite lovely—rich caramel and strawberry, not cloying or artificial as these flavors can sometimes be. The caramel isn’t too strong in the brewed tea; while overall it reminds me of Lupicia’s caramel tea, I think this one is more balanced and less overwhelming.
While I only had one sachet, I divided the brew and iced half of it. The iced version is more impressive—the tea base is very good and crisp, and seems like Ceylon. Perfect for summer with just that touch of fresh strawberry (and it still feels like summer here!) The hot version is more creamy and sweet, less distinguished than the cold but still enjoyable. Too often the tea itself is not great in these types of blends, and tastes downright messy when the other ingredients are blended out of proportion. This one is an exception to the rule, and even defies my expectation that appetizing aroma is inversely proportional to taste. I hope the rest of the samples are of this quality as well!
Tea of the morning. I received me Design-a- Tea order a couple of days ago, and they were kind enough to add some samples to my box. This one is coconut rum, and while it probably would have been best to save this for an afternoon tea I’ve been craving coconut lately, so I went ahead and steep it. The rum flavor is pretty strong. It’s fairly equal to the coconut flavor, but because rum is such a strong flavor it seems to dominate at times. As the tea cools a bit the coconut steps to the front more. This I like. The flavors are great. and the base tea is smooth and not astringent. I’m thinking this would be outstanding cold brewed. I’d also be tempted to make a tea cocktail with this one. It has lots of possibilities.
September Sipdowns: 16
This tasted quite good. It was spicy and almost creamy, with a hint of pumpkin. The flavors offset the Rooibos quite well. It would probably be even better if I used Honeybush as a base.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cream, Pumpkin, Rooibos, Spices