Design a Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

76

Sipdown (133/140)!

Thank you Dexter for the thoughtful add in that you sent to me a while back. Dex passed it along to me because I like cranberry tea, which was definitely very thoughtful or her. I’ll be honest though, I put it off because of the sage. I wasn’t sure whether I’d like it. In fact, you can thank my roommate Tre for getting me to make it; I was trying to pick a tea to cold brew last night and was reading out the names of things in my sipdown/sample drawer – and this is the one that stood out to him. He said it sounded like it’d be good as iced tea.

I’ve been drinking it while browsing online, and it really isn’t so bad. I’m not really sure what I was so scared of. The cranberry is present but not overtly tart, which is something I’ve noticed to be true with the majority of cranberry tea I’ve had. It’s odd; I don’t like the actual fruit – I wont eat straight up cranberries, but in tea? Mmm!

As for the sage, which is what I was most worried about anyway, it is definitely noticeable and it’s kinda weird but overall a good weird that compliments the cranberry and adds more depth, and an earthiness. Lastly, the chestnut. I had to really think about it; and I don’t think I’ve ever had chestnut anything before – so I don’t know what exactly I’m looking for. Google tells me a chestnut is a dry, potato like tasting nut; I’m not so much getting that from this…

On the whole; a very drinkable and enjoyable cold brew. Do I feel a need to get more of it? No, but I’m really glad I tried it and didn’t let myself get so weirded out by the sage or other unfamiliar things in this.

Also I want to share more links with you all! These ones are at least a little tea related though! You all should check out this super neat ceramic artist!

https://www.facebook.com/SeramegElunedGlynCeramics/info

http://www.elunedglyn.com/#!shop—cart/c1eu7

I really wish I could pronounce her name! But yeah, her jewelry is cool, but the slip casted tea ware is where it’s REALLY at! As an artist specializing in sculpture/clay work I am especially fascinated by the process she takes to get to a finish pieced. I’m so proud of myself right now because of my great understanding of her process; well, the physical “doing” part of her process. Every artist has their own process in other regards. I’ve done slip casting before (but I did a series of Rubber Ducks) and it’s an incredibly neat thing, and it takes a lot of time and patience to make your own slip moulds. I just… Wow.

I don’t think her work is usable (like, you couldn’t actually drink from them) but I don’t know for sure; I don’t see a FAQ on either site. I guess ultimately it’d depend on what glaze she used and if it’s food safe glaze. Either way you probably wouldn’t want to dishwash them; it’d be gently handwashing, all the way.

I really want to buy a teacup/saucer set – but I don’t know if she ships to Canada. I don’t see anything saying she doesn’t, but the price/shipping seem too low for that to be a thing.

Oh, for reference, her are some picks of my slip mould rubber ducks!

http://guyfierithirdandfinalantichrist.tumblr.com/post/93545952223

Flavors: Berries, Cranberry, Earth, Herbs, Sage

Roswell Strange

And I just put in an order with DaT for their five samples thing. I picked some things that seemed safe, and some things that just seemed weird. Eeei!

Cheri

The duck looks great!

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62

Tea #3 from Pass the Stash box

Not bad…I liked it a little cooler (but not cold). I can definitely taste both the orange and the amaretto. Not sure I’d buy it, but good to sample.

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Ice Wine Tea by Design a Tea
422 tasting notes

HTTB #12/18

I was intrigued by the name of this tea. Ice wine? I am not sure I have the actual wine drink. This smelled a little odd. The taste, not too bad. I can’t put my fingure on the flavors. I was thinking rose? If I think about it a bit I get a redish wine. I am enjoying this cup. Odd and a little different, but enjoyable.

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I’ve had this one a few times, and I think the more I drink it, the less enamored I become with it. The flavors are nice, but they aren’t particularly distinct. Actually I searched for ‘Tropical Green’ because I couldn’t remember the name of this tea. I wish that Mango came through more cleanly. It’s mango season and I’m just craving a good mango, if only I could figure out where to buy the Philippine ones!! It IS a nice tea, and one that I don’t mind coming back to, but when dry or brewed it doesn’t particularly scream MANGO or VANILLA to me. You kind of have to know what to look for, and even then… I think this is a tea I’ll have to sit down and have a serious brewing session with, it’s not living up to what is claiming to be, but I think that might mostly be me and how many times this ends up being a thermos tea from living in the kitchen cupboard and not with the other sit-down teas.

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I used up the rest of the sample from Dexter3657 in a cold steep.

12 hours: Not yet.
24 hours: Hmm.
36 hours: Ew.

So that didn’t work too well. The flavour is root beer-ish, but really watery and with fruit. Just. That is not a pleasing taste.

gmathis

Sounds like one too many flavors dancing around.

OMGsrsly

It is a really weird and interesting mix of a tea. There’s another I really like along the same lines though, that Dexter also shared with me. http://steepster.com/teas/tealux/36446-white-strawberry-sassafras

gmathis

Oh, pooh! I’d read that review and intended to try steeping the strawberry tea I had on hand with a little sassafras concentrate and used up all the sassy to make iced tea this weekend.

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Thank you Dexter3657 for this sample.

It is weird. I’m eating a cookie with it and I’m not getting much tea flavour. A bit of bitterness, a bit of weird mentholishness that must be from the sarsaparilla root, I smell but can’t taste a general fruitiness.

So. Weird and interesting. Not something I’ll pick up in the future (Unless it’s amazing cold brewed. I should try cold brewing this!), but really neat to try!

Edit: I missed it! This was post 1234! AHHH!!!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
OMGsrsly

And you are just Dexter now! I hadn’t noticed. Sorry!

Dexter

Most people found the numbers confusing, and I JUST changed it – no worries (and I might change it back – weird to see it as just Dexter…).
I need to play with that tea too. it’s strange, but I think it has potential…. cold steep? maybe…

OMGsrsly

It got better as it cooled (to me) so yeah. Cold steep, maybe iced…

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drank Butterfly Tea by Design a Tea
1624 tasting notes

A wee sample from MissB.

It’s lavender. And smells like soap.

Let’s see how this steeps up, shall we? Ahh, there’s the chamomile. Why am I having problems smelling dry chamomile?

And it works OK with the tea cookies I made (I used my own GF flour blend and didn’t frost them because they are SO SWEET. Seriously, next time I’m using 1/2 the sugar.) so that’s good. http://cookiesandcups.com/southern-tea-cakes/

There’s just too much lavender. Boo.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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84

This is more of a clove and nutmeg tea with a black base.
Two of my favorite spices.
The pumpkin is not really recognizable it is so light, but oh I love the clove!
Reminds me of the clove gum, but the flavor is a bit more complex than the gum.
I really like this.

Flavors: Cloves, Nutmeg

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 34 OZ / 1000 ML

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95
drank Pear Spice by Design a Tea
1533 tasting notes

’Here’s Hoping’ traveling teabox Round #2 // Tea #10
Steep #1 // just boiled // 3 min
Oh my gosh, the pear is very accurate! Design a Tea, I’m not doubting you, if I was before! I’ve had a few pear teas in the past and they are usually way off, gross, or there is a drying effect to the mouth. This tastes exactly like juicy, sweet pear! It doesn’t have hints of artificial at all. It wins the pear flavored tea contest! The spices are nice with it as well, I think it’s mostly cinnamon, but the pear is definitely front and center. The black tea is perfect with the flavor too. Not too heavy, not too light.

Steep #2 // a few minutes after boiling // 3 min
Sadly, this steep lost the pear flavor, but I probably didn’t steep it as I should have. I like the slightly stronger spice flavor this time around anyway. I’m tried a couple from Design A Tea, and now I’m impressed. I want to steal this one from the teabox, but I will leave the few remaining teaspoons there for others to taste the magic!

Veronica

The Ice Wine from Design a Tea also has a great pear flavor. I think I put that one in the box as well. I really like DAT’s take on pear. It’s one of my favorites.

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80

Sipdown!! (176, because I found some teas that I forgot to remove from my cupboard so YAY!)

This is actually a very nice tea. The vanilla flavor is amazing and sweet and delicious while the pomegranate is more subtle but still great. Honestly, if you have not already checked out Design a Tea I recommend you do so as their flavors have all been great and you can create 5 samples for free (though you have to pay shipping): http://www.designatea.com/freesamples.php.

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71
drank Honey Apricot by Design a Tea
2080 tasting notes

Sipdown!!

This is a nice tea. The black base is a little strong for my liking but once I get passed that, I really enjoy the fresh apricot flavor which has been drizzled with a nice bit of honey for sweetness. Good, but not amazing so I don’t think I would be ordering more. I am happy I tried it though.

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85
drank Pear Spice by Design a Tea
888 tasting notes

And this one is finished. I really like the pear flavor mixed with the spices. The spice flavors have mellowed so much from when I first purchased it, but I find that to be a good thing because it really lets the pear flavor stand out. It’s a great fall tea, so I’m a little bummed that it’s all gone, but this is definitely a tasty last cup. I added cream and sugar and am enjoying.

This is something I might repurchase at some point in the future, but there are so many tea/flavor possibilities at Design a Tea that I think my next custom creation will be something new to me.

September Sipdowns: 31 (I didn’t log a lot of my sipdowns because Steepster has been so derpy.)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85
drank Pear Spice by Design a Tea
888 tasting notes

Now that I’m almost out of this one I’m starting to like it a lot. Go figure. Tonight’s cup had a very good balance between the pear and the spice. The pear was the main flavor with the cinnamon and nutmeg acting as highlighters to the fruit. Delicious.

I’m still planning on ordering straight pear tea with my next DAT order, but I’m upping my rating on this one because this is a cup of yum.

(previous rating: 74)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85
drank Pear Spice by Design a Tea
888 tasting notes

Backlogging.

This was a custom blend from Design a Tea. I love pear flavored teas, and I thought the spice might lend a poached pear flavor. The tea I received had a lot of spice. So much so that I set the tea aside for several moths hoping the flavors would mellow a bit. It worked! I’ve found with a shorter steep (3 minutes or so) I get a nice pear flavor and the cinnamon and nutmeg from the spice in a much more balanced cup than I had when I first ordered the tea.

The next time I order from DAT I’m going to get pear tea with no additional flavors. I think the company has a wonderful pear flavor – very juicy and sweet – and Id rather have that than pear plus whatever else.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Sipdown!!

This tastes like those caramel apple lollipops with a touch of oolong as the sip ends. If only the dry oolong flavor were not there because this is sweet and creamy and just a touch tart. Yum!

Suziqzer

Umm.. Yum.. Minus the oolong.

VariaTEA

Luckily at Design a Tea, you can choose a base so if I get this again, I can get it on a different type :)

Suziqzer

What options did you choose? I haven’t ordered their sample deal yet, this migt make my list.

Amariel

Interesting! You can choose a base? Wow.

VariaTEA

https://www.designatea.com/freesamples.php. This tea I chose an oolong base (seeing as I ordered it back in Dec. before I realized I didn’t like oolong) and caramel and apple flavors. I also got Mango Zabaglione rooibos (which was really good), Banana Chocolate rooibos (which was okay), Vanilla Pomegranate black tea, and I think Honey Apricot black tea.

Suziqzer

I imagine it would be good with a black or green base. Thanks for the “recipe”… I didn’t know if you added any cinnamon or anything too. Sounds simple enough. I’ve looked at their website before, but I’m terrible at making decisions… so it’s even harder when you can design your own. :)

VariaTEA

I did it when it was late at night and I was half asleep and I ended up placing the order before I even realized what I did :P

Amariel

Wow, some of those sound really good.

VariaTEA

It is a fun little company and the samples are free (though shipping is not)

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drank Banana Chocolate by Design a Tea
2080 tasting notes

Sipdown!!

So this one is not as delicious as the Mango Zabaglione. It tastes like chocolate rooibos and not much else. Where is the banana?!? Oh well. One more tea to cross off my bucket list.

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81
drank Mango Zabaglione by Design a Tea
2080 tasting notes

Sipdown!! (191)

Tbh, I was not expecting this to be as good as it is. I am not sure why, but I just didn’t have high expectations. Sipping on it now, I am actually blown away at how good this is. Initially, the taste is of rooibos, though a pleasant rooibos that is neither woodsy or medicinal. Then, a delicious sweet creaminess takes over, just as one would expect from a zabaglione. Finally, the mango sneaks in right at the end of the sip and just pops. I would definitely have this again and the success with this tea has made me excited to try the others I have.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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77

thanks so much Dexter3657! I was craving blueberry but I thought I’d go with this one. It’s not bad! Sweet strawberry flavor on a decent rooibos that isn’t bothering my throat. There is a hint of cream with the strawberry (not exactly sure what the zabaglione is anyway). I swear I could have had a tea like this the other day, but I’m not sure which one (maybe 52Teas Strawberry Pie honeybush?). So many teas! It’s nice as it cools too. I like it!
Steep #1 // a few minutes after boiling // 3-4 min steep

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Another fruity tea for the morning. This one has a white base and the scent reminds me of when I bake coconut loaf.

The flavours are quite delicate and the scent of coconut loaf seems to come through, but it’s not distinctly coconut. I’m not really getting anything in the way of pomegranate, but this is a tasty cup.

Thanks Dexter3657!

P.S. This is a sample sipdown.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Green Chai by Design a Tea
149 tasting notes

I was expecting something completely different from what I got, but I wasn’t disappointed!

I’m usually only OK with chai teas, with the exception of a few chais tend to be a bit overwhelming for me. I was making an order already at DesignATea and this is one of their signature blends. So I’m thinking ‘hmm… not as strong, green tea probably means subtly sweet and light… YES!’

The small sachet is SMALL, only 1.1oz, but a few teaspoons was all I needed. The presentation is plain, and purely functional. It’s a transparent plastic baggie with a cardstock sleeve printed with the label. After receiving most if not all my teas from online vendors in those nice foil lined ziplocks, I was a little surprised. I’ll have to keep these in a box or in the cabinet to keep away from light.

The green tea was rolled/curled in dry form, and unfurled in just one steep. The leaves were chopped, but tinged brown on the edges? Roasted perhaps? I don’t know. All the chai spices had settled to the bottom of the baggie. I had heard of other teas settling, but I could actually see the effects of it here with the transparent bag. I shook it up, but the bag is small, and doesn’t leave much room for shaking. I don’t know if I got an even distribution.

The flavor and mouthfeel is so different from what I expected. I expected a nice smooth sweet green with a small hit of chai aroma. What I got was… even made with water! it tasted/felt like a milk-based chai, but made with matcha! I can’t even express how awesome that is because it is entirely unexpected. It reminded me of when I was in college and I got chai lattes from the library cafe all the time. Creamy, lightly heavy mouth texture, with a chai spice. The green wasn’t bright as I was expecting, but a little smokey.

I completely oversteeped the second steeping. I put the water in…. and forgot about it. I found it this morning. Even cold it has that slightly heavy feel in the mouth I usually get from dairy. It was only a touch bitter, but nothing that detracts too much away from how much I like it. I wouldn’t cold steep this, there’s not that much of it, but I don’t mind it cold.

I really do like it. Too bad I don’t drink chai teas as much nowadays, if I did, I could see this being brewed daily.

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drank PeacaMint by Design a Tea
149 tasting notes

Yum. Yay for getting more bedtime teas for me. I’m kind of backwards in that most of my tea drinking happens in the later hours of the day, but I didn’t have many non-caffeinated options.

Brian was soo nice and agreed to substitute honeybush for roobios in the things that I ordered. Even though the company specializes in custom blends, it made me feel extra special. This is one of their signature blends, but they were still able to substitute the base for me, talk about freshly blended!

This tea is lovely. The dry ‘leaf’ is honeybush (which looks like tiny wood chips) and what looks like very finely chopped mint. The green stuff is very vibrant either way and makes the blend look cheerful. The scent of the dry stuff is very warm and not too minty.

The first brew IS kind of minty, but I let it brew for a long time. The pecan flavor was a little like whole roasted pecans with the mintyness and the honeybush was there but it wasn’t overbearing or annoying or medicinal like rooibos.

The second steep is awesome. The mint is tamed a bit, and the pecan is just right, it makes the tea just lovely and warm and soft. Which sounds like a blanket, but it was just a really comforting tea. The mouthfeel was great too, but if you let it cool the after feel is a little bit dry/tight.

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65

My weird design from Design a Tea. Blackcurrant Hazelnut Green . I think the Hazelnut is a bit more prominent than the blackcurrant although I am picking up both. I think this tea would be better as either Blackcurrant Green or Blackcurrant x2 Green. Thank you Design a tea for allowing me to design my own. Lots of fun! I will keep the little paper that came with the sample to record my own notes for future designs.

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drank Island Blend by Design a Tea
1624 tasting notes

Oh hey, this is pretty good! Thanks for sharing, MissB!

It’s vanilla-fruit green tea. I was hesitant because I don’t often reach for green teas, but I really like the flavours. It probably won’t give me quite the caffeine kick I’m looking for, but it’s really nice at brunch. :)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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This was a sample included with my last Design a Tea order.

It’s REALLY good – apricot and blueberry – it’s yummy.

That’s all I really have to say. Yummy…..

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