Design a Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

43

I recently received my 2 free samples from Design a Tea and have been eager to brew them up. Custom tea is a pretty cool concept in itself, you pick a base, add your flavours, and then have your own monster creation to deal with, good or bad.

I decided to keep things simple, I like vanilla, so I opted for a black tea base with vanilla flavouring added. Doing so could potentially allow me to comment more accurately on the grade of the tea base, which is an added benefit to my choice.

Anyway, today was a long day of being tired so I decided it was a perfect opportunity to give this tea a shot. After opening the package I was immediately greeted with a kind of jungly smelling vanilla mixed with something reminiscent of black cherry. I brewed up the tea satchel in a warmed cup with boiling water, an amber maple colour immediately began to dance out.

Once the tea was brewed I picked up a more smooth vanilla scent from my cup, reminding me of rice crispy squares (yum). So I lifted the cup to my lips, expecting to taste delicious vanilla, instead receiving a root-like flavour. A few sips later and I could finally pick out a very light taste of vanilla. I kept tasting a familiar flavour that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, later realizing that it was the taste of pistachios. As I got further through the tea it seemed to become progressively more bitter, which eventually had me clenching my face, dissapointing me more.

This tea brings forth the image of a quirky friend who enjoys dressing up in fun outfits/costumes. They can be kind of bitter as they wear out but they are fun to talk to.

Overall I was dissapointed with the lack of vanilla, the quality of the black tea, and the increasing bitterness. This may have been masked if I had combined more flavours, but in my case I was not pleased. I enjoyed the process of designing my own tea, and hey it was free. I would reccommend you be more risky with the flavours than me if you are going custom and enjoy the process and anticipation of trying your “Cthulhu’s blood” or what have you.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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29

This one is really weak. I brewed as instructed, one bag per cup, 4 minutes on. I can’t really taste anything, maybe a sweet tobacco taste, but definitely not rum OR spices. Or even tea. It has a sickly sweet smell, and this is definitely not one I’ll be ordering again. Yuck.

ETA: Added some sugar, and now I can barely taste the tea. It’s just a hint of an aftertaste.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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92
drank Ice Wine Tea by Design a Tea
674 tasting notes

This is so good! I received it as a sample from Design a Tea, and while I was wary of it (Iced wine? Tea? Really?) I am so glad I tried it. It’s delicious! The tea is mellow with the pear flavor moving around as you sip. It’s sweet and relaxing. I think this would be perfect to serve at a tea party. Today I had it hot, but I’m going to have to pick up some more so that I can try it iced.

Thank you Design a Tea for the sample!

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70

-Small tea leaves with yellow petals and a clumpy white/brown sugary mixture.
-Dry leaves smell fruity and very sweet-spicy, like a tobacco. Tea liquor smells like sweet cream.
-Tea liquor is a medium orangey-brown color.
-Fresh pear flavor with a sweet, creamy finish.
-Best with sweetener.
-Good tea. Delicately flavored. Light taste of fresh pear. Milk overshadows flavors.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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62

Tony & I are having a laid back pajama morning. We just finished breakfast, & we’re thinking of visiting the London Tea Room this afternoon. Yeah!

Thanks to Azzrian for sending me this tea. You Rock!

I was particularly excited about this sample (& there are so many!), because I have a thing for peaches, & I absolutely LOVE Chai too. It smells like heaven dry, though while steeping I detected a bitter underlying scent rising (& I actually identified it, but now I can’t remember what it was…& that was only a few minutes ago…did I mention I have CRS?). Brewed it smells sweet & peachy, & kind of like marshmallow.

Taste-wise: Plain, it’s just ok. Typical of flavored teas, it requires the addition of sweetness to bring out the flavors, so I added a little stevia & vanilla almond milk. The taste of peach blooms in my cup, but I’m not really getting the Chai, at least not much. It’s a pleasant dessert-like cup, for an after-breakfast tea, but probably not something I’d buy.

Tony’s not a big peach fan. His favorite teas are Plum Oolong & Jubilee (both from the London Tea Room…that’s why we’re going, he’s out of Jubilee), & Twinings Lady Grey. I gave him a sip & he said: “It’s ok. I thought you said there was chai in this?”

We are of one mind.

Terri HarpLady

I’d like to add that I still don’t have this tea rating thing worked out, so don’t take my numbers too seriously…

Nik

You ‘n’ me, both. My numbers are completely unreliable. Heck, my approach is completely unreliable: I just drag the little circle back and forth until it feels right. The left-brained part of me disapproves and is twitchy.

Azzrian

OMG I thought I was the only one who knew about the CRS condition! ha I have that too! :) Yeah this was one of several attempts I made with a good peach tea … I prefer the zabaglione one I think I also sent you. Its fun to try things though. :)

Azzrian

Oh and I am SO JEALOUS your going to LTR!!!
:) have a blast!

Terri HarpLady

@Nik, usually I don’t even rat theme, unless I really love them.

@Azz, I drank the zabaglione a few days ago, & it was tasty.
Not sure what I’m going to have a pot of at the LTR today, but whatever I have, I’ll take a sip in your name!

Terri HarpLady

We’re going to buy Tony some more Jubilee, but we’ll also each have a little pot of tea, & share both pots. I told him he had to try something other than the Jubilee (since he can drink that at home anytime), & he looked at me like I was crazy. LOL!

LiberTEAS

My numeric rating is not at all logical… it really depends upon my feelings at the moment of drinking the tea. I’ve tried to sort of work out a formula, but then I realized it was a bit too much like Math and there should not be math in tea. Math = bad, Tea = good… they do not belong together. So my numbers are totally arbitrary.

Terri HarpLady

Well put, LiberTEAS!

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67

When I opened my care package from Azzrian, this one quickly swam to the surface of the wonderful collection of samples she sent me! I love peaches, & this sounds awesome. I’ve never had a Zabaglione, but according to Wiki, it’s basically a whipped egg yolk pudding with other yummy stuff in it too. I don’t get to eat desserts because my body freaks out over sugar (even small amounts, dammit), so my tea is my dessert. And this is the dessert I want now!

It smells like a dream, like peaches, caramel, pudding, & heavy cream (I’m also allergic to milk…). Creamy, dreamy, smells so yummy, I can’t wait for it to cool down. Where is my spoon?

Unsweetened…it’s ok…I think I’d like it over ice.
Add some stevia & a little unsweetened vanilla almond milk & yum! The flavors come to life, transforming my cup into a bowl of peaches & cream, a nice treat in between gigs!

Now I have to go put my black dress back & go play a wedding. I love my job!

Terri HarpLady

Thank you Azzrian, for this lovely tea!

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50
drank Pear Pecan by Design a Tea
124 tasting notes

This was the second of the two tea samples I requested.
I’m debating something here – is this tea just intrinsically not so great? I don’t know. Should pear, pecans, and oolong not be put together in a tea? Very likely.
I thought the pecan might play well with the occasional butteriness of oolong and that the pear might be nice with floral notes.
I don’t know… this tastes burnt… like burnt coffee. I think the pecans overwhelm things. If I were to try again, I would probably brew the oolong at a lower temp. The package said boiling, but 195 might have been better.
I think the oolong might not have been that great. My sister hated it and I ended up pouring it out :(

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

I have had some REALLY wonderful teas from Design A Tea such as Marzipan Sunset SO SO GOOD, their Plum Lovin is great, and I have made several of my own I love. Sometimes though there is a miss as well. I think when a company is willing to try many different things that can happen. Their prices however and their coupons they send with orders seem to help a lot to balance out that risk for me.

BlueKittyMeow

I was pretty happy with the other blend from them and loved how fast and nice they were. I felt really bad about disliking this one so much – thanks for the recommendation about Marzipan Sunset – I love almond. I’m definitely willing to give things another shot!

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75

This sample came today – peach and zabaglione. The packaging was really cute :)
The scent is a little artificial, but not bad. I ended up adding milk to this. I don’t really taste “zabaglione” but to be fair, I’ve never actually tried zabaglione! The peach flavor was nice.
My blend was just peach and zabaglione without the extras Azzrian’s had.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

Hummm that is odd. Nothing more under the ingredients list? Next time (if there is a next time) ask Brian at Design a Tea to whip up some the way he did mine.

LiberTEAS

With the teas from Design a Tea … I highly recommend waiting to try them for at least 2 or 3 weeks after you receive them. They flavor them to your order, which means the flavors have not had time to absorb into the teas and cure. A tea that is flavored today will not taste the same as it will three weeks from today is one of the most important lessons that I learned as a tea artist.

BlueKittyMeow

Hmm thanks LiberTEAS, that’s a really interesting point. I wish I had known that! I was so excited that I tried them the day they came. I’ll keep that in mind.

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80
drank China Seduction by Design a Tea
252 tasting notes

I’ve had this one for quite a while and decided to cold brew it. Cold brewed, it tasted quite similar to a Davids Tea I have, I believe it was Love Tea #7? I got both the rose and chocolate flavors, though nothing that made me think of pu-erh. When I cold brewed another pu-erh, it actually made the pu-erh flavors come out MORE. Overall, I think I actually like this one better cold, but I’m not sure if I prefer this or the DT one.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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85
drank Dingo Love Tea by Design a Tea
807 tasting notes

I have not been feeling the best lately and have had a week from H E double hockey sticks.
I have noticed that most of my teas other than matcha have been falling flat in flavor – and these are some really stellar teas so I know it is me and not the tea.
My taster is just off lately but this one is hitting the spot!
I can taste the apple and the pecan! YAY some flavor!
It mixes very nicely but is still a little less than potent but I know that is due to not feeling the best and being utterly worn down.
I am sure once I am feeling better this tea will rock my socks off!
No bitterness – no astringency – just a nice nutty apple flavor to soothe my poor aching bones and splitting head!
Thank you Brian for the sample!

Kittenna

:( Sorry to hear you’ve had a bad week. Hopefully things start looking up soon! It really drives me crazy too when I know I’m drinking a good tea, but my mouth is displeased in general for some reason. Usually things taste watery and weak, which kind of grosses me out. Sigh!

Azzrian

Exactly!!

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I didn’t even realize I did the Design a Tea thing until they came in the mail. Way to be on the ball, Amanda.

I put maple syrup and some milk in here and it really brought out the flavors. Before the rooibos was just too strong, as it easily tends to be, but now it isn’t bad. I probably wouldn’t actually buy any of this because there are so many other combinations I’d like to try.

But it’s decent, it’s a nice dessert tea with no caffeine. Definitely best while it’s still hot, I got distracted once again dropping and adding classes. But now I am done with that. I think.

Alphakitty

If you want a really strong maple tea, the Tea Guys’ Maple Sugar is amaaaazing.

momo

When I pare down the current collection, I really want to order from them!

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96
drank Peach Zabaglione by Design a Tea
807 tasting notes

Just enjoying an amazing hot cup of this with a little bit of all natural vanilla creamer added – just a touch – soooooo good – SO peachy, and creamy and heavenly!

Sil

I may need to get you to tell me what’s in this one/how to get it made when I’m on my next trip to the US (like next year..ugh)Since it doesn’t appear they ship outside the US.

Daniel Scott

DESIGN A TEA?! Good thing I don’t have a credit card, because that’s so dangerous.

tattooed_tea

Sil, they do ship to Canada. I received two free samples from them in the spring.

Sil

tattoed tea….oh no! you had to tell me that lol i’ll have to go back and figure out why i couldn’t see that…

tattooed_tea

haha I know. We are terrible enablers!

Sil

Seriously…my bank account begs you to stop lol

Azzrian

Mine is begging me to stop too! LOL

tattooed_tea

lol mine took that beating in June, it has had a rest & it will take another beating in a month for my fall teas.

Sil

oh no…. fall teas! AAAHHHHH!

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87

I got a VERY generous free sample of this from Brian at Design a Tea when I ordered more of my much loved Peach Zabaglione! Thank you Brian
I must say I am very surprised and pleased with this tea!
This has almost a Lapsang Souchong flavor to it yet very mellow. So fresh, ripe, juicy, yet that subtle smoky flavor behind it! I don’t know if this is a different blend than the other ladies tired or what but I do love it!

Sil

Design a tea? Oh no… here we go again…. Lol

Azzrian

UGGG I accidently deleted when I wanted to edit
Anyway
I said LOL you can blend two of your own for free (sample sized)
but my favorites are
Marzipan Sunset SO SO SO GOOD
Plum Lovin
Peach Zabaglione which you blend by picking Peach and Zabaglione flavors (he adds more stuff to it though)
and then this one.

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96
drank Peach Zabaglione by Design a Tea
807 tasting notes

Sometimes we just do something on the spur of the moment, on a whim, and it turns out AMAZING and thank you to Brian of Design a Tea for making this blend A MAZE ING!

I asked for a blend of peach and zabaglione but Brian went all out and added so many extras to make this THE BOMB!

I did a cold steep – just added room temp bottled water to the container with my strainer in it and within an hour it was ready, delicious, refreshing, and OMG good!
I JUST got this in the mail today and I already ordered more of it yes although I am on an order stand off I HAD to get more as this is now my DAILY iced tea for on the go in this mid west summer heat!

WOWZA and YUM!

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78

It’s been 2 years since my last confession…I mean…sip of this tisane. LOL :)

Thanks to Azzrian I was able to try it again :) Thanks so much!!!

I taste Rooibos, apple/citrus, Vanilla, and almonds! It’s nice and even from beginning to end! I really want to taste more Black Marzipan’s…like Teavana used to sell…it was my favorite Teavana tea and they discontinued it…figures. This is nicely done for a flavored Rooibos. See previous notes :)

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82

Ya know, I never liked marzipan until I met my husband. My only experience with marzipan was with those ones shaped like fruit that people give you around Christmas time. It was so mushy and awful. bleh. I avoided marzipan ever since.

In Germany, where my dear husband is from, marzipan is well loved. My husband simply adores the stuff. I didn’t understand why. Then, he took me to Germany with him and bought me a chocolate bar with marzipan in the middle. And then I understood. Mmmm…marzipan. Such a unique and heavenly scent. This tea captures marzipan very well. It also makes me think of cherries. Almonds and cherries are relatives after all. The cold brewed rooibos is soft and well behaved here. Very tasty and relaxing night time tea.

I can imagine that this would make a tasty alcohol free Amaretto Sour with a squeeze of lemon/lime and some simple syrup. Gotta get more of this and try making a pitcher for my next party! :)

Thank you so much for this lovely sample, Azzrian!

Azzrian

Yay she likes it! :) I love this one I am so happy you enjoyed it! :) Okay back to loafing on the sofa. SIGH Im soooo tired.

Mercuryhime

And I’m happy you shared with me! Why not go to sleep?

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39
drank Plum Lov'en by Design a Tea
2229 tasting notes

I swear I’m going to bed after I write this…

Continuing on the trend of drinking tea from my latest box of samples and ignoring all others…. this is another sample from Azzrian! I haven’t really tried a plum-flavoured tea, and thought it could be interesting.

The steeped tea smells a bit like a winey/grape-juicy rooibos. Yes, definitely smelling the rooibos. Boooo!! Surprisingly, it doesn’t really carry into the flavour… but neither does the fruity plummy taste. Oh wait, there’s a bit in the aftertaste… maybe. Ok yes. But there is really not a lot of flavour here, especially given how much tea I used and the length of the infusion. And… I’m suddenly tasting flavours reminiscent of Fisherman’s Friend cough drops…. blech!!! Not sure if that’s a medicinal-rooibos thing, or what… eek, not a big fan!!! Definitely a miss for me…. but that’s ok!! Had three hits tonight, two of which were new flavours for me, so three outta five ain’t bad! (And I think the tea from Kally Teas has potential, so it might be 4/5!)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more
ScottTeaMan

You haven’t been to bed yet?!?

Kittenna

Errrr… well I had a 3-hour nap in the middle of the day, and then ended up going to work from midnight to 3am… now it’s 6am… I have bad sleep habits. Going to sleep now :)

ScottTeaMan

Goodnight…….

:))

Azzrian

LOL you night owl! Worse than me even! Wow I really love this tea – it taste like wine to me. Its cool though can’t win em all lol

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Thank you Azzrian for adding this as a bonus in the swap!

I like this! It’s cream and almonds in a caffeine-free tea. Added a little rock sugar to sweeten the deal, but it really didn’t need it. :)

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Azzrian

This is my late night comfort craving tea! :)

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86
drank Plum Lov'en by Design a Tea
807 tasting notes

Yup I still stand by my earlier note about this tasting like a wine. In fact my husband was standing at the counter as I poured a cup and he made this face as if he had suddenly become alert. I asked him what that expression was about and he said – that smells familiar. I looked at him and asked him “wine perhaps?” and he said “yes! That’s what it is!”
Now what you need to know is that I used to drink wine often. He didn’t just me, he never cared for wine. It has been about 3 years since we have had any wine in the home. So for him to pick that aroma out of thin air (literally) was pretty amazing and just an testament to how winey this tea is! Oh and a testament to my hubby’s good nose! :)

SimpliciTEA

I really like that play-by-play at the counter with your husband.

Azzrian

Thank you! :)

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83

I wasn’t going to bother with the hot tea tonight because it is about 40 degrees (Celsius) outside and the last thing I wanted was a hot beverage… BUT then I saw what came in the mail, my free custom samples from Design a Tea! So I changed my mind and brewed up my first one. Their samples are so cute, they come already in some sort of tea sac (so you only get one bag of each) and they enclose a note with a $2 off your next order coupon.

I haven’t been a fan of many vanilla teas I have tried but the vanilla in this one comes out to play! It is the overwhelming flavour of the tea, and I find it a very nice full vanilla flavour. The chai is really rather muted, which is slightly disappointing, I was expecting more of a kick. Overall, the two flavours work well together and well with rooibos, and I will definitely be trying vanilla in future design a tea blends!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Kittenna

The ~40C humidex really puts a damper on the brewing up of hot tea, doesn’t it! I made a couple today in the earlier morning, but only now am I back to wanting something warm, since my house has A/C and it’s a little chilly in the dining room! I think it’s still ridiculously hot outside here too, probably still a humidex in the 30s.

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86
drank Plum Lov'en by Design a Tea
807 tasting notes

Got this in today – SUPER fast shipping from Design a Tea! WOOT! Thanks!
I got this free actually with a code when I bought another tea (Marzipan Sunset which is YUMMMMM)
I had a hard time deciding which tea to get next as I have sampled quite a few good ones from them.
I am glad I got this.
Funny I have been seeking the perfect “wine” flavored tea for a long time and while I love Iced Wine – Design a Tea’s being the best I have found thus far ironically, this is more of what I was desiring!
This is a lovely plum and vanilla flavored tea but what resonates more with me is the wine flavor!
Letting it cool some to get more of a room temp to it and I am sure it will be stellar!
Would absolutely order again!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Kittenna

Sounds tasty :) I don’t think I’ve tried a plum tea (although Alphakitty sent me a plum oolong, I think).

Azzrian

Its really odd how I won’t have tried (did that sound right?) anyway find I have NOT tried a specific flavor then all of a sudden I have several of that flavor! This one is really nice! I ended up giving the rest of my cup (about half of it) to my mother who dropped by and loved it lol so I put it in a to go cup for her.
She said she didn’t get the wine notes but then she is only just learning about good tea – she grew up on that instant stuff from the green canister with screw top. :p

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75

I invented this with Design A Tea’s awesome concept of adding two flavors to a base tea of black, oolong, rooibos or green. You can create two teabags that they send you for $2 shipping. I don’t know if I just made a not-so-great flavor combination or what. It’s okay, but nothing spectacular. The steep color is almost like an apple juice, which is fitting I guess. I can’t really taste an oolong flavor, which means it is probably very light. The apple flavor is subtle. And I can’t tell if there is much of a pecan flavor. The second steep is just as flavorful as the first. Do apple and pecan really go well together anyway? I don’t know what I was thinking, but I’ve been on the lookout for a really good apple tea if anyone has any ideas.

teataku

I would think it might be difficult for apple flavoring to be detectable when paired with a traditional tea base, like black tea or oolong. The tea itself, even if not strong, would probably cover it up. Maybe try an herbal blend?

Tea Sipper

Yeah, that sounds like it would make sense!

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87
drank Maple Zabaglione by Design a Tea
4366 tasting notes

Decided to finally try my second custom sample. I am glad that I held off and waited a little while, because the flavor this time is perfect. Delicious maple, delicious creamy, custard-y taste. YUM! The black tea is pleasant, strong, but not overwhelming.

I like this one quite a bit, I might end up ordering a batch!

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93
drank PeacaMint by Design a Tea
6770 tasting notes

Also Known As PecaMint

Thanks for this LiberTeas!

I will be doing a FULL review mid-week over at Sororitea Sisters so look for it there! But I’m totally LOVING this one! YUMMO!

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