Design a Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

83

Design a Tea offers 2 samples of your choosing on their site (designed by you) for $1. You choose between black, oolong or green and then 2 flavors. Reading the site closer, the flavorings are said to be natural and organic. You get one teabag of each choice. Sent very quickly (I’m not as quick to review however).

This is a black tea, which is Ceylon blend. I added chocolate and caramel as flavor choices. Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting much. Well, I was wrong. I was very careful to brew properly, added a tbs. of (crystal) sugar. I actually did not need to add so much sugar (too sweet). The black tea is not bashful, but behaves (not bitter). The chocolate and caramel add a dessert yummy character to it that I like a lot. As is cools, the caramel is overpowering the chocolate (boo), but it’s still good.

If I didn’t already have a tin of Upton Chocolate Earl Grey and Creme Caramel (which I have combined with good results), this would be on my order list. Think I’ll add it though, just so I don’t forget about it. With only one teabag to test, all reminders are gone : )

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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94
drank Marzipan Sunset by Design a Tea
252 tasting notes

First, I want to think Design A Tea for their wonderful customer service and generous samples!

WOW! This tea is delicious. It smells good all throughout and tastes wonderful. They’ve somehow managed to make it feel like I’m actually eating marzipan as I drink this. This is the first marzipan tea I’ve had and I’m really happy it went well. I plan on buying more of this!

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec

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75

Alright, so here goes tea #2!!

I have to say, this tea smelled MUCH more promising when I opened up the bag! Tart blueberry was the main scent, and I definitely recognized it as blueberry! The tartness made me think of candy though, perhaps sour Warheads, or whatever those were called? Either way, it made my mouth water. Didn’t smell any hazelnut, but that’s ok.

This time, I did look into the teabag, and there was clearly some green tea (sencha??) in there, not too terribly broken up, and a bit of powderiness, which I’m going to attribute to lyophilized (hee) blueberry. And possibly hazelnut, but I’d think that might be added as an extract?

Steeped tea smells like tart, mouthwatering blueberry candy. Nom nom nom. Frankly, I don’t care if I can smell/taste hazelnut right now, cuz this smells good!

Unfortunately, drinking it is a bit of a letdown. I am greeted by a bit of a perfumey blueberry taste which makes me think… blueberry Jelly Belly, I think. There’s a nice green tea finish, which is enjoyable, but I’m just not digging the artificial fruit flavours. :( No hazelnut, either.

This one’s definitely better than my ‘Coconut Banana Oolong’, but again, after tasting DavidsTea’s White Tiger, where the blueberry flavour is just SO authentic (even if they did something to enhance it, I don’t really care), I am looking for that sort of flavour in blueberry teas. Tartness optional, but perfumey candy is not going to cut it anymore.

Might give another couple teas a shot, or order their Ice Wine tea (as someone, perhaps Azzrian? thought it was pretty good), but as of now, no plans to order larger quantities of any of “my own” blends.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

really loved the ice wine from Design a Tea – more so than the other samples by far and more than another culinary’s.

Kittenna

I think, sometime in the distant future when I make it through all the teas currently headed my way, that I will order some from them. But right now I should be swamped! Once Canada Post starts being good.

Azzrian

Really wish it would get there NOW!

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58

I’m so excited to try some of “my own” blends! Let’s see how this one turns out…

The teas came in an envelope, which is fair enough given I paid $1 for shipping, but I was a bit worried that the tea had been crushed. Looking in the teabag, I didn’t check too closely to see if it was, but I did see a white powder on top of the tea… do they just plunk tea in a bag, plop on some powdered flavouring, and go?? I didn’t see any banana, but perhaps it was powderized freeze-dried banana.

I can’t really place the smell of the steeped tea. There’s a touch of fruitiness, but I wouldn’t say banana, and maybe an artificial coconut flavour, on top of a darker oolong base. Not particularly grabbing. Also, it smells…. musty. Not that I think this has been sitting somewhere for a really long while, it’s just a scent I’m picking up.

So here goes… Man, I wish I better knew what a darker oolong tasted like, because then I could better separate the flavours. I would have preferred a greener oolong (e.g. like in DavidsTea’s Banana Oolong), but knew that wasn’t what I was going to get. Anyways, I’m definitely tasting coconut, but it is kind of fakey tasting, and what I can taste of the banana is very subtle; there’s a bit more of it at the end of the sip. Likewise with the coconut. The tea is there in the background rounding out the flavour.

Overall, it’s not bad, but the white powder bothered me to begin with, and I wish the flavours were more authentic. The banana also isn’t strong enough for me (after knowing how delicious banana can be in tea). Might try a re-steep, but I highly doubt it will re-steep well.

Think I’ll try the other one tonight as well. Sleep? Psh…

(And guys, if you don’t ever hear from me again, please let someone know that this tea was the last thing I consumed! Particularly those of you that know my address :D:D)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Ninavampi

I can’t believe you are still awake! I just woke up!

Kittenna

sob I shouldn’t be. My sleep schedule is awful. AWFUL. I’m contemplating not going to bed tonight (yeah, cuz that always works well). Oh sorry, did I say tonight??? I guess 7:30am no longer counts as “night”…

Azzrian

LOL I cracked up but then again one never knows!

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53

One of the samples from Design a Tea. I thought this would be an interesting blend, as I like both flavors. Perhaps they can go well together?
The dry smell is mainly peppermint. If I try, I can get something possibly vanilla-ish, but it’s mainly peppermint. It keeps pretty much the same smell all throughout steeping. At first, the flavor is ALL peppermint. While I’ve yet to meet a peppermint tea that I didn’t like, I was really wanting to get the two flavors together. Once it cools a bit, the Irish Creme seems to come out. I can’t taste it so much as it seems to be mellowing out the peppermint. I really wish the irish creme flavor would have made a strong appearance. While good for a peppermint tea, that’s not what I was looking for with this.

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec
Dylan Oxford

I evidently missed the boat on the free samples, but yesterday I was very excited to discover Ovation Teas (ovationteas.com) has a stellar-looking custom tea creating thingy on their website. I could not resist trying it out! Though they don’t have irish creme flavoring, you might be able to send them an email and see!

Emilie

Design a Tea still has the samples here http://designatea.com/freesamples.php if you’re looking for them. They seem really hit or miss, but I’ve heard the stuff they already have blended is pretty good.
Thanks for the info, I’ll definitely check it out tomorrow once I’m more awake!

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94
drank Vanilla Almond by Design a Tea
1452 tasting notes

For $4.75 you can “design a tea” over at designatea.com and choose which base you want (black, oolong, green or rooibos) along with two flavors. Sounds like a good idea! Especially when you get two free samples of your own custom blend. (And I received a third they made as well!) The samples consist of one tea bag of each flavor. I love trying teas, so I could try all their flavor combos possible, but I went with a vanilla almond black tea. I really wanted to try all three elements here, because they are usually hit or miss. Black teas with vanilla flavor is my favorite usually. The black tea is a great base, with a medium flavor. The flavor is a bit dry to me, like one I’d attribute to a white tea, but still delicious. The vanilla flavor is mild yet present. I could have used more, since I can never have enough vanilla flavor. The almond flavor is great too, a genuine almond, definitely present with a toastiness to it. The second steep was just as good as the first. All three flavors go perfect together. It’s a great idea to send out free samples. Give it a try! (designatea.com) I won’t forget about trying this one, and I’ll keep it in mind in the future. Such an interesting concept!

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85
drank Ice Wine Tea by Design a Tea
807 tasting notes

Yummy!
This is my first experience with any Iced Wine tea and I love it!
Makes me want to order some right away but also makes me want to explore other brands as well. However based on the tea logs here it looks like this company has it down pat!
I would not mind it a bit stronger but this is really enjoyable!
I have not drank alcohol for over three years now for health reasons (type 1 diabetic for 40 years) but I have missed a really good wine now and then!
This is very accurate to a merlot flavor with no bitterness, the right amount of sweetness and a cooling feeling even served hot!
I definitely want to explore ice wine more!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Dianne

I just ordered the blueberry merlot from Tea forte For the same reason I miss a glass of wine once in awhile ( Not diabetic ) supporting husband. Thanks

Azzrian

That is excellent that you are supporting your husband in his non-drinking! My hubby also stopped with me and it makes it so much easier! I hope you enjoy it! I will have to check out the blueberry merlot too! :)

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77

This was one that I “designed” on their site. I don’t recall why now but for some reason I ended up speaking to the man at design a tea. He was extremely nice, helpful, and made good suggestions. I liked his positive energy. The tea itself was good. I am always concerned about flavor additives in anything, especially teas. While I am not sure how one gets a “natural” amaretto flavor this tea was very good. Neither of the flavors seemed to take over each other nor did they take over the oolong itself.
I suppose I would have liked it even a little more flavorful but I would not say it was lacking in flavor. I did add some sugar in the raw on the second cup and it did bring out the flavors a little more.
The first sip reminded me a bit of a Cherry Mash if you have ever had one of those. Except without the chocolate. The cherry came through nicely without tasting chemical or fake, and the nutty flavor was subtle but present.
While not an “in your face” flavor I appreciate its simplicity and that it was very pure and clean in taste.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

They are SUPER nice at Design A Tea, the few dealings I’ve had with them have always been very positive.

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76
drank China Seduction by Design a Tea
129 tasting notes

i forgot this was a pu’erh! black tea just came to mind when there was mention of rose and chocolate, but i really like it.
the chocolate scent comes through strong, but not so much in the taste. i really get a nice floral from the rose that pairs well with the earthy pu’erh. very nice tea!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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79
drank PeacaMint by Design a Tea
4449 tasting notes

I’ve had this blend for a while now… it just sounded a little too weird so I held off trying it. But somehow, these flavors all work together quite well. The peppermint and pecan are strong enough to offset that funky rooibos flavor, and the nutty flavor of the rooibos enhances the delicious flavor of the pecan. The cool, crisp flavor of the peppermint is a nice contrast to the sweet, nutty flavor.

I’m liking this much more than I thought I would.

Stephanie

Pecan and Mint? Interesting!

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88
drank Ice Wine Tea by Design a Tea
6770 tasting notes

Oddly I just found this one in a random place in my desk where I don’t usually store tea! Very strange! So…I decided to drink it! It’s a mellower Ice Wine Tea – perhaps because of the amount of loose leaf in the sample I received…I didn’t do a full cuppa…but this is really nice. I like that it’s different and doesn’t have an intense flavor like the others…I mean…they can’t ALL be the same, right? Sometimes you are looking for a lighter flavor and other times an intense flavor, eh? At least that is how I think!

This is great hot or cold but I do prefer ICED. It’s like a mix of white grapes, pear, and sugar with the freshest mineral/spring water you ever tasted…very clean, crisp! It’s really wonderful!

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38
drank Pumpkin Almond by Design a Tea
1103 tasting notes

This one smells pleasantly spicy dry, and rather almond-y after steeping. But once again, the taste isn’t half as nice as the scent. It’s more flavorful than my other sample, but that flavor seems very fake, even chemical-y.

Two samples from Design a Tea, two failures. It’s a shame; it could have been such a wonderful and unique option for tea shopping.

Preparation
6 min, 0 sec

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30
drank Chestnut Hazelnut by Design a Tea
1103 tasting notes

Design a Tea sounded like fun, so I decided to try a few of their samples! This one is the first of two.

This one has a pleasant smell both dry and after steeping; I was happy to be able to pick out the scents of both chestnut and hazelnut. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the taste. It was difficult to taste any flavoring, and as the tea cooled it became impossible. In fact, the cooled tea barely reminded me of tea at all; it seemed more like warm water with a vaguely tea-esque taste.

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec

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76

The dry tea smelled very fruity and yummy.

The steeped tea is more sedate, smelling mostly of blackberries with a hint of tartness.

The flavor is likewise and balances well with the green tea. Not overly sweet at all, just a taste of fresh berries and green tea. The cranberry isn’t so much tasted as sensed… you don’t get cranberry flavor, you just get a hint of its tartness or redness to hold together the rest of the tea.

Not a must-have for me, but a good solid fruity green. I might get more depending on the store price, as I think it would be good as a cold or sweet tea, but the sample is a one-serving amount and not enough for experimentation.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec

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67

This is one of the personal-designed teas from Design A Tea that I got a sample of.

The pre-steeped tea is cloyingly sweet smelling, so is the brewed.

The flavor only has the barest hints of amaretto and is otherwise ALL chestnut.

Which does taste great in quality. The black tea base fits nicely with it.

I’m rating this mid-to-high based on the chestnut flavoring, but not higher due to the lightness of amaretto and the scent, and because I personally didn’t think it was awesome, for my own taste preferences. For me, the chestnut is too strong.

But if you love earthy, rich, nutty teas, this is for you. As said, the chestnut is Strong in this one.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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77

I really liked this one. The pineapple was excellent. Super, super strong smell out of the package that lessened a bit after steeping. Very fruity and sweet without tasting like sugar.

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

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74
drank Vanilla Mango by Design a Tea
532 tasting notes

Smelled wonderful when I opened the package. Reminded me of a summer day. It was good hot but the vanilla notes were not very noticeable. Cold was still tasty.

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

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85
drank Island Blend by Design a Tea
6770 tasting notes

A nice, solid Sencha – clean and satisfying with subtle vanilla and mango undertones! I’m not sure where this one was hiding but I am darned happy I located it!!!! YUM!!!!

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1
drank Cider Nutmeg by Design a Tea
1990 tasting notes

I requested a couple of free samples from Design a Tea since I thought it would be fun to play around with different flavorings. This was one, black tea flavored with cider nutmeg. Perhaps that’s redundant, as cider is often spiced with nutmeg to begin with, but I thought it might be good.

The tea came in little tea filters, and I have to say that the tea looked a little disappointing, since it was made up of tiny pieces and what looks like fannings and not much recognizable leaf. The scent of the dry leaves was definitely of spiced apple cider, but it had another odd aroma as well. Brewed this tea was a dark amber shade, and the aroma was much the same. I’m sorry to say that the flavorings on this tea were not good at all. Kind of appley, yes, not so much nutmeg, overall very chemical. I couldn’t drink more than a few sips. It was an interesting thought, but the execution leaves much to be desired.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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85
drank Coconut Mango by Design a Tea
658 tasting notes

The boyfriend chose this as the flavour for a Design a Tea sample. I wasn’t sure about this combination, but it ended up delicious! It was very tropical-tasting, suitably enough. It really felt like I was drinking fruit juice, a luxury I’m rarely able to enjoy. I kept getting apple notes at the end of sips, and it made me recall reading that mango is often used to create apple flavours in tea. Now I see why. The coconut was nice too, and definitely present, but the mango was the star.

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77

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Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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93
drank Almond Coconut by Design a Tea
36 tasting notes

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Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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81
drank Chocolate-Coconut by Design a Tea
658 tasting notes

Finally got around to trying my second sample from Design A Tea. I wasn’t expecting it to do much for me so kind of forgot about it.

But this was pretty nice! Very coconuty with a touch of chocolate. It was creamy and pretty rich despite my using far too much water for the 2 g sample.

The leaves were quite small and a bit dusty unlike the pretty, large oolong leaves I’m use to.

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68

One of my two free Design a Tea samples. I’m skeptical about my abilities, but here goes.

It smells very interesting. Not really getting peach from it, nor can I discern the vanilla. It smells more like a tropical fruit, I think. Or some sort of candy. Hm.

While steeping, I can smell the rooibos and the fruitiness steps back a little. It steps back even further when I taste it. Interesting! I don’t taste peach-vanilla in this, but I like it. It has a nice rooibos taste with a sweet and fruity finish. I don’t really like the scent (and it really smells like a cany that isn’t coming to mind right now), but it’s quite pleasant and smooth.

I drank some without milk and then added a splash. Both are good.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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