Handmade Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

58
drank Harvest Brew by Handmade Tea
123 tasting notes

This tea has a very strong flavor that immediately evokes pumpkin pie and Autumn. As I sipped it more and finished the cup, it became a little too sweet and too spiced for my liking. A nice black tea, but nothing extra-ordinary.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cloves

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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drank Winter Cheers by Handmade Tea
53 tasting notes

Wow, haven’t touched steepster in a while. Reading through all my old tasting notes makes me really miss writing them though. Looks like steepster’s had an overhaul in the meantime, and it’s looking very nice!

Anyway, I’ve been reaching for this tea several times over the past few days to help soothe an upset stomach. Caffeine seems to only make things worse, and this is one of the few herbals I still have around. It does the job well though; very minty and refreshing without being overly herb-y like straight peppermint tea sometimes is. I don’t know that the mulberries are adding anything to the flavor but they certainly look interesting. I noticed Handmade Tea doesn’t seem to be offering tiny samples of each ingredient with the tea anymore, which is really a shame, I would have loved to steep a few of the mulberries alone to see what role they play in the blend.

Overall though, I am really enjoying this tea while I weather this illness — I won’t be surprised if it’s gone by the time I am well.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 9 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
Caleb Brown

So happy to hear you liked this one! A naturally non-caffeinated tea is a perfect thing to sip on while you’re under the weather. Feel better soon!

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drank Winterfylleth Brew by Handmade Tea
734 tasting notes

I really dislike the black base in this one. It’s finicky. At 100C too bitter to drink, at 90 it’s drinkable, but not enjoyable (at least not for me). 85C and 2.5 minute steep – I’ve lost all the apple which is the only good part of this.
I’ve drank it several times and never found steep parameters that makes this enjoyable. It’s too bad because I think the apple component is really good and I didn’t get any cinnamon – suppose to be, but I’m happy not to have it.
This is a HUGE miss for me.

Lala

I found this one pretty good as a cold brew. Like cold apple cider.

Caleb Brown

Super sorry to hear you didn’t dig this one, Dex! I agree the base tea was indeed a bit finicky. I’ll have to check my water temp. because I was certainly enjoying it at 100C. Lala nailed it though, the apple comes though nicely in Winterfylleth when cold brewed.

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75
drank Seed Harvest by Handmade Tea
771 tasting notes

Made this one iced.

It was ok. The anise was settled down a bit and the fennel was stronger but the flavour was still predominately black licorice. Surprisingly I had to add quite a bit of sugar to sweeten it up.

I initially thought this one would be better iced vs hot but I am not sure. Still need to try it as a cold brew though.

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75
drank Seed Harvest by Handmade Tea
771 tasting notes

I hadn’t been avoiding this one. But I was in no hurry to try it. It seemed like it would be a chai to me, I don’t mind chai but it is definitely not my go to tea.

After opening the tin up, it smelled strongly of fennel. The brewed tea is very strongly anise (which smells like black licorice). It taste like a moderately bold black tea with sweet black licorice notes. The licorice is not overpowering, which is quite nice. There is definitely no need to add any sweetener to this one as it is fairly sweet on its own. I get a very quick, light salty fennel taste at the beginning of the sip but it is soon covered up by the licorice flavour. I am not getting much other spice out of this tea. There is a light “heat” to the aftertaste. It is definitely not a chai.

Due to the black licorice flavour, I definitely think this one would be better as an iced/cold brew.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Dexter

Hmmmm – I have been avoiding this one (sending it out in swap packages as often as possible). I think your review confirms that I won’t like this – I don’t have much left so should at least TRY it.
Glad you had a pleasant experience. :))

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73
drank Blueberry Limón by Handmade Tea
1448 tasting notes

Thank you for this one, Dexter3657! This sounded delightful! Very happy you sent it over. I certainly don’t have enough keemuns “the less smoky lapsang”. Plenty of orange (lemon?) peels and two big blueberries in my infuser… that must be why when it’s brewed, the tea itself is very light colored. So I put the infuser back in for a WHILE. At least 10-15 minutes. It didn’t seem to have an affect on the tea itself, but the orange peels certainly got PEELIER. Not really a good thing… it tasted like peels, not orange. I didn’t really taste any blueberry. But I love this sort of keemun – slightly smoky and sweet. I just wish it was a stronger black tea. Maybe I should have used more leaves. A nice idea for a blend though, Handmade!

Caleb Brown

Tea Sipper, totally agree – folks should be drinking more Keemuns! I think the citrus peel flavor can work really well in tea blends (usually black teas) but your point of tasting like peel IS why I’ve been experimenting with blending with the actual dried meat of the fruit lately. More sugar! The blueberries do sweeten up the blend naturally a bit, but I think occasionally in this blend the Keemun overpowered the actual berry flavor a bit. I appreciate the thoughtful review!

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Thanks for the sample Lala!
I had to add a bit of sugar for the flavour to emerge here. It’s a very mild coconut/kiwi note, but I really do like the base, so I don’t mind at all. A pleasant cuppa, to be sure. I’d consider ordering a small batch for myself one day. Also tried with milk and that was just as lovely. Malty, and well balanced.
Will hold off on rating as I actually drank this cuppa yesterday and my memory is a bit fuzzy on the deets. But going by memory, I think it’d be around 77 or so.

Lala

You’re welcome

Caleb Brown

The natural sweetness of the kiwi man this blend sweet enough for me but because of this review I tired it with milk and LOVED it! Thanks for the review :)

Indigobloom

Such is the beauty of Steepster!! I’m so glad you tried it out :)

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70

Sipdown (205/208)!

Tre tried reading the name of this one and royally screwed it up several times. To be fair, the name is a little bit of a mouthfull. It was amusing to me, though.

Thanks Lala for the sample. It was enjoyable enough, and I think a good introduction to this company. This cup in particular was more cinnamon and less apple. I have plenty of cinnamon apple teas, and I’d likely pick them over this one – but it was really nice. And I loved that it was black with no bitterness or astringency.

Plus Fuji apples. I like Fuji apples.

Flavors: Cinnamon

Caleb Brown

Thanks! I appreciate the review! :)

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70

Thanks Lala for the sample! All your recent reviews made me curious, so I made a cup of this up this morning. The idea of another kind of “oatmeal” like tea, but with Fuji Apples definitely piqued my interest.

This steeped up pretty light, but I guess that makes sense given a large part of the leaf was apple chunks. Taste wise, it’s pretty decent. Definitely a strong, juicy apple taste and just enough cinnamon that I kind of get the oatmeal comparison. This is very smooth though, with no bitterness or astringency. But I wish this was a bit more flavourful.

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This has black tea in it? For some reason I thought this was an herbal blend, LOL.
What I’m tasting is a bowl of apple cinnamon flavored instant oatmeal. Yup, that’s pretty much it. It’s a very gentle cup, with a little bit of a dry mouth, a slight pucker of tart apple, & it’s actually kind of nice.
Thanks Lala, & that, my friends, is another sipdown.

Shelley_Lorraine

apple cinnamon oatmeal! yes, that’s exactly what it tastes like.

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60
drank Blueberry Limón by Handmade Tea
394 tasting notes

No. Just no. I really disliked this tea the first time because it’s so smoky. This time around, I took the advice of other reviewers and added honey and lemon. I ended up way overcompensating in my efforts. And whatever I can taste of the base tea is not pleasant. Plus it’s making my stomach hurt, as black teas are wont to do. So the only good thing I have to say about this tea is that I can call this a sipdown.

I got this at the Taste of France swap. My best guess is that it’s from Fuzzy_Peachkin. Thanks!

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60
drank Blueberry Limón by Handmade Tea
394 tasting notes

I picked this up at our Taste of France swap, I think from Fuzzy_Peachkin. Thanks!

I really wasn’t expecting smoky here. I really don’t like smoky. Just no. Gah! There are hints of lemon coming through. I have enough left for one more cup, so I’ll try that one at a lower temp with some honey and lemon as suggested in some of the other tasting notes. But not today. It took me 20 minutes to get the smoky taste out of my mouth just now. Blegh.

No rating, because my profound dislike of smokiness makes it impossible to evaluate the quality of the blend fairly.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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73

I picked some of this up at the last NYC meetup, courtesy of the ever-generous Nicole_Martin. I was sceptical about this blend, but I enjoy both peppermint and green rooibos independently so thought it might be worth a try. When I opened the bag, I got a very strong, very fresh-smelling whiff of peppermint. Once brewed, peppermint is still the dominant note. However, the green rooibos is very present in the background. Green rooibos always makes me think of honey whole-wheat pretzels, and that plus peppermint is just a weird combination. The white mulberries are a nice flourish from an aesthetic standpoint, but I can’t say I’m picking up on them in the flavor profile. An interesting tisane to have tried, but my suspicion that the primary ingredients here are best enjoyed separately has been confirmed.

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70
drank Seed Harvest by Handmade Tea
1448 tasting notes

A blend from Dexter3657! thanks so much! It didn’t seem like others here on Steepster liked this one very much, so I was expecting the worst, but I actually like this one! Maybe not as much as a chai that would have the typical chai spices included, but this had a different flavor to it… a nice change! A medium bodied black tea… the first flavor I seem to taste is the licorice/anise. There is also a sweetness I didn’t expect.. I’m not sure what that might be from though… maybe the black tea itself and not the spices? I thought this blend would be more savory than it is. I don’t taste the smoke at all… I feel like by the tasting notes I’ve spotted I’m drinking another tea, but I like this one. It’s so nice to be able to sample so many different teas. If it wasn’t for this amazing Steepster community, I’d probably have to drink the same five teas over and over… and of course without the sampling it would be impossible to find those five teas that were the perfect teas for me that I wanted to sip over and over! :D

Dexter

I included this one because I thought it was odd/unusual. Sometimes trying a just ok tea that is WEIRD is as much fun as finding an AMAZING one. IMHO :))

Cavocorax

I think I’ve had over 500 different teas in about 15 months of logging on Steepster and I KNOW that would never have happened without all the swaps, tea sales, etc. The surprise samples are the best because you get to try things you never asked for and didn’t know you’d like! So I agree, this community is pretty amazing.

Tea Sipper

I say “exactly” to both of you!

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90
drank Winter Cheers by Handmade Tea
771 tasting notes

I have been trying to find this one for days on Steepster. I just assumed Caleb hadn’t added it yet, so I waited a few days then decided to add it myself so I can make a note. So I go to add it and there is an error saying it is already in the database. Darn you steepster.

This tea is interesting, it is not what I expected. It smells strongly of peppermint. The tea tastes like a very light and smooth mint blend, but strongly on the peppermint side. I am not sure what mulberries are supposed to taste like, but I think they add a bit of candy taste to the blend. It is sweet and fruity. I am not getting any tartness. I don’t taste much of the green rooibos at all (and I am more than ok with that). I am surprised that I like this one so much as I am very particular on my mint teas!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec
OMGsrsly

Mulberries are like candy. SO sweet.

Lala

So I brewed up another cup and then ate one of the rehydrated mulberries. It was delicious. It tasted like a cross between bread pudding and gummy candies.

Sil

i meant to ask you how much it costs for the subscription. I know caleb said as long as it goes through you can do it but i wasn’t sure if there was an extra charge for canadians.

Lala

$12.95 USD for the mini subscription.

Sil

oh nice. must try it in the new year :)

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49

Tea #30 from the Here’s Hoping TTB

I’m not much of a kiwi fan, but this tea caught my eye because of the size of the kiwi pieces in the bag, they’re huge! I’m rather curious as to how much, if any, flavor they will contribute to the final brew, so we’ll have to see.

I was a little disappointed right off the bat because the black base is a bit astringent and rather strong. This is likely the reason why I couldn’t taste the kiwi or coconut. There is a bit of a creamy mouthfeel, perhaps from the coconut, but not much flavor is coming through over the strong base. Perhaps this would be better as a cold steep so the base doesn’t overwhelm the flavors.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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66
drank Perry Tart by Handmade Tea
274 tasting notes

I was really excited to try this because I’ve been looking for a good pear tea for a while. Unfortunately, this isn’t it. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a lovely black tea. But I can’t taste any fruit at all in this. There are both dried pears and cranberries, but the taste doesn’t come through with steeping. Which is a shame.

As a black tea, however, it’s quite nice. Smooth, slightly sweet, and no hint of bitterness.

Preparation
2 min, 30 sec

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48

Tea #26 from the Here’s Hoping TTB
I made this last night and fell asleep before I could drink it. I wish I would have read the description before I made it, because it sure gave me a surprise when I reached for it this morning. I wasn’t expecting to start my day with such a lapsangesque tea. One thing that I have been sure of for quite some time is that I will likely never enjoy keemun or lapsang souchong, I just don’t enjoy even the slightest hint of smoke in my tea.

With this blend I think the smoke actually covers up most of the flavor, I’m not tasting any blueberry and barely a hint of lemon. This tea is going straight back in the box, hopefully someone else can appreciate it a bit more than I can.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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85

Two tasting notes for WINTER teas today!

Thanks so much again, Dexter3657! This is my perfect apple tea! Everything is on the lighter side here. Even though the black tea was steeped just after boiling for a few minutes, it is very subtle. The apple and cinnamon are definitely present, but also subtle. But it works very well anyway, in its lightness and subtlety. The apple is perfect – very sweet! I’m intrigued by this tea shop… I’m sorry I don’t have much more to say on this one.

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85

Having this tea again for breakfast. Apple cinnamon tea wasn’t the greatest pairing with breakfast, but then my breakfast was kind of weird. I felt like grazing, so breakfast was crackers, havarti cheese, cranberry stilton cheese, and scone with homemade blubarb jam, with a side of korean radish salad.

Still impressed how this tea is pretty good, the apple flavor is really well done! I heard from my husband that his family is having difficulty selecting christmas gifts for me. I suggested again my amazon list, as well as a list of Tea of the Month clubs, with Handmade tea now on that list. Fingers Crossed!

Tea Sipper

Blubarb jam! Sounds amazziing.

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85

This morning for breakfast I wanted something more special. I found a bag of fresh cranberries, so I made fresh cranberry scones. I thought a nice spicy black blend would pair awesomely, but I’ve been saving my chais. My father and my best friend + her boyfriend are visiting around christmas time, with my dad and my friend’s boyfriend chai fans, I’m saving my chais. Oddly, I don’t have that many chais in my stash.

Then, I remembered I had this tea that I snagged from BrewTeally Sweet! This is my seconds Handmade Tea blend, first being that tomato sage blend (wut). Winterfylleth Brew has a really good apple flavor that is natural, crisp and juicy. The cinnamon is backburner, but comes out end of sip. The black base is quite nice and doesn’t get bitter or dry. Very tasty!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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50
drank Blueberry Limón by Handmade Tea
616 tasting notes

Tea #49 from HHTTB2

Visually, there’s a lot going on in the dry blend. Big, plump blueberries and chunks of lemon rind . And quite a bit of both. I don’t really smell the smoke in the blend, but that could be a product of it’s travels in a giant cardboard box. Who knows. What I do smell is lemon/citrus.

Once I brewed this up? Oh. There’s the smoke.

It’s not like lapsang smoke, where’s it’s like getting thwumped with a burning log. (Or the whole fire dempending on the Lapsang, I suppose). But it’s definitely got some Keemun-esque smoke going on here. It pretty much overpowers all the other elements in the cup.

With sugar added in, I get something that reminds me of a lemon rubbed charred chicken breast. Better, but still not terribly good. I taste a slight blueberriness in the back of the sip. So now I have charred lemon chicken with blueberry compote. Not exactly what I was hoping for.

And back into the giant cardboard box it goes.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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75

Apples! that’s what I taste. Apple! I should have known. I read the ingredients of this tea before I asked moraiwe for it in a swap, but I had completely forgotten them by the time I brewed it this morning.

I smelled it and kept thinking it smells so familiar, what is that smell? It’s an extremely natural apple flavor. I hardly detect the cinnamon. I really should be able to recognize the smell of apple. . don’t know what was up with me then :)

Thanks for sharing this yummy tea with me moraiwe (^.^)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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57

Tea #12 from HHTTB2

I like seeing chunky pieces in flavored black teas. It’s like. Oh hey! This is what this is supposed to taste like. It somehow also reassures me that it’ll taste less like chemicals. And while that’s not always true, it’s still nice.

There are big chunky pieces of coconut and kiwi in this blend. As well as tinier shredded bits of coconut. And quite a bit of both, honestly.

In spite of all of that, the black base here is simply overwhelming. The black tea is strong and mildly astringent. The coconut lends itself to a thicker mouthfeel, but not much else. As it cools, there is a subtle, natural kiwi flavor that pokes through. Sweetener also helps it along, just as creamer seems to coax out the coconut.

I think, judging how the fruit flavors started popping in the tepid cup, maybe this would be better iced, and perhaps give a better balance of flavors.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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