Handmade Tea

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85
drank Yerbaberry Mint by Handmade Tea
416 tasting notes

Thank-you Hapatite for this lovely sample from Handmade Teas. I haven’t had a yerba mate with mint before and I really like it. I don’t taste any berry flavor but that’s okay. I think this would also be a nice cold brew… nice wake up quality and yummy fresh mint. It’s too bad that it’s not readily available.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80
drank Harvest Brew by Handmade Tea
416 tasting notes

I have to thank the lovely and generous Hepatite for this tea.
I wasn’t sure about having an autumn tea in the spring but it works well. It reminds me of some chai teas. The spices are well balanced with out any overpowering flavors. I like cinnamon, ginger, cloves and allspice :-) so I’m a happy girl! The black tea adds a bit of body. I’ve had several similar teas made with rooibos lately but they just don’t have enough body to make it. I have enough for a couple more cups, so yeah!

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cloves

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Seed Harvest by Handmade Tea
841 tasting notes

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drank Seed Harvest by Handmade Tea
614 tasting notes

This tea is interesting and savory, but I feel like it is all cumin. I’m used to cumin accompanying other things. Like when I use it in sweet potato quesadillas it is carried by the creamy sweetness of the potato, making it much more rounded. I don’t think I like it much on it’s own. It is kind of sharp.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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77
drank Seed Harvest by Handmade Tea
1027 tasting notes

From the Here’s Hoping Traveling Tea Box #2

I like savory teas, and that’s just what this tea is. Apparently I also like fennel in tea. Never in a million years would I have thought that, but I like Verdant’s Holy Basil Spa Blend which has a strong fennel note, and this tea has a lot of fennel in it as well. I also like the anise note that’s present here. It’s noticeable but not overwhelming. I do wish the base tea were stronger. I can’t taste the tea at all which is a shame. I think with a better base tea this would be outstanding.

Not something I’d drink everyday, but I can see myself wanting a tea like this every now and then.

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

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28

Sipdown (182/186)!

Long, lost forgotten sample from the super kind Lala back from early/mid January when we met up for tea together. I probably only forgot about this because it’s a green blend. Recently rediscovered/remembered it, however, and so I saved the sample and stuck it in the sipdown drawer.

I debated going hot or cold but ultimately cold won out because I knew that would use it up all at once. Maybe cold was the wrong direction though because this cold brew is pretty foul. Maybe it’s the hops or maybe it’s just the green base in general but this tastes like some kind of slimy seaweed coated fruit. I feel like it should be vibrant green and gooey…

However I drank the whole dang 20 oz. of it! I had a very long (10 hours), stressful shift and I wasn’t allowed to leave the store for all of it (for several reasons, but the main one being I was the only member from the management team present so I couldn’t abandon my sole cashier for the day – if she got stuck or needed cash/to void something there would be no one there to do it) so I made due with what I had available to me – even if it was just slimy, seaweed fruit tea.

Sorry Lala – but I just don’t appreciate this blend (even though I more than appreciate your generosity). Happiness is not Hoppiness.

Caleb Brown

Roswell, I’m super happy you were adventurous enough to try this brew…and drink all of it! That being said, I’m very sad to hear you didn’t enjoy it. I think this tea was a polarizing blend in general however, I think part of your negative experience had to do with the age of the tea. There were fresh hops in Happiness is Hoppiness which were only good for about 4 months. This blend is from April 2013. I do think I should have been more clear about that on the packaging in retrospect. Again, super sad you didn’t enjoy it but I absolutely understand. If you have any questions at all feel free to contact me here: [email protected]

VariaTEA

At least the name is fun :P

Roswell Strange

@Caleb Brown – more than likely it was just the green tea in general: I’m not usually a fan. However this was still definitely worth trying and I’m glad I did :)

Lala

Sorry you didn’t like it. But that is ok, you can’t like every tea that is out there :)

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66
drank Blueberry Limón by Handmade Tea
1027 tasting notes

From the Here’s Hoping Traveling Tea Box #2

I was expecting blueberry lemon. I got smokey lemon. At first I thought the tea had been contaminated from sitting in the tea box, but after reading other reviews it looks like the Keemun base of this tea is over ridding most of the fruit flavors. After I accepted that there wasn’t going to be a lot of blueberry action going on in my cup I was able to enjoy this tea for what it was. I do wish I had a lemon to squeeze into my cup, but I settled for a bit of sugar instead.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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76

Tea #37 from Considering a new TTB
Spring is the wrong time of year for me to be drinking floral teas, but I had to try this since I’ve never tried anything from Handmade Tea. I love the combination of Jasmine and Rose, they were well balanced and managed to be floral without reminding me of potpourri. I’m not a huge fan of lemon balm, but it paired well with the floral flavors in the blend. It added a subtle lemon flavor that even as a citrus hater I found enjoyable.

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

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58
drank Harvest Brew by Handmade Tea
152 tasting notes

I brewed this for a shorter time & removed the tea so that it wouldn’t continue steeping. This steep was less sweet and less spicy. Maybe it depends what spices you get in each serving?

Preparation
212 °F / 100 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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58
drank Harvest Brew by Handmade Tea
152 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
841 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
828 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
828 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
1634 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
488 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
488 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
1634 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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