Handmade Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

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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75
drank Seed Harvest by Handmade Tea
753 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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drank Winterfylleth Brew by Handmade Tea
692 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
753 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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I had a nice package of sour cream and onion cashews (from graze snack box) and I wanted a cup of tea. What cup of tea goes with that? How about a savory one! I immediately thought of this fun sage and tomato tea. Guess what? It went amazing with the nuts! The black base is super yummy, the savory sage adds a neat depth and the tomato with some sweetness.

Still undecided on this blend – it’s good and creative, yet situational.

Caleb Brown

I loved this review, Char! Mainly because the pairing with the sour cream and onion cashews and Wolf Peach Island is PERFECT. I admit I’m a huge fan of savory teas (but I realize that isn’t everyone’s, well, ‘cup of tea’ so they’re rare in Handmade Tea). Even though I drank this tea back-to-back every day for a few weeks (something I often do while developing a blend) I totally agree it’s situational. I think everyone should always have a savory tea on hand for certain food/meal pairings.

Awkward Soul

Totally, wolf peach island has great potential with pairing with other savory foods. IMO, need more savory teas – its territory that isn’t explored enough, but I can see being tricky to make and sell. Also, I find the tomato in this blend really interesting. Awhile back I saw a garlic tea being swapped around, that might be too weird.

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73
drank Blueberry Limón by Handmade Tea
1283 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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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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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

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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67
drank Winterfylleth Brew by Handmade Tea
753 tasting notes

So I made a cup of this cold brew yesterday. And it wasn’t too bad. Kind of like apple cider but a bit flat. So I cold brewed again today, only for about 6 hours, with some white sugar and WOW. Definitely apple cider. Not fake apple cider from a bought carton or from a mix, but real, traditional apple cider. Complete with the bite you get from fermented apples. I am a little disappointed I waited so long to cold brew this one as now I am all done with this tea.

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67
drank Winterfylleth Brew by Handmade Tea
753 tasting notes

Well the secret to this tea is a super long brew time. But the mystery still remains, how long was that super long time?

I started a cup of this to brew. Then I got busy doing some cold brews, cleaning up the kitchen, flipping through the channels to find Olympic mens hockey (Canada vs. Finland), checking steepster. Then while I was staring at the computer I reached out to grab my cup of tea but I couldn’t find it. Because it was still brewing. How long did I leave it, 10, maybe 15 minutes? Not sure. At least 10. I forgot to push start on the timer so there was no annoying repetitive beep, beep, beep to pull me out of my dead computer stare.

I tried it and it actually wasn’t too bad. The black tea base is quite strong, but the apple is quite strong as well which is good. The cinnamon is also predominate. It is thick and creamy. As the cup cools, it is starting to become more bitter, but I think a loooooonnnnnnnggggg steep suits this tea.

Preparation
1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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96

Initially I did not like green tea as iced or cold brewed at all. But the more I try it, the more I start to like it. The key is doing it right (well that is the key to everything, I guess). I find you still have to watch how long you brew it for, because if it is too long, it starts to get bitter.

I cold brewed this one 1.5 tsp in 10 oz for about 13 hours.

This one is heavy, thick, and creamy. I am getting apricot and peach flavours. The hops add a subtle beer type flavour. It is like a light, blonde beer without the bitterness, carbonation, or foam. I never thought I would like beer like that, but I guess I do.

The green tea flavour is light and lingering in the background. It add a slight sweet vegetal flavour.

I think I will finish off the rest of this tea as a cold brew.

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74
drank Seed Harvest by Handmade Tea
616 tasting notes

I steeped this at a lower temperature and time to keep the smoke notes down and found I like it a lot more this way. The fennel is the strongest note, and adds a nice anise flavor and is a bit sweet. This is so much better. Wow.

Also, I just sent Fiance this note because he hates puns. I hope he loves it. But I’m pretty sure I’m just going to get ‘the look’ (you know, the exasperated why the hell would you do that look)

Dear Valentine,

At first, I couldn’t say with certaintea you were the one for me; the realitea was you were a bit arrogant and needed to learn some humilitea. But over time, I’ve gotten claritea to the situation. You’re my favorite person and you suit me to a tea. In actualitea, I think you’re teariffic and Wuyi totealy belong together.

The vitalitea you have put into my life with your generositea and kindness is outstanding. You’re a Jasmine Pearl in the rough, and my love for you is bounteaful. You have dealt with my eccentriciteas and peculiariteas like no other. Your emotional strength has made me realize that you’re my Iron God(dess) of Mercy. (Not just that, but you’re pretea cute).

Like most relationships, ours didn’t come without a degree of difficulitea. But we have overcome that together and you have helped me with my frailtea and insecuriteas and made me realize that I am beauteaful and worthy.

I love you to eternitea, Valentine, and I promise my undying loyaltea to you forever.

Come home soon, I oolong to have you in my arms.

I know this got a little long, but I hope you appreciated my sensitivitea and creativitea

Love,

Me.

PS: Is that pu-erh tuo in your pocket, or did you just love my pun thread?

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML
CelebriTEA

Love your Valentine note ♡

__Morgana__

Adorable!

Nicole

That is completely cute!

moraiwe

Thanks guys! So did he, (though he pointed out that ‘worthy’ could have totally been ‘wortea’) so yay! :D

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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
379 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
1283 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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67
drank Winterfylleth Brew by Handmade Tea
753 tasting notes

I wasn’t sure about this one at first. It smells strongly of cinnamon and apples. Sort of like an apple crisp. Brewed, it tastes like dull cinnamon with some apples. Slightly sweet. There is a weird taste on my tongue with the aftertaste. I want to say astringent but it is more bitter (?). I was expecting a bit more punch with this one. I was hoping for strong, spicey cinnamon, and tart apples. I would have liked there to be more sweetness as well. I am going to play around with the brewing parameters a bit. And add some rock sugar, maybe honey or maple syrup, next time. I think the rock sugar will help to bring out more of the apple. There is less bitterness as the tea cools quite a bit.

A long steeping time may help with the cinnamon as well. We will see…

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

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90
drank Winter Cheers by Handmade Tea
753 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
267 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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