Herbal Infusions Tea Co.

Recent Tasting Notes

74

Uhhh, I can’t seem to recall who sent me the sample of this tea. I’m sorry.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was pretty good! (For a chai).

I did find it tasted a lot like a creme brûlée with major big time chai. Super spicy chai. This is probably exactly how spicy chai normally is, but the last few chai-ish teas I’ve had were Adagio fandom versions of chai, not as spicy.

It was a neat dessert tea to try, I enjoyed drinking it, though I wouldn’t buy it because of the strong slickness.

Thanks to whoever sent it, sorry I didn’t have the foresight to write your name on the bag when I got it in the mail!

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79

Backlog 1/67

What clever name do we have here for “Try all the backlogged teas you have received samples of!”? I have received an immense amount of tea lately and as much lovely as that is, I need to start catching up. I counted earlier, and I have 67 teas that I currently “need to try”, whether I’ve never had them before or if I just need to try them a second time to give them another chance or what have you.
I probably have 20 or so more teas than that total in my cupboard… Including all the samples I know I like and want more of and the teas I have an actual long-term amount of.

That said, today I’m trying Vanilla Bean Cacao because it’s been sitting on my kitchen table with the others I received from Cameron B., Mandy and Cheri and my sister said it smells delicious and demanded we try it next. I added Stephen Hockman’s enormous pile of tea to the “need to try” today. My goodness, Stephen! Thank you for all the tea. Yours is on the way!

I can’t wait to try all these. Everything sounds delicious. I especially can’t wait to try the mystery tea with the Chinese letters. :D

SO! Vanilla Bean Cacao. Wow… no one has reviewed this before? Weird.
Okay. So it looks weird! IT looks like… flaked bark or crushed acorns or crushed dry leaves. Really weird looking tea. :D IT smells strange, good? Like Vanilla, chocolate and something else… a sweet woody scent I can’t name. Maybe I’m just inventing that because of how it looks. It’s a very SUPER sweet smell tho. Almost too sweet.

It was a herbal so I usually go about 8 minutes, but I went 6 because the tea had all settled to the bottom of my gravity steeper by then so I figured it was about right. I can say the smell once it gets wet is weird. SUPER weird. More Woody than before and maybe more …. I dunno, like raw cacao rather than chocolate. Maybe?

The first sip is sweet (I sweetened it with regular sugar) with a nice rich vanilla and chocolate flavor. It is a nice full flavor, very sweet all the way around. A bigger drink makes me feel that it would be better with a touch of milk.

I may go add milk to this.

Okay, added milk and had to add a bit more sugar to avoid the milk overpowering the flavor. Somehow, another tsp of sugar plus a bit of milk = now I can taste the flavors of this tea better than I could before. I don’t know. It just brought the flavors out.

This is very tasty. It’s almost too sweet for my tastes. (I know I added more sugar, but it really needed it. Before that, the flavor VANISHED into the milk and I didn’t even add much milk.)

I like it. I don’t think I’d go seek it out specifically because it’s entirely too sweet when you get it to the point where the flavor appears, but I do think I’d drink it again if offered a cup. It’s nice. Just maybe not quite my cuppa tea.

I will be totally honest and say I can’t remember which person this one came from (apologies!) but whoever sent it, thank you for the experience! This is not a bad tea!

Flavors: Chocolate, Round , Sweet, Vanilla, Wood

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

It’s under a slightly different name I think, at least that’s where I put my notes. I preferred it steeped for like 10, or made chai style with milk as water and the tisane simmered together on the stove. http://steepster.com/teas/herbal-infusions/36211-vanilla-cacao?page=2#tasting-notes

Arshness

Weird. When I searched, this is the only one that came up.
Oh wells. I will try it that way next time. :D

madametj

sipdown is when you finish a tea

Arshness

What fancy steepster name do we give “trying all the teas we have backlogged”?

Mandy

I believe Sherapop calls it Blazing New Rating, haha

Arshness

haha Well I just renamed it “Backlog” XD

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This tea has a very nice ripe to over ripe strawberry taste, with a touch of cream. Simple and well balanced flavouring. As others have noted it could use a different base. After 3 minutes at about 93°C the base is a little bitter, and vegetal. It has a slight astringency to it. It could be corrected with a touch of sugar but I dislike adding sugar to my teas. As it stands, the tannins and mild astringency in the base subtract from the cream in the flavouring. A sweeter fruitier base might have complimented the delicious flavouring more.

As it cools the strawberry scent and taste intensify. I like it because in this tea the strawberry flavour is allowed to shine instead of being drowned in sweet vanilla cream notes as is often done in this style of tea. With some tweaks this tea could really shine!

Thanks for the example Dexter I’ve enjoyed them all so far!

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SIGH. This is the strawberry tea I’ve been looking for.

Only it’s not. Because no black tea should require 185F water and a less than 2 minute steep to be drinkable.

So. Amazing flavour, terrible base. I guess I’ll keep looking.

Flavors: Strawberry

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Courtney

Are you looking for a strawberry black? Have you tried S&V’s Strawberry Cupcale or Nina’s The des Anges?

Courtney

Erm, *cupcake

OMGsrsly

I’ve tried neither. :) And I’m sort of looking for a strawberry black. I could always go into Blenz and just buy a cup of tea (or tea bags, if they have any in stock) but I want my own tea. Not one bought through that many middle men. Too expensive.

Courtney

I’ve got a bunch of The des Anges, and my friend has Strawberry Cupcake if you’d like to try a cup of either. :)

Amariel

I recall someone else having issues with this one and calling it Strawberry Injustice.

OMGsrsly

Haha. http://steepster.com/roswellstrange/posts/240843#comments I saw that when I was meandering through other reviews. :)

Courtney… I’m good. I don’t need more teas right now! :)

mj

I just got the strawberry oolong from Capital Teas and it is a-maz-ing

OMGsrsly

I have a strawberry oolong, and a strawberry green, and a strawberry honeybush. :) I don’t really need a strawberry black tea, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try everyone that crosses my path!

VariaTEA

I really liked this one too. It just sucks that HI’s base is so difficult to deal with. Also, their customer service leaves a lot to be desired. Otherwise, this is one I would consider stocking.

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86

Sipdown!! (166)

Thank you TraceyC for sending some more of this delicious tea my way. I enjoy it but dealing with HI’s customer service is not the best experience so I am dissuaded from ordering. However, I am grateful to all the wonderful steepsterites who have sent some of this my way so I didn’t have to. Now I think I am satisfied for the next little while. In time, this might reappear in my cupboard but for now I am comfortable saying so long.

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86

Some cups are better than others and this is one of those good cups. No base, just tasty strawberry milkshake goodness. Thank you TraceyC!

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I’m really not a fan of the Herbal Infusions base tea. To counteract the ick-ness, I steeped for 2 minutes at 185F. For a black tea. Yeah.

Thankfully that, and overleafing, allows the flavourings to overpower the base to make a tasty cup.

Sweet, sugary, pretty mild chai. More like cinnamon bun, really. It does smell good, and it’s not bad this way, but I’d rather buy teas with bases I like so I probably won’t be getting this again.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cinnamon

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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86

Thank you TraceyC for sending this my way as I am really quite excited to have this back in my cupboard. Today, the black base is 100% tamed leaving just the strawberry milkshake deliciousness behind. Yum!

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79

Used up the last of this sample from the GCTTB2 as a cold brew. It is definitely delicious as a cold brew. I only brewed for about 9 hours and am happy because it is just on the verge of getting too tart. Definitely a juicy watermelon candy flavour. I may have to put this on my shopping list…

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79

GCTTB 2.

This one smells so good. Like watermelon candies or bubblegum.

The brewed tea tastes just like watermelon candies or bubblegum. I added a few pieces of rock sugar before I tasted it, and it seemed to work.

I would love to have this one iced!

This is my first taste of Herbal Infussions and I am impressed so far.

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

Unfortunately their customer service leaves something to be desired. I am glad you enjoyed the tea though :)

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Backlog from this morning. Thanks are owed to courtney, who sent me this sample!

Honestly, I would have written a review for this sooner, only I just wasn’t feeling inspired to write. There isn’t anything wrong with this tea; it’s a light combination of a creamy strawberry flavour and a thin black tea, and not much else. It tastes good, but compared with ruby pie (my gold standard for strawberry tea), it just didn’t measure up.

Thanks again, Courtney! I still have enough left for another cup, and certainly enjoyed it enough to keep it in my sipdown pile :)

Courtney

You enjoyed it more than me at least. :) I have enjoyed two strawberry teas to date, and everything else I’ve pretty well borderline despised haha. I’m too picky sometimes!

keychange

Haha you really didn’t like this eh? it’s ok—I’m really picky and fussy in general. it’s a miracle my loved ones put up with me haha!…but whatever, let’s just drink all the banana teas.

Courtney

Yes! All the banana teas. I’m pretty picky about fruits, especially my favourite ones haha. I still have hope for the perfect watermelon and pumpkin teas too.

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35

Sipdown (190/194)!

From VariaTEA. I know she’s a fan so I was really hoping to like this one but I’m finding myself kind of fighting to finish off the cup. It smelled really yummy too, so that just kind of adds to the disappointment.

I’m getting a lot of bitterness in the cup and it’s really hard to push through it, though when I do I get fleeting notes of strawberry. The one redeeming quality is that the bitterness doesn’t hang around in the aftertaste but there is a faint vanilla creaminess sort of like a Campino that does linger and that makes fighting through the cup at least somewhat worth it.

Oh well; one less in my cupboard and I’m thankful to VariaTEA for sharing and for the chance to try something I likely wouldn’t not have picked out for myself.

EDIT: Hmm, I seem to be the only one to have experienced such extreme bitterness. I’m confidant I didn’t oversteep though – I was very diligent about the time after how long I let Checkmate sit unattended today…

VariaTEA

Oh no. Damn HI base must have taken over. I have been really lucky with this blend but I know their base can be pretty overpowering and not very good. I am sorry it was a bad experience. You should dump it and move on! Too much tea to waste your time with 35s :P

OMGsrsly

I totally get bitterness and blech from their base. I really wanted to love their teas, so it was a huge disappointment.

Amariel

Oh no! Should it be called Strawberry Injustice then?

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I finished this one off this morning. I never really got creme brulee out of it, because there was a very strong presence of black pepper. The last cup of it was a shocker, because it was comprised of all the bottom dust of the bag, and so it was like drinking straight black
pepper! Just a warning! :P

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92

We brewed this up cold to try yesterday. My fiance is absolutely crazy about melon drinks, but not a huge fan of more fruity teas, so I wanted to see how this would go over. Long story short, he adores is, loves it, is so enraptured with it we had to order more, like right that minute. To be honest, I really like it to. The watermelon is nice and light and naturally sweet and the tea has a good strong flavour to the cup. I am really impressed with this tea and can see it being drunk a lot at our house in the summer.

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86

Thank you Dexter3657 for sending me a sample of this in a generous surprise package! This is my strawberry milkshake tea and I have missed it but am refusing to order from HI until I am back in Toronto so this was a very welcome addition.

Today, the base is a bit more prominent than in past cups and there is less creaminess but it still has a nice strawberry flavor so I am happy. Once again, thank you so much for sharing and brightening my day with your unexpected surprise. With that in mind…

I AM MOVING IN LESS THAN A MONTH! The reason I mention this is because I know how generous everyone is on steepster. I never expect them but you guys have surprised me with packages time and time again. However, since MY ADDRESS WILL BE CHANGING, I would hate for someone to generously send tea that would just get lost in the world :(. Thus it is probably best that you DON’T SEND ME TEA to my Montreal address (except for the swaps I already arranged) as I don’t think I will receive it.

keychange

Are you moving back to TO for the summer?

VariaTEA

For good. I am finished my degree in Montreal as of the end of April so I am returning home. It is certainly bittersweet as I love it here but it will be nice to not be away from my family for so long. Plus, I might get the chance to meet wonderful steepsterers (steepsterites?) when I get back, which would be fun.

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This smells more like Strawberry than it tastes. Nice black base with just a hint of strawberry. I wanted more based on the scent of the dry leaf.
This was just ok for me. There are other HI teas that I prefer.

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I have been holding off on finishing the 1.5t I had left for awhile because I was hoping to find some marshmallow root to add and see how it was. I don’t need a $15 pound of marshmallow root. Maybe someday I will be able to find a smaller amount and try it.

This is smooth and creamy, neither the bergamot or vanilla smack you in the face. I would get this again if I was placing an order and was running low on EGC. I’m not playing favorites yet.

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91

Bah, I oversteeped this by 20 minutes, which made it smell lovely but it got all bitter and drying. Silly me!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 8 min or more 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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90

Thank you for a sample of this one, MissB! Always up for trying a EGC! This one was steeped at 2 1/2 minutes at just boiling. I like it, but there are other EGCs I like more. I don’t think the bergamot is prominent enough or the cream is prominent enough. At least the black tea base isn’t overpowering the flavors. But I like a stronger tea with it anyway. The elements that are there work together and I can see many people not usually liking EG liking this one. I appreciate trying it!

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79

Sipdown! Just saw that I did write a note on this haha totally forgot that i logged this lol, well this note should be the more detailed one I guess haha. I overleafed a bit as there was not quite enough left for another cup.

The dry smell reminds me of that tea Della Terra put out last fall..darn I can’t remember the name..some sort of apple tea, and it also contained nutmeg, so I think that’s mostly what I am smelling in the dry leaves. It’s definitely a blend of chai like spices. This cup I steeped for 2 minutes with boiling water, I can’t remember how I did the others haha. The steeped smell actually smells much better than the previous cups, if my memory serves me correctly. It’s very spicy, but with a definite caramelly undertone, a brown sugar sweetness. I can actually liken the scent of this cup to creme brulee a bit! Maybe it’s the different water at this place haha.

As for the flavor, wow, this is spicy tonight. Not as much caramel and not much of the flavor I disliked previously, a different spice is showing itself tonight lol, very peppery and strong. It could be from overleafing too haha. I much prefer this cup to the others, but it still is not my favorite chai. It needs more chocolate and caramel notes to make it a favorite, and a bit more variety than just strong spice. There is a hint of caramel in the aftertaste, but I don’t think it’s enough to make this a reorder. Still was a very nice tea to try though, I am very glad I got the chance to! Also want to try more teas from HI in the future, I enjoy their cacao teas and the marshmallow EG (heavenly). So yes, decent cup, just not a complete favorite! Chai fans should give this one a shot though! See previous notes as well :)

ETA – I should have tried this stovetop, it might be amazing and make me need it haha. Oh well, maybe another sample will find its way into my future cart and I can give it a go :)

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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77

And we have another glorious sip down. Good stuff, but not 50g-worthy. I’m coming to the end of my HI samples and so far, it seems like the cacao teas are the only ones I’d repurchase.

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60

I don’t know what to say about this one, for once. It brews up quite dark and there’s a bitter edge to it, but it doesn’t taste oversteeped. It’s reminiscent of coffee, in a way. The actual flavor is more like French toast than crème brûlée. I’m not getting any creaminess, and the spices aren’t very assertive like I hoped they would be from the “chai” in the name. Oh, well, to the swap pile with it.

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77

Woo, I just took a 45-minute walk in the rain and it soaked through my MEC raincoat. Go figure! This calls for some hot tea. As crazy as it sounds, I kind of want to go back out there for another walk. I love the rain. :)

I wasn’t expecting too much from this. I don’t know why exactly. Perhaps because strawberry can sometimes be a little boring and HI’s black teas have been meh so far.

This is pretty good, though. Truly does taste like dried strawberries, and the flavour is strong enough to compete with the more robust base. I get a “hint of cream”, which I do realize is what it says in the description, so I guess I’d be a jerk for whining that I wanted a bit more. I added some half and half , which has helped bring out the strawberry a bit more.

Yeah, pretty good indeed. I’ll enjoy my sample while it lasts but I can’t see myself ordering a full 50g+. Steeps’ Chocolate Dipped Strawberry is still my favourite strawberry black, methinks.

VariaTEA

I am glad you liked this one. I was pleasantly surprised by it because I was expecting to get a lot more of the base flavor and not as much strawberry

Fjellrev

Yeah, it was a nice surprise. I almost didn’t order any thinking it would be too meh.

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