McQuarries Tea & Coffee Merchants

Recent Tasting Notes

73

This’ll be the last tasting note for the evening. I feel like I made some really good progress today in clearing out my queue; but I’m exhausted with typing right now and just want to curl up in bed and go back to watching Gossip Girl.

Before I get into the tasting part of this tasting note though, McQuarrie’s recently updated their website! Here’s the link: https://mcquarries.ca/

The new site is so much superior to their old one, which looked like it was done in the 90s and was not only horrible to navigate but dreadfully outdated with what teas they had/have available for purchase. So I’m happy to see some improvements from my local loose leaf shop!

But you know what’s even cooler/more exciting!? With this new update they’ve not only included more information about each tea they sell, but they’re listing where it’s from originally if it’s not locally blended! Because of this, I’ve discovered that they carry MTC’s Monk’s Blend! That means I can stock up much more conveniently on it since I don’t have to go to Regina to do so! How awesome is that!? I’m looking at you VariaTEA – I’m sure that this is exciting news for you too! You could order more Monk’s Blend or Rum Cream now! I’m so happy that McQuarrie’s is getting more “out there”.

Also, I think they’re now carrying the same Apple Strudel Pistachio blend we both love/d from Cuppa’T – if it weren’t for “Grapes” in the listed ingredients I’d feel totally confidant about it. I don’t remember grapes, raisins or anything along those lines in Cuppa’T’s blend. This one I’ll need to inspect in person to be sure it’s the same one.

I’m already cart building though! Squea! Is it wrong if I take advantage of $2 shipping given that I live in the same city as the store? It feels both so wrong yet so right.

So now this tea…

Less exciting. I cold brewed it, and honestly it was really rooibos heavy and surprisingly quite floral with not much fruityness to it. I’m finding this is getting to be a bit more consistently average. I’ll be more than ok when I run out, I bet. And more than willing to pick up some new stuff from my local shop to try out instead! Like maybe the Xantou White Mandarin Pu’Erh. That sounds like it could be pretty good…

VariaTEA

This is exciting news!! And, their prices are appropriate so yay!

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73

I think I may have been just the tiniest bit premature in giving this one a “77” rating. I had it again and the rooibos base was really present and woody. Also, it was a little buttery? Like, buttery in the same way I found the Nina’s Paris Rooibos base tasted – which was like actual butter, from a stick. No thanks.

There were also strong floral notes though and a juicy fruitiness that almost touched on passionfruit but didn’t quite make it there. There was resemblance though, and that should count for something.

On the whole; not bad but not as good as I was remembering so I have to assume part of my last tasting note was just excitement from trying a new tea. So, I’m gonna bump down my rating just a few points…

Flavors: Butter

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73

Finally getting around to trying this one! I’ve shared it with a few people now, but this is the first time I’ve personally tried it. And it’s weird because when I was picking teas I was craving this one so much, and I’ve literally never had it before.

And then, when I took my first sips I distinctly thought “Meh, this isn’t that impressive” but realistically with five other cups of tea in front of me to choose from this was the mug I kept coming back to for sips (even over consistent favourites like Cranberry Pear) and the first one I finished off, so there’s gotta be something about it that I really, really loved.

I don’t know; the rooibos was sweet and very natural tasting, and the fruit was juicy and mildly passion fruit flavoured, even if I don’t think it was super distinct. I definitely wouldn’t guess passion fruit right away if I was trying it blind, that’s for sure. Maybe it’s just one of those teas that really builds in flavour as you sip it?

I have lots left from my 50g purchase, so I’ll be sure to have it again sooner rather than later – and I definitely want to try it as a cold brew; I think that could yield really good results.

And added bonus: this is local! I love being able to support a local loose leaf store!

OMGsrsly

6 mugs of tea at once?! That is impressive. :)

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86

Passion fruit is a difficult flavor to deliver, so often it’s done as a greener version of pineapple or just a sweet citrus sort of this. This tea captures it really well, with th slight melon’ish flavor and not so sweet finish. The Rooibos itself is quite good, bright without being overly sweet either. I was a bit worried this tea would just be another ‘tropical’ mix but I find myself liking it more and more with each sip! Thanks to roswell strange for sending a sample to my wife!

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76

Sipdown!! (180)

So I cold brewed this which left only 1 tsp left. I was hesitant to make this hot since it has hibiscus which tends to take over in hot cups but I am happy to report that both the hot and cold brew taste very similar. The cold might lean a little more to the sweet berries where as the hot is a touch more tart but ultimately both are nicely balanced and super tasty. I would actually think about stocking this fruit blend given it generates a nice cup every time. Thank you Roswell Strange for the generous sample you sent me to enjoy, especially as this is one I would not have picked up on my own.

Oh and in other news, I am starting to think that I am more accepting of the hibby tartness so maybe I should stop ignoring all fruit blends that have it…

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76

Thank you Roswell Strange for this tasty fruit blend! It seems thin at first but the berry flavor comes through so nicely and the hibiscus gives it a bit of tart fullness to round out the sip. I was worried the hibby would be too strong but luckily it is quite nice in the blend. Delicious :)

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71

Sipdown!! (192)

Had the last of this cold brewed and somehow managed to bring out the passionfruit flavor. I am not sure what I changed but it is there today and wasn’t in the last bottle. This is still most prominently sweet rooibos but that flavor gives way to fresh passionfruit goodness right at the very end of the sip. Subtle but present, which has made for a pleasant last cup. However, at the end of the day this was merely okay and so I am not rushing to stock it. I am very grateful to my awesome tea twin, Roswell Strange, for the chance to try something new :)

Roswell Strange

So… I sent you more tea today. But only like four more samples – and two are definitely just one cup samples so don’t panic! I was mailing stuff to Courtney and since my stuff from 221 had just showed up took advantage of the new goodies to share some things with you (two Stash teas I don’t think you’ve had, and two fancy shmancy straight blacks for your journey/quest).

VariaTEA

lol Yay! So is that two packages I am waiting for now or just one? You have to stop sending me tea :P

Roswell Strange

You’ve got the one with stickers, right? Other than that one there are two coming in just regular mail/envelopes – so not a bunch. The older one has a Menthe Soleil bloom in it.

VariaTEA

Oh dear. I am trying to stay under 200. I think your job is bad news for my attempt to reign in my cupboard because now your are ordering/sharing more tea :P

Roswell Strange

I have to make up for the lost time when I was only receiving tea from generous Steepster members and couldn’t afford to reciprocate ;) Also have to get you back for making my cupboard balloon :P Oh, I also got a large sample of Peanut Butter Marshmallow Treat today so no need to pass that one along :)

VariaTEA

I am still waiting for mine so you will have to tell me how it is

Roswell Strange

So much for cracking open my plain Marshmallow Treat, eh? I have two new Genmaicha samples (PB being one of them) to finish up first…

VariaTEA

haah you are just never going to get to it :P

VariaTEA

I should just send you a sample of it so you can try it.

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71

So cold brewed, any passionfruit flavor is gone for the most part leaving behind just a sweet rooibos flavor. Very weird.

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71

First review…such pressure.

Okay, well first of all, thank you to Roswell Strange for sending me such a generous sample. I have already brewed up a hot cup as well as set up a bottle to cold brew for later.

Hot, this is a pleasant enough cup. It is mostly rooibos at first but that slowly gives way to a subtle but fresh passionfruit flavor. However, the strongest element is definitely the rooibos that is bordering on the edge of medicinal (though thankfully it has not crossed over so the cup is still enjoyable). I just find myself wanting more passionfruit which should not be the case for a tea called “Passionfruit”. Hopefully cold brewing will bring out the flavor a bit more.

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77

Sipdown (172/176)!

Looks like I have some backlog to get through. A few days worth, anyway! And lots of stuff packed into those two days including a trip to DAVIDsTEA and some new teaware. Squea!

Anyway, I cold brewed this one to finish it off – and it was like a delicious, mellow berry punch or cocktail. Insanely refreshing, for one thing. I really seemed to burn through my 50g of this, which I only bought something like three weeks ago? It was good though.

I’m sorely tempted to go back to McQuarrie’s and go buy more of it, but I just bought $65 in tea and teaware yesterday including 100g of Superberry so that should keep me going for a while too.

Goodbye, Grandpa’s Fruit Garden!

Flavors: Berries

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77

Last tea of the night.

Since I’ve been doing it as a cold brew, I thought that maybe I’d try it out hot and see if it was entirely terrible that way.

It smells soapy, but thankfully it doesn’t taste even close to soapy. I’m wondering if the soap smell is because I pulled the mug out of the fresh batch of clean dishes in the dishwasher. Honestly though, my first impression of the taste was that it was like McQuarrie’s Rum Cream blend just not sour – but then I took a moment to pause I try and break it down a little and I noticed that it’s really heavy on the raspberry taste and maybe a little bit of other berries (though not strawberry).

I think this isn’t super hibiscus sour though because I was really cautious with my steep time and kept it short. I’m happy I decided to set some aside for VariaTEA though; I feel like she’ll at least enjoy it, if not love it.

PS. It’s still better cold brewed.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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77

So, I’ve spent most of the day drinking good tea and eating delicious food which I’ve mentioned in some tasting notes today; a wonderful, lazy Monday. On top of that, since House is on Netflix now, I’ve been rewatching my favourite season (Season 4 – with the “Intern/Fellowship” Competition). It’d be pretty perfect if it weren’t for the mild, continuous tooth/gum pain. I think I need to go down some more Aspirin…

But anyway, now I’m drinking this as a cold brew! It’s been steeping in the fridge since I got up; so close to ten hours, but now it’s been strained and man is this refreshing. It’s a little more tart than it was the first time around (but it also had a longer steep time for the hibiscus to stew in), but still overall nice and mellow full of plump, juicy berry flavour! I feel like this is going to be gone before I know it.

Add in a touch of sugar, and you’d never know this wasn’t some new, “Berry Kool-Aid” type drink. It also perfectly contrasts the cheese/pineapple Quesadilla that I’m dipping into some red wine infused pasta sauce. Mmm!

CK

That quesadilla sounds really good!

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77

Cold Brewed for a total of, umm, 14 hours? Right around there, anyway.

Because I stuck it in a timolino, I couldn’t fit it all in so some of it was drank this morning before getting to work. I was really worried that this would be super hibiscus heavy because visually it looks like there’s a bunch of it, and this got a pretty decently strong steep time too. However, really it wasn’t bad at all!

There’s a bit of a hibiscus tart edge on the front of the sip but it’s really brief and then it quickly mellows out into the nice, rounded off red fruit kind of medley of flavour. Think Strawberry, Raspberry, Red Currants, and Rhubarb – though mostly I taste the raspberries over anything else. I also get notes of the blackberries/elderberries right on the end of the sip/in the after taste.

This was really good, at home and at work, down to the last drop! Definitely refreshing; and surprisingly low key for hibiscus. I’m happy to finish off what I have, and I think I made a good pick (better than Rum Cream from last time, anyway). I think VariaTEA might also like it – so I’m making a note for myself to save a sample of it for her!

Flavors: Berries

VariaTEA

Yay for getting to try all the things!

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This one came my way from Lala.

Lots of big pieces of fruits here, and it smells tasty. Not really like cheesecake, but tasty. The strawberry and apple are quite prominent with a lingering cake-ness in the background. This tea is really yummy for a herbal, but I’m not so sure the name suits it.

Thanks Lala!

P.S. I just sent in some more flavours, but the ones I sent in a few days ago still haven’t been input.

Preparation
2 tsp 15 OZ / 443 ML
Lala

Happy that you liked this one. I think it is pretty good too.

Courtney

Thanks!

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Sipdown #42. Thanks to Lala for this sample :)

One of the best parts of Steepster is all the fun friends here, & all the trades, cuz we get to sample each others teas, teas I might never actually buy, but am curious about.
You guys are the best ‘pen pals’ ever!
This is a very tart lemon!!

Roswell Strange

I agree wholeheartedly with you about Steepster being the best way for finding great penpals :) Not sure how I’d have kept sane without you all. Also, this one was amazing! :)

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65

Sipdown!!

I did it! I finally did it!! It took two mason jars and a couple a cups but I have gotten through the large sample Roswell Strange so generously shared.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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65

Roswell Strange, you sent me SOO much of this tea! I made a mason jar full and I don’t even think I made a dent in the stash. On the plus side though, I am actually getting ice wine today which is making for a very light and fruity cup. It is quite enjoyable :)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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65

Thank you Roswell Strange for sharing. It is good but I don;t know how I will ever get through the surplus you sent me. I will wait for my mason jar and that should help put a dent in it :)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Roswell Strange

Mwahahaha! I’m taking that to mean you put in a DT order though!? I think you’ll love the mason jar!

VariaTEA

I may have placed an order. And that order might have included a mason jar…and a perfect mug…and some tea

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65

This is yet another tea from Roswell Strange. I am actually really surprised it is a white tea. In fact, I took a sip and searched up the tea and when I saw “Ontario Ice Wine White”, I looked up the company because I was so sure this was a green tea. Then when I saw the page was edited by Roswell Strange I accepted that this is a white tea that simply is pretending to be a green.

Why was I so sure it was a green tea? Because I found it to be almost buttery. Actually, come to think of it, I have had buttery whites before. Plus this is not nearly as vegetal as many greens I have had.

Oh well. Now that I got that off my chest, I suppose I should mention my thoughts on the taste given this is a TASTING note. I will say that being from Ontario, I have had Ontario Ice Wine before and this is not Ontario Ice Wine. It lacks the fruitiness that is associated with that particular drink. However, it is a fairly pleasant cup nonetheless. As previously mentioned, it is impressively buttery. Tastewise, it is simple and a little nondescript but if someone held a gun to my head I would say it is somewhere between fruity and nutty. Does that make sense? I hope so because in the scenario of someone holding a gun to my head, I would be shot if it does not. Anyways, I am having a difficult time really describing what it is I am tasting (in case you have not noticed that on your own) but I will say that I would not mind drinking this again. Would I stock it in my stash? No. Would I ask for it in a swap? Probably not. Can I get through the fairly large sample I was sent? Yep. So thank you Roswell Strange for this unique cup!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec
keychange

In any event, glad there’s no gun :)

VariaTEA

As am I, keychange! As am I.

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80

Sipdown!! (209)

OH NO!!! I forgot about this in the fridge this morning and so it steeped for waaaaaay too long. Now my beloved Rum Cream is a hibiscus disaster. Thank you Roswell Strange for sending this my way because I really do enjoy it. Alas this cup was just bad :(

Anna

Nooo. Hibby overload!

VariaTEA

I really liked this despite the leaf being prominently hibiscus but this cup was just too much :(

VariaTEA

I was so sad.

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80

I thought I was done with tea and tasting notes for the night but then I remembered I had half a bottle left of my cold brew from last night and I could not resist.

I was sort of worried last night was a fluke. I thought perhaps I may be too tired to be thinking clearly or maybe I was simply excited for a new tea but as I finish off the bottle I realize I actually just really enjoy this blend. I am actually sad it is gone. So long Rum Cream! I shall miss your creamy goodness and your smooth and fruity taste with the perfect touch of tart.

On another note, I just realized that sometime over the last few hours I gained 5 followers! I am now over 100! I feel so loved :) Thanks everyone!! And I hope my tasting notes are not too boring.

Pandeme

Don’t worry, your tasting notes are never boring! :)

VariaTEA

Aww. Thanks Pandeme! I try :)

noyadefleur

Congrats! :)

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80

Sipdown! (204)

I think I prefer this cold brewed but honestly it is not bad hot either. I had no idea what steeping parameters to use so I just brewed the 1 tsp I had in boiling water for around 3 minutes. I figured keeping the steep time low would keep the hibiscus (that I am not 100% but pretty sure is in this blend) calm and luckily that worked. There is a slight tartness but that is overpowered by the smooth creaminess. Hot I get a lot more of the rum flavor which provides an interesting to the creaminess as there is a dry quality in this that is reminiscent of actual rum. All in all a pretty good cup so thanks again Roswell Strange and hopefully Rum Cream and I meet again in the future :)

ETA: Added a splash of milk and that really enhanced the creamy quality. Plus it is a very pretty shade of purplish-pink.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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80

This tea came to me via Roswell Strange. I was not quite sure how to prep it but I recalled reading one of her tasting notes in which she cold brewed it and it sounded tasty. So, I used 2 out of 3 tsps I received and threw it into a 500 mL water bottle and let it cold brew for about 15 hours. I figured the last tsp I can hot brew and compare the two.

Anyways, as for this method, the end result is not bad. I was worried that this would get tart as I believe there is hibiscus in this but rather it is a pleasant drink. Actually, this might be one of my favorite cold brews to date (with the exception of the SBT I had earlier). This is sweet and very refreshing. The sip ends with just a mere hint of tart but I find that is really enhancing everything. Would I have guessed this was “Rum Cream” if I didn’t know? No, probably not. Although there is a smoothness that is most definitely reminiscent of cream. Tbh, given Roswell Strange’s tasting notes and my major dislike of sneaky hibiscus, I did not have high hopes for this blend but I think I hit the sweet spot because this is definitely very tasty. It is like fruit punch or vitamin water. If I had access, I would actually seriously consider buying this because I imagine it would become a staple as a cold brew in the summer months. Yay for delicious tea surprises and thank you Roswell Strange for sharing!

And now, at 5 am, I can go to bed happily knowing my swaps are all packed up and ready to be mailed and I am 4 tasting notes ahead of Roswell Strange in our tasting note competition :)

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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74

Received a surprise ninja sample from this from Roswell Strange!

This one is interesting. I do not know what the ingredients are. The dry tea smells like figs and rose. It almost has a champagne type smell to it.

The brewed tea, there is definitely some hibiscus in here. You tried to hide from me but I found you! Thankfully the hib is not overpowering. I am getting strong fig, and some light rose. I feel like I am getting rhubarb tastes, almost like rhubarb pie. It is kind of tart but also sweet at the same time. I am getting the same yeasty alcohol taste that I got in the smell. This one is pretty good. Next time I would brew for less time just to make sure the hibiscus stays in the shadows. This one gets better as it cools.

I would describe this one a fig-rhubarb pie with rose water and champagne. Ha ha.

Thanks Ros.

Edit: This seems to be one of those teas that has a “fine line”. It was ok hot, great as it cooled, but as it cooled too much the hibiscus drop kicked me in the back of the throat. I had to throw out the bottom of my cup. Which is ok, at least now I know there is a time frame for when this tea needs to be drank.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Roswell Strange

I can see the rhubarb comparison! I haven’t had any hot yet – just cold brewed, but I found it a little peachy too.

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