McQuarries Tea & Coffee Merchants
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Recent Tasting Notes
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 :)
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.
P.S. I just sent in some more flavours, but the ones I sent in a few days ago still haven’t been input.
Again, only sort of a sipdown technically – because there’s still a little left, but I’m going to be sending it to VariaTEA because she appreciates it a lot more than I do. I wanted to get one last cup worth in though, just in case my opinion has changed.
I did severely under leaf this cup because I’ve found it to be way too strong/sour in the past – so I used less than 1 tsp. for my 8 oz. mug of it. This did affect the flavour, and I found it was more creamy with a lighter touch of strawberry/hibiscus, but I still didn’t enjoy it a whole lot so I’m happy with my decision to send what little is left to someone who will fully appreciate it.
First thing I’ve prepared as a cold brew in my mason jar, and I think it was a fantastic success! It’s the perfect cold brew amount and clean up/straining was incredibly easy! Much better than the crappy pitcher/strain through a fine mesh brew basket (my normal straining device was accidentally left in Regina) method I was using this month.
Anyway, I’ve had this cold brewed before and I really liked it (I’ve yet to try it hot) and it seemed like a good tea to test this out with! So, it sat cold brewing for 11 hours, and then I took the basket out last night but am just drinking it now with breakfast.
Taste wise, this is definitely strongly fig/rose like the name implies it should be, and then has some sweet peach notes and a little (just a small touch) of hibiscus tartness. It’s really refreshing and yummy, and I think this is something I’m going to want lots of come summer time. Thankfully it’s super affordable ($4/50g). If I was worried that my love of the last cold brew was a fluke, I don’t have that concern anymore.
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.
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.
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!
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 :)
So close to making this a sipdown. There’s enough leaf for a small pitcher or possibly two(ish) mugs worth. I’d love to use this up, but at the same time it feels like I’ve been drinking this pretty frequently as of late, so I’ll likely wait a while.
My brother picked this out to cold brew and then set everything up all on his own after getting instructions from me. It was a really big step for him. That being said, I feel like he must have got the proportion of leaf all wrong because this is insanely sour and even a little bitter: it’s like a hibiscus puree – which is not what it tasted like the last time I cold brewed it.
Long story short, no one wants to drink it. We basically all had like a shot glass worth and then couldn’t finish the cups we’d strained; likely the rest of the pitcher is getting dumped.
It does feel like a little bit of a waste…
Ok, this is the cold brewed batch that I made for me and my brother to try! Formula was 2 tbsp. of leaf for about 6 cups of water, cold steeped for a good 18(ish) hours. The steeped colour is a dark red/purple that kind of reminds me of some darker red wines? It looks kinda scary and really concentrated, though.
I’ve actually had two cups today, which I suppose in itself says that this wasn’t so bad I wouldn’t drink it again. That’s a plus.
My second cup, I was suffering from some pretty horrible toothache so I wasn’t really so focused on the taste. But my overall impression on the taste from both cups is that this is a much nicer way to drink this tea. The tart and sour initial flavour is much more mellowed out but still retains the taste of hibiscus in a not completely overwhelming way. The rest of the taste is juicy strawberry and maybe raspberry, with a creaminess to it in the end sip accompanied by a sort of fermented fruit/borderline rum taste. Really, the “rum” flavour the name implies is just kind of barely present in the weirdest possible way.
So yeah – this is much more enjoyable cold brewed and I think that’s probably how I’ll end up finishing off what’s left of my 50g of it. I’ve definitely used at least 25g worth at this point, so that’s good.
My brother and I practically just peed ourselves watching Birdemic! I’ve seen it many times because it’s one of my favourite poorly done horror movies, but it was the first time he’d ever seen it and he found it so horribly done in the best way possible; just like I do! Seriously, if you love poorly done horror movies or just bad movies in general you need to check this out! It’s up there with the likes of The Room, Trolls 2, and Sharknado.
This is what I made to drink with the movie. Last time I had it hot, it was incredibly sour and tart and sort of a pure hibiscus taste, but I wanted to give it another shot with less leaf and a shorter steep time to see if that improved things. So, this time I used 1/2 tbsp. for my 12 oz. timolino steeped for just two minutes.
Taste wise, it was still pretty sharp and sour though certainly not as much. That part of the tea is really unenjoyable, to be honest. However, the aftertaste (similar to what I remember from last time) is nice and creamy and just the right amount of sweet and sour strawberry with a sort of rum feel to compliment the creaminess. So – it’s kind of hard to fairly judge it because you have two major extremes: super shrill kind of sour that overwhelms you at the start of each sip, and a nice creamy and fruity taste that lingers after the sip, letting things end nicely.
I still need to try this cold brewed to see how that changes things, but this is just so fickle, so unless it’s amazing cold brewed there’s no way I’m getting it again…
This is more of a tasting note for me to rant and complain, so feel free to skip on by if you don’t want to read about it.
So I do not get at all why companies think that when you are sick you want yellow dye # whatever and massive doses of sugar to help you feel better. I would figure the all natural route would be the way to go. By the way, all you “all natural ingredients” companies, any type of colour dye # whatever is not a natural ingredient. Just saying.
I made basic noodle soup (powder and noodles from a packet), full of dye and sugar. I don’t think neon yellow soup broth is why I want to eat this right now. Same with the neocitron I rarely drink but am giving a chance today, I don’t need my mouth to pucker from the amount of sugar in it. Let’s be clear, no one drinks this because it tastes good. Anyway, jeez!!!
So I am drinking a cup of neocitron at the same time I am drinking this tea. The lemon flavoured aftertaste of the neocitron actually tastes pretty good with the oolong. I may have to try to add some lemon next time I brew this tea. I am finding the oolong to be not too bold, there is just a slight orange blossom flavour. Not too chemical tasting which I find some orange blossom teas taste so that is a plus today.
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.
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.
Decided that I needed to have this tonight so I could do a comparison of it and DAVIDsTEA’s Genmaicha while the taste of DT’s blend was still fresh in my memory. I’m even drinking this while eating the same vegetable stir fry that I was munching on last night!
Dry, this one smells significantly more “seaweedy” than DT’s version, and this appears to have more green tea in comparison to the amount of brown rice. For preparation, I used 1 tsp. of leaf steeping in 8 oz, of water at about 80 degrees celsius for 1 min. 30 seconds. The colour of the liquor is more green than the DT one from last night was (that one was more of a pale yellow). Brewed, they give off a nearly identical smell.
As far as taste goes, this is still very toasty and roasty and comforting, with a clear “puffed wheat” type of taste – though it’s not quite as distinct as DT’s version, mostly because the taste of the green tea in this one is stronger and masks the rice just a little bit. I do enjoy the DT version just slightly more and I would be content with stocking either, though definitely not both.
So keeping that in mind, both are just as accessible to me, but this one is a fair bit cheaper so I’d probably stock this over the DT version.
The other work tea I had today was this one! Since I had enjoyed it a lot yesterday, I took the last of what was cold brewed in my fridge to work with me again today. Of course, I didn’t have time to drink it at work so it made a return trip with me and I’m drinking it now.
Today, I’m getting slightly stronger fig notes and rose notes, and the peach notes seem to be just slightly more mild. Still quite good though! Not much else to add since this is the exact same brew as yesterday’s…
So I bought this from Mcquarrie’s about a week or so ago? I went in with the intention of finding something that I could cold brew to make a nice, fruity drink. Somehow I settled on this even though it didn’t particularly scream “cold brew me!”. I think, mostly, I wanted to see if I could find a fog tea better than the Spiced Fig at DAVIDsTEA (the only other fig tea I’ve tried) that was so disappointing and neither smell nor tasted like fig. This one had a very strong smell of fig (very, VERY strong) so I thought it was worth a try.
I did end up cold brewing it though – for Christmas (well, my early Christmas) because I thought it might be neat having a fig drink around (I associate figs as Christmas fruit, for some reason). I set up 2 and a half tablespoons of leaf in about 5 cups of water which cold brewed in my fridge for around 12 hours. I didn’t end up drinking any of it on Christmas though because there was just so much around to eat and drink.
So I’m having it now at work, the day after. The strained colour is a very nice sunset kind of pink and smells strongly of fig and peaches? McQuarrie’s doesn’t post ingredient lists (they have an ingredient booklets in store, but I didn’t check it) so I’m not one hundred percent sure what was in the mix. I remember seeing LARGE chunks of fig, whole rose buds, a little bit of hibiscus, but nothing quite resembling peach.
Taste wise, this is uber refreshing and actually way fruitier than I thought it would be. The first thing I notice is the fig, which I’m super happy about! That was the whole point. There is also a considerable amount of peach type flavour to me but I’m all for that – it pairs quite nicely with the fig and gives this a little more dimension. I’m finding the rose most noticeable in the aftertaste (along with a milder fig flavour), and it’s a nice kind of way to end the sip.
As far as the hibiscus goes (because I know it’s dreaded by many a people) – to ME I’m finding it’s present but not overwhelmingly so. Mostly, I think it’s contributing a sort of sharpness to the peach that cuts through what might otherwise be a sort of overwhelming amount of straight fig and rose.
I have enough leaf left to maybe maybe one hot cup and another pitcher of this cold, but once I’m out I think I’ll strongly consider repurchasing this! It was very nice to have as a cold drink.
Today wound up being about trying new teas, which is never a bad thing. I think I’m gonna take some older ones that I either have in large quantity or am expecting more of from Black Friday orders and drink those tomorrow, though.
Anyway, I went to McQuarries today though – which was a completely unexpected trip. I’m not really totally enthused by that store – today was my second time going, and I had the same sales lady as last time that made me feel incredibly stupid and just seemed to be in a totally bitchy mood. I had asked about finding some good, fruity tisanes for cold brewing and she just very coldly told me “tisanes are herbals” and offered no advice. Umm, thanks? Mind you, this is the same lady who basically belittled me for inquiring about King Tut’s Lemonade last time, which had been discontinued (however, they don’t regularly update their website and it’s still listed there, so I had no idea of knowing that).
I asked a lot of questions about ingredients, since any of their new blends aren’t listed on the website (due to lack of regular updating) and there are no listed ingredients either on their storage/display containers or on the packages they sell their tea in. She seemed pissed to have to answer my questions, though. Smeh.
For whatever reason, I’m intricately drawn to teas with alcoholic beverages in the titles – which makes NO sense since A) I don’t drink and haven’t in over two years (technically I’m still under the legal drinking age), and B) even when I was drinking, the types of ‘alcohol inspired’ teas I go for are not the types of liquor I drank. So there’s that…
I didn’t actually look at the ingredients booklet they have in store when I got this, which maybe was a bad idea. I made sure to VERY CLEARLY specify I did not want anything with ginger or raisins, but looking at the leaf for this blend I see what looks like raisins; I’m hoping I’m wrong and it’s just other dried fruits though. I am also seeing a bunch of hibiscus, but that’s not necessarily bad.
In regard to smell – this is so incredibly strong and powerful smelling. When I was drinking Creamy Eggnog earlier I had the sealed packet of this sitting on my kitchen counter, and from the kitchen I could still faintly smell this. It reminds me of DAVIDsTEA’s Guava Cadabra in that I had a sample size of that one in a ziploc bag and no matter what I did it always smelled intensely of guava, and whatever I put it next to managed to pickup the same smell on its packaging – I’ll be sure to carefully store this.
I kind of get hibiscus, but I also get an overwhelming sense of grape and strawberry (grape is not making me feel too good about the raisins) – and it’s weird because there IS this fermented alcohol like quality to the smell, but it also just sorta reminds me of sugary Kool-Aid. I’m vaguely reminded of rum and there’s a vague creaminess – but it’s kind of odd and not really all there.
Because this is so strong smelling, I cautiously only used 1 1/2 tsp. instead of the 2 tsp. I’d normally use for an all fruit blend. This went into 8 oz. of boiling water, and was steeped for five(ish) minutes. The liquor is actually this really beautiful dark red/purple colour, and it gives off a strong aroma of fermented type wine, is sorta “rum-y”, and has this nice strawberry cream smell too.
Taste wise, the hibiscus because quite prominent and really sour, but is countered sort of well with the taste of strawberry (I almost get weird rhubarb types notes too), and a more noticeable rum type of taste in the back of the sip and aftertaste. And there’s IS a creaminess to it, though I’m not finding it super pronounced. Basically this is initially tart and sour strawberry which awkwardly transitions to a more fermented/rum-y type of taste with some creaminess. I actually think I’d enjoy this quite a lot if it DIDN’T have that super sharp kind of tang from the hibiscus at the first bit of the sip – it’s the kind of tang that hits the sides of your tongue (does that even make sense) and takes a longer time to sort of fade away.
Next time I have it hot, I’m actually going to use even less leaf (1 tsp. probably) and a shorter steep time. I am really interested to see how this cold brews though, seeing as that’s why I bought it anyway. And, to be fair I did try the one I thought I’d like the least first. The other tea I bought today is called Fig Rose and I think I might like that one a lot better.
A huge thanks to JennyFur for sharing this with me in our swap!
I was really excited about this tea, even though JennyFur wasn’t a huge fan of it. I love lemonade and I’ve had some lovely decaf lemon teas of late, so I was hoping to have an excuse to get even more.
Unfortunately, I had to search for steeping instructions, and prepared the tea for drinking prior to realizing it was only suitable (or recommended) as a cold brew. Darn it! It was wet already from my having washed out the steamer basket.. so I just committed to it hot. Yep, I can do this.
Like JennyFur, I found this to be really Pledge-like smelling. It actually smells quite lovely, it’s just.. there’s something chemical-y about it. I actually like the taste, although I seem to be having a reaction to it. Sweetened, it tastes lovely as well – and still this reaction.
Sigh. I’m really grateful to JennyFur for sharing this; she saved me a lot of cash by letting me try a sample. I’m going to leave off a rating, because I think to do it justice, I should have cold brewed it instead.
I enjoyed my cup of this so much that I decided to make another cup today, made exactly the same way. Although, to be fair I think this one might have ended up steeped about half a minute longs (I was poorly attempting to multi task by also making a timolino of tea for later tonight, and talking to Tre).
It’s not as good as last night (maybe it’s the over steeping or the fact I’m in a slightly different mood) – but still quite nice and roasty/toasty. Despite being all alone at home tonight (Tre is out with friends again), this cup is making me feel warm and comforted. I think I MIGHT have to rethink not restocking this – it’s, perhaps, growing on me.
Also, for people who read my tasting note on Japanese Cherry earlier today, I DID get a call back a couple hours ago, and I guess I’m now a manager. It’s a weird feeling, especially since I accepted and then was given this huge load of things to do/take in and process. Sometime tonight I’m supposed to receive an email with a whole ton of information to go through, as well as the resumes and availability of my two employees. By Friday, I have to have my schedule made up and sent in to the district manager for approval (it’s so odd that I’m determining my OWN hours), and I have to make the decision to hire someone I’ve never even met or not based purely on his/her availability. I have my training on Friday, and then on Saturday I train my new employees.
And, our store set up is Wednesday, and then my store opens on Thursday. Yeesh: steep learning curve.
Now that I’ve had all the Winter/Holiday samples I picked up from David’s at least once, the rest of this week is primarily going to be about drinking down some of the large quantities and sample sizes I have of teas I either am unsure about whether I want to restock or flat out know I wont be restocking. Yuck. I started earlier today with Ice Wine, also from McQuarries. And now I’m having this one…
Steeped 1 1/2 tsp (kinda over leafed deliberately to use up more leaf) for about 8 oz. in just under 80 degree celsius water for approx. 1 1/2 min. Actually, tonight this is tasting roasty and toasty, and not seaweedy (my biggest qualm with this one) at all. I DID have this marked as something I wouldn’t be restocking, but my experience tonight is a really good one – so maybe I’ll drink a few more cups this week and decide if this is moving back to the “unsure” category. I do have TONS (about 40g) of it left – and it seems like I’m never going to get through it all.