McQuarries Tea & Coffee Merchants
Popular Teas from McQuarries Tea & Coffee MerchantsSee All 15 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
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.
Made this for work today. I have lots of it left, so I really should make a better attempt at drinking it down since I’d love to free up the tin it’s in. Maybe I’ll stick it up for swap…
- First cup I used 1 1/2 tsp. of leave steep for 1 1/2 min. in 80 degree celsius water
- For the second cup, I resteeped the leaves using the exact same steep time and temp. of water
- Poured into my 20 oz. water bottle
- Added 1 1/2 tsp. of white sugar since, sadly, this tea needs it to be drinkable
- Lukewarm at time of consumption
- Sweet, but not cloying
- Floral notes present SIMILAR to jasmine, but definitely not jasmine…
- Some berry notes
- Very lightly astringent
- White base present, but not overtly
Honestly, this was probably the best I’ve yet to make this. It’s ok as an occasional tea, but not something I want to repurchase.
Thanks to Lala (my Secret Pumpkin for Round 1) for this sample. This was pretty tasty but nothing special. There’s a hint of spice but it’s not overpowering. I managed 2 steepings out of 2 tsp in my 16oz steeping mug. I get a hint of a fruit flavor (dare I say pumpkin?) at the end of the sip which is quite pleasant.
Thanks again Lala for this sample. I really enjoyed it as an ice tea, and just couldn’t wait to try it as a hot tea. So, the last (barely) tsp. went into this cup which was steeped in boiling water for about 8 min. MOstly it was steeped that long because I forgot it was steeping – I was too busy packaging up the teas that are coming with me tomorrow to comic con.
I decided that I’m gonna take five things with to comic con (it’s a four day trip). So, here’s what I packed:
- Approx. 2 cups worth of David’s Main Squeeze
- Approx. 2 cups worth of David’s Cream of Earl Grey
- Approx. 3 cups worth of Tea Desire’s Milky Oolong
- Approx. 1 cup worth of David’s Guava Cadabra (This’ll be a sipdown)
- Approx. 1 (maybe 2) cups worth of David’s Pumpkin Chai
And then I also threw in some tea bags just in case.
However, back to the tea I’m drinking at present…
Steeped it smells quite different from how it was iced. It’s very tart smelling, and also kind of smells like lemon scented Pledge. However, odd as it might be – that’s really appealing to me. I love the scent of Pledge (actually I like the smell of most cleaning supplies), so it smells really good.
Now mind you, I’ve never actually tasted Pledge – but I don’t think it tastes like what this tea tastes like. It is VERY tart and sour, with a pure lemon taste – nothing really “cleaning supply” like about it though. Actually, I’m not really enjoying it too much hot. Although, as I’ve let it cool down it’s gotten much better. I might just stick the rest in the fridge to cool off totally and then drink it cold: it was much better that way.
Sad to say goodbye to this, though! I’m so glad I got to experience it! If it wasn’t discontinued, I’d pick a little bit up to use in the summer months.
So, I set this sample up to cold brew last night so it’d be ready to go to today for when Robyn came over to visit. I received it as a semi unexpected sample from Lala since I’d gone to the local store it’s sold at to buy some, but was told it’d been discontinued. I didn’t think I’d have the chance to try it, but Lala is amazing and sent me some so I guess I was wrong.
The dry leaf for this smells really intense: sort of like straight packaged lemonade juice mix – but definitely not artificial smelling, just very concentrated. When it came in the mail, I came home and my roommate was in the kitchen smelling the envelope. Since I wasn’t expecting any tea, I was kinda thrown off – but once he handed it over I understood why he’d been smelling it: even through the bag it was packaged in and the paper of the envelope I could still smell the leaf. Out of the sample Lala sent me, I used most of it for the cold brew today (about three cups worth) and then saved somewhere between 1/2 tsp. to a full tsp. to hopefully try a hot cup.
After straining the leaf out, there were still A LOT of little floaty bits, but Lala had warned me of this and it’s something I would have expected anyway considering how finely crushed the lemon peel in the mix is. The smell of the cold brew was really faintly lemon, and I was a little concerned that it hadn’t sat long enough to leech out enough flavour.
Trying it though, it was deliciously sweet and so much like freshly squeezed lemonade. Very thirst quenching, with some very subtle appley notes. Probably one of the best ‘lemonades’ I’ve ever had and I loved that it didn’t need sweetener at all. Robyn thinks this would be really good hot and would be great for sore throats (and I don’t disagree), but I think Lala was probably right in saying that this would be best cold brewed or on ice.
Excited to use up the last little bit of this as a hot brew!
Thanks again Lala for sending me the sample!
Well King Tut Lemonade, I am sorry, but move on over. Because this lemonade tea is ridiculously awesome.
I had it hot a while ago and it tastes like awesome hot lemonade. So I figured it would be awesomer as a cold brew. Brewed this for about 11 hours. It is definitely sweet lemonade. Slightly tart but just enough that it is still lemonade. It is sweet enough on its own so no sweetener needs to be added. Very juicy. Mmmmm. Delicious.
I think it will be a bit better iced, but I was too lazy so just cold brewed.
I got my flu shot today and have been crying about my sore arm, this tea is making it all better.
Made this one as a cold brew. There is just wwaaaaaaaaayyyy too much hibiscus in this blend for me. When I picked out most of the hibiscus and brewed it hot, it was actually pretty good. But I don’t have the patience to be sorting through the tea today. So I made this as a cold brew. For the most part I do not like hibiscus in a cold brew. So I only brewed this for about 4 hours. I was a bit worried but the colour was bright ruby red. But it actually tastes not too bad. I think I took it out in time. It is just on the verge of being too bitter. There is a good balance between the sweet peach and the tart hibiscus. I did add a tsp of white sugar for my cup to balance out the tartness a bit. Very juice-like. Reminds me of raspberry juice. Definitely can drink the rest of the tea this way.
This one smells like lemonade. Yes! My favorite.
The brewed tea tastes very similar to fresh lemonade, however, it is not as sweet or as tart. I think I could have added some sweetener to bring out the lemon taste a bit more but chose not to for the first cup. I also tried this hot the first time, but I purchased it with the intention of cold brewing. I think this one is going to become a favorite.
I’ve had internet for a whole ten minutes! I think that’s the most I’ve had all day…
It’s really cold in the basement right now, so I decided I needed something to warm me up, and I was sort of feeling like berries would be the way to go.
Picked this tea, but remember to add a teaspoon of sugar. The sugar really brings out the berry notes in the tea, and does a decent job of eliminating the bitterness of it. I’ve experimented with different steep times, and I just can’t find a balance where I don’t get at least a little bitterness. There’s also some astringency and the sugar doesn’t really do anything for getting rid of that.
Had a second steep that was about the same. I could have gotten a third steep out of the leaves, but I wasn’t really feeling a third cup. Overall, tasted better than I remembered but I still hate that this one needs sugar to taste good.
Nice and toasty, but still some seaweed taste that’s a bit icky.
Still, I think this one is growing on me.
The first time I had this one, it was very much hibiscus tasting. I am not a big hibiscus fan. So I made it again but this time picked out most of the hibiscus. It took a while because there was lots of it.
It is better this way. Not so much sour hibiscus but still some hibiscus taste. Not too much peach flavour, but you could make it out. I forgot to steep this for a bit less time.
Sweetened with around 1 tsp. of sugar & enjoying with some raspberry jam covered toast! Mmmm…
I had an issue with some bitterness last time, but nothing similar to that this time! Some very light floral notes here accompanying the light notes of berry – I’m sure that’s the Reisling win adding to the tea.
Made this one as a cold brew. Brewed for about 12 hours. It was pretty good. Tasted pretty much the same as the hot brew. I still think it was much more strawberry shortcake tasting. As a cold brew, there was less cake-y flavour. The strawberry was a bit more artificial as a cold brew.
I’ve been neglectful! I have probably about 3 days worth of dishes piled up in my sink (many of them various teacups or mugs). I should probably wash those. However, there’s no rule that says I can’t do that while enjoying a cup of tea. I think I’d like to try my Genmaicha again. I really want to like green tea!
Again, I’m gonna do this following the parameters McQuarries has set out on their website. And, unlike last night, I’m also going to resteep these leaves a few times.
First cup: much the same as last night. Really nothing different to comment on.
Second cup: I resteeped for the same amount of time (1 minute). It’s actually a pale green this time, not a yellow. Smelling it, well, I smell seaweed. This time I’m also smelling a nutty aroma which I couldn’t smell last time, even though I could taste it.
First sips, I taste roasty toasty nuttiness and green tea – no seaweed! I need a few more sips to make sure: yeah, there it is in the aftertaste. But it’s oh so subtle. I can handle this. If that’s all the seaweed I’m going to taste in this cup then I’m pretty sure I can enjoy it. Really, it’s not too bad. Maybe it’s just that it’s an aquired taste? Maybe the more I drink it the better it’ll get.
Third Cup: For this steep, I kept my time at 1 minute. Toasty and actually really quite yummy. I’m not getting any seaweed taste at all. The nuttyness is pretty much gone or, at least, it’s very subtle now. I don’t think I’d want to push past 3 steeps. MAYBE I could do a fourth, but at the moment I don’t really want to push it. I do think I might have to up my rating a little bit.
I think, next time I drink this, I’m going to play around a little bit with the steep time on the first cup. But, I probably wont drink this for a little while – I still have the teas I picked up from Tea Desire to try yet (two of them are flavoured greens), and it’s been awhile since I had some of my favourite DAVIDsTEAs, so that might be my next cup of that day.
Also, I now have 9 freshly cleaned teancups/mugs in my cabinet! Shame on me for letting them all sit in the sink for so long.
Up until now the only straight green teas I’ve had have been the sort of ‘generic’ type of bagged teas (Lipton’s straight green tea comes to mind; I currently have a box of it sitting on my dishwasher for when I have guests or family over). This is my first real loose leaf, unflavoured green tea. I bought it today at McQuarries on a whim. Somehow I’m going to find a way to enjoy green tea! However, I’ll be honest – I have very low expectations that I’ll actually like this tea.
Regardless, this is another tea that I had to look up (on their website) recommended steep times/portions and what not for since it’s not listed on the little baggy that it came in. For a cup, 1 tsp. steeped for 1 minute. Again, this is my first time making Genmaicha teas, so I’m doing this exactly like how they recommend to. And, it’s worth noting that since I’ve never tried another Genmaicha I’ll have nothing to compare it to directly.
The dry leaf smells like seaweed. I don’t smell anything I can qualify as rice. I should note that I hate seaweed. I hate sushi, and seafood in general. Bleck. This cup smells really gross…
Although, the smell of it steeping was enough to wake Tre up. I think that’s good?
Liquor is a pale to medium yellow colour. Now that it’s steeped, the seaweed smell isn’t as strong. Looking at it, it reminds me of melted butter. On that note I’m going to take my first few sips. Actually, it’s not as bad as I expected. I do taste seaweed, and I can taste green tea. But, there’s also a sort of sweetness to it that I wasn’t expecting. I can also see the “roasty” sort of taste comparison that’s been mentioned on other Genmaicha tea reviews. As I get closer to finishing off the cup I’m tasting more of a nuttyness, and less seaweed.
I think I’d be willing to play around with other Genmaicha teas if I could get my hands on smaller amounts; there’s no way I’d buy another 50g of this. And, I will play around with what I do have to see if I can find a way to better enjoy it. Perhaps it’s because my expectations were so low, but I’m pleasantly surprised right now! If I could find another version of Genmaicha with a less pronounced seaweed taste then I’d probably like this a lot more.
As my first straight, loose leaf green tea I’ll consider this a success.
Holy tea! Just got home from a day of touring loose leaf tea shops in my new city! I went to DAVIDsTEA, McQuarries Tea and Coffee Merchants, and Tea Desire. Overall, I think I liked the service at McQuarries the least – the sales lady seemed really impatient as I took my time browsing the aisles. In the end, I ended up buying 50g (the smallest amount I could get) of two different teas. This is one of them!
The packaging it came in (a small brown paper bag carefully folded over) has absolutely no information about how to steep this one – nothing on amount of leaf, steeping time, and water temperature. I didn’t really want to guess (even if it would have been an educated guess), so I checked their website to see if I could find any information and, thankfully, there’s some listed. Even though everything is SUPER general, it’s enough to go on and 50g of this one is enough to tinker with as well.
So, 1 1/2 tsp of tea steeped for only 1 min. I’m making my first cup by the book! Err… Website. The dry leaf smells very light and floral with berry notes, however the berry I’m smelling isn’t really distinct enough to pinpoint what kind of berry I’m smelling. Steeped, the liquor is a sort of medium yellow, although it starts off as more of a pale green.
Personally, I’ve never had Ontario Ice Wine before but my roommate Tre has & he says the dry leaf smells exactly like what he had. I think that’s a good thing, although he says he didn’t particularly enjoy the ice wine he had. Steeped, it smells less floral but I still get that unidentifiable berry smell.
First few sips and it tastes good. It tastes different than other white teas I’ve had so that must be the Ice Wine I’m tasting. Yeah, I’m personally not tasting anything floral anymore. I taste berry in the end of the sip, and a bit in the aftertaste. There is a mild astringency – but the keyword there is mild.
I don’t really want to add sugar to this cup, but I wonder if it would bring out the taste of berry or whether it would kill it. Since this cup is pleasant enough I’m going to wait to try that another time. I’d also like to try leaving the tea leaves in another minute or two longer.
EDIT: By the time I reached the bottom of my mug the tea had grown noticeably bitter, so I think I will try adding a small bit of sugar next time.
EDIT: Second steep! Followed the same steeping parameters as before, but added a level tsp of sugar to it. Still as flavourful as the first steep but I think I was right to add the sugar – it DEFINITELY brings out the berry flavour. I think I prefer the second steep more. Looking forward to what a third steep will bring out of this tea!
EDIT: Third steep of this one went to Tre. Steeped this for 2 minutes and, at Tre’s request, added 2 tablespoons of sugar to it. I snuck a few sips before I gave it to him and it just tasted like sugar water to me. I’m not sure if that’s because of how much sugar he wanted added to it or because three steeps is too many. Even though it just tasted like sugar water to me, though, he said he could taste ice wine. Interesting.
This tea is made of large fruit pieces. A lot of strawberry and apple pieces. It smells like dried strawberries and apples. Brewed the tea does not taste like cheesecake but very similar to strawberry shortcake. It is sweet, I added 2 small pieces of rock sugar. There is a light, spongey cake type flavor to it. Like angel food. Not sure which ingredient is giving it that taste. I am surprised with this one. Better than I expected.
This tea smells delicious. Like fuzzy peaches. After brewing…Holy Hibiscus. Wow, in colour and smell, I knew it was going to be strong on the hibby. On first sip, it is all fuzzy peach candies, then by the end of the sip it is bitter and burning hibiscus. Too bad, I had a lot of hope for this one. I think I will try a much shorter steep, and maybe blending this one with a few others.
I am pretty sure this is the same as the Metropolitan Tea Company Tea but I am not sure as the website doesn’t have a description up yet.
I bought this one based on smell. There was no ingredients listed on the jar. It smelled like a sweet black tea, kind of spicey like a chai. But not super chai or anything.
I did not realize, there must be chocolate in this tea. I am not a huge chocolate tea fan, but I can handle some blends. This tea has a chocolately taste. Reminds me more of rocky road. It is quite sweet because there are sprinkles in it. There are fall spices, cinnamon. Not a lot of cardamom like would be in chai.
Overall an ok blend. I like the name of the tea more than the tea itself. Ha ha. It got a bit bitter towards the end of the cup, but I also let it steep longer than usual because I forgot about it. Oops.
This…this is lemon with lemon and the scent of pledge. My husband requested it, so he can have it more then likely. Hot its almost acidic. I’m going to give it a shot over Ice the way its suggested in the description, and see if that makes it any better because WOO does it feel like I’m drinking pledge.
Decided to have some tea fun today. So I made a few tea cocktails and other drinks.
This is the first one. I steeped 1 tsp in 2 oz gin for approx. 2 days. I then mixed it with soda water.
At first it tasted like a gin lemonade, which is one of my favorite drinks, but it was quite tart lemon tasting. Not bad, but I wanted a bit of sweetness so I added a tiny spoon of white sugar. It made it the drink much better. Still tart lemonade but the sugar balances out the soda water taste. I am thinking I might just have to infuse some gin with this tea and keep it on hand at all times :D