Monterey Bay Spice Company

Recent Tasting Notes

70

Hmm, I could have sworn I would have done a review for this tea already, but perhaps not. I am in any case almost finished with the large sample from MBSC, though I think I gave some of it away. I am drinking it this morning for the benefits of the raspberry leaf in it, which has helped me out in the past. I thought that another raspberry black tea that I had was the same as this one (i.e., sourced from MBSC), but it appears that it is lacking the raspberry leaf, so I may be looking for a source for that in a bit.

Anyway, this tea is tasty enough, with a nice sweet-tart raspberry flavor, and enough raspberry leaf to do the trick. It’s not quite enough of a draw to make me want to repurchase, mostly because the black tea is kind of meh and I want some straight raspberry leaf for future months.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

89

Going thru some teas I haven’t tasted in a while. I’m having one last cup of this before sending the rest to LiberTeas! I thought I sent some a long time ago but it doesn’t look like I did! So sorry about that LiberTEAs! You will be getting this one soon! :)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

89

This one was sent to me by brandy! Thanks so much!

Hmm…… it’s odd how there’s no info OR reviews for this one…………

Anyways, this is a backlog. One reason I hate doing backlogs is because even if I don’t forget how it tasted, I literally ALWAYS forget my brewing parameters… Sorry folks!

Anyways, I iced this one (double strength then over ice) to compare it to Adagio’s raspberry black tea. And oh my goodness. This one is so much better! No sugar needed to be added to this one! It tastes like a real, juicy and perfectly sweet-and-tart raspberry! None of that fake fruit crap! And I could taste the black base, it’s pretty nice. My guess would go to Ceylon but I’m not 100% positive on that… goes to check hmmm there doesn’t seem to be any info on the website so I guess I guess I’ll stick to my Ceylon assumption.

This one was super yummy! Thanks again brandy!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

79

This one is one of the many delicious looking samples sent to me by brandy3392. Thanks!

I thought this one was a rooibos because in the little baggie there was this red powder covering everything, making it look completely red, so I thought it was rooibos. However, it wasn’t until I measured it out into my strainer and came here to see if there was recommended steeping time that I learned that it was a black tea….. Oh well, too late now!

I like this one! I can definitely see how it could get bitter easily-I steeped with a lower temp for only 3 minutes and it is verging on the bitter side so next time I try this one I will make sure to only do it for 2.5 minutes. I really like how I can taste the black tea. The flavoring is definitely on the back side for me. I get a really nice and sweet mango flavor, a little artificial but that’s okay because I love EVERYTHING mango. There’s also a nice passion fruit flavor (side note: DID YOU KNOW THEY MAKE PASSION FRUIT GREEK YOGURT?! I got some at the store today and I’m so excited to try it!) that I get. As this one cools the flavor comes out a little more. I thinks some sweetening could help elevate the flavors a little more but I like it where it is right now!

This is yummy! Thanks again brandy3392!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

83

I was thinking this would be a really good iced tea, and I’m glad I was proved right! For a black tea, this made a really light infusion. Excuse me for my naivete; I don’t often drink black teas. This was really awesome though! It was so fruity and the distribution of the fruit tends to be in the palatal region of the mouth, rather than somewhere further back in the velar region, like the Happy Tea.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
CHAroma

I can tell you’re a linguist from this post. ;)

unfeasible

Your comment actually made me laugh out loud! Thanks.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

34

I have been craving an orange black lately, so I reached for this sample we got in a swap. I was unfortunately disappointed. It was an overwhelmingly average black tea with a faint hint of bitter orange peel at the tail end of the sip. Sadface. This calls for a gaiwan of something wonderful.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

83

This is seriously fruity. It’s so delicious and fragrant, I don’t even know where to start. The mixture of red in the leaves is really nice too. You won’t be sorry that you tried this tea.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

73

Yesterday I was thinking that I would just have enough rose teas to make it through today. Then I realized… that’s silly! I have way more rose teas than that, but it can be hard to remember all of them in my stash. This was one I had forgotten about, but sure enough here it is, all rosey and lemony and a bit herby. I kind of let it over cool before I got to it, so I’m not sure if the slight bitterness is coming from that or just that I should drop the steep time. I am getting a hint of smoke from the gunpowder green thsi time as well. Still a pretty decent tea. It reminds me a bit of the rose oolong from Tea Licious that I finished up the other day, but I prefer that one (no surprise, it’s an oolong).

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

60

Thanks to Dinosara for this one. The black tea base in this is really good. I was enjoying it quite a bit. There is a faint taste of ginger and I couldn’t taste the peach at all. So it’s not bad but it could use a little bit more.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

70

I wasn’t feeling an oolong this afternoon so I decided to dig out my big box of MBSC samples and try something I hadn’t had before. Of course this one jumped out at me as fairly seasonally appropriate. It is getting chillier, though overall it’s not really as cold as might expect for this time of year.

The smell of the dried leaf on this one is very orangey/appley, and surprisingly not very spicy. The steeped tea actually takes on the aroma of mulled cider, with a little black tea added in (actually that gives me a fantastic idea… black tea in the mulling spices for cider!). It actually smells really good, but I worry that I’ll get disappointed expecting mulled cider taste, especially the sweetness.

Wow, I really really like this one! Even though right before I take a sip it seems like I’m going to be drinking mulled cider, and afterward it’s clearly not. The actual flavor is similar enough to mulled cider yet different enough that I’m not disappointed. And the big apple chunks in the blend do lend a light appley sweetness to the tea. The spices in this are not individually distinct in the flavor but definitely add up to a nice blend, and I think that adds to the mulled cider feeling. I think I get a faint hint of rose in the aftertaste, but it is barely there.

I haven’t been super impressed by the blends I’ve gotten from MBSC not because they were bad, but rather because they just weren’t fantastic and I’ve been drinking some really fantastic teas lately. Also their black tea base was a little meh, which I can tell is the case here as well, but there’s enough other things going on here that it’s not as distracting. I do wish this blend had a higher quality tea base, because it’s one of my favorite “winter” blends I’ve had so far. It should be called Spiced Apple Cider!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Spoonvonstup

I’ve never tried MBSC’s blends, but I’ve certainly been enjoying just getting their straight spices/etc to make my own blends and chai. Plus, then I can experiment with them in cooking, too!

Sounds like a yummy blend.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

77

Tea of the afternoon……

I was pleasantly surprised with this one. I was expecting something similar to Adagio Blackberry, but I have to say I like this one more. This black tea base is nothing spectacular, but it is pleasant enough. I don’t feel like it it is something I would rush out an buy, but it is enjoyable. The blackberry seems less tart than Adagio’s. Thank you to Dinosara for the sample!

Steeped by the normal method….

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

75

When I made my groupon order from this company, I ordered a sample of nearly every fruit-flavored black tea they offered. So far I haven’t been very impressed with the low-quality black tea base they use, but I am getting pickier and pickier. I don’t think I’ve ever had a blackberry flavored tea, but I do love to eat blackberries… they are one of my favorite berries. This tea doesn’t smell great, though. When I smelled the dry tea I thought maybe it was just some cross-contamination from other teas in the box, but the steeped tea smells like it too. It’s hard to place or describe, but suffice to say it’s not good.

The taste is… odd. It’s not bad, let’s start with that. The tea is very slightly bitter (curse that low-quality black tea base), and the flavor is I guess blackberryish. I guess. It’s just not what I was expecting. Now I want to go get some blackberries and make sure I’m not going crazy.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Kashyap

if you haven’t tried the loose leaf version of ROT blackberry sage…it has whole, dried blackberries in it….

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

72

It’s kind of weird that the description of this tea says nothing about what “fruit” is in the flavoring of this tea, just that they are summer fruits. For me, ambrosia is a creamy fruit salad with marshmallows; sorry, my southern is showing! I doubt that’s what they’re going for here, though.

The steeped tea indeed smells like fruit and black tea in a way that is both nice and a bit worrisome (the scent of bitterness?). Fortunately, no bitterness in the taste. I would say it’s peachy along with some other fruit, but I really can’t identify them. The black tea base is present in the flavor and is decent but not great. Overall I’m left with a feeling of ‘meh’… this tea isn’t bad, but I’m not going to be craving it.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

I’m not from the south but that is how I remember ambrosia too.

DaisyChubb

mmmm ambrosia salad is the best! Also reminds me of Edward Scissorhands ^^

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

70

Another round two tea from the Earl Grey side-by-side tasting. I’m doing 5 at a time, each tea brewed under the same parameters: in a tea filter bag, for 3 minutes with 205°F water. I dunked the tea filters around to make sure they were getting enough water flow since I don’t usually use them.

This is a brand new Earl Grey to me, and as such it doesn’t have a rating yet. And it didn’t really stick out in this tasting at all. It was a little weak, a bit forgettable, with not much distinct about it. As it cooled I actually got a hint of lemony flavor, moreso than the bergamot. Will try this one under normal circumstances, but it definitely didn’t distinguish itself here.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

75

This is one that Dinosara shared with me in our recent trade. It was an amount that just fit the size of the pot that I use when sharing with the boyfriend, and as he tends to like ‘black and fruity’ it was also an obvious candidate for sharing.

So I did.

I can smell the mango in the aroma, but there’s something else in there as well which smells sort of spicy and … something! I know I know that smell, but I can’t for the life of me put my finger on what it is. I suspect it probably has something to do with the petals of something or other in the leaves. I asked the boyfriend and he suggested it smelled a bit like mulled wine, possibly cloves. That could be it, but I’m not sure.

That thing I can’t remember is in the flavour as well. Right at first for a brief moment, and then it sort of turns into a flavour of sunflower seeds and finally mango. The mango is most prominent on the aftertaste, but it’s a very authentic tasting mango. It makes me want to eat one.

It’s very nice, this, and it also earned the boyfriend seal of approval in spite of initially having inspired a bit of ‘meh’ in him when told what it was. Personally, though, I could have lived without the funky sunflower seed flavour…

Dinosara

I haven’t actually tried this one yet, so I’m glad to hear that the mango flavor is at least authentic. I’m interested to try and look out for the weird spicy flavor.

Angrboda

I’m not entirely certain that it really is reminding me mostly of sunflower seeds, but… It seems to be as close as I can get. I’ll keep an eye out to see what you think of it when you get around to trying it out too.

teamax

Frustrating when you can remember a taste but not remember what it belonged to.

Angrboda

Yes it is! And the more you think about it, the more difficult it becomes to pinpoint it. Chances are in a little while someone will say something completely unrelated to this post about ‘this whole other tea smells like xyz’ and I’ll go XYZ YES! and it’ll be too late, because I’ve already used the sample.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

73

I wanted a lighter tea this afternoon since I think all that black tea was being a little hard on my stomach, so I decided to give this one a try. Plus it’s supposed to be all health-improving and such, so it can’t hurt, right?

The dry leaf smells pungently of rose and lemon. It’s one of those teas that smells so strongly it’s hard to put your nose in the pouch to smell it. Primarily rose, and that holds over to the steeped tea (though it’s not nearly so strong). The flavor is also primarily rose with an accompaniment of bright lemon. The rose in rose blacks is usually warm, rich, and full, like roses in a vase at home; this rose is fresh, bright and green, like a rose in the garden. It makes me wish that I had a rose green that was actually scented traditionally, as opposed to rose flavoring added like this one, but I don’t know if they make those. The rosemary and sage don’t really make themselves known in the taste, besides probably edging the rose toward a more herbaceous flavor rather than a candy-sweet rose. The green tea is a bit grassy, but not a major player in the flavor. Overall a drinkable, pleasant tea, but I feel like it lacks some depth.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

71

I ordered a ton of fruit-flavored tea samples from this company with a groupon, but I haven’t gotten around to tasting them because I have so many other samples that seem more appealing right now! But I decided I wanted to try this one this afternoon. I was surprised when I really looked at the dried leaf and saw it was made up of what looked like very small pieces of black tea leaves along with some crushed powdered tea in the bottom. I’m still not sure what exactly I’m looking at when I look in the steeping basket; it looks like little nodules of tea leaves, but they don’t seem to unroll or anything.

Anyway, the dry leaf smells very mango-passion, and there’s a lot of fine flower petals in the mix as well. A fair amount of tea and flower dust fell through the steeping basket, so I hope it doesn’t oversteep too much. The steeped tea smells like tropical mango passion fruit, but it’s a bit more subdued. I don’t get a strong black tea aroma like I might expect in that situation, though. The flavor is decent. I must make a mental note to steep it at a slightly lower temp, and try to shake out the powdered tea through the strainer before steeping. It’s a bit bitter but not too much (though I think it’s getting worse as the tea dust in the bottom is oversteeping). The mango and passion fruit flavors are nice and natural tasting, but the black tea base is uninspiring. I can hardly tell what it tastes like other than a little bitter. I certainly don’t get any floral notes. Perhaps when brewed a little more gently it will yield a better cup; this one’s fine and drinkable, but nothing to write home about. I bet it will be tasty iced, though!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

66

I’m finally getting around to trying something other than the gigantic bag of orange cinnamon black tea from this tea company. I ordered a few herbals from this company even though I don’t drink herbals all that often. And in fact, all of these herbals have hibiscus in them, so I may be saving them for next summer anyway. I like hibiscus tea, but I like cold, sweetened hibiscus tea. But this morning I’m trying this one hot for kicks anyway, because I hope the lemon and eucalyptus will soothe my sore throat. I have a full on head cold, so I’m working from home today, which means a limited tea selection. Mostly herbals!

This tea company is a wholesaler that also sells their teas retail. It would possibly a really good deal (the tea is really cheap!) but the shipping is pretty killer (it gets pretty expensive pretty fast on an order). A number of the teas I bought show up on here from other retailers, and this is one of them. The dry leaf on this one smells very hibiscusy. When brewed I can still smell the hibiscus, but it’s mitigated by some lemon and orange. The taste is actually very pleasant. For a tea with hibiscus and rose hips, it’s not really tart at all; it’s smooth and a little sweet (this is perhaps the honeybush? this is actually my first one!), with a nice full mouthfeel that sometimes is lacking with tart fruity herbals. It’s lemony and orangey and definitely soothing. I think it would make iced tea as well. I’m not in love with this one, but it is nice to drink.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

68

When I got home tonight, there was an extra large package sitting on my doorstep. See, I was expecting a package from Monterey Bay Spice Company, from a groupon I had bought a while ago, but I had just ordered a bunch of samples of a lot of their teas, and this package was way too heavy to just be samples. Imagine my surprise when I opened it up to find a full pound of this tea in there! I looked at my receipt and the sample for this tea doesn’t have the same type of item number as the rest of the samples, which is probably the source of the mix-up, but I did only pay $1 for it. I had been kind of miffed that the shipping for this company is a flat $13, which seems high to me, but I suppose I got my money’s worth anyway.

So I have a lot of this tea. Is it any good? I didn’t even mean to order the decaf version! I decided to brew up a pot tonight to see. Fortunately, it’s definitely drinkable. It’s very, very orangey, with a somewhat more subtle spice compliment. Cinnamon, definitely, but also the kind of warm autumn spices that often accompany it, and none of them is very overpowering. The decaf black tea is inoffensive and hardly present in the flavor, but at least it’s not chemically (at least, not to me). Would I choose this tea to get a pound of normally? Probably not, but you can bet I was relieved when I took a sip and it was pleasant enough.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

98

Thanks, Clare, for sending me this sample. This became an instant essential within one sip! Talk about a tropical vacay in your teacup, this is the winner! I’m a nut for anything pineapple (even on pizza, I’m from SoCal) and the flavor in this tea is outstanding. I taste a hint of papaya, too, which pairs well with one of my fave fruits. The green tea base is light and refreshing, so the tea flavor doesn’t crowd the fruit flavors. Overall, this is just a refreshing tea!

Uniquity

LOVE pineapple on pizza. It goes on almost all of ours.

KeenTeaThyme

I also like to add strawberry slices in the summer – with the pineapple, maybe a couple banana peppers too. :) But hey, I saw a steak&cheese pizza being advertised the other day!

Uniquity

We made a pizza with garlic olive oil, loose sausage, more garlic, spinach and cheese recently. That was a good one, though not that unconventional. We do a homemade pizza once a week…Thank God for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer!

ColumbiaKate

Great to hear I picked another good one. I love pineapple on pizza as well. Something about warming that flavor brings out the sweetness of it.
We get ready-made pizza dough at Trader Joe’s and do Calzones at the Teahouse. All kinds of fillings. Last week it was the thin sliced ham and pinapple with the tomato sauce and cheese…this week vegetarian.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

82

Thank you TeaEqualsBliss for sending this tisane my way.

I’m always a little leery of herbal teas, sometimes they taste too medicinal or just weird for me… but this is actually not too bad. It has a nice root-beer-ish taste to it, and I like how the coconut and root beer taste come together. The malt notes enhance the root beer flavor. I can also taste the spices in this… overall it’s really much better than I expected it to be.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

80

Revisiting this one. It’s pretty yummy! See my other note! Sending the rest to Anne!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

68

After waking up to a heavy frost and a chilly house, Winter Blend is an appropriate choice. Needless to say, heating the kettle was my first action this morning.
This is truly a “comfort tea”. The orange and apple are fruity and evident. The cinnamon is there but does not announce. The least of the flavors, the rose and nuttiness, just make it a nice well rounded blend.
Great without milk or sugar, but add that in and it’s excellent as well.

In my shop I call this Orange Spice, as I frequently have customers asking for a blend with orange. This satisfies and is reminiscent of Constant Comment only kicked up several notches in flavor.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec
ColumbiaKate

Another reason I changed the name is that customers wouldn’t buy Winter Blendt year round.
I have a blend of Mulling Spices from Monterey Bay that I like to add to this blend on occasion, just to give it a more intense flavor. The mulling spices are nice in other tea blends a well. Mostly fruity flavored tea.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

82

Incredibly soothing green with lovely papaya notes!I will be writing a lengthier review on SororiTEA Sisters soon…also passing the rest of this along to a friend…

Login or sign up to leave a comment.