Monterey Bay Spice Company

Recent Tasting Notes

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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70

Sipdown, 194. Cold brewed this one. I know, a winter blend is somewhat odd for a cold brew in the spring, but I remembered this one being appley and I have been enjoying appley cold brews.

Unfortunately this didn’t really pan out. There was some off taste to it, slightly chemically or artificial, and not enough apple. It was drinkable but perhaps I should have saved this for another hot brew. Ah well, it’s gone now!

Preparation
Iced

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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.

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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

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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….

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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 ^^

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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.

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73

Sipdown, 147. Cold brew. I decided this one would be a sipdown this afternoon when I took a sip of my cold brewed tea and realized it just wasn’t that good. I have maybe two more cups of this left, but it’s just not worth it.

For one think, I really just don’t like gunpowder green teas. Green tea with some smokiness? No thanks, not for me. The flavor on this one has also faded dramatically and it’s really just like rose green, which in theory I should like, but this one isn’t doing it for me. I think I liked it better when I could still taste the lemon. Anyway, I don’t feel bad about throwing out a little bit of leaf. It’s pretty liberating.

Preparation
Iced
High Adventure

Ohhhh, a sipdown is trying to get through a tea! I have been thinking a sipdown is like a showdown: you try lots and decide on a winner. Silly me!

Sil

haha that sounds more fun high adventure :) sipdown in O-T coral! :)

Dinosara

Haha that is an awesome interpretation!

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73

I’ve been craving rose lately (but strangely not giving into the craving), and today I decided to try this one again, which I haven’t had in quite a while.

I like the combination of flavors here, especially rose and lemon. I love rose and lemon. The other herbs (rosemary, sage), are not very prominent, and just lend a kind of herby feel to the whole thing. The gunpowder green is kind of boringly grassy without much to it. Classic example of an interesting flavor combination in a tea that is made less successful by use of lower-quality ingredients.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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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

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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

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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

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66

Sipdown, 146. Woot, last of the MBSC teas in my cupboard! Hallelujah.

I cold brewed this, and this is the second large glass I’ve had of it. This tastes way better with a glug of simple syrup in it, but it’s certainly not my favorite. Its just kind of generically fruity. Ah well, it’s gone now. Moving on!

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66

I really need some more herbals and non-caffeinated blends. I have drank myself down to one Teavana blend that I want to drink, a few medicinal staples, and a slew of hibiscus-based fruit blends that I am not interested in drinking hot. Well, it will be summer soon and I won’t want to drink hot tea in the evenings at home.

This is one of those hibiscus blends, but it benefits from having lemongrass and ginger in the mix as well. Still, it’s tartly fruity (though less tart than it could be) and not quite what I wanted tonight. Ah well.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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69

*Grumble, grumble * I hate PMS *Grumble, grumble *

I don’t expect this to be a magical cure or anything, but one of its main ingredients is raspberry leaf which I’ve drunk before on its own for hormonal issues and found it helped somewhat. I was a bit leery of the ‘vitex’ or chasteberry which, despite being touted as a cure-all, can also have some unpleasant side-effects – usually only in high, continuous does however, so I figure I’m pretty safe.

The dry tea smells like cinnamon while it changes to a fruitier, more herbal scent as it steeps. The cinnamon is still there in the flavour though it’s fairly mild. In general the tea tastes sweetly herbal with slight hints of sweet lemon and berry. Unlike many of these ‘functional’ teas this one doesn’t taste nasty, which I can appreciate.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
gmathis

I keep searching for medicinal teas that taste like tea and not like medicine; this one sounds like it might mildly fit that description.

Jaime

Okay, so does it actually help with the PMS? Cause I’m really needing something that can calm those symptoms down.

Auggy

Vitex is my hero. It’s the only thing that makes that TOM not make me want to die, among other things. Never had it in tea-form though!

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56

Well, I have been holding off on this one for a while! It’s not as bad as I thought it would be based on the aroma! It smells like fennel, coconut, and dirty socks! Ok…maybe not dirty socks…but socks.

Anyhow…the taste is spicy and floral but malty and coconut. I can pick up on the carob and fennel individually. I think the coconut and the crystal malt was probably the saving grace.

It’s not bad but I know I wouldn’t buy it in a store for my own personal stash. If you like herbals and lots of the herbally-tasting stuff you will prob like this!

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