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Recent Tasting Notes
Thank you so much Scheherazade for the sample; I honestly believed I’d probably never get to try another new RiverTea blend, and this was a delightful surprise from your swap package!
I cold brewed my sample, and then took it to work to drink without having read the ingredients prior – I wanted to do a true blind tasting of it. I’ll admit it was very hard to reach a conclusion for what the flavor was though; mostly I tasted super sweet vanilla and the woody rooibos base and even a little bit of a medicinal note; the fruit flavours itself were so muddled and generic. I couldn’t even use the dry leaf to help guess because the only ‘fruit pieces’ were little cubes of candied fruit that could have been a ton of different fruits.
I finished off all 25 oz. and I did enjoy it; the flavour was nice even if it wasn’t all that distinct. My final guess probably would have been vanilla, mango, papaya and possibly peach. I’ve now looked at the ingredients and I got 3/5 – Vanilla, Mango, and Papaya. The ones I missed were coconut and pineapple; and thinking back I can sort of see how the coconut would have merged in with the vanilla and been subtly present but I definitely don’t think there was any presence of pineapple flavour.
Overall, I liked this but didn’t love it. However, I’m still so, so grateful I got to try it because RiverTea was one of my favourite companies and I definitely wanted to be able to try as many of their blends as possible.
Sadly, this didn’t work as well as a cold brew as I’d hoped. I used my usual ratio of 2 tbsp leaf to 2 litres of water, into the fridge for around 10 hours overnight. It was very woody and slightly medicinal in flavour (100% rooibos, basically), with hardly a hint of the tropical fruit flavours I’d hoped would show up well. Definitely one I’ll be finishing off hot!
I’ve had this one in my stash for a while. I only managed to place one order with RiverTea before they closed, and since then I think I’ve been hanging on to the ones I do have without really considering why. It’s time to drink up. Today’s a really warm summer’s day here, so a tropical-style blend was most appealing. I used tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium red-orange, fairly typical of rooibos blends.
The first thing that strikes me about this one is how nice it smells while brewing. Pineapples and cream! It’s really putting me in mind of a pina colada, or some kind of floating island dessert, maybe. This tea is described as a pineapple vanilla blend, but it also contains papaya, mango and coconut in addition to pineapple, and a whole host of floral additives – rose petals, sunflower blossoms, jasmine, conflower petals, and safflowers. It makes the dry leaf look pretty, for sure – blue, yellow, red and pink petals scattered amongst the darker red-brown of the rooibos, and the yellow-gold of the pineapple chunks.
To taste, this is (thankfully) predominantly pineapple. I can also taste a hint of coconut towards the end of the sip, which rounds things off an a pleasantly tropical note. There’s a whole ton of creaminess in the mid-sip – it’s really quite startling given that vanilla is the only thing here that can really be causing that, and it’s quite far down the list of ingredients. It’s a truly delicious thing. As my cup cools, a hint of the floral emerges in the aftertaste. It’s not too heavy or cloying, though, so that’s fine with me.
I can see this working really well as a cold brew, so I’ll probably try that next. I’m back to work next week, so it can come along with me and brighten up my days a little. I think I’ve realised now why I started to hoard River Tea blends once I heard they’d closed – every time I drink a cup, I’m reminded what a loss their closure is to the tea world. I can only imagine what they might have gone on to blend.
I’ve had this one in my stash for a while, and I’ve drank it before, but for some reason I’ve never got around to writing a note about it. Now is the time! River Tea have gone the way of the dodo, sadly, and this perhaps isn’t the tea to remember them by. It’s very tart, although I can taste raspberry very clearly. The raspberry is completely natural-tasting, too, and almost exactly like eating actual raspberries. Sweet, sharp, sour, and intensely fruity. The pomegranate is less of a feature, although it’s there in the background. It helps with the sweetness a bit, although it doesn’t contribute massively to the flavour otherwise. The main player here, though, is hibiscus. The liquor has that tell-tale bright red-pink colour, and it’s noticeable as soon as you take a sip. It’s very tart; tarter than any raspberry has a right to be, and it takes the sourness just a notch too far.
I used 2 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. The leaf is as per the recommended parameters, but I gave it less time (6-10 minutes is the suggestion). It’s by no means a bad tea, but it’s not a very subtle one. I can’t help but think that it could only have been improved by the removal of the hibiscus. With the already tart/sharp/sour raspberry, it’s sadly just a step too far.
Thank you for the teas a while back, Beorhthraefn! I’ve come to expect most River Teas delicious. Another sad loss in tea companies this year. There have been so many! This big leafy bai mu dan has plenty of fruit pieces and a chamomile blossom that landed in my infuser. River Tea usually delivers on their promised flavors. On the great tasting base, I was getting hints of strawberry and pineapple, maybe not so much mango which is a shame because there aren’t nearly enough mango teas! This one is tasty. I’ve tried a few more River Teas since they’ve closed and I really wish I was able to buy some before they closed… of course the problem then would be too many to choose from!
Monthly TTB. I always find these champagne named teas to be a little interesting. I’m not a huge fan of champagne but from the ones I’ve had this one is probably the best yet. It has that brutish taste without the alcohol sting. The strawberry is there but it’s very mild. surprisingly I’m not tasting much of the green tea. Kinda a weak base or something….
Thanks again for the teas, Beorhthraefn! I feel terrible I’m not trying them soon enough. They are right at the top of my e-mail draft of teas to try though! Here is another one to mourn River Tea’s disappearance. It’s delicious. I wouldn’t think a green tea with ginger could be this great, but there is so much LEMON. It’s like a sweet lemonade or lemon sugar dusted donut. Or everything that is lemony delicious at once. The ginger was luckily only at the top of the cup (not a ginger fan), but this is so lemony I can’t even taste the green tea. The second steep was lemony as well. I’m actually surprised by the list of ingredients, as the lemon was so strong, it overpowered any black pepper, licorice or pineapple that was in the blend. EVERYTHING I’ve tried from River Tea has been so great but sadly that has only been a handful of blends.
Steep #1 // 1 3/4 tsps. // 28 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 min steep
Steep #2 // 25 min after boiling // 3 min
It is a tragedy that you can no longer get such a lovely tea.
The light chocolate flavour pairs so well with the spices including cardamon, anise, vanilla, and a bit of clove. Neither the spices, nor the chocolate, nor even the black tea base is overpowering. They blend together to form one concise, delicious, and memorable cup of tea.
In my humble opinion, this is one of those teas that really makes drinking tea an experience. I relish each sip of this tea. I am very grateful for the small amount I have left. I will be heartbroken when it is gone.
When I decide to indulge in this delightful tea I usually do 3 steeps. The first steep for about 4.5 minutes, the second for about 6.5, and the third for almost 10 minutes. The flavour holds up nicely through all 3. A tea blessing. :)
Flavors: Anise, Cardamon, Chocolate, Clove, Vanilla
I received this while ago from Roswell Strange and for some reason hadn’t tried it!
And now that I have, I’m sad! It was so good. Fruity and with a bit of a spicy kick. I guess I’d call it plums and black pepper, but honestly I wasn’t awake enough to make that kind of distinction.
Made with a touch of milk.
Another one from Cavo that I’m just finally getting around to. The first thing I noticed was there were chunks of fruit in there with the black tea, & dried mums as well. It’s not a bad tea, especially lightly sweetened. Fruity with mango, kind of creamy. Chrysanthemum flowers are not really all that flower, at least not like roses or jasmine, and that’s fine with me. All it all, it was ok, but not something I’d stock. Still grateful to have the opportunity to sample it though!
EU TTB BOX – ROUND 3 RETURN
Something to sip while I replace the pictures on my website. A few weeks ago Tea Trade had a bug and in turn all of their users pictures were deleted. Three years of pictures deleted….and I found out the day before my birthday when I was ill. Not the greatest time for me right now but I’m getting on with it. Each page takes roughly 30 minutes to update with the new pictures so I have my hands full.
The raw leaves smell herbal, tart and fruity – particularly berry and lemon like.
Once steeped the tea is red/pink and has a tart berry scent, matching it’s raw form.
(Looks at pictures of Anton Yelchin while the tea cools)
In flavour this is very mild with dominant lemongrass tones, some sweetness and a herbal after taste. Also getting some tart hibiscus after a few more sips.
As it cools the tartness reduces a little, though on the whole it’s still a lemongrass and hibiscus dominant blend.
Glad I only had a sample of this one, as much as I love lemongrass I happen to dislike hibiscus (for the most part) and this blend is nothing above average for me. Drinkable and enjoyable but not something I would want more of. Just as well I suppose, considering River Tea has since closed.
Flavors: Hibiscus, Lemongrass, Sour
Thank you Christina for sharing this tea. It is quite nice as it captures the apple flavour well. The rose adds some sweetness while the nut adds a slight baked good element to the cup. However, it’s really just another apple tea. Nothing makes it stand out from all the other apple teas out there so though I am enjoying it now, it’s one I will likely forget soon enough.
Thank you VariaTEA for the sample! I had originally planned to have this one on NYE, but obviously that didn’t happen. Instead, I enjoyed a mug of it on my way to work on a rather unexceptional day.
Surprisingly this was quite lovely! I guess I didn’t think it would be because of the green base and, to a lesser extent, the peppercorns in the blend (why would you add peppercorn!?) but it came out very succulent and juicy with minimal contributions from the base and no contribution from the peppercorn. The strawberry was very sweet; it reminded me of a borderline overripe strawberry or maybe a strawberry compote. Either way, there was zero tartness/tang. There were also some gentle honey and floral tones which made the flavour more well rounded. I’m not sure exactly how much champagne flavour was present – I think it was hiding a bit with the strawberry flavour, but it certainly contributed a bit of a sparkly/fizzy quality. Not that this was literally carbonated – it just had that sort of special, effervescent quality in the taste.
Personally, I think this one was very, very flavourful and incredibly well executed! Which, of course, makes it that much sadder I wont get to ever drink it again.
EDIT: Today’s word of the day is Principle which is pretty lame in my opinion. Who doesn’t know the word principle? I remember learning it way back in elementary school! So, instead I’m gonna talk about yesterday’s word of the day!
So yesterday’s word was Verdant. And yeah, that’s a word most of us tea drinkers are probably familiar with because of the tea company – but do you all know the actual meaning? I definitely didn’t. Verdant means: Green with growing plants. Which I think makes “Verdant Tea” an even more beautiful company name!
I haven’t been drinking much rooibos lately. Historically I like desserty rooibos more than fruity.
This is nice – if all rooibos was as good as this one, I’d drink more of it. It’s rooibos, but it’s more subtle in the background rather than that woody/medicinal in your face ick that it sometimes is (lower water temp shorter steep also helps). I’m not so sure about currant – what does currant taste like? – but it’s juicy and tart fruity against the woody sweet of the rooibos. This is a well blended tea – sad that they have gone out of business.
Another one from Roswell Strange. I didn’t look at this tea very closely, so I thought it was a spearmint gunpowder green tea. Imagine my surprise when I opened the bag to make some, and discovered it’s actually a rolled green oolong! In my opinion, that makes it about five times more interesting. Dry scent is mild and sweet spearmint.
The steeped tea has a mild spearmint smell, but I can also smell the oolong underneath. The spearmint is also fairly mild in the taste, which is very nice, as I find that strong spearmint teas remind me of chewing gum. The oolong base contributes and thick and silky mouthfeel and a little bit of “green” flavor. Happily for me, it’s not an overly flower oolong. Pretty tasty!
Flavors: Green, Smooth, Spearmint, Sweet, Thick
Thank you to whoever passed this along to me (I can’t remember who; so sorry!). I’m still very much in denial over RiverTea’s closure and getting to try any RiverTea blend I hadn’t previously is very exciting to me.
This one I cold brewed; it came out relatively weak in flavour and watered down and I’m not sure if that’s because I didn’t have enough leaf or because it’s just a gentle/subtle tea in general. There was a nice, light sugar pea sort of vegetalness to this one that provided a nice canvas for all the additional flavours. It was mildly floral – I would have guessed something like orchids but I suppose it was the rose. The apple was present, but very light – kind of like that fleeting taste of apple you get when you nibble on an apple skin.
No almond/nut notes present here for me.
I don’t want to say I was disappointed with this one because I did enjoy it, but there wasn’t a whole lot going on for me, and so if RiverTea was still open this isn’t one I’d be exploring any further if that was still an option.
Backlog from a looong time ago.
I got this as a sample from RiverTea when I was one of the winners in their photo contest at the end of September. I’ve been eyeing this one for a while because it contains linden flowers, my tea equivalent of Ahab’s white whale.
The most important thing you need to know about this tea is that it’s chunky. Big, huge blossoms and leaves. This makes measuring out a teaspoon or two pretty much impossible.
As a result, I dumped the whole sample packet into my infuser to make a pot of tea (3 cups)….and I promptly forgot about it for at least 2-3 times the recommended steeping time.
Since this was an herbal tea, it was fairly forgiving, despite this. The hibiscus definitely was the most prominent flavour, though, as well as the lemon verbena (I think). I thought I could taste linden, but it was more of a hint than a real taste.
This tea isn’t too bad, but I’m not sure if I’d restock it. I’m glad I got a sample for free.
Yet another casualty of my need to make room in my tea cupboard for my Black Friday purchases.
I love the smell of this one, both dry and brewed, though I think that the brewed tea probably needs some sweetener to give it some oomph. The way that mango scent wafts up from the wet leaves is amazing.
I most certainly will consider getting a tin of this when I make a restocking order with RiverTea. It won’t be for a while, though, as I still have almost all of their other teas in supply.
This tea smells so wonderful when it’s dry and when it’s brewed – I really get that zap of mango. For some reason, I like mango in teas, but I really have to be in the mood for it.
The amazing thing is that I barely get a hint of bergamot with this. If I hadn’t known it was a variant of EG, I would never have guessed.
The taste is a bit weaker, less fruity, and more malty, with a slight yeasty overtone that I’m surprised but not put off by. I might restock this? Maybe?