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drank Bella Granata by RiverTea
1230 tasting notes

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.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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drank Tuscan Sun by RiverTea
1719 tasting notes

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!


I feel the same way about RiverTea.

R.I.P. RiverTea; you are missed!! :(


Part of me is glad I stalled on trying them because now I’m not pining for anything. But it’s still so sad that they’re gone.

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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….

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drank In The Jungle by RiverTea
1719 tasting notes

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

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Sample from VarieTEA. Thank you!

I wasn’t a big fan of this. The flavors are really mild, and it tastes like it has some kind of artificial sweetener in it. Still, it was nice to try.

3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Granny's Cake by RiverTea
31 tasting notes

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

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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drank The Tea of Kings by RiverTea
1909 tasting notes

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.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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drank Boatsman by RiverTea
3150 tasting notes

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!

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drank Midsummer Night by RiverTea
1247 tasting notes


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

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drank Baked Apple by RiverTea
2369 tasting notes

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.

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Sipdown (123)!

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!

Cameron B.

I don’t understand random peppercorns either… They seem to be quite common.

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drank Ruby Red by RiverTea
892 tasting notes

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.

Bear With Me

I should send you some Janet’s rooiboses soon.

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drank Ruby Red by RiverTea
892 tasting notes

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drank Absolute Spearmint by RiverTea
972 tasting notes

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

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I bet I would like this

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drank Baked Apple by RiverTea
2836 tasting notes

Sipdown (124)!

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.

aisling of tea

Are you like me and kinda foolishly holding out hope that this is all a big misunderstanding and they’ll reopen at some point in the future? I have absolutely nothing to base this theory on besides my own desperate hopes.

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drank Greek Mountain by RiverTea
714 tasting notes

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.

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drank Marquis de Gris by RiverTea
714 tasting notes


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.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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drank Marquis de Gris by RiverTea
714 tasting notes

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?

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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drank Spring Fest by RiverTea
207 tasting notes

I took a tsp of this when I had the Marco Polo TTB. It was rather cold today and when I got out of work it was super dark outside so I really wanted to be reminded of spring. Also- my first try of RiverTeas!

Maybe because the sample was old- I was trying to drink a spring tea in late autumn. I didn’t get very much in the way of strong flavor from my brew. I also may have underleafed, but I followed the package directions! There were LOTS of jasmine flowers and other things scattered in with the green tea leaves. In the end though it only tasted like a vaguely floral and vaguely sweet green tea. I was really hoping for something similar to Sakurabo (sp?) from Lupicia. That’s one really cherry tea! I think that cherry-ness plus jasmine on a green base would be really pretty.

A plus at least for RiverTea, they use fairly large and intact jasmine flowers in this. I was expecting more from the tea because of that, but I guess they are mostly decorative. I’ve had jasmine teas in many forms, and this is among the most pretty (excepting blooming teas, of course).


I think that jasmine flowers really are very light in flavor at best. They are pretty, though.

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drank Marquis de Gris by RiverTea
2836 tasting notes

Sipdown (113)!

Been curious about this for a while; not curious enough to buy 50g worth and the last couple RiverTea orders I’ve placed there’ve been other teas I was more interested in requesting as a sample so I really pounced on the chance to grab some from Marzipan in our swap.

I like Earl Grey; it’s just not really even close to being a part of my daily tea drinking routine; one EG blend in the house is enough to totally sate any bergamot cravings and I definitely don’t tend to get fancy with it. And mango and I? We have a love hate relationship. But something about this blend interests me. Maybe it’s just the fun name drawing me in, but I was excited to try it!

Dry, I thought this smelled really strong and fruity. Such a bright “orange” smell very distinctly of mangoes, with the FAINTEST bergamot undertone. Steeped up, not as “brightly” fruity but still very rich – I think I taste the mango just slightly more than the bergamot in the blend. It came off as fairly light handed to me. But the balance between the two really worked for me; it was kinda summery and vibrant and fun but with that “soothing” quality of bergamot that makes you feel just right. And I’m not sure why I’m surprised, but the mango and bergamot complimented each other very well too. Plus, the black base was present without being bitter, astringent or too brisk.

And, for my own personal bergamot tastes, I thought that the “light handedness” of it was very suited to me because it makes this blend something I would consider drinking on a more frequent basis, and separate enough from the Cream Earl Grey I stock to maybe be able to justify having both in my cupboard!

Side note – I should add “bergamot” to my online dictionary or whatever because my computer keeps correcting it to “Bertram” and switching it back is annoying.

carol who

I love the spell check errors! :)


Let’s just call it Bertram. I like it.


:D I’ve had to add bergamot as well as blergamot to my dictionary.

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This was a sample sent to me from Marzipan. It’s a black tea which I don’t have much experience with. I couldn’t put my finger on the flavor. I looked it up on the River Tea site and it says Mango and bergamot but they aren’t listed in the ingredients. Says rose blossom, cornflower blossoms and sunflower blossoms. This is in my top 3 favorite teas!! I made several pots with this sample and was very sad to see this end. My son and I both enjoyed this one all day long. It was sweet, had a well rounded taste. The flavors went well together. The site says it’s a summer tea- but I could drink this all the time! I do see how this is a lighter mouthfeel than a spicy chai but it was perfectly balanced in the flavors for us. Thank you so much for the sample Marzipan!! I never knew my life was missing this one!!!! Only problem now is that it’s gone!! (I did use my local honey to sweetened this one)

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