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Recent Tasting Notes
I’ve got to admit, my expectations weren’t too high with this one.
I think it’s because the only thing separating this from the Vanilla Bean Black I tried yesterday was the addition of white tea. The steeping recommendations allowed for this by steeping at a slightly lower temperature but otherwise, everything was pretty close to the same. Dry leaf smell was mostly chocolate, leaves had some of the more spindly needle like leaves I typically see in white tea.
Once it was all steeped up, I found out I was right. The milk chocolate smell is what greets you first and foremost, and while its hot at least there is the familiar hot cocoa taste and smell I’ve come to associate with chocolate sTEAp shoppe teas. The one difference here is that the addition of the white tea causes a noticeable change in texture – it is definitely thinner than the Vanilla Black.
So in a nutshell – these were good teas, albeit samey. I think I’d consider having one of them on hand as a good chocolate substitute, because they really do hold their own without additives. Probably the vanilla bean black will be my go to if/when I place another order. The chocolate flavor is very authentic, but since chocolate is rarely my dessert of choice it doesn’t make much sense to go stocking a pantry full of it!
I did a double take when I saw the ingredient list on the sample – cacao nibs? In a vanilla tea?
I admit that annoyed me – mostly because I didn’t spot the error before I bought it. I LOVE vanilla. It’s one of my favorite things. Chocolate in tea is not one of my favorite things. I’ll admit – the White Chocolate sample I had last night was pretty good but an anomaly since chocolate teas are normally a no go. That one I’d probably get again because it managed to hold its own so well without additives, and simulate hot chocolate so perfectly.
This? Well, the dry leaf smell mostly smells of chocolate. BOO. It has me thinking wistfully about my French Vanilla black from 52teas, and reminds me that yes, I need another vanilla black staple in my cupboard.
Once its steeped up and I try a sip plain, I notice a lot of similarities in texture between this blend and the White chocolate. The cacao nibs must be used predominantly for this purpose. And while I try I few sips plain, I have to admit that vanilla is the main flavor – which surprises me. It is a smooth, sweet vanilla, more like a creamy custard. The tea itself isn’t astringent at all – I remember reading that it was Ceylon, and that works for me – ceylons are my ideal black tea. They are bright and a touch citrusy but tend to walk the balance between flavor and boldness without being too light, or too tannic.
The problem with me and this tea is that while it’s good plain, when I want a breakfast tea I usually want it with milk and sugar. I added some creamer after I got a good idea of the flavor plain and… well, I’m sure you can guess what that brought out of hiding.
Yeah, this is now a chocolate tea.
Bummer. I have a 0.5 oz. sample that I need to use but I will just remember that this one is best served plain. Texture wise it really didn’t need anything to thicken it up – I do have to give it good marks for having such a rich mouthfeel on its own- and sugar brings out the chocolate rather than vanilla notes.
Sigh – I need to read some of Angrboda’s old notes because she devoted much time and effort to finding her ideal vanilla black. And if I remember she also liked the 52Teas Vanilla black a lot so clearly she has excellent taste – or at the very least, she likes the same sort of vanilla that I do. :)
Flavors: Chocolate, Cream
Free sample with my sTEAp shoppe order!
I was really not expecting a free sample, but I have to admit I loved that I had a spare teabag just to use whenever. I get to do a decupboarding, and try a new tea as well!
I am not a big white chocolate fan, I’ve got to say. I much prefer the bitterness of dark chocolate – white chocolate can be overly sweet for my tastes. The smell of this was both accurate to white chocolate and not overbearing, though – perhaps because I know the tea won’t have the sugar added unless I add some.
As it steeps this reminds me of hot chocolate – regular Swiss Miss, that I remember having in the winter as a kid. I was one of those children that had hot chocolate made with water (my mind was blown when I grew up and realized you could use milk as a base instead).
Hmm – the taste is watered down hot chocolate, but that isn’t really a bad thing. This is more milk chocolate than white, and its a surprisingly accurate chocolate flavor with none of the chemical undertones that other chocolate flavored teas have. The white tea base works well here, more as a vessel for the chocolate flavor than anything I can detect on its own. And the texture is really creamy and luscious. It is hot chocolate without the sugar, and a really good alternative to that in the winter, I’d imagine.
I am impressed – which is a good thing because I have another chocolate based tea to try from the sTEAp shoppe. And I’ll keep this one around on my wishlist for the winter months – I think it will come in handy then!
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Vanilla
Finally ordered this one after a sample from Sil a few months ago…and a few other samples to boot. I’ve not been in much of a sampling mood lately – I think I’ve reached that mythical land of figuring out a few staples I want to keep around and being able to let go of the need to try all the things. But I hadn’t ordered from the sTEAp shoppe before so I did want to make it worth my while.
I didn’t realize there was agave and maple syrup crystals in this! That probably explains some of the sweetness, though it’s kind of disappointing for me to realize that it wasn’t strictly the tea causing it. Also, does anyone else think that the dry leaf looks like granola? I totally thought all it needed was milk to be a breakfast cereal.
This one becomes more bready and textured as it cools down. Initially it was rather thin and weak, even with the milk, which had me a little worried but I’ll try resteeps at a lower temperature and see if that makes a difference. Boyfriend said “I smell cinnamon!” which disappointed him because he thought I was making cinnamon bread. Nope. Just a pretty fantastic smelling tea.
Since I have 2 oz. of this to play with I’m going to fully explore all the resteep capabilities…but first I think I want to get to some of these samples. Just like old times!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Vanilla
Received this one from a super secret surprise package from Dexter. This has been on my wish list for a long time but I had not yet had the chance to swap for it or put in a Steap Shoppe purchase.
This one smells super delicious, even though it is a pu’erh :P I just want to eat the dry leaf. It smells like cinnamon coffee cake. The brewed tea has a slight hint of pu’erh, but mostly smells like cinnamon french toast (yikes, why is my nose so sensitive to pu’erh; I am going to start claiming I have an allergy. That’s it – I am allergic to pu’erh).
I brewed this one up as per the recommendations from Dex on the package.
This tea is really good, but it is lacking just a little bit. I am getting a sweet cinnamon flacour, some light pastry. I feel like I am getting a bit of egg, such as with french toast. But I think it is lacking that thickness and heaviness of a real cinnamon bread. I think adding a bit of milk or creamer would help, but I am over on the couch and the milk is way over in the fridge….
I am getting just a slight hint of pu but it is tolerable, ha ha (I am allergic, you know, so I can only take it in small amounts…). This one definitely becomes more flavourful as it cools.
Thanks Dexter for so kindly seeing this one on my wishlist and sending it to me!
Generous sample from ifjuly – thank you
Perfection in a cup. I steeped it for 5min, second steep 7 min I added 1 tsp of maple syrup. The result was sticky cinnamon bun. Delicious .
I love it and going to place an order for it.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream
I got this one through my mystery packet from MissB. I opened my mailbox today not expecting anything, but there was this cute little packet and the inside of the mail box was nicely fragrant. I’m sure my neighbor thinks I’m nuts because I was sniffing the envelope and grinning like a loon.
Soo.. this is the first one I picked out of the bunch. One was because it’s in a little clear envelope, and it JUST has enough for my very first sipdown! Woohoo! It really is only enough for a mug, but my ceramic teapot is barely larger than that. I felt like it was a nice teapot+teacups+saucers kind of day.
What was left in the baggie was looked like green leaves mixed with black leaves… the pieces are small and there was alot of dust. The dust escaped the basket filter into the pot and then into my little tea cup. Oddly this gives me a sense of nostalgia?
The dry smell is chocolately, but the brew smells like dark incense. Very intriguing. It’s not like the little yellow incense sticks you buy at the asian grocery, nor is it that incense like at the ball they carry during Mass, but I can’t really describe it as anything else. I suppose it smells kinda woody but burnt. As the smell wafts around the room though it starts smelling more and more like roasted dark chocolate.
The taste is incense to me, which is kind of weird, but after you swallow, the back of the throat taste is clean chocolate. Soo good!
The liquor is a mahogany color. You don’t get as much incense smell/taste as the cup cools down, but it doesn’t smell much like chocolate either. Still like wood. EDIT: After reading some of the other reviews, someone mentioned tobacco, and I think that’s it. It’s like cigarettes. I’m not around alot of smokers ever, but it’s definitely that type of smokey.
The mouthfeel is nice, not too dry and not too rich either. Like drinking nice warm water.
I like it, I kind of wish I had some more to play with it a bit, but I’ve got soo much new tea to try! Either way I’m happy.
Flavors: Chocolate, Wood
Thank you Allie for sharing this tea with me. I usually tend to shy away from citrus teas and teas that are spiced so pulling this out of the swap package, I did not anticipate enjoying it all that much. I am happy to say that sipping on it now, it is not as unpleasant as I expected. The orange flavor is present but it is more like the fruit and less like the peel as many citrus teas tend to be. Moreover, the spice profile is different than the typical cinnamon and ginger you usually find in “spiced” teas and quite balanced with the orange. There is even a breadiness that gives it a cake-like quality. It is good and I am glad I got to try it but this is not something I am a sad to see go either.
Sip down, and thanks to Sil! This cup was a little more pu-erhy than the last, probably because I let it steep longer, plus there was enough leaf left for more than one but less than two cups, so I went with the former. I still get that freshly ground cinnamon note in the forefront, and a truly baked cinnamon flavour. I also tried half and half this time. Tastes like the smell of the—I’m guessing—cinnamon raisin bread the grocery store bakery was baking whilst I was doing my shopping.
I received a sample of this from Allie in our mystery swap. Thank you for sharing!
This was a sweet apple tea. I have had quite a few apple flavored teas recently, but most have been spiced with stronger cinnamon. This was mostly apple with a hint of spice. It looks like this is a green tea base, but I didn’t get much of the tea base out of it. This was a nice cup. Thank you!
Ah, Black and White. I’ve avoided you for a bit, because I enjoyed you so much the first time, and knew that I had to wait to make any more orders for a bit now. I have WAY too much tea still, even though I’m (finally) under 400 in my cupboard.
Definitely is a different experience than last time. First few sips were milky, vanilla chocolate, however now I’m getting more bitter white tea than anything. So, so very sad. :(
Thank you again OMGsrsly for sharing this with me! :) You rock.
1.5 tsp in 12 oz.
Sipdown No. 87!
This tea has a small history. It started with Tasty Brew, who included it in the BBBBox as part of the ‘grab bag’. I sampled it, sent it on to Sil, who also sampled it, & then she sent it back to me.
I think I liked it better the first time I tried it, but it’s still ok. Now it’s gone!
Sil, you little pu-erh pusher, you! Thanks for the sample. I’ll admit that I was a little frightened when I saw it amongst the other samples. Pu-erh usually makes my taste buds cry. But hey, this actually smells like cinnamon bread and not a barn, so let’s go!
I’m already halfway through my Nordic mug, and it’s not like I’m forcing it down either. It’s seriously like cinnamon bread! A quiet bready note behind freshly ground cinnamon and a pinch of sugar. I’ve said this about a tea before, and can’t remember which one, but this smells like my grandma’s cinnamon twists, while she’s in the midst of making them, dough and a bed of cinnamon sugar mixture.
No pu-erh weirdness. Whoa! Mind blown. Finally a pu-erh I would actually want to have around. I think Tea Desire’s Cinnamon Star is still my favourite, because it’s more like a cinnamon bun with icing, but this is actually a very close second. I’m amazed at how mellow the base is. It just lets the other notes sing.
Thank you so much, Sil!
Mind Boost Mint – Steap Shoppe – 2/10/2014
Took a break from tea for the weekend because of a vague cold-like thing that I still have but now I’m at work and I need tea. I made this without looking at the ingredients first (stupid me) and have just now realized that this has stevia in it so I’m now not expecting much. Otherwise, we’ll see. I like mint.
Well, it is a little overly sweet and the stevia taste is bleh but it’s mostly pleasing on the first sip. The mint is somewhat subdued to me by the other flavours. I think I’m picking up what must be gingko biloba but I’m not sure, never having tasted that separately before. There’s a certain earthiness that I’m not familiar with in here.
I imagine my taste buds are sort of dulled from my sort of cold and my mind is dull from the cold and lack of sleep and the aftermath of an adrenalin rush from my car accident last night (my fault, stupid mistake). I wish I didn’t have a headache.
Thanks to Dexter3657 for a sample of this!
So far I’m on my 3rd steep (dare I try a 4th?), and it’s nearly as flavorful as the first, it’s actually bit creamier. I was a bit worried, this being a Pu Erh, but it’s actually really nice! I don’t think it would make me get a brick or plain Pu Erh or anything, but tasty cinnamon tea with all the benefits of Pu Erh? Yes, please.
A lot of the reviews say this is bready and I’m not sure I’m going “bread” but it definitely evokes a cinnamon pastry.
I’ll definitely need to restock this when I’m out.
This is another from TastyBrew from a while back! thanks so much! I’ve loved the three blends I’ve tried Steap Shoppe, but this one isn’t to my tastes. It’s a Darjeeling so maybe I’m picky with those. I waited 20 minutes and steeped for 2-3 minutes. The flavor is very mild.. not much of note. One sip had a hint of plum. But maybe my palatte isn’t tuned to this one. The second steep reminded me of the black tea base that 52Teas sometimes uses that I don’t really like. Ah well. Maybe the scrumptious sounding description ruined my expectations? Every single other tea that TastyBrew sent me are some pretty amazing blends anyway!
Steep #1 // 20 minutes after boiling // 2-3 mins
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3-4 min (just a half mug of water)
Thank you OMGsrsly for the chance to try this tea. Every so often I get a glimpse of the delicious chocolate that this tea promises but mostly I taste the white tea. I like it but I am glad I sent most of the sample to Dexter3657 as I believe she enjoyed it far more than I did.
A big thanks to OMGsrsly for a sample of this tea. I have to say I have wanted to try this one for a while because of all the rapturous tasting notes on it (and I kinda didn’t believe a flavored puerh could be that good). I kept asking swap partner after swap partner but no one had enough, and OMGsrsly was so nice and sent me the last of her sample. Thanks so much!
This one made me glad for the new “average preparation” section on the tea page since sTEAp shoppe doesn’t provide steeping parameters on their website. I hope the leaf per water gets incorporated into that now that it’s available (I still had to troll old tasting notes for that info).
When the water hit the leaf I immediately smelled a bit of stinky puerh, but then the sweet cinnamon bread aroma started overtaking it. Steeped, when I get a hint of it I smell cinnamon and a bit of earthy puerh, but then when I inhale deeply it really does smell like cinnamon bread.
I have to say, pretty impressive on the flavor here. I am glad I finally got to try this one. The Yunnan black tea and the puerh do a good job of making a bready base for this one, although the occasional whiff of puerh diminishes my enjoyment a bit. But I am enjoying it a lot nonetheless. Sweet bread, cinnamon sugar, a bit of icing. Pretty authentic! I don’t think I need this one in my cupboard, but I am really glad I finally got to try it!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Vanilla
Yay, we have a winner. I really like this one. It reminds be a bit of Checkmate from Davids – but this is a better version of that.
This is a very nice chocolate vanilla tea.
I don’t have a lot to say about it. It’s not complex, it doesn’t try to be a lot of things. This is just a really nice chocolate dessert tea. I like it.
Thank you VariaTEA for this sample.
Thank you to, I think, JustJames for sharing a really generous sample of this with me.
I had zero idea how to brew this up, so I winged it and went for a heaping teaspoon in one cup of water. I think it needs more leaf, and perhaps a longer steep as I’m finding this a bit weak. I’m also rarely a fan of teas that are pre-sweetened, so this may be a factor.
Yes, I get cinnamon out of the smell and faintly in the taste, however it’s ever-so-slight. Again, I have to wonder if there’s something off with me, because everyone that has similar tastes to mine love this, and I’m just feeling meh about it.
I’m working (don’t like that word, sounds like a chore, but can’t come up with a better one tonight) my way though the teas the ifjuly sent me. I’ve found a few that I really liked, I’ve found a few that weren’t really to my taste, and I’ve still have a few to try. I want to express my appreciation at being able to try stuff outside my comfort zone. She very generously send me a ton of different ones to try, and I am appreciative of the experience.
I drank this one a few days ago and thought it was a really weird chai. Tonight, it’s a nice, warm, cardamom, with just a touch of vanilla. Not sure why I have have such different opinions. Maybe it’s really touchy steep parameters. Not sure about the other night, but tonight was 95C for 4 minutes. Tonight, I really like this – the other night not so much. LOL I can’t even decide how I feel about this.