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Recent Tasting Notes
I got this for Christmas in Tea Forte’s Noir sampler. Now, I’m always conflicted about this company. Everything I’ve tried by them has been wonderful. However, to me, they seem really overpriced for the quantity you get. So I only buy something from them every few years. Or if I can find it on sale. It’s a special treat.
About these single-steep pouches, I’d say they’re actually two if you’re using a standard size mug. There’s a little over two teaspoons in each.
Now, this is one incredibly fragrant tea. The peach aroma is sweet, bright, and realistic. Very natural and juicy! As it steeps, calendula petals and pieces of dried fruit rise to the top. As for the flavor, I love it. The brulee aspect is milder than the peach, but still present. It adds a rich layer of creaminess. But it’s definitely subtle, as is the black tea base. It’s only a touch astringent, but it mostly fades into the background. Also, I see this contains coconut too, but I can’t really taste it. That said, this is probably the best peach tea I’ve ever had.
Flavors: Cream, Creamy, Fruity, Peach
Gah! This one actually smelled rather nice, like almonds and cookies and fruity – sort of a fruitcake scent, now that I think about it. There was even a bit of a floral fragrance. BUT the flavor was horrid! It had the biting sting of alcohol – I’m guessing that’s the “rum” flavoring – and really not much else. I rarely find a tea I cannot drink, but this was one. (NB, I’m only noting alcohol in the scent/taste box, because that flavor was so nasty I don’t really want to give the nice fragrance any credit.)
You know your tea habit is out of control when most of the gifts you get are tea related! My partner’s parents got me a Tea Forte gift set for Hannukah, which includes two mugs and a sampler set. This blend smells so good that I felt the need to post about it immediately. It just smells beautifully of ginger and apricot. As it cools, the apricot changes to pear. The taste is sweet pear with a hint of ginger. However, this takes on a weird and off-putting stevia aftertaste when it cools. The good news with a sampler is that I only have two pyramids of each blend! I’m disappointed with this one because it starts off so good but ends on a bad note that really lingers.
If someone said roasted peach to be before, I wouldn’t know what that smelled like. Smelling this though, that’s the word that comes to mind. There is a sweet scent, but not nauseating. I’m getting my hopes up as this brews because it smells great brewing- I don’t know how to describe it other then like vacation. The initial sip is a gentle sweetness. (of note I don’t like sweet and tea but I like this). There is a definite peach element but not overbearing- gentle. In the end though, I think a bit more complexity of flavor would have been good. Personal preference though since if this had been based on my personal favorite flavor Rose instead, I would be in love.
This tea was given to me as part of a set some time ago. I mostly have been leaving these flavored teas for company who like flavored tea, but I really wanted something different today and I thought I’d try it. First thought…meh. It’s ok, but I’m not really tasting the caramel. I taste mostly hazelnut and orange. So I added some milk and sugar. Bam! There it is! The caramel still isn’t super strong, but I can actually taste it now. A dessert tea for sure!
Staying at a hotel for a few days and they have these cool looking Tea Forte tea bags in the club room. This is a strong and malty black with a pretty generic Assam taste, maybe a little bit of Yunnan in it. It’s not bad, one of the better English Breakfast teabags that I’ve had. That said it seems that packaging is their “forte,” not the tea.
Flavors: Bitter, Malt, Sweet Potatoes
Equal parts spearmint and some sort of citrus. I wish it was more lime and the orange pieces in this looked a little gross. Orange petals instead of orange peel pieces, tea companies!! But the flavor overall is great. Nice summertime cup late at night. Basically, this is just a note to say I tried this. :D
Cold Brew Sipdown (129)!
Well, finally finishing off the Herbal Retreat sampler I bought. I have to say that now that it’s done I didn’t really hate any of the teas but I didn’t find any of them exceptionally mind blowing either. The only ones I’d probably entertain the thought of buying again would be Mojito Marmalade or Cherry Cosmo. However, Mojito Marmalade is much like DAVIDsTEA’s Midsummer Night’s Dream blend so even then I think I would likely lean more towards that one.
I did enjoy this blend a lot better cold brewed. The ginger was still very strong and that’s a negative for me – but as a cold brew both fruit notes were brighter, more intense than the ginger, and more long lasting, flavour wise. In particular the lime really came through in a spectacular and commanding way. Sweet lime, not tart/acidic/sour. In a way, it almost tasted creamy too? Even though there’s nothing in the blend that SHOULD create a creamy flavour. In hind sight, I’m actually VERY curious what would have happened if I’d tried this one out with milk or cream. These aren’t really flavours that you’d anticipate working with milk. But it’s such a strange/out there flavour combination anyway that your guess is as good as mine whether or not it would have worked.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jp_KELHLw4
Don’t ask me why – but the aesthetic I imagine when I’m drinking this matches up so perfectly with this song. Even though there’s literally no logical reason for me to come to that conclusion.
Finally tried the final tea from the Herbal Retreat sampler…
I saved the one I was least looking forward to for last; oops. It’s wasn’t actually bad, although like my intuition told me it would be it probably is my least favourite though. Or, at the very least, tied for my least favourite with Blueberry Merlot.
It’s actually of no fault of the tea itself though; it’s pretty well genuinely everything as advertised. All three titular flavours are featured in the sip, and actually in pretty even amounts. I’d say that the kiwi is definitely more of a natural flavour than the lime, which is more candy like, but both are clearly present. As far as fruit flavour goes, I also got a sort of apple like note. Not actually green apples like one would probably assume though. Despite the sweetness of the apple, the cup had a tartness to it that comes from both kiwi and lime definitely being more acidic fruits. The ginger wasn’t all that present until the finish, where it was definitely a more in your face flavour with a spicy kick/tickle.
Honestly, not a BAD cup. It’s just that I’m REALLY not a ginger fan, and then I kind of am of mixed thought when it comes to the fruit; don’t love ‘em and don’t hate ‘em. So, that’s not a lot for the tea to really build upon.
Cold Brew Sipdown (135)!
Really, really lovely cold brew! The apricot was the prominent flavour and it presented as a very vibrant, rich and juicy pop of fruit flavour with undertones of other stonefruits like nectarine. In the background, the sweet almond notes gave off that kind of marzipan/cherry flavour in addition to the perfect amount of nuttyness. It made for a very interesting and robust drinking experience that kept you captivated and enchanted with the flavour profile from first sip to last.
Made a pot of this one while just lying back and watching Pride and Prejudice. I sure do love me some Mr. Darcy…
This was pretty good; I think that both the apricot and the amaretto are very clearly present in the cup and the two are a pretty solid pairing as well. The apricot presents at the top of the sip and is sweet, lively and juicy as well as just a little bit peachy. While it tastes somewhat natural, there is a bit of candy like sweetness to it as well. The amaretto isn’t nearly as strong as the apricot but that sweet, marzipan/almond like sweetness makes for a great nutty undertone and refreshing, sweet finish. This does use rooibos, and I did find I could taste it a little in the finish but I didn’t mind it that much either.
Two of my favourite drinks at the moment are Amaretto Sours and Apricot Sours so I bet that you could probably make a pretty good “mocktail” version of the two of those if you just brewed up and then chilled a concentrate of this and just mixed it with a little sweet and sour mix. It’d probably be really lovely.
Anywho, I’d say this is probably my favourite from the herbal sampler thus far!
This is a queued tasting note.
So, I’m gonna try and work through my queue of tasting notes today but I also made a bet with a coworker that I couldn’t watch the complete first season of Mr. Robot in one day and I have to prove him wrong and binge the shit out of this; so I think I’m just gonna work on writing three or four notes in between each episode as a bit of a break. Really liking the show so far, though! Rami Malek is bae.
This cold brew was solid though; I think I liked it just a touch better than the hot brew because it was a little less sour/tart which made for a smoother drink. The cherry notes were very sweet and vibrant although not super natural tasting. The apple notes were also still very strong. One thing that was quite different, though, was how strong the raspberry notes were. I don’t remember really observing them at all with the hot brew but they’re just as intense as the cherry notes in this cold brew – and I actually think they drastically improve the tea and give it more depth/make the tisane more interesting as a whole.
From the Herbal Retreat sampler.
This was the one tea in the sampler that I was the most low key excited for. I say low key, because in my head I knew all of the reasons that logically this would be a bad blend (too much hibiscus and cherry things often tasting very tart or medicinal) but I was still holding out hope that it would surprise me and be quite tasty.
I drank this one hot; a gamble, I know. It was surprisingly ok but I would’t go as far as saying great. There’s a weird, sparkling effervescence and freshness to the aroma as well as the taste. It’s something that’s honestly a little more of a feeling rather than a flavour, but it really makes me think that this would be very well suited as a tea pop where the fizzyness of the carbonation would kind of bring the liquor a little more to life. As it stands, the flavour was still kind of tea from all of the hibiscus in the blend but still had a nice cherry sweetness as well as a beautiful sweet, red apple note that kept cropping up and a very faint berry undertone that I suppose would be the raspberry? The semi tartness and fruity sweetness on top of that enchanting effervescence reminded me of some kind of cherry fizzy candy the whole time I was drinking this.
Also, I can’t put my finger on which tea/tisane I’m thinking of, but there’s definitely something about this one which reminds me of another blend. The entire cup left me with a feeling of flavour deja vu.
Finished this one off hot the other night. It’s a little weird drinking this one as a late night tea because it is soothing and comforting but also there are really bright, and lively flavours in the blend as well that seem more like the kind of thing that makes you want to get up and go, and be productive. Bright juicy citrus notes!? Ah – better get a move on with my day and get started on all this shit I have to do.
I think there’s some weird association in my brain between strong, bright orange flavours and early mornings and starting your day. Likely something to do with the “orange juice for breakfast” mentality that I have where if you’re eating breakfast and also drinking orange juice it must be at an appropriate time of day (ie. not two in the afternoon) and you must be eating something hearty and good for you. And the idea of that translates into “you must be properly adulting”. And that then becomes “well, if you’re properly adulting then you must have your shit in order”.
So, to summarize, orange flavour means productivity which means not a good tea for night time…
Makes sense, right?
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxu02vp_Vm0
Flavors: Citrus, Fruity, Mint, Orange, Sweet
Midday cuppa that I had forgot I’d made, so I drank it at that weird lukewarm/just about room temperature state. I hate tea at that temperature. Hot? Yes. Cold? Yes. But room temp… ugh.
More orange than anything else. Very little mint in general, and that’s kind of all I have to say about that. Song accompaniment for when I drank said lukewarm tea:
I’m kind of really into the idea of pairing tea and music, right now…
- More mojito than marmalade
- The spearmint is crisp and refreshing, and doesn’t overwhelm the cup
- Though there’s no denying the orange flavour…
- It’s just that it’s not sweet enough/“jammy” like marmalade should be
- Taste of the rooibos is present, but light and in the background
- Tasty; and great for late at night!
- Like a ‘discount’/Off Brand Cocteau (from August Uncommon)
- Or Midsummer Night’s Dream (from DAVIDsTEA)
Finishing this one off hot tonight while I watch a movie with the boyfriend…
I’ve just noticed, but a lot of the teas in Tea Forte’s Herbal Retreat sampler are alcohol themed, aren’t they? Like, four out of five. What’s up with that?
Anyway; this actually does taste a little better hot than it did cold brewed. I think that’s because I was able to control the brew time a little better and I strained out the leaf before this could get too sour/tart. That said, it is still a very tart drink with these under ripe blueberry notes that really pop and not necessarily in the nicest way. Also, as a hot brew, the flavour of the sage is actually very present and I think I’m liking the pairing a little less the second time around.
So; to conclude… Aspects of this are definitely negative, but it is a little better overall. Not by a whole lot, though.
So I found myself in Chapters earlier this week because I needed to pick up a birthday present for my brother, who turned 18 on Friday. That’s never a good spot to be in when you’re both a tea addict and a book lover.
In addition to the D&D starter set I bought him, I also wound up getting a Flavor Bible (I feel like it’ll be a great tool when it comes to tea and food pairings, but also making cocktails, potentially blending teas, and just cooking in general) and another tea related book. And, I snagged myself the “Herbal Retreat” sampler from Tea Forte because I’ve been drinking a lot of herbal tea this summer in between late night cuppas and pitchers of cold brews. Plus, this is a sampler and that seemed like a better idea to me than committing to 50g-100g of one kind of tea prior to sampling it.
- Cold Brew
- Very tart/sour blueberry notes dominate
- Lacking sweetness; and I think it would benefit from it
- I CAN taste the sage A LOT in the finish
- I think it was a weird choice to pair with such sour fruit
- But it keeps this from being a hibby overload
- With a pinch of sugar, this would probably be great soda
Flavors: Blueberry, Herbaceous, Hibiscus, Rosehips, Sage, Sour, Tart