The Republic of Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

81

The dry leaf aroma is heavenly pumpkin spice. Mmm! I hope it tastes as great as it smells! Well, I lucked out. The flavor is a great representation of the aroma. The spice here is really nice and mellow. It’s not super peppery or gingery. The pumpkin adds a creaminess that balances everything out. Smooth. That’s the word I was searching for. This is a smooth tea. There’s no bitterness or astringency. I’m drinking this straight, but I think it would pair well with milk and sweetener. Mmm, now this is one I really enjoy!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
TeaBrat

good to know, I’ve been wondering about this one

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62

This is okay. The aroma is very nice but the flavor leaves something to be desired. It’s not bad by any means. It’s just not inspiring. The plum flavorings adds a tartness that pinches the back of my mouth. The cinnamon is very calm and easily overlooked. The base isn’t fresh so it’s neither grassy nor vegetal. It’s that sort of generic, green, bagged tea base that doesn’t contribute a lot of flavor one way or another.

I guess I’m not mad that my husband has already drank more than half of the tin. I asked him what he thought of it and his opinion was aligned with mine. It’s nothing special but it’s drinkable. I think he just likes the ease of dropping a teabag into a cup of microwaved hot water. He’s not one for boiling water on the stove and the somewhat long but relaxing routine of brewing tea. He’s more for instant gratification. I think I may leave the rest of this one to him.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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77

I got to sample this at Cost Plus World Market today and, since I had a gift card, I purchased a tin of this and a couple of decorative storage tins for some other teas that have been making my kitchen smell like berries and cream recently :) I got these two:
http://www.worldmarket.com/product/woodland+bird+tea+tin.do?&refType=&from=Search
http://www.worldmarket.com/product/coral+treetop+tea+tin.do?&refType=&from=Search

And I can already tell I will soon be grabbing these two:
http://www.worldmarket.com/product/kyoto+garden+tea+tin.do?&refType=&from=Search
http://www.worldmarket.com/product/sahara+bloom+tea+tin.do?&refType=&from=Search

They’ve got great seals, too. Love them so much!

On to the tea! This was a very enjoyable black tea. I can’t say I tasted much maple, but I could taste the nutty pecan and was quite happy with that. This will be a lovely cold-morning tea, I think :)

Flavors: Nutty

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78

Don’t remember where I got this, but it was time to try it. This really does smell like cake. The flavour is more caramel, and maybe pecan. I know this is a cake tea, but it is really sweet. Overall, I’m glad I picked up the single serve bag, but don’t need a canister.

Flavors: Caramel, Hazelnut, Pecan, Vanilla

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65

I bought this during one of World Markets tea sales. I’m not a huge fan of carob and last time I had it, it tasted like chocolate which I do not like. Yes, I am a woman. Yes, I do not like chocolate especially in tea form. Thankfully this is very cinnamony and very orangey. I think the carob (along with the gymnema) are to sweeten it more than to flavor it. This is another one I recommend you only drink hot. I have made 2 quarts of it cold before and isn’t quite the same. It loses a lot of it’s sweetness and orange taste and is more of just a cinnamon red tea. I don’t know if it has helped me to lose the pounds which I have lost, but it definitely helps to curb cravings especially late night ones (caffiene-free!).

This is a weird con, but you have to steep it for at least 5 minutes…
(recommended steep is 5-7 minutes… usually teas are 1-4 minutes)
So that craving as got to be a little patient…

The other con is that it is recommended that you drink it 3 times a day.
If I did that each tin would only last 12 days.
Thankfully The Republic of Tea has a 250 count refill bag, but still…

Flavors: Cinnamon, Orange

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 6 OZ / 177 ML

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90

This may be my shortest tea review ever.

This is an apple cider herbal tea. It has the sweetness and taste of apples, the spices of a cider (and some), and NO CAFFEINE OR CALORIES of an herbal tea. It is perfect fall/winter night indulgence. My only complaint is that it is sold in pack of 36 instead of 50 like the other fall flavors.

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Cloves

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Let me start by saying this is my first pu’er tea so keep that in mind. This smells like earth and chocolate and salt. I’m envisioning rainforest soil, cocao beans and coconuts, on an island with a salty ocean breeze element. Not entirely sure that situation is possible, but that’s what I’m thinking of, as I definitely need some sort of escape from my studies. It’s tasty. Earthy. It really reminds me of dirt, loamy, rich dirt. Though, I guess rainforest dirt is neither rich nor loamy, but I digress. Okay, so dirt. Sweet dirt. Maybe it doesn’t sound appetizing, but it is.

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90

Such a lovely blend of mild flavors. I can drink it at any time of day and it doesn’t need any sugar to be palatable. When I drank 4 cups of this a day I did notice that the amount of tiny bombs on my skin decreased, but I love too many other teas to only drink this one all the time.

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Shout out to Megan for coming out to my place for a swap! There is quite a bit of tea in that package! The boyfriend is drinking Moroccan Mint. I don’t find this particularly tasty. I’m going to let it steep longer next time.

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88

Yahoo! This is some good houjicha!

Sweet and mild on the palate, it has a really nice creaminess to it and the roasted flavor is warming, calming, delicious! There’s a bit of a dry finish, but other than that I have no complaints. The leaves after one infusion smell like blackberries among the roasted aromas. There’s a nice sweetness in this tea. I may have trouble describing the notes, as houjichas do not tend to be really complex in my experience, but it has the expected flavors of toast, malt, hay, a bit of sweetness. In this case there’s a kind of cream taste accompanying it, and if you extrapolate that flavor, I feel like it could be almost a butterscotch note. Though if you contemplate this tea a little differently you could almost get hints of dill pickle brine. It’s all subjective. The mouthfeel itself isn’t so creamy, but the flavor is. Anyway, I really like it.

Flavors: Cream, Hay, Malt, Sweet, Toasty

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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20

I will keep this short. I bought some of this from a bulk bin at a store nearby as a cheap way to help me learn how to brew Genmaicha.

The plus side is I think I’ve brewed it properly. The downside is I am not too into this tea. The most distinct notes are of toasted seaweed and sesame, along with the obvious toasted rice flavor. A second infusion yielded a slightly more green taste, but drying. I am rating this tea rather low numerically simply because there are such such better genmaichas out there. This one is not indicative of good genmaicha, so if this is your first experience with it, don’t let it fool you.

I leave you with this bit of Keanu Reeves level mind-blowing wisdom from Republic of Tea.

“We’ve named ours “Tea of Inquiry” perhaps because the humble origins of Genmaicha remind us that it is from a position of humility and awareness of our universal desire for more knowledge, that our inquiries may have the greatest chance of success.”

Flavors: Seaweed, Toasted Rice

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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65

Another tea that I was absentmindedly drinking while playing Diablo. This sample came from NayLynn. I haven’t had a lot of experience with Republic of Tea, but I do enjoy the blueberry black teabags I have from them. These bags smell sweet and vanilla-y with a lot of almond extract aroma. I used two bags for 12 ounces of water and steeped for 4 minutes at 200 degrees.

Meh, this one is just okay. It came out slightly astringent, which is always a frustration for me with some flavored teas. The tea itself is medium-bodied and doesn’t taste like much. The flavoring is somewhat light, I taste the vanilla (which is a custard-type vanilla) near the beginning of the sip and then the almond extract at the end. Just meh.

Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Custard, Malt, Marzipan, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML

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87
drank Wuyi Oolong by The Republic of Tea
89 tasting notes

There’a a major flaw with the marketing of this tea. It is called “Wuyi Oolong” but the ingredients say it is “Pure Silver- Tip Formosan Oolong leaves made from the WuYi tea varietal.” First, there is the issue that there is not just one varietal used for Wuyi oolongs, so I’m not sure what “the WuYi tea varietal” refers too. It must be a transplanted tea from China’s Wuyi region to Taiwan where it is grown and made into a Formosa style oolong. Okay, fair enough, but that is either some deceptive or uninformed marketing to call this tea “Wuyi Oolong”, as it is not what most tea drinkers know as a Wuyi Oolong, a class of oolong teas produced near Wuyi Rock in Fujian province China. As Wuyi oolongs can fetch a pretty penny, it would seem this tea from Republic of Tea is attempting to imitate that to exploit the wallets of less-informed tea drinkers who have heard the hype about Wuyi but have no idea how to tell a real Wuyi oolong from a Would-Be Wuyi. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not usually one to jump to accusations toward tea companies when the information seems inaccurate or misleading, but when it comes down to these mass-production type companies that sell their wares at overpriced places like Whole Foods, where the target demographic is often less informed than they are affluent and trend-chasing… I’m a bit more skeptical. Oye…. kind of rubs my fur the wrong way, but let’s get to the tea itself.

I had a bit of a dilemma figuring out the way to brew this, as Wuyi oolongs are usually brewed with very short infusions in the Gongfu style, and a lot of leaf, while the Formosa style oolong uses relatively less leaf and longer infusions, from most brewing recommendations I’ve seen. I tried it both ways and it definitely lends itself to the longer infusions, not short ones, so I brewed at 45 seconds, adding 15 each time. The leaves of this tea smell strongly of figs and berries. The scent is deep, dark, and fruity, very pleasant. The first infusion has a honeyed sweetness and the taste of dried fruit, hints of fig and golden raisins. The color is a gorgeous golden yellow and the mouthfeel is syrupy and thick. There is just a light flavor of peach, not nearly a “pure peach” flavor like Republic of Tea describes, but it is certainly fruity and sweet. There’s a hint of astringency, but it fades after a few infusions, and by the 4th or 5th it becomes even more mellow, sweet and fruity.

All things considered, I am surprised how much I enjoy this Would-Be Wuyi. For all the deceptive or inaccurate marketing and the steep price tag (compared to the rest of Republic of Tea’s line, this was the highest priced tea in the bulk bins at the store) it is still a pretty good tasting tea when all is said and done. The price is comparable to some authentic Wuyi oolongs though, so … I’ll let you be the judge on whether or not that’s worth it. At the time I’m writing this, they are charging $20 for 50g (1.75 oz). Sheesh.

Flavors: Dried Fruit, Fig, Honey, Peach, Raisins

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

ouch that price! I remember when I first moved here and didn’t have a source for a good oolong, this was the only non-flavored oolong Whole Foods had, it was ok, but it was no Wuyi. In a way this tea (and Whole Foods lack of teas that I wanted) is what pushed me to start buying all my tea online.

Except when I am in PA and buy tons of tea from Wegmans :P

Lion

I really like the flavor of this tea, but yes, definitely no wuyi. It isn’t incredibly complex, just very sweet and honey-like and a lot od dried fruit flavor. It reminds me of Shang Tea’s White Tea Oolong. It tastes like it’s made from the Da Bai Hao varietal. I bought a small sample amount of this in bulk just to see what it was like, but I won’t be buying more. I will enjoy what I have and wait until I can get some real Wuyi oolong later.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

I think that was more or less my opinion, I enjoyed it but not enough to get more. You have a little Wuyi in the box of tea samples you are getting Friday ;)

Lion

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! lion shuffle

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

hehe, we need to settle on a time, does somewhere between 3-5 sound good on Friday? I have plans after 7 so we won’t be able to tea alllll night :P

Lion

Works for me. :3

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Cool, just give me a more exact time either today or tomorrow morning so I can have everything ready

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72
drank Pumpkin Spice by The Republic of Tea
21 tasting notes

This is a good pumpkin spice tea. The flavors are yummy and warm but seem a bit muted. The aroma was fabulous (like a decadent pumpkin muffin) and I was expecting the flavor to match. I was a bit disappointed. I used two tea bags in a 14 oz mug, added boiling water, a touch of sweetener and splash of half & half. There is also a slight perfumy undertone to the flavor. I can’t put my finger on it.

Overall, despite the fact that I wish it had a stronger spicy flavor, I like this tea. The spices are warm and yummy – perfect for a brisk fall day. The black tea base doesn’t register with my taste buds (not that I’m complaining) and it doesn’t taste artificial.

I

Flavors: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Spices

Preparation
Boiling 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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83

What can I say – this tea is droolingly delicious. When I opened the canister I smelled the wondrous aroma of warm spice and burnt sugar (the cardamom and creme brûlée). It smelled familiar and exotic at the same time.

I added two tea bags into my 14oz mug. Added boiling water, a touch of sweetener and splash of half & half. As I lifted the cup to my mouth I the aroma of the tea wafted forth. It smelled scrumptious. My first sip gave my taste buds quite a treat. The warmth of the cardamom added an interesting, mellow contrast to the burnt sugary sweetness of the creme brûlée (I’m guessing it’s a combination of vanilla and caramel but either way it’s tasty). I didn’t find the flavors overwhelming. They seem to blend together well and offer a subtle flavor to the tea.

I can’t wait to sip more of this wonderfully warm and tasty tea. My only regret is that it’s not available in loose leaf.

Flavors: Caramel, Cardamon, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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35

queued post, written August 5th 2014

2 more workdays until my summer holiday. 14½ work hours. Is it Friday yet?

In another attempt to empty the Yet To Try box, because I really want to buy some tea soon and I know more or less what I want to buy. Been craving dark oolong for weeks now. Anyway, this is one that Auggy shared with me and I have to admit I’m not sure why she did that. To be honest, I’m not sure she knows either, because she wrote in her letter that she didn’t fully expect it was something for me. Head-scratcher.

If I swap with someone I usually ask them not to send me matcha because I haven’t got the proper things for making it and the few times I’ve tried them, I’ve not been impressed. To me, it’s just not a necessary type of tea. It tastes like your average Japanese green tea, and leaf tea is just so much easier to make and drink. Basically matcha is wasted on me.

But Auggy still thought she would share two kinds. The other one is yuzu flavoured, which… I know I’ve had a tea flavoured with that before, but I can’t remember what I thought of it. I’m not too keen on ginger at all, but I’m having it first due to lucky dip.

It was my ambition to get one of those proper whisks before I tried them, because I figured I might as well give it my best possible go. This plan was abandoned when I realised how much those things costs and how little I’m likely to use it. Just Say No.

So instead I saw someone mention that they usually just stirred it with a fork and I thought, “that’s what I’ll do. Beat it like an egg.” So I did.

I was uncertain about how much powder to use for the size of my cup, but eventually decided to compare it with those instant chocolate powders. How much would I use of that for this size cup? Seems to have worked out all right, if a bit on the strong side.

Obviously, being powderised leaf, matcha isn’t actually soluble. You can make a suspension of it, but if you leave it alone long enough, it’ll settle. You can actually see this with the naked eye just looking at the top of the liquid. Give it a little stir and watch the patterns. It reminds me of a staining solution we use at work, which is a sated solution of a salt and a red powder. It makes these same kinds of patters on the top of the liquid, only much much more distinctly than the matcha does. Still, it’s the first time I’ve ever looked at any tea ever and thought, “it’s like congo red!”

Now, the flavour. Again, I’m struck by the thought that I might as well just have brewed a cup of sencha. Really, it tastes like sencha, only more concentrated and with a note of near-bitterness. Over-brewed is what it tastes like to me. This only gets worse the longer I take to drink the cup, so that when I’m halfway through my smallish cup, it’s so bitter as to be impossible for me to continue. This is not really a suprise to anyone since we’ve already established that matcha is non-soluble powdered leaf. Therefore it’s only going to keep steeping. The key, apparently, is to drink it fast, when I rather prefer to have a larger cup and drink it slowly.

The actual ginger flavour is not too strong actually. I can only just barely detect any ginger in there and it isn’t trying to burn my mouth and throat up with gingerness, so that’s absolutely a plus for me, but probably a minus for someone who was actually looking for something ginger-flavoured.

Since it was a small cup and I had very little of it before it turned undrinkable, and since I’ve made a few experiences, I thought I’d try again right away. This time I used half the amount of powder and have indeed not managed to get that near-bitterness again. But it still just tastes like I might as well have made an ordinary sencha, and if I had made an ordinary sencha I could have taken my time drinking it instead of sitting here feeling like I should hurry up with it.

I just don’t get matcha. I don’t get what it’s supposed to accomplish and I honestly find it more bother than it’s worth.

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80

Tried a bag of this at Panera and quite enjoyed it. Would like to try again.

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82

I’ve never watched Downton Abbey but the description of this tea just called to me. When I read the ingredients I realized it’s very similar to Republic of Tea’s Caramel Vanilla Cuppa Cake tea. To compare the two I actually drank a cup of each within a short period of time.

I used two tea bags in a large (14oz) mug, added boiling water, a touch of sweetener and splash of half & half. It was scrumptious The tea tastes like a rich, decadent vanilla cake. The caramel flavoring is a sweet drizzle that works its way through my tastebuds. It’s scrumdiliumptious.

It is very similar to the Caramel Vanilla Cuppa Cake tea but there are subtle differences. This cake is a bit less sweet and slightly richer in flavor. If you’re a fan of vanilla caramel flavored teas, this would be an excellent addition to your cupboard.

Flavors: Caramel, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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I’m at a different work location away from my “work stash” so I decided to bring in this can and do bagged tea so I don’t look like a big weirdo with my loose leaf, tea strainers and other gadgets. Anyway, yes, this is slightly artificial tasting, but I really like it. I use boiling water, use 2 bags in a 12oz mug and a bit of sweetener and it’s quite pleasant. In fact, I’m surprised at how quickly I’ll be getting through the tin. The tea being a rooibos doesn’t hurt either. Not sure I’d re-buy, as at “normal” stores, RoT teas usually go for $10 and with doubling up, the 36 bags that come in this package really only makes 18 mugs. Some of their tea comes with 50 bags, yet the price doesn’t change, peculiar. Anyway, I’ll happily finish up this tin, not sure on the repurchase though – though a good sale would probably tempt me.

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46

This one excited me. Maybe I was overly excited and that’s why its not as good as I thought it would be. I honestly think it’s too sweet. I can barely taste any tea.. Think I also might have over steeped it because there is a slight bitterness in the sweetness.

Preparation
3 min, 30 sec

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78

I’ve almost finished my canister of this tea so I decided it might be a good idea to review it. I used two tea bags in a 12 oz mug, added a touch of sweetener and a splash of Half & Half. It smells . . . how would Homer Simpson say it – garrrr droooll!

Let me start by saying I consider myself a complete amateur at both tea reviewing and drinking. I know what I like and I like this. I found it to have a deep chocolate flavor with a hint of something else (not sure how I would describe it other than as “red”). I’m guessing that might be the beetroot or maybe it’s the flavor of the rooibos itself (I’ve never had it in anything else).

Never having had true Red Velvet Cake (only a Crumbs cupcake – not impressed) I can’t compare the flavors in this tea to the original cake. What I can say is that I really like this tea. I find it rich and sweet (but not tooth-achingly sweet like another version I’ve tasted) and very enjoyable. I will definitely be restocking on this.

The only disappointment I have in this tea is that it is not available loose. I wish it was not limited to tea bags. Unleash the tea!!! ;D

Flavors: Dark Chocolate

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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75

True to its name, this one isn’t so good hot but gets much better when it’s cold. The strawberry is really gentle in this, with more basil than I expected and a slight sweet aftertaste. It’s refreshing but not my favorite, mostly because of the strawberry. It could stand to be stronger, but unlike most other red fruit teas I’ve tried from this company they didn’t try to enhance it with hibiscus, which is a plus in my book.

Flavors: Herbaceous, Strawberry, Sweet

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76

Very good, but the flavor is not very strong. I found myself putting two or even three pouches to get the strength I wanted. Next time I’ll have to try steeping longer.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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