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Recent Tasting Notes
My husband used to come home from the grocery store with little goodies for me, bless his heart. But after I put on a few pounds from the gifts of candy bars and ice cream, I asked him to buy me tea if he wants to bring me a treat. This was the first one he brought home (he is not a tea drinker, himself). I had low expectations of it, but it’s actually good. The mango is pronounced, and the blend is bright and sweet.
We are surprised that this tea hasn’t been specifically reviewed here.
It’s part of a collection of 10 teas available at Christmas time at Trader Joe’s. This black tea is (in my opinion) the best of the 10. And surprisingly, it seems to be just as good as some of the “higher end” flavored black teas on the market.
You do need to be aware that this is a “flavored tea”, so if you have an intolerance for that kind of thing, this tea won’t change your mind.
This was one of my favorite jasmine teas for a while there when it was still in stock. It was before I was super into loose leaf teas, but I was pretty impressed at the quality considering it was bagged. It was my first pearl/ball tea and I was super amused at the preparation. I have had a bag or two kicking around for YEARS now and steeped one up today. The bag had a slight rip in it, so between that and the age I’m not expecting top notch flavoring. The instructions on the tag say to steep it for five minutes, but I steeped for only two since it is my standard for green teas. This still has quite a bit of flavor, although it is more muted than I recall. It has a slight sweetness to it and a nice aftertaste. I do wish TJ’s would bring it back because it would be a great jasmine tea to travel with.
First time drinking this tea which I bought on a whim at TJs yesterday. It has a very mild flavor with the lemongrass hitting me first and the coconut at the end. Grassy throughout. Not tasting vanilla or ginger at all . It brewed very light and I guess this accounts for the mild flavor. I typically like a bolder flavor profile, but don’t mind it for a bed time tea, even tho I am drinking it at 3 am. Will definitely try again but make it with more tea and maybe steep longer
Flavors: Coconut, Dry Grass, Lemongrass
Sample #1 in the cheap, hastily purchased Trader Joe’s Tasting of Ten Teas box. I am tired and want to drink something caffeinated that I don’t have to think too much about. Enter Assam Black Tea.
It smells very malty. And surprise! It tastes malty too. In terms of flavor, it’s not complex and does not require me to think much. So it did the job for right at this moment. It’s actually pretty good. It’s not what I’d want if I ordered this from a good tea shop, but considering what it is, it’s much better than bagged tea from Trader Joe’s. It doesn’t taste like pencil lead or anything. There’s even a bit of a malty aftertaste.
I am sure this comes from some wholesaler, but as far as I know, this tea is only available in the Trader Joe’s taster set in a 12 g. sample. It’s one of only two teas in the box that is pure tea. This being Assam, it occurs to me that this tea may have bee grown on one of those horrible Indian tea plantations with inhumane work conditions profiled by the BBC. I don’t think there’s any way of knowing one way or the other, which… So I probably shouldn’t buy more of this kind of thing.
I’m rating this as a 70, which is actually pretty high given my low expectations. But these are obviously subjective ratings. I demand more from specialized companies and judge them more harshly. And “it doesn’t really taste like pencil lead” is not the highest of compliments one could give a tea.
Also, it goes well with the lemon tart that I bought at Trader Joe’s yesterday. My food shopping went a little off track… Anyway, I feel a little bit guilty for saying this, but it’s far better than the Tealated English Breakfast I had yesterday.
Flavors: Bitter, Malt
If/when I use up these teas, I’ll probably rate them individually, but… Well, I was feeling a little low on tea since my birthday is a few weeks away and my birthday present order hasn’t come in yet. I haven’t spent anything on tea in 9 months, and I’m due for some big stock-up orders this year.
I went grocery shopping today at Trader Joe’s and I found this adorable little set of tall glass samples with 10 different teas. It was 121 g. for $12.99, which… Looking at my purchase in retrospect, it may not have been the wisest way to spend my first money on tea this year. It’s true that I don’t like flavored tea, but this one is filled with things I don’t mind too much: mint, lemon, bergamot. And some of these things do feel good on the throat when I get sick in the winter, so… I went through with it. Plus, a healthy majority of them aren’t made with fake natural/artificial flavorings, so that pushed me over the edge.
If nothing else, it will look like nice loose leaf tea for when I have non-tea people over and don’t want to part with my favorite stuff yet. I know that’s awful. Please don’t judge. Due to all my health issues, I’m kinda broke right now.
I hope it’s okay to go ahead and write this when I haven’t tried any of the teas yet — I’d prefer to review them individually. I did go ahead and smell them all. I’m happy to report that the only one with an odor that made me nauseous was that of the Raspberry Black Tea, which is a pretty good ratio for me with flavored tea. And it’s unsurprising because this one has “raspberry flavoring,” and fake raspberry flavoring is my most hated fake flavor (Fake watermelon also ranks pretty high.). I probably won’t ever try this — I’ll give it away. Ugh… I love real raspberry — hate the fake stuff. Other than that, I don’t mind the mint or lemongrass or anything else some of these blends have. Much better rate than I anticipated.
For what it is, this seems more decent than I expected, but take that with a grain of salt. It’s a tea taster set from Trader Joe’s, and I’m not expecting greatness. It’s the only loose tea I’ve ever seen there. It looks better quality than that stuff, but we will see as I go through them.
If nothing else, I’ll continue using the little glass containers.
MONEY SPENT IN 2016 TOWARD ANNUAL TEA BUDGET
$12.99 on tea, $13.00 on 2 inexpensive small porcelain tea kettles to stand in for the favorite gaiwan until it gets replaced.
I really like this tea – it’s the one that got me actually liking tea (and I’ve tried many many times before to get into it), and it’s the one that got me into loose leaf tea (probably why this took even though I always found tea too harsh or bitter before).
I don’t taste very much coconut in it – at least not that I identify as COCONUT. I get more of the lemon grass, which I’m very pleased with. It’s a very citrusy tea. It lends itself really well to adding lemon and then it’s really excellent.
It’s fantastic tea for the price
Flavors: Citrusy, Dry Grass, Green, Lemon, Lemongrass