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Recent Tasting Notes
Thanks beelicious for this lovely sample. I’ve been holding off on trying it for a while—it seems too strong to drink late in the day, but too fruity for a breakfast tea (and besides, I’m usually not awake enough to fully appreciate my first cup of the day). Today I was finally able to try it in the early afternoon, so hooray!
The blend has a rich, dark-berries aroma that does immediately remind me of a full-bodied, fruity red wine. The part about Merlot getting a bad rap in the official description makes me laugh—having lived in wine country for many years, this is true to some extent, but it doesn’t stop us from enjoying it!
The taste of this tea is similarly richly fruity, not quite wine-like but definitely wine-inspired. The flavors are “tannic” as suggested by the description, making me think of blackcurrants and grape skins. There’s also an interesting sweetness that is candy-like, but refreshing instead of cloying. I finally identified it as liquorice, and while it’s not a common ingredient in tea blends, it has a nice effect here, making the tea seem less heavy as a reuslt. Overall, it’s a one-of-a-kind and enjoyable blend!
Having lived near wine country for many years, I was very curious about Vintage Teaworks’s wine-inspired teas. Thanks to beelicious for the opportunity to sample them!
This is a cheerful-looking oolong blend with rose petals and fruit pieces. It has a sweet, dried-fruit aroma, a little peachy. It brews to a fairly light color, with an aroma that is both fruity and mulled-spice-like. The flavor is not initially strong, and tends toward the spice side at first, but develops more with a longer steep. Tropical fruit and floral notes gradually emerge, and the flavor profile becomes more complex. The aftertaste is a little tart and effervescent, and overall it does remind me of a more ripe-tasting chardonnay with fruit notes. After some cooling it develops a slightly earthy finish. A unique and creative blend that is well worth trying!
My last sample from Blodeuyn! Sorry it took so long for me to try all of them… This one is a mixture of loose leaf puerh with a few other things. There are giant pieces of what looks like vanilla bean, and I guess they are since the description mentions vanilla. I can also see a few cloves and some type of dried berry (cherry possibly). The whole thing is garnished with feathery red flower petals. Dry scent is definitely earthy, but I can also smell sweet vanilla and rich dried fruit notes.
I was surprised that the steeped tea was not super dark due to the puerh. Again, it smells heavily earthy with some sweet and spicy notes mixed in. Hm… This mostly tastes like a light shou puerh to me. The flavoring is quite subtle, in fact I find it too subtle. I can taste the cinnamon as well as a touch of sweet grape. It’s not terrible, but I don’t love it either.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Earth, Grapes, Powdered sugar
A sample from miss Blodeuyn. She ordered a few of this company’s teas and was kind enough to let me try them since I was curious about them. This one and the puerh blend have been left sitting around for a bit because I’m not really a chai or a puerh drinker. I do enjoy chai, but I never seem to reach for it. This is a very strange tea in its dry form. It’s almost wet, and all of the leaves like to stick together in a giant clump until you break them apart to measure some, at which point they crumble a bit. I can see whole cardamom pods, fennel seed, and some crushed green leaves that resemble bay. Dry scent is strong on the fennel and anise aromas.
The steeped tea has a strong fennel aroma as well, and I confess, it reminds me of Italian sausage… This is definitely a more savory chai. I’m drinking it plain and I can taste the fennel and the cardamom quite strongly, and I can also taste some of the star anise. Cinnamon is mentioned in the description, but I don’t really get that flavor at all. Overall, it’s okay, although I’m not a huge fan of cardamom, so I’m a bit biased.
Flavors: Anise, Cardamon, Fennel Seed, Spicy
This sample came from Blodeuyn. She was kind enough to send me samples of three different teas from this company, which I’ve been curious about since I stumbled upon their website a couple of months ago. The leaves are very small and dark, and there are several colors of flower petal/buds mixed in with them. Dry, this tea smells very sweet and almost candy-like with grape and plum notes. It also has a weird powdered sugar scent to it that I do not enjoy. I steeped a teaspoon of leaf for 4 minutes at 200 degrees.
The brewed aroma is also sweet and fruity with some malt and definite wine-y characteristics. However, it still has that weird powdered sugar/chalky scent. Meh, that scent carries over into the taste as well, which is too bad. It reminds me of those berry-flavored Tums. The other flavors are quite nice here, the winey grape and the plum along with a touch of licorice and floral. I would enjoy this one a lot if it weren’t for the weird chalky flavor…
Flavors: Floral, Grapes, Licorice, Malt, Plums, Powdered sugar, Red Wine
Thanks so much to Blodeuyn for sending me samples of the Vintage TeaWorks teas that she ordered! I’ve been curious about this line for a long time, and I’m not exactly sure why, since I’m not a wine drinker. I decided to start with this one because a light tea sounded nice after having a strong black, and because I actually do like some Riesling wines. :) The tea itself looks like bai mudan – pieces of leaves of varying color and size with some silvery buds mixed in. I also saw a peek of a red flower petal in mine. Dry scent is somewhat sweet and fruit with a floral edge. I let it steep for 3.5 minutes at 175 degrees.
I was a bit worried by the aroma, mostly because it was highly floral. Luckily the taste is delicious! I taste mostly lovely creamy and buttery white tea with grain notes. Then there’s a little bit of white grape flavor, which goes nicely with the cucumber notes of the white tea. Lastly, there’s some floral presence, but it’s not overly offensive to me and comes out mostly at the end of the sip. Overall, this tea is very tasty, and I actually do find it similar to Rieslings I’ve tried! :)
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Cucumber, Floral, Grain, Jasmine, Lemon, White Grapes
Dry leaf aroma: Black currants with notes of plum and a delicate floral undertone.
Dry leaf appearance: http://instagram.com/p/siUfXtFcBu/
Wet leaf aroma: Very much like the dry leaf aroma – black currants and floral.
Wet leaf appearance: http://instagram.com/p/siUlZYlcB8/
Preparation: Brewed western style in a glass infuser mug.
First steeping: 4 minutes at 195 degrees. The freshly brewed liquor has a delicate floral aroma. While the cup is hot the dominate flavor is black currants, with hints of licorice, plum and a mild floral note. As the cup cools the floral note becomes fainter and there is a tart aftertaste.
Flavors: Black Currant, Floral, Licorice, Plums
Thank you Marcel Duchamp for a sample of this one in our swap a while back! The blend certainly sounds interesting. The oolong is one of those dark wirey types. I haven’t had one of those in a while. There was about 1 1/2 teaspoons so I went with it. Vintage teaworks suggests 1 tsp, at 195 degrees for 3-4 minutes.
Steep #1 // 9 min after boiling // 3 min steep
The steep color is a light amber. The flavor has cinnamon at the front then is a bit fruity.. it’s supposed to be papaya. I’ve probably never had papaya so to me it is mildly melon, cantaloupe. Then it has a sweetness like some teas are described as ‘maple’. Tasty! THEN I looked at the description in this tea for chardonnay which I have also never had before. The flavor notes for chardonnay are actually spot on for this tea! Copy and pasted: “more common descriptors include pears, butter, toast, melon, butterscotch, and spice.” The pear would be the mild fruity flavor I’m talking about. The tea is also buttery. There is also a mild toastiness from the type of oolong this is. I’ve already noticed the melon. The butterscotch is the maple I’ve noticed and the spice is the cinnamon! WHOA – all of those notes for chardonnay fit this tea! And also I need to drink some chardonnay. Lots of it.
Steep#2 // just boiled // 3 min
This one screams citrus for some reason when the last cup didn’t even hint at it. I guess because the citrus sat around all day mushy for the second steep, as gross as that sounds. But then the cinnamon was stronger so this was an interesting cup! The other flavors were pretty tame, just citrus explosion! Seemed more lemon than orange.
Steep #3 // half a mug // just boiled // 3 min
Another super citrus cup. Did I also mention all the vanilla beans? I love how this one changes so much. Delicious and now its gone!
A sample of this was provided to me by looseTman – much appreciated, since I was pretty curios about these tea’s.
Dry leaf form is long, twisted, with rose petals, and chunks of vanilla bean, papaya and orange peel. The aroma is slightly floral. I don’t generally enjoy floral tea’s, but one never knows unless they try.
After steeping for 4 minutes at about 90 produced a chardonnay coloured brew (no surprises there). The aroma was quite vanilla, but one of the vanilla chunks was quite large.
If I were to try this tea blind-folded I would say it’s all vanilla. I didn’t pick up any of the other spices or fruit flavours that other’s have. I like vanilla, so that is not a problem for me. As a vanilla tea – it’s quite good. But this doesn’t say chardonnay to me.
I have enough of the sample provided to have a couple of more tries to see if I can pull out other flavours.
This is super duper tasty. I was completely terrified when I saw the dry leaves looked wet…yet I sniffed them and they smelled like chai and seemed a bit more oily to the touch than water damp, so I brewed it up anyway. I would totally risk my health for a cup of chai.
I am glad I did, as the sample came from LiberTEAs, and noted the same textural oddity. And I also really enjoyed this. I made it with almond milk and a bit of honey and it was on the milder side, but not in a bad way. Just not a punch-in-the-face of cinnamon and spice that I do often enjoy, but like a break from sometimes.
I had been wanting to try this ever since I heard about it, but I’m really not one to buy big supply of something I haven’t even tasted yet….. Then swoops in ifjuly with a generous sample! That girl, I tell you…. :)
This tea is absolutely amazing…. winey but with spices. I can see myself absolutely loving this in the winter, as the cup in my hands felt like a mulled wine treat.
The pu-erh is so lovely here, and the liquor is beautiful.
I’m so excited that I got to try this one (and still have a bunch for more!)… yay!!
For some time this company and these tea’s have intrigued me, and I wanted really badly to sample the tea’s, but for some reason never placed an order. My opportunity to try a couple of these finally came up in a recent swap.
I’ve had the merlot twice. My first sampling of it yesterday didn’t work out. While the leaf in the bag smelled sweet, it didn’t translate to flavour. That was my fault. I think I over-leafed and water temp was too hot. Yesterday’s cup was disappointing.
I tried again today, and decided to let the water cool a bit longer and used less leaf. I also added a drop or 2 of agave, just to see if that would pull out more flavour. Today’s brew was a lot more flavourful. I definitely got the grape/wine coming as the cup continued to cool down. The problem today was the agave that I thought would help, but in fact made the brew too sweet.
So maybe third time will be the charm, and hopefully tomorrow’s sipdown of this I’ll get it right. I guess I should bust out the thermometer for proper brewing temp and skip the sweetener.
Thanks to looseTman for providing me with a sample.
So I found this in an old word document that was saved to my desk top. It is back from before October 2013.
I received this in round 2 of the Secret Pumpkin swap from Darby. It is also on my shopping list so thanks so much for sending a sample!
I have been trying to post about this tea for a while but have been having trouble, steepster won’t let me log this specific tea for some reason. So here is what I remember.
The dry tea smells very fruity. I immediately thought black currant.
The brewed tea tastes similar to merlot. But not a “real” merlot. It really reminds me of Arbour Mists Blackberry Merlot (read: wine that really tastes like juice). It is sweet but not overly sweet without adding any sweetener. I would say it is a bit disappointing in the sense that is lacks the body and flavor profile of wine, but that said, it tastes enough like merlot to not have to question the description/name of the tea. It is also missing that bit of dryness or astringency that you get with wine. Definitely better as is cools, the sweetness becomes a bit stronger as it cools.
Wow, this is actually very reminiscent of deep red wine! The flavors are unexpected but work together very very well. The cherry gives it the fruity taste, and vanilla rounds it out. I think puerh is perfect for this because the aged flavor gives it the earthy flavor that barrel aging would for wine. Most excellent!
This comes to me courtesy of RogersCK. Thanks for sending me this pleasant and intriguing blend!
This is an orange brew that smells of green grapes. The taste really does remind me of white wine. Admittedly, I am by no means a wine connoisseur. Still, this tastes light, grapey, and almost sparkling. There’s a touch of sweetness during the sip and a gentle tartness at the end.
The apricot that everyone’s talking about comes out for me in the second steep. Juicy, with a more assertively tart finish than earlier. More lemon myrtle than lemon fruit. The third steep tastes about the same, only even juicier. Nom nom nom.
This is my first exposure to Vintage Tea Works. I’m impressed. I look forward to trying more of their teas in the future.
steep 1: 167f, 3 mins 30 secs
steep 2: 182f, 5 mins
steep 3: 194f, 6 mins
I’ve had this chai a few times since I’ve written my original review of it: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/02/13/bourbon-chai-blend-vintage-teaworks/ and I really enjoy this chai.
The “dry” leaf looks wet – as though it has been marinated in honey. The tea smells like bourbon to me (even though there’s no actual bourbon in the tea), perhaps the combination of ingredients evokes thoughts of bourbon.
Sweet and warmly spiced. It’s “spicy” but it’s not a hot type of spice. It’s more like a sweet-spicy kind of spice. The spices are very harmonious in this blend.
A very satisfying chai!
Thank you, LiberTEAS! This is almost certainly one I wouldn’t have found on my own. I’m glad I’ve tried it now, because I really like it.
This brews up the color of a dark white wine and tastes, if not exactly like wine, at least similar enough that the name fits. It’s one where I can’t really identify individual flavors; it blends into one harmonious one that I like. There is undoubtedly some fruitiness and a tang to it, and a floral note that must come from the rose petals. I’ll have to decide whether I want to buy it as I work my way through the rest of the sample.
From the LiberTEAS sampler I bought a while back
Dry, this one actually smelled a lot like potpourrii…and not in a good way. :/
Once steeped, though, it opened up into a deeply coloured and delightful smelling brew. I’m definitely picking up the papaya and cinnamon with a bit of the orange-citrus-rose notes…the oolong base was an amazing choice and really complemented the multi-layered flavours beautifully. It’s damn tasty.
I’m so crap at describing this tea right now – I’m too busy trying to fit my whole face in the mug and just wrap myself up in the smell. :)
…the only complaint I can really come up with is that it gets a little astringent and bitter as it cools. You may want to hustle and drink this one hot.
Thank you to Darby for sharing a bit of this with me! I opened my little sample pouch and went “mmmmmmm”. The dry leaf is also beautiful. The aroma is kind of fruity with light notes of chai. Cherry is very present in this blend and blends very well with the earthy pu erh. There is light cinnamon\clove notes . The vanilla is in the aftertaste and smooths things over. I really liked this blend. Very unique and tasty. Thanks again Darby!
There were comments yesterday (?) about how wonderful swaps are because you get to try teas that you normally wouldn’t choose for yourself. Sometimes you find these amazing teas, because someone else chose it. This is one of those teas.
I don’t drink wine – I’ve had a couple of other “wine” teas and didn’t really care for them. I would never have bought this, asked for a sample of this, I was actually a little hesitant to try it.
WOW this is FANTASTIC. To me it’s not really wine, but it’s sweet and a little grape esque – maybe a little cherry – hint of vanilla – strange, but in a good way. I really really like this. I would order more of this if I had the opportunity – it’s going on the shopping list.
Thank you so much ifjuly for pushing me outside my comfort zone, into an amazing tea.
Yay! I can finally review this! For the longest time, Steepster kept sending me back to the dashboard whenever I tried to log this. So woo!
This tea is fabulous. The flavors are balanced with the white base so I get both (which I really appreciate). And the fruity flavors are lovely! Apricot (and very much apricot and not peach) is in the forefront, but honeysuckle and jasmine also seep through. It’s a very bright combination of flavors, while still being mellow enough to remind me of drinking wine. I definitely get their ‘light and playful’ tag on this one though! In the aftertaste, there the apricot again and then a creamy lemony flavor.
I really like this one, but the price point is mildly offputting. Thanks so much for the chance to taste this, though, momo!
Sil Sample Sipdown
I’ve been hanging on to the last bit of this for awhile, & today was the day. This is my after breakfast tea, kind of a morning dessert, if you will, & I’m enjoying it, to be sure.
The dry leaf is lovely, with little flowers & kind of a purple-red cast to the leaf. Steeped, it is a nice fruity tasting blend. I’ve never drank Merlot, so I have no idea what it tastes like, but this makes for a tasty cup.
This is the first tea I’ve tried from Vintage TeaWorks, & if it is representative of their other teas, I hope to give them a try someday too. Thanks Sil :)