644 Tasting Notes
Hmmm, this is a hard one. I got a very nice earthy pu erh taste, but little in the way of strawberry. I did have a tartness in my mouth and a juicy feel after sipping, that made me think I had eaten strawberries. I still have that taste in my mouth and I finished the tea an hour or more ago, so I am not 100% sure it is from the strawberry part of the tea, to be totally honest. It could be some artificial flavouring that’s just taken to my buds or something.
I don’t hate this tea, but I don’t love it. It could be the preparation of it. It deems revisiting for further tastings, but for now I will look at trying the others.
On a side note, you can really tell the difference in the Teaopia to Teavana changeover. And not necessarily for the better. Every tea I look at seems to be (most) everyone’s favourites, or they love that one, which honestly makes me begin to feel that their declarations are not genuine. I work in sales too, but I don’t tell everyone that this or that is perfect for them or that it is my favourite. They seem to have a new set up where there is one person at the Tea Bar, one person working cash, and another one or two working the floor. This has made a huge difference in the amount of time it takes to order and receive my drinks to go. Before, anyone free would get it started…there might be two or three going simultaneously. You’d think with just one person, they’d get the order right too. It was taken correctly, but not made to order. I had asked for room to be left for milk and also for some sugar (light). It was made straight, and adding the rock sugar post steep is not good. I had to get both milk and sugar from Timmies on the way back to my store. I understand that there are big changes, and there are growing pains with that. I may have to look at calling in my order (once I know which ones I like) before crossing the mall to get there in order to save some time. But already, I miss Teaopia, and I am very fearful for the new conversion. I’m already seeing and hearing things that make me think back to all those horrible reviews and stories I’ve read. Also, I have noticed a few things about them…
A lot of their teas are extra fruity, like more tea than fruit. I think there is a name for this I have read somewhere on a tasting. Now, they claim that their teas are higher quality, which justifies the price increases, but when you have half fruit or more, how can you even taste the quality of the tea? What are they hiding or covering up? Secondly, there are so many blends that it is truly dizzying trying to get through the complexity. Lastly, and back to the fruit, with all that dried fruit in there, surely that’s gotta weigh something, so less tea for more money, eh? What a scam! Now, I know other companies add things, but it seems like Teavana teas are disproportionately fruit and extras to the actual tea.
Just some of my initial feelings. I may continue to order things from the old store just to show my support for what made it through the conversion.
Okay……so, yesterday my Teaopia opened as Teavana, so I went in and looked for something to try with my lunch, and this is what I ended up with after smelling many a very fruity and weird oolong tea. This smelled nice and clean and a little sweet from the berry fragrance (this one was sans berry in the mix btw), and after my ginseng oolong from the morning, I was left feeling unsatisfied in the oolong part of my heart, so I wanted an oolong.
I got this unsweetened, since I can take some straight oolongs unsweetened, but I definitely think this would have had more wow if it had been lightly sweetened. Oh well. I can’t say it was horrible…I did pick up the raspberry scent, but really, I found the tea rather unremarkable. Not good for my first Teavana experience (aside from the genmai cha I got many years ago, but really, it’s hard to fudge up a genmai cha).
I’m fearful of the new changes. I hope to high heaven I find something there that I like. I don’t have a DAVIDs in my mall, and my other options are Starbucks and TImmies. I do often bring my own tea into work, and sometimes I have pre filled sachets as well, but I like being able to go to the opposite end of the mall for a tea break, and…the most of the staff knows me and I am friends with a few of the girls there.
Cons, while the staff are still super friendly and helpful to me there, the cost has gone up on the tea bar items. I was told it was better quality tea than before, but when most of the teas are littered with heavy fruits, I don’t know that the quality of the tea is gonna really shine. Some of those blends are so incredibly complex, I just don’t know what to think.
Well, I have to be honest and say I was a bit dubious when this sample came from Teavivre to try. I love oolongs but was not sure what to think about ginseng with oolong. So, it’s been sitting at the back of my tea cupboard waiting until I drank my other samples. But, with the release of the new straight teas from DAVIDs, my interest was piqued. The description and the picture caught my attention. Perhaps there was a picture and description on the Teavivre site, but I must have missed it or not looked. Anyhow, in light of it all. I decided to break out my sample and try.
Initially, I read the most recent reviews and thought I was in for a treat. And then someone commented on undertones of anise, menthol and something else…I wanna say camphor or eucalyptus. Anyhow, I was worried at they point. Those are not things I care for. At all. I didn’t really detect any if those tones when I smelled the dry leaf, but I could taste them when brewed. So, unfortunately, this is not my preference in oolongs. Luckily, as the tea cooled, the licorice and mint tones were more subtle.
I will probably not have the rest of my sample, but I will scout out my friends who have a palate that likes those flavours.
I finished the last of this today, and it is all gone. I had held onto it til I could get more milk oolong locally I liked as much, which I have. Neither are quite as good as this, but they come close, so I am good with that.
But this tea, oh, it makes my heart sing. It is one of the few teas I own that I don’t sweeten because it is amazing on its own, and I enjoy the sort of salty, brothy, vegetal notes in this layered with a creaminess that is subtle on the tongue.
Am I sad to see the last of this go? Yes I am. I have enjoyed it greatly, and thank Angel at Teavivre for this generous sample. On the other hand, I can now move on to some of the other samples from my last shipment.
Trying this one hot…made it for my babe. My best friend has a fever of 101 and everyone is asleep except for me, since I am 3 hours behind her (she is in Florida and I am on the west coast of Canada). I didn’t want caffeine this late even though I am doing the late mall closing shift tomorrow and could handle a mildly caffeinated tea, so I chose this, because even though I have only had it iced thus far, I had been intrigued to try it hot, to see if I could get a pie like feel from it.
It tastes about the same hot as it does iced, though I think I used too much mix and it is a little tarter than I like…somthing I am able to handle better when iced. I might try this again but with less mix. I might also just sip what I can and add some water to dilute some.
All in all, not bad for a hot herbal tea at the cusp of fall. It feels summery to me still, but not quite fall or winter.
It’s pretty good, but it isn’t my favorite tea. It is light and refreshing, though I think this is still best hot. I think I still prefer Long Life or Happy Kombucha, but those are both darker oolongs, and the nice think with the Pineapple Oolong is that it is a lighter base, so I do like that. I probably won’t repurchase as I like the milk oolong better overall.
Really trying to give this a fair chance….I really want to like it. So, I had this iced today, at the suggestion of the SA who has only had it iced. I think I like it better this way, so I am upping the rating just a bit. It is still pretty mild, but iced, it was refreshing. I was told that overstepping could have been the cause of the lemongrass being dominant in my last steep, but it might have been just the selection of stuff in my steeper since I did not get a lot of this to try.
Overall, I think I will get a larger amount to play with, but, if all else fails, I will ice it.
Tonight I used two bamboo spoonfuls of tea and let it steep a long time. It is definitely stronger now, but I have more lemongrass coming out than I’d like. I’m gonna continue experimenting with amounts and steep time to see of I can maximize its potential before I chalk this one to the disappointed pile.