37 Tasting Notes
I’ve tried Teavana’s English Breakfast tea a couple of different times. It’s a nice-looking, almost-whole-leaf black tea, and it smells good – although not particularly intense. It also is the least expensive tea they offer at $3.80 US for 2 ounces. I have found that the clerks will often try to steer customers away from this tea, possibly because it’s not as good in terms of profit, but maybe because it’s just not that great. It tastes pretty much like you’d expect an English breakfast tea to taste, but because the leaves are larger than Twining’s loose tea or other loose teas I have tried, it takes longer to steep the tea to a proper brew… 5 minutes or so, in my experience. I haven’t yet tried their other straight black teas, some of which run $15-$18 for two ounces (!) but this one is not as good as most other breakfast teas I have had, despite the premium price and the whole-leaf nature of the tea. I’d prefer any of the other major tea producers to this one, actually, unless you absolutely are looking for a full-leaf tea. It just wasn’t great… certainly less exciting than I expected, coming from Teavana.
Saw this tea at my local Caribou Coffee shop about 6 months ago, and got excited — it sounded wonderful from the description. The metal tin contains 20 sachets, so at $7.99 a tin it wasn’t cheap. When I opened the tin, I was overwhelmed by the intense cinnamon and cloves smell. And not overwhelmed in a good way. It was absolutely overpowering, and I couldn’t smell any orange peel in there because it smelled like 90% cinnamon and 10% cloves. No “tea” smell whatsoever, though you can see the semi-broken leaves. The sachets are of a high quality, but when I tried to steep the tea, it came out bitter, overpoweringly cinnamon, and hot on the tongue (spicy and a bit numbing from the cloves). Again, not a good sensation. My sister tried to smell the contents of the tin and couldn’t stop sneezing, because it was too strong. I never made more than that one cup with the tea… instead, I emptied the sachets into a decorative bowl and used it as a potpourri/room freshener in our guest bathroom. That was six months ago, and I can still smell the cinnamon and cloves in the dish — I bet if I tried to make a cup from the six-month-old, dusty leaves now, it would still be too strong. Overall, nasty… bitter, way too much cinnamon and clove, NOT recommended. Possibly one of the worst teas I have ever had, in fact. (Maybe this explains why Caribou doesn’t have “Tea” in their name.)
Very floral scent — almost overpowering. Very tart as a hot tea, and the reviewers who said it was like hot fruit punch. I really don’t care for it as a hot tea… it’s too tart, too “red”, and almost tastes and looks like they added unsweetened fruit punch Kool-Aid to the mix. I decided to make it into an iced tea (since, after all, I did taste is as an iced tea at Teavana which was what convinced me to buy some), and it’s a nice, refreshing drink over ice. I also agree with the reviewer who said not to add too much sugar, since the berries add some sweetness already. I think it might also be nice with just a little Splenda… but again, as an iced tea rather than as a hot tea. Will I buy it again? Maybe, in the summer. But with the variety they have at Teavana, I may just try something else, even if my intention is to have an iced tea. (I smelled the one they have that has blueberries in it, and it was not appealing. At least this one smells nice!)
A decent breakfast tea, but not as robust as Punjana or Twining’s Irish Breakfast tea, which disappointed me a bit. Had some small white and orange-colored bits in with the tea, and the tea itself seemed closer to “finings” than the picture would indicate. If given the chance, I’d probably try their Scottish Breakfast or English Breakfast instead. It’s not bad — just not my favorite.
Very nice surprise — picked some of this up at a Hiller’s Market in Commerce, Michigan for a sale price of $6.00, and thought it tasted as good or better than Twining’s Irish Breakfast tea. Comes in a foil packet shaped more or less like a box, with the bags attached in pairs of two, similar to how I’ve had tea bags that I bought in England. (Unlike the usual US packaging, which is single bags in foil-lined pouches.) All in all, an excellent tea that has a nice maltiness to it, and stands up well to milk/cream and sugar.