520 Tasting Notes
This is the last of my freebies from Tea Leaf Co.‘s Instagram giveaway. I had tried it before, but not reviewed it. I’ve been so busy between work and taking care of an injured kitten my mom found. (Who is doing great and almost back to normal now.) She’s a little Tasmanian devil and can be seen ad nauseam on my Instagram. Link’s on my profile.
Now, this is a more darkly roasted oolong than what they used in Soul Good. The leaves are the color of dark chocolate, mixed with gorgeous scarlet safflower petals. It’s very pretty. The aroma reminds me so much of brown sugar oatmeal. The nuttiness of the oolong really plays that up. It’s definitely breakfast-y.
The brown sugar aspect is comforting and a little nostalgic. There’s something about it that kinda reminds me of pancake syrup. You know, the American kind with hardly any actual maple in it. All this pairs very well with the roasty but not smoky oolong. It’s a little on the hearty side, and while I’m drinking it iced, I feel it would be great hot on a cool fall morning. Definitely recommended.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Nutty
This was another freebie I won on Instagram. Yay!
The first thing I want to mention about this tea is that they actually used a nice oolong base. Some companies are bad about using low-grade, cheap oolongs since they plan on overpowering them with their flavorings anyway, but this is not the case! The dark green, semi-glossy leaves are rolled into cute little nuggets. They’re blended with a generous amount of minced dried ginger root and chunks of apple.
The aroma is heavenly. Bright, sweet, and apple-y with a heavy note of ginger ale. Now, the description calls this an apple cider oolong. I know when people think of apple cider, they often think of cinnamon. But no, it’s just apple, oolong, and ginger.
The flavor lives up the scent. It’s a well-rounded, slightly nutty, slightly floral oolong with a very natural and realistic red apple flavor. I can practically taste the peel! The ginger is present in the forefront but not overpowering by any means. I’m enjoying it over ice and it is so refreshing. I know I’ll be making an order with Tea Leaf Co eventually, and when I do, I’m definitely going to have to get this again.
Flavors: Apple, Fruity, Ginger
I won this tea on Instagram in a giveaway! Thanks a bunch, Tea Leaf Co! They let me pick out three blends from their site, and so far I have been very impressed! It was super hard to narrow it down to three. Seriously. There were like eight I wanted.
I had to pick the coconut chai. There’s no way I could resist. Upon opening the envelope, I’m greeted by a powerful and delicious aroma that reminds me very much of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea’s version. However, this decadent blend is mixed with orange peel, which I don’t think I’ve ever had in a chai. It’s sliced very thin, but in large pieces mixed throughout with coconut shavings and the usual chai spices. The cardamom is only broken up slightly, leaving almost whole pods here and there. Mmmm.
I’m having it iced, with a splash of 1% milk. The cinnamon and ginger are in the forefront, making me think of a gingerbread man. Clove and coconut follow, and finally I taste black tea and a tiny hint of the orange peel. Stephanie from Tea Leaf Co warned me that this chai wasn’t super coconutty, which is true, but I don’t mind one bit. It’s wonderful.
This is going on my re-order list… especially since Tea Leaf Co. has a sleepy-time valerian tea. I have to try that!
Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coconut, Ginger, Orange Zest
Ok, here’s my re-written post. Apparently my iPhone refreshes pages whenever it comes back from the lock screen. :/
Hey, this one didn’t get chocolate-ified in shipping! Yay!
Now, as far as this being a creme brulee tea goes, I’m not sure they hit the nail on the head. However, it is a great first-thing-in-the-morning treat. I’m getting notes of vanilla, dairy, maple, lightly toasted caramel without the butter, and something that took me a minute to recognize. It was hookah tobacco! Not hookah smoke, just the super-sweet, almost fruity scent of the tobacco itself. I wasn’t expecting that at all, but it’s plain as day to me. So, basically, this is very interesting and tasty… but I wouldn’t call it creme brulee.
I also want to mention that the caffeine content is very nice if you’re dragging your feet.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Cream, Maple, Molasses, Tobacco, Vanilla
EDIT: I have contacted S&V and they are replacing my entire order – this time double-bagging and ziplocking. I feel a little sad that they had to do this, but I’m glad I contacted them. Thank you, Nichole and TeaBrat for encouraging me to say something. I have trouble standing up for myself sometimes.
I am facing a tea tragedy. Violet teas are one of my absolute favorites. I basically convinced myself to place my most recent order on the fact that Simpson & Vail makes a violet tea.
However, S&V sent their teas to me in rolled up paper bags, like the ones you get coffee beans in. They were by NO means airtight. I knew when I received the box that they had poorly packaged my order because I could smell it through the cardboard. Sadly, one tea in particular, Strawberry Cupcake, had contaminated basically the whole box. It absolutely reeked of Tootsie Roll chocolate.
So, I can tell this is good underneath it all! The black tea base isn’t too bitter or astringent. The violet is mild, but very much present. It doesn’t taste like I’m drinking soap or old lady perfume. And the little purple flowers mixed in are just lovely. But! There’s also a very distracting and unwanted chocolate taste. Thus, my tea tragedy. :(
Rating based on what I could taste beyond the contamination.
Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Violet
Hey guys! Sorry I’ve been so quiet – I’ve kinda been on hiatus. It was getting to the point where I was stressing over finishing samples before reviewing them, so I basically said “Screw it, I’m going to enjoy my teas how ever I want!”
So, this is actually the second earl grey I’ve tried by The Tea Table, and I have been appalled both times. What in the hell are they using for bergamot? It tastes like straight up sunscreen. I couldn’t even finish it. And this is an oolong? It’s as dark as black tea in both leaf and liquor. There are no lovely woodsy, nutty, or flowery notes.
The Tea Table is so hit or miss. Though I’m starting to think it’s mostly miss.
Flavors: Orange, Sunscreen
I absolutely had to have this after seeing it advertised on Instagram. Caramel AND a massive amount of caffeine? Perfect for a girl who has to get up at 7:30 but refuses to go to bed before midnight.
Last night, I went out with my friends and saw Purity Ring. They were fantastic, of course. Just all-around gorgeous show. But this morning was considerably less fantastic. I went about making this iced to keep myself upright at work. The packaging says that each tea bag contains 165mg of caffeine. A little intimidated, I thought I had only used 2 bags for a 24-ounce container. But when I scooped the bags out after steeping, I discovered a third one. Oh no.
But there was no going back! I had run out of time and had to get to work. Now, I’m going to have to try this again before I can get a proper feel for the flavor. However, even with 3 bags, I agree with what others say about the caramel taste. It’s good, but it’s not as strong as I tend to like it. If you’re only in this for the caramel, I suggest trying a different brand. The tea itself is SUPER potent. That is some bitingly bitter black. Of course, that has a lot to do with my preparation, though. I’m sure if I had used 2 bags instead it wouldn’t be so powerful.
Now, about the caffeine! It’s enough to make me queasy, and I’m a lover of espresso shots. I couldn’t even finish it, while I usually destroy my morning tea long before lunch. My hands shook pretty much all day. My handwriting was terrible. It was just too much. 2 bags next time, Tabby, never 3.
All that said, I’m really interested in a few of the other flavors now that I know how strong it’s going to be and can adjust. The coconut and cinnamon toast ones are calling my name!
Flavors: Bitter, Burnt Sugar, Caramel
This was a free sample from my last Tea Table order. Caramel is one of my absolute favorite flavors, so I jumped on getting to try this.
Yay, it’s one of those caramel teas with the little cubes of actual candy mixed in! It was hard to not pick them out and eat them on the spot. The dry tea smells authentic and toasty. Like stovetop caramel, none of that cellophane-wrapped stuff you got in your Trick Or Treat basket and never ate.
I used a pretty good amount of tea, 3 teaspoons, since I was making it iced. It’s too hot for anything else down here this time of year. After sweetener and ice, it got a taste test and I immediately thought of *Liberteas*’ Sweet Caramel Of Mine. Damn, I miss that tea! While it doesn’t taste quite as toasted as that, it has that wonderful lightly “burnt” flavor. The caramel is creamy, malty, and decadent.
For the price, I think this might turn out to be my mainstay caramel tea. Here’s to another Tea Table order and more samples, haha!
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Butter, Caramel, Creamy, Malt
Ok, I admit I bought this just so I could pick out 3 samples from The Tea Table. I mean, it’s vanilla chai, how could you go wrong there?
And as I expected, I did not go wrong in my selection. It smells delicious. But the scent of the dry leaves and spices doesn’t reflect any vanilla to me. It smells like plain chai. This isn’t much of a letdown, though, because I love chai in pretty much any form. I smell cardamom, cinnamon, and a bit of ginger.
After ice, real sugar, and a splash of 1% milk, I gave it a go. The vanilla still doesn’t really stand out to me. I can smell it before I take a sip, but I can’t really taste it, unfortunately. I do get a pleasant burn from the ginger and other spices, though. That’s very nice. It’s certainly on the mild side for chai, even with 4 tsp. in 16 ounces of water and milk, but it’s not bad. I will be coming back to The Tea Table for sure, if only just to explore more samples. It’s fun stuff!
Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Vanilla
Ok, finally getting around to reviewing this one. Again, my thanks go to Just Organic Teas for giving me this sample to try!
It smells flat-out wonderful. Bright, sweet mango scent with something perfume-like. The aroma is so inviting and juicy. Citrus and apricot and mango scents – basically any kind of orange fruit. As it steeps, it comes out to a light tan color and the aroma of chamomile appears. Once iced, the tea fades to a more normal green tea color – like faintly green straw.
The flavor is a little milder than I expected, but I like it. It’s not like drinking mango juice or anything. There is no tartness, but you can tell it’s made with tea in the finish. The chamomile is also present – surprisingly unmuted by the fruit. However, in my second glass, I plan on using a less ice-heavy ratio. I suppose my only critique of this would be that the mango flavor needs more of a kick.
Flavors: Citrus, Fruity, Mango