537 Tasting Notes
I’ve been drinking this tea all day, having it iced while I clean house, paint my nails gray, set up the crock pot, prune the plants, etc.
The dry leaf of this is fragrant and inviting — flat green sencha speckled with chunks of white dried papaya and pink strawberry. It smells a lot like strawberry candy, very fruity and summery. Well, maybe not candy. Perhaps strawberry jelly.
The liquor is a springy greenish yellow, as expected. The sencha is good quality, slightly buttery, but falls into the background as the fruit takes center stage. The strawberry is dominant, pairing with the papaya well. Sometimes papaya can be kind of pungent in a way, almost musky, but not in this case. It’s all bright, happy fruit.
I tried it hot on Thursday and liked it that way, too. Versatile.
Flavors: Berries, Berry, Fruity, Green, Strawberry
Coming back to this after giving it a go with more leaf. I used about twice as much as my last cup, which made a darker and more fragrant brew. This is one of those teas that you pretty much have to do that with because of the sheer amount of fruit and non-tea ingredients.
Since I ended up with more fruit just because I used more scoops, it got a lot more tart. This isn’t a problem, though, as I could easily balance it back out with more sweetner. I still can’t really taste the toffee, though…
The sleepy aspect of this tea is wonderful. It’s a lot like valerian in the way that it makes you more comfortable wherever you are. It kind of makes me feel heavy, like the bed is pulling me down into it. Very relaxing. I’m definitely going to have to explore more passionflower teas.
Flavors: Apple, Dried Fruit, Fruity, Tart
Now this is interesting. Most tea companies are not brave enough to blend lapsang souchong as a base for a flavored tea. The stuff is not for everyone. But of course, I’m all over it. I love smoky tea in winter! (Not that you could really call it winter yet…)
The name has Bauhaus’s guitars and Peter Murphy drawling “The count!” in my head. Its dry aroma is heavily smoky and yet tartly fruity from the little bits of hibiscus and berries mixed in. I think they’re cranberries? I can’t tell and the site’s description doesn’t list them.
Flavor-wise, the lapsang is definitely dominant over the spices and other ingredients. It reminds me of a campfire, smoky and leathery. How very goth. I understand that there is cinnamon and coconut mixed in. I can see them, but I can’t taste them. Coconut is a fickle flavor, so I know how that goes. However, the hibiscus and fruit shine through and add an interesting layer of tartness. The cinnamon is sort of there on the exhale. I’m wondering if next time I should drop in a cinnamon stick. Yay, an experiment!
“Undead, undead, undead!”
Flavors: Fruity, Hibiscus, Leather, Smoke, Tart
YOU GUYS! The Vampyre Tea Company moved into the unit next to my office! Can you believe my good luck?! It was originally going to be a vegan cheesemaker, which I was excited about too, because cheese, but this takes the cake. So thrilled!
So, I recently met Stavros, the owner of the company. A cool name and a cool guy. I was instantly charmed. He came back to talk to my boss today and ended up giving me a bunch of really generous samples of his teas. It was like it was my birthday or Christmas or something! I will be reviewing them all, of course. This company needs more love here on Steepster.
My only reservations are that I’ve never tried passionflower tea for sleep before. It’s not listed as an ingredient on the website’s description, but it is on the tin for some reason. I know it’s a common ingredient, but I’m kind of hesitant. Or at least I was until I smelled the dry leaf! It smells like a sweet, fruity dessert! The fruitness reminds me a lot of osmanthus flowers, strawberry, and apricot. I suppose that’s the rose hips and apple pieces. I also want to mention that the bits of passionflower vine look cool mixed in with the dark decaf Ceylon, candy, and fruit. They’re pale, tight little corkscrews.
The tea steeps up to a cloudy tan with a trace amount of oil on top, probably from the toffee. Mmm, toffee, such a guilty pleasure of mine. As far as flavor goes, it’s a little on the mild side. I’m afraid I didn’t use enough leaf. I went with 2.5 tsp in a 10 oz mug. The flavor I am getting is very pleasant, though. The rosehips and apple are what stand out to me the most. There is a hint of cinnamon in the exhale, followed by a little tartness that I’m liking a lot. I can’t really taste the toffee, but again, I think I didn’t use big enough scoops. The website said to fill your infuser ball, so next time, I’ll try that. (I generally use a cup-shaped metal infuser.)
Will report back with the sleepiness factor later!
Flavors: Apple, Fruity, Rosehips, Sweet, Tart
I found this on clearance at Kroger for less than $2 because the box was smushed. I’ll try any chai at that price, especially by a well-known brand, so in the basket it went.
The dry bag smells better than the tea tastes. Lightly pumpkiny with the standard chai spices and licorice. However, once it steeps, it acquires a weird, sharp flavor that I can’t put my finger on. It’s like someone let the cloves get dirty or go bad or something. I’m definitely not a fan. Even with milk and sweetener. The saddest part is that the pumpkin flavor in it is actually well done. Most companies screw that up, but not this time. But the spices are just weird.
While it’s not good, it’s not terrible enough to throw out. In order to use it up, I’ve been blending it half and half with Harney & Sons’ Chai, which saves it. The H & S version is spiced and strong enough to make it actually pretty tasty. Like pumpkin pie made by someone more interested in the spices than the actual pumpkin itself.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Licorice, Pumpkin
I broke down and bought a sample of Republic of Tea’s Hi-Caf Cinnamon Toast tea and this came with it as a free sample. Along with a sample of their Pumpkin Spice, I should add.
As I’ve said probably a dozen times before, I do not like rooibos. But! I was won over by Tazo’s caramel apple rooibos, so I knew I had to give this a try.
The rooibos aftertaste that I hate so much is completely muted by the flavors of apple and caramel. Apple is the strongest taste, sort of realistic also sort of not. Kind of like those green apple lolipops with the caramel marbled into them. The caramel aspect follows, and it’s a very creamy caramel. Not a toasty caramel. I definitely taste some vanilla, too. This is definitely a dessert-like treat, but because I am biased toward things with caffeine, I probably wouldn’t buy this.
…Though it would be nice to have on chilly winter nights.
Flavors: Apple, Apple Candy, Caramel, Fruity, Vanilla
Hey, Steepster! Been a while. I’ve been super burned out from work and life in general, but of course, I’m still drinking tea every day. Just not logging it.
I don’t know what it is, but this fall, the flavor I’ve been obsessed with is toasted marshmallow. It was caramel last fall, and I think lavender before that. Anyway, this is a well-reviewed tea and I’ve been curious about it for a long time. I got a sample a long time ago, but it was stale, so this is my “first” official review.
I know the creator of this tea only used 10% lapsang, but that stuff is so potent. The aroma is basically straight-up pine campfire with a hint of sweet vanilla at the end. Since getting it, I’ve tried it both iced and hot. Hot seems to make more sense with the smokiness, but either way, the flavor is just like the scent. Strong smoke with a soft, natural vanilla hidden underneath. You really have to taste for it, which is sort of disappointing to me.
I’m very tempted to go back to Adagio and get some plain vanilla to mix into this. Hmmm…
Flavors: Campfire, Pine, Smoke, Vanilla
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