522 Tasting Notes

drank Vanilla Chai by The Tea Table
522 tasting notes

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

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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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

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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drank Organic Bramblewine by Tazo
522 tasting notes

I received this tea as a gift a good while ago and have made it several times without reviewing. It’s certainly not something I’d buy for myself due to the rooibos content and the sheer LOAD of hibiscus.

When steeped, it’s what you’d expect with a hibiscus tea. A bright, cheerful magenta. Very pretty! I made it iced and had to sweeten it – it’s pretty dang tart otherwise. The flavor makes me instantly think of Starbucks’s Berry Hibiscus Refreshers. There is a nice berry flavor that goes along with it, but it’s on the lighter side and kind of blends with the tangy hibiscus.The green tea aspect might as well not be there, but the rooibos… It doesn’t let itself be forgotten about. It leaves that aftertaste I hate so much in my mouth and nose with every sip.

Like I said, this isn’t something I’d get again, but I won’t mind finishing it over ice on hot days. Also, I’m not tasting wine at all. I think they just call it that to sound fancy.

Flavors: Berry, Blackberry, Fruity, Hibiscus, Rooibos, Sour, Strawberry, Tangy, Tart

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 30 sec

I have this one. Hibiscus galore with a hint of fruitiness, and not so much wine. Or bramble, whatever that is.


Bramble is just another word for blackberry bushes, lol.

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drank Chai Ultra Spice by Twinings
522 tasting notes

This is a freebie I got from Twinings’s website. Ocassionally, they let you sign up for free samples, but usually when I do, nothing happens. I was pleasantly surprised to find this in my mailbox a few weeks ago.

Anyway, it smells like a mostly ordinary chai in the bag. Clove stands out the most, followed by cinnamon and a tart scent that I think is just a combination of everything else. After it steeped, I splashed in a very small dollop of 1% milk and it went instantly pale. Not a good sign, usually. I hate a chai that can’t hold its own against a little milk.

As I sip, I’m disappointed. It tastes like gingerbread made from cardboard. There is a hefty amount of ginger, which is nice and leaves a pleasant burn. That must be the “Ultra” part. But the rest of the tea… I can’t taste the black tea base at all. The cinnamon, ginger, and clove are a lovely touch, but… I dunno, this just tastes cheap and kind of lame to me.

It might have been better if I had used more than one bag, but I only had one. Double-strength, this might have been alright.

Flavors: Cardamon, Cardboard, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Spicy

Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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drank Kiwi Black Tea by The Tea Table
522 tasting notes

This is a free sample I received with my last Tea Table order. I am such a sucker for tea companies that let you pick freebies! When I picked this out, I didn’t read the description completely. My thought process was basically “Kiwi tea? I’ve never had that! Done!” And so it arrived.

The scent of it really is unique. It smells very fruity and “tropical” for lack of a better word. I definitely do smell kiwi, but also pineapple. Yum! The pineapple was a bit of a surprise, as were the lime leaves. Another first there!

The flavor is lighter than I expected, with a hint of the kiwi’s tartness. You know how a kiwi is sweet, tart, and bitter all at the same time? This tea is sort of like that. Kiwi flavor is in the forefront, followed by pineapple, and banana. There are no banana ingredients in this, but I swear the notes are there. Or maybe I’m crazy. (That’s more likely.) I can’t say I taste the lime or blackberry leaves over the fruit, but I know they’re not really strong flavors to begin with.

Anyway, I don’t know if I’d come back for more of this, but it was a nice experience. I’ll definitely be back to The Tea Table for more samples!

Flavors: Fruity, Pineapple, Tropical

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

Sounds like a delicious flavour combination!

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drank Orange Hibiscus by Just Organic Tea
522 tasting notes

Nearing the end of my Just Organic Teas reviews with this one. I’ve got the mango-citrus one next, then I’m on to other things.

The scent of it instantly reminds me of Tazo’s “Passion” and this glass bottled juice tea they made called “Brambleberry”. (Which turned out to be marion berry juice and cinnamon.) The hibiscus is bright and in the forefront, complimented by cinnamon. Honestly, I can just barely smell the orange peel and lemon myrtle over the hibiscus, but we could all assume that was going to happen.

When finished, the tea comes out to such a dark purple it’s practically eggplant. It’s very fragrant, fruity and spiced. Once iced, it comes out to a lovely cranberry-like shade of red. Sipping it over ice seems like drinking fruit juice. There’s zero tea astringency or bitterness since it’s herbal, so it’s very smooth and even after sweetener, it’s tart. The cinnamon is a nice touch, too. It makes it stand out. However, the cinnamon and hibiscus are loud and don’t really give the other notes a chance.

I can’t really say this tea tastes very “orange”. But that’s fine, as I’m not really into that. But if you are looking for something citrusy, I wouldn’t recommend it for that. Still, I like it. It reminds me of sangria! That’s what it is! Maybe it wil have to make another appearance this summer for that reason alone.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Fruity, Hibiscus, Tangy, Tart

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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drank Iced Strawberry by Just Organic Tea
522 tasting notes

I’m pretty excited about trying this one because for the longest time, I thought I was intolerant to all things strawberry flavor. But! It turns out it’s just Red Dye No. 40 that makes me sick! That leaves me free to drink all the strawberry teas I want now! Yay! This will be the first. (I still wish I could have Starburst, though…)

It smells wonderful before it hits the water. Like sweet strawberry preserves. It makes me want jam on toast. Like the other iced Ceylons I’ve tried from Just Organic Tea, it gets very dark and concentrated in the quart of water they recommend using. This prepares it to be hit with an almost full glass of ice, where it must stand up to being diluted.

The flavor puts a smile on my face. After a little sweetener, it’s a fruity and oddly wholesome-tasting treat. Like the others I’ve tried, the black tea aspect sort of falls into the background. (Though the caffeine boost it provides is nice.) I’m still definitely reminded of strawberry jam as I drink it on this bright spring day. It’s almost like a dessert tea — the black tea add a sort of base that makes me think of strawberry shortcake. Mmm. Definitely recommend this one, guys.

Flavors: Berries, Fruity, Strawberry

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Another sample from Just Organic Tea! I’m genuinely surprised that I’m the first person to review this.

It’s late, but I want iced tea, so this is perfect. Something naturally caffeine free as it only contains herbal ingredients — spearmint, lemon peel, and lemon myrtle. All organic, of course. The spearmint in the aroma is very soothing but strong. It mutes the smell of the other ingredients, but that’s kind of normal with mint. It doesn’t play second-fiddle.

The water slowing changes to a cheerful light greenish-yellow, then darkens to the color of a light black tea. A sort of brownish amber. The aroma of the tea, which I know is concentrated for icing purposes, is very pungent. I smell spearmint above everything else, followed by a scent that reminds me of lawn clippings that have dried in the sun.

The resulting tea is my favorite so far in the batch of samples. The mint they use is obviously quality – devoid of that weird “dill” aftertaste I’ve encountered so often in mint teas. I’m not sure what causes that taste, but I only seem to notice it in cheap mint teas. I know this might not be something others experience, but to me, this also one of those “creamy” spearmints. The lemon myrtle and peel, like in the aroma, are muted almost completely. There’s a hint of them in the finish, but you really have to be looking for it. Still, the result is very refreshing and manages to be minty without being “toothpastey”. It leaves my mouth feeling cool. I like it very much. It would be glorious to put some fresh mint in with the ice.

Flavors: Lemon Zest, Mint, Spearmint

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

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drank Iced Raspberry by Just Organic Tea
522 tasting notes

Yay, another freebie from Just Organic Tea! I told myself I’d save this one until I was closer to being finished with the other teas in the tasting…Well, so much for that! My love for raspberry tea overtook things.

The dry tea smells wonderful. A deep, well-rounded and natural raspberry scent. Like raspberry jam, but with the strength of the Ceylon shining through. If the unflavored iced Ceylon I tried before is any indication, I have a feeling this isn’t going to be one of those teas where the fruit is all you can taste.

It didn’t come out as dark as the plain Ceylon. The resulting tea is more mild than I expected. The raspberry flavor is actually a bit on the subtle side. It’s definitely there, but not as potent as I am used to in fruity teas. The Ceylon is strong but not too strong, with a tiny bit of bitterness in the finish. It’s still quite tasty and I look forward to the rest of the batch. It’ll be nice as a first-thing-in-the-morning tea tomorrow.

Flavors: Berry, Fruity, Raspberry

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Just Organic Tea

Great feedback – thanks for the review!

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drank Iced Ceylon by Just Organic Tea
522 tasting notes

My thanks go to Just Organic Tea for this sample! They’re about to release a line blended specifically to be served cold, which is perfect because iced tea season is in full swing here in Atlanta. Sorry, my northern friends. It’ll be there soon.

Now, the sample I’m trying is bagged. I understand that there will be a loose leaf version when this line launches. What I’m kind of impressed with is the size of the bag. For once, there’s actually enough room for the tea leaves to expand! It smells nice, too. The aroma reminds me that I should really try more Ceylons. They’re plain, yeah, but they’re comforting and reliable. And they remind me of all the sweet tea my grandmothers have made over the years.

As it steeps, it gets really dark. Like, alarmingly dark. It’s dark brownish red and I am suddenly not afraid of adding a lot of ice. And sugar — real sugar, for once. I’m going to do it up right. The instructions call for a quart of water per bag and now I understand why. No guesswork here. Just fill your glass with ice, pour, stir, and it’s done.

As far as flavor goes, I guess it’s exactly what I was expecting. Like an Irish Breakfast. Malty, faintly raisin-like, only lightly bitter, and familiar. The strength of it holds up well against the ice. I find myself wanting to put a lemon slice in it. That would just be perfection.

Flavors: Malt

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Quiet, strange, and in love with the world of tea. 20-something and living just outside of Atlanta. Cat lover, electronic music geek, balcony gardener, and collector of fossils. On the hunt for the perfect tea in each of my favorite categories.

I prefer black teas, but I’m trying to broaden my horizons. My favorites tend to be yunnan tips, earl grey, chai, and pretty much any black tea from Fujian, China. My favorite add-ons are plum, cinnamon, sage, apple, coconut, raspberry, lychee, bergamot, osmanthus, cucumber, lavender, vanilla, cardamom, ginger, and caramel.

I’m shy about green tea, curious about white, and learning to love oolong. I hate rooibos and anything with orchid, fennel, or jasmine.

Since joining, I’ve traded with: Kaliska, QueenOfTarts, LiberTEAS, JustJames, Spencer, Ninavampi, Jillian, Teafreak, KeenTeaThyme, and RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas.

You can assume that I’m preparing my tea using the Western method. I use zero-calorie sweeteners and in the hot months, I drink my tea almost exclusively iced.


Decatur, GA



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