519 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Finally getting around to reviewing this. I think I ordered it back in November, so it’s been waiting for a while.
The dry tea is well-decorated with raspberry leaf. I don’t know exactly what it tastes like on its own, so I’m not sure if it adds anything to the flavor of the tea or not. It could be like cornflowers for all I know. (No flavor, just decoration.) There are also little chunks of dried cranberry mixed in. A nice touch. I’m tempted to pick them out and eat them, but I will refrain!
Steeping, the tea has a very raspberry-like scent. So fruity! It reminds me of Tootsie Pops. You know, the ones in the dark red/maroon wrappers. Definitely not smelling cranberry. The flavor is pretty much the same. The berry flavor is vibrant and up-front without any tartness. However, I don’t think I would have made the distinction of it being a cranberry tea unless I knew ahead of time. I definitely would have guessed raspberry. Not that it’s bad in any way. I was just expecting something that tasted more like cranberry juice, I guess!
Flavors: Berries, Berry, Cranberry, Fruity, Raspberry
Remember about 3 months ago when I was wondering about why Harney & Sons couldn’t make a decent chai? Well, here we go. Rest in peace, Indian Spice, you have been replaced by a spicier newcomer.
The first thing I notice is that the spices have been ground very finely. So much that I feel like I need a coffee filter to steep it. A lot of the cinnamon falls right through the holes of my infuser to the bottom of my mug.
Flavor-wise, this is a pretty standard, no-frills chai. Cardamom is the strongest spice in the bunch, followed by cinnamon and ginger. I added a splash of 1% milk and they hold up well against it. The black tea base is pretty muted by the in-your-face cardamom. Anyway, while it is well-blended and balanced chai, it’s not my favorite. It’s just really… standard.
500th Tasting Note!!
I knew this wouldn’t sit unopened in my tea corner for very long.
Now, I know this is going to be full of not-so-authentic stuff, but I don’t care so much, honestly. Most of the Thai tea I’ve had growing up has been the orange powdered junk, but I love it anyway. That said, I was still kind of alarmed when I spilled a little on the floor and it was BRILLIANT orange.
The aroma before I add milk and ice is very strong. I’m getting a very potent vanilla-like smell with a hint of spices I can’t identify. Something about it smells bitter, too, but in an enticing way. It instantly brings back memories of trips to the Asian markets and Thai restaurants in the outskirts of Atlanta with my mom as a teenager.
I added two good handfuls of ice, some sweetener, and a splash of 1% milk. Even after that, it is still bright, carroty orange. Still, I fully expected it to not be strong enough since I only used one bag and a somewhat short steep time (which the instructions told me to do). I was right. While it’s not bad at all, it’s just a little weak. Next time, I’ll be going with a longer steep time. Maybe five minutes instead of three. Or just two bags instead of one.
It really does taste like what they serve in Thai and boba places. It’s very creamy, but not quite as creamy as restaurant-style because they use watered-down sweetened condensed milk. Anyway, this is something I’m going to play with until I get it the way I like it.
Flavors: Creamy, Spices, Vanilla