Sweet Merlot Black Tea

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Black Tea
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200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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28 Tasting Notes View all

From 52teas

Here’s an extra special treat I’ve been working on for a while now, a sweet Merlot flavored black tea with real freeze-dried grapes. My wife and I just recently started getting into wine, and it seems Merlot is a good compromise for us. I’m not necessarily all about those uber-dry wines, but nor do I care for the super-sugary-sweet stuff either. A little sweet is good. Anyway, I think this strikes a nice balance, and more than that, it makes a great compliment to our premium black tea base.

Our Tea of the Week for the Week of April 16th, 2012

About 52teas View company

At 52teas.com, you will find unique, hand-blended artisan loose leaf teas: a new limited edition creation every week of the year. We pride ourselves on offering truly unique, one-of-a-kind tea blends that you won’t find anywhere else.

28 Tasting Notes

6482 tasting notes

yeah i think my earlier teas this evening did weird things to my taste buds. had a cup of this tonight and it’s just not what i remember. I’ll try again another night..

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2973 tasting notes

Because Amanda tried this iced…. I decided I would too!

I steeped 1 tbsp and a bit of this one in ~200F water for 30s before mixing it up with the rest of two cups of cold water.

When I was straining it earlier, I caught a good whiff of grape, but I’m not getting that from the cup anymore. Strange.

The flavour is actually a surprisingly pleasant raisiny-concord grapey flavour. Yum! It’s like summery grape juice without all the sweet. It’s still a pretty big stretch to call this a wine tea, in my opinion, but I kind of like it this way! I think I would perhaps use a bit more tea next time just to make it a touch stronger, but it’s ok as is. To be honest… this actually tastes much more like a black currant tea than the Black Currant Bai Mu Dan I just drank. And whether or not they’re present here, I’m not getting a sense of strong artificial flavouring that turns me off.

I still intend to give this tea another shot hot, but I’d be happy drinking it this way all summer. Rating bump.

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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4833 tasting notes

This is pretty good. I wasn’t expecting much … I typically don’t with wine flavored teas as I’m not a big wine drinker anyway. But, this exceeded my expectations, and it tastes very much like a wine I’d favor. (I used to drink wine more often than I do now, I used to think I needed it when I got into “creative mode” like some sort of wine-o artist or something. Now, I find my creativity is much more likely to emerge with tea than it ever did with wine.)

This has a light sweetness to it and is definitely grape-y, but, there is a fermented grape sort of taste that is very wine-like. It isn’t a super dry or astringent experience, and that is typically what I do not like about wine, so I’m glad that this tends to be on the sweeter side without tasting too sweet. I find that the black tea base works well here, although I don’t think that this is the new black tea base. It’s remarkably smooth and round, and I really like this. I think it would also be excellent iced, I think I’ll brew more in a bit for the fridge since my iced tea pitcher is empty.

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840 tasting notes

Received this in a swap from Tigress Al.

I am happy to try this one, I almost have just as much wine in my house as I have tea, and I have lots of tea.

The dry tea smells strongly of super sweet merlot. Like the kind you get in a box, not a bottle.

The brewed tea tastes a bit more like fermented concord grapes. Not quite like wine yet. The black tea is much more prominent than the wine flavours. There is a bit of spice and stringency in the aftertaste which reminds me of the astringency you can get with a dry red wine. I added some brown rock sugar and it brought out a bit more of the grape flavour.

I would not necessarily describe this as a wine tea, more of a grape tea, but I still think it was a good effort at trying to mimic a merlot taste. I think this one may be better iced. I have a container chilling in the fridge as I type.

Thanks Tigress!

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec

It is better iced!

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807 tasting notes

At first I was skeptical. I got a huge whiff of vinegar from the dry leaf. Steeped however it was quite nice. I am not ready to place a rating on this just yet. I want to brew a fresh pot. It did not re-steep well which is kind of a bummer. More to come once I get caught up on some work and make another pot.


Already?! Jealous.


Well I am in the same state as him :) BUT we know he has shipped so yours will be there soon! :)

Sandy Stith

I’m with Azzrian on this one. Same experience and I need to try it again before I make a decision.


Hi Sandy – I still have yet to try it again. Its not that I am not eager to but have been under the weather so just not too focused on focusing on a new tea that I want to love very much. LOL yes that made perfect sense right?

Sandy Stith

Perfect sense as I too have been under the weather and am waiting to try this again. =)


Haha, yeah I got an email that he shipped mine out too. Perhaps it needs a bit of time for the flavours to soak in or something??

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1449 tasting notes

Big thanks to Azzrian for the sample!! I was curious about it for so long, so I am super psyched to finally be trying it out :P
Anyhow it’s quite interesting. Certainly winey! There is that vinegar aspect I see mentioned in other reviews, and something else, almost like burnt tea?
Around that there is a slight grape like flavour, mixed up with a mild, very mild, bubblegum note.
After finishing my cuppa, the aftertaste is reminiscent of merlot along with a healthy dose of astringency.
Overall, it’s a great tea, just Not one that I would crave often. Of course, I’d certainly recommend it to a Merlot lover!
Rating: 82

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1212 tasting notes

I decided to give this a try cold steeped first. It worked better than I expected!

I really love the combination of what really tastes like fermented grapes and black tea. It’s a lot easier to drink than red wine can be…actually I’m not a big fan of Merlot but I really love this.

I’ll give it a shot hot sometime, but I really like how it tastes iced. It might suit my tastes better iced because hot grape flavors and I aren’t too friendly.


I should try it that way! Sounds good. Do you cold steep even blacks for hours, or reduce the time at all?


I cold steep blacks for about 10-14 hours, usually making it around 10-11pm and then taking the leaves out when I wake up/remember.

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408 tasting notes

I’m French and I don’t like red wine …paradox ?
Anyway I was brave and tried this tea, my dear Azzrian kindly sent some over me.

You know, the idea to create and blend a tea flavored with red wine couldn’t have come from France : It would be some kind of sacrilege here…(!)
So thank you dear American for always daring new things (with teas and with with food in general). Things shouldn’t be canonized as we often do here in France for some beverage or ingredients.

I cannot really say I taste a Merlot but for sure I have a real nice grape aroma especially on after taste.

Quite nice, well done 52 teas and thanks for being audacious

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 45 sec

While I was in France I loved to drink rosé, especially Côtes du Rhône, and of course back home I cannot find many. If I lived there, I wouldn’t like red wine either if I had that rosé all the time haha.


ahahaha It’s ok. I’m southern and I’m not super fond of grits.


next time you’ll come in France Amanda, you should try some rosés from Corsica, they are delicious …and this an only white wine drinker who says that !
@ Ze_Teamaker : in France when you are explaining during a lunch or dinner that your host should’n pour some red wine in your glass because you don’t like this….olala…there is a biggggg cold in the air….it just seems incredible…hope southern americans are more open minded :)


Uhm… I wonder whether the inventors of this tea will go as far as claiming you can get the combined benefits of tea and red-wine drinking (with moderation obviously) when tasting this blend. That would make a great marketing gimmick…


Ze_Teamaker: LOL! I read your comment just as I was finishing my grits! Obviously, the bacon and scrambled egg were the stars of the show…

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124 tasting notes

Okay, so this is ridiculous.
My fiance is over and we are playing Wine Pong.
First round, he won.
Second round I insisted we take a break and play a round of “Tea Pong”. And what tea to play with than Merlot Tea?
Keep in mind for this tasting that I have some lousy Yellowtail Cabernet Merlot on my palate ;) (okay, it’s not that bad).
For the leaves I get the best whiff of chocolate. Yum.
(Oh yeah, buzzed side note: my fiance assisted me in explaining gongfu tea ceremony by calling the tea tray “kind of like a tea toilet” describing the water disposal. You can, of course, see why I love him.)
Back to the Merlot Black Tea. Oh wait! Damn the merlot. I forgot earlier – I took pictures so you can all see how ridiculous this is.
Evidence: http://www.flickr.com/photos/71654987@N06/8018298699/
The merlot tea now.
Taste wise, this reminds me of my comfort black tea (okay, red rose, but a really good red rose!). My fiance was reminded of Thai Red Tea. I’m not getting a ton of wine flavor until the finish which is nicely astringent in the same way that wine is.
Okay so we played tea pong and if I ever edit down the footage I’ll upload it to my flickr. Until then you can just picture a slightly drunk tea-afficionado making tea jokes while sipping this tea and playing pong. It was awesome.
The tea is great. My fiance and I both enjoyed this – not so much wine flavor but definitely wine astringency and tea flavor.
Thanks, Amanda for sending this along in the package :)

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

You are nuts, and I loved it!


Bahahaha, that’s awesome!


Haha I feel like we need to hang out! I loved this! So cute! You must have a keeper to play tea pong with you =)

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257 tasting notes

Thank you to Kittenna for this sample! I have been fighting a food poisoning for the past few days so I have been trying to drink various teas and hope they agree with me as food surely isn’t. Sadface ‘cause I’m thinking I really should eat something right now..

Sweet Merlot tea it is! In the dry leaf, I do smell some layers of fermentation, as I would in wine.. same with some juicy grape. There happens to be a big one in my tea (or raisin I should say..)
The liquor after 3ish minutes is lovely. Nice red hue to it and smells malty/grapey and almost wine like (impressed!). The taste is a little more subtle, and takes a few sips to build. There is definitely a grape flavour present, though not fully artificial (Yay!)

I wouldn’t say this is a wine tea if someone handed me a cup of it, though it would be very easy to pick out the grape presence, but wine would be a different story. The black tea has a nice round/smooth body, which makes me think of a nice rich full bodied wine.

I have a little of the sample left so I will try this one as an iced tea next time.. though I am very much enjoying this hot. A lot.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

I hope you feel better, food poisoning is the worst :(

Hesper June

Oh no! That’s awful! I hope you start feeling better quick!


Get better soon! I hate food poisoning… It makes you feel so terribly icky…


Thank you all! It’s a bit better, but I’ve signed up for a hike and cannot back down (or I would be letting someone down immensely).. therefore, the show must go on! Wish me luck :\


Get well soon Lynne. :))


Oh no, food poisoning sucks. Hope you’ve been feeling better!

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