Based on two experiences: my wife’s and my own
Experience buying from Tea Forte: Good. Website is very colorful and easy to navigate. Given free samples after responding to Steepster invitation. Package came in reasonable amount of time. Other than sending my address, no e-mail or phone contact.
Age of leaf: Unknown. Steeped within a month or so of receiving.
Packaging: Creative: a grayish somewhat transparent plastic bag with five smaller “Single Steeps” packs attached to a colorful paper backing describing each tea. The tiny tea foil packs themselves are the most colorful and most professional-looking tea packages I have ever seen.
Dry Leaf: Strong, rich smell, definitely has a berry scent to it. Very colorful looking tea (blue, light and dark red bits).
Brewing guidelines: (package states 12 oz. I used closer to 16 oz.) Two steepings: 1st: boiling, 3mins. 2nd: boiling, 5 mins. (the next day). Small amount of Stevia added. Basket strainer inside ceramic 16 oz. cup.
Aroma: smelled like berries.
Color of liquor: 1st steeping: Beautiful, deep purple-red color, just the way I would imagine a glass of red wine would look! 2nd steeping: not quite as colorful.
Wet leaf: smelled somewhat like candied berries.
Flavor: 1st steeping: Strong berry taste. My wife really liked it, but I felt it was a little too tart, and had some off flavor, almost like it was stale. 2nd steeping: about the same as the first, but not as strong, and the tartness and staleness was muted.
Value: Free sample, but their price on their website is more than I would be willing to pay if I purchased it.
Overall: Overall, it is a fun tea to experience, but the flavor was not very well balanced for my tastes. I enjoyed drinking it once, and I would drink it if someone offered it to me, but I don’t think I would buy it.