A very caramelly, creamy Oolong with hints of citrus and floral tones. If I didn’t know it, I’d almost think it was a coconut Oolong. It smells divine dry and steeped, and tastes as good as it smells.
25 Tasting Notes
Open the package, stick your nose in, inhale, and you will think you’ve eaten dessert. The steeped brew is a bit more earthy than that – strongly minty with mild cacao, not at all sweet, which I love. I tried it with cream and sugar, which I specifically didn’t like; this tea doesn’t become more decadent when treated like a dessert tea… Well, not exactly. Feeling adventuresome, I steeped this tea in whole milk and added some homemade hot chocolate, and oh my word! Wow! I and all my guests enjoyed it the entire rainy night! I can’t keep enough on hand this winter! Perhaps a strange way to treat such good quality tea, but it’s a household favorite with all my teens!
This tea is so well-balanced, it’s difficult to identify any particular flavor. Sure, the mint and cacao can be noted in the dry blend, but when steeped, it’s hard to distinguish. I guess that may mean it’s not a complex cup of tea, and yet it’s delicious. Like that very drinkable wine one sips at a party while mingling, this is a nice dessert tea, and it gets tastier and more interesting with the addition of cream and/or sugar. Yum, yum… yum. I actually will probably never drink it because I don’t like the mouth feel of cream and sugar after I’ve had altered tea, but my friends and guests will adore it; I will keep it stocked for them.
I have explored a lot of Earl Grey teas, and this is not one… However, this tea tastes very similar to my favorite Earl Grey Creme by Art of Tea. Though there is no evidence it should be creamy, it has a warm, earthy flavor and a blend of floral notes that suggest the bergamot and vanilla found in earl grey creme. It is more crisp, more defined than a creme tea, and doesn’t seem to oversteep, which is convenient. Like most American Tea Room teas, I don’t prefer it with cream or sweetener; that seems to ruin the complexity of their teas. One of my favorites, I drink it many times a week. And when someone asks what kind of tea I want, and I simply don’t want to have to think about it, I always default to Anastasia.
This Lemon Meringue tea didn’t smell like lemon when I opened the package. It smells of orange. I steeped it anyway, and couldn’t taste lemon. So I read the ingredients and discovered that there is none. True, there is also no meringue, so while I understand these names can’t always be taken literally, I must admit that I missed there being lemon in my Lemon Meringue. I did taste something a little green, a little floral, but nothing too significant. All in all, I found this tea to be a touch indecisive. American Tea Room’s Lemoncello is also mild, but is perfectly creamy, warm and lemony, while California Tea House’s Lemon Meringue is fully fruity and zingy. Art of Tea’s lemon offering? Well, they may want to rethink this tea’s name? …or perhaps, add lemon…
I have been spoiled by the divinity of American Tea Room’s Lemoncello, which is also a rooibos based lemon tea. However, the Lemoncello is so mild that it doesn’t do well diluted with ice. In searching for a tea to ice this summer, I discovered California Tea Room’s Lemon Meringue Pie. Though the dry tea is very astringent, smelling almost as if splashed with rubbing alcohol, the brewed liquid smells fabulous! The liquid tastes and smells unapologetically zingy, zesty, but not too acidic. It’s a strong lemon tea, yet the rooibos keeps it from being grassy. I put it over ice, and it remained strong and refreshing. With sugar added, it developed a whole new character. A delicious find! As long as I don’t inhale while the tea is dry, this is a wonderfully full, versatile cup of lemon tea.
Like most teas blends that are sweetened with candies, chocolate, etc, the aroma was a plenty satisfying dessert substitute—the caramel scent was divine. Yet if ever I sweeten tea, it’s with honey (I like the acidity), never sucrose; the latter is too sweet for me. The caramel chunks left a coating of sugar in my mouth, which would probably please most dessert tea drinkers. So if you like sweet dessert teas (I’m finding I do not), this is a good quality caramel black.
Though I bought loose leaf from the maker and took it immediately home to try, this tea tasted a little stale. The rooibos and mint were vaguely musty. If I can find someone who likes it, I will be giving this one away.
It’s a good blend. It’s not gingerbread, and it’s even a stretch to call it chai—the lemon is too prominent for those previous descriptors to be comfortable. As a pastry chef, I have prescribed notions of what should fundamentally be in gingerbread, and I don’t think you can have an excellent one without molasses, ginger and cinnamon. Though the spices are there, this tea lacks richness, maltiness, “darkness.” The rooibos base is cozy, but not rich enough on its own to lend the molasses I’m missing. But it’s still a good drink if you aren’t looking for chai or gingerbread. A pleasant herbal blend of some lovely spices that’s fine to drink in the evening.
American Tea Room’s description of this tea is that it is strong-bodied and well-balanced. Well-balanced is true, but to call it strong-bodied is almost selling its herbal appeal short. This chai is wonderful for an herbal, and every ingredient of clear, excellent quality. It’s warm, spicy. However, unlike chai with black tea bases, it doesn’t require milk or sweetener to be delicious. It’s spicy, a bit zesty, but not bold, tannic or overbearing. It is round, balanced and cozily decaffinated. Very nice for afternoon chai.
Last year, I tried an Earl Grey Creme by Art of Tea that has left an indelible positive impression, and I’ve been searching for its equal ever since. Perhaps it’s better in my memory than in truth (I’ve ordered some to find out), but upon opening this Vanilla Creme Earl Grey, the fragrance alone was a let down. The Earl Grey base wasn’t as complex as I prefer; I enjoy being able to identify each ingredient—the base tea, the bergamot, the flower petals, the vanilla—while savoring how well they marry, and this one was, um, muddy?
My first cup was steeped a little long, to be honest, so it was more tannic than creamy. So, I tried again the next day. And it’s a decent tea. But I wouldn’t drink it for the decadence I want from a creme tea, and I wouldn’t choose it as an Earl Grey. Other teahouses offer better Earls. Other teahouses offer better cremes. The descriptions on the California Teahouse website are so personable and fun that I wanted to love this tea, but it just didn’t happen for me.
This tea confused me. With its chocolate chunks, hazelnut and cinnamon, I was expecting a round, warm, spicy, mildly sweet dessert tea. And dry, it smelled as though that’s what it would be. Oddly, when I brewed it, it tasted like a fruit tea—chocolate with apples? I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Thinking I’d accidentally steeped the wrong sample and got a fruit tea instead, I looked through my stash and verified that this was the one labeled “Snow Day.” The ingredients looked right. So I took it to a friend, wondering if my palette was a little funny. Also a non-smoker, foodie and tea-drinker, he smelled it, tasted, and replied, “Apricot? But you don’t like fruit teas.”
No, I don’t generally care for fruit tea, and, for whatever reason, since this comes across as one, I didn’t care for it. I imagine it was a combination of the sugar in the chocolate and the hazelnut that made it seem that way. I like my hazelnut toastier, nuttier, and my chocolate darker or unsweetened. I also am discovering that I don’t care for candy in my tea (chocolate, caramel, peppermints). I prefer the impressions of sweetness left by cocao husks, peppermint leaves or vanilla, to which I can add my own sweetener should I so choose.
However, I would expect people who do like sweets, candies, fruit teas, etc, to enjoy this as it was balanced and interesting.
A new perspective for summertime. This was my new favorite when I discovered Lemoncello during the wet and cold of an unseasonably long winter. But now that summer is suddenly here in full force, it’s the one tea that has bridged the weather with me. Lemoncello is excellent chilled. It’s not the bold, tangy zing of other cold citrus or fruit teas, though, and it shouldn’t be iced if you can help it—but if brewed to its strongest and let to chill in the fridge, it’s perfect. At its strongest, this tea is not ever bold, which is why I don’t dilute it with ice. The lemon makes it refreshing enough, but the vaguely creamy, sweet quality gives one the impression of luxury, indulgence, relaxation. As a matter of fact, after trying this cold, I literally moved my hammock into my bedroom for the summer, and have been relaxing on it with a chilled glass of this in my hand as I wind down on these hot summer nights. Aah, a revelation of a tea, I tell you.
Lack of flavor isn’t something I’ve experienced in American Tea Room products. Usually, I open the package, and scarcely have to inhale for the aroma of any one of their teas to gloriously fill my senses. Their teas are characteristically extremely fresh, I’ve found. However, either this tea is extremely subtle, or simpy not as fresh as the others. It didn’t smell stale, but it had little nose, little flavor. Their basic rooibos has a wonderful flavor, so it seems to me that any of their rooibos based teas would at least have something to ponder. And green teas are usually at least, well, green if nothing else. This one—almost nothing. However, I’ve had such excellent experiences with American Tea Room products, I’m not going to give this tea a rating until I’ve had a chance to order another sample that will hopefully be from another batch. and then I’ll try again.
I don’t think of chai’s as bedtime teas because, however cozy, they are spicy, scintillting by nature. This chai is indeed a bedtime tea, yet not in the traditional sense of “Sleepytime” or the more common chamomile-mint blends. California Tea House calls it a “knock-out” tea, and they are not kidding. The valerian root is prominent; at first I thought I was tasting kava, and that very notion made me want to go to sleep. Both roots have a subtle chalky-sweet aftertaste, which is more reassuring to someone desiring sleep than offensive. The valerian flavor isn’t too strong, though—no stronger than the cinnamon, chamomile, vanilla or nutmeg. The honeybush base is woody, nutty, and goes wonderfully with the spices. As for tea critiquing, I hesitate to say much as I would consider this a tasty medicinal drink—a sleep-aid disguised as tea. Very well done.
I’d been drinking a lot of rooibos when I first tried this tea, so my steeping habits were lax, to say the least—it’s hard to oversteep rooibos. Unfortunately, too long a steeping time with too hot of water severely affected this Milk Oolong, and I was very disappointed… with myself. When I initially opened the package, the scent was so buttery, it reminded me of caramel—delectible. I couldn’t wait. Boiled some water, dropped in the ball infuser, and promptly forgot about it. This is too good and pricey of a tea to be taken so lightly. I threw out that cup (it tasted like spinach), and decided to wait until I had time to “contemplate” this tea as it deserved.
Now I sit in a comfortable chair, having just enoyed a perfectly brewed cup of the stuff, a very subtle, pale gold liquid that is more like drinking a fragrance than a beverage. This cup has to be savored for its subtlty because there is little tangible about it. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s ephemeral, like a childhood memory of an event you know you enjoyed but can’t quite recall. As you drink sip after sip, you just begin to understand the tea’s details when it slips away once again. I loved it—almost milky, creamy, sweet, caramelly, buttery with a hint of green woodiness. I’d have to drink it a hundred more times to unravel its mysteries, and yet I suspect they would evade me still.
Strictly respect the steeping time and temperature. And I’d advise a large infuser that allows the leaves space to unfurl, which they do very quickly.
I was looking forward to this tea – warm, nutty rooibos with a hint of cream. The problem is, the vanilla was so heavy, there was no “hint”-ing involved. I felt hit over the head with the vanilla instead. Good quality vanilla, to be sure, but not a seamless enough marriage of balanced flavors for my taste. Perhaps a different kind of vanilla would have been better?
I love this tea. Earl Grey is among my favorites, as is rooibos for its warmth and the phenomenon that you simply can’t oversteep it. So, to have an Earl Grey that is difficult to oversteep, and yet has all the complexities of the traditional without the heavy-handedness of black tea, it’s like a dream come true. I’ve tried several Earl Grey rooibos teas, and American Tea Room’s is by the far the best I’ve yet had. It really does taste like Earl Grey – an improvement on it even, if you like rooibos.
The aroma alone is enough to give a person a cavity. I don’t have a sweet tooth, so I’m not partial to teas that are literally sweet instead of just giving an impression of decadence. This tea was sweet, very rich, very good. A touch of honey made it into the perfect dessert. Yet, since I don’t like sweets, I wouldn’t choose to drink this tea again. The smell of the dry tea was so good, though, I’d almost buy the tea so I could inhale it in lieu of eating dessert. I suspect tea drinkers with a sweet tooth would love this tea.
Hibiscus – I just don’t like it. And unfortunately, if it’s in there, I can’t taste much else. I’ll have to try this tea again later when I’ve recovered from the Hibiscus ambush!
Upon opening the package, I was pleased by the strong lavender scent. I love the smell of real, fresh lavender. However, I do relate it with potpourri, so I had some misgivings about whether I’d want to drink something so strongly floral. The steeped beverage was very nice – as I inhaled it, the experience seemed more like aromatherapy, as if I shouldn’t actually put it in my mouth. Surprisingly, when I did, the flavor was subtle, gentle, soothing. The lavender was the strongest flavor, but made more complex by subtle mint and lemon accents. Very nice tea. Very unusual in a good way. I wouldn’t choose to drink it nightly because I have American Tea Room’s Lemncello for that. But I would brew this when specifically seeking to have my nerves calmed.
Just as I expected. Cozy rooibos with fresh mint. Lovely aroma. Nothing extraordinary or offensive. Not the most dynamic or surprising mint tea, but a nice, soothing tea to enjoy just before bed.
I was so taken with this tea the first time I tried it that I thought it might be too good to be true. Not so. Upon my second cup, I’m still blissed out by it. The aroma literally relaxes me, and brings a soft smile to my usually tight lips. Lemoncello is indeed one of the most pleasantly unique cups of tea I’ve had, and after feeding it to my family members, I’m buying a large amount and intend to share it with everyone I know who loves tea or lemon pie.
Hmm. Well, I love Earl Grey teas, so I was looking forward to this in a big way. However, the overwhelming Bergamot flavor masked any subtlties (floral aromas, the warm nuttiness of rooibos). This tea tasted like orange oil. I thought perhaps a touch of milk would make it seem like a creamsicle, but it just tasted like dilluted orange oil. Not for me, I fear.