26 Tasting Notes

80
As a lover of peppermint tea, I expected to like the slightly medicinal taste of Melaleuca tea (made from Melaleuca alternifolia or Teatree as it is known in its native Australia.)

And I was right – this tea has a strong, sinus-clearing aroma & when brewed, the taste also delivers.
The peppermint/menthol/camphor taste is due to the Teatree’s close relationship to gum trees and will be recognised as similar to eucalyptus by most Aussie sippers.
The camomile & cassia are subtle base notes which round out the flavour. Without them, the “cleaning product” notes would perhaps be too overpowering. They ground it and give an earthy undertone which I really liked.
I find it refreshing & invigorating (even with the camomile!) but can see how some could find it weird. Be careful not to overbrew (3-5 mins is good) as it quickly becomes paint-strippingly astringent.
It also leaves you with a very clean mouthfeel (more so than my favourite peppermint), as though you’ve just cleaned your teeth – so could be useful as an after-dinner sip for this reason.

NOTE – Although this tisane is listed & marketed as G’Day Melaleuca Herbal Tea in the USA it is sold by Melaleuca.Com as just Melaleuca Herbal Tea & in different packaging in Australia. (They must have figured the “G’Day” would be culturally cringeworthy here. I can also find no connection to Australia in the ownership or product of this product, although IT IS an Australian native tree.) So I have posted this review under both names.

Conclusion – pretty good, but in the past I remember some local Teatree teas which were better, so I might have to revisit them. If my expectations aren’t matched by the reality, I’ll come back to this one…

Flavors: Camphor, Cinnamon, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grass, Menthol

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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80

As a lover of peppermint tea, I expected to like the slightly medicinal taste of Melaleuca tea (made from Melaleuca alternifolia or Teatree as it is known in its native Australia.)
And I was right – this tea has a strong, sinus-clearing aroma & when brewed, the taste also delivers.
The peppermint/menthol/camphor taste is due to the Teatree’s close relationship to gum trees and will be recognised as similar to eucalyptus by most Aussie sippers.
The camomile & cassia are subtle base notes which round out the flavour. Without them, the “cleaning product” notes would perhaps be too overpowering. They ground it and give an earthy undertone which I really liked.
I find it refreshing & invigorating (even with the camomile!) but can see how some could find it weird. Be careful not to overbrew (3-5 mins is good) as it quickly becomes paint-strippingly astringent.
It also leaves you with a very clean mouthfeel (more so than my favourite peppermint), as though you’ve just cleaned your teeth – so could be useful as an after-dinner sip for this reason.

NOTE – Although this tisane is listed & marketed as G’Day Melaleuca Herbal Tea in the USA it is sold by Melaleuca.Com as just Melaleuca Herbal Tea & in different packaging in Australia. (They must have figured the “G’Day” would be culturally cringeworthy here. I can also find no connection to Australia in the ownership or product of this product, although IT IS an Australian native tree.) So I have posted this review under both names.

Conclusion – pretty good, but in the past I remember some local Teatree teas which were better, so I might have to revisit them. If my expectations aren’t matched by the reality, I’ll come back to this one…

Flavors: Camphor, Cinnamon, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grass, Menthol

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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80

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85
drank Darjeeling by Twinings
26 tasting notes

Life has been busy with work & travel for the fast few weeks, but I’m finally able to get back to relaxing with my tea…
I have vague memories of drinking this tea a long time ago & finding it light, delicate and fragrant – a lovely morning cuppa.
Then I tried a teabag that was lurking in my tea caddy from travels unknown, & … dark liquor, very little fragrance. Boy was I disappointed!
Realising the tea’s age was probably a factor, I decided I should give it another try.
How fortuitous that my lovely T2 gift with purchase blue china cup & saucer just arrived. I have tried one cup of my favourite Tamborine Tea Russian Caravan in it, but it was just wrong for that teacup. Equally, I couldn’t imagine a robust English or Irish Breakfast in it. I still drink these out of china, not stoneware, but from a mug, not a teacup.
I needed something fragrant & delicate, but my relationship with Earl Grey is still a little rocky (due to overexposure by an Earl Grey fanatic flatmate), so luckily I remembered I had bought a 100g tin of Twinings Darjeeling loose leaf tea. Perfect!
I noticed the difference between this & my usual black teas as soon as I opened the tin – there were lighter specks combined with the usual black CTC, & the aroma was more delicate, with faint whiffs of caramel & grass.
I brewed for 3 mins (recommended 2-5) & the brew was lovely & fragrant, with an attractive amber liquor. I know NEVER to do this to a first flush Darjeeling, but I added a dash of milk to the cup as I still struggle with drinking black teas without it.
The result – a much more delicate cuppa than my usual strong & often smoky blacks. The taste is subtle, with a little sweet grassiness & some very light malty caramel, but as the weather is rapidly warming here, a lighter taste is a good choice except at breakfast.
I had a second cup brewed for 5 mins & was surprised that despite being obviously stronger, there wasn’t a lot of bitterness there. However I don’t think it change the balance of flavours much so I’d go for the shorter brew time as a preference.
All-in-all there is something about drinking the right tea using a beautiful china cup & saucer that just lifts the whole experience. So, unless I find something even better, this is my morning tea cuppa combination.
Now, if I can overcome my Earl Grey phobia, I can have an afternoon cuppa in my teacup too!

NOTE – I have read some Steepster reviews since writing mine & I can’t say I experienced some of the negatives, like lots of fine dust in the bottom of the cup etc…

Flavors: Caramel, Cut grass, Floral, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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75

I chose this one (& a couple of their other varieties) because I’m really enjoying cold water infusions at work. As the weather heats up they are more thirst-quenching & less boring than plain water all the time. I’m always looking for other flavours to try, so I don’t get sick of the ones I have, especially since the local supermarkets seem to be de-ranging 2 of the 5 Twinings In’fuse flavours. (Oh no, one of my favourites – Rose Lemonade!)
The other advantage with these is that they can be drunk hot or cold. So they can carry me through to winter again.
And hey, they were on special 33% off, so why not give them a try?
Like most fruit infusions, this one smells divine in the bag & also when brewing. The aroma of oranges is powerful and mouthwatering. The liquor was very deep red, almost ruby.
However, once again like many other fruit tisanes, the taste is not as strong as the scent, which is a bit disappointing.
The first ingredient listed was hibiscus, and that was obvious from the taste. While I’m not averse to some hibiscus (I don’t hate it like some Steepsters do), I’d hoped the orange would cut through a bit more, especially since it’s my favourite blood orange.
There’s a faint taste of rosehips in there, but the apple is almost non-existent. Having said that, the taste was still pretty good, just not orange-y enough to be an absolute favourite.
The other issue I had is with the packaging – The boxes state “Zero sugar”, which is good, as one of the reasons I’m drinking these cold water infusions is to replace the few fizzy drinks I have. What they don’t make obvious anywhere except in the fine print ingredients list is that they DO have Stevia. Now, while I have done my research & Stevia seems to be the least obnoxious of the sugar substitutes healthwise, why imbibe it if there are alternatives you like just as much, or more, without it? So, while acknowledging I should have checked , I feel the packaging is a bit misleading as most products with Stevia state it clearly and/or have a logo.
All in all, I’ll enjoy the rest of the packet, but am unlikely to repurchase this or any of the other flavours with Stevia included.
NOTE – have since been reading their blog & some of the other flavours don’t include Stevia, so I will just concentrate on those (I hope I like them!).

Flavors: Hibiscus, Orange, Rosehips

Preparation
Iced 5 min, 0 sec 2 g 15 OZ / 450 ML

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95
drank Organic Peppermint by Nerada
26 tasting notes
I LOVE peppermint tea! As a chronic asthma, hayfever & sinus sufferer, it is a sinus-clearing boon, plus great for headaches & sore tummies.

I love it too at work, because it gives you gentle hit of energy at the end of a long day, without the caffeine buzz & then letdown.
A lot of peppermint teas I have tried have a “muddiness” to the flavour, where this one has a clean, fresh taste without being overpowering. . Added bonuses are that it smells wonderful (as you would expect) & still tastes pretty good when cooling down. Just be careful not to overbrew, as bitterness comes through leaving a very astringent mouthfeel. About 5 minutes maximum I’d say.
If I find a peppermint tea I like more than this I’ll be very surprised!
One for the fallout shelter in the event of a nuclear holocaust…

Flavors: Peppermint

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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90
drank Russian Caravan by Twinings
26 tasting notes

Completing my trio of Russian Caravan staples (until I find new ones!), this is the least smoky of the three. The underlying flavours are malty & smooth, so all in all a very pleasant cuppa.
Lack of strong smoky notes can be a positive, as it is less likely to overpower food eaten with it, it’s better in warm weather & you can have more than one cup without feeling like there’s an old bonfire site in your mouth.
However, I LOVE the smokier Russian Caravans, so I have rated the Tamborine Tea & T2 versions higher.
Despite that, this is a very good all-day tea, where stronger smoky teas perhaps should be restricted to earlier in the day.
I’ve read reviews where they say the loose leaf version is better than tea bags… I can feel another purchase coming on…

Flavors: Malt, Smoke, Smooth, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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100

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this tea! My absolute favourite black. Smoky, but not overpowering and with a richness underneath that makes it a pleasure to drink any time of day (although earlier is better) & especially in winter.
I have been trying to identify what the underlying flavours are, because they’re very subtle – there’s red wine, berries, mushrooms and something umami. Altogether heavenly!
In case of a nuclear holocaust, this & my peppermint tea would be the first into the fallout shelter…

Flavors: Berries, Mushrooms, Red Wine, Smoke, Smooth, Umami

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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95
drank Really Russian Caravan by T2
26 tasting notes

Perhaps because we spent time camping as kids, I LOVE smoked teas, and in particular, Russian Caravan blends. They remind me of boiling a billy over the fire and the strong smoky taste it gave the the brew.
This is close to my favourite (just pipped by Tamborine Tea Russian Caravan).
All the smoke I love in a Lapsang Souchong (which is included in this blend), but without an overpowering punch & dry aftertaste which LS teas can often have.

Flavors: Campfire, Smoke, Smooth, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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75
drank Strawberries and Cream by T2
26 tasting notes

It’s funny, I remember I quite liked this as an evening tea before reading reviews that said it has a beautiful aroma, but the taste doesn’t stand up. So I went back & tried it again, & now I see exactly what they mean. I was letting the heavenly aroma, with its strong strawberry & creamy notes, trick my tastebuds. Once I really concentrated on the taste, rather than smell, it proved less berry, much less cream and more hibiscus. It’s also quite tart, & because I don’t like to add sugar if I can help it, I think it isn’t the tea for me (unless it was just to brew a cup & sit it beside me like an air infuser!).
How disappointing – if the taste matched the aroma this tea would be AMAZING. If the aroma wasn’t SO good, the tea by itself would be pretty good, but once the expectation was set it just didn’t deliver.
Still enjoyable, but I’ll look for a better version.

Flavors: Creamy, Hibiscus, Strawberry, Tart

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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Bio

As the product of a very traditional English grandmother, I was taught from a young age to ALWAYS brew tea (only ever black) in a pot, drink from a fine china cup, (never a mug), & pour the milk in first…
Like most young people, I didn’t realise what I had at home, so I went off to conquer the world. It didn’t all work as planned, but on that journey, I found a new me – a less driven, softer & more socially aware me. One that doesn’t drink coffee on-the-go, but takes time to savour a good cup of tea. Maybe not always brewed in a pot (sorry nana!), but DEFINITELY out of a fine china cup!

NOTE – In the interests of full disclosure, my new tea obsession has led me to buy lots of samples & mixed packs in order to find out what I like. (Hence my tea cupboard is full to overflowing!) I’m trying the better known brands first & looking forward to broadening my horizons.
My plan is to reacquaint myself with the black teas of my youth, and go on a whole new tea adventure with greens, whites, oolong, pu’erh, florals & herbals.

What I have discovered so far:

Likes:
Smoky blacks
Peppermint
Masala chai
Rose scented (but not flavouring)
Cold water infusions (great in the Aussie heat!)

Dislikes:
Most black teas without milk
Most of the green teas I’ve tried (trying different types to overcome this!)
Earl Grey (although I’m revisiting this)
Straight camomile tea (Blech!)

Favourite Tea Companies:
Madura Australia
T2
Tamborine Tea Australia
Tea Tonic Australia
Twinings

Tea Rating Scale:
90-100: Outstanding! One of my favourites, will always be on hand.
80-89: Great! Will likely be in my tea stock.
70-79: Good – I’ll buy it occasionally for a change or until I find something I like better.
50-69: Meh… It’s not for me…
26-49: Blech! I struggled to finish it.
00-25: So awful, I spat it out!

Location

Country NSW Australia

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