drank Hawaii Cocktail by TeaFrog
1288 tasting notes

In honor of the recently expired Steepster Select in which I didn’t participate this time around, I’m breaking out one of my samples from the last TeaFrog Steepster Select (which explains why I didn’t participate this time, I still had all the samples from last time intact until a few minutes ago).

I wish that I had tried a different sample for my first TeaFrog venture as this one and I didn’t get along very well.

Initially, I thought it was going to be similar to Tazo Passion, Teavana Caribbean Breeze and The O Dor Je M’appelle Dorothee. It’s a pretty, chunky, blend with a lot of dark red and brown tones, and some lighter neutral colors that appear to be the tropical fruit. I could smell the hibiscus in the dry blend, but the main fragrance I got was currants, followed by the tropical fruit, primarily pineapple. So far so good.

On steeping it turned that beautiful dark red color that these other three tisanes share, but after that things took a different turn. Toward the extremely tart. I could smell the tartness in the aroma of the blend after steeping, and on tasting it was confirmed. Very tart, and slightly bitter around the edges (it stays with in the aftertaste and I’m thinking it is at least partially from the orange peel). Not what I generally prefer in a fruit blend as I like ’em sweet.

I put a bit of sweetener in to see how that would change things, and while it did sweeten up and bring out the fruit flavors more, it didn’t do much to turn around the bitter note.

So sadly, my first try was not a success. I have a lot of other samples, though, so I’m hopeful!

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

Hooray for hope!

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Hooray for hope!

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became less appealing to me — but I still enjoy nicely done blends where the base doesn’t taste like hamster cage chips. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation. These days, I’ve been drinking primarily green tea during weekdays after my first cup of coffee. On weekends, I’ve been drinking only tea.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)


Bay Area, California



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