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Recent Tasting Notes
Birthday “Cake Tea” Tasting 3/8
So, this tasting was actually my first time trying this tea – and honestly were this not part of the line up I probably would have kept ignoring it in my stash so I was very happy for the extra nudge I needed to actually brew it up. I even ended up making a full mug of it afterwards just for myself afterwards so I could really delve into the flavour profile and fully experience it.
I wasn’t wildly in love with it in terms of flavour, as much as I wanted to be given the cleverness of the name, use of Kukicha as the base, and deliciously sweet vanilla aroma coming from the dry leaf. The taste was a little too artificial for me, and it had that sort of sweet dough-y/fondant vanilla taste to me that I get from blends like Santa’s Secret (from DT) – but with this strange anise/fennel undertone. Switching from the ‘cupping’ style of preparation (which is a bit more concentrated) to a more traditionally prepared Western style of mug only seemed to strengthen those anise notes, as well.
Also, even though it wasn’t MY least favourite tea in the tasting I think that it’s safe to say that this one was the least favourite of the crowd…
I think we all just wanted a little bit more from it.
This was a free sample in my AQTT order and wow. I should never doubt them when coconut is involved. This is amazing. I want more. I shared it with my mom and she also thought it was amazing. This is sweet and coconutty and nutty in the best way. I can’t tell you how long I steeped either of the two steeps I did since I lost track of time but it never got bitter. Fantastic.
Very temporary sipdown, as I’m 95% sure that I ordered this in my recent AQ2T tea order – so it’ll just get added right back to my Steepster cupboard tomorrow when I enter in those teas…
Regardless, thank you Kittenna for the share! I have very few things on my bucket list, but eating a traditional American “Sweet Potato Pie” or “Sweet Potato Casserole” is one of them. I’ve just always been fascinated by the concept, and it’s not something that is commonly made for Canadian Thanksgiving. I thought that this tasted brilliant; not only is it distinctly yam-y, but it’s got a really lovely marriage of cinnamon, marshmallow, and caramelized sugar notes. Basically, it’s everything that I picture a sweet potato casserole tasting like in my head – but with the added bonus of having a really nice brisk, malty and bread-y tasting black tea for backbone and support.
Free sample from my recent AQ2T order – I still have to enter those teas into my cupboard, but that’s going to be a problem for tomorrow…
I could have sworn that I’d tried this tea before, but I don’t appear to have reviewed it and I’m usually very good with getting reviews up – so probably not. Anyway, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this. It tastes like the vanilla cake batter from a Betty Crocker box cake; so maybe not the highest quality stuff, but still quite taste and SUPER nostalgic. Hints of coconut.
Another AQ2T sample from Kittenna – and definitely the one I was most excited to try!
This tastes really good, the lime is quite clearly defined and has a hint of zestiness to it, but doesn’t read as overly tart or tangy in a way that would throw off the balance of the cup – definitely more like Della Terra’s Lime Chiffon or DT’s Lime Gelato – a creamy lime. Now, it definitely swallows up the pear – so if you were really wanting pear notes I don’t think you’re going to get them. Maybe a bit in the undertones – but it’s such a soft pear that it’s really easy to miss.
The marshmallow creaminess/fluffiness does come through – it’s more delicate and soft. A very whipped/fluffy kind of marshmallow, which totally makes sense because this is a “fluff” tea in the first place. I’m a bit torn – I’d like more richness because I think that marshmallows should have a bit more of a dense sweetness, but at the same time I think that doing that would shatter the light, airiness of the blend and I also really want that quality to: it’s a fine balance. Also, a bit of a hay note intermingled for the tea base – just so that you don’t forget this is a white tea. It’s nice though.
I’m into this one! I think it, mostly, lives up to my excitement for it!
I’m… not really sure how I feel about this tea.
I think that maybe there’s just a bit much going on flavor wise and that’s creating a muddied profile? I mean, it’s definitely got the apple notes – that’s a flavour that AQ2T really knows how to execute well and one that I personally love. So, she’s knocked that aspect of the profile out of the park. The problem, I think, is that it’s a somewhat floral apple and that just doesn’t translate with the idea of caramel apples OR S’mores? But I feel like I’m getting a touch of the caramel and the taste is definitely decadent/sweet on top of those caramel notes – is that supposed to be the S’mores? I don’t know. It’s not translating super clearly – and if anything I think it’s taking away from the caramel?
I just feel kind of confused about this tea…
I’ll have a chance to figure it out though, I actually ordered some of this one for myself in a recent AQ2T order. Thank you for the share Kittenna!
This tasted fine to me, but very similar to On Wisconsin – I think that whatever flavour or combo of flavours that Lauren is using for the “Cream Cheese Frosting” taste must be very similar to what she uses for the cheesecake; they have quite comparable sweet, tangy kind of notes. I like On Wisconsin better though – I think the rest of that blend compliment the cream cheese/cheesecake taste better than the rest of this blend compliments it. Hopefully that mouthful of a sentence makes sense…
Also, there’s really not much banana taste to this cup at all and that was really what I was most excited about regarding this blend – so the lack of it in the cup was definitely a bit disheartening.
Thank you for the share though, Kittenna – this was still quite enjoyable, and it scratched a nagging curiosity I had about the blend. I think I’m actually happier that I didn’t love it though: it’s not available on the site and if I had fallen in love with it and not been able to buy a bigger amount I’m sure I’d have felt sad.
Thank you Kittenna for the tea sample! You definitely didn’t have to share, but I’m very appreciate that you did. Tea friends/tea community is just the best!
So, I had no idea what ‘Olie Bollen’ was before looking it up; but having now done that my understanding is that it’s basically like a Fritter type of situation but with apples and raisins. Loosely, anyway. That’s cool; I’m down for that! It actually sounds pretty nice!
Drinking this tea right now, I’ll just start by saying that it’s absolutely delicious and I love the taste! However, I don’t know that it reminds me much of any kind of donut-y/pastry type of thing at all? Like, it’s a pretty sweet and juice like grape note with that punchy, robust and sweet apple flavouring that is in a lot of AQ2T’s blends. Some of my all time favourite flavours that Lauren uses in her blends are these grape and apple flavourings so having the two combined together is actually sort of a dream come true for me. It’s a really great rich, sweet fruity flavour! But it just reminds me too much of grape juice/apple juice to be anything remotely baked or fried in dough. I think to capture that you would need either a butterness or perhaps warming spices? And less of a fresh/sweet grape and apple flavour and something a bit more like a baked apple note?
So, this loses points for me in terms of conveying the inspiration of the tea – but is still an AWESOME, enjoyable cuppa!
This review is brought to you by VariaTEA’s tasting note, which encouraged me to find my packet of this and try it again! The packet was open, so I’ve had this at least once before, but had zero memory of it. Odds are, I drank it at work, where I drank plenty of tea and almost always had no recollection of it, because work is very all-encompassing.
Anyways, I was skeptical that I’d enjoy it as much as she did, as I generally don’t care for honeybush, but…. holy crap. This was one of those few times where I actually tasted creamy pudding flavours, verging on cheesecakey, which was, frankly, amazing. Combined with some really delicious fruitiness (it tasted to me like a raspberry-heavy berry blend, which obviously makes sense), it was actually really incredible. I had a trifle, that I enjoyed, for the first time this fall, and it definitely reminded me of it (it was mixed berry – strawberry/raspberry/blueberry/blackberry). One of my friends recently requested to try a HB/rooibos blend that I really liked, as she was curious to try a good one, but I was at a loss for what to give her – I need to earmark this one for her to try!
I’m a Wisconsin girl, so I had to order a sample of this tea in my recent AQTT order! To be honest, my first cup didn’t impress me. It just came across as a nice green oolong…definitely high quality, with big unbroken leaves and a pleasant buttery, floral flavor…but none of the honey or cheesecake flavor I was promised. But drinking the last of my sample this morning, I realized my mistake: I drank that first cup too fast! The flavors don’t come out when it’s hot, but as it cools they begin to pop more and more. By the time it reaches room temperature, it’s a lovely rich, sweet-sour medley of flavor. I really like this one and will probably be ordering more!
Flavors: Butter, Cheesecake, Floral, Honey, Sour, Sweet
I cannot with this tea (especially straight), but I think I finally found a solution that will help me drink it away once and for all:
Coconut Whip Cream.
Lots and lots of Coconut Whip Cream.
I suspect that the coconut flakes from the blend have long gone rancid but I sure can’t tell underneath all that Coconut Whip Cream. The sugar helps bring out the “chocolate pudding” too in what is otherwise a dominantly smokey pepper tea.
Edit: You know what? I think I’m just going to toss this one. It hasn’t aged well at all and I’m just not a fan of the chocolate flavouring in AQ2T’s blends (it’s not you, it’s me).
Flavors: Cacao, Coconut, Pepper, Smoke, Spices
Wow. This tea is pretty extraordinary, and I’m surprised it doesn’t have a higher rating. The dry aroma is pretty nonexistent for me. However, the flavors are explosive. One cube of raw sugar really set this one over the edge. Rich cherry flavor, combined with luxurious cream. Incredible. I’m currently trying to sip down, but I will be buying 4oz of this one asap.
January subscription tea 4/4
This is a darjeeling, and I often have bad luck with them. However, I was careful to let the water cool down well for this tea, and I think it paid off – it was a pretty nice cup of apple tea. I’m not sure I picked up on the warming spices or bourbon a great deal (ok, tbh I’ve never had bourbon but I just assume all alcoholic flavours will have a similar flavour), but I enjoyed it regardless.
January subscription tea 3/4
So I’m suuper backlogged on recording teas owing to a very fussy baby, but hopefully I can get through everything tonight! And then get some other useful household things done too!
This tea and I already have a complicated relationship. When I initially opened the pouch, I was overwhelmed with delicious grapefruit flavour, and was quite excited to try the tea. However, as I brewed it, and then tasted it, I think my desire for grapefruit dropped considerably, and therefore, my opinion of this tea. It’s very much in-your-face grapefruit; despite a large strawberry chunk in my infuser, I was not able to taste any strawberry, nor the whisper of vanilla. I think the tea would have been better with a heavier lean on those two flavours, as the grapefruit just took over entirely, making it a very one-note tea. The green rooibos, which I can’t remember the flavour of offhand, was unremarkable.
Overall, not a tea for me unless I’m having some sort of crazy grapefruit craving, but it’s probably not a bad tea in itself. I do wish it was more strawberry-vanilla, for sure; perhaps those will come out in a cold brew?
I’m still trying to figure out how o brew teas to my liking in my new location, so take this one with a grain of salt.
When it was fresh and hot, this one had a bit more of a raspberry candy flavor, with some of the tea itself at the end. Then I got distracted with homework and let it cool, too much. I could taste a bit of tartness from the raspberry and that was about it.
sample from VariaTEA – trying to finish the last of them off because i feel like i’ve taken an eternity to get through them. I think i knew this one wouldn’t appeal to me so i kept putting it off. Sure enough, i was right. “Cherry” and jasmine. ugh. if that’s up your alley, this probably isn’t a bad cup of tea. Just not for me :)
Sample Sipdown! (10 | 79)
This one is a bit underwhelming, which is a shame because it was one that I was quite excited for.
That’s not to say it’s bad. It has a nice earthy Yunnan base, and I happen to be quite partial to Chinese blacks. It’s also smooth, with nice malt and bread-ish notes.
But the peach flavor just sort of tastes like it’s sitting on top, without really blending well with the base tea. It’s somewhere between fresh and candy peach, with some sips reminding me of Peachie-O’s or Jolly Ranchers. It definitely doesn’t remind me of peach crostata at all.
So it won’t be a reorder for me!
Flavors: Artificial, Baked Bread, Candy, Earth, Malt, Peach, Smooth, Stonefruits
January subscription tea 2/4
The aroma of this tea was definitely more on the grapey side than the raisin side, but it wasn’t so strong as to evoke the thought of grape juice, which was good. The grapey flavour mellows even more once brewed, and blends nicely with a moderate black base and pastry flavours. I couldn’t distinctly pick out apple, but unless it’s the green apple variety, it is more just a sweetness anyhow, which was definitely present here.
Too tired to try and write something more comprehensible here; basically, I enjoyed this tea but am unsure it tasted like an olie bollen. But not sure I cared, since it was good.
January subscription tea 1/4
I was super excited to try this tea – I love lime, AND pear, AND vanilla! How could things go wrong? Exactly – they couldn’t. This was delicious. Very reminiscent of Butiki’s Lime Marshmallow (I believe that’s what it was called). The lime is strong, the tea is creamy. Om nom nom. I can’t say I tasted any pear, though. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just drowned out by the lime. Really enjoyed this, though.
Sample Sipdown! (8 | 77)
Nope, this pretty much tastes exactly the same as the sample VariaTEA sent.
Still tastes like artificial coconut to me, with a bit of a weird savory herbal flavor that reminds me of fennel.
Strange, and not for me. Oh well!
Flavors: Artificial, Coconut, Fennel
Swap Sample Sipdown! (68)
Another one from VariaTEA!
This one sounded good, but to be honest I’m not really digging it.
I think it’s meant to be cheesecake, but to me it tastes more like coconut. And it’s the suntan lotion sort of coconut flavor. There’s also a weird savory note that reminds me of fennel. Maybe it’s the cinnamon…?
I do also have a fresh sample of this one that I ordered recently, so I’ll have to try that and see how it compares.
Flavors: Artificial, Autumn Leaf Pile, Coconut, Creamy, Fennel, Floral, Sweet
Swap Sample Sipdown! (67)
I thought I was going crazy because of how floral this tastes – but it turns out there is honeysuckle in it.
I’ve never actually had mead, so I can’t really comment on how faithful this is to that flavor… Obviously I would expect it to taste like honey.
For me, it’s too floral. It sort of tastes like floral candy, probably because of the honey. And that’s an odd combination with the toasted rice…
Flavors: Candy, Floral, Honey, Perfume, Sweet, Toasted Rice
Sample Sipdown! (57)
This smells like a maple bomb, and I am so excited because of it! Maple is one of my very favorite flavors, and it’s often too subtle for me in tea. This is like sniffing a bottle of pancake syrup…
Hmm… I’m not sure how I feel about this one. There is a nice amount of maple, which makes me very happy. There is also a nice amount of bergamot, which normally I also enjoy.
But I’m sipping on it and trying to decide whether I like the combination or not. I will say, I don’t taste the rooibos at all, only the black tea part of the base. It’s somewhat tannic and seems like a generic Assam.
I am definitely wishing that I got more creamy vanilla here, I think that would really help to tie the bergamot and maple together in a London-Fog-with-maple sort of way. As-is, I feel it’s perhaps slightly discordant?
That’s not to say I don’t like it, but I’m not sure I like it enough to drink it again.
Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Maple, Pancake Syrup, Sweet, Tannic