Art of Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

36

Chai to Stay Dry! We actually had a rainy April day today, though once the rain subsided our typical crazy 30 MPH winds returned. Meh. This is one of the oldest samplers in my collection (I’d say it’s about a year now… I’m a terrible tea hoarder, I know).

I found this one a little weaker than I’d hoped, and I don’t know if that’s the fault of the chai blend, or the fact the tea sample is now a bit aged. I prepared it with the given steeping suggestions of a single teaspoon, but next time I’ll make a double teaspoon and see if that improves things. As far as the flavor, it certainly isn’t my favorite chai blend. It only has three spices, and I prefer my chais to have a little more depth. Of the spices they are working with, it comes off as very cardamom-heavy. There is also something about it that tastes a little artificial? Like there is some flavoring in there that is coming off strongly. With so many chai options out there, I’m pretty unimpressed with this one. I’ll probably just make a big iced chai latte brew to finish off the sampler in a cheeky quick sipdown.

Flavors: Artificial, Cardamon, Spicy

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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87

Green March! Because a blend of green mate, green rooibos, and jasmine green tea should totally count, right? Somehow I keep forgetting I have this tea, and I ended up getting a big bag of it on a whim a year ago with a birthday gift card to Art of Tea (I’m a St. Patties’ baby), since this tea was being discontinued and was marked down, and I didn’t have many mates at the time.

I made this iced (and I am going to assume this blend was probably made with iced tea in mind; I’m not sure if I’ve ever tried it warm) using the cold brew method with an 8-12 hour overnight steep. The tea is a peachy-pink color, with a very light and refreshing flavor that is fruity, tangy, and bears just a hint of a floral sweetness. The tea smells strongly of schizandra berries with some light jasmine notes (and I almost didn’t order this because of the inclusion of jasmine, since I can’t stand heavy, perfumy jasmine teas; I can gladly say this turned out just right for me!) which gives it this really unique aroma. It has this light berry flavor that leaves a very subtle tangy note on the tongue from the schizandra and hibiscus; it is not as heavy and thick as most hibiscus infusions, and even the color of the tea gives away the lightness of the hibiscus petals in the blend. I’m picking up a very soft citrusy note which may be from the tulsi, but it is very subtle beneath the berry flavors. The tea has a soft, refreshing floral jasmine taste that is very pleasant. Despite the base being composed of three very grassy, vegetal teas, there is no vegetal taste to this tea as an iced beverage, making it a very refreshing drink, that has a nice natural sweetness, is fairly mildly tangy compared to many iced tea blends, and has a nice subtle floral edge.

I think I’ll be forgetting about this tea a lot less!

Flavors: Berries, Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Sweet, Tangy

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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98

This is one of my favorite iced teas! I think I made it warm once, but I prefer it iced so much that I always cold brew it by the quart now. It has guayusa in it, making this the first hibiscus tea I’ve had that also packs a subtle caffeinated energy punch, and since I tend to drink a lot of hibiscus when I’m fighting off colds and trying to zap myself with Vitamin C, I’m usually really low on energy, so that caffeine really helps out! It’s also just really tasty! It does have a nice, punchy taste, but it isn’t as tart as other hibiscus teas I’ve tried (Tazo’s Passion, for instance), thanks to the blending of the stevia leaf. This tea actually has a nice balance of sweet notes and a slightly tangy finish. There is a nice citrus note to the tea, but it isn’t overwhelming; it’s like having some subtle lemon wedges floating in a fruit punch. This tea is so refreshing, and I tend to keep a mason jar of it in my fridge year-round!

Full Review: https://teatimetuesdayreviews.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/tea35/

Flavors: Citrus, Fruit Punch, Hibiscus, Lemon Zest, Sweet, Tangy

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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69
drank Velvet Tea by Art of Tea
137 tasting notes

Sipped down another sampler in my collection! This is the first chocolate mint rooibos I’ve tried, and I found it enjoyable enough, but after trying a few others of that flavor profile and going back to this one, it certainly isn’t my favorite of the bunch. It has a very smooth mouthfeel, but I’ve had other choco-mint rooibos with a more creamy feel to them, and for this flavor combo, I just think I prefer that mouthfeel much more. For all the chocolate that is in this tea, I also find the chocolate notes are pretty subtle for how much chocolate is listed in the ingredients of this tea; it’s there, but becomes more of a subnote to the sweet taste of the rooibos/honeybush base and the much stronger minty notes. I’d prefer a bit more balance of the chocolate and mint, personally. It is a perfectly servicable tea, I’ve just had better chocolate mint rooibos blends.

Flavors: Chocolate, Mint, Rooibos, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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89

Fruity, floral, goodness. Smooth finish. My afternoon cup of choice.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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89

Sipping this one down as I write this. This is a jasmine oolong with a dark amber liqueur. Much too late in the day for medium caffeine, but it is so delicious & I am already pondering re-steeping☺️. Definitely worth adding a sample on to an order from Art of Tea. If you are a jasmine fan I recommend this one…

Flavors: Floral, Jasmine, Peach, Wet wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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92

I got this tea in a holiday sampler collection of Art of Tea blends a few years ago, and of the different white tea chais I’ve tried, so far this one has been my favorite, as all the others are trying to duplicate each other on a certain specific flavor profile, and this one is quite unique and I haven’t managed to find anything quite like it anywhere else. Which happens to be a problem for me, because Art of Tea is one of those places that goes from a sampler size to a 4 oz. bag, and I loathe having a quarter pound of tea around… it takes me eons to go through that much and is just not feasible for me (not to mention storage is a big problem in my tiny apartment). But a little 5-7 cup sampler is just not economical for restocking when shipping prices aren’t getting any lower. So once this sampler is gone, it’s going to be a very sad farewell to this tea… I’m really going to miss this one! I really wish I could find something like it from a place that sells their tea in one or two ounce sizes… sigh

The leaf to this tea actually smells like fresh evergreen trees to me, and once it has steeped, it has a bit of a pine aroma that is very refreshing and really does evoke thoughts of winter as the name implies. The flavor has a nice spiciness to it. It’s just a little peppery, but more tickling rather than biting, with a lot of clove and anise in the finish. I’m one of those folks that is very “spicy-sensitive” and have to get all my food “0-star” and I can affirm that this is a nice, mellow, relaxing chai, not a “burn-your-mouth-off-where-is-the-milk-aaaaagh-it-needs-more-milk-and-sugar!” kind of chai. I take it plain and really enjoy the play of the spices and that sort of evergreen-freshness along my tongue. It feels warm yet refreshing at the same time!

Full Review: https://teatimetuesdayreviews.wordpress.com/2017/12/12/tea50/

Flavors: Anise, Clove, Pine, Smooth, Spices

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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36

Omg. Just not my thing. I was so hopeful with the name alone. I tried it straight (my fave), then honey, then milk— nothing could improve this tea for me. Dividing what I have left to give to two tea loving friends to try. So glad I went with the sample size.

Flavors: Dirt, Rooibos

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82

This is an excellent black tea. I had it hot but I could immediately tell this will be AMAZING iced. It is made with Nilgiri tea & Yunnan Black buds…delicious.

Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Citrus, Sweet

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec

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79

I love oolongs. This is a citrus and vanilla flavored oolong. I bought this one based on the reviews and that it won awards. I’m still on the fence about this one. I actually liked the 2nd & 3rd steep better than the first. 3rd steep I do get that hint of an orange dreamsicle at the end of my sip. Not one I’d for sure buy again but nice to try. I may rate this higher after a few more attempts.

Flavors: Bitter, Citrus, Cream, Flowers, Vanilla

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67
drank Earl Grey by Art of Tea
3 tasting notes

Not overly perfumed and not soapy/oily as some other Earl Grey’s can be…found that the tea’s brisk flavor to be distinct but wholly not unified with the bergamot…a good every day Earl Grey – not exceptional but solid…

Flavors: Bergamot

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 10 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

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66

Sipdown no. 49 of 2017 (no. 330 total).

This had become my take-it-to-work tea for the last couple of weeks. Over time, I got used to it and its oddness, but it still isn’t a favorite.

I just found a Lupicia in my stash that may be similar — Milk Caramel. I may give it a try this weekend and see if it is in fact similar.

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66

This is a strange little tea. It has a strong vanilla scent from the dry leaf, which I was going to call more creamy than beany — except that it’s really both.

The steeped tea is a cloudy orange brown and looks like an amber beer. The flavoring must have an oil component because something visible is swirling on the surface. It smells like creamy vanilla, and that’s pretty much how it tastes.

It’s quite sweet, and I’m not getting much of the hojicha. I was looking for a toasty edge and I suppose it’s there if I try really hard at the beginning of the sip. But from then on it’s all vanilla all the time.

I steeped following these instructions on time and temp:

http://theartofjapanesegreentea.com/how-to-brew-hojicha/

I am not really sure where I come out on this one. It’s not that I hate it (although it’s not really for me), it’s that I can’t figure out why I chose it. I think I probably didn’t and it was probably a tea of the month selection.

Flavors: Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
Fjellrev

Always disappointing when a hojicha lacks its roasty qualities!

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks for including the steeping thing. Useful.

__Morgana__

@Fjellrev I know, right?

@Evol Ving Ness Glad it was helpful!

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85
drank Caramelized Pear by Art of Tea
1462 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 37 of 2017 (no. 318 total).

From the time I found this in my stash (I’d forgotten about it) to sipdown was exactly 8 days. I’m trying to clear out the old before all the new tisanes arrive so I’m not completely overwhelmed.

I went back and forth on this one over the course of those 8 days. Sometimes I liked it more than others. At times it was a bit too woody. It was basically the luck of the draw with what showed up in the spoons — if there was sufficient caramelized pear flavor it rated an 85. If not, it was 15 or so points below that.

Lexie Aleah

If you ever need any help clearing out your old tea I’m your girl. :P

__Morgana__

Heh. Thanks for the offer, but my old tea is for the most party REALLY old and even if I swapped (which I generally don’t) I wouldn’t send out anything more than a couple of months old.

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85
drank Caramelized Pear by Art of Tea
1462 tasting notes

Wow. I think I forgot I had this. I found it in one of my tea drawers, one that doesn’t ordinarily house tisanes.

Have I tasted it before? I honestly don’t know.

I smell both caramel and pear in the tin. More pear than caramel, which is somewhat surprising. And also promising.

The aroma isn’t it’s strong point after steeping. It’s strong point, and it’s a very strong point, is it’s aftertaste. The sip is full of pear, with a hint of caramel. But the aftertaste sparkles! Little bursts of sweetness of both pear and caramel pop on the tongue, while the tea’s texture leaves a smooth, soft feeling in the mouth without feeling like a sugary coating.

I am not sure I’ve had a pear tisane before. If I did, I don’t remember. But any I have in the future would have to be stellar indeed to outrank this.

Flavors: Caramel, Pear

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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88

I used some of this to fill out the leaf for my Timolino full of Todd & Holland Copacabana last week, and was surprised to find I hadn’t written a note about it. I know I was drinking this pretty steadily for a while sometime back.

You can’t tell from the picture, but the dry leaf is really pretty. It’s the flowers, which add a dash of color. They have a generic tropical fruit (minus coconut) smell.

I recall this being very heavy on the pineapple to the exclusion of any other flavor, but this cup isn’t like that. It’s possible I got less pineapple in these spoonfuls. The aroma is rounder than I’d expect for pineapple which has a sharper smell, and I can definitely smell papaya and something lightly floral. I don’t really smell the underlying tea.

The color is a medium gold and clear. The flavor is pretty much just like the smell, though with a tad more pineapple and a definite, grassy tea taste.

I like this a lot.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Pineapple, Tropical

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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33

I like my black tea medium light and so I followed the 3-minute steep time.

The tea was really strong and bitter. The aroma was earthy and woody. The aftertaste was bitter as well so I did not particularly like this tea blend.

I had kept some dried apricots on the side and they did come to the rescue. Tasting the tea after taking a bite of the apricot took the pedal off the bitterness. So a combination of dried apricots with this black tea worked for me.

Flavors: Bitter, Earth, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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88

I have never been a fan of Earl Grey tea. This is probably because the ones I’ve had were store bought tea bags and they would have never tasted that great. So I had my qualms when I saw this was an Earl Gret blend. But boy was I wrong.

The tea smells heavenly! It’s almost like this beautiful perfume that I want on my wrist. And the tea leaves look beautiful with the pop of the purplish blue cornflowers.

I tried steeping the tea at 3 minutes and also did a fresh steep of 5 minutes. And there was not a hint of bitterness. I just kinda shut up while I had this blend. It was such a calming blend with a magical harmony between the citrus from the bergamot oil and the touch of vanilla added this creaminess to the blend. I instantly classified it as a dessert tea that would also serve as a tea that could be had at any time of the day. The finish of the blend was silky smooth. With this blend, the aroma is what you taste and there is a richness that this tea has which sets it apart.

The Art of Tea’s Earl Grey Creme was my favorite blend from their box. Absolutely loved this one.

Flavors: Bergamot, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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66

This tea blend has a sweet scent to it. I loved the packaging of the tea. It came in a fresh bright big package. When I opened the pack to get the teabag out, there were quite a few loose tea bits that had come off the tea sachet. And the same happened during steeping. So the con is that the tea bag was broken.

This interesting green pomegranate blend is a balance between tangy, tart and sweet. This is a tricky combination because there are 3 very diverse flavor profiles which are being explored in one blend. I really enjoyed this one. I was expecting a stronger pomegranate flavor though. The finish of the tea was tangy. Throughout the tea, there was the slight tartness from the raspberries and the sweetness was not overpowering.

There was a slight bit of bitterness while I neared the finish of the tea owing to the tea dust from the broken teabag.

I would love to get myself a loose tea version of this relaxing blend of tea.

Flavors: Raspberry

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

This is my favorite night time tisane. The pear flavor is nice and light and not artificial tasting. It’s very warming and sweet and smells like pear-heaven! I drink it without milk or sugar, and it does just fine.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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78
drank Banana Dulce by Art of Tea
239 tasting notes

Really nice chamomile blend. Not sure I get a lot of banana out of it but the overall flavor is indeed very enjoyable.

Flavors: Floral, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 30 sec 7 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85
drank Ancient Forest by Art of Tea
78 tasting notes

Sipdown of the last of my Ancient Forest! :(

I hope my local tea shop still has some in stock—I couldn’t find it listed on the Art of Tea website anymore, so I am not sure if they are distributing it.

I will miss this one—it was a surprise find and one that I have thoroughly enjoyed.

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85
drank Ancient Forest by Art of Tea
78 tasting notes

This was a Father’s Day gift from my family, so I have been excited to try it. They bought it at my local tea cafe which, as it turns out, only sells Art of Tea teas, so I will have to remember that for future use.

The dried leaves were well-curled, dark with lots of golden tips interspersed throughout. I found almost no stems in there. The leaves are broken—not whole, but that adds to the flavor, I’m sure.

I used my usual steeping measurements for black tea: 11 grams in 20 ounces of near-boiling water for 4 minutes.

The liquor comes out very dark—much like the teas of my youth. There is no astringency at all to the flavor. The primary flavors are both earthy and woody (wet wood?)—reminding me of what I’m told the better-quality puer teas are supposed to be like. There is also a very faint smoke flavor to it, but definitely more wood and earth than smoke.

Overall, it is a wonderful tea that I will be happy to have again. I don’t think I would’ve picked it myself if I had been shopping on my own since I usually stick with either muscatel/floral Darjeelings or breakfast teas and blends that have malt, toast, or honey for their primary flavors. This is completely different than my usuals but I really enjoyed it and may have to expand my purchases in this direction going forward. I am glad the family got this one for me — definitely an excellent choice!

Flavors: Earth, Smoke, Wet Wood, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 11 g 20 OZ / 591 ML
teepland

Thanks, loudao! I had no idea that they would do that! I hadn’t looked up the tea on their website so I am glad to know about this—thanks! Yes, it is a very intriguing tea and I do recommend trying it. I have only tried two puer teas so far—one was an absolute disaster and the other was okay. This one seems like something that would serve as a “stepping-stone” to enjoying puer flavors; this was not as overpowering as I found the better-quality of my puer teas to be, and I could see getting accustomed to this one and then moving into puer teas from there. Please let me know if you try it and what you think—I’d be interested to hear! :)

teepland

I just read all the information on the website—I’m surprised that they listed this as being malty and honey-flavored since I didn’t get that at all. I can see the cedar flavor they note, though—that could very well be the woody flavor I am tasting. Very interesting how different people find different flavors in teas… :)

Fjellrev

What a fantastic Father’s Day gift!

teepland

Excellent points, laudao—thanks for explaining the differences that people have when making taste notes. That does make a lot of sense! Re puer teas: I’m sure my very limited experience is a reason why I feel they can be overpowering, since one of the teas I had was definitely low quality and very bad flavor. I am going to have to try more so I can change my opinion of them, I guess! :)

teepland

Fjellrev: It was! My wife and kids know me well, I guess! :)

ashmanra

A tea shop opened in my town a few months ago and they also only sell Art of Tea.

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95

Of all the seasonal teas from Art of Tea I’ve tried, this one is by far my favorite, and has earned a spot as a permanent mainstay in my tea collection. This tea tastes like York Peppermint Patties in a cup to me; you can taste subtle chocolate tones beneath a strong, vibrantly fresh burst of refreshing peppermint. There is not a strong chocolate taste, as it is more grounded in the dark black tea, but it is noticeable, and the tea has a natural sweetness to it. It has a warm, hot chocolate sort of appeal, while also having a soothing, cooling sensation from the brisk peppermint. It’s a lovely winter tea and dessert tea, and great for fans of a choco-mint flavor profile.

Full review: https://teatimetuesdayreviews.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/tea09/

Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Peppermint

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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