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Strange VariaTEA TTB #37
This was another tea that had just a spoonful left, so I snagged it to take to work. The description of “juicy peach twisted with a hint of sage” was enticing…but my experience was the exact opposite! It’s more of a sage green tea with a hint of peach. Pleasant enough, but not quite what I was hoping for.
Flavors: Peach, Sage
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Picked up a sample of this one with my matcha advent order, because I hadn’t tried it yet and it was sold out the last time I ordered. Super cute with the heart sprinkles!
It actually reminds me of a Dessert by Deb tea, ha ha. The flavor is very buttery and almost caramel-y, and that combined with the toasted rice and the rooibos base is making me think of one of Deb’s many similar caramel or caramel-adjacent teas. Like Salted Caramel Pancakes or that caramel custard rooibos one.
Anyway, it’s decent, but doesn’t necessarily taste like wedding cake to me. I get more of a buttery caramel tea than a cake one. But fun to try!
Flavors: Butter, Butterscotch, Caramel, Rooibos, Smooth, Sweet, Toasted Rice, Woody
I think I messed up brewing this because all of the other reviews tasted some cookie and desserty notes. Steeped 3g leaf in 500mL hot water, not quite boiling. Steeped 5ish minutes and then 10 minutes in lukewarm water for a second cup. I really only tasted cocoa nibs, tannic lack tea, a bit of sweet licorice root (minerals, a bit metallic) and not much else. Going to try again and add milk before I review it properly.
Free sample that came with my advent calendars. 1 mesh teabag in hottish water. I forgot about it for a while but the tea was still fairly weak so I steeped for longer. My water was not very hit since I do not have a kettle available.
This reminds me of a gingerbread cookie. I get lots of ginger, cinnamon, and a bit of nutmeg and clove. I don’t get much cookie flavour, unfortunately, but there is a hint of sweetness, nuttiness, and vanilla. I don’t taste the caramel strongly. I would have liked a lot more cookie and caramel notes.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Nutmeg, Nutty, Spices, Sweet, Vanilla
My Matcha Advent from B&B arrived today and this was one of two free sachet samples they included. I don’t recognize this one at all, so I’m assuming it’s one of the new holiday flavours this year. I sort of love and hate the name – it’s right on the cusp of too much pun for my own tastes. The tea is okay, though! Basically a mulled/spiced orange flavour similar to Constant Comment of DT’s The Spice Is Right/Orange Spice. More emphasis on the orange, though. It’s got a decent juicy/tart element before the warming spices kick in.
This tea really grew on me. I sort of wish I’d ordered more in my most recent B&B order…and probably my last for a while due to the new higher shipping rate. The turmeric shows up in a really warming, pleasant way. Every spice is perfectly balanced. It’s great with milk and a little sugar. It’s a nice mix of savory and sweet.
This tastes like beets, but also like red fruits. It didn’t stand out too much from other fruity teas. I like it better with milk. Then I sort of get the strawberry milkshake vibe, but I feel like it needs a lot of sugar and milk to get me there. It still tastes like sweet beets, but a bit like fruit as well.
This tastes pretty accurate. The ginger flavor tastes most similar to powdered ginger. There is also a soda quality or maybe a hint of lime. The rooibos is the perfect base, making it really feel like a ginger soda. The resteep tastes almost the same as the first. Sometimes the flavor gets a little murky, so I don’t think I’d order this again, but I did enjoy this.
I used to have an entire cube in my tea-cube-shelf-storage just for Bird & Blend Tea, and now, this is the last package from this vendor left, with maybe 1-2 more servings left. I had to stop ordering from Bird & Blend due to the high shipping fees and no more “free shipping threshold” and there are definitely many of their blends I miss. This one will be added to that list, because I loooooove it!
This is basically a hibiscus “mulled wine” type tea except it leans into a fruity flavor rather than a spicy one. The sumac berries give it this sort of piney overtone I love, and somehow the combination of the sweet apple with the tart sumac berries and hibiscus tastes more like cranberry to me than any tea I’ve ever had that has “cranberry” in the name. There is apple and cinnamon here, but neither is as strong as one might think from the name, and I wouldn’t really recommend it on those grounds alone. But it definitely has a nice “cold weather” vibe with the mix of mulled wine/pine/cranberry/apple notes.
Will really miss this one… I used to be fine with the cheap Stash “Apple Cinnamon Chamomile” teabags and since having this tea, now those are just not cutting it for me anymore.
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Cranberry, Fruity, Hibiscus, Pine, Tangy, Tart
I tried this one again last night. I liked it better. Maybe there was less hibiscus in it this cup than the last, but the sourness came across muted, more like a pleasant tang. I had planned to add a bit of sugar but I didn’t need it. I have no plans to re-order this one, but if the rest of the bag is like this cup I will certainly be able to drink it.
I recently ordered the B&B caffeine free advent calendar, and I knew it would be hard to have to wait THREE MONTHS to get into it, so I ordered a 50 gram pouch of this and one of Butter Brew. This one sounded so good but I didn’t notice it had hibiscus. Boy, does it have hibiscus. I could barely choke down the cup. If you enjoy the tart zing of Jolly Ranchers you will probably love this one. I, on the other hand, will be adding sugar. Lots of sugar.
Over the weekend I decided to finally take this tea for a spin as a hot latte using some almond milk. I actually really enjoyed it. More than I think I expected to. Birthday Cake is kind of a weird flavour because it’s sort of just a fancy way of saying vanilla with sprinkles, typically. However you don’t get sprinkles with matcha so I did worry this would essentially just be a vanilla matcha. It’s sort of that but I will say it’s also incredibly buttery tasting too and that butteriness combined with the French Vanilla notes does convey “cake” more than if it was only a standalone vanilla taste.
With that said, I think this is REALLY similar to Bird and Blend’s Mermaid Matcha which is also a vanilla flavour. There’s no good reason anyone should need to have both of them unless you reaaalllyyyy care about having the blue coloured version and this more typical coloured one. Still feels pretty redundant, though.
Sampled from the Strange VariaTea Traveling Tea Box
Cold-brewed last night and enjoyed this morning.
OK, first of all, WHAT IS THIS SPELLING. I have never seen it before, but The Internet tells me it’s an alternative for “julep.” Wild. “Julip” looks so much more unpleasant, though…
Well, anyway. “Juicy peach” seems a bit hyperbolic. The sage is actually pretty strong in my cold-brewed cuppa, especially compared to the peach! It’s also got a decent amount of grassiness from the sencha.
Not my favorite, but… fine.
Flavors: Floral, Grassy, Peach, Sage
I know stevia is arguably one of the most polarizing ingredients a tea company can put in a tea blend. Like, holy fuck, do I intimately know that. I have so many conflicting personal and professional opinions on stevia. So many. Though, I do generally agree with the overall idea that people should have control the amount and type of sweetener in their tea blend.
With all that said… I don’t usually mind the taste of stevia when I’m just drinking teas for my own enjoyment. In fact, I would say this tea is like 90% delicious. It’s exactly the flavour I picture and want when I see “caramelized biscuit” as a flavour. Golden, malty, buttery, rich and just kind of cozy in a nostalgic way. Sometimes I find Bird and Blend’s black tea base (especially the Sri Lankan one they use so often) abrasively astringent, but I didn’t here. It was just a really good tea.
Except for the stevia in the finish. It did, actually, kind of bug me. Not enough to ruin the tea, but just enough to knock like 10% off an otherwise perfect score.
I’ve had this tea about four times now, but I never wrote down my thoughts because I find this one a bit difficult to describe. I didn’t love it warm or with milk. Actually, I enjoy it most cold and sweetened. It’s mostly plain rooibos with something slightly desserty. I enjoy a nice cold plainish rooibos, so I don’t mind this one, but it’s not special at all, and it really doesn’t remind me of a chocolate egg.
This came as a sample with my order last Fall. I noted that the “best by date” was last week so I made myself a mug this morning. Yesterday I was watching a video about the history of using mint leaves for medicine/health through the ages. I know I definitely feel better with a good strong mint tea.
There is a nice minty scent to the tea while steeping. It’s a strong peppermint but I like it. The tea feels fresh and smooth. It definitely tastes pepperminty with a bit of sweetness too. I’m the only one in the home that enjoys mint but I cold see myself reordering this one when I’m purchasing tea again. After so many disappointing reviews, its nice to have a good one to write!
Flavors: Mint, Peppermint, Sweet
Made this one last night!
Of Bird & Blend’s different biscuit themed teas this is one I was a little more excited for. Jammy Dodgers are basically thumb print cookies, and I love thumb print cookies. There’s a few oddities to the ingredient list IMO – like, I don’t really get the inclusion of ashwagandha. However, steeped up it’s pretty solid. Definitely a distinctly jammy (though generic) red fruit note that feels appropriate for the inspo. I like it with the natural sweetness and honey/graham type vibe I get from the rooibos, and with milk I think this would be pretty spot on. Could maybe use a bit of a custard type flavouring to convey some of the cookie cream/filling.
I do worry that it might be a touch medicinal for people especially sensitive to rooibos, as red fruit combined with rooibos can really play up those notes if you’re already on edge with them. Ashwagandha probably doesn’t help as it’s a slightly more earthy and “medicinal” tasting spice. Personally, I didn’t actually really notice it all that much in this cup, though.
Wish I could say I saved the best of these Zodiac blends for last, but I knew as soon as I saw the ingredients that wasn’t gonna be true. At least I can say that I saved my Zodiac sign for last, which is something?
I feel like pisces teas are always the worst. Not even teas, y’know? Anything pisces related is usually a disappointment. Maybe it’s because it’s the last zodiac sign of the twelve, so by the time people get around to making the pisces tea (or whatever the thing may be) they’re all out of good ideas and exhausted. I’m so sick of the cliche of Pisces as overly emotional “dreamers” too – which, I’m sure, is where the chamomile in this is coming from. Sleep tea = dreamers. Obviously.
Anyway, it tasted mostly like musty and unpleasantly floral chamomile with drying cinnamon/clove. Very bitter and just muddy overall. Bleck.
Brought this one with me to a restaurant and had it with breakfast because I just can’t do crappy restaurant tea anymore. Anyway, it was fine tasting but definitely not anything super striking. The ingredient list is busy – one of the busiest of all these zodiac teas. It stands out because, well, the taste is busy too. There’s a lot of different and competing flavours like tart berry-ish hibiscus, cocoa, pithy orange peel, and chili. The spice note was the strongest (kind of like Aries) and I enjoyed that heat. I think it would have worked well with either the cocoa or the fruit notes. Not both though…
I’m not really a huge fan of coffee at all, so this wasn’t a particular favourite of mine. However, I did think the quality of the coffee note was really nice. Very direct and simple with a little bit of a roast to it and just a hint of a sweeter vanilla note to round it out. Would likely take milk really well. If I was more into coffee as a flavour on its own I think I likely would have enjoyed this, so I’d definitely recommend it to other people. Just not something I feel a need to have again.
I thought this might be nice based on the ingredients list, but I really wasn’t a fan. As you can imagine given how sick I’ve been this past week, I’ve had a lot of cough medicine lately. So, when I say this tasted a lot like cough medicine I’ve got a very recent flavour memory in mind to reference. Very medicinal red fruit notes and just kind of an unpleasant lingering aftertaste.
And that’s coming from someone who almost never finds rooibos blends medicinal.