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Recent Tasting Notes
So, I have a few of these custom Blendbee teas that I made over the summer either with my now ex boyfriend or just inspired by him – and I’ve been trying to figure out what I’m going to do with them. I mean, to be perfectly honest they’re all good teas/taste fine so it really, really feels like a waste to toss them out when they were expensive and actually taste good. They’re the only physical/tangible thing I actually have left from when we dated though; and I just find that I feel a little, I don’t know, ‘weird’ drinking them and being reminded of these cute, sweet romantic things/in jokes that we shared.
And that’s probably most definitely because I’m still not 100% over everything. I’m working on it though – and making decent enough progress, I think. It’s getting a lot better, anyway as the weeks go by. I’m still stuck in a purgatory between just being angry/resentful and feeling like I’ve lost something really important to me. So, I don’t know…
Anyway; I did make a cup of this one today to drink on shift and it really wasn’t so bad in terms of that weird/uncomfortable emotional feeling. Largely this is because at work we’re still in the throws of Black Friday promotions, so it was so busy at work that between slurping up mouthfuls of tea I didn’t really have time to think about the origin for this tea/the ex the same way I think I would have reflected on it if I was drinking this during a moment of peace. Flavour wise, it was very thyme heavy with sweet, juicy peach undertones. Very bright in addition to that glorious savory element. Still stellar.
So yeah – just throwing that thought/reflection out there. What do I do with these three teas now!? What have other people on Steepster done with things from failed relationships that remind you of the ex? Do you get rid of them or work towards breaking those associations?
Another custom tea!
So, this is probably the most important tea from my last BlendBee order, and consequently also the tea that I had the least amount to do with. I thought it might be a nice thing to get him to make his own tea – and this is pretty well what he came up with. So, since he really didn’t have any clue where he wanted to start, we very loosely modeled this after DT’s Long Life Oolong blend since that’s one he really enjoys.
Instead of an oolong base, he opted for an English Breakfast black tea because he’s definitely more of a black tea person overall – and EB is fairly close to his all time favourite black tea as well, Irish Breakfast. The of course we added peach and apricot flavour because those are the fruity notes in LLO. Next the nut element; LLO uses almond but instead we chose hazelnut to keep things a little different, and because hazelnut is a bit sweeter in both of our opinions. Then is was time for the other ingredients meant to accent the flavour and provide some contrast – this is more where I stepped in, and helped select some of the ingredients. We chose cinnamon because I thought it might be nice to have a warming spice element to help tie in the nut and the fruit components: cinnamon also compliments peach well and hazelnut.
Then I picked some herbs: nettle leaf because I know it also compliments cinnamon and peach well and I thought it’d add a nice, soft earthy herbaceous quality that would add some depth to the blend. Marshmallow root for some sweetness. Finally, I chose to add thyme. Now, this is the ingredient I was most excited and cautious about: thyme is a REALLY nice complimenting flavour to peach, and I’m personally a huge fan of savory teas. However, I’m also concerned that the boyfriend wont enjoy the flavour of it because it’s SO outside his comfort zone. The thyme is also the ingredient that sets this one apart from DT’s LLO blend the most in my opinion and while the boyfriend may have modeled this one after that blend loosely, it was also important to me for it to be its own thing.
Also – we named the blend Watchmaker’s Brunch; the ‘brunch’ part of the blend being a play on the fact we used a Breakfast tea as the base and the watchmaker part being a reference to the fact that the boyfriend is a watch repairman and LOVES watches.
So while I stand by the addition of thyme for flavour is also allowed me to be able to make this awful pun:
_Every good Watchmaker should make a little thyme in their day for a good cuppa tea._
(BlendBee has a letter cap so I couldn’t call this one Watchmaker’s Breakfast but if there wasn’t a letter cap that’s what we would have gone with)
Anyway now that my explanation of our intentions behind the blend is done, the actual review portion of this tasting note starts here:
First thing I notice drinking this is that the thyme is really strong. I think that’s a wonderful quality because it adds this really fun, unique savory element right off that bat, and it’s almost immediately followed by a smooth, sweet peachy note that contrasts it perfectly! The peach seems sweeter/juicier against the herbaceous thyme and, to a lesser extent, the nettle that also contrasts it. The thyme feels earthier and more grounded against the brightness of that Georgia Peach/apricot combo!
However, as much as I’m swept up by this stellar top note and body flavour combo I’m also immediately worried that the boyfriend is not going to like it. What I find elegant and nuanced I worry will be WAY outside of his comfort zone.
Transitioning out of the thyme/peach and nettle/apricot body flavours, we see more of the sweet and nutty side of this blend – while I don’t think the hazelnut actually distinctly comes off as hazelnut it IS obvious to me that there’s something rich and nutty going on here that adds yet another really interesting layer of flavour to the whole cuppa. I like that it’s very lingering as well, along with a strong lingering peachy note.
The other noteworthy things in the blend are the cinnamon and the English Breakfast base. I don’t think either are really vibrant flavours in this mix overall but they ARE both noticeable as consistent background flavours. The cinnamon is light and warming and adds a very comforting quality, and while it’s certainly a LIGHT flavour it may arguably be the most important because I think it really ties all of the other elements together in a very concise way. It literally compliments every other ingredient in this blend. The English Breakfast is like a solid backbone to the cup! It adds strength and body, and just a hint of maltyness. Also definitely important.
Overall, I really like this one! I think it’s really playfully nuanced and fun, and I like that it’s both very sweet and savory. It came together in a really great way, and I think that the boyfriend should be proud of it! However, I’m still very concerned that he’ll hate it just because of how strong the thyme is overall…
Another iced tea.
This one wasn’t as good iced as it was hot; it kind of picked up this slight musty/dusty sort of quality in the finish and aftertaste that tasted really flat and stale. It’s the same sort of “drab attic” sort of taste/quality that I associate with DT’s Raspberry Meringue blend, as well. Just not very pleasing/satisfying.
It’s a shame too ’cause the rest of the cup – the top notes and body – were actually really delicious! Very strong, sweet strawberry notes with more tropical undertones. I taste the pineapple a whole lot more than the passionfruit, to be honest. Both are present, but one is clearly the superior flavour. As a punch flavour, it would be really nice…
If it just weren’t for the aforementioned dusty quality. Wish I could pinpoint what caused it…
Revisiting this fun creation again, but this time as a hot tea.
I made sure to drink this one in a clear mug, I really wanted to see the liquor colour. It’s really pretty; there’s just enough hibiscus in this one to give it this really soft, warm pink hue but not overly impact the flavour.
It’s a very fruity brew; a mix of tropical/exotic fruit notes from the pineapple and passionfruit combo with a sweet, juicy strawberry finish. Everything tastes really ripe and sweet and it’s hard not to picture fruit juices dribbling down your chin. I think it definitely captures a punch like flavour, too, with a softness to it from the white tea base. It’s not in your face kind of rich/full bodied in flavour – but it doesn’t need to be. It can be flavourful without being this slap in the face of rich, cloying punch notes.
Now, to be fair, I let my mom try it and she actually wanted a more robust flavour. I hadn’t told her what the tea was because I just wanted an unfiltered opinion and she described it as “watered down fruit punch” so I guess it’s only fair that to some people this might be a little weak. I just prefer having the option of something punch like that’s a little more stripped down/mellow.
Also; I did forget I was drinking this halfway through so the last half of my cup was pretty ice cold – and I have to say, it’s still killer as a cold tea. I mean, I’ve already tried it cold brewed BUT just letting a tea naturally cool is a little different than the cold brewing process…
Song Pairing: https://youtu.be/05v4nfUmBYI
Something fun, for a fun tea.
One of my custom teas!!!
This one is supposed to be like a sweet, fruity Hawaiian Punch sort of flavour. It’s got a white tea base because I wanted something soft and smooth that would really lend itself to letting all of the fruit flavours stand out. I added a bit of strawberry leaf and hibiscus, and then passion fruit, pineapple, and strawberry flavouring extracts!
I’m trying it for the first time as a cold brew because this is something that I envision working best as a cold style of tea, be that cold brewer or iced.
- Strong pineapple notes!!! Yummy!
- Pineapple is definitely the same pineapple as my From Pele’s Kitchen blend
- Which of course makes sense; it’s the same flavouring extract/oil
- It’s a very sugary pineapple though, with less acidity/tang to it
- The strawberry is also quite strong; very, very ripe/sweet!
- Has a bit of a “fruit punch candy” vibe going overall
- The passionfruit is light/mild – more just adds to overall tropical flavour/feel
- I actually don’t really taste the hibiscus, however my brew is slightly pink in colour
- So I know that it IS in there…
- I’m pretty satisfied with this one though
- It’s a REALLY niced iced/cold brewed sort of profile
- Once you let go of the idea of it being realistic fruit notes instead of candy like
- It’s a shame I waited until practically the end of summer to create it…
Revisiting this one again; but this time I’m drinking it hot and straight.
I still haven’t shown this one to the boyfriend; I’m waiting for a time when he’s over where he actually wants a cup of tea. Lately he’s been on such a hardcore Jumpy Monkey kick that he hasn’t been drinking anything else.
Though, I’m getting more and more hesitant about showing him this one. I mean, I think the idea behind it and symbolism of the ingredients is still really sweet, and perfect but the more I drink this one the more licorice/anise heavy I find it, and he’s not a licorice/anise fan so I’m doubtful he’d like it anyway, symbolism aside…
Right now it’s reminding me of a 50/50 mix of soft, subtle and creamy star anise and a blueberry fritter. I don’t know why I’m getting fritters/donuts – I just am.
Song Pairing: https://youtu.be/1XGtb_1skkA
Flavors: Anise, Blueberry, Cinnamon, Fennel, Licorice, Pastries
So, I had so much fun making my own teas last time and the results were good enough that I decided it might be fun to do it again! This time I only got three teas though, and one of them was almost completely designed by my boyfriend and not myself.
This is one of the ones that I chose everything for but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t heavily inspired by my boyfriend when creating the concept for this tea and the ingredients. Even the name relates to him – “Ecstatic Shock” is the name for the feeling you get when catch someone you like/love looking at you. It’s a warm, happy feeling that starts in the tips of your toes, fills and inflates your lungs and finally culminates in a big smile!
I wanted the flavour of the tea to reflect that feeling: something warming and sweet so I figured a tea with some milder spices (cinnamon/ginger) and fennel/anise for sweetness would work perfectly alongside maybe a fruit or two. In the end, I ended up choosing blueberry as my fruit. It’s the boyfriend’s favourite fruit so it seemed like a great way to use him as inspiration, and I also knew that blueberry would be a nice compliment to the cinnamon/ginger and fennel combo!
For my first time trying this one out I made it in my tea press the same way that the boyfriend normally takes his tea. Since it’s something I want to kind of surprise him with, I thought it was important that I taste it the same way that he’ll be tasting it. Which is with added cane sugar, and lots of milk. Not my normal tea drinking method, but oh well…
- Overall, this does have the sweetness and comforting quality I wanted
- And the flavour kind of builds as you sip
- Which fits with the idea of a shock “rising” through your body
- It’s quite licorice-y though, from the anise/fennel: more than anticipated
- It works for me because I like licorice though – not good for those who don’t
- And I’m not actually sure how the boyfriend feels about licorice…
- I actually want more cinnamon/ginger: I kind of taste the cinnamon but it’s very mild
- The blueberry is softer too with an overall sweet & gentle fruity flavour I was going for!
- I enjoy this, and I think it fairly accurately conveys what I wanted
- I just wish the fennel was a touch dialed back
This one was a little weak as an iced tea, but still quite pleasant. Most dominant notes were the pineapple and cinnamon, but there was also still quite a lot brown sugar, lemon, and hay/straw from the base white tea. I wish it had more body/flavour as an iced tea, but it did make for a nice, crisp refreshing cup that was fruity but a bit of a break from the typical fruity iced teas I’ve been drinking as of late.
Ok, so even though I’m still super happy with the name I gave this tea/the logic behind it I have to admit that literally every time I think of this tea the name that I use in my head for it is “Pineapple Creme Brulee”, quickly followed by “No, wait – Pele’s Kitchen!”. The reason I keep going there, though, is because it does taste like a Pineapple Creme Brulee! So sweet, and dessert-like and just pleasant all around. I really, really love that it’s such a creamy flavour too despite being a blend with fruit in it.
Creamy pineapple. Creamy brown sugar. Creamy vanilla.
And warming cinnamon with hints of lemon.
Last of my custom teas!
I tried to save the one that I thought would be best for last; the dry leaf for this one smells practically orgasmic. It’s the creamiest, richest smelling pineapple scent ever and I’m basically losing my mind over it.
I’m doing my first tasting in the Tea Press because I wanted to take it with while we spent the day running errands – mostly that meant going to various pet stores. We went to a normal one so I could bulk up on treats and essentials for Eilert and Wasabi and then to one that specializes in reptiles so that my sister could spend a few hours handling the different snakes in preparation for getting one of her own.
Several times today I referred to this as “Pineapple Creme Brulee” instead of its actual name – which is both kind of sad, because I am the one who named it, but also just a testament to how accurate the flavour is to what I wanted/had envisioned.
So, this is really rich and creamy and the custard and brown sugar flavours I wanted in it to kind of recreate the creme brulee aspect really come through very nicely. If this company would allow you to use four flavour extracts I would have chosen vanilla to just tie it together a little more/make it a silkier/smoother flavour but for what it is the flavour is well executed and accurate. The pineapple is REALLY amazing! It’s very strong, and easily the dominant flavour in the whole cup – for people like my boyfriend, who hates pineapple, that COULD be a big turn off but I’m totally eating it up. It’s very rich and sweet, and leans a bit more to the confectionery/candy side of pineapple that a super realistic/natural interpretation of the fruit: what it actually reminds me of the most is Jones’ Pineapple Cream Soda! Sweeter pineapple works in the case of a dish like creme brulee, though.
My ‘accent’ ingredients also play their part: the cinnamon is softly present and I think works to bridge what might have otherwise been an awkward gap between the confectionery elements and the fruits. This is a smoother transition and blend of those flavours. The lemon is also just a little bit present, and I think keeps the pineapple from being a little too candy like. Didn’t get much of the carob, but that’s ok! The flavour was still quite nice.
So yeah, pineapple creme brulee tea was a win!
Sipping on this one right now; there’s still a very artificial/chemical quality to the flavour of this one but I do like it much, much better than I did the first time around. Definitely a drinkable brew, even if it’s not a very enjoyable one. Flavour notes are basically gross apricot and overpowering bergamot, and then a really artificial nutty finish. Toss in perhaps some funky floral undertones and you’ve basically got the whole thing packaged up. Not a pretty package though; like something wrapped with written on looseleaf and tied together with yarn.
I started sipping it at the beginning of an online webinar about herbal tea/botanical harvesting though, and it was an hour long webinar so once it had started I couldn’t really walk away to get make something else for myself. So I actually did finish the whole thing. Twenty five ounces of it…
The webinar was really interesting! It was very cool seeing some of the harvesting techniques for different herbals because they very so greatly from Camellia Sinensis. In particular, I was fascinated learning about Rosehip in that degree of detail, as well as Chamomile. Like, personally I hate chamomile but it’s still fascinating the process it goes through!
Definitely a good class!
Tea number four of my five custom teas…
I wanted to do my own take on an Earl Grey because even though I don’t love straight EGs I’m usually pretty on board with flavoured ones. This also just seemed like a really fun tea name that I wanted to take advantage of. My original idea was to do something like Harney’s Boston – almond and cranberry. However, I also want to be able to share this one with my mom so I consulted her for flavour ideas and she was really against cranberry. After consulting my flavour bible we ended up settling on apricot instead.
So, this is apricot, almond and vanilla on an EG base with some rose because that seemed like a nice visual accent, decent flavour compliment and a good way to play into the name/theme of the tea!
- Drank this one iced
- Least favourite of all my custom teas thus far
- Very artificial and chemical tasting! Eww…
- After some unpleasant sips, I think I’ve pinpointed the cause of the gross flavour
- It’s definitely the apricot flavouring… Maybe I just don’t like apricot flavour!?
- After all I did hate the apricot matcha from Red Leaf Tea too and it was similar
- After watering this down it’s more tolerable
- The almond and vanilla are actually nice; very sweet, creamy and nutty
- Marzipan like, if you will
- The rose/floral tastes in general are weird as well; very aggressive and dominating
- It’s just not that good
Yeah; I should have stuck with my gut and gone for the cranberry…
Hmmm, this last mug of this one had a weirdly soapy undertone to it all throughout the mug and it was a big distraction for me. The rest was nice though; a mix of coconut notes, citrus/lemon, and herbaceousness with a good overall sweetness. I wonder if the soap thing was from the coconut and that’s a sign to me that I need to be fasted finishing this one up? It’s been a while since I’ve had a tea with coconut in it for sour on me…
Pulled this one out because I’ve been feeling a bit of monochopsis all day…
In my mind, it didn’t seem unreasonable to match a feeling of monochopsis with a tea named after the same feeling – maybe the two would cancel each other other?
Flavour wise this was good, but didn’t quite hit the spot either. The flavour was largely lemon, with a little bit of pithyness and a little bit of soft tang. It was complimented by mixed notes of coconut and rosemary with a bit of peppery graham/woody sort of flavour from the honeybush base. I think ultimately, I would have liked more of the caramel/honey flavours to come through and for this to have been sweeter overall. That would have sated me a little more.
However, nothing that was present was unpleasant.
This is a queued tasting note.
So, the flavour of this one continues to feel just slightly out of place to me and while that would normally be a negative, in the case of this tea I think it works perfectly.
I will say this last cup was fairly heavy on the combined sweetness of the caramel/honey notes, and that the lemon was a distinct flavour however everything else just comes together in this very pleasant but hard to pinpoint amalgam of other flavours. A little coconut, a little apple, some rosemary…
You get the idea.
Still, it’s sweet, fruity and… other. I love it.
Custom tea number three from BlendBee!
This was the only one I made with a honeybush/caffeine base – and interestingly, the package it shipped it actually has it marked as containing caffeine despite there being no chocolate/tea leaf in the blend. I wonder what the ingredient is that’s supposedly “caffeinated”? This was also sort of an experimental tea/idea – I wanted to convey an emotion/feeling rather than a specific taste or imagery. I also wanted that emotion to be something more… obscure?
So I went with Monochopsis, which is something I can related to a lot of the time. Basically, Monochopsis is “the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place”. So, lets get tasting!
- Feels accurate to the name
- The flavours are really nice; but without ingredients they’d be hard to place
- And a little… off beat? In a positive way. It works with the name meaning though!
- That said, the lemon/apple do come through distinctly to me
- And the whole cup has a very rich and distinct honey/caramel sweetness
- The honey feels VERY MUCH like the ‘honey flavour’ AQ2T uses…
- Getting to a point where I mentally compare flavours from different companies is odd
- The rest (coconut/elderflower/rosemary) all muddle in a unique way
- It’s hard to separate them from one another though
- It’s interesting, and one of a kind! I’m into it though!
This is one that I think I’d need to try several times to get a good hold on the flavour profile, but I am initially fascinated by it and I did enjoy the flavours – plus I think that idea of it not instantly ‘clicking’ for me does work with the whole goal of conveying that emotion/feeling rather than a specific, targeted flavour.
I’d be curious to try this sort of experiment again with a different type of emotion. Something either with more of a positive, happy connotation to it or maybe something more mellow, sad and melancholic.
Happy to say I’m at a point where the idea that this tea was inspired by my now ex doesn’t bother me anymore. I can appreciate the inspiration for the name/what I felt when I made it but now I don’t feel those same attachments and that’s ok! I can just appreciate the tea for what it tastes like now – which is still a very, very solid blend with great chocolate notes, really good clove undertones and great notes of cranberry and pumpkin creeping into the body of the sip. There’s A LOT going on but it all feels connected, and it’s such a nice mix of sweet, spicy and fruity. Maybe a little autumnal for the Spring, but…
Short and sweet tasting note!
This is my second time trying this one now, and I almost like it more the second time around now that I have an idea of what to expect flavour wise. Plus, since it’s basically like a dark chocolate pumpkin spice truffle kind of flavour, with cranberry accents it’s VERY autumnal and fitting for the change of season.
And clove! So much clove!
Also, I may be the tiniest bit biased as this is named after/inspired by a very loving thing that my boyfriend says to me – so I’m already filled with happy, good, fluffy feelings whenever I drink it…
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Clove, Cranberry, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Natural Pumpkin Spice Flavor, Pumpkin, Spices, Sweet
Custom Tea Creation 2/5.
Ok, so there’s this guy I’m sort of seeing but not in any sort of formal or official sense of the word. Anyway; he’s great – and I’m really enjoying the progression of whatever this currently is for what it is, and at its own pace. We have this thing we say, whenever we disagree on something: “We Are Obsidian”.
The idea is that obsidian is made when lava and water meet; two opposites coming together to form something beautiful…
Originally I was going to let him create this blend, and have this be the name but I was trying to get him to pick the ingredients without letting him know what for – and it wasn’t working so well. He can’t taste/smell that much; maybe at 20% of what the average person can. So, every time I was like “Hey, if you could make your own tea what would you want in it?” he’d just reply with “Would it make a difference? I likely couldn’t taste many of the nuances of different flavours”. So I just ended up picking the blend instead.
I didn’t plan this one out the same way I did with some of the others; however, I knew I wanted to play off the idea of two dissimilar things/flavours to keep with the name so what I ended up going with was this sweeter, chocolate flavour using carob and cocoa nibs and then chocolate flavouring and something a little more tart/fruity to contrast – so cranberry and rosehip. Then, to differentiate it a bit from the other cranberry/chocolate teas I know are out there I added in clove and pumpkin spice flavour, not entirely knowing how it would work with everything overall. I picked as Assam base, because it’s sweeter/smoother and I thought those natural malt notes and general sweetness would work excellently with the chocolate.
This is really interesting steeped up.
I mean, I didn’t know exactly how it would play out in the first place but I’m really happy with what I ended up with. The top note is definitely more chocolate heavy, and I feel like I’m primarily getting the added chocolate flavours and carob as opposed to the nibs because it does have a sort of chocolate liquor kind of thing going on. It’s sweet, and more dark and decadent – kind of like a truffle?
The body flavour is definitely the intersection of all the flavours overall: you’ve got the same almost boozey dark chocolate note and then you really get hit with the clove/pumpkin spice. It’s weird to me, because normally I actually don’t love pumpkin spice but there’s like this earthyness to it that works with the chocolate and I kind of feel like I’m tasting the pumpkin itself to and not just the spices. Plus, I do really love clove so the fact it’s more clove heavy overall because I added straight clove to the blend just works for me. In fact; I generally don’t adore chocolate teas or spice teas but the combination here is very “pumpkin spice truffle” to me in a way that I’m really enthralled with. This body note also features the cranberry as well: and this to me is the most interesting part. I think what I expected was more of a contrasting tartness, but what’s actually ended up happening is that the cranberry is more of a sneaky, sweet fruity undertone that adds like this really beautiful layer of fruityness. It plays off the chocolate really well, which I HAD expected but more interestingly it works well with the clove too!
In fact, and I guess in hindsight I could have called this, it really paints this VERY autumnal picture with all of these flavour notes that I actually quite strongly associate with the fall/Thanksgiving/the change of seasons in general. It’s REALLY beautiful and well layered.
Finally, the finish definitely takes more of a shift towards the pumpkin spice/clove element and you finish the sip with that soft, sweet warming spice note and hints of brightness from the cranberry.
I didn’t expected to love this one as much as I did, but it really works for me. It does make me a little sad though, because I 100% want to share a cup of it with the not-boyfriend, but like he kind of predicted I’m fairly sure he’s not going to be able to identify the nuances of the blend the same way I do and so I worry he wont have as strong an appreciation for it. Fingers crossed, though!
Anyway; two for two success rate with these custom blends! This is another that I would actually probably buy again; though probably not until the fall/winter since that seems to be what it really evokes to me flavour wise.
I just finished binge watching all of season one & two of Netflix’ Shadowhunters series…
In four days.
It’s kind of consumed my life, to be honest. I pulled this one out and enjoyed several mugs of it during my binge though in honour of the fantasy element connected to both the show and the tea. When I made this tea though, it was that sort of mythical/fantastical element that I was trying to replicate the feeling of – and when I saw the Seelie world in the TV show it almost perfectly mirrored the image I’d had in mind when putting this together.
Like, this is a pretty shitty fandom/fan made video type thing, but if you’ve never seen the show before just pay attention to the backdrop/setting of the video and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about: https://youtu.be/PQ-nykjzotM
A perfect visual pairing for the profile of the tea.
Brought this one with to work to drink there.
It was an absolutely incredibly busy day though, so after I started steeping this tea I got really slammed with people for a solid half hour if not longer. Which is to say that this steeped for half an hour, if not longer. I fully, 100% expected it to be a burnt, bitter and intolerable mess. You know what though? It was completely fine.
Seriously; obviously the flavour was a bit more intense but there was no bitterness at all and only the tiniest hint of astringency. The biggest change was that the berry notes were INCREDIBLY strong; much stronger than the cooling peppermint. I don’t mind a boost in berry flavour though, so long as everything else is still present – and it was. So, all in all this was very good and I’m even more impressed with this tea than I already was just knowing it’s capable of surviving through that long of an infusion.
So, I’ve decided that regardless of the fact that this tea is caffeinated it’s the most perfect before bed cup of tea, because the combination of sweet, natural tasting wildberries and cooling, crisp mint in the finish is SO incredibly relaxing/pacifying that after slurping down a mug of the tea I can’t help but conk out and go right to bed.
In a very, very good way.
Damn this tea was one of the best tea decisions I’ve ever made. Honestly! I think I 100% need to get more of it blended for me, in a larger quantity once I run out of this small batch. Mmm!
So, I’m really excited to write about this one guys!
The other day I stumbled upon BlendBee – they do a monthly subscription service that looks interesting, but personally what I found even more interesting is that they also let you custom blend your own teas! Now, having done this through Design A Tea a while back I can tell immediately that there are some differences: for one, this is definitely more expensive however you also get to add ingredients like herbs/spices/flowers/fruits/and not just flavourings to your blend which is also different and lets you go a bit further/more detailed into the blending process. Then finally, as an added touch you can name your blend and come up with your own description of the blend to be printed onto the pouch. To me, this part was almost as fun as creating the blends themselves. Plus, the packaging is really cute and the added touch of seeing my custom names/descriptions printed out is awfully cute.
I ended up making five blends, and if they end up tasting solid enough/the quality is up there then I can definitely see the experience of making your own tea 100% justifying the somewhat higher price tag that comes attached.
So – this is a blend idea I’ve had kicking around for a LONG time. I named it Daughter of Satyrs because Satyrs are mythological, forest dwelling creatures and I thought the “daughter” aspect added a softness that personally I thought fit the sweetness I was hoping the berries would add. The blend itself is a mix of lots of berries, but probably most importantly the juniper berries, which have a pine quality that makes me think of nature/forests, and wild berry flavouring. In addition to the berries, I also added various herbs that have pine-like notes to them and some sage to evoke the feeling of trees and some mint for that refreshing, cooling finish that is like a crisp, cool breeze. It should feel very natural and forest-y while having this brightness/sweetness to it that gives off an almost enchanted quality. Like a forest filled with Greek mythological creatures. Personally, I’ve always pictured it on a Shou Pu’erh base because I think the strong earthyness would support the flavours I want and work well with the overall idea that this should feel like a walk through a forest – but Pu’erh isn’t a base option on Blendbee so I went with a black tea base which is the next best option.
Honestly? This is pretty much EXACTLY what I was going for.
I was worried with the amount of berry in the dry leaf, and the fact that the three flavourings I picked were also berries that element of the blend might overtake the rest of it but I think everything plays out really nicely! The berry is certainly the first note you taste – it’s a sweet, jammy and seductive top note that transitions into the body of the sip. It’s a really raw, and dark sort of mixed berry flavours: you know, on the side of acai, blueberry, juniper, elderberries and then black currant but without the brightness of stuff like strawberry or raspberry. If that makes any sort of sense at all. I feel like I really taste the juniper, blueberry, and currant in particular.
The body also has a lot of those forest-y notes I wanted: plenty of pine and hints of the herbaceous sage coming through with that undertone of super refreshing/cooling peppermint. I find it very refreshing, and I love the soft cooling sensation of the peppermint on the bed of my tongue. The peppermint itself transitions well into the finish of the sip as well, and you get not just the feeling of the peppermint but the taste of it as well.
It was really cool to see this creation finally played out because I’ve wanted a blend like this for… honestly? Definitely over a year. Even without the pu’erh base I always imagined it’d have, this was super satisfying and definitely took me out of my living room where I was drinking it and really placed me outdoors surrounded by trees and wild berries. If I didn’t know better, I’d ever say I’d seen a bear walk by me as I was taking the last few sips.
…Or was it a centaur? Hmm.
Blendbee offers their teas in 1 oz sizes (what I got for all my blends), 4 oz sizes, and 8 oz sizes – while I don’t think I’d ever personally want an 8 oz amount of ANYTHING I do think I could maybe see myself ordering 4 oz of this if the rest of my sample is as refreshing and enchanting as my first cup. 2 oz would be perfect for me though, in an ideal world.
It was well worth the money, for this one, seeing my vision carried out.
Have you ever met a person with whom you clicked swiftly and intimately? Where you had a conversation and then realized “WE ARE BEST FRIENDS NOW.” You spend a lot of time with them — so much time that, if it weren’t your NEW BESTIE, you’d get sick of them. But you know that they love you too.
This is my relationship with oolong tea right now. Black tea is my time-honored long-term life partner, but oolong is a fresh buddy who wants to go art supply shopping with me.
This oolong is no exception. The dry blend smells like berries, but when it starts to steep, you pick up that rhubarb bite. Ah! Strawberry rhubarb pie! With caffeine! Just what I needed! HOW DID THEY KNOW?