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Recent Tasting Notes
Just a small teacup of this one late at night because I was craving the fruit and herb pairing. Very sweet, bright peach made juicier and more vibrant by the contrasting savory thyme! A bit of nuttiness and a cinnamon finish. This one has so many layers/facets of flavour and they all pop so, so much! Very tasty!
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…
Light and fruity!
Primary flavours were a balance of candied pineapple notes and fresh, just slightly under ripe strawberry. Definitely brightness in the top of the sip, but the overall profile had weight to it and the mouthfeel was thicker and almost syrupy. Strong hay and malt notes mixed in with the fruit notes in the body profile; you don’t lose the white tea in this one at all. Only little whisps of the passionfruit, but they were drawn out a little more by the fact I was actually eating fresh passionfruit at the same time as I was drinking this one.
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…
I want to be really proud of this one, since I created the blend, but I don’t think I am. I mean, don’t get me wrong – I actually like the taste of it a whole lot in the moments that I am sipping on it. Like today, it tasted sweet and mellow all at the same time with this sweet, black licorice tinged blueberry pastry note taking up the bulk of the sip, I think it’s the spices/cinnamon that make me think pastry; not sure what else in the blend would. Regardless, I am here for a black licorice and blueberry profile.
The reason I don’t think I’m ultimately proud of it, though, is honestly that it’s also a forgettable blend. I don’t crave it, it’s not mind blowing, and honestly I don’t even really think of it at all until I happen to stumble across the package of it while searching through my teas. That’s not the mark of a super high quality tea, is it?
I think when you put it all together, it’s much more like a reliably average type of tea.
Had this one whilst at the height of ‘laryngitis misery’. I actually deliberately picked it out because I thought the anise and fennel seed combo in the blend would be really pleasant on my throat; and it actually was very soothing! I couldn’t really taste much of it though, a bit of fruity blueberry sweetness and licorice sweetness. It wasn’t enough anise/licorice taste to be considered a “punch” of licorice, but maybe like a solid slap of anise? And then a hint of cinnamon in the finish.
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
Super awesome cold brewed glass of this, mixed with some vanilla, creamer, and a splash of white rum. I’m not really counting this one as a ‘cocktail’ though because it barely had any booze in it/was still mostly tea. It tasted pretty fucking good though; thick and creamy with strong boozey pineapple notes. I don’t know why, but the rum accented the pineapple. Maybe because I associate rum and pineapple with pina coladas and this did have A LOT of similar elements to a pina colada. I mean, basically everything but the coconut…
The ‘creme brulee’ flavour that the tea is meant to replicate still came through really well too though; very sweet and creamy with more of a custard element because of the added cream and vanilla. I distinctly tasted the cinnamon in the blend, and I think the carob just added to overall sweetness along with the brown sugar flavours. It was so good though, and the perfect cap to a semi exasperating work day.
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!
Late night cup of tea slowly sipped on outside in my backyard, at the end of a thunderstorm which left everything smelling beautiful of petrichor and the yard feeling cool and calm.
I definitely still don’t love this tea; it’s very artificial/chemical tasting in terms of the fruits in it, and the florals read as super perfumey. It just doesn’t flow/mesh together in any sort of harmonious way. However, there’s something to be said about how much a really amazing environment can change the tea drinking experience because drinking this cup of tea outside I didn’t hate it. It was just part of a very serene moment.
If I wait for every major thunderstorm to enjoy a cup of this tea, though, then I’m never going to finish it…
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.
This is an upsetting sipdown for me; I’ve greatly enjoyed this black tea and all its weird but connected layers of flavour. It’s sweet (chocolate), spicy (clove and cinnamon), tart (cranberry) – really it’s just every great autumnal flavour in one beautiful package. I debated not finishing it until the fall when it would be more appropriate, but I think I was just ready to let go of this one and everything it meant to me…
When I envisioned this blend it was a representation of a relationship with someone that no longer exists now – literally a phrase that he said to me to poetically convey how we were two opposite people coming together to create something stronger and more beautiful. That just simply isn’t true any more though.
I’d love to get this recreated by BlendBee for myself at some point in the future – but I can guarantee you that if I ever do that it will be under a different blend name.