Calabash Tea & Tonic

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Recent Tasting Notes

92

I could have sworn I’ve reviewed this before! This is the ginger tea I bust out when I need a serious herbal anti-inflammatory boost. Since I can’t take NSAIDs, ginger, turmeric, and peppermint are my go-to anti-inflammatories (YMMV and this is distinctly not medical advice for anyone else!). I like this one because it has the ginger, turmeric, and galangal, and you can tell from the way they hit that the galangal and ginger are of good quality. It’s flavorful enough to drink on its own, but I like to smooth it out with a bit of honey because I tend to brew it strong. Had this today because I mysteriously sprained my wrist. I’m already RICEing it and have it in a brace, but if it doesn’t get better soon I’ll have to go to urgent care, ugh.

Michelle

Rosemary and lavender in essential oil form work well directly applied to inflammation. But it seems you’ve got the inside covered with lots of anti-inflammatory brews.

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69

There are two other ingredients in this tea but the main flavor is peppermint. While I’m not huge on peppermint this blend is decent. The mouthfeel is soft but also a bit tangy which I find a little odd. Ah, though it does have ginger and especially Jamaican ginger which has a nice kick. It all makes sense now.

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69

This tea from the TTB was quite herbal and savory. It was okay cold, but it really wasn’t my preferred flavor profile.

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Sipdown (1374)!

This last cup kind of left me feeling a bit perplexed – more than I had been with my prior tasting. The chocolate note is a bit powdery, but ultimately a pretty nice “Dutch Cocoa” kind of chocolate – muddy and gross looking in the cup but pleasant in taste. I’m not opposed to a chocolate chai; but the main spice note in this cup was what was frankly a fuckload of anise. I also like anise/black licorice flavours quite a bit but I have to say…

Anise and chocolate? Yeah, something about that one seemed a bit off to me.

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Steeped up a mug a few nights ago – thanks VariaTEA for sharing!!

This definitely produces one murky, oily looking cuppa from all the chocolate and cocoa powder in the blend – but it does result in a pretty tasty chocolate profile even if the appearance is less than pretty. I haven’t checked the ingredients for the blend, but I was surprised that it wasn’t particularly spicy to me – I have some other spiced blends from Calabash and they seem to have some quite prominent ones in their arsenal of ingredients. Without looking at ingredients, I feel like there’s anise or licorice root in the blend – had that lingering/coating type sweetness I attribute to both of those ingredients.

I think I need to try it again to really make my mind up on the blend though. Maybe with milk; seems like it would be well suited to milk.

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Cold Brew Sipdown (1531)!

This was a little bit of a strange one to me because it wasn’t weak but it definitely seemed a bit watery or as if it was lacking some substance. The start of each sip was a pop of tart red berry and hibiscus with elements of elderberry and currant but this initial burst of flavour was fleeting and the sip afterwards felt like a shadow or after image of that first taste. A little hollow/empty – just a reflection of what was. The finish? Super clean. Nothing unpleasant tasting here by any stretch, but those sips just felt unfinished and left me wanting more out of the overall brew. It’s hard to explain, but hopefully that ramble of words does it some justice…

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Thank you VariaTEA for sharing this tea with me!

Weirdness of the tea name aside, this was pretty good. To be honest, it’s definitely majority hibiscus so the taste is very intense and leans quite tart – but there’s a bit of berry too from the elderberry so it’s not exactly like just drinking pure hibiscus. Not my favourite – I prefer some of the other blends I’ve had from this company. Happy I tried it though, and more enjoyable that I had expected the ingredients list!

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This is the last bit of my sample from VariaTEA, sadly!

Just as good as the first time — this tea is smooth with a healthy dose of vanilla that just tastes plain good. Theres some coconut in there too and it all just melds together nicely.

Thanks for sharing such a great tea!

Edit: Did a resteep of this because I couldn’t bear to let go of it, still smooth with a hint of creaminess but a lot less of the vanilla and coconut.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Another great sample from VariaTEA!

I steeped this one at just under boiling (very scientific, left the kettle open for a few seconds after it came to the boil) for 4 minutes.

This one smelled fairly sweet, but I felt adventurous today. The flavour is actually great! I can’t believe I’m enjoying this as much as I am because I usually don’t care for ‘overly’ flavoured teas, but this one is well done.

This has a very smooth feel with a healthy dose of vanilla and coconut. The base is not astringent at all, which I love. Overall a really smooth and lovely cuppa this afternoon.

Thanks VariaTEA!

VariaTEA

Glad you liked this one!

Courtney

Thanks! :)

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drank Blue Velvet by Calabash Tea & Tonic
1713 tasting notes

Another sampling from VariaTEA! Hmmmm…. strange. I get vanilla and some coconut creaminess. Something a little sweet at the start of the sip that I’m guessing could be cinnamon. The tea base adds depth. The scent has a deep perfume feel to it, almost a hint of honey. The large part of the sip is a little dull, but those notes come back out in the finish. Adding some creamer to the last half of the cup, which brings out the vanilla. I tried steeping this for 2 minutes, but it tasted a bit weak so I put the basket back in for another minute. I could easily sip the rest of this mindlessly while I work to struggle integrating my Square account to my website. I do so hate the tech part of artist life. Need more tea!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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69

had this the other day – thanks for teh sample VariaTEA. I honestly couldn’t have told you what they were going for with this blend. I didn’t get any particular taste from it…but since i don’t mind hibby, i was fine drinking it. Just nothing special or unique…and NO clue on the name lol

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77
drank Idris Chai by Calabash Tea & Tonic
15123 tasting notes

Sipdown! Tried this as a latte this time and it was still pretty decent, nothing I need to have in my cupboard but tasty enough. It’s thin and certainly doesn’t have that thick mouth feel you want in a rich hot chocolate, but I like the chai/hot chocolate vibe that tried here. Thanks for the Sample variaTEA..

…in other news, October = a new month and an awareness of how much I’ve let my cupboard slide, making purchases…and there are more I want to make haha. Trying to restrain myself a little. Closed borders with the US makes that a little easier at least.

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77
drank Idris Chai by Calabash Tea & Tonic
15123 tasting notes

I’d like to try this sample from VariaTEA as a latte. As a straight tea it wasn’t bad. not my favourite bend of chai spices but the “hot chocolate” aspect was nice, if a little on the thin side vs a rich creamy hot chocolate.

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70
drank Blue Velvet by Calabash Tea & Tonic
15123 tasting notes

sample from variaTEA. the description was curious to me…but when i smelled it…it was coconut. shrug and it tasted like coconut haha. To me this was just a coconut black…middle of the road, nothing special but nothing terrible.

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76

Sipdown (1331)!

I made this one when I got to the office this morning, but then I got pulled into an unexpected conversation and by the time I returned to my mug it was cold. It’s still quite good, and interestingly I’m getting a lot more coconut than I usually do – is that from the difference in temperature? I’m not sure, but I’m not mad about it. It’s thick and buttery, and works well with the usual vanilla notes of this tea. Still no cinnamon to be found, though…

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76

Delicious cuppa overall, but this really just tastes like a very good vanilla flavoured black tea to me. Super creamy and rich, and maybe a little bit of coconut but I’m not getting any of the other described flavours even though I’m enjoying it a lot.

Thanks for sharing, regardless, VariaTEA!

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76

Thank you VariaTEA for sharing!

I don’t know why, but in my head I was sure that this was supposed to be an Earl Grey Cream type of profile. It didn’t taste like that at all, so I am glad that I was wrong because I was about to be all “Uhhh… definitely missed the mark”. As it stands, I think it only slightly missed the mark from it’s intended flavour. What it does get right is that very lovely sweet and creamy coconut profile – this is basically just a smooth and silk vanilla coconut and it was lovely! I didn’t really taste any of the other advertised flavours, but as a stand alone coconut tea I’m into it!

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87

Cold Brew!

I always forget just how much hibiscus is in that blend and that first sip of very tart mouth puckering hibiscus always catches me off guard. It’s good though! Perfect for when you want the vibrancy and life of a really intense tart hibiscus with hints of juicy berries and hot ginger and allspice. Especially the ginger and allspice though, which lingering on the palate after the wave of hibiscus has quickly passed.

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87

Cold Brew!

I drank the first half of this cold brew straight and the second half of it mixed with gingerale. Both halves were delicious, but I preferred the gingerale half – it still had the distinct fruity bright tartness of the hibiscus and the deeper non-ginger spice notes from the blend, like the allspice, but was overall much more round on the palate with a juiciness that I thought was very amplified from the straight half, which was a little more sharply tart with the ginger/spice undertones.

gmathis

Love the ginger ale notion!

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87

From yesterday – steeped up in a “fill your own teabag” and left in the cup while I sipped/worked over the afternoon. That was a mistake, as it turns out, because the first half of the cup was fresh, zingy/tart hibiscus and ginger perfection but the last half of the cup was wayyyyyy too intense on the hibiscus and just too tart/puckering to be all that enjoyable…

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87

Tea Pop!

I keep putting off this tasting note because I feel like I did a bad job keeping track of the flavours, and since this was one of the teas I ordered from Calabash with the express purpose of supporting Black owned tea companies and getting more product reviews out there for their teas that seems shameful to me.

I need to get over that feeling though, because I have a practically full bag waiting to be revisited and I can take conscious tasting notes in the future when I drink this tea again!

This was my favourite of the three teas I ordered though and, admittedly, as soon as I smelled the dry leaf I knew it would be! It was so fresh and aromatic, and the mix of ginger and Jamaican spices made the inside of my nose tickle instantly just from smelling it!

I steeped this as a concentrate and topped off with a slightly lemon flavoured carbonated water to make my tea pop – and maybe that’s part of why I felt bad about this tasting note? For a first review, it’s not explicitly only about the tea itself. Sure, the tea likely would have had a citrus note to it already from the lemongrass but I certainly “boosted” that flavour note.

Ultimately, the citrus/lemongrass is NOT what made the blend though – it was that magic combination of tart, puckering hibiscus and tingly, warming spices! Plenty of ginger, in a way that makes me think of very good ginger beer, but also delicious allspice among others! I liked it a lot, and I think I would just as much even if I wasn’t drinking it in soda form!

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Hot cuppa with honey!

You can definitely taste the sweet, woody cinnamon in the blend and it’s also fairly aromatic as well. The apricot is very, very mild though I did find the addition of honey lifted those fruity notes a bit more to the forefront. However, the most memorable and distinct thing about this blend still remains the sheet quantity of marigold. In tea blends, marigold is almost entirely only used for visual and it generally has no real taste impact because the flavour is so light and it’s used in such a small percentage. There’s just such an insane amount in this blend though that it actually tastes more like floral (and slightly musty) marigold than anything else. It’s weird, and I still can’t totally decide if I like it.

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This tea is is basically an explosion of gorgeous golden flower petals, with soothing notes of cinnamon and apricot!! Regrettably, I’d forgotten about this tea over the course of the summer – but I felt like I got a chance to rediscover it this afternoon, and I found it very comforting! Only thing is, don’t leave the teabag in too long – the first three quarters of the mug were splendid but the last quarter that I allowed to steep for a half hour or so had a very sharp acrid note from the very concentrated marigold.

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CKUhSeugjOs/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kppJjGTRt6c&ab_channel=LaurenAuderVEVO

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