Dethlefsen & Balk

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Recent Tasting Notes


I only have two more old reviews to move in my cupboard! Then things will be back to regularly scheduled programming… sorry for the mess (I wish Steepster had an easier way to move entries than deleting and reposting, but alas). This is a sampler I had from Fusion Teas (called “Pineapple Paradse”) but it is sourced from Dethlefsen and Balk.

Today we got a flash snowstorm, so all things considered, a tropical blend didn’t exactly go with our sudden winter weather motif! But it is what I grabbed when I left the house this morning, so it’s what I had to make for my daily cuppa at work today, so I had a lovely bright, pineapple-yellow cuppa tea with sweet tropical scents wafting from my cup as fat fluffy snowflakes fell for several hours straight outside the library windows. Umm… aloha? So I prepared this tea warm today; I’ll admit I normally prepare fruity green teas of this sort as cold brews.

This tea is very sweet, with a strong pineapple flavor. I normally like my fruity green teas to be a bit on the delicate side, but since I really love pineapple (yes, I’m a pineapple-on-pizza person, and no, I won’t apologize for it) I actually don’t mind this. There is a somewhat subtle hint of a floral touch at the end of the sip which is nice, too.

I’m not getting much else out of this, though. I am not picking out any of the underlying sencha flavor (which may be a good thing if you aren’t necessarily a fan of green teas, so take that or leave that as you will; I personally would’ve preferred a bit more of the base to shine through, myself) and I’m not really getting any of the mango notes, either. I love pineapple, but as far as pineapple green teas go, I think I prefer Bluebird Tea Co.’s Pineapple Sorbet which was a little more complex, as it had some nice citrus notes thrown in as well. But then, this tea is readily available and Pineapple Sorbet has been discontinued, so there is that.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Pineapple, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML

I LOVE pineapple on pizza too. I wonder how other fruits work on pizza…. hmm

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I love this tea. When I first tasted this tea, it brought be back to a time, long ago, when I used to sip chilled white wine kept cold using frozen fruit; my sister used to make us each a glass and we’d watch movies together or play video games together while sipping on her apartment couch. Then I discovered alcohol was one of my main migraine triggers, and I couldn’t so much as even have a sip of wine anymore (I actually got into tea-tasting when I discovered it “brought back” many of the same feelings when I had to give up wine-tasting as a hobby!) And my sister has been moved away now for several years. So for a tea to simply bring back that moment really struck a chord with me.

I prefer this tea iced (to get that chilled wine effect!), and find the flavor has this white wine or champagne-like peppery tingle on the back of the tongue, while the flavor has these nice fruity hints. The tea is very sweet, with notes of apple, pineapple, and melon. The tea brews a beautiful, incredibly pale yellow, that even looks like a white wine, has a very silky smooth mouthfeel, and is very refreshing. This is the first tea I’ve ever bought in a bulk size, and I like to keep a nice cold mason jar of it on hand in my fridge to sip on in the evenings — it brings back the feelings of getting to have a glass of wine, but it’s alcohol free, so I can enjoy it even with my chronic migraine condition, and it’s caffeine-free too, so I can drink it right before bed while winding down.

Flavors: Apple, Melon, Pepper, Pineapple, Smooth, Sweet, White Wine

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

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Moving this review I made in January of 2018 under Fusion Teas over to the wholesaler, Dethlefsen & Balk, since I prefer my own cupboard to be organized that way and this tea is definitely from D&B. Feel free to ignore this old review… I may be moving some other stuff around as I come across them.

The tisane smelled strongly of orange-vanilla creamsicle, and it wasn’t the first time I had a holiday blend this winter with that flavor profile (which I found a bit odd, as creamsicle always makes me think of the ice cream pops, a very summer association in my mind). Despite the large amount of ingredients in the blend, from the two cups I got from the sampler, my impression of the flavor was a sweet orange-vanilla creamsicle base with a lot of tart hibiscus and cranberry notes, something which I recall being quite unique compared to the other creamsicle teas I’ve tried. The tea also had a slightly savory note from the carrot, but it was quite hard to pick up on unless you happen to drink a lot of carrot juice (which happens to be one of my favorite juices). It was very subtle. The tea was quite sweet with a very smooth, somewhat creamy mouthfeel, and despite all the spice in the blend, it left very little impression on the taste; the cinnamon notes were also quite subtle. The tea felt like a blend of a Cinnamon Plum fruit cider tea and an Orange Vanilla Rooibos creamsicle tea. It was a bit of an odd combination, but not unpleasant, either. I wish that for all the ingredients in the blend, more flavor notes stood out. There seems little reason to me to have so many ingredients in an herbal mix if they don’t really add anything because other flavors dominate the cup so thoroughly. Perhaps it was just the luck of the draw of what ended up in my sampler pouch, though.

Flavors: Creamy, Hibiscus, Orange, Smooth, Sweet, Tart, Vanilla

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 350 OZ / 10350 ML

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Holiday Tea-son! I have this tea as “Holiday Cheer” from Angry Tea Room, but it is sourced from Dethlefsen & Balk; Tealyra also has the same blend from the same source, which they call “Spiced Wassail”.

So, this is very orange peel heavy, and has lots of cardamom, which wasn’t in the original blend, either. The original blend also apparently had mistletoe in it, which this version does not. I would’ve found that interesting… * shrugs *

It’s a spiced cider blend, but brews up a very orange color, so despite the hibi-hip being listed rather high in the ingredient listing, it honestly doesn’t have much influence on the brew. This isn’t a red tea, and it isn’t very thick or fruity. It is very orange forward, with lots of spice! The orange citrus has a bit of a citric tartness to it, and actually tastes a bit rind-like, with some slight lemon notes to me. I am getting a nice cinnamon flavor to the spice, with a strong pop of strong, spicy cardamom toward the end of the sip. It is a bit apple cider like, only with a more tart/tangy profile from how citrusy it is with the orange base.

I really like it. I’ve been enjoying my really punchy hibiscus spice ciders, but I’m really liking this one too, as something similar but a change of pace. The cardamom blends with that sweeter cinnamon very nicely!

Flavors: Cardamom, Cinnamon, Citrus, Lemon, Orange, Spicy, Sweet, Tart

Boiling 8 min or more 3 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Autumn Harvest! Well, I found a bunch of other of my Tealyra blends on the D&B website looking for this particular one when I wanted to add it to the Steepster database under the proper source (it’s also from Germany, and now that I know Tealyra uses D&B as their wholesale source, I pretty much knew this was a D&B blend) but it appears it’s been discontinued… I double-checked on Tealyra’s site as well, and yup, it’s been removed. Another discontinued D&B blend, baaah! Hopefully it won’t be as amazing as Date Shake. Since I have no way of knowing the original name of the blend (Tealyra tends to rename the teas) I’ve put it under Tealyra… but there is no mistaking this is a Dethlefsen & Balk tea.

It smells very orangy, more like a creamsicle tea than something that makes me think of pumpkin, though the citrus has a very sharp, tart aroma. Steeped, it has a light tangerine color, and actually suddenly smells pumpkiny… how odd! The strong citrus in the leaf really mellows out in the steeped aroma, and it actually smells more squashy, but also quite creamy. The flavor of the tea still tastes very orangy, though. I do make out some pumpkin notes, but also tangerine and a slight tartness toward the end of the sip like green apple skins. There is definitely some vanilla, too, which brings a sweetness about midsip. It doesn’t quite taste like a creamsicle, because the orange isn’t as pronounced, but it does sort of evoke that citrus/vanilla flavor combo. I am happy to see the pumpkin flavor wasn’t completely overwhelmed, but at the same time, it isn’t as pronounced as I was hoping, since citrus is such a dominating flavor. It is quite tasty, though.

Next time, I may just try making a really strong infusion, and going latte with vanilla almond milk.

Flavors: Apple Skins, Citrus, Green Apple, Orange, Pumpkin, Sweet, Tart, Vanilla

Boiling 8 min or more 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

Sounds worth a try. Congrats on 400 tasting notes!


Date shake! Loved that one.

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Reposted review. I bought this blend as “Perfect Pumpkin Pie” from Tealyra, but they source it from Dethlefsen & Balk.

This is an interesting tea. I’m a huge pumpkin fan, so if I can find teas with pumpkin in them (that aren’t just pumpkin spice blends) I get pretty excited. Especially if the pumpkin isn’t paired with banana (as I don’t do banana). This one actually fit the bill.

The scent of the tisane is really strongly spicy though… I’ve never had turmeric before, but since I couldn’t place the scent, I had no doubt that had to be it (it was like a more pungent ginger, and from everything I’ve read about turmeric, that seems to be pretty accurate). Brewed up, more spices come out in the aroma. The turmeric still has a very strong scent, but I can make out ginger, cardamon, and something sweet, like hints of vanilla. The aroma does evoke a sense of pumpkin pie, but far more spicy and earthy.

The flavor, however, was not what I was expecting. It didn’t really taste very… pumpkiny. There was a sweetness to the base, likely from the apple, but the turmeric dominates the flavor way too much, and it just isn’t a flavor note that makes me think of “pumpkin pie.” It gives the tea a somewhat earthy taste that seems a bit out of place. That said, the blend isn’t bad… it is not the “perfect pumpkin pie,” that I was hoping for, but it does have a nice, savory, autumn spiced cider flavor. Past the strong turmeric there is a nice gingery flavor, with some cinnamon and peppery spices that close out the sip. There is a nice warmth to the spices, but it doesn’t linger, and instead a sweet orange-apple flavor is left lingering on the tongue.

I tried the tea as a latte, but the flavor easily gets overwhelmed by the milk, so if making it this way either make a very strong infusion of tea, or only add a small dash of milk. The warm milk does add a nice, creamy dimension, once I found a good tea-to-milk ratio.

I’d say this is a decent spice herbal blend, and a good “autumn flavor” tea… but a horrible pumpkin pie tea. If you are ordering it based on the name, you’ll be disappointed! This definitely is more of a savory blend, not a dessert blend, and just doesn’t have much of a pumpkin flavor.

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Earth, Ginger, Orange, Peach, Spices, Spicy, Sweet

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Reposted review. I bought this from Tealyra, but they wholesale this blend from Dethlefsen & Balk. I sipped this one down recently!

This is a very bulky herbal, so it does take quite a bit of leaf; it has big, full dried apple pieces and large cinnamon rods, so it is a bit heavy making it a bit expensive due to the weight. But it is really nice! It has a strong, full apple flavor that is mildly tart and tastes like Granny Green apples, with some sweeter cinnamon notes toward the end of the sip. The ingredients do need to be well shaken; at the end of my bag all my hibi-petals had settled to the bottom, and my last pot was more of a spiced hibiscus cider than an apple cider (which I was fine with, as I like hibiscus cider as well) but that is something to keep in mind.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Green Apple, Sweet, Tart

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Autumn Harvest! The same “Honey Mead” tea found at Fusion Teas; this is their wholesale source. It has a lot of interesting ingredients in it, some of which I don’t think I’ve ever tried in tea before: apples, sultanas, sour cherries, and propolis.

I think, because the dry fruit has such a raisiny appearance, I was expecting a very sweet, raisiny taste like the Tea & Scones tea I had pretty recently, but this is quite different. The base is quite malty, but there is a somewhat floral touch to the tea that reminds me of honeysuckle and a very weak rose, and a mild peppery note as well, that settles close to the end of the sip. The fruit notes are a little hard to pin down… there is a sweeter raisin sort of flavor, but also a sort of tart, underripe grape, but I actually really like how the two blend together. There is a very subtle nuttiness left on my tongue after the sip too, like almond or cashew? I’m surprised how much depth and variety of flavors I’m getting from this one. The last two teas I’ve tried have both been fairly unique and presented a lot of different flavors I haven’t really experienced from blends before.

For a morning cuppa while stuck working on a Saturday, this will certainly do.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Honeysuckle, Malt, Nutty, Pepper, Raisins, Rose, Smooth, Sweet, Tart

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 15 OZ / 450 ML

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Old review; I’m just moving it because I discovered (Nancy Drewing out a completely different tea, mind) that Tealyra had wholesourced this from Dethlefsen & Balk. Yes, all the other reviews are under “Maple Splash” by Tealyra. Yes, I realize everyone probably thinks I’m crazy that I like putting my blends under the wholesaler instead of the teashop. Consider it a librarian quirk. It makes me feel too much like cataloging a Harry Potter book under every little bookstore that carries said Harry Potter book instead of “Rowling,” the person who made the book…

I got this tea from tea-sipper in a cupboard sale recently, and will admit that the name alone sold me (though I am a fan of TeaLyra’s teas and have several of them in my collection… shame they don’t seem to carry this one anymore, which seems to be a blend from their old Tealux days). I’ve been crazing maple teas lately, so I decided to have this one with my breakfast this morning. (I almost made the Maple Houjicha from 52Teas since that would’ve fit my “Green March” theme, but the higher caffeine content of a black tea was speaking to me this morning!)

I’m not exactly sure what popcorn is supposed to be adding to this blend, but I do love the almost caramelly sweet scent from the bag. Brewed up it has a lovely caramel color with some reddish tones, a medium body with a very smooth mouthfeel lacking of astringency, and a sweet maple flavor with a nice hint of cinnamon in the finish. I really enjoyed that tingle of cinnamon which was a nice compliment to the sweet maple, and found myself adding a little extra cinnamon to my infuser to really emphasize that flavor.

This is a nice tea. Even with a steep a lot longer than I typically give blacks, it came out sweet and smooth, rather than developing an astringent bite, and I really enjoyed the maple/cinnamon flavor combination.

Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Malt, Maple Syrup, Smooth

200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Cameron B.

I completely agree with you regarding entering teas under the wholesaler rather than the retailer. ❤

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Autumn Harvest! This is a black tea I picked up from Snake River Tea in Boise, Idaho, on one of my yearly Anime Oasis trips. After a search for the ingredients I found it was sourced from major blend wholesaler Dethlefsen & Balk. Last year I wanted to stock up more of it because I really liked it, so I ordered more of their “Pomegranate Black”, but when I got home, I noticed the leaf looked different. Sure enough, I looked up the ingredients online, and realized that it was not the “Pomegranate Cranberry” that they had before and the ingredients were indeed different. Snake River Tea had replaced the Pomegranate Cranberry they were sourcing from Dethlefsen & Balk with TeaSource’s Pomegranate Black (this made me even more disappointed because my local coffee shop that actually carries tea here in town carries a small selection they source from TeaSource, Pomegranate Black being one of them, so I can easily get some of that tea whenever I want. I really wish I had realized the Boise store had replaced that blend! Bah!) So, this is a sad sipdown of this one. I’m on a strict tea-ordering hiatus for a while, but one day I will have to find another source online that is specifically wholesaling this particular blend so I can restock it.

The leaf is lovely with this tart fruitiness from the cranberry and pomegranate, but also has this light floral undertone. The steeped cup is a nice, rounded dark brown cuppa of black tea with some lovely cherry tones, and it brews fairly dark and leaves some lingering astringency, but the cup is mellowed a lot by the natural sweetness of the fruity and floral flavor notes of the tea.

Neither the pomegranate or cranberry flavors are particularly dominant in the blend, but they do mix together to create a very unique and pleasant fruity flavor; it’s deep, just a bit sweet, and has a tart edge that compliments the black tea well. I think what I like best is that the fruit flavor adds a light dimension and doesn’t taste heavy, overpowering, syrupy or incredibly artificial like many fruit flavored blacks can tend to do. And I love how that tart fruity note is complimented by the sweet peony petals in the blend! They leave a pleasant fragrance lingering on the cup, and give the back of the tongue this mellow sweet floral finish that keeps the fruitiness from becoming too tart and the tea requiring some sugar or honey to balance it out. At the same time, the floral notes are just subtle enough beneath the fruit flavor and the rich black tea that if you normally don’t like floral teas, I don’t think you’d find it off-putting.

Such a nice blend, I’ll miss this one!

Flavors: Astringent, Berries, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Red Fruits, Sweet, Tart

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

After your great description, I’m missing it, too, and I’ve never had it! Sounds delish, and I hope you find it again.

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Autumn Harvest! Pomegranates and lemongrass happen to both be on my autumn harvest list, though I’m sure neither are particularly thought of as “fall foods”. Tonight, I was definitely in the mood for a pommy tea, though (pomegranates, not pomeranians, I’m not a monster!) and I’ve had this sampler named “Exotic Pomegranate White/Green Tea” by Fusion Teas for ages. It was pretty easy to find the wholesale source of this tea — there are pretty much four major blend wholesalers I always check first, and I happened to check Dethlefsen & Balk second and got an exact ingredient match for their “Pomegranate Dragonfruit Green/White Tea.” Ding ding ding! Every other review for this will probably be listed under “Exotic Pomegranate” with Fusion Teas, but I prefer listing under the direct source, so there you have it.

The brewed tea is a buttery yellow color, has a light punchy fruit scent, and a very mellow floral note, as well. Oddly enough, I am getting a slight pineapple aroma, too. Which is only a good thing to my olfactory senses, as far as I’m concerned. Despite smelling quite punchy, it really is quite delicate, with a light, silky mouthfeel. I do taste pomegranate, but it is a gentle touch, not strong and overwhelming like so many fruit teas, with the base playing a much stronger role, and I’m surprised how many notes I’m getting here… a touch of a floral rose note, a soft butteriness (perhaps coming from the sencha added to the blend?), and a very sweet berry note that comes out toward the finish that reminds me of strawberry candy (it’s likely the kiwi or the dragonfruit, but since I don’t eat either, my palate is likely reading it as strawberry?)

I really like it! I think my next batch is going to be as a cold brew, but this was very gentle and relaxing before bed. I tend to only have herbals in the evening, but forget that white teas are so light on caffeine that it should be fine to have a cuppa of them in the evenings once in a while, too. I should add more whites into my evening drinking repetoire.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Fruity, Rose, Strawberry, Sweet

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

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drank Lychee / Bamboo by Dethlefsen & Balk
1040 tasting notes

Thanks Stephanie for sending a bit of this my way.

There is nothing offensive here, but really nothing remarkable either. I’m not sure I can actually taste either lychee or bamboo – vaguely fruity green, but nothing special.

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D&B states that this tea will stand up to most Frisian blends, so let’s see! In the cup there is definitely a malty aroma a bit of chocolate, but mostly the notes that accompany a decent breakfast blend. There is assam here as well as Sumatra…there is some astringency that is doing battle with my milk and sugar. But the tea is winning. It is a dark copper cup of morning strength. If you like strong morning blends, you will like this tea.

Flavors: Malt

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

This was a pretty astringent cup. After 16 ounces it felt like I’d been riding in the back seat of a car with the window down and my tongue out….. dry!

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Dethlefsen & Balk are tea wholesalers…the only reason I have a sample of this tea is because a family member is in the tea/coffee business and goes to the trade shows….she gives me the samples she doesn’t need…I’m lucky that way! So because they wholesale this tea, you might be drinking this under another name and not know that you are. :) You also can’t order this tea unless you have a wholesale account with D&B. Which is the bummer. Because I really like this tea.
This is a blend of Assam and Sumatra organic teas. It’s a dark copper-brown cup with a full flavor. It’s strong and wonderfully reasonable with milk and honey. If you drink Fresian blends,(spoon stands up in the tea by itself kind of strong!) this might be a nice alternative for you. I love the idea of organic and this was a pleasant enough blend to sample, as most English Breakfast blends don’t include indonesian tea. I may get a craving for the rest of the sample soon….I’ll keep you posted!

Update: Had a craving for this tea today….about a week after the above post. It’s still strong, still full flavor and it’s taking care of that craving for a big flavor cup of breakfast blend gloriously! Now I wish I had more than just a sample!!

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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This is an interesting one that TastyBrew sent a bit of to try with that amazing package – thanks again! I’ve tried one other bamboo tea and one other lychee tea. I have NO idea what lychee is supposed to be like, but to me both of them tasted like how plastic smells, if that makes sense. So I can think of better things to be drinking! I had no idea what time/temp to steep this one at, since it is bamboo that can steep pretty hot but also green tea. Dry, the leaves smell like dill pickles! What? The last gulp kind of tasted that way. This one is different anyway, but I don’t actually find it terrible.

ETA: I’m just now reading tasting notes and it seems others have noticed a pickle flavor too!


Holy, what a weird tea! Lychee, by the way, tastes very much like a large, sweet grape to me. I once bought a huge amount with a friend from an Asian grocery store in Calgary, and we ate them all that night… and were sick the next day from all the fruit. :$


A big ole grape! Good to know! :D


Heh. Well, prickly grape. It has an outer shell that’s prickly, and it comes off easily.


The inner fruit looks like an eyeball. I’m not a fan… :)

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Bought in Zagreb in a store named

185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 30 sec

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Bought in Zagreb (jul/2013) at
Franja TUO
10000 Zagreb, Hrvatska

Named: Source of Wisdom

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Amazing and pleasant aroma of the great mix of the orange and nuts with the gingerbread touch. I’m a big fan of this Rooibos. I like it with a dash of oat or soy drink.

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more

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I got this in my swap with brewTEAlly sweet

Hmm…I’m not sure what to make of this! It’s kinda vaguely green tea and fruity flavored, lol. Maybe I’m not big into bamboo. I think I’ve only had it in tea one other time and it was strongly artificially flavored (Bamboozled from David’s) so I couldn’t really even taste the bamboo. Anyway, it was fun to try this but it’s not really my thing :)

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I am not adding a score for this one…it tastes like pickles! I had my husband try it and he thought it tasted like pickles also….very strange. Any reason why this would taste pickle? I got it in a swap but it had never been opened…..

anyone want it? maybe you will get lychee or bamboo….

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drank Love Affair by Dethlefsen & Balk
4843 tasting notes


This was originally entered as an “Amoda Tea” and while Amoda did indeed offer it (and continues to sell it, I believe) in their February tasting box, it is a Defthlesen & Balk Tea according to Amoda.

Anyway … I tried this tea a while back … I’m REALLY, REALLY behind on my tasting notes. It’s pretty tasty, but, a little disappointing. Being a chocoholic, I want CHOCOLATE when I’m promised chocolate, and this tea promises chocolate but doesn’t really deliver quite as strongly as I would like it to. There is a gentle rose note to this cup, and a sweet-tart strawberry note, and then there is the rooibos. I wish there was more chocolate and less rooibos taste.

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drank Love Affair by Dethlefsen & Balk
45 tasting notes

Nice sweet-ish tea, flavours predominantly chocolate and strawberry, bit of rhubarb. The little red hearts are strawberry-flavoured.

By the time I’d drunk half of it, the sweet fruity flavour became a bit cloying. I’ll have to try it again. Maybe it doesn’t work to let it get cool.

I brewed this, as per instructions, for 10 minutes with boiling water.
Added milk and small amount of sugar, as the tea is already sweet.

Boiling 8 min or more

I find that happens to me frequently on the fruitier teas, especially the steep forever ones.

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