Metropolitan Tea Company

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Recent Tasting Notes

86

June Wedding! Something old! This tea is one of the first I bought when I started collecting teas… which would have been from the fall of 2016? I remember I got it from a shop in Campbell, California called Steepers, but with a little research the blend appears to be Metropolitan Tea Co.‘s Cranberry Apple. I’m a little upset that Steepers appears to have embellished on their ingredients a bit, because they claimed elderberries and lingonberries are in the blend (and the lingonberries is what sold me on it, as I’m a big fan of those!) but neither of those more “rare” ingredients are actually listed as being in the blend from Metropolitan. Steepers is definitely the kind of independent shop to source their teas and has tons of Metro blends in their line-up, so I’m pretty sure they don’t just happen to have a different tea with the same name from a different source with slightly different ingredients, either. I think they did dirty on their repackaging… and with a steep price upmark, too (maybe that is why their shop is called Steepers, eh? Eh?)

I wanted to use this up (sipdown!) so I made a nice, strong iced tea batch with what I had left of this. I’ve always liked this one, but it would be a nightmare for the majority of you out there: yup, it’s a hibi-hip tea (and I just happen to like those). A very strong hibi-hip, with a very, fruity base, with lots of refreshing tart and tanginess. It actually doesn’t come off quite as fruit punchy to me as I usually taste a nice chilled hibiscus, but I think that is because the cranberry flavor here is pretty distinct, so it is making me think more of succulent, tart, cranberry juice, though it does have a thicker mouthfeel, and the sweetness from the apple comes off a bit differently than all the sweetners in actual cranberry juice.

There is a lot of red berry sweet-tartness that I like here with cranberry as the defining flavor, and since that is a flavor I really love, this has always been one of my favorite iced teas. I already miss it… I’ll have to restock it sometime. Especially as I’d like to steep it in lemonade sometime.

Flavors: Berry, Cranberry, Fruity, Hibiscus, Tangy, Tart

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

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Stole some of this from my mom’s stash tonight since I just needed something without any frills to it; no point wasting good tea when I can’t taste it/fully appreciate it. In an attempt to bring some character to this one I added coconut milk and chocolate agave. I tasted none of the additions, nor really the tea itself. I just feel frustrated with how sick I am and my inability to taste anything right now; it’s just disheartening making a tea and having it literally taste like water. Or, in this case, astringent water.

I just want to not be sick.

VariaTEA

I feel you. The sad thing is other than a lingering cough and a crackle in my chest, I feel fine. Regardless of that, my taste is still off. It’s like there is a void in the flavors :(

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58

May Flowers! I was a little disappointed that the Spi Chai sampler by T2 I tried the other night, which was supposed to have rose and jasmine petals, ended up not having any, so here is my second try at a floral chai! This blend is the Kama Sutra blend by tea wholesaler Metropolitan Tea Company, which means it’ll be in tea shops across the country. I purchased mine from The American House in San Diego, California, during a vacation. This particular chai blends Indian and Kenya black teas with chai spices and rose petals, jasmine blossoms, and lavender buds.

Unlike my sad Spi Chai sampler, I do have ample flower petals in this tea, and a pronounced floral scent from the bag! It’s actually a very interest aroma, a little like cardamom and clove mixed with lavender, and I actually find the combination of aromas oddly pleasant! The base tea steep up very strongly, and it actually wasn’t as bitter as I was expecting (I think the floral notes actually helped a lot in this regard), but it did have a fair bit of astringency following the sip.

This is a chai that needs to be well shaken, and preferably scooped from down inside the bag rather than from off the top to get a good flavor, since the spices are ground up and tend to sink/settle easily. When I took the tea from the top I got a very weak flavor that was like some slightly cardamom-flavored black tea, but when I shook the bag and then dipped the teaspoon down into the center of the bag, my second cup actually had a very full, spicy flavor. This was a strong chai, with the cardamom, ginger, and black pepper leaving a strong impression on my tongue. I think the floral notes got a little lost by how strong the spices and how astringent the black tea was; I could make out a hint of lavender toward the end of the sip when the spices were starting to die down a bit, but wasn’t tasting any rose or jasmine in my cup.

Since this chai has such a strong black base, I tried it latte style as well, and it was much nicer taken that way. That tamed the black pepper notes and the astringency, and the sweetened milk helped bring more of the floral notes to the forefront, as well; the lavender finish suddenly really popped! If I ever make this again, I will only make this as a latte in the future.

This is actually pretty nice as a latte, since I do like the way the spices and lavender play against each other, but on the whole I think the blend still needs a little balancing between the spice notes and the floral to more fully bring out all the flavors. I would’ve liked to be able to taste the other florals in the blend, to have a bit more balance between all the spices, and just a better balance between the spice and floral so they aren’t competing. I really do think it could be done!

Flavors: Astringent, Black Pepper, Cardamon, Ginger, Lavender, Malt, Spicy

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Warning: mini rant below
I’m pretty sure that this is the right source since the leaf looks the same and the other tea’s from the company are from here or Culinary Teas.
I got this tea down at the beach and couldn’t decide between this one or the Irish Cream. I asked a family member which one I should go with and of course my impatient grandfather just said go with that one while pointing to the Caramel Pu-erh. So I went with this one. I’m the type of person who weighs the pros and cons and found that they were tied when picking between these two teas. I definitely need someone to come into my life who has great reasoning and can make these types of decisions for me.

Prep: I used one Teavana perfect spoonful. Steeped this western style using 9 oz of boiling water to be exact for 3:15 minutes covered. I used no additives as this tea is best without any milk or sweetener in my opinion.
Steep #2: 6 oz of water for maybe 7 minutes
Steep #3: 4 oz of water for maybe 12 minutes

Taste Wise- This is sweet in a burnt sugar sort of way. It definitely has a syrupy sweetness of sorts to it but I wouldn’t necessarily identify it as caramel. The Pu-erh base is earthy, mineral-y and perhaps slightly fishy but that might just be because the dry leaf smelled somewhat fishy. It’s an interesting tea for sure. I didn’t pay a ton of attention to it while drinking it so this tasting note will be expanded on in the future.
I definitely would like to explore some higher grade pu-erhs but unfortunately western steeping is often more convenient for me. I’m holding off on rating this for now until I try it again. I enjoyed it but it was a bit bizarre and I’m not in love with it.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Mineral, Sweet, Wet Earth

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML
52Teas

I believe that most of the teas from Culinary Teas are also Metropolitan Teas. Metropolitan Teas is a wholesale company – that is, they don’t sell retail. They sell retail products – wholesale – to retailers that will sell their products but they do not have a retail outlet of their own. (At least that’s been my understanding over the course of the many years that I’ve been involved in the tea business.)

Lexie Aleah

That makes sense. Thanks for the information. (:

Mastress Alita

So, I have a confession to make, as for the decision-making. My online friends and I hang out in an old IRC (Internet Relay Chat) server. One of them has a bot on our chatroom that can do misc. things using commands. One thing she programmed Silvie (the bot) to do for me is decide my tea. If I use the !tea command, I get a response like, “Silvie runs to the cupboard and fumbles around with many different bags. She bounds back and presents a bag of Oolong” (with the choices being “black” “green” “white” “chai” “oolong” “yerba mate” “pu-erh” “rooibos” “herbal” “bagged tea” “mixed blends” and “Silvie’s Special Blend”). That narrows my collection of over 400 teas down to a category, and sometimes if I really want to narrow down my choice, I’ll put the teas into an Excel sheet, and use her random number command to select one from the sheet for me, too. I hate to admit how often I do that to select my tea choices! But you aren’t the only indecisive one!

Lexie Aleah

That sounds amazing! We definitely need a feature on Steepster like that, that picks a random tea from our cupboard.

Todd

I found an online spinning wheel that picks things and populated it with common types of tea. You can customize it however you like and save the URL. Note that it makes noise when you click to spin the wheel, but you can turn that off. http://wheeldecide.com/index.php?c1=black&c2=green&c3=white&c4=oolong&c5=pu%27er&c6=herbal&c7=rooibos&c8=yerba+m%C3%A1te&c9=chai&t=Tea&time=5

Lexie Aleah

Thanks! (:

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56

Ah, Scottish Caramel Pu-erh. I think nearly every independant teashop I’ve visited has had this on the line-up, and if you search it here on Steepster, you’ll probably get a good twenty iterations of it because of that, but I’m fairly positive they are all wholesaling it from the same popular teashop wholesaler — Metropolitan Tea Company. What I find most fascinating is how many of these teashops put butterscotch or caramel (or both) on the ingredients list (the one I purchased it from did!) yet inspecting the leaf, there isn’t a trace of caramel or butterscotch pieces in it (only chopped almond), meaning these are flavorings. That makes a big difference to those with dietary restrictions, preferences, or allergies; my BFF is Vegan and the difference between caramel flavoring (often non-dairy) and caramel pieces (typically dairy) is huge, and simply listing “caramel” on the ingredients list is not very helpful! The consumer shouldn’t have to dig through their leaf to figure out what is in their tea, especially after buying… /end rant

In any event, I picked up my go at this blend from Shakespeare’s Corner Shoppe and Afternoon Tea last year when I was on vacation in San Diego. The leaf does have a bit of the “fishy” smell I find tends to be a problem with the bases in flavored pu-erh blends, but thankfully it mellows out in the brewed cup, and doesn’t leave any lingering flavors (at least that I notice, and that can’t be said for some other flavored pu-erhs in my collection). The tea brews up very thick and dark as coffee, has a damp earth flavor with a bit of a mineral finish, but is very sweet. The pu-erh base is a bit strong so I don’t get a heavy caramel note, but more of a sweet, burnt sugar finish, with a slight caramely taste left lingering on my tongue afterwards. During the sip, something about the sweet flavorings and the earthiness of the base gives me this coconut flavor on my tongue… I realize there is nothing in the tea to produce a coconut flavor, but the caramel notes read to my palate that way more than caramel. (That isn’t exactly a bad thing, I like coconut, but I find it interesting). I’m not sure what the diced almonds are doing for the blend, since I don’t get any nutty notes from the tea. The tea comes off as a cheap pu-erh that uses its flavoring to pre-sweeten the leaf and hide the unappealing notes that typically come with a cheap pu-erh. It’s drinkable, but not something I’m going to miss once I manage to finish it off.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Coconut, Mineral, Sweet, Thick, Wet Earth

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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90

I purchased this tea from Steepers, a tea shop in Campbell, California, and am fairly sure they source several of their tea blends from Metropolitan Tea Company, including this one.

This is one of my favorite dessert teas, though I admittedly have to use a lot of leaf to get the sort of nice, rich flavor that I really love. At a tablespoon of rooibos, the tea has this lovely toffee flavor with some subtle caramel notes, while managing to not be overly sweet and allowing just a bit of the rooibos base to come through. I also found that, unlike many of my flavored rooibos, this one resteeped for me fairly well with an increased steep time, perhaps from the increased use of leaf, and I can manage to squeeze a few extra cups out of it while still getting a pretty decent flavor. This is a nice tea to hit a sweet-tooth craving around bedtime, since it is caffeine-free.

Full review: https://teatimetuesdayreviews.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/tea06/

Flavors: Caramel, Nutty, Sweet, Toffee

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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72

A friend who had taken a short holiday in Miami returned home with this present (I love presents, and I love tea, so it really made my day the day I received it some time last week). Metropolitan Tea Company seems to be a Canadian company known – at least by me – for its “souvenir wooden tea boxes”, and I read online these are only available in North America. The print is really nice, but unfortunately the box itself sort of “colapsed” after I first opened it. Inside was a pack with 12 tea bags, individually tagged. A nice citrusy aroma could be observed, nothing too overwhelming, nor too artificial, which really left a good impression. I brewed the tea according to the indications on the box, and the brew was very fragrant as well, although it had lost a bit in comparison to the tea bags. But when drinking the tea, there´s – surprisingly – little left from the lime fragrances, and the taste is even a bit wood-like. Now, I´m not the biggest citrusy tea fan, so it´s certainly no disaster for me that the lime aroma has only a subtle presence in the final tea. Before writing this review, I made myself another cup this morning, with the same observations. Enjoyable, but probably a huge disappointment for the fans of lemon and lime.

Flavors: Lime, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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70

So, earlier in the week I went to the Vintage Tea Room with my mom for afternoon tea as like an early Easter thing since I wouldn’t be spending Easter with my family this year. I actually ordered a pot of Decaf Margaret’s Hope and my mom ordered this tea but we ended up liking each other’s more so we swapped.

I definitely didn’t expect to like this one, but I think it worked better for me because the jasmine was stronger than the Earl Grey so it was like a really full bodied, robust jasmine black tea that took cream really well, because of the EG component. Plus, it complimented the lemon curd angel food cake we ordered quite nicely too which was a win. Also it was just nice to break out of my normal routine at the tea room, which is to order flowering tea.

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80

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Grenadine

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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75

Mild black tea with a hint of honey.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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89

I really liked this one, but seem to be in the minority. My friend sent me the small box of tea bags, not the loose tea. I loved the maple smell and think it was a pleasant black base with a nice maple undertaste. Already went through the box and finished all the tea.

Flavors: Maple Syrup

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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70

ok so I’m learning to not hate this one. Now that I’m expecting smokiness and a cuppa nothing like dark chocolate. Still haven’t found anything to blend it with other than chai sugar. I’m having one of those “astringency is ok” days.

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70

I was making a cuppa this, when Mum stepped into the room and looked alarmed. “do you smell smoke? something is burning!”
She was standing next to my tea. I told her to take a sniff. She looked a little sheepish :P

Anyhow. I find this tea far too plain and astringent. Adding milk and chai sugar helps perk things up! One of those teas I’ll go through quickly as I can experiment with it. This should be fun

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70

Ugh. I can’t believe I caved and purchased tea! After not having brought any into the house since the festival, I was doing so well(except the odd David’s sample, which does count, but not by much) .
I was up north visiting some relatives and we were browsing the shops in town… I guess I was in the mood for a souvenir, but the part of the store that my cousin says has the good stuff wasn’t open for the warm season yet, so we were a little down about it. And then I saw they had teas… things got a little happier!
I’m not the biggest fan of the brand but at that point I’m not sure I cared.

Anyhow. I made a cuppa at the cottage. It was just ok.
I need to try again at home. Maybe different water will make a difference.
All I know is that the chocolate note was super weak, and as I had expected from the scent, there was a definite smoky note. Still not sure how it all fits together. Definitely needs to be revisited

Fjellrev

I always wonder how many of their teas I have actually tried because although I never bought any that are directly labelled as Metropolitan, I swear some I’ve purchased from smaller tea shops are selling their stuff under different names. This sounds like a chocolate tea at a local shop here which I’ve been suspecting sells Metropolitan teas. Had that smoky note that I didn’t expect. Ramble ramble, it’s still a pretty good idea for a souvenir!

Indigobloom

UGH! I replied to this. Frustrating that it never loaded. Hmph.

That wouldn’t surprise me at all. I’ve noticed that with a few blends as well. The first one I remember like that is Forever Nuts from DT. SO many places have the same one under a different name

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97

A beautiful tea. Brews a pale green/yellow. Creamy with a strong floral scent and taste. In addition to the creamy milky taste, I also sense vanilla and the floral scent and taste is like orchids. I made this in the gaiwan with a short rinse first but I don’t think it needed it. Subsequent drinkable steeps were from 40s gradually increasing.

Flavors: Floral, Milk, Orchids, Vanilla

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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76

I bought this tea from Moonbean Coffee Co. which stocks teas from Metropolitain. I made it in a Gaiwan with a 15 sec rinse, so far followed by two drinkable steeps at 40 sec each. The taste was quite floral, but I didn’t notice that so much in the scent. I also think there is a bit of smokiness, or at least that’s what I’m calling it. I’m not sure I like the type of floral, reminds me a little of perfume. Curious to see how the flavour develops in subsequent steeps.

Flavors: Floral, Smoke

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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82

Purchased from Zombie Runner in Palo Alto, CA. I love the robust smokiness. Tea steeps to a strong caramel color and smells like a tumbler of Laphroaig. Lapsang is the peat-heavy Scotch of teas. Tastes smoky with a slick, syrupy mouthfeel. Spicy aftertaste. Mild astringency.

Flavors: Burnt, Scotch, Smoke, Spicy

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML

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73

I decided to try this iced, and accordingly used more leaf than usual, but I think that was a mistake, as the tea tastes pretty bitter even with sugar added.

S.G. Sanders

I get that a lot with Lady Londonderry. So much so, that I feel guilty for adding so much sugar to wipe out the astringency!

Tamarindel

Me too, and I don’t really understand it, as astringency seems to usually come from the tea itself, not whatever flavoring was added. Oh well, some things just need a lot of sugar.

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