Special Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes


My first try from the EU TTB Round 4!

This one sounded interesting, but I didn’t get anything that smelled like plum from the dry leaf. The liquor once brewed also had no plum scent, which was disappointing, but had I been expecting an unflavoured black tea I would have said the scent was pleasant. I initially planned to have this with milk and sugar, because the weather is awful and I wanted an autumn warmer, but we were out of sugar so I ended up drinking it plain. There’s no way I’m going to the shops in this weather! I’m actually glad I did, because it’s a really nice subtly flavour which I think would have been overwhelmed by the addition of milk and sugar. It’s a delicate malty tea which I don’t think would hold up too well to milk, and an even more delicate whisper of plum aftertaste. It pairs with the tea base really well, and is a nice delicate cup of tea on the whole, but maybe not what I was looking for this afternoon. Maybe I’d enjoy it more on a nicer day. I’ve got plenty of other teas to be getting on with (the box is stuffed!) but this one might come out again towards the end of my time with the ttb.

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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From the EU TTB

I picked this one out as my first try, largely because it’s a colder day today and I feel like something a little more autumnal. Plum says autumn to me! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.

To taste, this is pretty much a standard black tea. It’s sweet and malty, with just the slightest bit of astringent bite at the end of the sip. There’s a hint of something fruity and plum like in the aftertaste, but it’s fleeting and barely there. Still, it’s nice while it lasts! I could have taken a lot more plum flavour in this one, but it’s still a pleasant, straightforward black tea for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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Having this tea as a re-visit since I didn’t rate it. Mostly because I couldn’t taste ANY plum flavour at all. So today I will try again and see if my husband notices anything too.

A few sips in and I still can’t taste plum. My husband replied that it may be for people that drink tea, I started at him (sometimes he thinks I love tea more than I love him) and he said “It’s a tea with plum and not a plum tea, it’s for people that want something ‘different’ but also the same”. I never thought about it that way before. Bragging rights and experimentation without actually putting yourself out there.

Still, it’s a nice black tea but nothing special….and I really REALLY wanted to taste the plum. So I will rate this tea, as it is a strong and drinkable black, but it will get down rated slightly for the complete lack of plum flavour.

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This was a surprise gift thanks to my RedditGifts SS as part of the colour exchange. My favourite colour is purple, specifically heather or plum. So far I have 8oz/227g of this tea, a black plum blossom candle and some purple eyeshadow. Apparently more is coming! I do feel spoilt.

Opening the tea and putting half into a tin I notice the beautiful safflowers, the contrast is lovely to look at. The blend consists of small, dark brown tea leaves that are twisted and broken with some stem/sticks present. Amongst them the red safflowers.

It has a rich malt and wood scent with some mild sweetness. So far it smells like a pure black tea, interesting.

Once steeped it still smells like a standard black tea…where is the plum?

Flavour is dark and wooden with some smoke and malt tones. It leaves a slight sweet flavour in the after taste, like honey though very light. Though I am still left asking….where is the plum? It has not been present in scent nor flavour and other than a mild sweetness there is nothing out of the ordinary for this black tea. Very strange.

It’s a fairly nice black tea, not plum flavoured but another tea I can crack out the milk and sugar for on a Sunday is always handy.

Flavors: Honey, Malt, Smoke, Wood

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 20 OZ / 600 ML

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drank Pecan Pie by Special Tea
2537 tasting notes

This one was included in a swap with Marcel Duchamp! thanks so much! I was blindly thinking this was my beloved SpecialTeas but I guess there are a ton of tea companies by that name. I loved the few teas I have been able to try from SpecialTeas but this one is different. Luckily it is delicious anyway!

Steep #1 // 20 minutes after boiling // 3 min steep
Honestly looking at the ingredients, I didn’t expect much from this one (raisins in pecan pie?) But whatever is here works really well together… not really pecan pie exactly, but tasty anyway. I wonder if the calendula petals are supposed to give it a cream/vanilla flavor? I see those in blends like these all of the time. The yerba mate itself doesn’t taste like a BBQ (unless it is because of how long I cooled the water), so the base actually works as a dessert tea. It’s very sweet! There is something here that tastes like it could be whipped cream on a pie. But no pecans. It needs a new name but the blend is nice!

Steep #2 // just boiled // few min steep
This cup tastes much more like just a plain yerba mate. It has lost its magic! I probably oversteeped it. I loved the first cup though!I have been wondering which of guayusa, roasted yerba mate and green yerba mate has the most caffeine?

ETA: I just noticed this was my 1,003 tasting note and I thought I had been keeping an eye on it! Too many tasting notes lately…


Hi, Tea Sipper, I am still a newbie at this; could you enlighten me a bit about your boiling process? Is there a purpose to waiting 20 minutes aside from letting the water cool? I’m probably being extremely dense here, but I’ve never heard of doing it this way before.


No prob! I don’t have a kettle with a temperature setting, my electric kettle just goes the full boil. So with a tea like a green tea (or this one) I have to let the water cool so the boiled water doesn’t burn the tea leaves and make them bitter. So I usually wait 30 minutes before steeping a green tea. I don’t know if that helped!


Yes, it does! Thank you so much! I don’t have a temperature setting kettle either, so I might try that.


Well, I’m no expert… I have no idea what the temperature would be after waiting a half hour… but I know just boiled water would burn green tea and make it bitter.


That’s true. I’ve been trying to grab the water before it boils, but it is by no means exact.


Yeah, I just boil the water all the way, because personally I feel like I’d know what temp the water is better that way… and if I wait longer, I won’t drink as much tea. :D


haha, good point :)

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