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Recent Tasting Notes
Let me tell you a story about a furniture store. It was, back in its day, the business with the biggest square footage in town, occupying the entirety of an unmissable building near the city center. A deep gulf separated it from the sidewalk; a covered walkway provided access. When I was small that made the building even larger in my eyes as it brought to mind moats and castles.
I was on-again off-again a member of my school drama club in high school. At the time, I was on, and we were canvassing local businesses, trying to sell ad space in playbills. In we went to the furniture store. The only sound was our footsteps, hushed and muffled by dense carpet. It was otherwise silent as a grave. Row upon row of beige lamps and beige sofas kept rank in the cavernous space with no customers gazing upon them. It was like a mausoleum in there, and it was, indeed, in its dying days. There’s no furniture store in town anymore.
This teabag smells precisely like that place.
Steeped, however, it actually smells like chocolate. Honest to goodness milk chocolate.
Unfortunately, it tastes like waxy, chalky product instead of the decent stuff it proclaims in steam, with the aftertaste of cheap, stale coffee. I don’t detect anything I would call hazelnut, just a generic sweetness. It’s not the worst thing Stash makes, and it’s fine to drink if you don’t think about it too much, much in the same way bottom of the barrel chocolate and crappy burnt coffee can be as well. As above, so below.
Just make a cup of hot cocoa if you want drinkable chocolate.
A note; I had the decaf version of this bag. However, look that one up, and you’ll see its entry is disturbingly broken.
Flavors: Chocolate, Coffee, Malt, Paper, Sweet
My absolutely wonderful coworker brought me a box of this along with some delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I feel so lucky! I’d say this is one of my less favorite Stash flavors. The black tea is quite light, and it tastes a little artificial. Basically it tastes similar to many weak bagged teas. The spices are quite muted. Not that bagged teas are always bad, but maybe you know the flavor feeling I’m talking about.
The tea bag smells like other Stash desert teas do, with a twist: it melds that now familiar old yogurt raisin smell with carpet. Clean carpet, but still . . . carpet. What happens when you drop the bag into water? The carpet is wet now. The carpet is wet.
I didn’t really want to finish this. It is not good on the tongue; it tastes like dried out raisins. Sunmaid. But, bafflingly, the caramel aftertaste is pretty true and the smell in the cup is very true. Why it smells weird from further away is a mystery. Why this made it to market is a bigger mystery; it’s gag-worthy.
Flavors: Caramel, Paper, Raisins
You know those brownies with the sprinkles and tarry fudge on top that everyone remembers as good only because nostalgia clouds their memories? Yeah, this smells exactly like that in the bag. A bad omen. It smells sort of less like late 90s after school playdates as steam. And the color is pretty. This is unfortunately the nicest thing I can say about this teabag.
By the end of brewing, this stuff smelled passably like hot cocoa mix, and I was expecting it to be alright, like I wouldn’t grimace if someone handed me a whole box.
It ain’t alright. There’s a muddy black tea taste at the front of the tongue, which a smear of chalky chocolate rapidly paints over. I don’t know how this is supposed to taste like white chocolate whatsoever; there’s none of that creamy sweetness. There’s a walnut ghost again, which I now think is the cocoa husk’s huskiness. The aftertaste is of coffee.
It is not what I want out of tea, or cocoa, or coffee. It’s a sadder hallway for the walnut ghost to haunt and nothing better at all.
Flavors: Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Dirt, Walnut
As I dug around a box of tea baggies looking specifically for this, the tea multiple people told me approximates poison, it occurred to me that wasn’t something I should be doing, probably. I read the ingredients list once I found it. This will be bad, I agreed. Went downstairs, ripped open the packet. Initially I recoiled, because it smells at first blast like dentist toothpaste. But then I began huffing it frantically. Because do you know what it smells like? Cheap potpourri, my guilty pleasure. I might be the freak that likes this, I thought. But, I worried, because the steam smelled like nothing but boring old mint. I was right to be concerned; drinking it crushed me.
Who is having such moody Christmas Eves, I wonder? I asked myself. This tastes like going to sleep knowing you’ll be visiting your parents who both have dementia in the home and eating dry turkey with boxed gravy off of a plastic tray in what passes for a ‘festively decorated’ nursing home dining room. The cinnamon is felt more than tasted. The mint exists, but it’s scarcely bringing to mind snow flurries. There is an aftertaste of lemon and grass. I don’t think those are even in there. The lemon might be; I know there’s an orange. It is a liar. The grass was not invited. Can’t say I recommend a tea that made me sad about my grandmother.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Grass, Lemon Zest, Mint, Orange
A friend gave me this deliberately because it was probably bad. And so, with some trepidation, I opened this bag. The scent that spilled out was the familiar, bitter, woody odor of rooibos, but an undercurrent of something else ran below it, like a snake in the grass. Something unpleasant; my nose wrinkled involuntarily. Upon getting a better whiff of the bag, I placed the scent: that of a yogurt covered raisin, one that has spent a week mummifying between two couch cushions. Upon first pour I peered apprehensively into the cup and discovered the initial release of color produced a shade known only to man as dishwater. Fortunately, swishing it around turned the contents the usual red of rooibos. I sniffed it again. It then smelled like cooked raspberries. I didn’t recall then if there were raspberries in this. Thankfully, there are, and this was supposed to happen.
Penance was the name of the game, so I gave it a full five minute steep.
A long steep deepened the color, and the chocolate came through in the aroma. It smells like cheap Valentine’s day chocolate, the kind that smells like the reality of Valentine’s day, which is to say, capitalism and February. I gave it a minute to cool, and had a sip.
I tasted nothing but a distant walnut. After a moment, this strengthened on the tongue to a much less offensive chocolate than the smell suggested. Despite the strong, cloying raspberry that overwhelms most of the other notes in the steam, it scarcely comes through in the drink, except when it does because somehow separate sips of this tea taste slightly different. This is fine in say, a stir fry, where what lands on your fork may vary. It is not how liquids are supposed to work. It is how this liquid works. Faint walnut, chocolate, maybe berry. Some degree of berry. No guarantees.
It isn’t killing me. Perplexing, but ultimately drinkable and inoffensive. Unless inhaled; at one point I coughed while having a drink and managed to breathe some in, and spent a solid five minutes thereafter sputtering.
Flavors: Chocolate, Raspberry, Walnut
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Flavors: Cherry, Herbaceous, Hibiscus, Tart
From TTB 2019/2020.
I’m always on the lookout for a good decaf black tea, so I knew I wanted to try this one even though Stash doesn’t have the greatest track record in my book. Unfortunately, as soon as I opened it I knew it wasn’t for me. The first thing I noticed was the strong smell of root beer or sarsaparilla. It’s one of my least favorite flavors in tea and there it was, front and center. It might as well have been a licorice tea. No thanks. I’m drinking it anyway and trying to appreciate it for what it is. I do taste the spices, indistinct as they are. Not really any pumpkin, though admittedly this is called pumpkin spice and so is not necessarily trying to be a pumpkin tea. I’ll finish it, but it’s definitely not my favorite. Hopefully someone receiving the box after me will enjoy the final bag of this one.
Flavors: Artificial, Sarsaparilla, Spices
I love melon flavored teas, so had to add this to my Stash order. Lupicia’s melon flavor is the ultimate for me, so I find myself comparing all others to it. This doesn’t quite measure up. It lacks the juiciness that I find so pleasant in Lupicia’s, and errs more on the cucumber side of the spectrum.
The best way to describe this tea is “meh.” It isn’t bad, but it isn’t awesome. I think my biggest gripe is that it is a very weak tea. Stash is notoriously weak in my opinion. This tea tastes okay, but I wouldn’t buy it again and don’t crave it like I do my other teas. It has a very muted chocolate taste, like gas station hot chocolate where too much water was added. It also has strange floral undertones which I find compete with the already light chocolate flavour. And mocha? I don’t taste any coffee at all. It is a drinkable tea, and I will use it up but I wouldn’t buy it again as I prefer a stronger cup. This might be your jam if you like very very light tea.
Flavors: Chocolate, Floral, Fruity, Hibiscus, Rosehips, Vanilla
First attempt at this one wasn’t particularly successful…thin and not much mocha. However, I wasn’t being especially attentive to preparation or drinking, either one. This may need some beefing up with milk and sweetener. We’ll save a final judgment call for a cup that I wasn’t guzzling while working on a writing assignment, tending to laundry, and making cookies.
The cookies turned out fine…this season, I’m missing my mom and sister so for some unknown reason, I am compensating by making some of their Christmas recipes that I remember fondly. (Mind you, I generally do not cook or bake; I reheat and assemble.)
The cookies in question are made in a skillet, not in an oven—like Rice Krispie treats with dates, gumdrops, and nuts, rolled in powdered sugar.
There’s some interesting alchemy going on with this one. I sipped my first cup bag-in. My weary senses (it was a l—o-o-o-o-oo-ng day at work) picked things up in this order: peppermint, then chocolate, then yep—the crazy little lavender lilt at the end. I kept thinking how good it would be paired with a box of Russell Stover chocolate creams.
1 bag for 250mL water @100C, steeped 7 minutes, drunk bare.
I didn’t expect to like this one so much. The description on the packaging doesn’t do it justice. With a decently long steep — I find tisanes need that — you get a thick and creamy mouthfeel, loads of cocoa and mint in the scent, less so in the taste, and a subtle finish of lavender. It was the lavender that’s made me hesitate all these years, but I’m glad I finally tried this one today.
Aa ever with the tisanes and some blends, Stash knocks it out of the park. I find this as satisfying, and certainly more relaxing, as a good mint hot chocolate. Really impressed.
Mmmmmmm what a scrumptious cup. Mint teas are very hit or miss for me, but sometimes I crave the chocolate/mint combo, and this really hit the spot. I love the mild oolong combined with the creamy chocolate, and cool peppermint. A splash of oat milk made this the perfect morning cup of comfort.
Flavors: Chocolate, Peppermint
Enjoyed this unsweetened and without milk. Not sure why I made that choice, as I usually prefer my chais the opposite. I did enjoy the balance of spices, but as expected, thought it would’ve been much better with cream and sugar. I couldn’t quite taste the rum or gingerbread. I definitely got more of a straightforward cinnamon/ginger blend.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Ginger
Note to those of you contemplating buying a house: Make absolutely sure you are UPHILL from the neighbors, and not vice versa. Otherwise, you will be dealing with fallen leaves from your trees and those of three additional back yards above you.
After Round One of the Annual Autumn Foliage Offensive (more skirmishes to follow), I was done with loose leaves for the day. Bagged tea for me, thank you!
Hubby brought this one home on a whim. Reviews here on Steepster aren’t particularly complementary, but based on the review dates, it’s been a Stash regular for at least 10 years, so somebody’s drinking it.
On its own, it’s a little thin, but the chocolate and hazelnut flavors are sweet and not chemically-tasting. With milk, it is gentle and creamy and suitable for evening sipping.
Kitchen clean out, lone teabag so no idea of age. Way too mild for my tastes. Reading others reviews, many seem to have the same judgement. I can’t even tell you what it tasted like but maybe that’s because I was in a pre-dawn fog. I ended up combining the brew from my last bag of Yorkshire Tea with Stash’s English Breakfast and was much happier. You know, I haven’t had too many English ‘English Breakfast’ teas but Yorkshire Tea is up there.
This tasty tea is from my swap with AliceG. The fruit flavor is light and a little tangy. A tiny bit of sugar really brings the flavor out. I’d say the flavor is closest to guava, but I also drank the whole mug before looking at what it was supposed to be, so maybe my opinion will change on my next cup. I wish I could find this one at grocery stores around me because I would enjoy drinking more of this! One of the best bagged fruit teas I’ve tasted for sure. They’re usually so sour and nondescript, so this was a nice change.
Packets of this were available, in addition to camomile and peppermint tea bags, at my meditation session last night. I went with this and some added milk.I rarely choose this type of tea at home, but I enjoy it out in the world, especially with added milk or cream.
And then, the whole experience was made even more lovely with a bowl of super sweet individually wrapped milk chocolate bunnies and another bowl of crunchy crust chocolate nut mini Easter eggs.