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Recent Tasting Notes
Autumn Harvest! Another from the great T2 sampler stash from the January 2018 after-Christmas clearance sale. This tisane mixes apple, chicory, and cinnamon with almonds and hazelnut brittle, and the brewed cup is a dark caramel color and smells incredibly sweet, reminding me of caramel apples.
I brew my chunky herbals on the stronger side (I dumped the full 5g sampler in the infuser to make a single 350ml cuppa) and am glad I did, because I am getting a really full, juicy green apple flavor in this cup. There is a sort of melted caramel sweetness to the cup, but it isn’t too sweet, which I actually like, allowing the fruit a nice tanginess. There is only the most subtle hint of some cinnamon sweetness toward the end of the sip, but the spice doesn’t really come through much here; this is mostly an apple tea with a good balance of tart and tangy fruit notes and sweet dessert notes. I like this one!
Flavors: Candied Apple, Caramel, Cinnamon, Green Apple, Sweet, Tangy, Tart
This is a strong, clean black tea base with a softness to it from the toffee flavors. It is definitely toffee, not caramel – subtle difference but one I appreciate. It’s warm and slightly nutty, with a sweet but not cloying finish.
Flavors: Nutty, Sweet, Toffee, Vanilla
I haven’t met a T2 tea I’ve disliked until now. It’s a lovely mix to look at, I’ll give it that. But I don’t know if it was just my bag (which I did shake up first) or what, but the only flavor in mine was intense anise. It was so strong I got that menthol burn from it. There was a faint underlying earthiness that I think was the chocolate, but it definitely didn’t taste or smell like chocolate. I don’t mind hints of anise, but this was so overpowering that’s the only real flavor I got.
Flavors: Anise, Menthol
Home – 7:30 PM
The Great Cupboard Excavation
Untasted teas remaining: 16
Time to get back to a couple of these older yet untasted teas! This was one of the limited edition boxes that I got back when T2 had their $5 sale.
I will say, this is just a bit too gingery for me. It does taste nice anyway, though. It’s a bit like ginger ale? There’s also something that reminds me of bubblegum, which sounds awful but isn’t. The citrus is a nice (and classic) pairing with the ginger.
It’s not for me, as a non-lover of ginger, but I do find it somewhat enjoyable and I’m sure someone else who likes ginger would love it.
Flavors: Candy, Citrus, Ginger, Lemon, Sweet
This one turned out to be more pleasant than I thought it might be, but then I’m not sure why I didn’t think I’d like it to begin with. A minor trepidation about chocolate teas, maybe? As it happens, it’s a good one! There’s lots of caramel – it actually reminded me very clearly of a Cadbury’s Caramel bar, which can only be a good thing. The caramel tasted smooth and glossy in the same sort of way; sweet, but not overpoweringly so. The chocolate is nice also; a tad artificial, maybe, but at least not watery or weak. While the overall impression is of milk chocolate, there’s a background hint of cocoa that’s really pleasant, and only adds to the overall effect.
I drank today’s cup black, but I think this might make a decent latte. If not, then I like it fine anyway – a good thing, given that I have 100g…
Overall, a really decent cup. One of the better chocolate teas I’ve tried recently.
Pleasant tart berry beverage, nothing stands out to me in particular. Like many others, I didn’t perceive a creamy element in this … until the very, very, very, very last two tiny siplets, when I did detect an interesting creamy note (I think). I suppose what little dregs there were in the bottom of the cup actually contained a bit of the yogurt cream-like ingredient. Maybe next time I’ll leave a bit floating in the cup as an experiment. For Science!
Autumn Harvest! This is another of the ever-dwindling horde of T2 samplers I picked up from their mega-discount last January, when T2 was selling off old holiday stock cheap. I cold-steeped the whole two-serving sampler in 400ml of water overnight and strained the next morning to make a tall, cool glass of iced tea. Even in cool weather, I still prefer fruit teas like this iced, and especially find them a nice accompaniment with warm meals.
This is a very fruit punchy tea, and I do quite like those. It has that strong hibi-hip fruity, punchy base, but I find it hard to pick out a distinct flavor that I’d go, “Oh yes, that is definitely pomegranate!” To me it just sort of tastes like so many other tart and tangy red berry fruit teas I’ve had in the past, the sort that include cranberries and elderberries and have that really crisp and juicy fruity berry finish. But it doesn’t make me think of pomegranates. If I had to place any specific fruit the taste is reminding me of, I’d say cranberries is the most prominent flavor note coming through the fruit punchy base. And since pomegranate seems to be the angle of the tea, that makes me rather unimpressed, even though I’m perfectly fine with tart and tangy red berry fruit teas. But if I want one of those, I can always drink Red Berries by TeaSource, or Cranberry Apple by Metropolitan Tea Co. So, ya, my overall impression is underwhelmed. Even though it’s a perfectly servicable tea, if you want a tangy fruit tea, and aren’t specifically looking for something with a really defined pomegranate flavor.
Flavors: Berries, Cranberry, Fruit Punch, Fruity, Hibiscus, Tangy, Tart
Tasting as one of a sample pack, and, frankly, to wash the taste of an earlier tea I did not like at all out of my mouth, and I have to say I like this more than I expected. I agree that it is somewhat reminiscent of a fruit leather / fruit rollup sort of flavor and very tart. If you like hibiscus, this is like a gentler, more nuanced, deluxe hibiscus blend. I can see wanting this when I have a cold, for a bright, clear, tart flavor that I could probably still taste even when stuffed up and a nice warming sensation … or on its own or mixed with other flavors for an iced drink or berry-lemonade on a hot day. If I had it, it would not go unused, but it’s a bit pricey for me to spend just to have on hand. Something I might keep in mind, though.
I’m not numerically rating this tea, because it’s entirely possible part of the problem is me and my untrained palate, but having said that, wow, I find this intensely unpleasant, as though I heated up some water that dirty dishes had been soaking in, and drank it. This was part of a sample pack, which I brewed according to package instructions, and am now noting to remind myself: “no, self: you do not want to ever order this in the future.”
Okay, getting a handle on this (and New York Breakfast), and finding I prefer much higher amounts of leaf than I had been using, so like a level(ish) tablespoon (a bit under 4 grams) for two infusions in my 300 ml cup, sweet and a splash of milk is delicious. I’ll definitely be getting this and New York Breakfast the next time I order from T2. Also pertinent: instead of using an infuser in my cup, I used a small teapot. The infuser is pretty big, but free floating then strained is better.
Marking this to come back to later, because I’m a little confused right now. Tried this three or four times (already beginning to forget, which is why I need to keep track!), and had such different reactions: One was, “Wow, so delicious; definitely need to order more”; one was “meh, this tastes like flavored water”; one was “this seems bitter (?), which is not at all how it tasted when I tried it a couple of days ago.” I don’t think my quantities or brewing techniques were markedly different all those times. Mysterious!
Just a quick note, so I can keep track of my thoughts trying many different new teas these days. I love this one. I’m not a big bergamot fan, so classic, straight-up Earl Grey is not really my jam. This is a lovely, fruity variation that still essentially reads “Earl Grey” to my palate, but without the unwelcome bitterness/astringency. I plan on keeping this one on hand unless/until I find an even more pleasing sibling-of-Earl-Grey suitor.
This was a surprising one. It’s interesting to try samples without reading full descriptions, and oddly, the first impression I had from this was “melon” — which is not a flavor I usually want or look for outside of actually eating the real fruit … but I found this delightful. Okay, now I get that this is strawberry, but to me it does not scream strawberry. I do get the creaminess, unexpected (to me) in a green tea, and the fruitiness, which don’t necessarily seem that compatible in my mind (creamy, fruity … green tea??), but for me it really is nice, and I could drink it all day because it’s also light and refreshing.
Upgrading my rating a bit, and I will repeat here my update on Melbourne Breakfast, since I’m making these both the same newer way (tl/dr: More is Better!):
I’m finding I prefer much higher amounts of leaf than I had been using, so like a level(ish) tablespoon (a bit under 4 grams) for two infusions in my 300 ml cup, sweet and a splash of milk is delicious … Also pertinent: instead of using an infuser in my cup, I used a small teapot. The infuser is pretty big, but free floating then strained is better.
This has been promoted to “Will definitely buy again.” :)
I like this one. I’m not sure yet if I’m re-ordering right away since I have so many teas to try, and I’m not sure it’s an automatic Must Have Always for me (yet, anyway), but I thought I’d leave a few notes based on my own observations for others who are thinking of trying it. Firstly, I didn’t know it was supposed to be a “pancake” flavor, and that didn’t pop into my mind while tasting it … if you are expecting an assertive pancake-y presence, you might be disappointed. Secondly, if you see “cinnamon” and think “eh, maybe not,” because you’re not into strong cinnamon / spicy flavors, don’t write it off too soon. I don’t get a lot cinnamon here — which for me, is a good thing, unless I’m going for a more spicy chai experience. For me, it’s also not a brisk get-your-butt-going Breakfast Tea; it’s more a cozy snuggle sweet comfort dessert tea. If you like dessert-type and / or flavored teas, you might enjoy this a lot. I did.
This has a lovely vanilla/chocolate fragrance with just the faintest notes of it in the flavor. It’s brisk and lightly tannic. The vanilla gives it a sweetness but it’s not a sugary sweetness in the slightest. As another reviewer mentioned, it’s great with sweet or savory foods. The fragrance reminds me of a chocolate babka in the oven – chocolate, vanilla, sweet bread and sugar – but in a great way, not a sickly sweet way. It’s a little lighter in body than I tend to consider a breakfast tea to be, which is not a problem unless you’re really searching for a heavy solid tea. This one has a bit more brightness to it. No bitterness at all, but it is lightly tannic. There is a touch of smoke, which I probably wouldn’t have noticed had I not read other reviews. It is very light, though – I don’t tend to care for smokiness in a tea, but it’s not a problem here.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Smoke, Tannic, Vanilla
This is a nice, solid traditional black tea to me. It is a touch lighter than some breakfast teas I’ve had, making it just as nice in the afternoon. It is definitely tannic but not bitter. There is a certain brightness to its fragrance, and it is extremely smooth. I know this probably won’t help anyone else, but to me, this is what a good basic tea should taste and smell like. This is my first tea from T2, and I’m looking forward to trying my other ones! I should note that this was a tea bag, in a 6 oz mug. I tend to like my tea stronger than average, but this was plenty strong for me. (I probably average 1 tsp/4 oz with most teas.)
Home – 8:30 PM
The Great Cupboard Excavation
Untasted teas remaining: 44
This was one of several teas I picked up when T2 was having a huge sale and a lot of limited edition boxed teas were $5 each. I’m not the biggest lover of coconut, but I don’t dislike it either, and it certainly helps if it’s joined by chocolate and caramel.
I’m not sure I taste much caramel here, perhaps a little burnt sugar. Mostly it’s coconut and chocolate. The coconut is a little bit creamy and reminds me of the sweetened shredded coconut you buy in a bag. The chocolate is the dark and unsweetened kind.
It’s tasty, like a chocolate-covered toasted coconut macaroon. But like I said, I’m not a huge coconut person, so I’ll likely pass this on to someone who is!
Flavors: Bitter, Burnt Sugar, Chocolate, Coconut, Dark Chocolate, Sweet, Toasted
Wow, just brewed up my first cup of this tea, and it seems SO, SO familiar. And suddenly I remember. This tastes exactly like a hand blended tea I used to buy at a stall in Modiano Market in Thessaloniki Greece, that they called “Balsam.” Lovely, but it would be an awful lot cheaper for me to have it sent (to Athens) from Thessaloniki, if they are still selling it there. ;)
This has been languishing in my cupboard for a while, but now it’s getting colder I finally pulled it out. I don’t know why this one strikes me as a winter blend particularly, but it does. Some kind of association between white and snow maybe? Anyway – this is glorious! The main flavour is coconut, but it’s very natural-tasting and not at all soapy. There’s also a delicious hit of white chocolate; very creamy and decadent. The chocolate does make things a little oily, but fortunately there’s not too much impact on the texture.
I wasn’t sure about the white base to begin with, but in hindsight I actually think it works really well. It’s not as floral as I expected it to be, just sweet and subtle. The overall flavour reminds me a bit of those white Ferrero Rocher – are they called Raffaello, or something like that? Those. This tastes like those.
Delicious! I’ll happily drink lots more of this one.
Home – 1:30 PM
This is an oddly-named tea. Yes, it has rose petals, but really it’s a tropical fruit-flavored green tea.
It’s quite nice, actually. The green tea base is mild and a bit grassy. There’s a lovely juicy mélange of tropical flavors here. I can definitely taste mango and passion fruit, and perhaps a bit of peach as well in the aftertaste. There’s only a hint of floral here, so I really don’t get why they chose this name for this tea.
It’s tasty though, I may keep this one around. I’ll likely sell off part of it though, since I have 100g and I’ll never drink through that much.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Mango, Passion Fruits, Peach, Sweet, Tropical
Home – 8:30 PM
This is an interesting concept for a tea – genmaicha with blueberry and sage. Looking at the dry leaf, I can see the little fluffy pieces of sage mixed in.
Unfortunately, for me there’s too much sage here. I will concede that the flavor goes well with the genmaicha, but I feel like it completely overpowers the blueberry. Plus I’m not the biggest fan of sage, and I love blueberry so this makes me extra sad.
Hopefully someone else will enjoy this one more. :)
Flavors: Blueberry, Herbs, Sage, Smooth, Toasted Rice
I made this before I left for work this morning and it was absolutely delicious. The vanilla adds such a creamy edge to the black base without being too sickly sweet for a breakfast blend.
I drank this straight, without milk or sweetener, and it was perfect that way. I’m tempted to add a dash of milk next time though, just to enhance the creaminess I got from it. I can see this becoming a good friend of mine during the chilly weekday mornings leading up to Christmas.
Flavors: Creamy, Vanilla
Considering how often I mention the fact I’m not a fan of floral teas, it surprises me how many of my bedtime herbals contain chamomile and lavender. For some reason, these are the blends I lean towards at night as they almost always do the job of sending me off into the land of nod.
I picked up a cube of Gone Surfing with my T2 voucher on Saturday and made this for bedtime last night. The aroma from this was heavenly. In fact I just laid in bed sniffing this for ages before I even took a sip, and that alone made me sleepy and relaxed. The chamomile is the main star of this tea, with lavender and rose blending beautifully with it, and the spearmint toning the whole thing down so that it barely registers as floral at all.
Did it do the job of sending me into a nice snooze? You bet it did. Did I have an amazing night’s sleep? Ah, well, no… I didn’t. I woke up several times during the night and had some pretty bizarre dreams. This is not something I’m used to at all. I’m going to give the tea the benefit of the doubt though as I felt so relaxed after drinking it. Hopefully the weird dreams were nothing to do with the tea!