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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m not sure how I’ve become the only person to have reviewed this particular selection of T2 blends? I came by them in the Hottest Hearty Brews sampler box, but from what I can see when I’ve been looking to see if some of them are still available, they have been sold individually as limited edition blends. Some of them are really good, so I’m a little surprised they haven’t garnered more of a following on here. It’s not like they’re a niche UK brand, either.
Anyway. Jaffa cakes aren’t really my thing, but this one promises to be chocolate orange and I can get behind that as a flavour combination. It’s a black tea, so perfect for first thing Monday morning. Something has to brighten things up, and it isn’t going to be work. I’m bored stiff a lot of the time.
First sip, and this one tastes quite a lot like a jaffa cake. The cocoa is the primary flavour to begin with, and it perfectly captures the dark chocolate coating. It’s perhaps a little dryer than I’d have liked, but still good, and I like that it’s not over-sweet or watery in the way some chocolate teas can be. The orange emerges in the mid-sip, with a slightly sour tang. It reminds me quite a bit of Terry’s chocolate orange at this point, in that the orange is unmistakable as a flavour but not quite natural-tasting. There’s a touch of biscuitty flavour towards the end of the sip, but it’s fairly fleeting. I don’t mind particularly, since I wasn’t really looking for jaffa cake; as a flavour combination, chocolate orange alone is fine with me.
I’m enjoying this one. The flavouring is excellent, and the black tea base is a sound pairing. There are a few from this sampler than I’m really sad not to be able to repurchase, and this is one of them. 50g of this wouldn’t go amiss in my cupboard!
This one’s supposed to be reminiscent of a Hot Cross Bun, and since my acquaintance with that kind of tea is limited to Bluebird’s (or, I should say, the tea company formerly known as), it’ll be interesting to try another.
This one smells so cinnamony, and it’s actually reminding me quite a lot of (I think) Frank-era 52 Teas French Toast. It’s nice, but stronger than I’d typically associate with a Hot Cross Bun.
To taste, it’s a different affair. The initial flavour is bread dough with dried fruit, and I kid you not. It’s almost squishy tasting, like a hot cross bun is when it’s straight out of the packet. Bluebird’s Hot Cross Bun was toasted (which is just how I like them…), with a tiny bit of Lapsang. T2’s is soft and oven-fresh. It’s different, but I feel like there’s room for that.
The cinnamon is really strong, though – it comes out primarily in the mid-sip, and then it lingers forever. It’s so concentrated it almost feels like it’s burning my throat, which is a level of cinnamon I find too intense to be really enjoyable.
I’ll probably resteep this one a couple of times, and maybe eventually the cinnamon will settle down a little. I like the flavour, but the amount of cinnamon does spoils it. Kudos to T2 for nailing “fruit bun” in liquid form, though. It’s a tea worth trying just for that!
May Flowers! My second tea this month with the name “White Rose,” but at least this one makes sense to me, as it is actually a rose-flavored white tea (the other one was a black tea!) And while I love my White Rose black tea (which is a blend of rose and cream flavors, and has a very strong rose flavor), it can veer toward the astringent side because of the Assam. Though this tea doesn’t have the added cream note that I like, it also doesn’t have the astringency of the black tea, so I was quite interested in this one… Also, I was able to pick it up from T2 for free! (They weren’t able to fulfill an item on my order I made right after Christmas, so they sent me a giftcard for the inconvenience, which I cashed in during a “free shipping” sale. Woo!)
This is a great tea for rose lovers! It has a very light, silky mouthfeel, with a very strong rose flavor! It’s floral and leaves a sweet lingering taste in the mouth that has a subtle peppery note that I notice with other teas that have a nice, strong, rose flavor that comes through in the tea. I think the natural light, smooth, floral white base works especially well to carry the flavor.
If I’m in the mood for a stronger morning tea or a rose-flavored latte, I’ll stick with my other (black) White Rose, but this is definitely my pick for a refreshing light rose-flavored tea or an evening sipper. Yum!
Flavors: Floral, Pepper, Rose, Smooth, Sweet
This is an interesting one – peppermint, chamomile, and lavender. The last time I tried a blend like this, it tasted a bit like a buttermint. This one is less creamy than I thought it would be, although pleasantly herbal. The peppermint is the main flavour, and makes for a nicely fresh and cooling introduction. The chamomile is second, adding a touch of sweetness and a mild honey flavour. The lavender is mostly absent. There are little flashes of it here and there, but it doesn’t have a significant impact on the overall flavour.
As blends go, it’s okay. It’s not as exciting as some of the others from this sampler, but it’s a solid sleepytime choice. I feel like it would be more unique if the lavender came out more, but since I’m not a huge fan of floral teas it’s not a big deal for me. Since there are definitely a decent handful of similar blends out there, I’m not too sad that this one’s no longer available.
This one smells so much like Black Forest Gateau, it’s ah-ma-zing. Literally mouthwatering! It also brews up to a rich red, which helps. So much like the black cherry sauce! I’m guessing that’s the beetroot, since it has much the same effect in Bluebird’s Red Velvet Cake. I thought this one was a black tea when I picked it out, but the “base” ingredient is actually cocoa shells and cocoa nibs. The “leaf” I can see is apparently blackberry leaves, although I’m used to seeing those look green and these ones definitely aren’t. Other ingredients are strawberry pieces and pink pepper, so it’s an interesting blend for sure!
The flavour is actually pretty good. I get cake, and I’m not entirely sure how. The cocoa helps, obviously, but there’s something specifically cake, and cake soaked in cherry syrup, at that. It’s moist-tasting, chocolatey, rich, red-fruity, and cake. I even get whipped cream, towards the end of the sip. It’s not strong, but there’s a hint of soft, dairy creaminess that rounds things out perfectly. The cherry returns at the very end for a final farewell, and while it’s rich it never borders on over-sweet. It’s pretty perfectly balanced, as flavoured blends go.
This one was a limited edition, and sadly I only had a one-cup serving. I’m really sad this one’s no longer available (a little like Two Stones from a few days ago), because they’re really solid flavoured blends that I’d happily repurchase. Buying this sampler box was probably simultaneously the best and worst thing to do – I’m glad that I got to try these blends that are now gone, but that’s tempered by sadness that they are no more.
May Flowers! Time for another of my T2 sampler stash. This tea has a lemon balm base (which I enjoy much more than lemon grass, though not quite as much as lemon myrtle), and has three different florals in it: lavender, rose petal, and jasmine blossoms. Since I’m a big lavender fan, I was happy to see there was a lot of lavender in the dry leaf of my sampler.
The scent of the tea comes off a little bit like chamomile, but the flavor is very different; it’s a subtle citrusy base, with a minty floral lavender top note, and a softer, sweet floral finish. Lemon, mint, and lavender notes are the most notable flavors in the cup. I find the tea very sweet and soothing, and would recommend it to those that like a strong lemon-lavender flavor profile in a tea.
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Lavender, Lemon, Mint, Sweet
Luckily this was free. Hated it because it was bitter and only tasted and smelt like 100% green tea. I ain’t tasting no ferrero or chocolate or anything remotely hazelnut. A bit of a let down when I saw many reviews about how chocolatey this is.
Still hate green tea with every bit of my soul.
I expected this one to be a fairly generic fruit blend, but it’s actually so much better than I thought it would be. It smells like peach melba – and tastes like it, too! Thinking about it, peach isn’t exactly how this is billed. It’s a stone fruit, sure, but it’s supposed to be apricot and plum. Apricot, I can understand. After the initial creamy sweetness fades away, there’s a jammy, slightly sticky, sweetly tart flavour that reminds me absolutely of dried apricots. I’m not getting plum at all, but when a fruit tea is this good it seems wrong to care.
This is a sweet, creamy, dessert-like dream. It’s got two stone fruits – peach and apricot – and that’s more than okay with me. I only have a single serve sample of this one, so I hope it’s still available. It would be amazing cold brewed.
A trip to T2’s website is on the cards, because I have to know.
May Flowers! This is actually the first earl grey tea I ever bought for my collection. I had never liked the taste of bergamot (which, considering the way I like citrus and strong tart, tangy flavors, I’m not sure why I never liked that taste, but it just was very offputting to me… perhaps because it was so perfumy? Despite how much like I like florals, I can’t handle a jasmine-scented tea because it is simply too strong in scent and sets my head off because I feel like I’m drinking perfume, so the aroma more than the taste could have had a lot to do with it). But I read a lot of reviews saying this was a good earl grey for “people that normally don’t like earl grey” and I thought I’d try to adapt my palate, starting with this blend (and I later added other blends as well, and now I’d say I’m pretty tolerant with all but the heaviest of bergamot teas).
This tea does have a noticable bergamot flavor that lingers on the tongue, but there is a fruitiness to the base. Most people say it tastes of peach, but for me, it tastes very much of lychee, and lychee black teas are one of my favorite things, so that actually was a good way to ween me into the bergamot. The tea is accented with rose, sunflower, hibiscus, and mallow petals, and while you can’t really taste any of those flowers individually, there is a very subtle floral sweetness right at the end of the sip.
I used to always take this with some milk, to cut the bergamot back just a bit, but now that I’m more used to it, I can drink a cup plain, and pick out the lychee fruit notes beneath the citrusy bergamot. I think I’d certainly prefer something like this over a plain earl grey in my cupboard.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Floral, Lychee
Another of the “savoury” T2 blends. I thought this one sounded potentially sweet – in theory sweeter than the last one I tried, anyway. It smells super brothy, though…and is a little reminiscent of cuppa soup. I’m guessing it’s the kale…?
To taste, it’s definitely savoury – no liquorice here! – in the best possible way. The initial sip is quite salty, with a well-defined kale flavour. The ginger comes in second, and is a nice counterpoint to the vegetal kale. It adds a spicy kick that warms things up a bit. The apple is a little muted; mostly a kind of cidery flavour in the background. The kale is the star here, and deserves to be – I’d not have thought to put it in tea, since I’m used to tea being a mostly sweet affair, but it’s surprisingly delicious!
I’m not sure whether T2 sell this one currently, but if they do I’d consider buying a cube once my challenge is over. It’s a nice change of pace from dessert-style teas, and I can really see it coming in to its own after I’ve walked to work on a frosty winter morning.
I’ve not tried all that many savoury teas, but I’ve got on quite well with the ones I have. There are a few untrieds in my cupboard from T2, which came as part of a sampler pack – I think it was called Hottest Brews, or something like that. I’m still trying to say goodbye to the remnants of my cold, so I figured a tea with ginger and turmeric couldn’t hurt. It feels wrong to have a cold when it’s so warm outside, but I do wish the weather would decide what it’s doing. We seem to be bouncing from high summer temps (like 27-30) to more winterish (5-8) within the space of a few days, and I don’t like it.
Anyway. The tea. It brews up to a deep red-brown, and smells pretty medicinal. To taste, it’s sweeter than I expected, with an earthy undertone that reminds me of beetroot. I can taste the carrot – it’s very reminiscent of carrot and corriander soup – and the turmeric is there in the background also. It’s a little dusty, somehow – not so that it catches the back of my throat too badly, but it’s a little distracting. I guess it’s the turmeric…
The ginger is a lot milder than I expected. It doesn’t really make much of an appearance, except towards the end of the sip. It doesn’t even appear to be the kind of ginger flavour that builds in intensity with successive sips. I’m not a huge fan of ginger, so that’s okay with me, but it’s pretty rare that I find a tea containing ginger where the ginger doesn’t dominate.
The one thing I really dislike about this one is the LIQUORICE ROOT. Just, why? I don’t know what it’s doing here, given that it’s supposed to be a savoury tea. It’s completely unnecessary, and when it hits in the mid-sip it totally destroys the pleasant, soupy, earthy flavour that the initial sip promises. If it weren’t for the liquorice, I would love this one…
I’m not quite sure what makes this one “royale”, since it tastes just like an ordinary EG to me…perhaps the Yunnan base? I would agree that it’s a slightly more premium choice than I’d usually expect to find, but not outrageously so.
I don’t have a lot to say about this one. If you’ve tried an EG before, you know what it tastes like. The bergamot here is nicely citrussy; strong, but not too overpowering. The base is definitely in competition with it, though – smooth, sweet, bready Yunnan with a light hint of pepper. Neither really wins; it’s a stalemate.
I think there are better uses I’d have put a Yunnan to. It’s almost too nice to be doused with bergamot. It makes a change to have a base with a distinctive flavour, though. Uusally EGs are much of a muchness, but this one’s just a little different. It’s not so different that it would scare you off, but enough so that an aficionado might find something to smile about.
I’d not repurchase simply because there are EGs I prefer, and that are more budget-friendly. I also feel sorry for the Yunnan, being used this way. It’s a pleasant cup, of course, but nothing particularly ground-breaking for the price.
This one smells so much like pastry it’s hard not to be impressed. I only hope it tastes as good. Fortunately, there doesn’t appear to be much/any hibiscus in the one, so perhaps the apple will be allowed to shine…
I’m used to being let down by this kind of tea, but I have to admit that I’m rather impressed by this one. The initial sip is super buttery and a little biscuitty; really reminiscent of crumble topping. The apple comes through in the mid-sip, and has a soft, baked flavour that’s still genuinely apple-y, rather than floury or floral. Pretty much exactly how I like my apple flavouring to be in tea! The two aspects of the flavour – buttery/biscuit and baked apple – work really well together, and do combine to create a convincing “apple crumble” flavour. It perhaps doesn’t taste quite as amazing as it smells, but it’s a close thing. I’m happy with that!
May Flowers! This is another chai sampler from my T2 sampler haul that I actually put off last month since it also includes rose and jasmine. This is an herbal chai, so it is just a blend of spices, with the addition of licorice root and the floral petals. I’ve actually been very curious to try this one!
I have to say, I was immediately let down by the leaf. In my little sampler, there was only one rose petal, and I couldn’t make out much (any?) jasmine either. So much for saving this chai with the expectations of a floral-touched flavor profile! So I already know going in this is pretty much just going to be a strong spice blend. Ah well. I do have one other chai in my collection that has floral additions (a black tea blend) so maybe it’ll work out better?
The brewed tea has a very strong cinnamon aroma. The flavor opens with hints of cinnamon and ginger, but the anise and licorice root are definitely the strongest flavors in the cup. I’m a big fan of both of those notes, but I know a lot of people aren’t, and if you fall in that category, then this is a chai blend you’ll want to stear clear from — the licorice notes really pack a wallop here! There is a little touch of cardamom right near the end of the sip, and I’d say the flavors of the spices do blend well, but there is certainly a dominance on the anise/licorice root element… and I was disappointed the floral element in my sampler was pretty much non-existant, because I was curious what that might have added to the blend in terms of giving it some sweetness balance.
Because I enjoy licorice flavors, I did enjoy this cuppa. But I most enjoy a chai that balances its spices well, and I was disappointed at the lack of the floral elements after I had been looking forward to that particular aspect of the tea.
Flavors: Anise, Licorice, Spices, Spicy, Sweet
This is another one I made a note to return to, since I drank it when I more or less had a cold. I love that it contains mini meringues – something about tea with meringue really gets me, even though more often than not they’re not a massive contributor in terms of flavour. I’m really looking forward to trying Bird & Blend’s (Bluebird, as was) Eton Mess from this year’s summer collection for exactly this reason, but that’s a tea for another day.
This one still smells like Christmas to me – heavy on the clove and cardomon, with a background of sweetness. It tastes quite a lot like Christmas, too. The orange zest is fairly prominent in the initial sip, and the background spice gives it a kind of “spiced clementine” vibe. The meringue adds a touch of sweetness, and then there’s a decent wallop of cardamom. So much, if I’m honest, that it makes my mouth feel a bit numb. I don’t really get any rose from this, and nothing but the most fleeting hint of raisin. It’s pretty true to its description, though; it is sweet and spicy simultaneously.
This isn’t really a summer tea for me, but it would make a nice warming winter cup. I might save the rest of my sample until later in the year, if I can resist the urge to keep my cupboard moving forward.
I chose this one today largely because of the name – sweet spice sounds like something that might be good for a cold. Turns out it has an unusual selection of ingredients, though – they’re not things I would have thought to put together. It’s an interesting one in terms of appearance, too – and, for a fruit blend, pretty impressive. It has literally huge whole rose buds, dried quarters of sliced orange, whole raisins, cloves, hibiscus petals, and mini meringues! Very pretty to look at.
It’s a slightly odd flavour, but perhaps that’s not entirely unexpected. It’s sweet, from the meringues, tart and a little sour from the hibiscus, with a background floral from the rose. There’s a splash of orange, which tastes more like fizzy vitamin C tablets than actual orange, and then a fairly significant kick of spice. The earthiness of clove is there, but I’m sure there’s also some chilli, and possibly cayenne. I can smell it.
It kind of works, but it’s a bit crazy. In some ways, it tastes like a Christmas tea, and I’m pretty sure the clove is responsible for that. The spice works well with the sweet-ish background, largely because the hibiscus helps to mediate between the two extremes of flavour. That tart sourness in the mid-sip really seems to help bring the two together, and it’s a rare day I say anything complementary about hibi. Mostly, though, I feel like this suffers from an excess of ingredients. There are things I can’t see the point of, and that just distract from what on the whole is a pleasant, if unusual, flavour. Raisins, for example. I also have my doubts about the rose.
I’d probably not buy this one again, just because I can’t see myself drinking it regularly. It’s a little confused for my liking, but it’s certainly been an experience! I think I can see what T2 were trying to achieve with this one, but I just don’t think they quite made it.
I picked up a sample pouch of this with my first T2 order – it came in a box with 4 other sample sizes, one of which was Creme Brulee. The others I can’t remember off the top of my head. It’s nice to be able to try a few sample sizes, because T2’s usual offering (at least in the UK…) is the 100g cube, and that’s a wasted investment if it turns out to be a blend I’m not super keen on.
This one, fortunately, doesn’t fall into the latter category. It’s chocolate coconut awesomeness, a bit like liquid bounty. The base is a little on the astringent side, but a splash of milk would probably help to smooth things out. A relatively conservative steep time is probably the key when drinking this one black.
On the whole, I’m impressed. It does capture the flavour of a lamington, although now I’ve tried this one I’d really like to see a raspberry lamington blend…
Thank you, Steepster, for proving that my suspicions yesterday WERE correct and I DO have another flavoured black tea hiding up the back! I couldn’t spot this for the life of me when I went looking yesterday, but I couldn’t even quite remember what it was I was looking for. Bless this website.
Very hazelnutty and warming with a splash of milk on a cold night.
Chai to Stay Dry! This was one of two different chais that was in my sampler haul from T2 I picked up in their after-Christmas clearance sale last January. The dry leaf smells very nice, with a spicy scent that isn’t coming off too strongly on any certain aroma; my nose can pick up cardamom, clove, and cinnamon quite clearly.
My brewed cup has a lovely gingerbread color to the liquor, and the scent wafting up from the cup is warm cinnamon. Mmm. The taste of the spice blend is very nice. It’s a very balanced taste, and has a stronger sweet cinnamon/ginger presense than most of the chais I’ve tried this month, which gives me a spice cookie impression. The close of the sip has a lovely mix of cardamom, clove, and anise, which gives the finish a deeper spice flavor and just a hint of a licorice sweetness from the anise. It also isn’t a really strongly spicy blend, so you can savor the individual flavors but they don’t leave lingering heat in the mouth too long; I’d say Reena’s Chai from TeaSource is a bit sweeter than this one, but this chai has a much naturally sweeter profile than Bengal Spice by Celestial Seasonings or Tali’s Masala Chai by Art of Tea.
The black tea base on this did brew up a lot weaker than I am used to with most chai blends, which is probably why the tea had such a lovely gingery color. It was a medium base (and on the lighter side of medium black teas) and since I don’t like my blacks on the astringent side, I really enjoyed whatever blend of black was used here. It really let the spices shine through, and this is the sort of chai that because of its composition, you wouldn’t really need to take it with milk and sugar. To be honest, because of the light color of the brew, the lack of astringency, and the balanced natural sweetness to the spices, I didn’t feel a need to even try it with milk! Depsite the fact the tea has instructions to take it like a traditional chai, just looking at the brew and from initial tasting, I have a feeling it wouldn’t be strong enough to take that way. But if you have been looking for a tasty chai that doesn’t require the extra effort of simmering up some milk, this is a nice one!
Flavors: Anise, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Clove, Cookie, Ginger, Licorice, Spicy, Sweet
Decided to make another iced cuppa from my T2 sampler stash. Despite the name, this is far more of a fruity tea than a floral tea. The first flavor that hits me is a strong strawberry presence, which makes the tangy, punchy hibiscus/rosehip base come off a bit more sweeter and rounded. There is a bit of a deeper tart berry taste toward the end of the sip that must be the currant, and a very subtle floral touch right in the finish, almost as an afterthought.
Since I enjoy tart/tangy fruit flavors, I found it enjoyable enough. I think I would’ve liked it even more if the strawberry flavor remained dominant in the sip longer before the currant took over. Oddly named, though. Rose hip/rose may be in the blend, but they aren’t the show stealers here, so the name seems an odd choice and a little misleading to those that might be looking for a floral blend.
Flavors: Black Currant, Floral, Fruit Punch, Strawberry, Tangy, Tart
Decided to have another of my T2 samplers from the great discount sampler purchase from T2’s Christmas Clearance sale at the beginning of the year. I made this one iced, though only made half a quart due to the size of the sampler (I usually prepare my iced tea in a quart size). It basically makes one tall glass of iced tea or two cups of warm tea, but this is a flavor I definitely wanted to sip on chilled.
I actually love hibiscus and rose hips, so the base of this tea is that refreshing, slightly tart flavor that tastes somewhat like fruit punch to me, but it has a very strong floral note to the cup. The rose adds just a hint of overall sweetness, a nice rosey flavor, and since I’ve been drinking a lot of rose teas lately, I’ve noticed that it has a somewhat distinct peppery note on the tip of the tongue.
This is a really refreshing iced tea, I enjoy the blend of tart/tangy floral notes mixed with sweet and delicate floral notes. It is like a rosey punch, and gives me those pleasant sweet-tart notes that I love so much.
Flavors: Floral, Fruit Punch, Hibiscus, Pepper, Rose, Sweet, Tart
Green March! Spent most of my evening playing with my Kabusecha Saeakari Shaded Green Tea from Marushige Shimizu Tea Farm that I got from Yunomi — I’m mainly trying to find a preferred “casual” brewing method for it that I can use at work when I don’t have tea scales and an easy way to get the water cool enough, etc. Definitely had some failed cups (too astringent, too light, etc.) but I’ll keep working at it; I know the right combo is in there somewhere! Right now I have a cold brew set to steep overnight, since I’m curious about it’s iced tea potential. (Bringing an iced thermos to work may be the way to go for that tea if all else fails!)
While I was doing all that playing around in the kitchen, I fixed up my sampler-size serving of Geisha Getaway from T2 as a cold brew in the fridge. Now that it’s ready and strained, I’m excited to have this sipdown; it smells great!
I have to say, of the pineapple green teas I’ve tried so far this month, I think this has been my favorite so far, thanks to the coconut notes! This has a really refreshing, sweet, pina colada flavor. The pineapple flavor is noticable but a bit lighter (and personally, I prefer my fruity greens to not be too overbearing), and this allows the coconut notes to really shine, leaving a lovely sweet coconut taste on the tongue right in the finish. I can actually make out some very light, delicate grassy notes of the green tea beneath the pineapple and coconut. The pina colada notes are very complimenting, and the iced tea is very refreshing.
The pina colada combo is an easy win for me, and I like that the flavor isn’t too overbearing, so I’d say Geisha Getaway is my top pineapple-flavored green I sampled this month, followed by Pineapple Sorbet by Bluebird Tea Co., which had a nice pineapple-citrus combo, and finally Pineapple Paradise by Fusion Tea, which had a very strong pineapple flavor, which I felt overpowered the mango notes that were supposed to be present in the tea. If I have any more pineapple greens hiding in the ol’ sampler drawer I’ll have to update, hahaha!
Flavors: Coconut, Grass, Pineapple, Sweet