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Recent Tasting Notes
A-Level results are out today in the UK, which means Clearing, long, long hours, and a lot of hassle. I certainly know how to pick my last two days at work! I made this one up in my Timolino this morning, since I knew I’d need a treat. Dry, it smells amazing, really banana-y and totally delicious. Brewed, it’s not quite as strong a flavour as I hoped it might be, but it’s pretty good. It’s definitely banana, but there’s an underlying caramel and cream kind of vibe that’s also really nice. It’s more candy banana than actual fruit, but I’m okay with that – it reminds me of those foam banana sweets, and I actually like those quite a bit.
The black base here is perhaps a touch strong for the flavouring, although it’s possible that I overdid the brew time a little. I’ve got plenty left to experiment with (a whole cube!), and I’m happy with how it came out anyway so things can probably only get better. I’m glad I took a chance on 100g of this one – I’ve tried so many disappointing banana teas, that it’s nice to come across one that holds up well against my banana-based expectations. It was a little bit of joy in a cup this morning.
Made this one up as a Thai Iced Tea, following the recipe on T2’s website. It’s basically a concentrate made of 5 tsp leaf brewed in 300ml water, with 50g of brown sugar added. I diluted it roughly 60:40 with coconut milk.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, other than something (perhaps) viciously sweet. In practice, it was actually pretty nice. The tea has a pleasantly strong vanilla flavour, plus a kind of deep, dark, fruity jamminess from the Keemun in the base. The sugar helped to amplify the vanilla – and added a delicious toffee-esque aspect all its own. I wasn’t sure how well that flavour profile was going to work with coconut, but I actually didn’t mind it. I wouldn’t say it’s a perfect fit, but it’s certainly not jarring. Coconut-vanilla is a reasonable thing.
If I were to make this again in the future, I might try a nut milk, or maybe just plain old cow’s milk. I think I’d also use slightly less tea (maybe 4 tsp max.) as it was becoming astringent, although not irredeemably so. I could take it a little more subtle, though.
I have a feeling I’ll drink a decent quantity of this one either black or with a splash of milk, though – it doesn’t really need fancying up. A good vanilla black is a cupboard staple for me, and this particular blend is among the best I’ve tried recently. Glad to have it around!
Summer Vacation! Completely exhausted tonight, and honestly wouldn’t mind some black tea, buuuuut… I was up way too late last night, and really need some decent sleep tonight, so I’ve opted for a cuppa of green tea tonight. So a grabbed a Chinese green from my T2 sampler stash, and this time I didn’t make the mistake of following their instructions. It said to use their full sampler packet to 450ml of water. I weighed the packet and it was 5g of tea. According to the site I use to help with leaf/water ratios, that is way too high for a green and would’ve been horribly bitter… no wonder that darjeeling turned out so horribly! So I measured out just what I needed and stashed away the rest of the sampler for another use. It’ll be nice to have some extra to play with anyway, I find I usually have to experiment a little with greens as it is.
I did 1.8g to 350ml at 175 F with only a 1 minute steep. I’ve never tried this sort of tea before and the packet said 1-3 minutes on the steep time, so without knowing if it tends to go vegetal-astringent, I decided to keep to a briefer steep. The tea has a very sweet, floral aroma; a bit like honeysuckle, and also a little like spearmint. The flavor is a bit light and delicate, and I’m not sure if that is just a feature of this sort of green, or if I should’ve gone for a longer steep (on one of my other uses of the leftover leaf I’ll make sure to push the initial steep time a little longer to compare). It is very smooth though, and I’m getting notes of warm hay and spearmint, with more subtle floral, nutty, and fennel notes. This is nice, and quite relaxing… I think I’d enjoy this iced as well.
Flavors: Fennel, Floral, Hot hay, Nutty, Smooth, Spearmint
Summer Vacation! Trying a darjeeling from the T2 black sampler back this time. I’ve only ever had one other darjeeling before, and from what I remember, I did enjoy it a lot more than I like assam teas.
This Darjeeling from T2 doesn’t offer any special information regarding flush or whatnot, so I am not expecting much from it… I am more curious to just get a little more familiar with the tea type. The scent of the brewed tea is a little like autumn leaves, but with some floral notes. Flavorwise, it is actually a lot more astringent than I was expecting (I don’t remember the other darjeeling I’ve tried having so much bite to it). The flavor was a bit like autumn leaves, but with a bit more of a honeyed floral sweetness… until that really bitter astringent finish sets in. That just kind of ruined the whole cup. I’m wishing I hadn’t made the sampler according to the instructions, which said to brew the whole thing with 450ml of water… now I’m thinking I should’ve used way less leaf from the sampler and experimented with the ratios a bit because I think T2 has weighted this way too strongly for their own instructions. At least for my tastes. I probably could’ve made something drinkable with it if I’d done my own thing instead of following what it said on the package. As it is… way too much bitter astringency for me to enjoy these flavors. Even with a touch of honey.
Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Bitter, Floral, Honey, Malt, Tannin
Summer Vacation! New month, new theme! This month I’ll be taking a world tea tour through my tea collection by sampling teas from various different locales (the tentative plan is a short perusal of a few of my Indian teas, a longer sampling from my rather large Chinese and Japanese tea collection, and then some Taiwanese/Thai/Vietnamese teas to end off the month). There may be a few other random stops in there too, depending on what I have laying around and can find the time to get to… who knows! But I’m definitely starting off with my least favorite, mostly to clear it out of the cupboard. It came in a T2 black tea sampler set, and I already know this particular kind of black tea really isn’t much my thing… an Indian assam.
It’s a really strong cup… I can smell how strong and malty it is before even taking a sip. Sure enough, this is the sort of black tea that is just a bit on the dark and robust side for my tastes; very malty, with some slight burnt toast notes, and tannic to the point of having that astringent bite left in the aftertaste.
This is the kind of cuppa that I personally need to take with some milk and honey.
Flavors: Astringent, Burnt, Malt, Tannin, Toast
A Berry Frui-tea July! Decided to do another of my T2 fruit samplers, and I was extra careful with this one, only steeping it in a mere 300ml of water, when the sampler stated it was designed for 450ml, since I really wanted to ice this and didn’t want it to turn out weak-sauce like what happened to my Fruitalicious sampler.
I actually tried doing the “ice shaker” method for this sampler and that was my first time trying that, and I was surprised how well it worked! My hot tea was ice cold in seconds and, amazingly, it didn’t taste watered down! Success! So, the flavor. This tea has a strong grapefruit flavor, and I’ll admit that grapefruits and grapefruit juice isn’t one of my favorite things… that said, it has enough sweetness that it doesn’t have the sourness that I dislike in grapefruits. It is still a bit tart, but it is more of a citrus sort of tartness. It’s a very tangy grapefruit/lemon flavor, and a pretty nice iced tea. It is at least more unique than most of the T2 fruit teas I’ve tried so far. That said, still not a favorite, only because grapefruit isn’t a personal favorite flavor for me. I’m sure those that love grapefruit would really dig this.
Flavors: Citrus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Tangy, Tart
A Berry Frui-tea July! I got this at the same time that I purchased my mass of cheap after-Christmas T2 samplers, but this was actually a highly-discounted tin of one of their old summer fruit tisanes that they had discontinued. The dry leaf has a strong coconut smell, but is also quite sweet, and almost a little nutty.
I made a cold brew batch and it steeped up a nice deep ruby red from the hibiscus in the blend, but it smelled like… a sort of coconut creme dessert? It just had a really overpowering coconut scent. Then there was something very off-putting about the flavor. It could have been amazing. The red fruity hibiscus base was nice, but there was this very strong coconut flavor that tasted funny. The dry leaf didn’t have that “expired sour coconut” smell to me, so I didn’t think the coconut in the blend was off, but the coconut flavor in the blend tasted really over-powering, unnatural, and there was something about the aftertaste that made me feel like an aerosol coconut sunscreen or body spray had been sprayed into my mouth. It just lingered in this odd way and didn’t feel… right.
So, then I decided to try making a warm cup. After that steeped up, I took a sniff of the cup, and I definitely got that acrid, sour coconut smell that I recognize immediately from rancid coconut in a blend. I still don’t smell it at all in the dry leaf like I usually do… there just must be too many sweet ingredients in the blend that are hiding it (the licorice root and brittle, maybe?) It also didn’t present at all in the aroma, or even the taste, of the cold brew. In the cold brew, it tastes like sunscreen, but in the warm brew, it’s that sort of sour/acidic flavor that tastes sort of… too much like being ill to be pleasant.
There is a good chance that, being this was a discontinued, highly discounted tea when I got it, the coconut may have already been off or close to when I got it. Had I thought about it, I may have been able to put the sealed tin in a foil-lined bag and stuck it in my freezer until I was ready to use it this summer, but I didn’t. C’est la vie.
Not the fault of the tea, and I probably should’ve thought about it before I went on a “ooo, lots of cheap tea!” ordering frenzy, to be fair, so I’m not even going to rate it. If nothing else, I’ve now had the lovely experience of tasting liquified sunscreen. I do think with fresh coconut this tea would’ve been amazing, because the base was great, very fruity and and juicy with a nice balance of tanginess and sweetness, and the coconut probably would’ve blended in nicely with the berry fruitiness if it didn’t taste like sunscreen or vomit. If T2 ever decides to revive this blend, I’ll try to grab it when it’s in season.
tl;dr: The wrath of coconut strikes again!
A Berry Frui-tea July! Another of my T2 fruit tea samplers, and probably the one that sounded the most interesting to me, considering it had a lot of ingredients I’ve never tasted before (dragon fruit, sea buckthorn berries, chokeberries…)
As per usual, I brewed this iced, though I did hot steep this one and then pop it into the fridge to chill overnight. Sadly, this came out really weak. It just feels too watered down, like water with a slightly tangy fruity flavor to it. I’m not sure if it’s really supposed to be this light of a flavor, or if my sampler was just not as potent as I was expecting…
These T2 samplers have always held enough tea for two cups (16 oz.) so that is how I prepared it (with 16 oz. of water) but it is definitely tasting like there is a major lack of tea-to-water here… so I’m guessing this sampler just didn’t have enough tea in it (it is a chunkier herbal). Since I only had the one sampler to brew up, I can’t exactly try again with only a single cup of water, either, because I really would like to see if I could get a stronger flavor out of this… meh. So disappointing! I’m going to leave this unrated until the day I can give it a fair shake… I’d really like to try it again, but T2, annoyingly, is one of those companies that doesn’t offer individual samplers (you have to get sampler sets and hope the tea you want is in one) and I don’t feel keen on getting one of their badly packaged 100 gram “cubes” just for a retry.
If anyone in the US happens to have some of this and would be willing to trade a sampler sized amount of this tea, let me know! It would be appreciated.
A Berry Frui-tea July! Decided to cold brew another of my T2 sampler stash. Their samplers are only enough to make half a quart, but at least it steeps fairly quickly as far as cold brewing goes. This is their Citrus Punch, which as far as I can tell, doesn’t seem to be available anymore.
This is a pretty standard hibi-hip blend. The base is a very thick fruit punchy tart/tangy hibiscus. I also pick up a subtle note of lemon zest, and more prominently, notes of orange and, oddly enough, coconut, though there aren’t any indications of it being in the blend (unless that is one of the added flavorings?) The blend is tangy but still quite sweet from all the added apple, and a nice iced tea. I actually think that surprise coconut flavor was my favorite part, since I wasn’t expecting it.
Flavors: Coconut, Fruit Punch, Hibiscus, Lemon Zest, Orange, Sweet, Tangy, Tart
I suffer from terrible period cramps and haven’t found anything other than painkillers to make it better – until I found this tea. Apart from how delicious it tastes, I believe the chamomile/lavender blend in this tea has amazing medicinal properties that relaxes me so much that it actually cures my cramps! Don’t know what I would do without this tea. Also perfect before bedtime. I can’t recommend this enough!
One of my favourite teas from T2! I am a huge fan of coconut and this tea has just the right blend of coconut, pandan and genmaicha. It tastes like yummy roasted kaya but without the sweetness. I much prefer this to Ette tea’s pandan chiffon cake. I brew a cuppa every morning for a guilt-free kaya indulgence. Highly recommend for an authentic Singaporean taste!
This is the last of the T2 samples I have in my cupboard, and since it needs milk and I’m not at work, it made sense to finally get around to it. It’s inspired by gingernut biscuits, which I quite like, so I have high hopes for this one!
In practice, it’s maybe not quite what I expected. Gingernut biscuits, to me, are a relatively sweet thing, and I know T2 can do sweet flavoured teas pretty well. This blend is much more on the savoury side of things; less gingernut, and more chai. There’s plenty of cardamon and clove (which I enjoy) plus a hefty kick of ginger (which I’m not so keen on). I can also taste orange, which I wasn’t expecting; there’s a little juciness, but it’s more pithy than fruity on the whole. As it cools, I can detect a little liquorice root – not enough to be obnoxious, but a little all the same. It feels fairly redundant, really, since for the most part it’s drowned out by the spices.
This isn’t one I’m particularly keen on, so I’m not too sad that it was limited edition. Most of the samples I tried lived up to their names pretty well, but this one fell a bit short. It’s not bad as a chai blend, but I was expecting something more.
A Berry Frui-tea July! Another T2 sampler sipdown! I usually prepare these iced, but this one had yogurt granules in it, so I decided to just drink it as a hot cuppa instead of waiting for it to chill (I didn’t want to cold steep it since I wanted the yogurt granules to melt, and was feeling lazy to wait for the hot tea to chill, so figured, eh, a warm fruit tea with my raspberry jam toast at breakfast certainly can’t hurt!) I wanted to use the sampler up and it makes two servings, so I used my big ol’ 16 oz. mug and had a large double-sized cuppa. Such a bright red infusion on ol’ Red White and Blue Day, too!
The dry leaf had lots of apple in it, but the brewed cup definitely smells very strawberry. It has a very rich berry profile, but that could be because I’m drinking it warm rather than iced, and I find that hibiscus tends to have a thicker mouthfeel to me when prepared that way (which is why I prefer these kinds of teas iced). There is a sweet strawberry top note, but the hibi-hip gives it an underlying dark berry flavor note that follows. There is a nice juxtaposion of sweet and tangy fruit notes that play on the tongue — it starts sweet, has a tangy mid-sip, and ends sweet. It’s really nice! There is a lot of tart ‘n tangy hibi-hip, but the apple and yogurt add a lot of sweetness to the cup too, and I’m really enjoying how those flavors mesh with each other. I’d probably like this more as an iced tea, but am pleasantly surprised how enjoyable this was as a warm cuppa. Something about the warm strawberry was very relaxing, reminding me of hot pastry filling.
Flavors: Berries, Fruity, Hibiscus, Strawberry, Sweet, Tangy, Tart, Thick
A VariaTEA share!
I was expecting just a plain, straight black tea blend so I was definitely surprised when I cracked open the sample bag and smelled fruit. Definitely not a traditional breakfast tea! I spent most of my time drinking this trying to place what exactly the fruit was; it seemed both like a tropical fruit and a stone fruit to me. I think, if forced to, I would have guessed peach. Turns out it’s mango, which I can see now in hindsight. Apart from that this was pretty smooth; malty and buttery with just a bit of a floral undertone.
Pretty nice, actually.
A Berry Frui-tea July! Hey look, I found a tea with a name that nearly matches my theme name… works for me! This is another from the Great T2 After Christmas Sampler Haul of January 2018, and I’ll likely be whipping up the other fruit tea samplers I nabbed then during this month, too. Since they only make two servings, they don’t take long to chill when I brew them up iced (my preferred way to drink fruit infusions!) and are easy sipdowns (and I could use some freed up cupboard space!)
This is a fairly standard hibi-hip fruit infusion, that reminds me a lot of TeaSource’s Red Berries in flavor. It is a little less punchy than some infusions I’ve tried, with a fairly strong dark berry/red berry sort of flavor. I taste a lot of blackberry notes, rounded out with a tangy raspberry/hibiscus base, and a touch of a strawberry sweetness on the finish. It’s a very refreshing tea. As per usual, probably not the sort of tea the hibi-hip naysayers are going to enjoy, but if you like semi-sweet tangy fruit teas, it’s quite nice. I’ll probably be enjoying a lot of these types of teas over the summer.
Flavors: Blackberry, Fruity, Hibiscus, Raspberry, Strawberry, Sweet, Tangy, Tart
This was my second watermelon tea of the week, and the second that was slightly disappointing. Bird & Blend’s tasted to me mostly of pineapple and coconut, but this one is mostly liquorice and mint. It reminds me very strongly of Teapigs’ Liquorice & Mint blend, in fact, which I dislike intensely. There is a little watermelon here, mostly in the mid-sip, and it is sweet and watery in a way that’s refreshing and pleasantly flavour accurate. It’s totally surrounded by the heavy dankness of mint on one side, and the intense sweetness of liquorice on the other, so that the overall effect isn’t particularly one of watermelon.
I made this one as a cold brew, and I think that was probably the right way to go. I don’t think it would be any more successful brewed hot, but I’ll give that a try in time just to see. Maybe I should put this one in lemonade? Or try and make an actual sorbet with it?
I think I can see what T2 were trying to achieve. Given that the flavour is watermelon sorbet, it’s like the mint is providing the coolness and the liquorice the sweetness. I get it, and I think it’s quite clever, but I don’t think it really works. Both of those flavours are far more powerful than the watermelon, with the result that it just seems to get squeezed out.
Are there any really good watermelon teas?
One of my friends from work traveled all the way to Australia and returned with T2 teas for me. Unfortunately they were 100 gram boxes of tea with no way to seal the packet once opened so it took me a while to buy tins to put these in which meant it took me a while to try this. However, when I finally did, I did enjoy this tea.
As a breakfast blend m it was more brisk than I usually prefer but it wasn’t astringent which is nice. Also it was definitely a black tea with mango flavor as opposed to a mango black tea which basically means the base and the fruit were present and fairly equal in strength.
Check out my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2018/06/14/brisbane-breakfast-from-t2/
So My internet has been down for the longest time and now it’s working off and on….So I’ve had this tea several times since then and after this cup will have only one serving left.
This was kindly sent to me from Mastress Alita. I had wanted to try this company for awhile now and am glad that I got the opportunity.
I found that the best length to steep it was just under three minutes.
The tea is pleasant to drink and makes for a very unique earl grey. I can see it being too floral for some people but I find it to be quite nice. The main note I’m getting is a peachy floral flavor. Somewhat reminiscent to how DavidsTea’s Buddha’s Blend smelled. Although this tea is not nearly as perfume-y as the DT blend which I found to not be drinkable. They mention hibiscus in the ingredients but I’m assuming it’s white hibiscus based on color of the tea, taste, and looking through the dry leaf. I could definitely picture myself drinking this in Paris so the name is fitting In my opinion. It’s a beautiful tea and when I place an order with T2 if this is available I would definitely consider adding some to my cart.
Flavors: Floral, Hibiscus, Peach