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Recent Tasting Notes
Homemade Advent Exchange Tea #2
1 sachet in 450mL hot water. Steeped ~3-4 minutes and added a dash (~1 tbs) soy milk.
2nd steep same parameters but left the tea bag in while I drank it so it steeped much longer.
This tea reminds me so much of Lupicia’s Caramel and Rum rooibos! I get a lot of vanilla and caramel in this one, along with the typical honey sweetness + woody minerals of rooibos (which pairs really well). I don’t taste any dried fruit or dates but it’s still an excellent blend. Second steep was a bit weaker but still excellent.
Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Rooibos, Vanilla
TTB tea! This is interesting! I can taste both the cucumber and something fruity that sort of approximates mango. This ends up light and refreshing, not tart at all. The second time I had this, I tasted mostly almost pickle-y cucumber, and I wished for a bit more balance. The cold resteep was tasty.
I LOVE caramel-flavored teas and am so-so about most chocolate blends, but I ordered pretty much everything that sounded somewhat interesting in T2’s big clearance sale, so here we are. I’m somewhat disappointed that I don’t get much caramel flavor from this blend. However, the brownie flavor is spot-on: rich and fudgy! I especially enjoy it with milk and would like to try it as a latte.
Flavors: Chocolate, Sweet
Not sure what vanilla has to do with Melbourne, but this is a very nice vanilla black tea! It’s more of a natural vanilla bean type flavor than the more common extra-sweet artificial vanilla. The base tea is also rich and malty and brings a bit of cocoa flavor to the table. Unlike most breakfast blends, I find it smooth enough to drink straight…though honestly, I still prefer it with a splash of milk to really bring out that creamy vanilla flavor. I have found that this one, like many of T2’s black tea blends, can over-steep very easily! Sticking to a 3-minute steep for Western-style seems to give it to me at its best.
Flavors: Cocoa, Vanilla
Came home from breakfast out feeling out of sorts. So I snagged this one out of the “to try” jar and settled in with some comfy sweats. I really like this one. It reminds me of one of the cold teas I also enjoy. I should compare the ingredient listings to see what exactly it is that I’m favoring. I’m suspecting it’s the fennel or the licorice. There is a minty flavor as well that is enjoyable. It’s a sweet tea and very smooth. I don’t have any illusions that it’s going to cure what ails me, but it’s definitely making me feel a bit happier.
Flavors: Fennel, Licorice, Mint
So many pear teas in the Strange VariaTea TTB! I’m glad I get to try a few different ones, since I rarely have them otherwise. I like this better than I like most T2 blends. The jasmine is fine – nothing to write home about but it’s floral and doesn’t have any weird aftertaste. The pear comes in mid-sip, sweet and juicy. Because of that vibrant fruitiness, I think it might be better suited as an iced tea than hot.
Another from the Strange VariaTea TTB. The berry notes are very strong here. I’m getting an almost candy-like strawberry and/or raspberry flavor. It’s just a smidge too sweet for my taste, especially in the first steep, but still enjoyable. The base tea doesn’t totally fade away – it does have some heft – but I’m having trouble making out specific notes. The base gets even lighter and more non-specific in the second steep, but the berry flavoring gets lighter too so it’s ok. Not one I’d reach for but one I’m happy to have tried.
This tea has been on my wish list for literally years and was the main reason I felt compelled to order from T2’s closeout sale. Unfortunately, the flavor was a bit of a letdown for me. I definitely get banana – actually, quite a nice, natural banana flavor with none of the artificial Laffy Taffy vibes I often get from banana teas. But the “bake” aspect is totally absent…it’s just a brisk black tea with a fresh banana flavor and none of vanilla, nut, or bakery notes I was hoping for to bring it more into banana bread territory.
Flavors: Banana, Brisk
I was skeptical of this one, as chocolate teas tend to be pretty hit and miss for me. But this blend hits the spot! The orange flavor is juicy and natural and the chocolate is a rich, dark, dark bittersweet chocolate that balances the fruitiness perfectly. I like it straight and also with a bit of milk. It was also a huge hit with friends we invited over a few weeks ago, who were very disappointed to learn it’s no longer readily available in the USA. Wishing I’d gotten around to trying T2 before they closed down their American website!
Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Juicy, Orange
Of the 20+ teas I ordered during T2’s closing sale, this one was my favorite! Unexpected, since the inclusion of both puerh and genmaicha in the same blend made me dubious of the result. But the blend turned out to be very creamy, rich, and coconut-forward with a nice richness coming from the genmaicha. The mouthfeel was smooth and buttery like an oolong and overall it gave off STRONG popcorn vibes…my husband always refers to it as “that popcorn tea”. Both of us love it and are hoping we can still find a way to order it from Australia in the future!
Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Creamy, Popcorn, Smooth, Toasted Rice
This blend smells lovely, but the flavor doesn’t live up to the aroma for me. I get hints of vanilla, maple, and cinnamon, but all the flavors are on the lighter side and the base tea is a bit smoother and less full-bodied than I expect with a breakfast tea. Adding milk mutes the flavors even more, leaving me with nothing but a milky black tea with a a hint of cinnamon. Disappointing overall, but the tin sure is cute!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Maple Syrup, Smooth, Vanilla
The TTB has arrived! So big, so many teas… no chance to try them all!
T2 closing sale, not so long time ago… I remember putting this tea to my order list, but apparently no shipping to Europe was available, so I have shrugged and moved on.
Actaully I am glad I haven’t bought it. Because it is such a huge dismal. Tastes like a cheap chocolate with no orange in sight and with alcoholic aftertaste. Jaffa cakes are my favorite snack, great with cup of tea… but as a tea, it doesn’t work.
I drank half a cup and my sister-in-law was asking what I am drinking that it smells lovely. I told her, offered her a sip. She really liked it, so I have offered her the rest of the mug… happily, because I don’t have to finish it and the tea wasn’t prepared in vain. Honestly I am not sure if I could finish it myself.
Strange VariaTEA TTB #6
I think I made a pretty colossal mistake with this one by adding milk. I always drink my earl grey with milk, so I did it without even tasting it first…now I see in the description here that the company specifically recommends NOT adding milk. :( I don’t feel like I can really rate this one, since I didn’t drink it as it was intended to be drunk. Though I will say, I think it may be misnamed as an earl grey! The overwhelming aroma I got from the dry leaf and flavor I got from the brew was a sweet, juicy peach. The bergamot may be there, but it’s seems to be completely overwhelmed by the peach flavoring. I do like peach, so I think I might have liked this quite a bit if I’d drunk it straight!
Flavors: Fruity, Juicy, Peach, Sweet
Strange VariaTea TTB #2
This one smells SO good…and the flavor almost lives up to the scent! Not sure if it’s quite reading carrot cake for me, but it definitely has spice cake vibes. A good balance between the spices, nuttiness, and sweet, cakey flavors. T2 has been hit and miss for me, but I’d call this one a hit!
Flavors: Cake, Nutty, Spices
Ashmanra’s Sipdown Challenge | October 2023 | A tea that gets you going
Easy come, easy go! I pulled this one from the most recent TTB and really enjoyed it. I wish there had been more in the package! It’s a flavorful breakfast tea, even if I continue to be perplexed by the name/inspiration.
2023 sipdown count: 51
Sampled from the Strange VariaTea Traveling Tea Box
After two weeks with the box, trying to cram in tastings during this oh-so-busy season of my life, I’m finally getting ready to send it on! I’m squeezing in a few more samplings before doing so.
This morning I drank this tea while revising the first paper for my clinical practice course. I don’t really understand what’s New York-y about a pancake breakfast, but I don’t mind the tea itself! It’s definitely evocative of pancakes and maple syrup, with a full, unctuous mouthfeel and, oddly, notes of chocolate? Maybe they’re chocolate chip pancakes! :D
Normally I prefer some astringency in my breakfast black teas (don’t ask me why!) but I think it makes sense, thematically, that this one is not terrifically tannic.
I actually like this quite a bit. There are only one or two servings left in the bag, so I’ll probably keep the rest.
Flavors: Chocolate, Maple Syrup, Pancake Syrup
Though I wish the cucumber was a little stronger and more vegetal, this was such a surprisingly delicious mango blend from T2! It was very sweet and juicy, with somewhere between a mango gummy candy type of taste and the more realistic notes of freshly cut ripe mango. I think what i enjoyed most was that, though there was a slight top note acidity and brightness, this was a hibiscus free blend so those mango notes were really able to shine and stand out on their own.
Thanks Kelmishka for sending this my way!
I brewed this up not realizing there was vanilla, just thinking it was a more “straightforward” breakfast tea. The scent is really lovely, with the vanilla obvious, yet soft. The taste itself is quite smooth with a creamy, vanilla flavour at the forefront. The vanilla is mellow in taste, yet prominent. I have to check if Angrboda ever tried this tea on her quest for the best vanilla tea because I feel this would have been a good contender!
I have yet to find a vanilla tea that hasn’t really caused my stomach to be upset, until this! Quite thrilling. I find myself quite happy with this, so much that I would consider having this in my cupboard — as an added bonus: the sachet would also make it easy for work.
I snagged a couple of these bags from the TTB, not realizing initially that they’re meant to be cold-brewed — so I was a little surprised when I read the packet later! I brewed one up this afternoon, and it’s very welcome on a 90˚F day.
The tea brews up a gorgeous vivid pink, but I find the flavors a bit muddied and weak. The titular juniper is almost nonexistent and the yuzu comes through more than the grapefruit. I find the blackberry leaf almost too sweet — it hits at the back of the sip in an unpleasant way. I thought it was stevia for a hot second!
Well, I’m glad I tried it, but I won’t be too sad when I use up the remaining sachet.
Flavors: Citrus, Herbal, Stevia, Sweet, Yuzu