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Recent Tasting Notes
Thanks so much for the tea swap, AJ Rimmer! I love being able to try teas like this one, from tea shops I’ve never heard of! The black tea doesn’t result in too dark a mug. It’s more of a lighter cup, but I think the base pairs well with the flavors that are going on. I’m not entirely convinced the ‘shortbread’ is noticeable in the flavor (which is interesting because AJ Rimmer totally notices the shortbread), but I was enjoying this cherry or light grape flavor that was most present in the cup. I’m not sure if the cherry/grape is from the black tea itself or was part of the flavoring. Sometimes I can get a cherry note from a marzipan flavoring, I guess? But there was definitely some marzipan. I’m not sure if I noticed the rose or pistachio. I liked the experience of this tea overall. It’s certainly something unique that I don’t have in the cupboard. The closest thing might be some of those Dammann Freres teas that sometimes seem to be cherry.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // 18 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep
2019 Sipdowns: 62 (one of my pouches of Zen’s lovely Phoenix Pearls)
Flavors: Cherry, Grapes, Marzipan
I bought this one when I was still obsessively buying every almond tea I could find. I’m happy to report, though, that this one is pretty great. It needs to cool to room temperature in order to fully appreciate the flavor. If you have it hot, it’s mostly just a fake marzipan flavor. Cooled, it’s pleasantly bready and so true to its name. I was falling asleep watching Netflix, so I drank some of this to stay awake and ended up talking a 2.5 hour nap, so it’s possibly not the most caffeinated tea ever, but I prefer low caffeine anyway (or maybe this was just a fluke, who knows). Anyway, this tea is very tasty. I love bready teas.
As soon as I smelled this tea, I knew I would be a fan. I love carrot cake teas. The flavor is sweet, savory, and spicy in a wonderful combination. This one is different from the Simpson & Vail version, but I like it almost as much. And you can rebrew the leaves for a really nice second steep. I’m not sure I can taste the carrot too clearly, but it is like drinking dessert – love it!
The chunks in here are a lot bigger than I expected! It looks like it’s mostly orange slices, which was surprising considering the name. I drank this warm with lots of sugar and was happily reminded of Teavana’s mandarin mimosa, which is one of my favorites. So the flavor is a very refreshing orange with no mango to be seen, but I don’t mind since it tastes like one of my favorites. This is one I would order again if I ever make another order from TeBella.
I finished Adagio’s green rooibos bonita and wanted another fruity green rooibos, so I opened this. You definitely have to overleaf this one or else it turns out pretty weak. The flavor is quite light, but it’s pleasant. I expected more of a sour citrus flavor. The fruit is light and pleasant, kind of tastes like a creamy orange. Doesn’t really work for a rebrew. So I like this, but I prefer Adagio or Simpson & Vail green rooibos blends.
In the bag, this tea smelled just amazing. Brewed, it smelled more like wine. Hot, it tastes kind of like tart nothingness. I put it in the fridge, hoping for a better experience the next day. Happily, when I had it cold this morning, it was really nice! I did have to put sugar in to battle the tartness. I’m not sure it really tastes like blackberry specifically, more like just general berry. So anyway, I’m happy to finally have a TeBella tea that I’ll actually be able to finish my 2 oz of without too much struggle. I’ll keep pitchers of it in the fridge to take to work, and it’ll disappear in no time (:
Hot, the flavor tastes like rather plain rooibos. I added milk, and that ended up tasting a little strange. I had almost given up on this tea, but I tried it cooled with milk and sugar, and…it isn’t bad? There’s a flavor in there that I’m not a fan of that I can’t quite pinpoint. The berry flavor is super light. I wish it had been stronger, so next time, I’ll mix in a blueberry herbal tea that I have. To sum up, this tastes like a strangely flavored rooibos, which is a shame because I really like the idea of this tea.
I love a good melon tea, but this one is a bit weak. It was light and generically fruity, but I wish I could taste a distinct melon flavor. It was just kind of eh. I’ll see if I can do anything to make my next cup of this more exciting. I really wish this had been great! I’m still looking for a truly satisfying melon tea.
The smell of this tea is heavenly – zesty and sweet and the almonds really come through. I was a little worried that it would taste artificial or overpowering, and that was not the case at all. It’s a bright, white tea with zesty notes from the orange and a hint of spice from the peppercorns. The almonds give it a smooth finish and the flavor get’s strong as it cools.
Flavors: Almond, Citrus
This was another sample from Kaylee. The dry leaf smelled so good! I got a big whiff of bananas as soon as I opened her swap package (and the scent even seems to have gotten into the Praline Horizon tea that was next to it). Sadly, as soon as the water hit it, the chamomile took over. I taste a little bit of creamy banana, but mostly chamomile. Glad I had a chance to try this, but I’ll have to keep hunting to find a replacement for my Butiki Banana Walnut Butterscotch!
Flavors: banana, Cream
I split 2 oz of this with my hostess when I went to Tampa a few months ago. It smells fabulously banana and creamy. It brews up a little weak, but overleafing + rice milk = creamy banana flavorful goodness. There’s just a hint of apple in the background coming from the chamomile. It works well with the banana. Overall, this is a nice evening dessert tea.
Flavors: Apple, banana, Cream
I had a cup of this at TeBella’s tea bar at the Oxford Exchange in Tampa. At $3.75, it was a little pricy for the area but you really pay for the atmosphere at OE. Lots of wood paneling and comfy couches, tasty-looking food and carefully curated elegance at every turn. I was tempted to get Afternoon Tea but it was $26/person for a traditional tea ($20 if you only want scones). So I opted for a single cup and taking some loose leaf home. The loose leaf is the Banana Creme. It’s tasty and I’ll review it eventually, but in retrospect I should have gotten the Key Lime Ginger instead.
The flavoring in this blend is just really spot on. I’m particularly impressed because I often can’t distinguish between “lime” and “key lime” flavor but here it’s very clearly key lime specifically. Tart and juicy. The ginger balances it beautifully. The rooibos kind of just chills out in the background playing a supporting role while key lime and ginger are the romantic leads in a performance where everything ends happily ever after. This is definitely a blend worth revisiting.
In a month, I’m going to Tampa basically for a hockey game then coming back. Actually we’ll have Saturday entirely down there, and so I did a Yelp search for tea, and TeBella came up. Bonus: it’s 2 miles from the hotel for that night! (They jacked up Friday rates so we’re staying in Clearwater then, darn I know.)
I then remembered that Autumn Hearth offered me this in a swap so I gladly took it as I love coconut. After looking at TeBella’s website, it looks like some of their teas are Art of Tea blends, like this one, but that’s totally okay by me because I won’t order directly from them again probably, though I like some of their teas.
I haven’t had this in awhile (I have it from Art of Tea and then maybe Persimmon Tree? Somewhere else w/it, that’s all I know) so I can’t really tell for sure by taste but I can by look.
It’s sweet, first and foremost. The coconut isn’t too strong in this cup as a coconut flavor, but it is definitely amplifying the creaminess of the tea. Definitely agree with everyone who says delicate but flavorful, that is a fact.
I’m glad I bought buttercream flavor oil for lip balm today. I was already thinking coconut chai and now coconut frosting is happening too. I’m just REALLY in a coconut mood and this tea is making it worse.
Special thanks to Rachel for this delicious coconut confection for day seven of the 12 days of Christmas! Rachel recommended pairing this with Thai curry or mango at the bottom of her note. No one has to tell me twice to eat Thai or Indian. This went amazing with my Thai spring rolls and saag paneer( both from the frozen food section). Perfection! It’s a more floral coconut white than a spice or fruit that I’m used to, but it was very smooth and creamy, I think the cornflower helped here.
Thank you Rachel for day #7 of the 12 days of Christmas! I hope it’s late enough that I’m not posting a spoiler ;)
I was pumped to make a pot of this and sip it all day, it’s so sweet and delicate but full of flavour at the same time. It’s so tasty, that I just received my giant order from Zen tea, but I’m not even touching it tonight ;)
Thank you Rachel for a great idea surrounding 7 swans for our 12 days of christmas tea swap!
So i have to be honest…i don’t like coconut. It ruins everything lol especially shredded coconut. blech. HOWEVER…this tea is pretty good, considering my hatred of coconut :) I’m going to find a good home for the rest of my sample since i really think that this is a tea that a lot of people will love. It’s got a milky, creamy coconut thing going on that’s not overpowering…as daisychubb mentioned, it’s delicate and full of flavour all at once.
Holding off of rating this one since this is a total thing rather than the tea being bad. If i loved coconut i’d probably be putting this at an 85+.
Thank you so much for the share Rachel! I love trying new teas!
Thanks to Sil for offloading this lovely coconutty tea on me, as she is not a coconut fan!
One look and one sniff of this tea and I’m about 99% certain that this is the exact same tea as The Persimmon Tree’s Coconut Creme. A sip, and I’m 99.9% sure that they’re identical. Lovely sweet coconut flavour with a soft white base… quite delicious! This one perhaps seems a tad more coconutty than I recall my last cup of Coconut Creme being, but that could easily be caused by proportions of ingredients in the infuser.
As I had a pretty limited amount of this tea left to begin with, I’m certainly glad to have more! Thanks, Sil!
First of all, thank you Rachel for this, your submission in the 12 Days of Christmas tea swap! YUM!
This is really good. It’s cooled off quite a bit as I’ve not been sitting here sipping (fixing dinner!) but it is REALLY good cold too. It is sweet and creamy and delicious.
Rachel – you picked a really good one for 7 Swans a Swimming!
Day 7 of the 12 days of Christmas
When I opened this I knew it was going to be delicious. It smelt caramel like, like dulce de leche. I didn;t really get any coconut in smell, until I steeped. I wasn’t expecting much in regards to coconut because I have been let down by so many coconute teas before.
But this…. OMG! This is devine. Sweet, coconut, caramel. Amazing. This is THE coconut tea I have been looking for. It is soooo good, even though it has been sitting all day.
We received this tea from Rachel as part of the iced tea swap from DaisyChubb’s blog (daisychubb.com). So thanks to both of you!
The whole point of the swap was to get iced tea blend… but we’re being rebels and brewing it hot:).
This is a very fruity blend, and would probably be GREAT iced, so we may have to try that a little later. The most predominant fruit flavor that I taste is the orange peel, followed by the papaya, apple, and some tart that must be the cranberries. Add in some cinnamon to warm everything up, and it’s a pretty enjoyable brew.
The black tea itself is kind of lost in this whole mixture, I can’t really say that I taste it at all. This probably has something to do with the steeping parameter being 185 degrees, which took me a little by surprise (black tea and fruit, can’t I just boil it to death?).
A big thanks again to both Rachel and Daisy :)