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Recent Tasting Notes
This really is like eating a piece of vanilla cake! The caramel comes in in the aftertaste like caramel frosting. The flavor here is pretty accurate, which I’m really enjoying! I will say that it’s a little artificial and definitely tastes more like an herbal than a black tea. I don’t mind these things in a tea, but I can see where all the negative reviews are coming from.
Sipdown! (42 | 115)
I recently swapped with @thismorningstea on Instagram, and she sent me a few wrapped teabags of this tea. I used all three bags in my 16-ounce teapot.
This is… meh. It’s extremely grassy and I can barely tell there’s matcha added. It mostly just tastes like a cheap Chinese sencha.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Grass, Smooth, Straw
I’m just going to put this out there: for someone who doesn’t like rooibos as much as I don’t like rooibos, I sure wind up drinking a lot of it in the form of dessert blends. What can I say? I’m not smart, but I’m also desperate to keep myself warm during the dregs of winter and decaf is the only way to accomplish that without giving myself a heart attack.
Where to start? This is an odd one. It smells dusty in the tin. Without any addition of cream or sugar, the brewed tea is mostly not-too-sweet strawberry with a dash of funk you can’t quite place. You neither like nor hate it, and yet you can’t stop drinking it. Why? You search yourself for answers at the same time you fire up your kettle for yet another cup. You don’t know. It makes your mouth dry. Why are you doing this?
Maybe you’re wondering where the 65 rating comes from, and I’ll tell you: the addition of cream and sugar changes /everything/. I resisted the obvious additions for so long because I don’t typically like adding anything to any tea, but this is one where I clearly recognize the superior choice. It’s like drinking an entirely different bag. The dust and must disappears, the taste of cocoa turns to a surprisingly smooth milk chocolate, and the tart of the berry levels out. It’s hard to oversteep this one at this point.
Overall, a niche sip that’s nice when I want something a little more indulgent, but not necessarily one I’ll be reaching for as a regular drink.
I love RoT’s Earl Greyer Vanilla more than most, so I jumped on the Estate blend hoping for another earl grey creme that would knock it out of the park. It smells pleasantly like a creamsicle in the tin, but brews up smelling mostly just like heavy vanilla cream with a floral hit. If you’re not a fan of big bergamot flavors, this is right up your alley.
The verdict? It’s…fine. Yeah, it’s fine. It didn’t knock my socks off, but it’s a smooth sip for what’s shaping up to be a sunny day after a snowy hellscape. It’s inoffensive, takes well to cream and sugar (this one is especially poised for cream addition), and will be enjoyed, but inevitably not replaced once it’s gone.
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Flavors: Bergamot, Earl Grey, Vanilla
Hands-down the best tea I’ve ever had. I should probably stock up on this since it’s limited edition. It smells heavenly and tastes wonderful too. This makes me think I’m sipping tea in an English country garden (and not just because of the marketing appeal).
Flavors: Blackberry, Blueberry, Strawberry
Beauty Sleep is a chamomile-rose peaflower tea. The honey flavor in this completely overpowers the rose- it is but a faint aftertaste. If I hadn’t prepared it myself, I would have believed at least 4 tablespoons of honey went into my cup.
Fortunately, the tea itself is palatable. It’s ‘sweet’ enough to drink without sugar, but adding a bit of sweetener helps bring out the rose a bit more. A bit of milk might make for a satisfying latte.
I don’t know whether this blend is actually good or that I’m just so happy to be done with RoT’s 12 Days of Sipping thing that’s making me feel generous, but I dunno, this is pretty good. A note for the herbal ignoramuses among us: lemon balm is not the same thing as lemon. I was very surprised by both the fragrance and my first sip. =) Surprised in a good way, though, ‘cos I didn’t want anything tart.
As you may know by now, I like teas that say, Hi, I’m here! Prepared plain, this blend has a nice, bold—and yes, very "herbal"—flavour. I’ve tried loads of herbal blends and this flavour feels unique. It’s a standout, and worth trying for that reason alone. Grateful to have ended this adventure on a positive note.
This is not chai. We don’t put orange peel and star anise in our tea—or cinnamon, but that might just be my family/region)—nor is simmering tea with water, milk, and honey a traditional preparation.
With that out of the way, this blend isn’t half bad. Like every tea so far in RoT’s 12 Days of Sipping box, it’s weak, but less so than the others. I’m on Day 11 and this is only the second or third blend I’d recommend. If you’re going to go with some form of cream and sweetener, I’d recommend two tea bags; the creamer mutes the flavour too much. I was pleasantly surprised that it tastes good plain and it tastes good cold—that’s definitely uncommon for a “chai” blend.
There is one thing I will say about RoT’s blends. I find cinnamon to be a rude spotlight hog in most cases, but in the RoT blends I’ve tried so far, it’s played surprisingly well with others.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Spices
Confession: I can’t tell the difference between British Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, and Scottish Breakfast. I mean, I looked it up, but I can’t taste the difference. Black tea is black tea. I mean, I can taste the difference between PG Tips and Barry’s. And I know Earl Grey is different because the bergamot (mmmm bergamot) sets it apart. But that’s about it.
So yeah, as black tea blends go, this is fine. As has been my experience of late with RoT tea bags, it’s just fine. I’ll take PG Tips any day.
Oh, and it’s better with milk ‘n’ sugar (or oat creamer and stevia, in my case).
RoT’s 12 Days of Sipping, day 9. The first whiff of this dry blend was awful. It smelled spoiled. It quickly passed and then it smelled like it’s supposed to smell, but that first impression, wow, I have no idea what happened there.
All three flavours are present in equal measure: rooibos, peppermint (more candy cane than actual mint), and chocolate—and all three are equally muted. The end result is just okay. I imagine using two tea bags would’ve been better, but that doubles the price of the tea, and it’s just not worth it. I’m not adding a separate note for the sweetened, creamer version, because it wasn’t significantly different: as expected, the sweetener was kind of nice; the creamer (coconut milk) would’ve probably been wonderful if the flavours were bolder, but as it is it just obscured what little flavour was there.
Flavors: Chocolate, Peppermint, Rooibos
Oh, honey! Got two sachets of this in RoT’s 12 Days of Sipping. Prepped plain, this brew is smooth, fragrant, and all honey. If that’s your thing, and you can have a bit of caffeine, you’ll love it. It needs nothing to enhance or “fix” its flavour, either; just steep and enjoy.
Second of two sachets included in RoT’s 12 Days of Sipping. Prepared this time with creamer and sweetener, which didn’t do anything to improve the tea’s flavour or presentation. Rooibos is still the only discernible flavour I taste.
RoT’s 12 Days of Sipping (2020), day 7. First of two sachets, prepared plain. I like neither cinnamon nor vanilla, so I adjusted my expectations accordingly. The brew smells like Big Red (the chewing gum)—all cinnamon, with perhaps a bit of vanilla smoothness. (I can’t really explain what I mean by a fragrance being “smooth,” so make of that what you will.)
It tastes like rooibos. Maybe a hint of cinnamon, but that’s it. Great for me because I love the taste of rooibos, not so great for anyone expecting cinnamon and vanilla. And if I wanted plain rooibos, I would just drink plain rooibos.
RoT’s 12 Days of Sipping, day 6.5. Quickly prepared the second cup, this time with oat creamer and stevia. It’s still pink, but not as pretty with the creamer. The creamer and the sweetener do a great job of cutting the tartness, of course, and the result is somewhat reminiscent of Fruity Pebbles.
I’m still not sure about oat creamer: no matter how little I use, I taste it too much. That said, it worked well here.
Still not for me.