The Spice and Tea Exchange

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Recent Tasting Notes

90

I never had this blend from Spice and Tea and Exchange (and it appears to be discontinued now), but I did pick up a tea from Snake River Tea in Boise that, according to the ingredients, appears to be an identical blend. It was fantastic, and if anyone is missing the Spice and Tea Exchange version, I recommend checking out Snake River Tea as a viable replacement; they offer online orders.

The tea really does have a lovely scent like chocolate-covered strawberries. It doesn’t have an “earthy” or astringent taste from the pu-ehr as the chocolate and fruit notes sweeten up the tea nicely. At the same time, it isn’t overbearingly sweet; the darkness of the tea is still able to shine through the flavor. The flavors don’t hold out well trying to resteep, however; the chocolate melts out on the first cup, leaving a subsequent steep noticably weaker. This is an indulgent dessert tea, best with a fresh cuppa each time.

Full review: https://teatimetuesdayreviews.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/tea07/

Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Fruity, Strawberry

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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70

I picked up this tea at a time that I needed to cut all caffeine from my diet, and as a fan of green tea, I was glad to find a decaffeinated flavored green tea option. Now I’ve reintroduced caffeine into my diet, but it is still nice to have a green tea in my stash to drink around bedtime.

The tea has a decent green tea taste, though if you are familiar with green teas, there is something that tastes a bit odd about it compared to regular caffeinated green teas… though it’s a bit hard to describe. It’s just slightly off… another review calls it “metallic” and I wouldn’t say it’s that harsh, but… something close to that, and apparently it’s from the decaffination process. It’s not… bad, but… a little strange, when you are used to green teas. Thankfully the mango flavor is quite full and leaves a nice fruity zing, and the tea resteeps well. It also makes a quite refreshing iced tea during the summer months.

Full review: https://teatimetuesdayreviews.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/tea04/

Flavors: Mango, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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90

This is the sort of tea that I love on cold winter nights. It is like a warm, thick fruit cider, but is wholly unique from the typical spiced apple cider. This tea has a rich hibiscus base with some plum-flavored notes, and a nice warmth added from spicy cinnamon. The tea has a bit of a tart and spicy bite to it, but is still naturally sweet enough to drink sans sweetener. A great tea if you like hibiscus teas and want a warm spiced fruit cider experience.

Full review: https://teatimetuesdayreviews.wordpress.com/2017/01/17/tea03/

Flavors: Cinnamon, Hibiscus, Plums, Spices, Tart

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
MrQuackers

Coincidentally, I was looking at a tisane, perhaps by Rishi with the same name.

Mastress Alita

Ah, I didn’t know Rishi had this blend! While I enjoy Spice and Tea Exchange’s blends I’ve always found their tea a bit over-priced, so once I need to restock this one I think I will try Rishi’s version and see how it compares. Thanks!

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95

This was one of my first looseleaf teas and I still blame it for starting my addiction into tea. It has a very unique spicy flavor; the rooibos base makes the blend less astringent and more sweet than black chais, and the spice is a bit less cinnamony with a nice full, husky taste of ginger, clove, and licorice! I’ve tried other rooibos chai blends similar to this one but they didn’t have the licorice root, and that really sold this blend as the cream of the crop for me. If you aren’t a fan of licorice, however, this may not be the blend for you.

Full review here: https://teatimetuesdayreviews.wordpress.com/2017/01/03/tea01/

Flavors: Clove, Ginger, Licorice

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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87

Add a splash of milk or cream, it really is like a delicious hazelnut cookie. Like hazelnut coffee (which is my favorite flavored coffee), only tea. A bit sweet, & super smooth.

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87

Sipdown! Trying this again a bit differently. I used about 14 oz of water almost boiling used 2 perfect teaspoons. To try and highlight the flavor I also added an eighth teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, stevia and some Vanilla soymilk. Doing this completely turned around my opinion on this tea. It has a very subtle coconut vanilla flavor, it is very smooth and creamy. I hated this tea the first 3 times I tried it. I’m so glad I finally made it delicious. Townshend’s Coconut Pouchong now has a competitor! To give you an idea of how turned around this tea is now it went from a 35 score for me to the second highest tea I’ve rated!

Flavors: Coconut, Creamy, Smooth, Vanilla

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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80

Just a quick note to say I’ve been enjoying this from the teabox and now it’s a….. SIPDOWWWWNNN. I had to remove it when the teabox was last here because I saw it in the teabox the last round. But it’s actually still very creamsicley and tasty. Thanks for whomever included it. I liked it anyway. :D
Also sipdowned a lovely baozhong oolong today which was still delicious.

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70

Here’s Hoping TTB

Although I love American history, I had never heard of Bohea tea. As soon as I read the description on the package I was intrigued. Smoky orange spice? That doesn’t sound like it should work, but if the combo has been around for 200+ years, it must have something going for it! And while I don’t think this is something I would reach for on a regular basis, I did enjoy sampling it. The cinnamon flavor predominates, with just hints of the citrus peeking through and the smokiness lingering in the aftertaste. It’s a tea I really noticed while I was drinking it, not just mindlessly sipping my way through.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Orange, Smoke

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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The dry leaves smell mostly floral to me, with a touch of fruitiness. The colors are very pretty, the green leaves with the blue and yellow flower petals. The leaves aren’t entirely whole, however, but I’ve had this tea for a while and it went through some travel. I’ve never had dragonwell or sencha tea just plain (yet), so I can’t say much as to the quality of the green tea. It tastes natural, however, although it says there is strawberry and rhubarb flavorings in it. (Note: I used 0.5 tsp to 4 oz water ratio for this brew.)

The tea came out yellow-green, more on the yellow side of the spectrum. It’s a much lighter flavor than you might expect from the scent of the dry leaves, but I still enjoy it. The strawberry flavor comes out more strongly in the brew than what I could discern by scent in the tea leaves. If you could call a tantalizing hint as ‘strong’. (Although perhaps that is my own inexperience at smelling tea leaves at work and matching flavors to scents.) There is some freshness—grass maybe?—to it, which I would expect from a green tea. Nice for a cool spring night, but I doubt I will get this specific tea again.

(Yay for my first tasting note!)

Flavors: Floral, Green, Strawberry, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
mrmopar

Congrats and please continue with more!

Matu

Yay, first tasting note! :D

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70

Good. Nothing to be overly excited about, but it’s ok.

Disclaimer: I’m far from a tea connaisseur/enthusiast. My notes are not meant to be a review for the tea community, but rather for myself so I know what to buy or not buy again (I wish there was a way to keep notes private).

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80

Some tropical fruits, but mostly just green tea leaves. I like the taste, although it’s quite weak.

Disclaimer: I’m far from a tea connaisseur/enthusiast. My notes are not meant to be a review for the tea community, but rather for myself so I know what to buy or not buy again (I wish there was a way to keep notes private).

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80

This tea would be great relief for a cold. I’m drinking it now because I have it and need a break from caffeine for a few minutes. It’s a pleasant blend of ginger and turmeric which includes licorice and citrus flavors. The licorice stands out more than the other flavors after a few sips, but that’s not a bad thing.

Flavors: Ginger, Lemon Zest, Lemongrass, Licorice, Orange Zest

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

I oversteeped my first cup but immediately noticed that while the bouquet of blueberry (I would describe it as blueberry pie) is strong, the flavor of the black tea was mild and clean. The blueberry did not overpower the tea even though the scent was strong to the very last sip, indeed to the tiniest drop left in the cup. This tea is an enjoyable change of pace for someone who typically drinks Irish breakfast tea in the morning and Earl Grey in the evening…day in and day out. The aftertaste is surprisingly pleasant: not at all bitter and somewhat mood enhancing in and of itself.

Flavors: Blueberry, Lemon Zest, Sugarcane

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 45 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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82

Here’s Hoping Teabox – Round Six – Tea #10
This one has some punch! It is a very smoky blend and a nice dark tea (probably because the base is somewhat Assam). Caffeine for a rainy day. The most astringent teas are the ones that work best as smoky teas for me. I was only tasting hints of the cinnamon, none of the cloves or orange but that’s fine with me. I love the lingering flavor. Another smoky cinnamon tea like Liquid Proust’s Smoked Breakfast I had the other day!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 14 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep

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80

At first yours truly (J) tortured these leaves through three boiling hot steepings (2tsp/16oz). Just pleasant… nothing special. But then…

For the fourth glass I wanted to make iced tea. So these same abused 2tsp steeped in just 1 oz of boiling water for 12 minutes, then poured over ice with some sugar.

It was magic! It is so much better iced – the sugar really makes the tropical flavors pop. After 4 steeps I was impressed any flavor survived. Now I’m getting these pineapple and banana flavors that were muted when hot. Yum!

Flavors: banana, Pineapple

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 2 tsp 1 OZ / 29 ML

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89

This is actually the second time I’ve had this in my stash. I just finished it quickly last time and never got around to logging it. The first time, my mom picked it out for me when she was away for work in Texas. Recently, she had to go back and picked up more because she remembered I liked it.

I have such a thing for Fujian black teas. This one is no exception. The leaves are a mix of chocolate brown and dark tan, delicate and skinny. Most are somewhat whole, with only a little broken leaf debris in the bottom. Dry, it smells a little bitter and musty, with a hint of smoke and tobacco-like sweetness.

But once it’s steeped, the flavor is something mellower and much more smooth. Notes of honey and hay bloom, along with that distinct finish of Fujian cocoa flavor. Almost dark chocolate. Oh yes. That’s what I’m in this for. The black teas that naturally taste like chocolate or croissants or dinner rolls. This is almost precisely that, but I have to take points off for a faint iodine flavor. Because of Teavivre and other companies, I know that note doesn’t have to be there. I’m spoiled.

One bad note doesn’t spoil the whole tea, though. I’m happy to have this back in my collection just in time for the temperatures to start to drop.

Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Hay, Honey, Iodine, Smoke, Tobacco

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Mike

I’m a fan of this one too! Funnily enough, there’s a Spice and Tea Exchange near my mom’s house in Delaware…may see if she can pick it up for me also. :P

ScottTeaMan

I’ve had a couple Black Monkey teas over the last few years and I love it! :D

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70

Here’s a little gem I picked up at Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Golden Monkey is one of my favorite black tea varieties so I was excited to give this one a try when I spotted it at the store.

The unbrewed leaves of this tea are long and are both brown and golden brown. The aroma is earthy with standard black tea characteristics .

I steeped the tea for four minutes at 212 degrees. The color was dark amber gold.

The flavor was much like the unbrewed leaves smelled. It was earthy flavor with standard black tea attributes…and something else less pleasant. There was a faint taste behind the other flavors that reminded me of the smell of un-emptied ashtrays on the morning after the party. The sensation was weak but there just the same. It didn’t ruin the experience for me but it did subtract from the positive feelings.

I’m not ready to write this tea off yet since it does have some good features. I will try a lower brewing temperature next time to see if that reduces or eliminates the ashtray effect.

Flavors: Ash, Earth, Tea

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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86

Yesterday yours truly (J) had some Jade Cloud (also by Tea + Spice Exchange; 1 tsp in 8 oz) and I hated it so much that I didn’t go for a second steeping and just trashed the leaves. I felt a little guilty, thinking “maybe I don’t like green tea”.

Today, though… green tea makes a comeback: S + J both had 2 tsp in 4oz of Mystic Dragon over ice. We both really liked it (J more than S). Turns out we like dragon green but not jade green. S points out that the other two green teas we have are jade. Bummer.

This helps explain why we like the red dragon iced tea made at Sofra (cherries/juice + green tea + simple syrup).

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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73

This is like a London Fog in a leaf. Earl Grey + milkiness + vanilla. But yours truly (J) is torn…

I love the strong cream flavor. But it also coats my mouth, almost like I drank a shot of butter and swished it around… which I don’t like. And the creme is mostly gone in the second steeping… c’mon!

The moderate bergamot and vanilla spice is really pleasant in the first steeping, but a 6-minute third steeping (2 tsp, 8 oz) resulted in slightly tannic warm black tea devoid of spice and complexity. I was disappointed by the tannins (which I dislike), as I recently had a Kusmi earl grey that could steep for hours without bringing much astringency.

The creme flavor is so sweet that it doesn’t need added sugar.

S did 1 tsp in 4oz over ice, which is also really good. An iced London Fog! (Beat that, Starbucks!)

Flavors: Bergamot, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

This tea has a wonderful strawberry and mallow flavor that really comes through, giving it a smooth fruity taste. I make pitchers of this iced and love it with cream.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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92

Wah, I’m home sick! Thankfully, I picked up some of this lovely loose ginger when Phi and I went to the Spice & Tea Exchange last weekend. I have been alternating it with H & S’s pyramid-bagged ginger tea and Trader Joe’s Gingerly Turmeric blend. The blends are nice, but there’s something about the punch of straight ginger that really cuts through the unpleasant symptoms of a cold. It reminds me of Breezy Morning’s West Indian Ginger Root, which I try to keep on hand at the office because it comes in convenient teabags. This loose version pleases me more though – the pieces are big enough that I can get multiple steeps out of one serving.

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90

I love this loose leaf tea! It has a very strong chai flavor.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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