669 Tasting Notes
This is another bagged tea that I felt like revisiting recently. It of course can’t hold a candle to the whole loose leaf Green Pomegranate from Art of Tea that I really enjoy, but before I had that tea, I remember I drank this tea quite a bit. Going back to it now (steeped sans bag, for two minutes in 175 degree F water) I find it drinkable, but pretty underwhelming. I like fruity green teas, but I like the fruit flavors more subtle and delicate so I can enjoy the notes of the green tea base, and it is impossible to taste any green tea in the base in this blend… I feel like I’m just drinking a fruity herbal. The base of the tea just tastes of hibiscus, though it isn’t quite as tart as most hibiscus teas I’m used to, sweetened up with a lot of artificial raspberry and pomegranate flavors. It has a decent enough fruity flavor, but I wish it had more of a green tea base.
Flavors: Artificial, Fruity, Hibiscus, Raspberry, Sweet, Tart
I originally got this tea from Snake River Tea in Boise, Idaho, but they stopped carrying it, and I really loved this blend, so I hunted it down and found a shop in Florida that did online orders, Beleave Teas, that carried it and stocked back up. It is worth mentioning that I had a very good customer experience from them and lightning fast shipping! The tea blend is wholesaled from International Tea Importers.
This is such an interesting tea! The scent of the leaf is this combination of floral fruity sweetness that smells like bubblegum to me! The name of the tea is very misleading, as the tea does not have a thick, tart hibiscus flavor at all; it brews up a yellow color, and is a very light, sweet tea. It has a sort of sweet, lychee flavor with a lot of floral notes, and the scent wafting up from the cup reminds me of flower blooms in a warm breeze. The tea almost has a candy-like quality to it from the sweetness of the combined fruit and floral notes. This is one of my favorite floral teas, hands down. It just has such a unique flavor. It also makes an amazing iced tea, which I enjoy preparing as a cold brew! The only thing to be mindful of is this tea can be a bit fussy about water temperature and steep time; I find the flavor is best when it is prepared delicately, so I use 160 degree F water and a brisk two minute steep. Using water even a little warmer and a steep a little longer (175 degree F with a three minute steep) tends to bring out a slightly more tart finish to the drink… which isn’t necessarily bad, but isn’t my preferred way of taking this one.
Flavors: Candy, Floral, Lychee, Rose, Sweet
I got this tea in a holiday sampler collection of Art of Tea blends a few years ago, and of the different white tea chais I’ve tried, so far this one has been my favorite, as all the others are trying to duplicate each other on a certain specific flavor profile, and this one is quite unique and I haven’t managed to find anything quite like it anywhere else. Which happens to be a problem for me, because Art of Tea is one of those places that goes from a sampler size to a 4 oz. bag, and I loathe having a quarter pound of tea around… it takes me eons to go through that much and is just not feasible for me (not to mention storage is a big problem in my tiny apartment). But a little 5-7 cup sampler is just not economical for restocking when shipping prices aren’t getting any lower. So once this sampler is gone, it’s going to be a very sad farewell to this tea… I’m really going to miss this one! I really wish I could find something like it from a place that sells their tea in one or two ounce sizes… sigh
The leaf to this tea actually smells like fresh evergreen trees to me, and once it has steeped, it has a bit of a pine aroma that is very refreshing and really does evoke thoughts of winter as the name implies. The flavor has a nice spiciness to it. It’s just a little peppery, but more tickling rather than biting, with a lot of clove and anise in the finish. I’m one of those folks that is very “spicy-sensitive” and have to get all my food “0-star” and I can affirm that this is a nice, mellow, relaxing chai, not a “burn-your-mouth-off-where-is-the-milk-aaaaagh-it-needs-more-milk-and-sugar!” kind of chai. I take it plain and really enjoy the play of the spices and that sort of evergreen-freshness along my tongue. It feels warm yet refreshing at the same time!
Flavors: Anise, Clove, Pine, Smooth, Spices
I ended up grabbing this tea at some point last fall, knowing that I’d be wanting to have some holiday-themed teas around to review on my blog over the winter months. I first tasted and reviewed this for my blog the Tuesday after Christmas, and finally managed to sipdown the sampler bag from Adagio this last week. I have to give it to Adagio, their samplers are pretty full compared to many samplers I order! It took a while to finish this off, and that was with help sharing this with coworkers…
I am not much a fan of black teas that are too strong and have too much of an astringent bite to them, and since this tea has a Ceylon base — a tea where I often have that issue — I was prepared for that. Hah! As far as I’m concerned, this is the sweetest, mintiest tea I have ever tasted! It tastes like getting a high dosage of those little peppermint candy freebies left out at the counter at restaurants in liquid form… every sip leaves that brisk, cooling minty sensation on the tongue. If you like peppermint, this is the tea for you! It is super minty and super sweet! For me, it was just a bit… too overwhelming. It wasn’t… bad, but it just felt like the flavoring was absolutely dominating the cup. I enjoy someone telling me “Merry Christmas,” with a smile on their face, but if they get right in my face and scream it at the top of their lungs, then it is just too much, you know? Then it gets annoying. And that’s what I felt like this tea was doing.
Since I usually will make an “extra-strong” brew when I want to latte a tea, so the flavor notes will shine through after adding the milk, I figured this tea would be a good candidate, as it already had such a strong flavor. So I decided to froth up some hot chocolate almond milk, and try it in a minty cocoa form. Now that was quite nice! It gave it a sort of of chocolate-mint appeal, the milk cut down on some of the overwhelming mintiness just a bit, the flavor was enough a normal brew worked great for a latte, and it had a lovely creaminess. It made for a great hot cuppa on a wintery day. Sipping this down latte-style using chocolate almond milk became my go-to, and it was very nice!
Flavors: Mint, Peppermint, Smooth, Sugar, Sweet
When I first reviewed this tea on my blog, I really gushed about it. I really loved how it reminded me of creamsicle orange-vanilla ice cream, and it really seemed to have wide appeal when I made it for non-tea drinkers. But over time I’ve sort of lost my taste for it. This was one of the earliest teas I had in my collection, and I think that as my tea collection expanded, I just came to find other herbal blends that also went with a “creamsicle” flavor profile where I just felt it came out much creamier and stronger in the vanilla notes, leading to a better balance in the orange and vanilla. This tea is much bolder in the orange flavor, which I suppose makes sense, considering it is called blood orange smoothie, and while I normally absolutely love the tart bite of hibiscus, I just think that after sampling the sweeter, more “ice creamy” creamsicle teas that going back to this tea, with its more citrusy, tart flavor and very subtle hints of vanilla it just couldn’t hold up for me anymore. I could still drink it, but I no longer preferred it, and definitely no longer felt the need to rave about it like I once had.
I will say that I do still enjoy it latte-style, made with warm vanilla-almond milk. Since the vanilla flavor of the almond milk enhances the weakness of the vanilla flavor of the tea, this gives the tea more of that creamsicle flavor that I enjoy… and the milk gives it a really nice creaminess, too!
Flavors: Citrus, Hibiscus, Orange, Tart, Vanilla
Before I made the switch to loose leaf, this was one of my favorite bagged teas. I’ve been curious how many of these teas still hold up now that my palate has changed so much. I can’t stand the taste of teabags anymore, so I’ve been opening up the bags and dumping the (very low-quality) tea into my gravity-well infuser for steeping.
Surprisingly, I still really enjoy this tea! It actually tastes just like the Spice and Tea Exchange Cinnamon Plum loose leaf tea I have, only the plum flavor is replaced with apple. It has a warm, slightly tart hibiscus base, with some fruity sweet apple notes, and a warmth of cinnamon spice that lingers in every sip. The tea feels very much like a thick fruit cider. It doesn’t remind me much of apple cider, as hibiscus is the dominant flavor, but I enjoy it as a fruity, spicy winter drink. This tea still holds up.
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Hibiscus, Sweet, Tart
For a tea called “Spiced Apple Cider”, this tea is all spices, no apple. Even using a full tablespoon of tea, the tea is all spice notes — cinnamon, nutmeg, and in particular a strong clove flavor that is left lingering on the tongue — but there is just no apple flavor left in the naturally sweet rooibos base. Adding a touch of sugar helps the tea become much more palatable, as it rounds out and mellows the spices a bit and brings out a slight hint of the apple notes lingering in the background, but it simply isn’t enough to make me think “apple cider.” I think the name “Spiced Rooibos” would have been far more appropriate.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Nutmeg, Sweet
This is a very delicious green tea… but it is also very fussy to make. You must be very mindful of the water temperature and especially the steep time, because if you oversteep this tea, it will turn bitter very, very quickly! But if treated just right, this tea has a very lovely green tea flavor. It reminds me of genmaicha, sans the nuttiness of the genmai rice. The leaf just doesn’t seem to come off with that overly astringent grassiness that many green teas have. And the fruitiness of this tea is excellent! What I love about it so much is that it is light and delicate, rather than being so strong that all you taste is this heavy strong infusion; I find flavored green teas of that variety tend to just come off feeling so artificial. You get such a nice green tea flavor here, with these light fruity notes that hit the back of the tongue that give it a lovely combination of fruity sweetness and tart zing. The fruitiness is a bit like a combination of pomegranate and raspberry. So far this has been my favorite fruit-flavored green tea.
Flavors: Fruity, Grass, Raspberry, Sweet, Tart, Vegetal
You know when you visit the Farmer’s Market, and there is stall selling bags of nuts covered in warm cinnamon and sugar and the smell is absolutely divine? When you open up the bag of this tea, the aroma reminds me exactly of that! (The loose tea looks good enough to eat too… like a cinnamon-covered granola!) This is a tea that works best for me when it is brewed strong to really enjoy the flavor, so I usually use two heaping teaspoons (this tisane has pretty large, chunky ingredients, so I find it comes out a bit weak otherwise!) and let it steep in boiling water for around 7-10 minutes. The resulting tea is a dark red color from the beetroot powder, which also gives it a very slight tart note which reminds me just a bit of hibiscus. It counters the natural sweetness of the tea, as it is very nutty and has some slight cinnamon-sugar notes. I really like the tea with its natural beetroot tart bite, since that is a flavor I’m personally quite fond of, but adding a bit of sweetener mellows that note out so the tea becomes such an incredibly smooth dessert tea. This is a rather unique evening indulgence tea!
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutty, Sweet, Tart
I got this tea in a holiday sampler from TeaSource last year. Opening up the sampler and sniffing the leaf, it smells strongly of cinnamon, reminding me of Big Red chewing gum. After brewing, the tea continues to have a cinnamon aroma, though not nearly as potent as the dry leaf. The black tea had a medium-body and very smooth mouthfeel with no hint of astringency. It has a warm, cinnamon flavor, that leaves a slight spicy note lingering on the tongue, but it isn’t quite as strong or as potent as some black cinnamon teas I’ve tried; there is a bit of natural sweetness, likely from the fruit inclusions, that keep the spice a bit more grounded. Sadly I pick up no fruit or citrus flavor notes, so the tea is pretty underwhelming; it’s just a cinnamon black tea that is a little more subdued and a little more sweet than stronger cinnamon black blends. It has a fine flavor, but isn’t particularly interesting; if I want something spicy I prefer a tea with a bit more depth, like a unique chai.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Smooth, Spicy, Sweet