Repost. I bought this tea from Strand Tea under the name “Niagara Frost ‘Ice Wine’ Black Tea” and have been working on sipping it down (one serving left!) but have recently discovered this blend is wholesaled from Metropolitan Tea Company, so I’m moving my original review under the wholesaler because that is just how I like to jive.
Autumn Harvest! This is one of my oldest teas; I bought it in a Strand Tea order in the summer of 2017. It’s a black tea with some Bai Mu Dan white tea leaves, ice wine grape flavoring, and raisins. The dry leaf does smell sweet and grapey, but also a bit like black currant, and also has some floral notes.
I have a pitcher of this icing in the fridge, but right now just have a warm thermos to sip at work. Originally I prepared the tea at 205F and steeped for four minutes, but this produced a bit more bitterness and astringency than I prefer; I wasn’t sure if that was because I steeped a little longer than I usually prefer to steep black teas, or if I didn’t take into account that this blend includes some Bai Mu Dan which may have reacted poorly to me using the typical water temperature I use for black tea bases. So on my lunch break, I prepared another thermos using 190F water and steeped for three minutes, and the tea seemed to be much more to my tastes this way. There was still some astringency after the sip, but it wasn’t nearly as potent, and I also found there was a sort of pear-flavored note coming through in the flavor prepared this way as well. The base is Ceylon, so it likely is a quite brisk black, and I do tend to respond more favorably to stronger blacks with shorter steeps, so I imagine that had a lot to do with it.
The flavoring is quite nice; there is a floral touch here that I like, slightly rosy and sweet like honeysuckle, which I also noticed in the Honey Mead tea I had recently. Beneath the floral notes is a strong grape note, but it doesn’t taste particularly raisiny. The end of the sip brings out some subtle pear and citrus notes. It’s a fairly pleasant tea, with perhaps a hint more astringency than I tend to favor due to the Ceylon base. Certainly not enough to keep me from drinking, and I’m looking forward to seeing how my iced tea turns out, since I think this flavor is going to work well for that.
Flavors: Astringent, Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Honeysuckle, Pear, Rose