This was the free sampler I got from Strand Tea when I placed an order with them last July. July?! Goodness, I really need to work through some of my older samplers! Hopefully this one still has some oomph left (though admittedly there is a big clump of sunflower petals all fused together on the top of the package… eh, I put them in my cold brew mason jar, hopefully it’ll be fine!)
The sampler looked quite small, but I was surprised to find I had enough teaspoons of tea to do a quart of cold brewed iced tea and had just enough tea left over to make a double-size warm mug at work to sipdown the sampler.
So, warm cup first. I’ve had one other mango green tea, which was a decaf green tea by Spice and Tea Exchange, which I found to have a very bitter flavor and a sort metallic aftertaste that I found very unpleasant. I figured it mostly had to do with the decaf nature of the leaf. There are certainly no metallic notes here, but I am experiencing that same sort of tart/bitter puckering on my tongue, so now I know that particular quality must just be my experience with mango flavoring. Some sips go down with no issue, but most of the time, I get this really strong tart/slightly bitter aftertaste right at the very back of my tongue, right near the throat. I don’t mind the flavor of the mango itself, which is very nice in the tea, and the base green tea leaves used in the blend appear to be of good quality and actually leave a bit of a vegetal flavor in my mouth even despite what appears to be me having a strong reaction to the flavoring, but when that bitter aftertaste hits, it’s a bit off-putting. I don’t seem to have this problem when mango is blended with other flavors, but it seems that mango as the dominant flavor note just isn’t my cup of tea. I almost wonder if this is some sort of mild sensitivity to the mango flavoring commonly used in tea blends, or mango in general (I’ll admit I don’t really eat the raw fruit, since the “mushy” textures of most fruits set off my gag reflex… I’m tempted to try some now just to see.)
Now, the iced tea. I used the cold brew method, and let the leaves steep in cold water in a sealed mason jar in my fridge for somewhere between 8-12 hours, then strained the tea leaves from the water, so I didn’t start with a warm tea base. This is probably a good thing, because that strange bitter sensation I experience on my tongue with hot mango-flavored tea is not present in the iced cup. I feel that puckering sensation slightly at the start of the sip (so I do still suspect I may have issues with mango flavoring), but it isn’t so strong that the cup is unpleasant, and the finish instead has a sweeter, floral taste, likely from all the flower petals in the blend. The fruit flavor is just a lot softer this way, and the other flavors, like the florals in the blend, are allowed to come through. Even without that weird sensation I’m left in the mouth from the mango, I’m reminded why I enjoy fruity greens more iced than hot.
I don’t think this is a bad tea… but I do think I’m coming to discover I have a sensitivity to mango flavoring (and possibly even the fruit itself). I’ll have to continue to keep an eye on that as I weed through more blends in my collection.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Mango, Tart, Vegetal