Capital TeasEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Sweet strawberry and
black currant, tart hibiscus
I’m still fond of you.
Needed a new cold brew candidate and I hadn’t marked D off my Ode to Tea list yet, so this is my D entry!
It’s a basic fruit tisane… I love these sorts of teas, but at the same time acknowledge they all typically taste the same and rarely stand out much. There are lots of fruits in it, but other than a sort of generic “fruit punch” flavor from those different fruits and the hibiscus base, I really only distinctly make out a sweet strawberry note, which has sort of a jammy quality, and a tangier black currant flavor (with black currant being one of the few fruits not included in the blend… I guess there is just something about this mix of flavors reading that way to me).
Not special, but extremely thirst-quenching and easy to sip from my cold water bottle. I imagine I’ll go through it quite quickly!
Probably not a tea for the hibiscus averse, but for those that like hibi/fruit teas, it’s fine. But it isn’t special either, and this flavor could easily be found just about anywhere from a variety of hibi/fruit teas.
Flavors: Berries, Black Currant, Fruit Punch, Hibiscus, Jam, Strawberry, Sweet, Tangy
Received this in my October SipsBy box. It’s very light in flavor but a nice Oolong. It smells very earthy in the bag. I don’t think I would seek this one out to buy but I enjoyed the few cups I got out of this sample. As I’m sampling new teas I’m learning what I like and don’t like. Not sure if Oolong is my jive but I will certainly try more.
I’m not rating this tea highly, but it kind of doesn’t matter, as a) Capital is no longer selling this blend, or so I assume because the link from their White Teas page to this tea is broken, and b) Teavana is now selling Youthberry in plastic containers of 15 sachets at places like Target. So the original need for a fake Youthberry, which became acute when Teavana closed their stores a couple of years ago, isn’t as pressing now. (Oh believe me: I’ve stocked up).
Comparing this tea to Youthberry, it’s not as sweet, not as drinkable, more sour (even with honey/sugar added), and just tastes lower-quality. You can tell YB has a proprietary artificial flavor that this tea lacks; not sure if they use a different artificial flavor, or none at all. I suspect none. About the same amount of caffeine, not that I am always the best judge. It brews up a deeper color, reddish-brown, than YB, making me wonder when I first got it whether it’s actually a green tea, but no, it’s still linked from Capital Teas’ white tea page, even if the link leads to an error page!
We all know this was developed/sold as a Youthberry replacement, and yet it’s not really fair to evaluate it solely as an imitation of YB. So judging it on its own: this is a darkish white tea with fruit pieces (I can see papaya and pineapple, can’t recall what the red berries are). It brews up darkish red/brown at 5.5 minutes, which was admittedly an over-brew; the package recommends 3-4 min. but I set it at 4.5 and then let it go an additional minute by accident. It didn’t become bitter though, which is in its favor. Still it lacks the delicacy of most white teas and white blends. It’s fruity, but also a bit sour, and sugar improves it, but still I don’t find it very smooth or drinkable, which is what I look for in white teas. So I have to say: not really a great tea in my opinion.
Flavors: Berries, Fruity, Sour, Vanilla
A pretty good Oolong – the concept of a ‘milk’ Oolong has really caught on in recent years with a number of brands having the same blend. Obviously Capital sources the pretty good stuff and is a cut above the rest. Went a bit light on the brew for this one!
Sampler Sipdown September! This is the second of my tiny Capital Teas herbal samplers. Again I prepared it as a single cup (235ml) since it was a rather chunky herbal and the sampler was looking a bit peckish.
I wasn’t impressed with the last sampler since it had a sort of grapefruit taste that I didn’t care for in what would’ve otherwise been a pleasant lemon tea, and this one… is described as a grapefruit and pineapple tea. Greeeeeeeeeat. Have already established I hate grapefruit, and I love pineapple, so dont’ really care to have grapefruit ruining what should otherwise be another pleasant tea. Starting to see a pattern here… Well, maybe I’ll get lucky and some mysterious ghost flavor will save the day instead of ruining it like last time (though I have high doubts, because the dry leaf smells like dirty feet to me…)
This one is also a pale peach, paler than the last one (considering that rose hip and hibi are the second and third listed ingredients, I’m a bit surprised it isn’t darker, so I’m wondering if I got a really uneven blending in my teeny tiny free sampler?) Even steeped it smells really unpleasant to me… like the overwhelming ginger of that Tropical Oolong sampler that was also from Capital Teas, except this blend doesn’t state any ginger in the ingredients, and also a little like… stewed onions? Must be all the grapefruit… ugh. I already know I’m not going to like this one.
It… tastes a bit watery, even infused at only a single 8 oz. cup. It tastes very heavily of grapefruit, which honestly to me has a gingery/onion sort of taste to it… just blechy. And I actually like ginger (in moderation), and onions, I just don’t like the weird sour fruity spin on those flavors my tastebuds give grapefruit… it just doesn’t work for me. If I try to look past the grapefruit really hard, I can maybe make out a tiny hint of pineapple… oh who am I kidding? Like hell I can! The tea smells like dirty feet.
Be gone from my cupboard and never come back!
Sampler Sipdown September! Here are a couple of easy sipdowns. I had some herbal samplers I got as freebies with a past order from Capital Teas and they are tiny, honestly being herbals, which are larger, chunkier ingredients, I’m uncertain if these will make for even a cuppa properly, but there certainly isn’t enough for more than that. Due to the size I limited the brew to a single cup (235ml) rather than trying to top off my coffee mug to 350-370ml like I usually do.
So the first is Lemon Drop. There is no info on the tiny sampler packets other than a name, a brew length, and a temperature, so I had to do the leg work myself. This is described as a honeydew melon fruit blend… I admittedly have never had a melon tea warm, only iced (I do quite like them iced). Curious how this will bode to me as a warm tea…
It steeps up a peachy-pink (no doubt from the hibi, but since it isn’t a dark red, it must be scarcer on the hibi than most fruit blends), and it smells less like melon and more like… a lemon-lime pop to me. It just has a strongly citrusy aroma, but somewhat sweet, as well. After taking a sip… this tea tastes surprisingly like Squirt to me, which isn’t really a compliment, since I’ve always thought of that pop as “shitty Sprite.” I’m getting this sort of grapefruit tasting note in the tea, not melon, and a very heavy lemon citrus note. The lemon is at least quite nice, without that really fake/artificial flavor that reminds me of cleaner, and the slight sweetness of the tea balances the tart/tangy notes nicely. I just find that grapefruit flavor (and I’m not sure where it is coming from?) a bit off-putting, because I personally am not a fan of grapefruit. If that weren’t present, this would actually be a pretty decent lemon tea.
Flavors: Citrus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Sweet, Tart
A Berry Frui-tea July! This came as a free sampler with my last order. It was a single teaspoon sampler, so even though I usually prefer my fruity teas iced, with such a small amount I just made it as a hot cuppa.
I have to say, the leaf made me question the “oolong” part of the name, because it just looked like an herbal blend (of mainly apple, hibi, ginger, and licorice root… all things I personally like, but uh… where’s the oolong?) I poured the hot water on and looked for any signs of tea leaf opening up and… there were a few, but it definitely wasn’t abundant. I realize that could just be the luck of the draw with the sampler scoop, but that still doesn’t really give me much overall faith in the blend, especially when oolong is listed as the second ingredient after currants. Not particularly impressed and the cup isn’t even brewed yet…
In any event, the brewed cup is sort of a gingery yellow color, and has a very peach aroma. The flavor was… odd. The oolong base is a bit earthy, which already doesn’t really seem to compliment fruity notes particularly well. The main fruit note I get is a very strong papaya flavor, followed by peaches, and the fruit itself would be okay… if it weren’t for the overwhelming abundance of ginger. It isn’t that it’s “so hot it’ll burn you tongue off” levels of ginger, but it’s enough ginger that it is unsettling to the fruit flavors… it tastes really peppery and off-putting. There isn’t enough sweetness for it to come off like a nice candied ginger sort of note, so it just seems to not belong at all in a tropical fruit blend. Perhaps the licorice root was suppose to add some sweetness, but honestly, I don’t even taste it; I just taste ginger. I’m not getting any strong red berry fruity notes either, despite the currant/hibi in the blend.
Glad I only had a single cup sample of this, because this is a pass for me. I find it hilarious that Capital Teas describes the blend as having “just a hint of ginger”… if that is a “hint”, I’d hate to think what their ginger blends are like…
Flavors: Earth, Ginger, Peach, Pepper
Out of the blue Capital Teas sent me this subscription box. I thought maybe it was a deluxe Christmas promotion but I wrote to them just to make sure I hadn’t accidentally signed up for something. They said the box had been sent by mistake but that I could keep it. So that was a cool surprise!
I tried this one first since I’m trying to avoid caffeine right now. It smells like orange and bubblegum, it tastes like light spices and bubblegum. That sounds really weird but it’s actually a pleasant tea? The bubblegum isn’t overpowering, just lightly sweet.
Another sample. Points to Capital Teas for putting visible chunks of real mango in this. It paid off, because it tastes really mango-y. The smell of this for some reason was a little weird? But it tasted good.
There is a lot of other fruit in here too, but to me it didn’t really come through distinctly.
This is from the GCTTB (I think) and I had taken a tsp sample to try at a later date. I brewed it today cold and really enjoyed the pot.
Typical jade oolong taste, buttery, vegetal (soybean, bok choy). I wouldn’t say it is as milky as I prefer, but it made a nice afternoon cup.
Flavors: Butter, Soybean, Vegetal
I really want to like this tea, since Capital Teas only sells it in one pound amounts (very shrewd, CT, very shrewd). Despite their claim that this is a best seller, I find it insipid. Not much almond flavor to it, a little too much cinnamon, and apple from the apple pieces. I’ve been desperately trying to get through it, since I’ve got so much of it. Not sure what made me buy it – I think I really liked the sample and smell of it when I tried it at the NYC Coffee & Tea Festival a couple of years ago, but I’ve been struggling with it ever since. A little better hot rather than iced , but not by much. Strangely, there’s a little bit of viscosity to the brew that I find off-putting (hot or iced). Lesson learned – never buy a pound of ANY tea unless it’s something you drink all the time.