40 Tasting Notes

79

I had a craving this evening for sour candy that could not be fulfilled (hello Spooky Season cravings!), and so I thought to myself I’d turn to a tea instead – something fruity and tart would likely fill that hankering! I had a couple of packets of Hibiscus Splash from a box of iced tea samplers DT released in summer of 2020, and thought I’d go for it, remembering how it had been the most tart of the lot.

The fact that I was not disappointed at all should give some indication of the flavours happening here. Sharp and tangy, quite sweet (but I don’t find it’s crossed the line into TOO sweet – but for some it might!), it’s toeing the line from becoming too sour, on a long, generous steep. (I should point out, I’ve only drunk it hot – I’m not a big fan of iced teas – but I did want to try more sweet, fruity blends – hence I bought the Iced Tea box!) It reminds me a lot of White Cranberry Bark, however WCB has that white chocolate smoothness that helps to mellow it out, gives it a creamy flavour, while this particular tea is rather a bit sharper with regards to its tartness. The sweetness of Hibiscus Splash isn’t so strong as the literal Jolly Rancher-type candy flavour I was craving, but there’s a more subliminal flavour that is similar which lingers in the mouth rather than on the tongue. In the summer, I think it might be one of those drinks that makes you thirstier as you drink it – particularly if you are going so far as to drink it hot!

It’s scratching the itch I had – but it’s not something I’d turn to every day. Rainbow Lemonade, which was in the same sampler box, has slightly more “gentle” flavours, so if you wanted a step down from the punchiness of this, I might suggest going in that direction. Or wander further along towards White Cranberry Bark for something smoother but still sweet and a little tart.

Flavors: Cherry, Cranberry, Hibiscus, Lemon, Tart

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 2 tsp 20 OZ / 591 ML

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85
drank Market Spice by Citizen Tea
40 tasting notes

This is a lovely blend that feels quite Holiday-appropriate. (I’m not sure whether it’s meant to evoke said season or not, to be honest!) The scent reminds me of those seasonal shops that (used to) crop up in North American shopping malls around the winter season, where upon entering one’s senses were assailed by the scents of cinnamon, apple, mulling spices, etc. Those scented baggies of pine cones? It reminds me of them – but without so much of the muskiness. (While the connection mentally of cinnamon and apple is there, the ingredients list neither, but rather orange peels, cloves, as well as peppercorns.)

Brewed up, the similarity remains, but is toned down to levels I consider much more pleasant. None of the flavours are at all sickly-sweet, as they can be with similar teas and with some of those shops, or candles – but the association is strong enough to give the impression of the holidays and those scents and tastes we’ve often come to associate with them. With a little milk, it’s subdued just a touch more, and the experience is one of a much more gentle impression, clear and persistent without getting lost, but without ever becoming too sweet, overpowering, or cloying.

There’s a little “oomph” I feel might be missing somewhere – this blend is lovely, but it doesn’t quite stand out either. It’s got charm but it’s almost forgettable – indeed, I had 50g of this hanging around my cupboard and it was only a similar tea running low that reminded me that I had this somewhere – if only I could locate it, it might serve as a good back-up. Maybe if the orange, for example, came through more strongly, it would have left a stronger impression – something to stand out and shine against the lovely backdrop of the rest.

Flavors: Spices

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 1 tsp 20 OZ / 591 ML

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95

This smells so strongly to me of mince pies when I open a bag, and suddenly everything in me is ready for the holidays to begin! As someone who usually puts a dash of milk in my teas, I do find that once it’s brewed up and I’ve added milk, the kind of rum-scent that made me think of mince pies (for whatever reason) dissipates, but the rest of the flavours remain strong. However, without milk, I can still detect it clearly!

I particularly enjoy that, while this is a holiday chai and it contains cinnamon, I don’t find I detect the cinnamon particularly – whereas in many holiday beverages the cinnamon is sometimes ALL you can taste. Not so for me here.

The only way I could love it more is if the rum flavour was still able to come through with the addition of milk. It’s not the most “chai” of chai labelled teas, in my opinion, but I enjoy it thoroughly. It’s a warming, mild spice experience that evokes the holidays beautifully. Hoping I can find it this winter now that I’m running out!

Flavors: Cloves, Rum

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 1 g 20 OZ / 591 ML

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100

One of my faves, especially in the cooler months; this tea is essentially like a gingerbread cookie in a cup, with a dash of chocolate thrown in for a little extra decadence. Sweet and spicy, even with no sweetener added, and flavours that carry through even when milk IS added, this blend is one of my all-time favourites. I’d have it constantly in stock in my tea cupboard if Adagio’s international shipping rates weren’t a bit exorbitant.

Absolutely lovely in the autumn and holiday months; warm, inviting, comforting, and a little decadent. One of my all-time favourites.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Orange

Preparation
8 min or more 3 tsp 45 OZ / 1330 ML

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80
drank Amaretto by Steeped Tea
40 tasting notes

For a tea with papaya, I didn’t find this pushed the wrong buttons for me. The scent is incredible, reminding me strongly of the now defunct Teopia’s blissful “Amaretto Cherry,” however the almond flavour notes do not quite come close to the strength the scent would seem to imply. It’s a little more vague than you’d expect, though the tea still packs a punch of flavour, enough to stand on its own even with milk added, which is my preference.

For me, it’s a nice approximation to a nutty amaretto tea, though not quite as obvious in its almond as I expected. I still enjoy it quite thoroughly, though! Simply be warned that the flavour will differ from the scent you might first preview. If you can sample it before you order it, I would highly suggest you do. Especially since I was ready to give it a miss based on the papaya, yet still found it enjoyable – many other reviewers, it seems, found the opposite to be true.

Flavors: Almond, Fruity, Nutty

Preparation
8 min or more 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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91

Was happy to select a sample of this tea with my online order this week, as I love so many of DT’s dessert teas, but it wasn’t something I could see myself purchasing just to try.

Is the description of the flavours in this accurate! There’s a light nuttiness (pistachio & almond) that reminded me of Forever Nuts (also by David’s Tea) when I smelled it, but that’s very much toned down in the actual steeping of this blend. The overall flavour is smooth, soft, just a touch sweet, and very gentle. I don’t think I would place the flavour as being pistachio without knowing that’s what it’s meant to be, but the nutty flavour definitely does come through – it’s just very gentle, and perhaps the almond carries the flavour a little bit more than the pistachio does.

It is a very soft, light flavour, as I’ve made it – the sample only came with two teaspoons’ worth, and I popped those into my 45 oz teapot for…. well, I never really took it out – just eventually poured a cup after a good old wait. (Over 8 minutes, likely closer to 15.) The flavours may come through more strongly if I weren’t adding milk – but I seem to be incapable of omitting milk in my tea; it’s a texture preference.

I’m not positive if I would purchase more for my collection; I do enjoy it quite a bit, but it may be a bit TOO light for me – at least for a black tea. Maybe if I increased the concentration of tea-to-water. When I poured it, I did say to myself, “That is light for a black tea,” and so I wasn’t surprised by the very soft flavour. But it is lovely, creamy, and nutty – just not perhaps as full a flavour as I generally prefer. Nothing wrong with this blend, simply a matter of preference!

Flavors: Almond, Creamy, Nutty, Sweet

Preparation
8 min or more 2 tsp 45 OZ / 1330 ML

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79
drank Cotton Candy by DAVIDsTEA
40 tasting notes

I’m not normally the biggest Rooibos fan; typically I prefer something black, but every now and then, I find a tea that I just can’t resist taking a chance on bringing home with me. This is one of them.

Unfortunately, it sat at the back of my tea cupboard unloved for a long time after that, but today it saw the light of day once more, and I think that perhaps because I wasn’t expecting anything earth-shattering this time, I was able to enjoy it just a little more.

The overall flavour of this tea, I would say, isn’t necessarily of cotton candy – but the aroma certainly is. The tea itself is a little bit subtler, though it is certainly still sweet. Still, I actually enjoy the sweetness. I typically dislike the taste of sugar in my teas, or even honey, though I do enjoy dessert teas on the whole. Something about the colourful little gems of brittle (which are gorgeous to look and delicious to simply pick out nibble naughtily) doesn’t translate to the sharp twang of sugar in your tea. This, I can deal with.

Maybe not a whole pot of it, but in small doses, certainly. Which is good, because the original packaging, with its adorable carnival-themed boxes, enticed me to buy two packs!

Flavors: Sweet

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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92
drank Creamy Nut Oolong by Teaopia
40 tasting notes

I didn’t think I would care for this tea – don’t know why, I just assumed. How wrong I was – when I finally smelled it, it was everything I had been looking for; I just hadn’t known where to look! This blend is so sweet, but not overpoweringly so. It’s got caramel and almond that I had expected Caramelissimo to deliver, but I didn’t find it did. this was just what the doctor ordered. The almond isn’t super powerful, too, whereas some almond teas can taste entirely different. Give this one a sniff while you can (before Teaopia is gone to become Teavanna!) and decide quickly if you’d like to take some home! And don’t forget to try it as a latté with vanilla soy if you like it sweet! 0

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