August Uncommon Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

91

My third of the samples, and the one I enjoyed the most. Two other two are reviewed on notes on my phone, will have them up soon (it’s charging). I havent’ been that impressed so far with the samples, but I have a lot to try fortunately. This one is delicious!! Sweep and reminds me of maple syrup, sweet luxury, warmth, and pleasant nights. I added in two sugar cubes to really heighten the sweetness. It’s pleasant and not at all bitter. Brewed 4 minutes at boiling. Will be a keeper and a re-order.

Not getting any smoke in this first brew, though.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80

Happy National Apple Turnover Day! Today the sipdown prompt is to drink a tea with apple flavor notes!

I have been pretty much exclusively drinking cold brews and tea pop from the fridge, but brewed this as a warm cup with my breakfast this morning. 3.5g to 350ml 205F water, steeped for three minutes. The cup has a pleasing green apple and spices aroma, particularly of the peppery licorice scent of fennel.

Perhaps a bit autumnal in flavor profile for this unending heat wave, but I really enjoy the flavor. I’m getting two different apple flavors; a sweeter red apples baked in cinnamon and a tarter, juicier green apple that is more prominent at the end of the sip. There is a strong fennel flavor in the tea which lingers in the aftertaste, which does add a layer of pepperiness/black licorice to the flavor. I personally really like how the fennel tastes in combination with the apple.

A nice tea to lazily sip on during my “faux Sunday” morning, while munching on a breakfast rice bowl.

Flavors: Apple, Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Fennel, Fruity, Green Apple, Licorice, Pepper, Red Apple, Smooth, Spices

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
ashmanra

I liked this one!

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79

It was one of those mornings where, actually having the time to properly prepare a cup of tea without having to be in a rush out the door for work, I stood in front of my massive tea collection and couldn’t decided what I wanted. When I saw my two sampler pouches of this in the (almost empty now) flavored black teas sampler bag, I decided I really was in an Earl Grey mood.

I actually do smell the plum and clove from the dry leaf… and something coming across peppery? Lazily scooped one perfect teaspoon leaf instead of measuring grams like I usually do, steeped in 350ml 205F water for three minutes. The steeped leaf smelled more strongly of a lemony/bergamot citrus. The brewed up has a very appealing aroma; beramot, plum, and spices.

Mmm… this is interesting, and I like it! To me, it tastes like an Earl Grey and a Mulled Wine tea had a child, and those are both tea types I really like. There is a deep fruitiness to the cup; I do taste plum, but it is also reading a little like lychee to me, since I’m getting a slight floral undertone. The bergamot is pretty pervasive and fills the sip, with a crisp, citrusy, and slightly tart/sour lemon note. When the berg settles on the touch, there is a strong aftertaste of spices; I taste the clove, but the nutmeg is reading to me as more of a black pepper taste.

Perhaps a strange combination of flavors but it’s working for me… and it feels nice to get to lazily sip on a warm cup of tea, taking my time and savoring the sips!

In other tea news, I recently bought one of those CO2 infusing “soda” machines to experiment with my cold teas. The first one I tried (B&B’s Peppermint Cream) tasted questionable, but I looooooooove TeaSource’s vanilla black, Moon Over Madegascar, that way! Looking forward to experimenting with other teas (I have some of Lupicia’s Ramune tea to try next!)

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Clove, Floral, Fruity, Lemon, Lychee, Pepper, Pleasantly Sour, Plum, Spices, Tart

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML
teepland

I’ve never considered carbonating a cold tea, but that sounds like a wonderful idea! I will have to try that with our machine. I hope you’ll share some that you try and it turns out well!

Mastress Alita

Right now I’m having the French tea I made yesterday (my leftovers from work went into the fridge to get ice cold). It was called C’est Sympathique and supposedly was melon-flavored, but has a strong tart lemony taste to me. That strong, bright citrus flavor also tastes really good carbonated.

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National Superhero Day Tea!
I don’t watch marvel movies or shows with the exception of Jessica Jones which I loved. I chose this one because it’s described as a “strong” black tea with “Bourbon”. (I actually thought Golden Arrow would work for Jessica Jones in terms of her office and desk with the mahogany. I also thought Black Metallic would work as well with the purple flowers and elderberry for Violet from The Incredibles.)I’ve never had Bourbon before so I can’t comment on if this tastes like it or not. I realized that I actually have had this tea before and just had forgotten since there was no tasting note on it. It’s quite smoky and does have a kind of burnt flavor that’s left on your tongue and isn’t pleasant. I’m not liking this one so far but maybe I just need to brew it at a lower temperature next time. I love Golden Arrow and thought this one might be similar but it’s just not working for me. Maybe this one does better with milk.

Flavors: Alcohol, Bitter, Burnt, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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April Sipdown Alphabet Challenge: “C” Tea
This one has a nice and authentic dark chocolate flavor. It has the bitterness and fruitiness that the darker chocolate bars have. I also get some of the booziness but unfortunately, my sample didn’t have any pieces of cherry in it. It’s also somewhat drying on the tongue. Something to note is that my cup did have quite an oil sheen to it on top and I know that bothers some people. It’s a nice chocolate tea and I bet it would be even better with the cherry. I just noticed that they recommend trying this tea with milk so I’ll do that next time.

Flavors: Bitter, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Drying, Fruity, Tannic

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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I’ve steeped my other August samples following their instructions for the first cup just to see if I like their recommendations and if it helps bring out the flavors listed in their descriptions, but I’ve never had an oolong brewed western style that really wow-ed me so I’m skipping straight to gongfu with Eventide. I’m still quite an oolong newb but they’re growing on me. Water about 200°F, a few little balls of tea leaves sprinkled in the teeny baby gaiwan ‘cause I’m too lazy to weigh it out, steeps starting at 15-ish seconds.

The first couple steeps were mostly just roast flavors and aroma. Nice toastiness, not one of those that smells burnt until the other flavors start coming through. The package lists steamed banana leaf as one of the flavors this tea is supposed to have. I have no idea what steamed banana leaf tastes like but I taste something that could maybe be green leafy something. And something fruity…tropical fruit? I’m so bad at picking out specific flavors. There’s a little bit of floral too, but I only get it while my cup is hot. Once the tea cools the floral vanishes. Weirdly, one sniff of the gaiwan lid smelled exactly like my mother’s caramel cinnamon rolls. The corner rolls, specifically…the ones that start to get a little hard on the edges and the goo is aaaaallllllmost a tiny bit burnt. I don’t know if this tea would be good with baked goods but it has made me want delicious cinnamon rolls and croissants.

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The packaging mentioned Guinness-like flavors so this seemed like a good choice for St Patrick’s Day. The dry tea smells kind of like boozy raisins to me. There’s an alcohol-ish (the drinking kind, not the cleaning kind, but I can’t really pinpoint what kind specifically) scent I get from several of the darker cocoa-y type flavor August teas. Maybe it’s something in their flavorings or maybe it’s my allergy-addled brain (yay, springtime) not knowing what I’m smelling, I don’t know. The brewed tea smells like dried cherries and spices. I taste a bitterness that sort of reminds me of the bitterness of coffee but the flavor isn’t anything like coffee. There’s some dried fruit flavor. I guess I could maybe see how if you stretched your imagination you could get pumpernickel but the dry smell was probably closer to pumpernickel than the flavor. Nothing reminds me much of stout beer like Guinness. It’s not a bad tea, I just don’t really taste the flavors listed on the package.

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I thought this tea might be a good one for days I want coffee but my stomach doesn’t think it’s such a great idea. It really smells like coffee dry. While it was steeping I could smell something sort of toasted grain-like. I wasn’t completely sure if that was the barley malt or the mate. I have very little experience with mate (just a couple of flavored bagged teas from grocery store brands) so I’m not sure I could identify “mate smell”. I usually taste my tea before deciding if it needs milk/cream or sugar, and I probably should have done that with this one too…but it’s been a grumpy day of spring allergies and stressed out sewing procrastination (feeling a bit in over my head on a project) and it looked and smelled like the kind of tea I’d want to add something to so in went the sweetened condensed milk right away. I don’t teally taste the coffee. I can still smell it a bit but it’s not nearly as strong as the dry tea. It kinda just tastes like roasty black tea. I may have buried any of the more subtle flavors in sugary milky goo. It’s not bad this way but it doesn’t make me think coffee. Oh well, will taste it first next time and maybe use plain milk if it needs additions. It feels astringent in a way I’m not sure I’ll like plain but always good to try it anyway.

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Creamy cocoa notes reminiscent of hot chocolate. Sweet anise flavor as well. This tea is nicely balanced. I would like this to drink occasionally but with the anise I don’t see it as being an everyday cup. It’s definitely a unique blend true to the brand’s name.

Flavors: Anise, Cocoa, Creamy, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling

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Dry this tea smells mostly like cherry to me. There’s something else there that I thought was part of the cherry flavoring (you know how some flavorings can be strong and almost boozy smelling when fresh?) but now I think it might just be the smoke. As with the other August teas I’ve tried, I followed the package instructions for my first time making this tea (boiling water, 4-5min, approx 1 tablespoon per 10oz water). The brewed tea smells smokier than the dry leaf. I taste more smoke than cherry too. The cherry didn’t disappear, the smoke is just stronger than it was in the dry tea. I’m not really enjoying this one. I let my cup cool too much before drinking and it’s just not great at this temperature. Maybe it would be better hotter. The cherry tastes unpleasantly artificial to me. I’m not sure if that’s the added flavoring or just the combination of smoke and cherry. I think I’ll try it with milk/cream next time to see if I like it better that way. And I’ll definitely try to drink it before it cools to lukewarm next time. I like the size of these sample packages…enough tea to make more than one cup so you can experiment with the preparation a little bit (or fix any oopsies that occurred) but not so much that you might end up stuck with a ton of tea you hate.

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After reading one of Roswell Strange’s notes mentioning orange blossom I was all set to try Metropolitan as my next August Uncommon Tea since it said something about neroli on the back of the package but after opening it and sniffing I wasn’t sure it was quite what I was in the mood for. I sniffed a couple more teas and settled on Arabesque instead.

It smells good. Very creamsicle-y. It’s not just vanilla, it’s that creamy vanilla ice cream type vanilla. I’m not sure the sample size is the best way to try this one. My sample pouch has several large pieces of orange slice that might’ve thrown off the ingredient balance and the tea leaves fall to the bottom and hide in the pouch’s crease so it’s hard to get an even mix of everything if you’re not making the entire pouch in one go. I steeped according to the package instructions (175°F water, 4-5min) to see how that turned out. The brewed tea still smells like creamsicles but maybe a little milder than the dry leaf. I’m not sure if it’s just been a while since I’ve had teas that are flavored with things other than flower petals or citrus peel but August teas seem quite strongly flavored/scented to me. This one isn’t as intense as Black Metallic but it’s definitely not weak flavor either. The flavor is creamsicle…but not. Maybe it’s the jatoba wood or something about the base tea but something there keeps it from being as creamsicle flavored as it smells. In a weird way it kind of reminds me of some non-dairy “healthy” creamsicles I tried that had coconut milk or something instead of ice cream. The orange is there, the vanilla is there, but there’s a little bit of an odd taste and there is absolutely no creamy mouthfeel. Not BAD but disappointing if you’re expecting it to be identical to the dairy version in flavor and texture. I think if you go into this tea expecting liquid creamsicle it could be disappointing. As it’s cooling I think the wood might be coming out more and the vanilla is becoming more of just a sweetness. It smells more like a sweet summery orangey sandalwood type thing than ice cream truck to me now. It tastes more like orange and wood too. I feel like those are two completely different descriptions but both describe the tea? I’m guessing how well mixed the ingredients are when you scoop them out will determine whether it leans more toward the creamsicle flavors or toward the wood type flavors. I think I like it. It seems like a lighter, gentler on my stomach, more relaxing tea than some of the others I picked from this company. I’d like to get a bigger bag at some point to hopefully have a more even mix of ingredients to see if that changes the flavor at all.

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This tea sounded amazing to me as soon as I read the description. Seeing that it was labeled as being vegan-friendly made me lose control of my finger and before I knew it, a pouch of Black Metallic and samples of several other teas had been added to my shopping cart and then I received an order confirmation. While I’m not actually vegan (lacto-veg, so not too far off, though), I’m rather weirded out by some of the things that pass as “natural flavoring” (or at least some things that have been used in the past…beaver castoreum, anyone?). I really appreciate that August Uncommon Teas seems to have actually looked into their flavorings and categorized teas by dietary needs instead of assuming all tea would be vegan/gluten-free/nut-free/etc or that all flavorings must be derived from the fruit/flower/whatever they’re supposed to taste like. It might seem like an insignificant or silly thing to most, but it’s a big deal to those with allergies/intolerances or strongly held dietary convictions. But anyway, on to the actual tea…

It smelled so good when I tore open the pouch. So. Good. It wasn’t the smoky violet scent I imagined but deliciously fruity. Elderberry, I guess? I’m not sure I’ve had elderberries before. I steeped according to the instructions on the package and didn’t add anything to it. I doubt anyone was dying to know, but the nifty 50¢ measuring spoons August sells fit neatly in their 50g/15cup tea pouches but I don’t think you’d be able to close the 4 cup sample pouch with a measuring spoon inside. It was hard to let the tea cool enough to drink. The aroma filled the whole room and it was fabulous. This is another tea I’d buy to use as potpourri even if I couldn’t stand the flavor. The flavor takes a few sips to taste everything that’s going on. At first sip there’s a kind of bitterness that disappointed me but as I keep drinking I don’t notice it and I think maybe it was just my tongue (or brain?) trying to make sense of the combination of elderberry and violet. Maybe like how at first violet candies can taste like soap or perfume but you come to appreciate the floral flavor as you get used to it? I don’t know. The violet seems to be lurking more in the aftertaste for me but it’s definitely there. It’s an interesting combination of flavors. Berry juice with violet flowers floating in it. I’m not sure I can pick out the smoke or oolong flavors but I’m sure they’re adding to the complexity. I could see some people (my mother) possibly wanting to add sugar to this tea but I’m not sure how well it’d do with milk/cream. Maybe it’d work if you brewed it stronger than I did this time. Interestingly, as I reach the end of my first cup and contemplate resteeping the leaves, my tongue has a tingly feeling like I just had a spicy tea. Not sure what that’s all about. Overall, I like Black Metallic and would probably order it again when I run out. But I’d try a lightly smoked violet tea without fruit flavors too. I’m looking forward to trying the other teas I ordered from this company. I’m a fan so far.

A few additional thoughts from the second steep:
1. I think the spicy-like tongue tingle was just acidity. My stomach felt it before my mouth figured out what it was. Maybe not one to drink on an empty stomach if you’re sensitive to these things.
2. If you need a snack to go with this tea, Peanut Butter & Jelly Bobo’s Oat Bars go with it nicely.
3. If my comments about dietary preferences came across as in any way judgemental it was completely unintentional. My stance on that is basically “I’ll do what I think is right for me, you do what you think is right for you”. I’m not looking to push my lifestyle as the one and only right way. My gripe is when someone, whether through ignorance or malice, interferes with me doing what I think is right for me. It annoys the crap out of me and makes me lose all trust in a company if I see obviously mislabeled products (like “vegan” cosmetics with beeswax and carmine or “vegetarian” dishes with fish sauce or chicken broth). And it happens all the time! I think it happens slightly less often with common allergens but I still see it often enough for it to be a concern (and good luck if you’re allergic to something that isn’t a “top 8 allergen”). I tend to look for things labeled vegan because it’s easier than trying to figure out what a company’s definition of vegetarian is because it varies so much…but I still have to read through ingredients lists and try to get an idea of whether the company has any idea what vegan even means or if they think it’s just a trendy thing to slap on packages to boost sales. This is turning into a bit of a tangent…but my point was that I don’t care what you eat or don’t eat, I just want foods/drinks labeled appropriately. Ideally, things would have complete ingredient lists instead of these ambiguous “flavoring,” “coloring,” and “spice” ingredients (as far as I’m concerned they might as well just print out a label that says “ingredients: stuff”) but until then, I’m glad companies like August are putting in at least some effort into labeling and categorizing their products according to dietary needs. Am I 100% sure that I can completely trust their labeling? No, but I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt because they’re at least making an effort.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
derk

“This is another tea I’d buy to use as potpourri even if I couldn’t stand the flavor.” I did that with freshly ground coffee as a teen. Loved the smell, couldn’t stand the taste.

DrowningMySorrows

Haha, yeah, as a teen I loved the coffee aisle at the grocery store. No one in my family really drank coffee so it wasn’t a smell I grew up with and walking down the aisle after someone had used the grinder was the best thing ever. It was a tiny town and I had few sources of entertainment.

tea-sipper

You weren’t seeming judgey about anyone else’s diets! I know what you mean – just get the labels right on everything… it shouldn’t be that difficult.

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80
drank Cabaret by August Uncommon Tea
803 tasting notes

Chocolate and cherry are both flavors I tend to steer away from in tea blends, as chocolate is often too thin and artificial-tasting and cherry tends to be either medicinal or hibiscus-tart. But this one was a pleasant surprise! It’s one of the better chocolate flavorings I’ve run across…rich and dark and just the tiniest bit bitter, like a quality dark chocolate. The cherry plays second fiddle, but provides a nice dark fruitiness that combines well with the chocolate…no hibiscus and it also doesn’t taste like cough syrup! This blend is quite pleasant straight, but I’m thinking it would be outstanding as a latte.

Flavors: Cherry, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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75

I’m not generally a fan of floral tea, but violet may be the exception to that. This one perfectly balances the violet and elderberry flavoring on a rich black tea base, creating a delicious blend that does NOT make me feel like I’m drinking perfume! Another pleasant surprise from August Uncommon.

Flavors: Berries, Floral, Fruity, Violet

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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